By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Sunday, July 2, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS – Leah Smith won the women’s 1500m freestyle Saturday at the Phillips 66 National Championships, turning in a time of 16:01.02 in an earlier, timed-finals heat.
Smith’s time was the second-fastest in the world this year behind Katie Ledecky and was her second win of the week after taking the 400m IM on Thursday.
It was also the fifth event in which she’s qualified to swim at the 2017 FINA World Championships, July 23-30 in Budapest, Hungary. In addition to the 1500 and 400 IM, Smith will be competing in the 200m free, 400m free and 800m free in Budapest after finishing second to Ledecky in each of those events earlier this week.
Due to USA Swimming’s selection procedures, in which the first-place finisher in the women’s 800m free also qualifies to swim in the women’s 1500, Ledecky will be joining Smith in the 1500 in Budapest. Ledecky, the world record-holder in this event, turned in the top time in the world this year earlier this month at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara. Her time was 15:35.65.
Smith won the women’s Kiphuth Award for high points for her efforts this week at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Winning the men’s Kiphuth Award was Olympian Caeleb Dressel, who took three events this week, including the 50m free on Saturday. His time of 21.53 was the third-fastest time in the world this year.
Finishing behind him in 21.87 was Nathan Adrian, who bested Dressel for the win in the 100m free by a hundredth of a second on the first night of competition.
“I think the credit goes to my coaches, teammates and my God-given ability,” Dressel said. “I really can’t take credit for that. That’s my all my teammates and stuff pushing me in practice and focusing on what I came here to do.”
The first- and second-place finishers in the men’s and women’s 200m IM and 50m free were added to the U.S. World Championships Team roster in those events. The winner of the men’s 800m free also earned an automatic qualification.
Olympian Chase Kalisz won his second event of the meet Saturday in the men’s 200m IM, holding off Abrahm Devine in the final length and touching in 1:56.51. Devine, who qualified for his first major international competition, was second in 1:56.79.
Kalisz also won the 400m IM earlier this week.
“It was one of my goals this season (to win the 200 and 400 IM), and I accomplished that here,” Kalisz said. “I can’t wait to get to worlds and race with (Devine). I’m really excited. I think we’re going to have a good summer.”
Winning the women’s 200m IM was Olympian Melanie Margalis in 2:09.57, followed by Madisyn Cox in 2:09.69. They were the third- and fourth-fastest times in the world this year. It was the second event in which Margalis has qualified for Worlds. She also qualified for the 800m free relay on the second night of competition.
Olympian Clark Smith held off Zane Grothe in the final length of the 800m fee, out-touching Grothe by 54-hundredths of a second, 7:50.45 to 7:50.97. Both swimmers have already qualified for the World Championships Team, in both the 400m free and 800m free relay. Their times Saturday were the seventh and ninth-fastest in the world.
Olympian Simone Manuel won the women’s 50m free in 24.22, the third-fastest time in the world this year. Manuel, the Olympic silver medalist in this event, also qualified for the team in the 100m free, 400m free relay and 800m free relay. Fellow Olympian Abbey Weitzeil was second in 24.74 to qualify for her first spot on the World Championships Team roster.
“I didn’t quite see the results I wanted at this meet, but I’m just going to keep my head down and hopefully they’ll come at World Championships,” Manuel said.Arena Pro Swim Series
This year's Phillips 66 National Championships also served as the final stop on the Arena Pro Swim Series, with the points for this meet counting double.
Ledecky and Kalisz clinched the overall arena Pro Swim Series titles with 68 and 65 points, respectively. Kalisz claims a one-year lease of a BMW and a $10,000 series bonus for his efforts. As the top female professional swimmer in the arena Pro Swim Series Standings, Margalis also picks up a one-year BMW lease.