Three More U.S. Open Records Fall On Final Night Of 2018 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.

The last night of finals featured three more U.S. Open records and plenty of fast swimming to close out the qualifying meet for the next two years of U.S. international teams. Kathleen Baker got the record breaking evening off to a good start with her win and new U.S. Open record in the 200 IM before Zane Grothe and Simone Manuel added records of their own in the 800 and 50 freestyles.

Check out all of the recaps from the last day of finals below!

Day Five Results
Day Five Predictions
Official Psych Sheet

Day Three Finals:

  • Women’s 1500 Free
  • Women’s 200 IM
  • Men’s 200 IM
  • Men’s 800 Free
  • Women’s 50 Free
  • Men’s 50 Free

Women’s 1500 Free

Ashley Twichell of Trojan Swim Club had a commanding swim in the mile to kick off the last night of finals in Irvine, dropping more than 10 seconds from her previous best to win the event in 15:55.68. That is a 13 second drop from her best time of 16:08.70 from the TYR Pro Series in Atlanta earlier this year and moves the 29-year-old from tenth to third overall in the world rankings for 2018.

In second was 400 IM champion Ally McHugh out of Penn State, swimming another gutsy race to run down top seed Erica Sullivan over the last 50 and grab second in 16:02.56. That is a 14 second personal best for McHugh, who had had a monster meet this week in Irvine. Sullivan was third in 16:02.88.

In fourth was Haley Anderson in 16:04.81, which was a six second drop and her third lifetime best in a distance event at this meet. The top 4 had a good separation from the rest of the pack, with Hannah Moore finishing in fifth (16:12.24) followed by Megan Byrnes (16:18.55) and 15-year-old Mariah Denigan in seventh, who was the fastest out of the morning heats with a 16:19.29. Chase Travis (16:21.66) rounded out the top 8.

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Women’s 200 IM

Newly minted world record holder Kathleen Baker had a lights out swim in the 200 IM to close her meet tonight, setting new a U.S. Open and championship record in the event en route to a dominant win. Baker led from start to finish, recording a time of 2:08.32 that bested the field by more than a second and cut three seconds off of her previous best time of 2:11.58 from the Mare Nostrum tour this year. That time also makes Baker the fastest 200 IMer in the world so far for 2018.

In second was Melanie Margalis with a 2:09.43, who punched her ticket to Pan Pacs in her last available event. Third was Ella Eastin, who has been battling mono but still managed to post a 2:10.84, only 3-tenths off of her lifetime best. Eastin will have to wait and see how the rest of finals shakes out to find out if it will earn her a spot on the Pan Pacs team.

Second seed Evie Pfeifer was fourth in 2:11.53, followed by Megan Small (2:11.65), Alex Walsh (2:12.36), Brooke Forde (2:12.80), and Emma Barksdale (2:13.62).

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Men’s 200 IM

Chase Kalisz added a second National title in the 200 IM, winning in a lightning fast 1:55.73. That is just two tenths off of Kalisz’s lifetime best from last summer, and will move him up to #1 in the world rankings for the event in 2018.

In second was Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine in 1:57.41, which was just a tick off his best of 1:56.79 from last summer’s meet. Regardless, that swim should put DeVine on the Pan Pacs roster. Tied for third was Gunnar Bentz and 200 free champion Andrew Seliskar in 1:58.23. Bentz has not yet earned a spot on the Pan Pacs team, and depending on how the rest of finals shakes out may have him on the bubble for the team.

In fifth was Cal Bear Josh Prenot (1:58.57), followed by Jay Litherland (1:59.11) and Jon Shebat and Sam Stewart, who tied for seventh in 1:59.45.

Notably, Carson Foster bettered his 15-16 NAG record in the 200 IM from this morning, dropping another 3-tenths to finish second to Will Licon in 1:59.45.

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Men’s 800 Free

Zane Grothe captured his second National title of the meet with a new U.S. Open record of 7:44.57. That breaks Connor Jaeger’s 2013 record by more than two seconds, and is the first time that Grothe has been under 7:50 in this event. That time also puts him at #1 in the world for 2018. Grothe was actually under American record pace for much of the race, but ended up less than a second short of Michael McBroom’s 2013 record.

In second was 2016 Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky in 7:47.51, which moves him up to fourth in the world rankings and is a best time by more than 10 seconds. Wilimovsky looked like he may be able to reel in Grothe around the 600 meter mark, but Grothe was able to hold him off and pull away further in the final 100 meters.

In third was Robert Finke in 7:51.45, followed by Cal’s Nick Norman (7:54.47) and Logan Houck (7:54.80).

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Women’s 50 Free

Just as she did the 100 free, Simone Manuel sprinted her way to a new U.S. Open and championship record in the 50 free to close her meet in Irvine. Manuel put up a time of 24.10 to break Cate Campbell’s 2008 U.S. Open record of 24.13, which also broke the championship record of 24.25 set by Dara Torres in 2008. That was just .13 off of Manuel’s American record of 23.97 from last summer.

In second was Abbey Weitzeil in 24.63. That is the fastest Weitzeil has been since 2016 when she recorded her best time of 24.28. Margo Geer, who finished third earlier in the meet in the 100 free, finished third here in 24.79. That is just a tick off her best time of 24.72 from the TYR Pro Series meet in Indianapolis earlier this year.

Fourth went to Grace Ariola (24.83), while Madison Kennedy was also under 25-seconds with a 24.92. Lia Neal was sixth in 25.00, while Kelsi Dahlia (25.01) and Gretchen Walsh (25.03) rounded out the top 8.

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Men’s 50 Free

Michael Andrew finished off his meet with yet another best time in the 50 free and one more National title to go along with his wins in the 50 fly, 50 breast, and 100 breast. Andrew was the top finisher in tonight’s final with a 21.49, another .15 off of his best time from this morning and holds steady as the fifth fastest time in the world this year. That was also just .02 off of Garrett Weber-Gale’s 2008 championship record in this event.

Caeleb Dressel, who is the fastest textile performer in this event in history, was second tonight in 21.67, while Nathan Adrian was third in 21.85. Adrian is already on the Pan Pacs team per his second place finish in the 100 free on the first night of the meet, so he will be swimming this event in Tokyo.

Michael Chadwick was fourth here in 22.00, followed by Zach Apple (22.06), Michael Jensen (22.13), Kyle Decoursey (22.15), and Robert Howard (22.18).

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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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