Li Bingjie, Blake Pieroni Shine On Night 3 Of Fran Crippen SMOC


Another action-packed night has wrapped up in Mission Viejo at the 2018 Fran Crippen Memorial Swim Meet of Champions, with some of the country’s top swimmers, along with some international talents, racing to some quick times.

Two of the top swims on the night came right off the hop in the 200 freestyle, where Chinese teenager Li Bingjie and American powerhouse Blake Pieroni earned victories.

The 16-year-old Li won the women’s event in a time of 1:56.93, dropping her season-best by .03 and coming within two tenths of her lifetime best. She remains 10th in the world rankings for the year, while her teammates Yang Junxuan (1:58.04) and Al Yanhan (1:58.44) made it a 1-2-3 finish for China.

In the men’s event, Pieroni was aggressive opening up, flipping in 24.79 and 51.80 at the 50 and 100m walls. The wheels fell off towards the end of the race, coming home in 29.04, but he did hang on to win by nearly a second in 1:48.80. Currently, the 22-year-old ranks 3rd among Americans this year with his 1:48.19 from the Indianapolis PSS. Stanford’s Grant Shoults, who had an impressive win in the 400 last night, dropped his season-best by half a second for 2nd in 1:49.76, and China’s Qiu Ziao (1:50.23) was 3rd. Also notable was medley specialist Abrahm DeVine swimming a lifetime best of 1:50.77 for 4th.

Another swimmer who had a great night was Katie McLaughlin of Cal, who won the 100 freestyle last night in a lifetime best. Tonight in the 50 free she did so twice, first dropping her 25.41 (set this year in Santa Clara) down to 25.40 in the semis, and then took two more tenths off to win the final in 25.19. She’s now 8th among Americans this year, and runner-up Anika Apostalon (25.45) swam her fastest of the season.


  • Friday’s 50 back winner Tevyn Waddell of Minnesota won her second event of the meet in the women’s 200 back, holding off China’s Jiang Yuru by .01 for the win in 2:14.01. Kendyl Stewart took 3rd in 2:14.15, her fastest swim in four years.
  • UBC’s Josiah Binnema won the men’s event in 2:01.15, and Robert Hill (2:04.25) and Cole Pratt (2:05.45) made it a 1-2-3 for the Canadians.
  • 18-year-old Samantha Shelton of SoCal posted a lifetime best to win the women’s 400 IM, coming in at 4:48.46 in holding off veteran Haley Anderson (4:48.61). 2015 World Championship bronze medalist Emily Overholt took 3rd in 4:50.35, her fastest swim since returning from injury in late 2017.
  • China’s Yizhe Wang (4:17.78) edged out Takeharu Fujimori (4:18.85) of the Phoenix Swim Club to win the men’s 400 IM, with Canadian Tristan Cote (4:22.81) in 3rd.
  • Ruta Meilutyte of Trojan won the women’s 50 breast in 31.34, edging Breeja Larson (31.45). Stanford’s Matt Anderson won the men’s event in 28.84.
  • In the men’s 50 free, Michael Chadwick (22.61) topped Sid Farber (22.72) and Yuri Kisil (22.77) for the top spot. Chadwick currently ranks 5th among Americans this year with his 22.37 from Mesa.

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