2018 U.S. Nationals: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap


We’ve got 3 events lined up for this morning’s prelims on day 4 of the 2018 U.S. Nationals: the 400 free, 100 back, and 100 breast. Olympians Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith headline the women’s 400 free. On the men’s side of that race, short course American Record holder Zane Grothe and Olympian Clark Smith are looking for their spot at Pan Pacs, though Grothe may be safe with his 3rd place in the mile from day 1.

Olympic champ Ryan Murphy scorched an American Record in the 50 back last night and will take on the 100 back this morning, an event in which he’s the World Record holder. Regan Smith and Olympic medalist Kathleen Baker will go up against a stacked 100 back field after tying for the 200 back win. World Record holder Lilly King should be able to secure her Pan Pacs spot in the 100 breast today after winning the 50 breast last night and earning a place at Worlds. Teammate Cody Miller, the Olympic bronze medalist in the 100 breast, is also chasing a Pan Pacs spot as he goes up against the likes of Worlds silver medalist and reigning champ Kevin Cordes, 50 breast champ Michael Andrew, and 200 breast champ Josh Prenot.


Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Katie Ledecky (Stanford)- 4:02.69
  2. Leah Smith (Arizona)- 4:05.14
  3. Sierra Schmidt (Michigan)- 4:08.12
  4. Hali Flickinger (Georgia)- 4:08.40
  5. Haley Anderson (Trojan)- 4:08.46
  6. Kaersten Meitz (Purdue)- 4:08.55
  7. Geena Freriks (Kentucky)- 4:08.91
  8. Kirsten Jacobsen (Arizona)- 4:09.36

Olympic distance stars Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith cruised to the top 2 this morning, with Smith coming within a second of her season best. Ledecky has already set the U.S. Open Record this year when she swam a 3:57.94 earlier in the season, so expect her to be much faster tonight. Ledecky owns all 10 of the 10 fastest American performances ever and the 10 fastest performances ever worldwide. Smith is the 2nd fastest American in history and the 4th fastest ever among all swimmers.

Michigan’s Sierra Schmidt (4:08.12), a 2017-18 U.S. National Teamer in this race, was the fastest of 5 women bunched into the 4:08s. Hali Flickinger, who broke the 200 fly U.S. Open Record on day 1 to qualify for Pan Pacs, put up a 4:08.40 for 5th just ahead of Purdue’s Kaersten Meitz (4:08.55). Flickinger swam her lifetime best 4:06.72 just a few weeks ago. Meitz was just over a tenth short of her best.

Arizona’s Kirsten Jacobsen had a big swim out of heat 4. Jacobsen, who had a break out NCAA year as she dropped 7 seconds in the 500 free to become an All-American, dominated the field in 4:09.36. She had never broken 4:15 prior to this year, when she swam a 4:13.48 last month. She’s now dropped 6 seconds throughout the season, including 4 seconds in prelims. Another swimmer to make a big drop to qualify for the final was Kentucky’s Geena Freriks. At 2018 SECs, Freriks broke the Kentucky school record as she won the 500 free. Today, she dropped over 4 seconds off her long course best in 4:08.91.

Just out of the top 8 was 14-year-old Claire Tuggle, who dropped a second to become the 4th fastest American ever in the 13-14 age group in 4:10.17. Tuggle has now dropped 5 seconds throughout the season. Her seed time for nationals came from her performance at the 2018 Irish Open. 2012 Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt, who took 2nd in the 200 free to Ledecky earlier on to cement her comeback, qualified 11th in 4:10.80. 400 IM champion Ally McHugh of Penn State clipped her best by about a tenth to take 14th in 4:11.32.


  • World Record: Paul Biedermann, 3:40.07, 2009
  • American Record: Larsen Jensen, 3:42.78, 2008
  • Championship Record: 3:43.53, Larsen Jensen, 2008
  • U.S. Open Record: 3:43.53, Larsen Jensen, 2008

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Zane Grothe (Indiana)- 3:48.30
  2. Grant Shoults (Stanford)- 3:48.51
  3. Andrew Abruzzo (Plymouth Whitemarsh)- 3:48.58
  4. Chris Wieser (Arizona)- 3:48.69
  5. Trey Freeman (Baylor)- 3:49.02
  6. True Sweetser (Stanford)- 3:50.08
  7. Ben Lawless (Florida)- 3:50.13
  8. Zach Yeadon (Notre Dame)- 3:51.01

Arizona’s Chris Wieser hadn’t gone a best time since 2016 Trials in his main events, but he certainly had a breakthrough this morning to win heat 10 in 3:48.69. His best coming into the meet was his 3:51.83 from 2016, so this marks his first sub-3:50. Cal’s Sean Grieshop has also been having a breakthrough in Irvine. His 3:51.92 in prelims was his first best time in the event since 2015, knocking over half a second off his time.


  • World Record: Lilly King, 1:04.13, 2017
  • American Record: Lilly King, 1:04.13, 2017
  • Championship Record: Jessica Hardy, 1:04.45, 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: Lilly King, 1:04.95, 2017

Top 8 Qualifiers:


  • World Record: Adam Peaty, 57.13, 2016
  • American Record: Kevin Cordes, 58.64, 2017
  • Championship Record: Kevin Cordes, 58.74, 2017
  • U.S. Open Record: Kevin Cordes, 58.74, 2017

Top 8 Qualifiers:


  • World Record: Kylie Masse, 58.10, 2017
  • American Record: Missy Franklin, 58.33, 2012
  • Championship Record: Kathleen Baker, 58.57, 2017
  • U.S. Open Record: Kathleen Baker, 58.57, 2017

Top 8 Qualifiers:


  • World Record: Ryan Murphy, 51.85, 2016
  • American Record: Ryan Murphy, 51.85, 2016
  • Championship Record: Aaron Peirsol, 51.94, 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: Aaron Peirsol, 51.94, 2009

Top 8 Qualifiers:

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