By Mike Watkins//Contributor | Sunday, May 19, 2019
U.S. National Team member Regan Smith set the world junior record in the 100m backstroke Sunday at the TYR Pro Swim Series at Bloomington, turning in a time of 58.82. It was her third win of the meet and the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.
Isabelle Stadden and Lisa Bratton were second and third, respectively.
The 100 back was one of three races for Smith Sunday, who also finished second in the 100m fly and 15th in the "B" final of the 50m free.
"It was a similar setup to last night, tight turnaround between the 50 (fly) and the 200 (back), so I kinda knew what I was getting myself into for the second night," Smith said. "I was super surprised. I felt way better than the morning. It felt super smooth. It was really great, best-case scenario definitely."
Smith came close to adding a meet-best fourth victory in the 100 butterfly but was out-touched by Sarah Gibson 58.41-58.52. Lillie Nordmann was a close third.
“I had a really good swim this morning,” Gibson said. “Was really excited to come back. Great competition. I mean, Regan, Mallory (Comerford), all of those girls are really amazing competitors. It’s always a pleasure to race them…Not quite the time I wanted, but this early in the season, to be able to be consistent and come back in the finals is always a good sign. Got a few more months of training going into Pan Ams and am excited to see where that takes us.”
After two second-place finishes behind Olympic and World Champion Lilly King this weekend, Annie Lazor made Sunday night’s final of the 200 breaststroke a one-woman race – winning in the fastest time in the world this year.
Lazor’s winning mark of 2:20.77 eclipsed the year’s previous best time set last weekend by Yuliya Efimova at the FINA Champions Series in Hungary by almost 2 seconds. Emily Escobedo was second while King was a very close third. Lazor’s time set a new TYR Pro Swim Series record.
“It still hasn't really sunk it yet I guess," Lazor said. "I am shaved, and I rested probably about a week or so ago, so I knew I was going to go faster than I did in previous (TYR) Pro Swims. I was hoping I could be 2:21 high, 2:21 mid. I'd be super happy with that. It's kind of more of my goal to be 2:20 by the end of the summer"
In the night’s first race, Katie Ledecky blew away the rest of the field within the first 30 meters, winning in a time of 8:10.77. The next closest swimmer, Sierra Schmidt, was more than half a pool length behind in 8:36.71. Ally McHugh finished third. The win was Ledecky’s third of the weekend along with the 200 and 400 freestyles.
Zane Grothe continued his winning ways with a third win of the meet, taking the 800 free in 7:53.40. He also won the 400 and 1500 freestyles and finished second in the 200 free. Felix Auboeck and Mikey Calvillo rounded out the top three.
“I wanted to set it up just like I will be at the end of the season, so good race strategy,” Grothe said. “I felt pretty good. I texted my mom before the start of the race and said 7:53 is what I’m going for. I nailed it.”
Also picking up win number three of the meet, Jay Litherland broke free from the group in the backstroke leg to win the 200 individual medley in 2:00.64. Will Licon was second and Vini Lanza was third.
“I’m pretty happy,” Litherland said. “I definitely did what I want to do. I definitely wanted to be under, but it’s exciting to race these guys… I just had to go for it and it’s always fun racing. (I’ll be) Moving on and just getting ready for worlds and the training camp.”
Cody Miller continued his comeback from a knee injury that plagued him most of 2018 to add the 200 breaststroke to his win total for the weekend. His time of 2:08.98 was the 12th fastest of the year and beat Licon and Daniel Roy, who were second and third.
After finishing second in the 400 IM and 400 freestyle and third in the 100 breaststroke earlier in the meet, Madisyn Cox broke through for her first win in the 200 IM. Her winning time of 2:11.10 outpaced Asia Seidt and Allie Szekely.Olympic and World Champion Simone Manuel added a win in the 50 freestyle to the 100 free she won Friday night. Her time of 24.41 was the sixth-fastest time of 2019, and beat Julie Meynen by a body length. Margo Geer was third.
Luis Martinez of Guatemala recorded his first win of the weekend, besting the field in the 100 butterfly in 51.81. Lanza and Gabriel Fantoni were second and third.
In the final event of the night, Ali Khalafalla representing Mission Viejo Swim Club won the 50 free with a time of 22.05, edging Robert Howard and Olympic Champion Nathan Adrian. The final stop on the TYR Pro Swim Series is June 12-15 in Clovis, Calif.