Olympic medal­ists put on a show at na­tion­als

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Quick Hits - By Michael Marot

IN­DI­ANAPO­LIS — Amer­ica’s swim­mers were on top of the world Thurs­day night.

Lilly King set an Amer­i­can record in the women’s 50-me­ter breast­stroke, three other swim­mers had the fastest times in the world this sea­son and two more broke U.S. na­tional cham­pi­onship records.

Each has even big­ger plans for next month’s world cham­pi­onships in Hun­gary.

“I’m al­ways happy to get an Amer­i­can record, but I was hop­ing to go a lit­tle faster,” King said af­ter post­ing a time of 29.66 sec­onds. “I’ve think I’ve still got a lit­tle left in the tank for Bu­dapest.”

She’ll have al­most three weeks to pre­pare af­ter break­ing the record Jes­sica Hardy held for nearly eight years by 0.14. King also could be head­ing to Hun­gary with the No. 1 time in the event this year af­ter pass­ing her Rus­sian ri­val Yu­lia Efi­mova, who started the day in the No. 1 spot with a time of 29.88.

Katie Meili, an Olympic gold medal­ist like King, fin­ished in 30.11.

King has qual­i­fied in two in­di­vid­ual events and the In­di­ana Univer­sity star will chase her third win in three nights when she com­petes in her spe­cialty, the 100 back Fri­day.

She was only part of the speedy equa­tion in In­di­anapo­lis, though.

The U.S. men pro­duced world-best times in three of the night’s four events and set a cham­pi­onship record in the other one.

Chase Kal­isz started the im­pres­sive run in the men’s 400 in­di­vid­ual med­ley, fin­ish­ing in 4:06.99 — the first sub 4:07 in the world in 2017. Sec­ond-place fin­isher Jay Lither­land, Kal­isz’s team­mate at Ge­or­gia, wound up sec­ond in 4:09.31, No. 4 in the world.

Event win­ners au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify for the U.S. team. The run­ner-ups must wait for the se­lec­tion process to end be­fore find­ing out if they make the team.

“I was happy with it. I think I prob­a­bly could have swum a lit­tle faster,” Kal­isz said. “I didn’t re­ally any feel pres­sure (from Lither­land). It was just like it is in prac­tice.”

Caeleb Dres­sel fol­lowed suit in the men’s 100 but­ter­fly, win­ning in 50.87 to be­come the first swim­mer to crack the 51-sec­ond mark this year. Twenty-six-year old Tim Phillips was sec­ond in 51.30, the third-fastest time in the world.

Dres­sel has qual­i­fied in three in­di­vid­ual events for the worlds — the 100 free and the 50 and 100 fly, where he’s like to square off with ri­val Joseph School­ing of Sin­ga­pore.

“Right now, I’ve still got the 50 free left and that’s my fo­cus,” Dres­sel said. “But Joseph is one of my boys, I love that kid.”

Kevin Cordes set a cham­pi­onship record by beat­ing An­drew Wil­son with a time of 26.88 in the men’s 50 breast, No. 3 in the world, and 19-year-old Justin Ress closed it out with an­other world-best per­for­mance in the 50 back­stroke. He beat two Olympic gold medal­ists, Ryan Mur­phy and Matt Gre­vers, with a time of 24.41 — and sur­passed China’s Xu Ji­ayu for the No. 1 spot.

Mur­phy fin­ished sec­ond in 24.64 while Gre­vers was third in 24.67.

The Amer­i­can women didn’t dis­ap­point, ei­ther.

Leah Smith, who fin­ished sec­ond to Katie Ledecky in races each of the first two nights, fi­nally won the women’s 400 IM in 4:33.86. It was third on the in­ter­na­tional list. El­iz­a­beth Beisel wound up tak­ing sec­ond in 4:38.55 af­ter Ella Eastin was dis­qual­i­fied for a bad turn com­ing out of the back­stroke.

“I’m ex­cited to be go­ing to Bu­dapest, but it’s not the cir­cum­stances I would ever want to be go­ing un­der,” said the 24year-old Olympian who has only been train­ing for two months. “Am I medal con­tender? Prob­a­bly not. But I’m go­ing to give it my all.”

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