U.S. Nationals: Mackenzie Looze Outduels Anna Keating for 200 Breast Crown (VIDEO)

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. Nationals: Mackenzie Looze Outduels Anna Keating for 200 Breast Crown

The United States owns the top three times in the women’s 200 breaststroke in the world in 2022. None of the women possessing those times was in Irvine on Wednesday night, though.

In one of the clearest distillations of the opportunity on offer in a Worlds-after-Olympics-year Nationals, the person that took fullest advantage is a woman very close to two of those world leaders.

Even without Lilly King or Annie Lazor, the Indiana University breaststroke group still reigned supreme thanks to Mackenzie Looze, who bagged a national title with an outstanding swim in the final.

She and Anna Keating separated themselves from the field by the 100-meter wall, then Looze stroked away from Keating down the stretch. The result was a time of 2:25.35, a personal best for Looze by 2.25 seconds.

“I feel completely speechless, if I’m being honest,” Looze said on the NBC broadcast. “I have no words. I just think it’s amazing to race such wonderful women and be able to talk to them in the ready room. Everyone’s just so nice.”

Looze entered as the sixth seed with a best time of 2:27.60. She set the pace in prelims at 2:27.49, a tenth ahead of Keating.

Looze and Keating were the cream of the finals crop, which became quickly apparent. Keating was .05 up at the 100-meter wall but Looze turned that around for a .06 edge after 150 yards. Looze had more coming home, the fastest final 50 in the field in 37.62 to claim the win by .47 seconds. Keating went 2:25.82.

Those swims came against the backdrop of a field missing the reigning world champion (King), a perennial contender (Lazor), the reigning Olympic champion in the 100 breast (Lydia Jacoby) and Worlds 200 breast bronze medalist (Kate Douglass).

That allowed an A final where all eight participants were born after 2000. Ella Nelson charged from sixth at the midpoint to third in 2:27.40 thanks to a final 50 split of 37.81. Noelle Peplowski was fourth with SEC champion Gillian Davey fifth.

The third-fastest time of the finals session came from the B final, where Zoie Hartman won in 2:27.26, a lifetime best by nearly three seconds for her. Isabelle Odgers was second in the B final with a time that would’ve been sixth in the A final.


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