Day four of the 2018 U.S. National Championships was full of surprises, best-times, and broken records. Many of our Florida swimmers are out in Irvine, California going head-to-head with the nation’s top swimmers. Here are some notable highlights from Saturday’s Competition.
As expected, Katie Ledecky won her third race of the meet on Saturday, touching first in the 400-meter freestyle at 3:59.09. Leah Smith (4:02.21) took second followed by open-water world champion Haley Anderson (4:07.21). After a lifetime best in the 400-meter freestyle Saturday morning by nearly two seconds, Bolles’ Kensey McMahon dropped an additional half-a-second at night to take second in the D-Final with a 4:13.61.
In the 100-meter breastroke, Lilly King finally secured her spot on the 2018 Pan Pacs team after a disappointing 200 breastroke on Thursday. King swam a 1:05.36- the second-fastest time in the world this year- to grab first, followed by Olympian Katie Meili (1:06.19).
Olympic gold medalist Kathleen Baker set a new world record in the 100-meter backstroke Saturday night, touching first at 58.00. Fellow Olympian Olivia Smoliga earned her spot on the 2018 Pan Pacs team by grabbing second with a 58.75. Gator Swim Club’s Caitlin Brooks took about two-tenths of a second off her best time in prelims, going 1:01.51. Brooks swam to a third place finish in the C-Final Saturday night with a 1:01.59.
The men’s 400-meter freestyle was a close battle between Zane Grothe and Stanford’s Grant Shoults. Grothe (3:46.53) just out-touched Shoults (3:46.90) to take the national title. Florida grad Mitch D’Arrigo, who still swims at Florida, won the B-Final with a 3:49.88, just off his best time. Seventeen-year-old Julian Hill of Gator Swim Club finished fifth in the D-Final in 3:55.76, only a second off his lifetime best prelims swim of 3:54.73.
Michael Andrew, who’s had a stellar meet so far, beat out Andrew Wilson (59.43) to take the 100-meter breaststroke title in 59.38. Bolles’ Paul Degrado finished sixth in the D-Final going his best time 1:03.42.
Reigning World and Olympic champion Ryan Murphy completed his backstroke sweep for this year’s national championships take first in the 100-Meter backstroke in 52.51. Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers was close behind, touching in 52.55. Taking sixth in the championship final was Florida native Austin Katz, who swam his lifetime best by over a second going 54.06
Written by Hanna Barton