Taylor Ruck, Cate Campbell Highlight First Night of Pan Pacific Swimming Championships

Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant

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The first finals session of the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships kicked off from Tokyo, Japan with some stellar swims from Taylor Ruck and Cate Campbell. Ruck stunned Katie Ledecky in the 200 free final while Campbell swam the fastest relay split ever to anchor Australia’s 4×100 mixed medley relay.

Chase Kalisz, Ledecky, Ruck and Yui Ohashi also posted the world’s number one times in their respective final events.

Women’s 800 Free

Katie Ledecky was out fast in her first final at the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo. Under world record pace. She was hanging on to that 8:04 pace by a thread until about the 600 mark when she slowly fell off that pace.

Ledecky ended up well off her world record with an 8:09.13 for a new meet record. That old record was the 8:11.35 she set in Australia in 2014.

Ledecky was off her number one time this year from her 8:07.27 from the Indianapolis Pro Swim Series, but it was enough for her to win her second straight Pan Pac title.

Australia’s Ariarne Titmus finished in the silver medal with a 8:17.07, just holding off American Leah Smith (8:17.21). Titmus and Smith are now third and fourth in the world rankings after Italy’s Simona Quadarella (8:16.45). Titmus’s time is also a new Australian record, lowering Jessica Ashwood’s 8:18.14 from 2016 Santa Clara Pro Swim Series.

The rest of the field was way back as Australia’s Kiah Melverton (8:25.64), Japan’s Waka Kobori (8:31.89), Canada’s Mackenzie Padington (8:34.49), Japan’s Yukimi Moriyama (8:41.44) and China’s Zhang Ke (8:44.17) also competed in tonight’s “A-Final.”

Notably from this morning, American Erica Sullivan posted her best time with an 8:26.27. Americans Haley Anderson (8:27.13) and Ashley Wall (8:29.36) also posted times in the top eight.

Australia’s Madeline Gough (8:27.28) placed seventh from her swim this morning.

World Rankings:

  1. Katie Ledecky, USA, 8:07.27
  2. Simona Quadarella, ITA, 8:16.45
  3. Ariarne Titmus, AUS, 8:17.07
  4. Leah Smith, USA, 8:17.21
  5. Wang Jianjiahe, CHN, 8:18.09
  6. Sarah Kohler, GER, 8:20.53
  7. Ajna Kesely, HUN, 8:22.01
  8. Haley Anderson, USA, 8:24.13

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Men’s 1500 Free

The United States has not been a historically great nation in the men’s 1500, but on the first night of the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo, the Americans had three swimmers break 14:50 in the men’s 1500. Jordan Wilimovsky won the battle of attrition with fellow American Robert Finke and pre-race favorite Jack McLoughlin of Australia.

Wilimovsky grinded his way to a gold medal at 14:46.93. Finke finished in second in the final with a 14:48.70, but it was not fast enough to surpass Zane Grothe, who swam a 14:48.40 in the earlier heats. Grothe will end up with the silver medal and McLoughlin (14:55.92) will get the bronze medal. It is the first time Grothe has broken 15 minutes in the event.

This is the first time in quite a while that the United States had three swimmers break 14:50 in the men’s 1500. It is the first time since 2008 when Peter Vanderkaay (14:45.54), Larsen Jensen (14:48.16) and Erik Vendt (14:46.78) were the stars of distance swimming.

Wilimovsky moved up to fourth in the world rankings with his time as Germany’s Florian Wellbrock is still on top with his 14:36.15 from European Championships earlier this week.

Grothe is now sixth in the world rankings while Finke is eighth.

Brazil’s Guilherme Costa (15:03.40), Japan’s Shogo Takeda (15:05.81), Canada’s Eric Hedlin (15:07.18), Japan’s Kohei Yamamota (15:18.71) and Canada’s Peter Brothers (15:41.63) also competed in the night heat.

American Michael Brinegar was also faster this morning with his 15:07.04 in the earlier heats.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Florian Wellbrock, GER, 14:36.15
  2. Mykhailo Romanchuk, UKR, 14:36.88
  3. Gregorio Paltrinieri, ITA, 14:42.85
  4. Jordan Wilimovsky, USA, 14:46.93
  5. Jack McLoughlin, AUS, 14:47.09
  6. Zane Grothe, USA, 14:48.40
  7. Daniel Jervis, GBR, 14:48.67
  8. Robert Finke, USA, 14:48.70

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Women’s 100 Breast

Lilly King got her Pan Pacific Swimming Championships off to a good start with her 1:05.44 in the 100 breast final. King was well off her 1:04.13 world record from last summer but it was still good enough for gold.

King went faster at Nationals a few weeks ago with her 1:05.36 as she is still second in the world rankings behind Russia’s Yulia Efimova (1:04.98). King finished ahead of a charging Australian in Jessica Hansen (1:06.20) and Japan’s Reona Aoki (1:06.34).

This was a relatively slow final with King, Aoki and Micah Sumrall going slower than their in-season bests. Australia’s Hansen improved on her best and moved up to sixth in the world rankings for 2018.

The other American in the final was Sumrall, who finished in fifth at 1:06.56. Sumrall beat out Bethany Galat and Katie Meili in the heats but it appears Meili will get the second World Championship spot thanks to her 1:06.19 at US Nationals. Galat won the B-Final with a 1:06.41 ahead of Meili’s 1:06.86.

Japan’s Satomi Suzuki (1:06.51), Argentina’s Julia Sebastian (1:07.69), Canada’s Kelsey Wog (1:07.91) and Argentina’s Macarena Ceballos (1:08.38) also competed in the A-Final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Yulia Efimova, RUS, 1:04.98
  2. Lilly King, USA, 1:05.36
  3. Molly Hannis, USA, 1:05.78
  4. Reona Aoki, JPN, 1:05.90
  5. Katie Meili, USA, 1:06.19
  6. Jessica Hansen, AUS, 1:06.20
  7. Ruta Meilutyte, LTU, 1:06.26
  8. Micah Sumrall, USA, 1:06.34


Men’s 100 Breast

The Americans had been on fire in the pool to start the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo, taking out the first three gold medals available. But Japan has a rich history in the men’s breaststroke events, and it was Yasuhiro Koseki who won Japan’s first gold medal at the 2018 Pan Pacs with his 100 breast swim.

Koseki took the lead early and held on with a 59.08. Koseki successfully defended his Pan Pac title as he won four years ago in Australia. He was also off the meet record of 59.04 by Japanese legend Kosuke Kitajima. Koseki was faster this year with his 58.78 from the Mare Nostrum as he is still third in the world rankings.

In a stunning race, Australia’s Jake Packard finished in the silver medal with his 59.20, tying him for seventh in the world rankings. Brazil’s Joao Gomes (59.60) finished in the bronze medal, leaving the Americans Andrew Wilson (59.70) and Michael Andrew (1:00.04) off the podium in fourth and seventh.

China’s Wang Lizhuo (59.76), Australia’s Matthew Wilson (59.83) and Canada’s Richard Funk (1:00.62) also competed in the A-Final.

Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook (1:00.20) won the B-Final ahead of Japan’s Ippei Watanabe (1:00.49) and American Josh Prenot (1:00.63).

Andrew and Wilson will retain their spots for the World Championships next year with their times from US Nationals.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Adam Peaty, GBR, 57.10
  2. James Wilby, GBR, 58.64
  3. Yasuhiro Koseki, JPN, 58.78
  4. Anton Chupkov, RUS, 59.06
  5. Arno Kamminga, NED, 59.14
  6. Andrew Wilson, USA, 59.19
  7. Jake Packard, AUS, 59.20
  8. Kirill Prigoda, RUS, 59.20

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Women’s 200 Free

Canadian teenage sensation Taylor Ruck has been on a huge high in 2018. She won the Commonwealth Games gold in the 200 free in April with her 1:54.81 in Australia, and she just took down perhaps the greatest swimmer ever in Katie Ledecky in the 200 free on the first night of the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo. Ruck, just 18, had the second fastest time in the world behind the seemingly invincible Ledecky.

Ledecky got her Pan Pacs started with a win in the 800 free. She was off her best time but she still was on form and it was looking unlikely she would be challenged this week. Last year’s defeat at the World Championships seemed to be a fluke.

Ruck went out fast in the 200 free with Ledecky right with her, but the future Stanford Cardinal held her own and actually pulled away a bit from the Olympic Champion on the last 50.

Ruck won the gold medal with a 1:54.44 for a new meet record. Ledecky set that meet record this morning with a 1:55.16. Ledecky ended up fading to bronze with Japan’s Rikako Ikee finishing in second at 1:54.85. Ledecky finished in third at 1:55.15.

Ruck and Ikee both broke their national records, with Ruck lowering her 1:54.81 and Ikee lowering her own 1:55.04 from earlier this year.

Ruck now has the world’s fastest time with her 1:54.44. She moved ahead of Ledecky’s 1:54.56 from Santa Clara as Ikee is now tied for third with Australian Ariarne Titmus.

Ruck is also now fifth all-time in the 200 free with Ikee now tied for eleventh.

Allison Schmitt (1:56.71), Kayla Sanchez (1:57.23), Mikkayla Sheridan (1:57.48), Chihiro Igarashi (1:57.83) and Brianna Throssell (1:59.26) also competed in the A-Final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Taylor Ruck, CAN, 1:54.44
  2. Katie Ledecky, USA, 1:54.56
  3. Ariarne Titmus, AUS, 1:54.85
  4. Rikako Ikee, JPN, 1:54.85
  5. Charlotte Bonnet, FRA, 1:54.95
  6. Allison Schmitt, USA, 1:55.82
  7. Veronika Popova, RUS, 1:56.07
  8. Femke Heemskerk, NED, 1:56.11

All-Time Rankings:

  1. Federica Pellegrini, ITA, 1:52.98 (2009)
  2. Allison Schmitt, USA, 1:53.61 (2012)
  3. Katie Ledecky, USA, 1:53.73 (2016)
  4. Sarah Sjostrom, SWE, 1:54.08 (2016)
  5. Taylor Ruck, CAN, 1:54.44 (2018)
  6. Camille Muffat, FRA, 1:54.66 (2012)
  7. Femke Heemskerk, NED, 1:54.68 (2015)
  8. Missy Franklin, USA, 1:54.81 (2013)

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Men’s 200 Free

Americans Townley Haas and Andrew Seliskar had two completely different race strategies in the 200 free final on Thursday night in Tokyo at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. Haas was out quick while Seliskar held back the first 100. Seliskar pulled even at the 150 and even had the lead over the last 25 but Haas used a final burst of speed the last 15 meters and won the gold with a 1:45.56. Seliskar was second at 1:45.74.

Haas is now tied for third in the world rankings with Australia’s Kyle Chalmers from the Commonwealth Games as he did not make it to the final here in Japan.

Seliskar was slightly slower than he was at US Nationals (1:45.70) so he will stay in fifth in the world rankings. Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto finished in third at 1:45.92.

Seliskar and Haas will likely swim the 200 free individually at Worlds next year with their swims at this meet.

Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer was in second with a 50 to go but faded to fourth with a 1:46.12.

Australia’s Alexander Graham (1:46.50), Japan’s Naito Ehara (1:46.90), Australia’s Clyde Lewis (1:46.94) and Brazil’s Luiz Melo (1:47.43) also competed in the final.

Blake Pieroni (1:46.68) won the B-Final ahead of Zach Apple (1:46.78) and Australian Mack Horton (1:47.90).

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Danas Rapsys, LTU, 1:45.12
  2. Duncan Scott, GBR, 1:45.34
  3. Townley Haas, USA, 1:45.56
  4. Kyle Chalmers, AUS, 1:45.56
  5. Andrew Seliskar, USA, 1:45.70
  6. Mack Horton, AUS, 1:45.89
  7. Katsuhiro Matsumoto, JPN, 1:45.92
  8. Blake Pieroni, USA, 1:45.93

Photo Courtesy:

Women’s 400 IM

Japan’s Yui Ohashi, swimming in her home country, swam the fastest time of 2018 on Thursday night in Tokyo in the 400 IM. Ohashi opened her Pan Pacs with a 4:33.77, moving past Italy’s Ilaria Cusinato in the world rankings as the Italian was a 4:34.65 earlier in the summer.

Ohashi held off a charging Melanie Margalis for the gold as the American settled for silver at 4:35.60, splitting a 1:01 her last 100 compared to Ohashi’s 1:04. Margalis was a tenth faster at US Nationals a couple weeks ago.

Margalis’s swim was not enough for a World Championship berth as she was slightly slower than Ally McHugh and Brooke Forde from the US Nationals. Forde finished fourth here in Tokyo with a 4:39.22.

Japan’s Sakiko Shimizu finished with the bronze with a 4:36.27, after being in silver medal position for the majority of the race.

Canada’s Emily Overholdt (4:39.48), Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson (4:40.22), China’s Ye Huiyan (4:52.40) and the Philippines’ Chloe Isleta (4:58.81) also competed in the final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Yui Ohashi, JPN, 4:33.77
  2. Ilaria Cusinato, ITA, 4:34.65
  3. Fantine Lesaffre, FRA, 4:34.71
  4. Ally McHugh, USA, 4:34.80
  5. Aimee Willmott, GBR, 4:34.90
  6. Brooke Forde, USA, 4:35.09
  7. Hannah Miley, GBR, 4:35.16
  8. Melanie Margalis, USA, 4:35.50


Men’s 400 IM

In one of the most hyped races of the meet, the last three major 400 IM winners met in the pool in Tokyo on Thursday night at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. 2015 World Champion Daiya Seto, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Hagino and 2017 World Champion Chase Kalisz were all looking to win the gold medal in the 400 IM to open up the Pan Pacs in Tokyo.

The Japanese crowd was really pulling for Seto and Hagino, who took it out hard thanks to the energy of the crowd, but could not compete with Kalisz’s incredible 1:08 breaststroke leg.

Kalisz swam a 4:07.95 to take the gold medal and the world’s number one time. Kalisz pulled away from the two Japanese swimmers as Hagino took silver in 4:11.13 while Seto faded badly for bronze at 4:12.60, almost getting caught by American Jay Litherland (4:12.87).

Seto and Hagino really took advantage of the crowd excitement, turning in first at the 200, but really seemed to hurt over the second 200, as Kalisz really showed himself on the last 200.

All three have been faster in their careers, and both Japanese swimmers have been faster this year. Even the other American Litherland has been faster this year. It was an exciting race, but it was not quite as quick as a lot of people probably expected.

New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt (4:14.27), Brazil’s Brandonn Almeida (4:14.53), Leonardo Santos (4:18.90) and Canada’s Tristan Cote (4:21.72) also competed in the final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Chase Kalisz, USA, 4:07.95
  2. Daiya Seto, JPN, 4:08.98
  3. Jay Litherland, USA, 4:10.21
  4. Kosuke Hagino, JPN, 4:10.69
  5. David Verraszto, HUN, 4:11.98
  6. Sean Grieshop, USA, 4:12.72
  7. Clyde Lewis, AUS, 4:13.12
  8. Sam Stewart, USA, 4:13.65


Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay

Australia used a great anchor leg from Cate Campbell to get its first gold medal of the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. The split from Campbell of 50.93 is the fastest all-time, becoming the first woman to break 51 in a relay. The team of Mitch Larkin (53.08), Jake Packard (58.68), Emma McKeon (56.22) and Campbell (50.93) won the 4×100 mixed medley relay with a 3:38.91. Japan was second (3:40.98) and the United States was third (3:41.74).

Australia was less than a second off the United States’ world record from 2017 of 3:38.56, but will have the world’s fastest time, beating out Great Britain’s 3:40.18 from the European Championships.

Japan was second with Ryosuke Irie (52.83), Yasuhiro Koseki (58.57), Rikako Ikee (55.53) and Tomomi Aoki (54.05) swimming for them.

The United States did not put two male swimmers on the first 200 and never quite fully recovered. Kathleen Baker (59.29), Michael Andrew (59.21), Caeleb Dressel (50.50) and Simone Manuel (52.74) could not catch the Australians and Japanese over the last 200.