Lilly King, Kevin Cordes Post Quick Swims on Second Night at USA Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The second night of finals at the 2017 Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships featured eight exciting final races. Lilly King and Kevin Cordes silenced the doubters that they could put together a solid 200 breast long course and they are both headed to Budapest with their swims tonight.

Kathleen Baker and Ryan Murphy also won the 200 backstroke events as they head to the World Championships for the second time in their careers. Kelsi Worrell and Caeleb Dressel won the 50 fly as they add more events to their Budapest lineup.

Rookies Regan Smith and Bethany Galat also picked up their first major international spots in their respective events tonight.

Heat Sheets

Live Results

Tonight’s Events:

  • Women’s 200 Freestyle
  • Men’s 200 Freestyle
  • Women’s 200 Breaststroke
  • Men’s 200 Breaststroke
  • Women’s 200 Backstroke
  • Men’s 200 Backstroke
  • Women’s 50 Butterfly
  • Men’s 50 Butterfly

Women’s 200 Free

19-year-old Katie Ledecky won another national title in the 200 free on Wednesday night at the 2017 Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships. Ledecky already had the number one time in the world after what she did at Santa Clara earlier this month. Ledecky lowered that time with a 1:54.84 to move further ahead of Sweden’s Michelle Coleman (1:55.64).

Ledecky will be joined in Budapest once again by Virginia’s Leah Smith (1:56.68) who seems to be Ledecky’s right hand woman in every single event. Those two will be accompanied by Melanie Margalis (1:56.90) and Mallory Comerford (1:56.95) for the 4×200 free relay in Budapest. The US has won every major meet in the relay since 2010 but has not gotten the World Record despite all the strong swimmers they have had. The US is now the heavy favorite in that relay moving forward to Budapest. They also have another chance at eclipsing China’s world record from 2009 at 7:42.08.

Simone Manuel (1:57.11) and Cierra Runge (1:57.71) also picked up relay considerations for Budapest by finishing fifth and sixth. Claire Rasmus (1:57.92) and Katie Drabot (1:58.58) also swam in the A-final.

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Men’s 200 Free

There was a lot of potential around Townley Haas after he finished in the individual 200 free final last year and swam the fastest relay split of any of the competitors in the 4×200 free relay. Haas picked up his first World Championship selection with a 1:45.03 on Wednesday night in Indianapolis, the second fastest time in the world this year behind China’s Sun Yang (1:44.91).

Haas moves ahead of the British duo of James Guy (1:45.55) and Duncan Scott (1:45.80) on the world rankings list as we move towards Budapest. Haas will be joined in the individual 200 free by Blake Pieroni of Indiana (1:46.30), who moves to fifth in the world rankings. Pieroni picks up his first World Championship spot in his career.

Zane Grothe (1:46.39) and Conor Dwyer (1:47.25) rounded out the top four for a solid 4×200 free relay. The Americans will be looking to regain the world title they lost to Great Britain in 2015. The Brits will be tough to beat with the core of Scott and Guy leading the charge for them.

Clark Smith (1:47.29) and Caeleb Dressel (1:47.51) also pick up relay consideration spots with their fifth and sixth place finishes. Jay Litherland (1:47.74) and Mitch D’Arrigo (1:47.79) rounded out the top eight final.

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Women’s 200 Breast

Fun fact, did you know Lilly King never won high school state until her senior year? She was runner-up almost every year before that to who else but Bethany Galat. The two Indiana natives from opposite ends of the state came together once again to race at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis. This time, it was King who took the win over her long time rival with a massive 2:21.83 to swim the second fastest time in the world this year behind Russia’s Yulia Efimova (2:19.83). Galat was second at 2:22.24 to now sit fourth in the world behind Great Britain’s Jocelyn Ulyett (2:22.08). Both of those swimmers made their first World Championship team as Galat made her first major international trip.

The United States has not had a major international win in the 200 breast since Rebecca Soni broke the world record in the 2012 London Olympics, and they have a solid and young 1-2 punch going into Budapest this summer. King is 20 and Galat is 21.

Those two swam away from the pack over the back half from the rest of the field. Miranda Tucker (2:25.82), Kayla Brumbaum (2:25.85), Vanessa Pearl (2:25.97), Andrea Cottrell (2:26.50), Katie Meili (2:26.71) and Breeja Larson (2:28.09) also swam in the A-final.

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Men’s 200 Breast

In one of the most anticipated races of the night at Nationals, Kevin Cordes gave the world record a legit scare on Wednesday night in the IU Natatorium with a 2:07.41 to sit third in the world rankings behind the Japanese duo of Ippei Watanabe (2:06.67) and Yasuhiro Koseki (2:07.18).

Cordes led the race from start to finish and was under WR pace at 150 meters, something we have seen from him in the past. He showed a little bit more emotion with the win tonight, so he had to have felt the pressure from the swimming community saying he “couldn’t get it done.” He makes his third World Championship team and will look to upgrade his silver from 2015.

Cordes will be joined in Budapest by Georgia’s Nic Fink, who had a disappointing trials last summer. Fink makes his third World Championships with a 2:08.63 for second. Fink held off a close finish for second ahead of Cal’s Josh Prenot (2:08.72), Texas’ Andrew Wilson (2:08.82) and Will Licon (2:09.68).

Jonathan Tybur (2:10.94), Daniel Roy (2:12.23) and Jacob Montague (2:12.73) also swam in the A-final.

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Women’s 200 Back

Kathleen Baker has been on fire in the 2017 calendar year after she won the silver medal in the 100 back in Rio last summer. She won her first NCAA individual title in March and won swimmer of the meet in the process. She returned in June in the same pool with a spot on her second straight World Championship team with a 2:06.38 in the 200 back final, the fastest time in the world this year.

Baker moves ahead of Australia’s Emily Seebohm (2:06.66) in the world rankings list and will be joined in Budapest by 15-year-old Regan Smith from Riptide Aquatics in Minnesota. Smith was second at 2:08.55 and makes her first major international meet. Smith held off a hard charge from Lakeside’s Asia Seidt at 2:08.99.

Kentucky’s Bridgette Alexander (2:10.10), Suburban’s Alex Sumner (2:11.18), Georgia’s Hali Flickinger (2:11.29), Lisa Bratton (2:12.06) and Georgia’s Kylie Stewart (2:13.29) also competed in the A-final.

Smith moves up to seventh in the world rankings as we head to Budapest.

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Men’s 200 Back

Ryan Murphy has quickly taken over the reigns as the best US backstroker in both Olympic distances. Murphy swam the third fastest 200 back of 2017 with a 1:54.30 to sit just behind Russia’s Evgeny Rylov (1:53.81) and China’s Xu Jiayu (1:54.03). Murphy made his second straight World Championship team with that swim and will look to win his first individual World Championship medal.

Murphy will be joined by teammate Jacob Pebley for the second straight year at 1:54.78, as the ladder made his first World Championship team. Pebley now sits just behind Murphy on the world rankings list in fourth. Pebley has indicated that he has been very motivated this year as he was one of the few US swimmers that did not get a medal in Rio. He has a very good chance to get an individual medal in Rio as well as a possible spot in the 100 back on Friday.

Robert Owen (1:57.17), Sean Lehane (1:57.33), Austin Katz (1:57.60), Abrahm DeVine (1:58.65), Joey Reilman (1:59.33) and Hennessey Stuart (2:00.48) also swam in the A-Final.

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Women’s 50 Fly

Kelsi Worrell inched closer to Dara Torres’ American Record in the 50 fly at the 2017 Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships with a 25.69 to miss Torres’ record of 25.50. Worrell moved to second in the world rankings behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (24.76). Worrell has the option to swim the 50 fly in Budapest since she made the 4×100 free relay last night.

Worrell moved away from the whole field during the race as North Carolina’s Hellen Moffitt (26.19) and Trojan’s Kendyl Stewart (26.24) finished second and third. Those two will be vying to get on the team in the 100 on Thursday.

Alyssa Marsh (26.46), Annie Ochitwa (26.51), Aly Tetzloff (26.57), Amanda Kendall (26.62) and Maddie Murphy (26.70) also swam in the A-final.

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Men’s 50 Fly

20-year-old Caeleb Dressel broke Cullen Jones‘ meet record he set this morning in the 50 fly as the former swam a 23.05 to inch closer to Bryan Lundquist’s American Record of 22.91 set in 2009. Dressel has the option to swim that event in Budapest now after he finished second in the 100 free last night. This is promising for Dressel moving forward to the 50 free on Saturday, an event he did not make the Olympic team in last summer.

Jones finished second at 23.27. The 33-year-old is looking to be in good shape to challenge for a spot on the Worlds team in the 50 free. Tim Phillips (23.37), Michael Andrew (23.42), Ryan Held (23.68), Giles Smith (23.73), Justin Lynch and Andrew Liang (23.77) all swam in the A-final.

There has been a lot of hype over Dressel if he could produce his incredible NCAA career with a good long course meet. He has already picked up a spot on the Worlds team in the 100 free and showed his vintage 200 speed tonight with a sixth place finish in that final. The rest of the swimming community will be eager to see how he shows up in the 50 free on Saturday, as well as the 100 fly tomorrow.

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Author: Andy Ross

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Andy Ross is the new man on board at Swimming World. He is based out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is a 2017 graduate of Southern Illinois University where he graduated cum laude.

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