Team USA Wins Seven Gold Medals To Close 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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The final session of the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo had ten medal events. Seven of the gold medals went to Team USA while two went to Australia and one to Japan.

Katie LedeckyZane GrotheKathleen BakerRyan MurphyMichael Andrew and Micah Sumrall won individual gold medals for the United States. Cate Campbell won gold for Australia while Ippei Watanabe won gold for Japan.


Women’s 1500 Free

American superstar Katie Ledecky finished off her busy week in Tokyo at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships with three gold medals, capping her week off with a gold in the 1500 final. Ledecky was well off her world record from earlier this year with a 15:38.97. She set the world record earlier this season with a 15:20.43 at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis.

Ledecky is still the best distance swimmer in the world, despite not being pushed by Australian Ariarne Titmus, who did not swim in the 1500 here in Tokyo. Ledecky will have plenty of time to get back to work to get back to her usual self by next summer.

Ledecky was well ahead of second place Kiah Melverton of Australia. No Titmus in the 1500 gave the opportunity to Melverton and Kareena Lee to fight for medals. Melverton got the silver with a 16:00.08 and Lee finished in fourth at 16:03.26. Both of the Australians were off their season best times from a few weeks ago at their Pan Pac Trials.

The other American on the podium was Leah Smith, who swam in the earlier heats. Smith got the bronze medal at 16:00.82 after finishing ahead of Haley Anderson (16:04.26) in her heat, and Ashley Twichell (16:07.49) in the final tonight.

Japan’s Waka Kobori (16:14.22) finished fifth overall. China’s Zhang Ke (16:18.55), Japan’s Yukimi Moriyama (16:20.46) and Canada’s Kate Sanderson (16:33.16) also finished in the top eight.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Katie Ledecky, USA, 15:20.48
  2. Simona Quadarella, ITA, 15:51.61
  3. Wang Jianjiahe, CHN, 15:53.01
  4. Ashley Twichell, USA, 15:55.68
  5. Sarah Kohler, GER, 15:57.85
  6. Li Bingjie, CHN, 15:58.29
  7. Kiah Melverton, AUS, 15:59.92
  8. Kareena Lee, AUS, 16:00.14

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Men’s 800 Free

American Zane Grothe has had himself quite a week in Tokyo at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. Grothe set a huge best time in the 1500 on the first day, won bronze in the 400 free yesterday, and followed it up with another best time in the 800 on Sunday.

Grothe swam a 7:43.74 to win the 800 free, lowering his best time from a 7:44.57. He also just missed the American Record of 7:43.60 from Michael McBroom at the 2013 World Championships. Grothe had a big second half, negative splitting the race by almost four seconds. Grothe finished ahead of American teammate Jordan Wilimovsky (7:45.19) and Australia’s Jack McLoughlin (7:47.31).

Grothe is now ranked second in the world in the 800 free, almost a rarity for American men’s distance swimming. Grothe’s time would have won silver at the European Championships last week, sitting only behind Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk (7:42.96).

Grothe also sits 12th in the all-time rankings in this event, sitting behind McBroom and moving in front of Italian Federico Colbertaldo (7:43.84, 2009).

Australia’s Mack Horton finished in fifth as he was never really on pace to challenge Grothe. Horton was fourth with a 7:53.43. Brazil’s Guilherme Costa was fourth at 7:51.67.

Japan’s Naito Ehara (7:55.02) and Shogo Takeda (7:56.01) finished in sixth and seventh.Canada’s Alex Pratt (8:03.12) was eighth.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Mykhailo Romanchuk, UKR, 7:42.96
  2. Zane Grothe, USA, 7:43.74
  3. Gregorio Paltrinieri, ITA, 7:45.12
  4. Jordan Wilimovsky, USA, 7:45.19
  5. Florian Wellbrock, GER, 7:45.60
  6. Henrik Christiansen, NOR, 7:46.75
  7. Jack McLoughlin, AUS, 7:47.31
  8. Jan Micka, CZE, 7:49.73

All-Time Rankings:

9. Ryan Cochrane, CAN, 7:41.86 (2011)
10. Mykhailo Romanchuk, UKR, 7:42.96 (2018)
11. Michael McBroom, USA, 7:43.60 (2013)
12. Zane Grothe, USA, 7:43.74 (2018)
Federico Colbertaldo, ITA, 7:43.84 (2009)
14. Mack Horton, AUS, 7:44.02 (2015)
15. Henrik Christiansen, NOR, 7:44.21 (2017)


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Women’s 200 Back

The United States has won its third straight gold medal on the last night of the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo. Kathleen Baker took the 200 back final out hard and she never relinquished her lead. She was swimming against four other swimmers that joined her in the World Championship final last summer in Budapest and she showed no fear and dominated the rest of the field for the gold medal.

Baker won the final at 2:06.14, breaking Elizabeth Pelton‘s meet record of 2:07.48 from 2010. Baker held off a late push from Canada’s Taylor Ruck, who finished with the silver at 2:06.41, out-touching Regan Smith for bronze. Smith was third at 2:06.46, slightly off her 2:06.43 from Nationals.

Baker is now second in the world sitting behind Canada’s Kylie Masse’s 2:05.98 from the Commonwealth Games. Baker is now tenth all-time in the event, moving past Elizabeth Beisel (2:06.18, 2012) and sitting just behind Margaret Hoelzer (2:06.09, 2008).

Masse was slower in Tokyo with her 2:07.00 as she finished in fourth. The Australian duo of Kaylee McKeown (2:07.01) and Emily Seebohm (2:07.12) ran out of gas as they finished fifth and sixth in the stacked final.

Japan’s Natsumi Sakai (2:08.18) and New Zealand’s Ali Galyer (2:10.26) also competed in the final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Kylie Masse, CAN, 2:05.98
  2. Kathleen Baker, USA, 2:06.14
  3. Margherita Panziera, ITA, 2:06.18
  4. Taylor Ruck, CAN 2:06.36
  5. Regan Smith, USA, 2:06.43
  6. Emily Seebohm, AUS, 2:06.82
  7. Kaylee McKeown, AUS, 2:07.01
  8. Daria Ustinova, RUS, 2:07.12

All-Time Rankings:

7. Maya DiRado, USA, 2:05.99 (2016)
8. Belinda Hocking, AUS, 2:06.06 (2011)
9. Margaret Hoelzer, USA, 2:06.09 (2008)
10. Kathleen Baker, USA, 2:06.14 (2018)
11. Elizabeth Beisel, USA, 2:06.18 (2012)
11. Margherita Panziera, ITA, 2:06.18 (2018)
13. Elizabeth Pelton, USA, 2:06.29 (2013)


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Men’s 200 Back

American Ryan Murphy has been on point this week in Tokyo at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. Murphy was just off his best time in the 100 back earlier in the meet, and on Sunday night he took a stab at Aaron Peirsol’s legendary world record from the 2009 Worlds. Peirsol set the almost unbreakable time at 1:51.92 before he retired a year later. Peirsol is one of only three swimmers to break 1:53 in that event and Murphy almost joined him in the club.

Murphy was under world record pace through 100 meters and was within a second at the third turn. But the piano fell on Murphy’s back the last 50, and he faded off pace. But Murphy still swam a best time with his 1:53.57. Murphy improved on his 1:53.62 that he did to win the Olympics two years ago. His time is a new meet record, breaking his time from the prelims.

Murphy’s time puts him second in the world rankings behind Evgeny Rylov of Russia, the 2017 World Champion.

Murphy was well in front of the rest of the field as he finished ahead of home favorite Ryosuke Irie at 1:55.12. Irie is one of the three swimmers who have broken 1:53 in their lifetime. Irie is still consistently one of the best backstrokers in the world at 28-years-old.

American Austin Katz finished with the bronze medal at 1:56.00, but it was not fast enough to surpass Jacob Pebley’s time from Nationals (1:55.68) to get on the World Championship team. Pebley won the B-Final with a 1:57.12.

Australia’s Mitch Larkin (1:56.02) finished just outside the medals in fourth place.

Japan’s Keita Sunama (1:57.03), Australia’s Bradley Woodward (1:58.00), Canada’s Javier Acevedo (1:58.36) and Brazil’s Leonardo De Deus (2:01.56) also swam in the championship final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Evgeny Rylov, RUS, 1:53.36
  2. Ryan Murphy, USA, 1:53.57
  3. Ryosuke Irie, JPN, 1:55.12
  4. Mitch Larkin, AUS, 1:55.40
  5. Xu Jiayu, CHN, 1:55.43
  6. Jacob Pebley, USA, 1:55.68
  7. Austin Katz, USA, 1:55.69
  8. Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS, 1:55.83

All-Time Rankings:

  1. Aaron Peirsol, USA, 1:51.92 (2009)
  2. Ryosuke Irie, JPN, 1:52.51 (2009)
  3. Ryan Lochte, USA, 1:52.86 (2011)
  4. Mitch Larkin, AUS, 1:53.17 (2015)
  5. Evgeny Rylov, RUS, 1:53.36 (2018)
  6. Tyler Clary, USA, 1:53.41 (2012)
  7. Ryan Murphy, USA, 1:53.57 (2018)
  8. Xu Jiayu, CHN, 1:54.03 (2017)

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Women’s 50 Free

There have been a number of near-misses in terms of world records this week at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo. Australia’s Cate Campbell followed suit with that trend as she rattled the world record in the 50 free on Sunday night in Japan. The 26-year-old swam a 23.81 for a new meet record, breaking her old record of 23.96 from the 2014 Championships in Australia.

Campbell was just off the world record set by Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden at last year’s World Championships. Campbell is fourth all-time in the world rankings with her time from the Commonwealth Games at 23.78. Campbell is second in the world rankings for 2018.

Campbell finished ahead of American Simone Manuel (24.22) and fellow Aussie Emma McKeon (24.34).

Canada’s Taylor Ruck is one of the busiest swimmers in the meet as she finished fourth in her second race of the night at 24.47. Ruck will be swimming the anchor leg on Canada’s medley relay at the end of the session for her third race of the night.

The other American in the field was Abbey Weitzeil who finished fifth at 24.58. Weitzeil swam faster than she did at Nationals (24.63) and secured her spot on the World Championship team for next season with that swim.

Japan’s Rikako Ikee (24.60), Canada’s Kayla Sanchez (24.94) and Brazil’s Larissa Oliveira (25.03) also swam in the championship final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, SWE, 23.74
  2. Pernille Blume, DEN, 23.75
  3. Cate Campbell, AUS, 23.78
  4. Simone Manuel, USA, 24.10
  5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, NED, 24.21
  6. Mariia Kameneva, RUS, 24.21
  7. Bronte Campbell, AUS, 24.22
  8. Taylor Ruck, CAN, 24.26

All-Time Rankings:

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, SWE, 23.67 (2017)
  2. Britta Steffen, GER, 23.73 (2009)
  3. Pernille Blume, DEN, 23.75 (2018)
  4. Cate Campbell, AUS, 23.78 (2018)
  5. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, NED, 23.85 (2017)
  6. Therese Alshammar, SWE, 23.88 (2009)
  7. Marleen Veldhuis, NED, 23.96 (2009)
  8. Fran Halsall, GBR, 23.96 (2014)

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Men’s 50 Free

19-year-old Michael Andrew of the United States won his first individual medal at a major long course international meet with his 21.46 in the 50 free final on the last night of action from the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo. Andrew has proved he is the real deal in long course at US Nationals and again at Pan Pacs with this 50 free gold. Andrew led a 1-2 finish with fellow American Caeleb Dressel (21.93).

This is Andrew’s best time as he improved off his 21.49 from Nationals in July. Andrew is now tied for 24th all-time with Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov.

Dressel was well off his best time of 21.17 from last year, but if he can get to his 2017 form then the United States has a solid 1-2 punch in the 50 free that they can build on for the rest of the Olympic quad cycle. Andrew still has a ways to go to catch Great Britain’s Ben Proud (21.11), the world’s fastest swimmer.

The Americans were the only ones to break 22 in the final as Yuri Kisil (22.02) won the bronze medal for Team Canada. This is Kisil’s first individual medal at a major meet.

Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura (22.24) and Shinri Shioura (22.27) finished fourth and fifth for the home nation.

Brazil’s Pedro Spajari (22.30) and Marcelo Chierighini (22.50) placed sixth and eighth as they will get a chance to hear their national anthem tonight for the 4×100 free relay gold they won last night.

New Zealand’s Daniel Hunter (22.39) was seventh in the final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Ben Proud, GBR, 21.11
  2. Bruno Fratus, BRA, 21.35
  3. Kristian Gkolomeev, GRE, 21.44
  4. Vladimir Morozov, RUS, 21.44
  5. Pawel Juraszek, POL, 21.45
  6. Michael Andrew, USA, 21.46
  7. Caeleb Dressel, USA, 21.67
  8. Simonas Bilis, LTU, 21.70
  9. Andrea Vergani, ITA, 21.70

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Women’s 200 Breast

The Americans are on fire in the pool at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo. The last night of action has been a favorable one for the Americans as they have taken every single gold medal except one thus far in the session. 28-year-old Micah Sumrall continued that streak with a gold in the 200 breaststroke, leading a 1-2 finish with fellow American Lilly King.

Sumrall won with a 2:21.88, holding off a late push from King who was second at 2:22.12. Both swimmers have been 2:21’s in their careers, but Sumrall’s best time of 2:21.74 from the 2013 Worlds is within her grasp which is good news for her and the American breaststrokers. The United States now has three women who have 2:21’s as their best time with Sumrall, King and Bethany Galat. Galat won the B-Final in 2:24.18, not good enough to get on the World Championships team.

Sumrall and King also had a good race with Japan’s Satomi Suzuki, who is on a similar trajectory like Sumrall. Suzuki was the silver medalist in this event at the 2012 Olympics in London, a race that Sumrall was sixth in. Suzuki, 27, is still swimming at a world class level, despite missing the 2016 Olympic Team.

Japan’s Reona Aoki (2:24.46) finished in fourth for the home nation.

Canada’s Sydney Pickrem and Kelsey Wog (2:24.73) tied for fifth place.

Argentina’s Julia Sebastian (2:25.55) and Macarena Ceballos (2:29.51) placed seventh and eighth.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Yulia Efimova, RUS, 2:20.72
  2. Reona Aoki, JPN, 2:21.85
  3. Micah Sumrall, USA, 2:21.88
  4. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA, 2:22.02
  5. Lilly King, USA, 2:22.12
  6. Satomi Suzuki, JPN, 2:22.22
  7. Kanako Watanabe, JPN, 2:22.88
  8. Jessica Vall, ESP, 2:23.02

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Men’s 200 Breast

Japan has been one of the historic powerhouses in the 200 breast, and on Sunday night in Tokyo at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Japan continued that dominance with a gold from world record holder Ippei Watanabe. He missed his world record, but was still quick enough for gold at 2:07.75, breaking the meet record that Josh Prenot set in the heats at 2:08.02.

Watanabe held off a serious challenge from the Australian duo of Zac Stubblety-Cook (2:07.89) and Matthew Wilson (2:08.22). Wilson was leading through 150 meters and Stubblety-Cook split a 32.14 over the last 50. Stubblety-Cook had a huge time drop, moving up to tied for 19th all-time with Australian legend Brenton Rickard from 2009.

It was a very tight battle as Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki (2:08.25) and American Josh Prenot (2:08.44) finished off the podium in the very tight final.

Koseki will be swimming breaststroke for Japan on their medley relay in a few minutes as he is the only one to do the double. American Andrew Wilson scratched the final here to focus on being his best for the medley relay.

China’s Wang Lizhuo (2:11.49), Liu Yunsong (2:12.27) and Canada’s Eli Wall (2:13.56) also swam in the championship final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Anton Chupkov, RUS, 2:06.80
  2. Josh Prenot, USA, 2:07.28
  3. Ippei Watanabe, JPN, 2:07.56
  4. Zac Stubblety-Cook, AUS, 2:07.89
  5. James Wilby, GBR, 2:08.05
  6. Matthew Wilson, AUS, 2:08.22
  7. Yasuhiro Koseki, JPN, 2:08.25
  8. Ross Murdoch, GBR, 2:08.32
  9. Kirill Prigoda, RUS, 2:08.32

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Women’s 4×100 Medley Relay

Australia has swept the women’s relays at the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo with their final gold in the 4×100 medley relay. The team of Emily Seebohm (59.28), Jessica Hansen (1:05.82), Emma McKeon (56.45) and Cate Campbell (51.19) won their third relay gold with a 3:52.74 to smash the meet record of 3:55.23 from the 2010 Championships in Irvine. That record was held by the Americans.

The Americans finished second in a valiant effort at 3:53.21. Kathleen Baker (59.41), Lilly King (1:04.86), Kelsi Dahlia (56.72) and Simone Manuel (52.22) closed their Pan Pacs with a silver medal in the medley relay, their third silver in the women’s relays, despite breaking the world record last year.

Both Australia and Team USA finished ahead of Russia’s winning time from the European Championships.

The Japanese broke their national record with a 3:55.03 for the bronze medal. Natsumi Sakai (59.20), Reona Aoki (1:06.84), Rikako Ikee (55.48) and Tomomi Aoki (53.51) broke the 2012 national record of 3:55.73 from the London Olympics six years ago.

Japan held off a strong push from Canada as Taylor Ruck was charging home in 51.72. Canada finished in fourth at 3:55.14 while the Philippines was fifth at 4:22.18.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Australia, 3:52.74
  2. United States, 3:53.21
  3. Russia, 3:54.22
  4. Japan, 3:55.03
  5. Canada, 3:55.10
  6. Denmark, 3:56.69
  7. Great Britain, 3:56.91
  8. Italy, 3:57.00

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Men’s 4×100 Medley Relay

The United States finished their 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Tokyo on a high note as Nathan Adrian chased down Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura on the anchor leg of the 4×100 medley relay. Adrian came home to give the United States the gold with a 3:30.20, out-touching Japan who got silver at 3:30.25. Australia was not far behind for bronze at 3:30.52.

Ryan Murphy (52.70), Andrew Wilson (59.15), Caeleb Dressel (50.64) and Adrian (47.71) closed their Pan Pacs campaign with the second gold medal for the American men in relays. They would have won all three if it were not for a disqualification in the 4×100 free relay last night.

Ryosuke Irie (52.61), Yasuhiro Koseki (58.62), Yuki Kobori (51.19) and Nakamura (47.83) finished in second, not far off their Japanese record of 3:30.19 from last year’s World Championships. Koseki had an impressive split just minutes after the 200 breast final. Irie also chased down Murphy on his leg, after both swimmers swam the 200 back earlier in the night.

Both the United States and Japan finished ahead of Great Britain’s winning time from the European Championships.

Australia won the bronze medal with Mitch Larkin (53.18), Jake Packard (59.03), Grant Irvine (51.40) and Kyle Chalmers (46.91) swimming for them.

Brazil (3:32.16), Canada (3:34.20) and the Philippines (3:58.76) also swam in the final.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. United States, 3:30.20
  2. Japan, 3:30.25
  3. Great Britain, 3:30.44
  4. Australia, 3:30.52
  5. Russia, 3:32.03
  6. Brazil, 3:32.16
  7. Germany, 3:33.52
  8. Lithuania, 3:33.70

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  1. avatar

    Where did the announcer get his information from? He was announcing the wrong names on the relays.

    • avatar

      He was reading off the 4 x 100 free relay names