U.S. International Team Trials: Alex Walsh First in 200 IM Prelims; Leah Hayes, Beata Nelson Go 2-3

Alex Walsh -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. International Team Trials: Alex Walsh First in 200 IM Prelims; Leah Hayes, Beata Nelson Go 2-3

Over the first four days of the U.S. International Team Trials, Alex Walsh competed in the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, and she captured an 800 relay spot for this summer’s World Championships after she finished sixth in the 200 free, but it has been a long wait for her signature event, the 200 IM. When she finally dove in for that event Saturday morning, Walsh secured the top qualifying time for the final with her mark of 2:10.51.

Walsh was the Olympic silver medalist in the event at the Tokyo Olympics, her mark of 2:08.65 making her the 18th-fastest performer in history and fourth-fastest American, and she finished just 0.13 behind gold medalist Yui Ohashi. In prelims, Walsh recorded a time of 2:10.51, which was the second-fastest time in the world for 2022 behind Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko.

In the final heat, Walsh edged out 16-year-old Leah Hayes, who recorded a mark of 2:11.12 to claim the seventh spot in the world rankings. The third seed went to Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson, who crushed the field in her heat with a time of 2:12.89. Nelson has the best opening 100 meters of anyone in the field, and she will be in contention to qualify for a U.S. international team for the first time.

Louisville’s Abby Hay placed fourth in 2:15.08, and Indiana’s Mackenzie Looze qualified for her fourth championship final of the week with her time of 2:15.10. The rest of the final included Isabelle Odgers (2:15.99), Sara Stotler (2:16.04) and Teagan O’Dell (2:16.75).

Walsh will be the big favorite in the final, particularly after Olympic bronze medalist Kate Douglass did not show up for her race. Douglass will instead focus on the 50 freestyle later in the session. Also missing from the heat was Melanie Margalis, the fourth-place finisher in the 200 IM at the 2016 Olympics.



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