U.S. Open: Regan Smith Posts Impressive Double; Katie Ledecky and Bobby Finke Dominate in 1500 Free

Jul 29, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Regan Smith (USA during the women's 200m butterfly final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Open: Regan Smith Posts Impressive Double; Katie Ledecky and Bobby Finke Dominate in 1500 Free

The last night of the U.S. Open at the Greensboro Aquatic Center brought out plenty of Olympic talent, with Katie Ledecky and Regan Smith highlighting action on the women’s side, and Bobby Finke playing the headliner role among the men.

Ledecky concluded her perfect meet when the 10-time Olympic medalist won the 1500-meter freestyle in dominant fashion. With victories in the 200 freestyle, 400 free and 800 free already earned, Ledecky easily won the 30-lap discipline, clocking a time of 15:45.32. She was followed to the wall by Sierra Schmidt, who touched in 16:21.56.

As expected, Ledecky raced alone from the start and put up her first triumph in the event since claiming gold in the 1500 freestyle at last summer’s Olympic Games. Tokyo signified the first time the 1500 freestyle was part of the women’s program, and it was fitting that the greatest distance swimmer in history took the title.

Since appearing in her third Olympics, much has changed in Ledecky’s world. After she took a much-deserved break, the American changed her training base from Stanford University to the University of Florida, where she is now working as a volunteer assistant coach. Ledecky is now being guided by Anthony Nesty, who is the head coach at Florida.

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Coming off a 58-mid performance in the 100 backstroke on Friday night, Smith took on a challenging double to close out her U.S. Open. The Stanford freshman won the 200 backstroke in her first outing, going 2:07.09 for a meet record. She returned to the pool later in the session and won the 200 butterfly in 2:10.58. Leah Gingrich followed in second place in 2:11.02.

Smith enjoyed a strong Olympic Games, winning silver in the 200 butterfly and bronze in the 100 backstroke. Her 2:07-low effort in Greensboro in the 200 back was a big positive, as Smith is the world-record holder but did not qualify to contest the event in Tokyo.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

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Women’s 200 Butterfly

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Finke won his third event of the weekend when he bested the field in the 1500 freestyle, an event in which he won gold at the Olympics. Finke came through with a time of 15:04.77, which was faster than the 15:07.53 of runnerup Charlie Clark. Finke had a slim lead over Clark with 100 meters remaining, but turned to his unmatched closing speed to open up a comfortable cushion.

Since winning gold in the 800 freestyle and 1500 free on the Olympic stage, Finke has returned to school at the University of Florida and is now gearing up to lead the Gators into action at the NCAA Championships in March. Finke is the reigning NCAA titlist in the 400 individual medley and 1650 freestyle. In earlier action at the U.S. Open, Finke won the 400 medley and 800 freestyle.

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Serbian Andrej Barna was the class of the field in the men’s 100 freestyle, speeding to victory in 48.44, nearly a second clear of the 49.40 of Gus Borges. Barna was out in 23.15 and came home in 25.29, marking his second sub-49 effort of the day. Barna was also under the 49-second barrier during the preliminary heats.

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Team USA veteran Mallory Comerford, who had a subpar summer, was the lone swimmer to break the 55-second barrier in the women’s 100 freestyle. Comerford posted a swim of 54.74, a solid showing as she tries to regain the form that once made her a staple for the United States in international competition.

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In other action, Vaggelis Makrygiannis went 2:00.48 to win the men’s 200 backstroke and 200 breaststroke wins were picked up by Korea’s Ahryoung Kim (2:29.86) and Brandon Fischer (2:13.21). Korea’s Minseop Kim won the men’s 200 butterfly in 1:59.30.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

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Women’s 200 Breaststroke

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Men’s 200 Breaststroke

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Men’s 200 Butterfly

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