U.S. Nationals: Six Finals Coming Up Tuesday Evening; Curzan Among B-Final Scratches
The first evening of finals at U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday with action in the women’s and men’s 200 butterfly, women’s and men’s 100 freestyle, women’s 800 freestyle and men’s 1500 freestyle. The session will be streamed on Peacock.
In the women’s 200 fly, Regan Smith will swim in lane four after recording the top qualifying mark in prelims, with veteran Dakota Luther and local teenager Alex Shackell swimming on either side of her. Hali Flickinger, a medalist in the 200 fly at the last two World Championships plus the Tokyo Olympics, qualified sixth, and she looms as an outside threat. Carson Foster is the top-ranked swimmer in the men’s 200 fly while younger Thomas Heilman has a change to get onto the Worlds team after he qualified second in prelims.
The 100 freestyle events will include scrambles for relay spots, with six swimmers likely to travel to Budapest in both races. Abbey Weitzeil and Kate Douglass were the top two women ahead of Olivia Smoliga and Gretchen Walsh, with all four swimming lifetime-best marks in prelims, while reigning Worlds 100 free bronze medalist Torri Huske qualified fifth.
A field lacking experience in the men’s race included four men who broke 48 this morning, three of them for the first time ever as Jack Alexy, Destin Lasco and Matt King surround veteran Ryan Held. Katie Ledecky races for the first time in the 800 free final, between familiar American rivals Katie Grimes and Leah Smith, while Olympic champion Bobby Finke is the favorite in the men’s 1500 free.
No swimmers scratched from the A-final, but after a flurry of high-profile A-final misses in the 100 free, most of those big names set to race in the B-final have scratched to focus on other events. Claire Curzan scratched the women’s B-final, and Erika Brown withdrew from the C-final, but Natalie Hinds remained in the field to race the consolation heat. In the men’s event, Hunter Armstrong, Kieran Smith, Luke Hobson and Shaine Casas all withdrew after missing out on the A-final. Brooks Curry is still swimming the B-final.
Meanwhile, Gabriel Jett withdrew from the 200 fly B-final after the third seed in the event fell to 11th in prelims. In the women’s 200 fly, Grimes was the ninth-place finisher in prelims, but she is unsurprisingly out of the B-final to concentrate on the 800 free.