U.S. Nationals: An Opposite Pair, Zach Apple and Matt King Share Title in 100 Freestyle (VIDEOS)

awards-100-free, shaine casas, matt king, zach apple
Shaine Casas, Matt King & Zach Apple (left to right) -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. Nationals: Zach Apple and Matt King Share Title in 100 Freestyle

Zach Apple is a towering presence with an Olympic pedigree.

Matt King was looking for a breakthrough performance in the long-course pool.

When the 100-meter freestyle concluded on the opening night of the United States National Championships at the William Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine, there was no separating the pair. With Shaine Casas pushing them through the two laps, Apple and King shared the national title in 48.44 on Tuesday night, with Casas finishing third in 48.46. The top seed heading into the final, Casas actually had the fastest time on the day, thanks to his mark of 48.28 during the preliminaries.

For Apple, his piece of the title was a measure of redemption for an athlete who has been a longtime staple on the international stage for Team USA. Just a few months ago, at April’s International Team Trials, Apple struggled and found himself shy of qualifying for the World Championships in Budapest. Although Apple advanced to the final in the 100 freestyle, his eighth-place finish in that event was a disappointment, as was his inability to reach the final in the 200 freestyle.

Meet Page

Meet Results

Although Nationals does not serve as a selection meet, it was Apple’s opportunity to put together a bounce-back performance. A national title, obviously, got the job done. Apple was out in 25.27 and while King closed on him down the stretch, he did enough to ensure a share of the top step on the podium.

“In April, I didn’t have the training under my felt from not being full go,” Apple said. “I’ll get back to the drawing board and reevaluate where we are. But I think we’ve taken a step forward from where we were.”

As much as Apple is a known star for the United States, King is a guy with great potential and a superb track record on the college circuit. After a standout freshman year at the University of Alabama, King transferred to the University of Virginia and continued to excel in the little pool. The biggest effort of his first year in Charlottesville was his contribution to the Cavaliers’ American-record setting 200 freestyle relay.

At Nationals, King made sure he excelled in the Olympic-sized pool. After qualifying for the final as the second seed, off a swim of 48.33, King powered to the wall to tie Apple. King covered his opening length of the championship race in 25.42 and made up his .15 deficit on Apple on the last 50 meters. He credited the work he has done with UVA coach Todd DeSorbo for his national title.

“I didn’t really expect much,” King said. “That was the best (100 freestyle) I’ve had in a long time. These guys pushed me to do my best. I have to thank (DeSorbo). He really overhauled my training and it’s been working out.”

Casas’ clocking of 48.46 marked his latest quality showing in the 100 freestyle, a race that ranks behind the backstroke events, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley in his hierarchy of events. Casas has twice been in the 48.2 realm this summer and contention for a relay bid in future international competitions is evident.


Photo Courtesy: