Regan Smith’s WJR and Dahlia’s American Record Highlight Night Two Of U.S. Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships continued tonight in Irvine, CA with the best of the United States vying for spots on a number of international rosters for this summer and next year’s World Championships team.

After a prelims session that featured some surprising top seeds, there were plenty of big swims tonight that shook up the world rankings. Kelsi Dahlia had the lone American record of the night, although Josh Prenot and was just off his own record with his winning time in the 200 breast. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Regan Smith set a new junior world record in the 200 back en route to tying Kathleen Baker for the win in the women’s 200 back, while Andrew Seliskar continued his meteoric rise in the 200 free with a national title in the event.

Check out the links below and the recaps and results under each event to get caught up on all of the action from the second night of the meet.

Official Results – Day Two
Day Two Predictions
Official Psych Sheet

Day Two Finals:

  • Women’s 200 Free
  • Men’s 200 Free
  • Women’s 200 Breast
  • Men’s 200 Breast
  • Women’s 200 Back
  • Men’s 200 Back
  • Women’s 50 Fly
  • Men’s 50 Fly

Women’s 200 Free

Stanford’s Katie Ledecky didn’t look back in this A-final, leading the field through the 100 in 55.77 before bringing it home to touch first in 1:54.60. That was just two tenths off of Allison Schmitt’s U.S. Open record from the 2012 Olympic Trials, and is Ledecky’s second win of the meet after her victory in the 800 free last night.

Schmitt, the American record holder in the event, finished second in 1:55.82 to continue what has been a very successful return to racing this spring and qualify herself for Pan Pacs. In third was top seed Gabby DeLoof, who snuck by her best time from this morning with a 1:56.55. In fourth was Leah Smith (1:56.93), who adds a second event to her Pan Pacs schedule after finishing second in the 800 free last night.

Rounding out the rest of the A-final was Simone Manuel (1:57.01), Melanie Margalis (1:57.32), Mallory Comerford (1:58.38), and Paige Madden (1:59.16). Cal’s Katie McLaughlin won the B-final in 1:58.20.

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Men’s 200 Free

Cal’s Andrew Seliskar held onto the #1 spot in tonight’s final, using an impressive back half to come from behind and take the win in a tight field. Seliskar was only fifth at the 100 before turning on the jets to flip first at the 150 and hold on for the win in 1:45.70. That continues his huge progression in this event this year. Prior to this season, Seliskar’s best time in the 200 free was a 1:50.22 from 2014. That time also moves up to #3 in the world rankings for 2018.

Finishing in second was Indiana’s Blake Pieroni, who was out first at the 50 before fading to fourth by the 150. But Pieroni turned on the jets down the stretch, delivering a strong final 50 to move up to second and finish in 1:45.93. Right behind him in third was veteran Conor Dwyer (1:46.08), followed by Texas’ Townley Haas in fourth (1:46.15).

18-year old Jack LeVant nearly replicated his impressive time from the morning to finish fifth in 1:46.46, while the rest of the final featured Jack Conger (1:47.45), Jay Litherland (1:47.70), and Trey Freeman (1:48.20). Grant House won the B-final in 1:46.95.

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Women’s 200 Breast

Micah Sumrall dominated the final of the women’s 200 breast, winning by more than a second and finishing as the only woman under 2:23 in the field when she touched in 2:22.06. Turning first at the 100 in 1:08.26, she split 36.41/37.39 on the way home to punch her ticket to Pan Pacs and move up to #4 in the world rankings. That is a huge return for the 28-year-old after missing the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In second was Aggie swimmer Bethany Galat, who used a strong back half and the fastest final 50 split of the field (37.01) to grab silver in 2:23.32. Finishing third was Annie Lazor in 2:24.42, while Emily Escobedo was fourth in 2:25.22. Notably, Olympian and 100 breaststroke world record holder Lilly King was back in fifth in 2:25.31 after taking the race out hard the first 50 and sitting second at the 100.

Rounding out the rest of the A-final was Zoe Bartel (2:25.67), Ella Nelson (2:25.98), and Riley Scott (2:26.21). Bartel, who is just 17-years-old, moved up to become the third fastest 17-18 ever, sitting only behind King and Olympic gold medalist Amanda Beard.

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Men’s 200 Breast

Josh Prenot was just .11 off of his own American record to make a major statement in the men’s 200 breast. The Cal swimmer finished first in 2:07.28 to record the fastest time in the world for 2018. That should be major redemption for Prenot, who missed last summer’s World Championship team after earning a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in this event.

Finishing in second was Andrew Wilson, who was out fast and led at the 100 in 1:01.04. He managed to hold on to finish second in 2:08.71, just .01 ahead of training partner Will Licon (2:08.72). In fourth was Georgia’s Nic Fink (2:09.24).

Notably, Kevin Cordes was only fifth here in the final (2:09.71) after winning the event at last year’s meet. Rounding out the A-final was Daniel Roy (2:09.76), Jonathan Tybur (2:11.27), and Charlie Swanson (2:11.63).

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Women’s 200 Back

Olympian Kathleen Baker and 16-year-old Regan Smith tied for first in the 200 backstroke with matching 2:06.43. That is just off of Baker’s best of 2:06.38 from last summer, when she won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Budapest. For Smith, that time will stand as a new world junior record and is the first time the young swimmer has broken 2:07.

The two were neck and neck through the entire race, with Baker having the edge at each wall through the 150 before Smith made it up with a killer last 50 split of 32.59. Finishing in third was 16-year-old Isabelle Stadden (2:08.24), who just clipped her best time of 2:08.37 from earlier this year at the Mel Zajac International meet. Rounding out the top 4 was Lisa Bratton in 2:08.37.

Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga was fifth in 2:08.58, which was her first time under 2:09 and a best by about a second, which bodes well for her 100 backstroke later in the meet. Rounding out the A-final was Asia Seidt (2:09.20), Katharine Berkoff (2:10.12), and Ali Galyer (2:10.91).

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Men’s 200 Back

Ryan Murphy moved himself up to the number two spot in the world in the 200 back, posting a 1:54.15 to grab the win. Murphy was neck and neck with teammate Jacob Pebley through the first 100 meters, actually flipping just behind him in second with a 55.83. Murphy made a huge move on the third 50 though to move back into the lead before blasting a 29.24 final 50 to finish first. That is Murphy’s fastest 200 back since the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Pebley faded down the last 50 but still held on for second in 1:55.68, punching his ticket to Pan Pacs and giving the Golden Bears a 1-2 finish in the event. Finishing strong in third was Texas swimmer and 2018 NCAA Champion in this event Austin Katz (1:56.12), who dropped more than half a second from his best time from 2017. Rounding out the top 4 was Clark Beach (1:57.41).

Cal teammates Bryce Mefford (1:57.46) and Daniel Carr (1:57.91) finished fifth and sixth, while the rest of the final was rounded out by Carson Foster (1:58.18) and Nick Alexander (1:58.49).

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Women’s 50 Fly

Kelsi Dahlia tied her American record in the 50 butterfly tonight to become the first American to make the 2019 Worlds team. Finishing in 25.48, Dahlia also broke the meet record of 25.50 held by Dara Torres from 2009. Joining her under 26 seconds was Team Elite’s Kendyl Stewart (25.83), who was followed by teammates Hellen Moffitt (26.45) and Sarah Gibson (26.65).

Rounding out the A-final was Torri Huske (26.71), Christie Jensen (26.73), Amanda Kendall (26.82), and Veronica Burchill (26.85).

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Men’s 50 Fly

After qualifying in a tie for first out of prelims it was 19-year-old Michael Andrew who got his hand on the wall first tonight, becoming the first American male to grab a roster spot for the 2019 World Championships. The teenager bested the field with a 22.93, his first swim under 23 seconds in the event and just ahead of Caeleb Dressel, who was second in 22.97.

Andrew’s swim was less than two-tenths off of Dressel’s American record and just .02 off of Bryan Lundquist’s U.S. Open record from 2009. Andrew’s swim did establish a new meet record, breaking Dressel’s 23.05 from last summer’s meet.That is Andrew’s first major international roster spot for a long course meet, although he will still have to finish in the top 4 in an Olympic event later in the meet if he wants a spot on the Pan Pacs roster.

In third in the final was Chatham Dobbs (23.38), while fourth went to Giles Smith (23.64). In fifth was John Shebat (23.69), while Ryan Held (23.70) and Jack Saunderson (23.70) both tied for sixth. Rounding out the final was Tate Jackson (23.77).

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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