Mallory Comerford, Nathan Adrian Are The Stars of the Night at Phillips 66 Nationals

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Photo Courtesy: Melissa Lundie

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The first night of the 2017 USA Swimming National Championships featured six finals with World Championship berths at stake in all of them. Mallory Comerford, Nathan Adrian and Jack Conger posted times ranked in the top five in the world on Tuesday night to kickstart the Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships in Indianapolis. Veterans Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky made their third Worlds team while Adrian made his fifth. Newcomers Dakota Luther, True Sweetser and Pace Clark made their first team, among many others who did the same.

Live Results

Tonight’s events:

  • Women’s 200 Butterfly
  • Men’s 200 Butterfly
  • Women’s 100 Freestyle
  • Men’s 100 Freestyle
  • Women’s 800 Freestyle
  • Men’s 1500 Freestyle

Women’s 200 Butterfly

The 2017 Phillips 66 USA Swimming National Championships got off to a strong start with 2016 Olympian Hali Flickinger winning the first final of the night in the 200 fly. Flickinger led wire to wire with a 2:07.60 to swim the 10th fastest time of 2017. Flickinger makes her first World Championship berth and wins her first national title in the event.

Flickinger will be joined in Budapest by Austin Swim Club’s Dakota Luther who finished second at 2:08.71 to finish just ahead of Texas A&M’s Sarah Gibson (2:08.75). Luther makes her first senior national team as a 17-year-old.

Stanford’s Ella Eastin (2:09.24), Michigan’s Vanessa Krause (2:09.54), Virginia’s Jen Marrkand (2:09.58), Cal’s Katie McLaughlin (2:10.21) and Texas’ Remedy Rule (2:10.48) also swam in the A-final.

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Men’s 200 Butterfly

In the first official year in the post-Phelps era, Jack Conger took the reigns of the 200 fly national title with a 1:54.47 for his first long course national title in the event. Conger swam a best time to go with the win and is also the third fastest swimmer in the world this year. Conger now sits behind Japan’s Masato Sakai (1:53.71) and Daiya Seto (1:54.28) in the world rankings.

Georgia’s Pace Clark out swam his teammate Chase Kalisz over the last 50 to nab a spot in Budapest with a 1:54.58 ahead of Kalisz’s 1:54.79. Clark and Conger will be swimming in their first World Championships, as Conger makes his second straight long course national team. Clark is now fourth in the world with that swim.

Georgia’s Gunnar Bentz (1:55.51), Arizona’s Justin Wright (1:56.11), Louisville’s Zach Harting (1:56.65), Georgia’s Mick Litherland (1:57.90) and Michigan’s Miles Smachlo (2:00.46) all swam in the A-final.

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Women’s 100 Freestyle

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford has been on a huge roll in 2017. Comerford answered a lot of long course expectations with a 52.81 tonight in the 100 free final for a new Nationals meet record. Comerford will be swimming in her first long course international meet this summer in Budapest. She also swam the third fastest 100 free of 2017 behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (52.08) and Australia’s Cate Campbell (52.78). Campbell will not be swimming in Budapest this summer.

Comerford out-raced Stanford defending Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel of Stanford who finished second at 53.05. Manuel picks up an individual spot in the 100 free for her third straight World Championship berth. Stanford’s Lia Neal (53.59) and Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell (53.99) will automatically pick up spots for the 4×100 free relay in Budapest. Worrell makes her first Worlds as Neal makes her second.

Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga (54.31), Stanford’s Katie Ledecky (54.35), Georgia’s Veronica Burchill (54.92) and North Carolina’s Caroline Baldwin (54.98) also swam in the A-final. Smoliga and Ledecky will potentially be picked up as relay alternates for Budapest.

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Men’s 100 Freestyle

With all of the hype around Auburn’s Zach Apple this morning, we almost forgot about the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian in the race. The 28-year-old veteran got the job done Tuesday night for his eighth national title in the 100 free with a 47.96, good for third in the world behind Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (47.90) and Australia’s Cameron McEvoy (47.91). Adrian makes his fifth World Championship team dating back to 2009.

Florida’s Caeleb Dressel (47.97), Texas’ Townley Haas (48.20) and Auburn’s Apple (48.23) automatically make the team for the relay in Budapest. All three of those guys make their first World Championship team. Dressel is now fourth in the world behind Scott, McEvoy and Adrian.

Missouri’s Michael Chadwick (48.48) and Indiana’s Blake Pieroni (48.49) pick up consideration for Budapest. NC State’s Ryan Held (48.53) and Cal’s Ryan Murphy (49.21) rounded out the top eight.

The US is now the clear favorite moving towards Budapest in the 4×100 free relay as they look to defend the title they won last year in Rio. They have not won a World title since 2009 when they won in Rome.

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Women’s 800 Freestyle

Katie Ledecky posted another quick 800 free to once again win a national title and lead the world rankings. Ledecky posted an 8:11.50 to win the race ahead of Virginia’s Leah Smith, who finished second at 8:20.46. Smith is now second in the world rankings this year to go just ahead of China’s Li Bingjie (8:20.89).

Ledecky makes her third straight World Championships team while Smith makes her second. Ledecky is the two-time defending World Champion in the 800 and it doesn’t look like anyone will stop her moving forward.

NC State’s Hannah Moore had a really good swim to finish second at 8:27.58. Wisconsin’s Cierra Runge (8:32.16), Magnolia’s Joy Field (8:33.95), Purdue’s Kaersten Meitz (8:34.30), Saint Petersburg’s Summer Finke (8:34.63) and Stanford’s Leah Stevens (8:34.78) rounded out the top eight.

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Men’s 1500 Freestyle

In a wide open 1500 free final that featured no Olympians and no national teamers, True Sweetser took control of the race over the last 200 meters with a 14:59.73 for his first time under 15 minutes. Sweeters, a sophomore to be at Stanford makes his first National team. Saint Petersburg high school senior to be Robert Finke finished second at 15:01.31.

Finke had taken control early in the race and got some heat from Sweetser and Michigan’s PJ Ransford on the back half. Finke held off Ransford who charged hard late in the race and finished third at 15:01.82. Finke also makes his first National Senior Team.

Andrew Abruzzo (15:07.97), Michael Brinegar (15:10.66), Kevin Litherland (15:10.93), Chris Yeager (15:17.90) and Ben Lawless (15:21.32) also finished in the top eight.

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