Andrew sprints to 4th title as Baker cruises to easy win in 200 IM
IRVINE, US, July 30, (AFP): Double world champion Chase Kalisz won the men’s 200m individual medley in a blistering 1min 55.73sec on Sunday to cap the US swimming championships with a second IM title.
Kalisz put himself atop the world rankings for 2018 heading into the Pan Pacific Championships starting in Tokyo on Aug 9.
“That one was definitely my best race of the meet,” said Kalisz, who was disappointed with his winning time in the 400m IM two days earlier. “I honestly didn’t think I was going to go 1:55.”
Abrahm DeVine was second in 1:57.41 while Gunnar Bentz and Andrew Seliskar tied for third in 1:58.23.
Kalisz, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the 400m IM, swept the medleys at the World Championships in Budapest last year.
He said he was looking forward to the Pan Pacs, where his 200m competition could include Japan’s Kosuke Hagino and Daiya Seto and China’s Wang Shun.
The Pan Pacs are the biggest international meet for US swimmers this year, and also another qualifier for next year’s World Championships in South Korea.
Olympic 100m free gold medalist Simone Manuel completed a freestyle sprint sweep with a victory in the 50m in 24.10sec, breaking the US Open record wet by Australia’s Cate Campbell in 2008.
“I’m happy with that,” said Manuel, who led all the way.
Abbey Weitzeil was second in 24.63 and Margo Geer third in 24.79.
Michael Andrew, 19, sprinted to his fourth title of the week in the men’s 50m free, besting a field stacked with world and Olympic champions with a time of 21.49sec.
Caeleb Dressel, who won the 50m free at Budapest as part of a seven-gold World Championships haul, was second in 21.67 and Nathan Adrian, the 2012 Olympics 100m free gold medalist, was third in 21.85.
“Last one, fast one,” Andrew, a former age group phenomenon who turned pro at 14, said after a meet that saw him qualify for his first senior international championships.
He had already won the 50m butterfly and breaststroke and the 100m breaststroke.
“Being on the team, there was no pressure,” he said of the 50 free. I could race completely free. I wanted to see what I was capable of.”
Kathleen Baker, still riding high on the excitement of breaking the 100m backstroke world record on Thursday, went out hard and held on to win the 200m individual medley in a world-leading time of 2min 08.32.
It was a US Open record for the 21-year-old, who sliced three seconds off her previous best in an event that has taken a back seat to backstroke in her international competition.
“I only slept like four and a half hours last night because I was so excited,” Baker said. “When you’re having such a great meet it really just carries into your other races and gives you a lot of confidence.”
Melanie Margalis was a distant second in 2:09.43 and Ella Eastin was third in 2:10.84.
With world record-holder Katie Ledecky taking the night off, Ashley Twichell won the women’s 1,500m freestyle in 15:55.68. Ally McHugh was second in 16:02.56 and Erica Sullivan third in 16:02.88.
Zane Grothe won the men’s 800m free in a US Open record of 7:44.57 — the first time he’s swum under 7:50 in the event.
Jordan Wilimovsky was second in 7:47.51 and Robert Finke third in 7:51.45.