Shields and Lee Highlight Thursday at the U.S. Open


Americans Tom Shields (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Felicia Lee (Wayne, N.J.) won titles in the 100-meter butterfly on the third day of competition at the 2013 U.S. Open at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine, Calif. Shields set a new U.S. Open meet record with a lifetime best of 51.65.

Shields, who was sixth at the 50m mark, swam a 27.05 on the final length to take the title. Shields’ swim marks the best by an American this year, and fourth best in the world so far in 2013.

“It’s been a tough couple of months with the transition from [college to professional swimming] and I feel like this swim was me teaching myself how to handle a different kind of pressure,” said Shields, who is swimming in front of roughly twenty family members and friends. “I used to practice in this pool so to do this in my own community feels great.”

Top-seeded Tim Phillips (Vienna, W.Va.) touched second at 51.78 and Tyler McGill (Champaign, Ill.) finished third with a 52.07.

In the women’s 100m fly, Lee won the title, clocking a 58.94. She out-touched Australia’s Christina Licciardi (59.27) and Great Britain’s Tilly Gray (59.28), who finished in second and third, respectively. At the halfway point, every swimmer was within .2 of each other.

In the women’s 400m IM, Australia’s Keryn McMaster hung on to win the event in 4:39.97.  Celina Li (Pleasanton, Calif) finished second in 4:39.47. Sarah Henry (Garner, N.C.) rallied for a third place finish in 4:40.85.

In the men’s 400m IM, Sebastien Rousseau of South Africa set a U.S. Open meet record, out-doing the field with a 4:11.11, the fourth best time in the world this year. Gunnar Bentz (Atlanta, Ga.) finished second in 4:15.81 and Stephen Schmuhl (Broomfield, Colo.) stopped the clock in 4:16.07 for third place.

The U.S. Open will continue at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center through Saturday, Aug. 3 and will be followed by the Speedo Junior National Championships from Aug 5-9. The meet can be watched live on www.usaswimming.org/nationals.