By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Friday, July 27, 2018
IRVINE, Calif. – The big news out of Friday morning’s prelims was U.S. National Team member Michael Andrew tying the U.S. Open and breaking the meet record in the 50m breaststroke in 26.86.
Here’s how the rest of the events shake out for tonight’s finals:
Women’s 400m IM
Olympian Leah Smith, the defending national champion, is the top seed for tonight’s finals of the 400m IM in 4:38.11. Smith finished 6th in this event at last year’s FINA World Championships.
The No. 2 seed went to fellow Olympian Melanie Margalis. Margalis finished third in the 400m IM in this very pool at the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships. She then went on that year to place 12th in this event at the Pan Pacific Championships.
Men’s 400m IM
Olympian Chase Kalisz, the reigning world champion in the 400m IM, easily qualified as the top seed for tonight’s finals in 4:11.09. He will be going for his fifth national title in this event, having won the last three years, and in 2013. On the international stage, Kalisz won the 400m IM at last year’s FINA World Championships, and took silver at the 2016 Olympic Games. He also took silver at the 2013 World Championships, and bronze at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and the 2015 World Championships. Kalisz is the third-fastest swimmer of all time in this event, behind Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
The second seed is Olympian Jay Litherland in 4:13.34. He took fifth in this event at both the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 World Championships.
Women’s 100m Fly
Kelsi Dahlia has won the last two national championship titles in the women’s 100m butterfly and is the top seed in tonight’s finals in 56.86. Dahlia won bronze in this event at last year’s World Championships, and was ninth at the 2016 Olympic Games. In last night’s finals of the 50 fly, she tied her own American record and broke the U.S. Nationals meet record in 25.48.
Men’s 100m Fly
Jack Saunderson is the top seed after this morning’s prelims in 51.48, leading a field filled with U.S. National Team members, including Olympian Jack Conger, Michael Andrew, Olympian Caeleb Dressel, Zach Harting, Matthew Josa, Andrew Seliskar and Olympian Tom Shields. Dressel is the reigning national champion in this event, and is the second-fastest swimmer of all time in the 100 fly behind Michael Phelps.
Women’s 50m Breaststroke
World record-holder Lilly King is the top seed in the women’s 50m breast in 30.16. King is the reigning world and national champion in this event, setting the world record at last year’s World Championships in 29.40. Nipping at her heels will be fellow Olympian Molly Hannis, who qualified second in 30.21. Olympian Katie Meili is also in the mix, qualifying seventh in 30.94.
Men’s 50m Breaststroke
U.S. National Team member Michael Andrew tied the U.S. Open record and broke meet record in the men’s 50m breaststroke in 26.86. The former U.S. Open record was set by Adam Peaty in March of 2017. The former American record, set by Olympian Kevin Cordes at last year’s National Championships, was 26.88. Cordes qualified third for tonight’s finals in 27.06.
Women’s 50m Backstroke
U.S. National Team member Ali DeLoof is the top seed in the women’s 50m back in 27.79. DeLoof’s sister, Gabby, qualified for the U.S. Pan Pacific Championships team last night by way of her third-place finish in the women’s 200m free. Another sister, Catie, is also competing here in Irvine this week in the sprint freestyle events.
Qualifying second was Olympian Olivia Smoliga, the American and U.S. record holder in this event. Her time from this morning’s prelims was 27.94.
Men’s 50m Backstroke
U.S. National Team member Justin Ress, the defending national champion in the 50m back, turned in the top time of the morning in 24.46, missing the meet record he set at last year’s National Championships by five-hundredths of a second. Ress finished sixth in this event at last year’s World Championships.
Olympian Matt Grevers qualified second in 24.53, followed by Michael Andrew and Olympian Ryan Held, who tied for fourth in 24.59. Olympian Ryan Murphy is the fifth seed in 24.63.
With this event, Andrew qualified for three finals for the day.