TYR Pro Swim Series Westmont: Lydia Jacoby Overtakes Lilly King for 100 Breast Win (Women’s Recap)

Lydia Jacoby --Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

TYR Pro Swim Series Westmont: Lydia Jacoby Overtakes Lilly King for 100 Breast Win

The first full finals session of the TYR Pro Swim Series in Westmont, Ill., saw a top-notch showdown in the women’s 100 breaststroke, and just like at the 2021 Olympics, Lydia Jacoby overtook world-record holder Lilly King to take the win. Other women’s events on the program Thursday include the 200 freestyle, 50 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 400 IM, and the highlights included Regan Smith going sub-57 in a dominant performance in the 100 fly while Illinois-native Leah Hayes returned from a second-place finish in the 200 free to dominate the 400 IM, recording best times in both races.

Women’s 200 Freestyle

Anna Peplowski had to work for it at the end with Leah Hayes and Erin Gemmell charging, but Peplowski held on to capture the first Pro Series victory of her career. Peplowski had already crushed her best time in prelims, dropping from 1:59.87 to 1:58.43, and she went wire-to-wire in the evening swim, maintaining slight leads over Hayes at each turn. But on the final 50, Gemmell turned on the jets, splitting a 29.95 that was almost a half-second quicker than anyone else in the race, to briefly put the outcome in doubt before Peplowski re-asserted herself.

Peplowski touched in 1:58.08, knocking another 0.35 off her prelims best for a total drop of 1.79 seconds on the day. Hayes, representing Fox Valley, placed second in 1:58.27 to beat her previous best time (1:59.14) by almost a second. Gemmell, of Nation’s Capital, finished in a solid time of 1:58.44 for third, about two seconds shy of her best time (1:56.14).

Longhorn’s Leah Smith, a veteran of numerous U.S. women’s 800 free relays (including at last year’s World Championships) placed fifth in 1:59.55, with Izzy Ivey also breaking 2:00 (1:59.70).


Women’s 100 Breaststroke

Westmont welcomed three of the top 100 breaststrokers in the world with world-record holder Lilly King facing a pair of Texas Longhorns, Olympic gold medalist Lydia Jacoby and World Championships runnerup Anna Elendt. As per usual, King went out hard over the first 50 meters, but Jacoby stayed close enough to be able to make up the gap on the way home, just like she did in a come-from-behind win over King in the Tokyo Olympic final.

Jacoby touched in 1:06.09, which is her fastest time since the Olympics, better than the 1:06.21 she swam in a fourth-place finish at last year’s International Team Trials that denied her a spot at the World Championships by less than a tenth. King placed second in a solid time of 1:06.39 while Elendt, a native of Germany, also finished well. She touched in 1:06.59 for third, well ahead of fourth-place Annie Lazor (1:08.25).


Women’s 50 Backstroke

With top rival Regan Smith withdrawing from the 50 back final to focus on the 100 fly, it was all Katharine Berkoff in the one-lap sprint. The American-record holder (27.12) and World Championships silver medalist hit the wall in 27.40, four tenths clear of the field. Cal’s Isabelle Stadden took second in 27.80 while teammate Abbey Weitzeil, better known for her sprint freestyle skills, finished third in 27.95.


Women’s 100 Butterfly

At the halfway point of the 100 fly final, Regan Smith led the field by three tenths, but the lead ballooned off the turn as she utilized the full 15 meters of underwater dolphin kicking. That helped Smith get to the wall in 56.92, just three tenths off the 56.60 she clocked at the Fort Lauderdale Pro Series last month that was a lifetime best by a significant margin. The Arizona State-trained 21-year-old will also be racing in the 200 fly plus the 100 and 200 backstroke later in the meet.

Smith finished a whopping 1.71 seconds clear of the field, with Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson finishing as the best-of-the-rest in 58.63. Louisville’s Gabi Albiero took third in 58.74, a quarter-second ahead of Texas’ Emma Sticklen (58.99).


Women’s 400 IM

After a runnerup finish in a tight 200 free final earlier in the evening, Fox Valley’s Leah Hayes had no peer in the 400 IM, leading by five seconds for the second half of the race before winning by 4.90 seconds. Hayes was the World Championships bronze medalist in the 200 IM last year, and she finished fourth in the 400 IM at the U.S. International Team Trials to just miss a spot on the team in the longer medley. Here, she touched in 4:39.58 to clip seven hundredths off her previous best time.

Another teenager, Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko, touched second in 4:44.48. Gorbenko was the European champion in the 200 IM each of the last two years. Texas A&M’s Giulia Goerigk took third in 4:45.72, finishing more than six-and-a-half seconds clear of any other swimmers.


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