By Jim Rusnak//Director of Media Properties | Saturday, August 11, 2018
TOKYO – Here are some notes from day 3 prelims of the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, and some of the storylines to watch heading into tonight’s finals:
Women’s 400m Freestyle
Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith are the top two seeds heading into tonight’s finals of the women’s 400m in 4:02.57 and 4:04.91. The two have medaled in this event at both the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 FINA World Championships. Ledecky won gold at both meets, while Smith finished with a bronze in Rio and a silver in Budapest. They finished first and third in the 800m free on the first night of competition here in Tokyo.
Ledecky set the world record in Rio in 3:56.46 and holds 17 of the top 20 performances of all-time. She has won the 400 at every major international competition since the 2013 FINA World Championships, including the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.
The U.S. has won gold in this event at all but two Pan Pacific Championships meets – 1997 and 2006.
Men’s 400m Freestyle
Zane Grothe and Grant Shoults were the top Americans in this morning’s prelims of the 400m freestyle, turning in times of 3:45.42 and 3:48.23, respectively.
Grothe is the No. 1 seed. He was the national champion in this event two weeks ago at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine, Calif. He finished seventh in the 400 at last year’s FINA World Championships. He also won silver in the 1500m free on the first night of competition here in Tokyo.
Shoults finished second to Grothe at Nationals in the 400 and is the fourth seed for tonight’s finals. He is swimming in his first Pan Pacific Championships but represented the U.S. at last year’s World University Games, where he won bronze in this event.
An American has not won gold in the 400 at Pan Pacs since Matt Cetlinski in 1987.
Women’s 100m Butterfly
Rikako Ikee of Japan set the meet record in this morning’s prelims of the women’s 100m butterfly in 56.90. American Kelsi Dahlia was the second seed in 57.36. Her teammate and training partner from the University of Louisville, Mallory Comerford, is the fourth seed in 58.23.
Dahlia represented the United States in this event at the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 FINA World Championships, where she finished ninth and third, respectively.
Comerford’s first major international competition was last year’s FINA World Championships, where she won five gold medals – all in relays. This marked the first time she competed in the 100m butterfly at a major international competition. She was fourth in last night’s 100m free.
Men’s 100m Butterfly
Caeleb Dressel swam away with the top seed in this morning’s prelims in 51.69. He is the national champion, the reigning world champion and second-fastest swimmer of all time in this event, behind the legendary Michael Phelps. He is also one of three swimmers to break the 50-second barrier in the 100 fly. So far this week, Dressel has won silver in the 100m free and bronze in the mixed 400m medley relay.
Teammate Jack Conger was the second seed in 51.76. Conger finished seventh in last night’s finals of the men’s 200m fly.
Dressel and Conger will be going for the United States’ fifth straight Pan Pacs gold in this event, a streak that extends back to 2002.
Women’s 200m IM
Ella Eastin and Melanie Margalis will be the top Americans for tonight’s finals, qualifying as the fourth and fifth seeds in 2:10.25 and 2:11.18.
Eastin won silver in the 200 IM at the 2017 World University Games and silver in the 200 IM at the 2016 Short Course World Championships. She placed third in this event two weeks ago at Nationals.
Margalis represented the U.S. in this event at the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2017 FINA World Championships, where she placed fourth and seventh, respectively. Margalis took silver in the 400m IM on the first night of competition.
The top seed for tonight’s finals is Miho Teramura, who set a meet record in 2:09.86.
Men's 200m IM
Chase Kalisz, the reigning world champion in the 200m IM, qualified as the first seed for tonight’s finals in 1:57.07. He will go head-to-head with Kosuke Hagino of Japan, the defending Pan Pac champion and Olympic silver medalist in this event.
American Abrahm DeVine qualified as the third seed in 1:58.45. DeVine finished 10th in the 200m IM at last year’s FINA World Championships.
The U.S. had won this event at four straight Pan Pacific Championships until 2014, when Hagino took the title.