U.S. Nationals: Shaine Casas Drops Hammer in 200 IM; Moves to Third-Fastest American in History


U.S. Nationals: Shaine Casas Drops Hammer in 200 IM; Moves to Third-Fastest American in History

How fast could Shaine Casas go in the 200-meter individual medley? That was a leading question throughout the week, especially after Casas delivered a swift performance in the 100 butterfly. While he had previously proven himself among the world’s elite in the event, there seemed to be room for a time drop – and a significant one at that.

In his final event of the United States National Championships, Casas came through with an epic effort, as he surged to the No. 3 all-time ranking among Americans, trailing guys by the names of Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps. Leading from the start, Casas registered a time of 1:55.24, which was almost four seconds faster than the second-place showing of Grant House (1:59.03). The effort was just off the 1:55.22 that Frenchman Leon Marchand posted on the way to the gold medal at the World Championships.

Casas was at the World Champs in Budapest, but was qualified to race only the 200 backstroke, where he was the bronze medalist. Due to those restrictions, Casas decided to put in some high-level racing when he returned to the United States. He achieved that goal at the recent Austin Sectionals, and continued to light up the pool at Nationals. Before his 200 IM, Casas popped the sixth-fastest time in the history of the 100 butterfly.

It was immediately apparent that Casas was chasing a big-time mark, as he shot off the blocks and covered the opening butterfly leg in 24.30. A backstroke split of 29.07 followed, with a breaststroke leg of 33.37 arriving next. All three of those splits were the fastest in the field and set the stage for him to come home in 28.50.

Aside from surpassing Michael Andrew as the third-fastest American in the event, Casas now sits seventh all-time. Andrew owns a best time of 1:55.26 and he and Casas could engage in some duels on the road to Paris, with fellow Americans Carson Foster and Chase Kalisz also looking for Olympic bids. Foster was the silver medalist to Marchand in Budapest.

Casas now has four events in which he is a contender for a Team USA berth to major international competition – the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 200 IM. He’s also a contender for duty in the 400 freestyle relay.


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