TYR Pro Swim Series Westmont: Leon Marchand Overtakes Texas Swimmers in Both of His Victories (Men’s Recap)

Leon Marchand -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

TYR Pro Swim Series Westmont: Leon Marchand Overtakes Texas Swimmers in Both of His Victories (Men’s Recap)

In the first men’s race of Friday night at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Westmont, Ill., it was a showdown between Leon Marchand and Carson Foster in the 200 butterfly final, with the Frenchman using a strong final turn to overtake his American rival. Marchand returned later in the session to race the 200 breaststroke, and he again pulled off a come-from-behind win, this time overtaking Will Licon. Later on, Hunter Armstrong out-dueled Ryan Murphy in a high-octane 100 backstroke final, and the session also included the 50 freestyle, 50 butterfly and 400 freestyle.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

When Leon Marchand and Carson Foster raced in the 400 IM final Thursday, Foster had the lead for the first 200 meters before Marchand took off in breaststroke. In their 200 fly battle, Foster again led Marchand through the early portion of the race, with the Cincinnati native up by two tenths at the halfway point and five hundredths with one length remaining, but Marchand turned on the jets during the final underwater kickout, and Foster could not catch up.

Marchand won the race in 1:55.58, followed by Foster’s time of 1:56.04. Both men own best times in the 1:53 range, with Marchand ranking eighth all-time at 1:53.37 and Foster 13th at 1:53.67. Chase Kalisz, who trains with Marchand at Arizona State, finished with a blazing 30.22 split to touch third in 1:56.53, one hundredth ahead of Estonia’s Kregor Zirk (1:56.54). Teenager Thomas Heilman claimed fifth in 1:57.63.


Men’s 50 Freestyle

It was tight all the way in the men’s 50 free, but in the last few meters, Cal’s Jack Alexy opened up a slight advantage to take the win in 22.09. Alexy, sixth in the 50-yard free and second in the 100-yard free at the NCAA Championships last month, dropped four hundredths off his best time as he touched in 22.09.

Finishing second was Lithuania’s Jokubas Keblys in 22.23, just ahead of Alexy’s Cal teammate Bjorn Seeliger (22.26). Gui Caribe of Tennessee and Brazil took fourth in 22.28, two hundredths clear of Worlds bronze medalist Michael Andrew (22.30). U.S. national champion Matt King placed sixth (22.42).


Men’s 100 Backstroke

Cal training partners and World Championships medalists Hunter Armstrong and Ryan Murphy went head-to-head in the 100 backstroke final, an event where both men went sub-52 in their podium performances last year. Armstrong was out just ahead of Murphy, 25.45 to 25.48, and after Murphy established himself with a big underwater kickout, it was Armstrong who had the most finishing speed.

Armstrong finished in 52.59, which is the fastest time in the world this year, lowering his own season-best of 52.68. Murphy broke 53 for the first time this year, touching second in 52.90, while Shaine Casas overtook Hubert Kos for third, 53.65 to 53.83. Mission Viejo’s Justin Ress finished fifth in 54.16.


Men’s 200 Breaststroke

If Leon Marchand is in the field, the French star can never be counted out, even if he trails with 50 meters remaining. Marchand was in fourth place at the last turn of the 200 breast final, eight tenths behind leader Will Licon, but Marchand closed in 32.90, by far the best mark in the field, and that helped him reach the wall in 2:10.52 for his second win of the night. Marchand had already won the 200 fly earlier Friday night after taking the 400 IM Thursday.

Licon placed second in 2:10.80, just ahead of Tennessee’s Lyubomir Epitropov (2:10.89). Nic Fink, the top American in this event in recent years, took fourth in 2:11.68, with early leader Denis Petrashov ending up fifth (2:11.75).


Men’s 50 Butterfly

Only seven hundredths separated the top three swimmers in the 50 butterfly final, and only two tenths separated the top five. But it was Shaine Casas getting to the wall first in 23.46. After dominating the 100 fly Thursday, Casas touched out Indiana’s Finn Brooks (23.50) and Worlds bronze medalist Michael Andrew (23.53). Just behind were two more Indiana-trained swimmers, Tomer Frankel (23.60) and Marius Kusch (23.65).


Men’s 400 Freestyle

Kieran Smith, the Olympic bronze medalist in the 400 free in 2021, opened up a lead of almost a second three laps into the race, and the University of Texas’ Luke Hobson, the NCAA champion in the 500-yard free last month, could never close the gap. Smith finished in 3:50.25, two seconds behind the 3:48.02 he swam in a much closer race at last month’s Pro Series stop in Fort Lauderdale but still a solid swim for this point in the season.

Hobson finished second in 3:51.71, holding off Turkey’s Batur Unlu (3:51.76) by five hundredths as Unlu came on strong over the final portion of the race. Carson Foster, already with second-place finishes in the 400 IM Thursday and 200 fly earlier on Friday, took fourth in 3:52.50.


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