U.S. Nationals: Matt King and Kasia Wasick Cap Meet With Titles in 50 Freestyle


U.S. Nationals: Matt King and Kasia Wasick Cap Meet With Titles in 50 Freestyle

Flash back a few days to the beginning of the United States National Championships. In the final of the 100-meter freestyle, Matt King and Zach Apple touched the wall in identical times. They were thrilled to share the crown on that evening in Southern California, but King had another thought for the last day of the competition. He wanted sole possession of a national championship.

After breaking the 22-second barrier during the morning preliminaries, King produced another personal-best time during the final, as his 21.83 was fast enough to beat Justin Ress (22.01). For King, who has excelled in the short-course pool for Alabama and Virginia, this week marked a major step forward in the long-course pool. Consider the momentum he gained to be a huge boost on the road to the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

King looked sharp in the morning, when he registered a swim of 21.95 and pulled away from the field in the final strokes. The final featured much of the same. In a tightly bunched pack, King separated himself from the competition with about 15 meters left. At the wall, there was no doubt it was King’s title.

On the women’s side, Poland’s Kasia Wasick was equally as dominant as King, as she managed a winning mark of 24.17. Wasick was tested by Gretchen Walsh, who came through with a best time of 24.47. Wasick was actually .01 faster than the time she posted to win the silver medal at the World Championships.

For Walsh, her performance wrapped up an excellent week in which she won the 100 butterfly and was a podium finisher in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Behind Walsh in the 50 free was Claire Curzan, the Team USA standout teen who has battled illness at Nationals. Curzan touched in third place in 24.74.


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