U.S. Open: Shaine Casas Rips 200 IM in B-Final; Caeleb Dressel Also Wins in Consol Heat (Men’s Recap)

shaine casas
Shaine Casas -- Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

U.S. Open: Shaine Casas Rips 200 IM in B-Final; Caeleb Dressel Also Wins in Consol Heat (Men’s Recap)

On an evening when Drew Kibler ripped a lifetime best to announce himself as a Paris contender in a new event, veteran Chase Kalisz scored a come-from-behind win and Michael Andrew won a 50 freestyle from lane eight, the most notable men’s swims occurred in the consolation finals, first in the 200 IM when Shaine Casas blasted a sub-world-record pace opening 100 meters on the way to a swift final mark and then in the 50 free as Caeleb Dressel continued his comeback in fine fashion with a heat win.

Casas was all alone for nearly the entire 200 meters, touching almost a full second under world-record pace at the 50-meter mark with a 23.95 outgoing split before reaching the halfway point in 53.07. He showed fatigue on the back half as he ended up falling well short of Ryan Lochte’s historic pace from 2011, but he still finished in 1:56.06. That tied Casas’ best time this year, previously recorded at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Westmont, Ill., and it ranks fourth in the world. It would have been quick enough to earn bronze at this summer’s World Championships, a race where Casas ended up finishing fourth.

Shortly after, Dressel was up in lane two in the splash-and-dash, and after his nine-month layoff from the sport, he is continuing to look more like the swimmer who has won seven Olympic gold medals and 15 world titles as he blasted off the blocks in front of his heat. He held on to win in 21.99, well ahead of the 22.35 he clocked in prelims. The mark would have tied him with Santo Condorelli, a high school teammate of Dressel at Bolles, for fourth in the A-final.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

The start of the men’s 500 free — Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

Over the past few years, Drew Kibler has become a consistent member of the U.S. men’s 800 freestyle relay team, and he swam the 200 free individually at the 2022 World Championships. But Kibler, a Texas alum now training at Arizona State University, suddenly looks like a real contender in the 400 free after an impressive victory Thursday at the U.S. Open. Early on in the A-final, Kibler pulled ahead of former Texas teammate Carson Foster and built a lead, but 2021 Olympic bronze medalist Kieran Smith clawed his way back into the race and trailed by only three tenths at the final turn.

But Kibler had one last burst left, and he finished in 27.63 to record a final time of 3:47.58. That knocked more than two seconds off his previous best time of 3:49.88, and it would have been good enough for fourth at this summer’s U.S. Nationals (a meet where Kibler finished 10th). The 400 free is probably the weakest event for the U.S. swim team right now, with no Americans qualifying for the final at this summer’s Worlds, so an opportunity exists for a breakthrough performer.

Smith touched second in 3:48.72 while Louisville’s Ilia Sibirtsev placed third in 3:48.99 after also closing strongly. Luca Urlando was just behind in 3:49.26 while Foster was fifth (3:49.65) and David Johnston, the winner in the event at U.S. Nationals, was sixth (3:51.02).

Men’s 200 IM

Chase Kalisz — Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

The back half is where Chase Kalisz goes to work in any medley race, and he was up to his usual tricks while racing Arizona State training partner and 200 backstroke world champion Hubert Kos. Kos went out under world-record pace and led the entire field by one-and-a-half seconds halfway through, with Kalisz sitting in fifth place. But a 33.13 breaststroke split, more than one second clear of anyone else, and a 28.55 homecoming split that only Baylor Nelson surpassed left the 29-year-old Kalisz in position to pick up the win.

Kalisz, the 2017 world champion in the 200 IM and the No. 11 performer in history at 1:55.40, recorded a mark of 1:57.43, while Kos came in second at 1:57.88. Mission Viejo’s Trenton Julian placed third in 1:58.46.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Michael Andrew — Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

A disappointing summer performance left Michael Andrew off the top American international team for the first time in six years. Andrew won the 50 butterfly at U.S. Nationals but was not selected to the Worlds team based off his performance in a non-Olympic event, and then he fell to third in the 50 free, missing the No. 2 spot by one hundredth. In his first final on U.S. soil since then, Andrew was swimming this 50 free in lane eight, and pulling off a win meant a great deal to this 17-year-old.

Andrew fought his way to the wall in 21.80, a tenth clear of Florida’s Josh Liendo (21.90), with Mikel Schreuders three hundredths further back (21.93). Andrew was the 2022 Worlds silver medalist in this event, and he owns a best time of 21.41 that ranks No. 19 all-time. The 50 free will mark one of his best shots to grab a spot on his second Olympic team, along with the 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly, both races Andrew is scheduled to swim Friday.

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