TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville Day 3 Women’s Prelims: Olympians Fill 50 Free Final

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville Day 3 Women’s Prelims: Olympians Fill 50 Free Final

The final of the women’s 50 freestyle at the TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville stop wouldn’t look out of place at an Olympic Trials, filled with some of the best sprinters of the last generation.

Those swimmers booked their place on the third day of prelims at the meet, with Abbey Weitzeil leading the way in 24.70. Fourth was Simone Manuel, who went 25.48 in her return to action.

The women’s TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville Day 3 action:

200 Butterfly

Tennessee’s Sara Stolter took advantage of home water to set the pace in prelims in 2:13.01. That was nearly a second quicker than Katie Grimes, who went 2:13.92. Lainey Mullins and Canadian Ella Jansen were among the all-teen top eight.

Not among those swimming was Regan Smith, who had been the top seed on the psych sheets. Leah Smith also scratched the swim.

50 Freestyle

The 200 fly’s abundance of youth was met by the stocks of experience in the  50 free, with six of the top nine finishers well into their 20s.

Abbey Weitzeil led the way in 24.70, leading out what would be a pretty suitable international American relay. Second was Erika Brown, swimming in her home pool, in 25.05. Olivia Smoliga was .02 ahead of Simone Manuel for third, and Danish Olympian Signe Bro was fifth.

The eighth spot in the final went to Erin Gemmell in 25.83, .05 up on Natalie Hinds.

100 Backstroke

Katharine Berkoff set up an Olympic-level showdown in the 100 back by setting the standard in 59.70 seconds. That’s just ahead of Canadian Olympian Kylie Masse, who went 1:00.18. (Regan Smith was not entered in this event, despite holding the American record.) Olivia Smoliga bounced back quickly to set the fourth-best time in 1:01.69, a half-second behind Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller and just ahead of Bella Sims.

200 Breaststroke

The home-pool advantage was borne out here, with three Volunteers in the top four. Mona McSharry led the way in 2:28.51, the Irish Olympian out front by nearly two seconds. Second was her teammate Alexis Yager, with Tessa Cieplucha fourth. Ahead of Cieplucha was a fellow Canadian, Sophie Agnus, in third.

50 Butterfly

Abbey Weitzeil recovered to boss prelims of the 50 fly in 26.58, establishing the 26-year-old as the top seed by nearly a second. Marina Spadoni was second in 27.46, followed by Grace Hanson. The final eight will feature a 29-year-old (Spadoni) and a 14-year-old (Charlotte Crush, fourth in 27.55).

400 Freestyle

Another day, another chance to watch Katie Ledecky and Katie Grimes duke it out.

In prelims, it wasn’t much of a match, Ledecky setting the top time in 4:05.15. Grimes is second in 4:11.32, one of three 4:11s that also includes Jillian Cox and Olympian Bella Sims. Sierra Schmidt and Erin Gemmell are also into the final eight, along with Belgium’s Valentine Dumont. (That’s a final in the 50 and a final in the 500 free for Gemmell, if you’re keeping score at home.) Claire Weinstein finished ninth, the 15-year-old missing out on a third Sandpiper in the final eight.

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