By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Thursday, August 9, 2018
TOKYO – Day 1 of the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships from Japan.
If you’re new to the Pan Pac format, it’s a little different from most international meets. Countries may enter as many swimmers as they like in each event, but no more than two swimmers per country may compete in the “A” finals. The others may compete in the “B” finals.
There’s a lot on the line for American athletes at this meet, namely, spots on the roster for the 2019 FINA World Championships Team, which will compete July 21-28 of next year in Gwangju, South Korea. Here’s a look at the selection process for Worlds:
A maximum 26 men and 26 women will be selected for the 2019 FINA World Championships, using the following criteria based on times posted at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships (A final only) and 2018 Pan Pacific Championships (A and B finals only):
Priority #1: The four fastest times in the finals of the 100m and 200m freestyle and the fastest time in the finals of each individual Olympic event other than the 100m and 200m freestyle.
Priority #2: The second-fastest time in the finals in each individual Olympic event other than the 100m and 200m free style.
Priority #3: The fastest time in the finals at Nationals in each non-Olympic event. Pending available spots, athletes within priority #3 will be added to the team in order based on the integrated world rankings of their A final time at Nationals.
Priority #4: The fifth-fastest time in the finals in the 100m and 200m freestyle.
Priority #5: The sixth-fastest time in the finals in the 100m and 200m freestyle.
If the above priorities result in a list of more than 26 men or 26 women, integrated world rankings will be used for the selection. If all five priorities are used and the result is fewer than 26 men or 26 women, no additional swimmers will be added. Note: This is an abbreviated version of the selection criteria. For the complete document, visit sftest.usaswimming.org.
With those explanations out of the way, here’s a look at some notes heading into tonight’s finals:
Women’s 100m Breaststroke
An American has won the women’s 100m breaststroke at every Pan Pacs since 2002. Olympic champion, world champion and world record-holder Lilly King is poised to make it five straight for the U.S. on the Pan Pac stage, qualifying first in this morning’s prelims in 1:05.76. She’ll get some backup from teammate Micah Sumrall, who qualified third in 1:06.44. Sumrall finished third in this event two weeks ago at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine, Calif. She was only a tenth of a second off her time at Nationals with her prelim swim this morning.
Men’s 100m Breaststroke
It’s been a while since an American has won the men’s 100m breast at Pan Pacs – 2006, to be exact. Leading the way as the top qualifier is Andrew Wilson in 59.42. Wilson finished second in this event at Nationals two weeks ago and is competing at his first Pan Pacs. He won a gold medal in the 100m breast at the 2017 World University Games. His time this morning was a hundredth faster than it was at Nationals.
Michael Andrew qualified as the second American to swim in tonight’s “A” finals. He was the national champion two weeks ago in Irvine, Calif., and is competing in his first Pan Pacific Championships. He is the third seed in 59.55.
Women’s 200m Freestyle
Katie Ledecky is back, looking to defend her 2014 Pan Pac titles in four events – the 200 free, the 400 free, the 800 free and the 1500 free. She starts today with the 200m free. This morning, she broke her own meet record in 1:55.16. The former mark, set in 2014, stood at 1:55.74. Ledecky is competing in her second Pan Pacific Championships and is already tied for sixth as the most decorated female swimmer in Pan Pacs history. Four individual wins this week will make her third all-time behind legends Jenny Thompson (12) and Janet Evans (9).
Allison Schmitt, competing in her first international competition since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, is the second seed in 1:56.36. Schmitt took a year off after Rio, and began training occasionally in the fall of 2017, before committing to a full-time training schedule in January of this year. She was elected captain of the women’s Pan Pac team.
Men’s 200m Freestyle
Andrew Seliskar and Townley Haas took the top two spots in this morning’s prelims in 1:45.81 and 1:46.19, respectively. Seliskar was the national champion two weeks ago in Irvine, Calif. He is a first-time Pan Pacs qualifier, but this is not his first international meet. He finished eighth in the 50 and 200 butterfly at the 2015 World University Games.
Haas, meanwhile, is also a first-time Pan Pacs qualifier, but competed for the U.S. in this event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where he finished fifth; and at the 2017 FINA World Championships, where he won silver.
Women’s 400m IM
The top two Americans qualifying for tonight’s finals of the women’s 400m IM were Melanie Margalis and Brooke Forde.
Margalis is competing at her second Pan Pacs and took the second seed for tonight’s finals in 4:39.09. She took 12th in the 400m IM at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and was third in this event two weeks ago at Nationals.
Forde is competing in her first Pan Pacs, and is seeded fifth in 4:40.76.
The U.S. has won the 400 IM at three straight Pan Pacs, dating back to 2006.
Men’s 400m IM
World Champion and world record-holder Chase Kalisz will be looking to win the U.S.’s first Pan Pacs gold in the men’s 400m IM since 2010. He is the top seed in 4:10.97. Kalisz won bronze in this event at the 2014 Pan Pacs, took silver at the 2016 Olympic Games and then won gold at last year’s FINA World Championships. He is the third-fastest swimmer of all-time in the 400m IM, behind Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.
Women’s 800m Free
Katie Ledecky is the top seed in tonight’s timed finals of the women’s 800m freestyle. Ledecky owns 19 of the top 20 performances of all time in this event, including the world record of 8:04.79 and the Pan Pacs record of 8:11.35, set in 2014. She has won the 800 free at every major international competition since the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It will be the first of two individual events she’s swimming tonight, including the 200m free.
Joining her in the finals will be teammate Leah Smith. Smith is one of the U.S. team captains, along with Allison Schmitt. She is competing in her second Pan Pacs. She was ninth in this event at the 2014 Pan Pacs, sixth at the 2016 Olympic Games and third at the 2017 World Championships. She is seeded second for tonight’s finals, behind Ledecky.
Men’s 1500m Free
Jordan Wilimovsky and Robert Finke are the second and third seeds in tonight’s finals of the men’s 1500m free. Wilimovsky won this event at the Phillips 66 National Championships two weeks ago. He was seventh in this event at the 2014 Pan Pacs, and fourth at the 2016 Olympic Games. He will also swim the men’s 800m free and open water 10k later this week.
Finke is competing at his first Pan Pacs. At 18 years old, he is the youngest male member of the 2018 U.S. Pan Pacs Team. He was second behind Wilimovsky in the 1500 at Nationals, and finished 21st in this event at last year’s World Championships.Start Lists