Ryan Murphy’s American Record Highlights Fast Third Night Of Finals At US Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships continues 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.

Ryan Murphy capped off the session with the sole American record of the night, also taking down the U.S. Open and Championship records en route to his second National title of the week. Michael Andrew, meanwhile, broke his own U.S. Open record in the 50 breast while also completing an impressive event triple during the finals session, while Caeleb Dressel put fears about his meet to rest with the fastest 100 fly in the world so far this year.

Check out all the biggest swims from the night in the live recap below!

Finals Heat Sheet – Day Three
Day Three Predictions
Official Psych Sheet

Day Three Finals:

  • Women’s 400 IM
  • Men’s 400 IM
  • Women’s 100 Fly
  • Men’s 100 Fly
  • Women’s 50 Breast
  • Men’s 50 Breast
  • Women’s 50 Back
  • Men’s 50 Back

Women’s 400 IM

Ally McHugh pulled off a major upset in the women’s 400 IM, blowing away the rest of the field with a monstrous final 100 meters to grab the title in 4:34.80. McHugh was sitting fifth through much of the race before turning it on in the second half and out-splitting the entire field on the freestyle leg. She was the only swimmer in the field under 30 seconds on her final 50 (29.86), and with her time will punch her ticket to Pan Pacs and move up to fourth in the world.

In second was Stanford’s Brooke Forde, who was in the lead at the 350 but couldn’t hold off McHugh. She finished in 4:35.09, which is still a four second drop from her previous lifetime best heading into Nationals that was from last summer.

In third was Melanie Margalis with a 4:35.50, who will likely qualify to swim the event at Pan Pacs with that finish, while defending national champion Leah Smith was fourth in 4:35.68 after leading in the early half of the race before falling back during the breaststroke leg.

The rest of the A-final was comprised of Evie Pfiefer (4:38.68), Kay Sargent (4:40.24), Allie Szekely (4:41.38), and Emma Weyant (4:43.54).

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Men’s 400 IM

Georgia went 1-2 in the men’s 400 IM, with the familiar duo of Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland grabbing the gold and silver respectively. Kalisz used his usual strong breaststroke leg to move up to first in the field by the 250 and never looked back, cruising into the wall in 4:08.25. That takes about 7-tenths off of his top ranked time in the world from earlier this year.

Litherland, for his part, knocked about three seconds off of his season best to finish in 4:10.21. That is less than a second off of his best time from last summer and faster than his second place swim that qualified him for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The rest of the field was unusually tight, with Cal’s Sean Grieshop (4:12.72) and Texas’ Sam Stewart (4:13.65) both recording new best times ahead of Stanford’s Abraham DeVine (4:13.77) and Michigan’s Charlie Swanson (4:14.01). DeVine took the race out hard, leading through the 200 mark before dropping back to sixth after the breaststroke. Rounding out the final was another Georgia swimmer, Gunnar Bentz (4:15.48), and Kieran Smith (4:18.18).

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Women’s 100 Fly

Louisville’s Kelsi Dahlia dropped .03 from her morning swim to grab the title in the 100 fly and officially book her ticket to Pan Pacs. Dahlia won the 50 fly (and also tied her American record) on the second night of the meet, but the 50’s of stroke are only used as qualifying events for next summer’s World Championships at this meet. Dahlia was actually third at the turn but used the fastest second 50 of anyone in the field to get her hands on the wall first.

In second with a huge swim was Cal’s Katie McLaughlin. She touched the wall in 57.51, a best time by 3-tenths and the first time she has been under 58-seconds since 2015. In third was Team Elite’s Kendyl Stewart in 57.70, which was also a huge best time for the swimmer. That dropped a tenth off of her season-best and moved her past her old best time of 57.82 from 2014. Joining the field under 58 seconds in fourth was Mallory Comerford (57.95).

Hellen Moffitt finished in fifth (58.15), while Veronica Burchill and Sarah Gibson tied for 6th in 58.59. Rounding out the final in 8th was Dakota Luther (58.91).

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Men’s 100 Fly

Caeleb Dressel put a lot of fears to rest with a dominating swim in the 100 fly. The Florida swimmer finished first in 50.50 to punch his ticket to Pan Pacs, less than three-tenths off of Michael Phelps U.S. Open and Nationals meet record of 50.22 from 2009. That is .37 faster than his winning time from Nationals last summer, and is the fastest that he has been outside of World Championships in his career. That also moves him into the #1 spot in the world for 2018 behind South Africa’s Chad le Clos.

In second was Texas’ Jack Conger in 51.11. That is slightly off his personal best of 51.00 from earlier this season but stands as the second fastest time in his career. Michael Andrew finished third in the first of three events for the day in 51.68. That is a best time by about 2-tenths for the 19-year-old, and should give him a spot on the Pan Pacs roster this summer. He previously earned a spot on the Worlds team for next summer after winning the 50 fly over Dressel last night.

Top seed Jack Saunderson was fourth in 51.88. That was about 4-tenths slower than his swim from this morning, but still may be good for a spot on the Pan Pacs team. Also under 52-seconds was 2016 Olympian Tom Shields (51.96), while 200 fly runner-up Zach Harting was sixth in 52.00. Finishing in seventh was 200 free champion Andrew Seliskar (52.24), while Matthew Josa was eighth (52.29).

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Women’s 50 Breast

Lilly King secured herself a spot on the 2019 Worlds team with a blistering swim in the 50 breast. King touched the wall first in 29.86, the only swimmer in the field under 30 seconds and just 4-tenths off of her world record from last summer. She was also about 2-tenths shy of her U.S. Open and meet records from last summer.

In second was Molly Hannis, who touched in 30.07, well ahead of third place finisher Katie Meili (30.72). That should be a nice confidence boost for Hannis, who has been very consistent this year and will be looking to earn a Pan Pacs spot in the 100 breast tomorrow night. In fourth was Jorie Caneta (30.86), while Lindsey Kozelsky and Breeja Larson tied for fifth in 30.87. Emily Weiss was seventh in 30.88, while Bethany Galat was eighth in 31.19.

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Men’s 50 Breast

Michael Andrew dropped .02 off his U.S. Open record from this morning to grab his second National title of the meet. Touching the wall in 26.84, Andrew blew away the rest of the field as the only swimmer under 27 seconds in the final and earned himself a second event swim at Worlds in 2019. Even more impressive, that swim came a little over 20 minutes after his third place finish in the 100 fly final earlier in the session.

In second was Devon Nowicki out of lane 6 in 27.17, which was .07 off his prelims swim. He was followed by short course American record holder Ian Finnerty (27.19) in third and American record holder Kevin Cordes in fourth (27.21).

Connor Hoppe (27.31), Nic Fink (27.49), Max McHugh (27.66), and Jacob Montague (27.80) rounded out the rest of the A-final.

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Women’s 50 Back

Georgia’s Olivia Smoliga earned herself a spot on the 2019 Worlds team with a win in the 50 back tonight. Smoliga was 27.70 in tonight’s final, which was a .24 drop from her prelims time. While her season best actually stands as the American record in the event (she was 27.43 at the TYR Pro Series in Mesa in April), this year is the first season she has been under 28 seconds in the event and her swim tonight is the second fastest of her career.

In second was top seed Ali DeLoof in 27.88. That was just a tenth slower than he top seeded time from the morning, which was a new personal best for the Michigan swimmer. Expect both Smoliga and DeLoof to be in the hunt to make the Pan Pacs team in tomorrow’s 100 backstroke. Just behind DeLoof in third was Elise Haan (27.90), while Cal’s Keaton Blovad finished fourth in 28.05.

Teenagers Katharine Berkoff and Isabelle Stadden tied for sixth in 28.13, while Alex Walsh (28.25) and Caroline Baldwin (28.26) finished seventh and eighth.

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Men’s 50 Back

Ryan Murphy shattered the American, U.S. Open, and Championships records in the 50 backstroke to grab his second National title of the meet. Touching the wall in 24.24, Murphy broke Randall Ball’s 2008 record of 24.33 by .09. Using an incredible start with a .48 reaction time, Murphy vaulted himself to #1 in the world and earned a spot in the event at the 2019 World Championships.

In second was NC State’s Justin Ress, who was also under Ball’s former American record with his second place time of 24.31. Ress will be one to watch for in the tomorrow’s 100 backstroke, which is the swimmer’s last chance for qualifying for Tokyo. In third was Ress’ teammate Ryan Held (24.60), while Michael Andrew completed his third finals swim of the night in fourth (24.62).

Backstroke veteran Matt Grevers was fifth in 24.63, while Daniel Carr (24.81), Chris Staka (25.13), and Bryce Mefford (25.44) rounded out the final.

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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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