By USA Swimming | Saturday, April 13, 2019
The scene in Richmond, Virginia was once again one of excitement, blazing times and record-breaking performances. With just one day left of the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series at Richmond, Friday’s finals lived up to expectations.
The night started off with Hali Flickinger (Spring Grove, Penn./Athens Bulldog Swim Club) swimming the fastest time in the world this year in the 200m butterfly, touching in 2:07.03. The time is seven tenths of a second faster than the previous top time of 2019, set by Flickinger at last month’s TYR Pro Swim Series at Des Moines. Flickinger has now won all three 200m butterfly events in 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series competition, and has 14 finishes inside the top 3 in TYR Pro Swim Series events, good for the second most among female swimmers.
A tight-knit women’s 50m freestyle was one of the headlining events of the night, with a decorated A final that included Simone Manuel (Sugar Land, Texas/Alto Swim Club), Olivia Smoliga (Glennview, Ill./Athens Bulldog Swim Club), Kelsi Dahlia (Westampton, N.J./ Cardinal Aquatics) and Margo Geer (Milford Center, Ohio/Mission Viejo Nadadores) taking the pool, the pre-swim anticipation was exceeded by a top 3 separated by less than two tenths of a second. In the end, Smoliga took first in 24.83. The win marks Smoliga’s second victory in as many days, and third of 2019.
Behind Smoliga, Manuel and Egyptian Olympian Farida Osman finished in a two-way tie for second. Both Olympians touched in 24.97, marking the first top 3 tie of 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series competition. Osman would later set a TYR Pro Swim Series record with a 25.65 in the 50m butterfly.
Just 14 minutes after Smoliga took the 50m freestyle title, she returned to the pool for the 100m backstroke, which she won in 58.73, setting a new TYR Pro Swim Series record and becoming the third-fastest time in the world in 2019.
“I’m so pleased with that [time],” added Smoliga after the race. “We’ve been training so hard, really working on our back 50. I knew I had the 50m freestyle before this, so I tried to just tough it out and tried to see what I could go on. I’m so happy with that [time], it’s really great.”
The men’s 50m freestyle yielded another close finish, with Caeleb Dressel (Green Cove Springs, Fla./ Gator Swim Club) recording the third fastest time in world in 2019 with a 21.69 mark. Dressel out swam fellow national teamer Michael Andrew (Encinitas Calif./Race Pace Club) who touched in 21.83. Dressel’s swim marked the third-fastest in the world in 2019 and made him the first athlete this year to take down Andrew in the TYR Pro Swim Series 50m freestyle event.
Dressel and Andrew would go on to finish top 2 again later in the night, when Dressel took the 50m butterfly title in 23.43, just ahead of Andrew’s 23.54 time. The event marked Dressel’s fourth win of the meet, the most of all athletes in the field.
Another memorable performance came from Ryan Murphy (Jacksonville, Fla./California Aquatics) in the 100m backstroke. Murphy paid homage to fellow Olympian Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash./California Aquatics), who was diagnosed with testicular cancer in January, by wearing Adrian’s swim cap during his winning swim. Murphy touched in 53.47, just over three-tenths of a second ahead of the competition.
Also earning wins on the night were Annie Lazor (Beverly Hills, Mich./Mission Viejo Nadadores) and Josh Prenot (Santa Maria, Calif./ California Aquatics) in the 200m breaststroke and Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md./Nation’s Capital Swim Club) in the 400m freestyle.
If you missed Friday night’s finals action, a delayed broadcast will air on NBC Sports Network at 1:30 a.m. ET. Saturday marks the final day of the meet, with prelims beginning at 9 a.m. ET and available via live stream atsftest.usaswimming.org. The night’s finals begin at 5:40 p.m. ET with B finals available atsftest.usaswimming.org and A finals airing live on The Olympic Channel. A delayed broadcast will air Sunday morning at 1:30 a.m. Live results are available at omegatiming.com.