By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Sunday, April 15, 2018
MESA, Ariz. – Day 3 of the TYR Pro Swim Series at Mesa featured the knockout competition in the 50-meter distances of each stroke, and the mystery individual medley.
This is a new format introduced this year at select stops of the TYR Pro Swim Series. For those not familiar with how the knockout competition works, here’s a rundown:
- Prelims are swum in the morning. Top 8 advance.
- Top eight swim in the quarterfinal round. Top 4 win $200 and advance to next round.
- Top four swim in the semifinal round. Top 2 win $400 and advance to next round.
- Top two swim in the final round. Winner takes $600 and is crowned champion.
Here’s how the mystery individual medley works:
- Slots in the mystery IM are offered to the swimmers from last night’s finals of the 200m IM, from fastest to slowest, until the field has eight swimmers.
- Swimmers are randomly assigned a lane.
- At the lane, a signboard tells them the order in which they will swim the IM. Each order is different.
- Confusion and chaos ensues. The champion is the swimmer who gets his or her hand(s) on the wall first is the champion. No prize money involved – it’s all in fun.
In the women’s knockout 50m fly, Olympian Kelsi Dahlia (Worrell) topped Farida Osman in 25.74, missing her own American record by 26-hundreths of a second. U.S. National Teamers Michael Andrew and Tim Phillips went head-to-head in the men’s fly, with Andrew coming out on top in 23.38.
“Obviously in the shootout, you have to go really hard each round, because guys are quick,” Andrew said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. Each round, sometimes you get faster – you learn something each time you swim, so there’s a lot of evaluation that has to be going on in the moment. It’s not like you swim once and you have a couple weeks to get ready for the next race – you’ve got minutes.
“It’s nice. It’s good for the racing. It’s a lot of fun to watch, so it’s a really cool event.”
Olympian Olivia Smoliga topped Ali DeLoof in the women’s 50m back, setting an American record in 27.43. Veteran U.S. National Teamer and Olympian Matt Grever won the men’s 50m back in 25.42.
“I think these knockout rounds are really fun, not only for us, but for the crowd, “Smoliga said. “It kind of tests your gut a little bit. You have like a 150 warm-down, and you’re up for the next one, so I enjoy that. We all train for it, so I think it’s a nice setup.”
Olympians Molly Hannis and Breeja Larson faced off in the women’s 50m breast, with Hannis coming out on top in 29.97, the second-fastest time in the world this year. Larson’s time of 30.43 was the third-fastest time in the world this year. U.S. National Teamer Nic Fink edged fellow National Teamer Ian Finnerty in the men’s 50 breast, 27.69 to 27.89.
U.S. National Teamer Mallory Comerford out-touched Olympian Lia Neal in the women’s 50m free, 25.10 to 25.59. In the men’s 50m free, Olympian Nathan Adrian beat Andrew to the wall, 22.94 to 23.70.
Turning to the 200 mystery IM, Olympian Leah Smith came out on top swimming free, back, fly and breast, turning in a time of 2:18.19. On the men’s side, 16-year-old Gianluca Urlando turned in a time of 2:06.09, swimming free, back, fly, breast.
“Physically, doing breaststroke last didn’t feel great, and mentally before the race, I don’t know if I had the best approach because I was so nervous for the breaststroke to be last,” Smith said. “Mentally, though, even though I was nervous to do breaststroke last, it’s a lot better, because you’re just trying to have fun, and all of us back there (in the ready room) were just kind of laughing —really relaxed.
“So it was really fun, but it was a challenge for sure. I really wanted to look on the breaststroke to see where I was, because when I touched the wall, I saw out of the corner of my eye some of the girls were coming up. I’m glad I didn’t look because that might have cost me the race.”