SWIMMING: Dressel and Ledecky claim world leaders on day one of Team USA International Trials



Another victory for American sprint superstar Caeleb Dressel!

The year after the Olympics is always a bit crazy and with the return of the 2022 World Championships to Japan, it looked like it could go off without incident. But there will be FINA Worlds 2022 – in Budapest – and here are the Phillips 66 International Team Trials in Greensboro, North Carolina to choose the American team.

The qualifying protocol is a bit complicated, with only the winner of each event guaranteed a spot on the US team, plus the top four in the 100m and 200m freestyle (for the relays). Most likely, the top two in each event will be part of the US team in Hungary.

The results? World famous brands of Olympic superstars Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky and great performance everywhere.

● Women/200m butterfly ● Veteran Hali Glitter was everywhere in this event. A winner of the Olympic trials last year and an Olympic bronze medalist, she took the lead from the start and never let up, claiming the no. 2 times from 2022: 2:06.35.

Regan Smith, who won the silver in Tokyo, finished second clear and made a brief run at Flickinger on lap three, finishing in 2:07.93, no. 4 on the world list.

Crochet Charlotte finished third in 2:08.80, with Emma Sticklen fourth (2:08.88).

● Men/200m butterfly ● Luca Urlando narrowly missed the team for Tokyo, finishing third by 0.09 at Omaha last year. And he looked like he was second this time as Thirty Julian of Cal leads to 50, 100 and 150 m. But Urlando carried him the final 20 yards and hit the wall first in 1:54.10, moving him to the no. 3 on the 2022 world list.

Julian, who led morning qualifying, was second in 1:54.22, no. 4 for 2022, ahead of the Tokyo Olympian Zach Harting (1:55.09) and Olympic medley star Hunt Kalisz (1:56.03).

● Women/100m freestyle ● Lots of experience in the final, with a brilliant field including the winner of the 2021 Olympic trials Weitzeil Abbey and a host of other Olympians, with the Tokyo Relay bronze medalist Nathalie Hinds (53.77) the qualifying leader.

The final was close, with Weitzeil in the lead at the turn, but Hinds just 0.01 behind. But he was a 19-year-old Stanford moss Torri Huske who moved best in the last 10 meters to touch first in 53.35. It’s the best of her life and that makes her no. 3 on the 2022 world list.

Huske won a silver medal in Tokyo in the 4×100m medley and finished fourth in the 100m butterfly final, after winning the US trials against Claire Curzan. Surprisingly, it was Curzan who finished second in Greensboro in 53.58 (#5 in 2022), beating Tokyo Trials finalist Erika Brown (53.59), Hinds (53.65) and kate douglas (53.99).

● Men/100m freestyle ● It was Dressel, the reigning world champion and gold medalist from Tokyo. He led qualifying at 48.12 and was the clear favorite. He took command of the final straight away and shot first, up 0.19 on Ryan held. He stayed ahead on the way back, but Brooks Curry mounted a challenge in the final 25 meters and Dressel had to stay on the gas until the finish, hitting a time of 47.79, the best in the world.

Curry, fourth at the Tokyo Trials last year and gold medalist in the 4x100m freestyle for swimming in the prelims, won the NCAA titles in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle and placed second in 48 .04 (no. 6 in 2022).

The first four of this race qualify for Budapest for the relay; Held was third in 48.18 and Drew Kibler and Hunter Armstrong tied for fourth at 48.25 (how that settles will depend on future results).

● Women/800m freestyle ● Ledecky was the big favorite and was in charge from the start, half a second ahead of Katie Grimes after only the first 50 meters!

Ledecky swam alone, of course, and was close to world record pace over about 500m and finished well with a world record 8:09.27, the no. 6 all-time performance and her first under-8:10 since 2018. She now holds the 26 highest ratings in history.

Leah Smith, the 2017 Worlds bronze medalist in the event, finished second in 8:17.52, less than a second off her lifetime best and no. 2nd in the world for 2022. Twice medalist in Rio in 2016, she was not part of the Tokyo team.

bella simsfifth at the 2021 Olympic Trials, took third in 8:22.36 and Grimes was fourth in 8:22.73.

● Men/1500m Freestyle ● olympic gold medalist Bobby Fink, who dominated the Tokyo distance races, was back in charge, charging away from the field after the first two laps. Currently swimming in Florida and the 2022 NCAA 1,650-yard freestyle champion, Finke won in style in 14:45.72, no. 3 on the global list for 2022.

Charlie Clark of Ohio State, eighth at the NCAA 1,650, swam hard to get an impressive second at 14:51.78, no. 6 for 2022. David Johnstone finished third in 15:08.90.

Wednesday’s schedule includes the 200m freestyle, 200m breaststroke, 200m backstroke and 50m butterfly finals; the finals will air live on NBC’s Olympic Channel at 6 p.m. ET.

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