TYR Pro Series: Zane Grothe Outduels Kieran Smith in 800 Free; Haley Anderson Tops Women’s Field


TYR Pro Series: Zane Grothe Outduels Kieran Smith in 800 Free; Haley Anderson Tops Women’s Field

Following a week of negative storylines outside the pool, the focus of American swimming returned to the water on Thursday night, as the TYR Pro Series opened at two sites with distance action. At the San Antonio stop, Zane Grothe and Kieran Smith battled to the finish, with Grothe clipping his fellow American as both men cracked the eight-minute barrier.


Trailing Will Gallant and David Johnston during the early portion of the race, Grothe and Smith took command over the back half. Grothe narrowly got to the wall first, winning in 7:59.05, with Smith checking in at 7:59.27. The outcome was decided on the final lap, in which Grothe split 27.16, to the 27.56 of Smith. Gallant faded to third place in 8:04.80 while Johnston was fourth in 8:07.49.

By going sub-8:00, Grothe and Smith have set themselves up for additional strong performances over the upcoming weekend. More, Grothe and Smith are expected to be among the contenders for Olympic berths in the 800 free, which will make its Olympic debut for the men during the summer.

In the women’s races, Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell prevailed at their respective sites, finishes that maintained the links between the Team USA veterans. Racing in San Antonio, Anderson opened up a lead just before the midway point and touched the wall in 8:34.93, comfortably ahead of Erica Sullivan (8:38.46) and Bella Sims (8:41.24). In Richmond, the other site for Pro Series action, Twichell recorded a time of 8:35.16 to win the women’s 800 freestyle by more than five seconds over runnerup Caroline Pennington (8:40.50).

In addition to registering triumphs to jumpstart the Pro Series meets, Anderson and Twichell have already wrapped up invitations to this year’s Olympic Games in the 10-kilometer open-water event. Anderson and Twichell qualified for Tokyo long ago, and their berths to the Games remained acknowledged through the postponement of the Olympics last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the men’s side in Richmond, the 800 free in Richmond was won by Dylan Porges, whose effort of 8:07.03 bettered the 8:08.95 of Joshua Parent.

Full event schedules will be conducted in San Antonio and Richmond from Friday through Sunday, with athletes getting the chance to partake in valuable racing in this latest Olympic year. San Antonio is the deeper of the two sites, thanks to USA Swimming adopting an invitation-only format for that stop.

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