TYR Pro Swim Series Mission Viejo: Claire Curzan Doubles With 50 Fly, 200 Back Wins (Women’s Recap)

Claire Curzan -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

TYR Pro Swim Series Mission Viejo: Claire Curzan Doubles With 50 Fly, 200 Back Wins (Women’s Recap)

During the third evening of finals at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, Calif., a pair of American Olympians earned victories in the opening women’s finals as Bella Sims pulled away on the third 50 to claim first place in the 200 freestyle and Lilly King secured the top spot in the 50 breaststroke. But the star of the night was Claire Curzan, who touched first in a tight 50 butterfly final before returning 15 minutes later to claim the title in the 200 backstroke.

Women’s 200 Freestyle

Two years ago, Bella Sims qualified for her first Olympic team and won silver as a prelims swimmer for the U.S. women’s 800 free relay. Last year, Sims raced in the final for the first time, and she pulled away from Australia to earn a surprise gold for her American team. Now, Sims will enter the summer as one of the headliners for the United States in the 200 free, and she posted a solid tune-up swim in Mission Viejo with a strong victory in the event.

Torri Huske gave Sims a race over the first half of the event, but Sims pulled away to win in 1:58.44, off her season-best time of 1:57.63 from last month that ranks her second among Americans so far this year. Also coming home strong was Texas’ Kelly Pash, who overcame a huge deficit to win the 200 butterfly Thursday. Sims touched in 1:59.33 while Huske claimed third in 2:00.31, just ahead of Olivia Smoliga (2:00.39) and Chloe Stepanek (2:00.40).

Women’s 50 Breaststroke

It was a dominant effort for Lilly King, the American-record holder and former world-record holder in the 50 breast. King won by almost eight tenths with a time of 30.09, just a few hundredths off her season-best time of 30.04 from March that ranks second in the world behind Italy’s Benedetta Pilato.

Finishing behind King was Trojan’s Kaitlyn Dobler, the 2022 NCAA champion in the 100-yard breast and third-place finisher in the 100-meter breast at the U.S. International Team Trials last year. Dobler touched in 30.88, one hundredth clear of North Carolina’s Skyler Smith (30.89).

Women’s 50 Butterfly

In an extremely tight race between three of the country’s best sprinters, Claire Curzan got to the wall two tenths ahead of Stanford teammate Torri Huske. Curzan, a finalist in four individual events (including the 50 fly) at last year’s World Championships, trailed Abbey Weitzeil off the start but caught up over the middle portion of the race. She touched first in 25.88, less than a half-second behind the 25.43 she swam to finish fifth in the Worlds final last year. The time ranks Curzan among the top-10 in the world this year and as the top American so far.

Huske, who tied with Canada’s Maggie Mac Neil for the short course world title in this race last year, took second in 26.08, seven hundredths ahead of Weitzeil’s 26.15. Kelly Pash, already the winner of the 100 fly and runnerup in the 200 free, was well back in fourth (26.70).

Women’s 200 Backstroke

Minutes after her win in the 50 fly, Curzan was back in the pool for the 200 back, and she had to take on the World Championships bronze medalist from last year, Rhyan White. But Curzan had no peer in this event as she put up the second-fastest time his year by an American and beat the field by more than a second. Curzan finished in 2:07.78, ranked sixth in the world and behind only Regan Smith among Americans.

White took second in 2:09.01, and third place went to Cal’s Isabelle Stadden. Stadden, the winner of the 50 back Thursday, touched eight hundredths ahead of Teagan O’Dell, 2:09.87 to 2:09.95.

Women’s 400 IM

After a second-place finish in the 800 free and third-place result in the 400 free, 14-year-old Kayla Han picked up the first Pro Series win of her career as she topped the 400 IM by more than two seconds. In the process, Han swam her best time, with her mark of 4:42.96 beating her previous top time of 4:43.60. Han finished well ahead of Sun Devil’s Charlotte Brown (4:45.04) while Stanford’s Lucy Bell took third (4:49.55).

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