Five of the six events on day two of the Phillips 66 National Championships went to first-time National Champions, while Katie Ledecky of Gator Swim Club earned her second win of the meet in the women’s 200m free.
Six swimmers broke 1:47 in the men’s 200-meter free final, with Luke Hobson moving up from fourth at the final turn to first overall in 1:46.14, just ahead of 2020 Olympian Kieran Smith in 1:46.32. Swim Atlanta’s Jake Magahey swam a 1:46.62 to finish third.
“Going in, I knew I wanted to take out that first 100 pretty smooth; (I) really work on that third 50 and last and it worked out well. I had it coming home, and it felt great,” Hobson said. “(I was) really building through that third 50 just to set myself up to come home and get my hand on the wall first.”
Ledecky bested the field in the women’s 200m free final with a 1:54.50, her fastest time this year and the fastest she’s been since she swam a 1:54.40 in April 2021. Nation’s Capital’s Erin Gemmell stayed as close to Ledecky as she could throughout the race and ended with a 1:56.14, a personal best by nearly a second. Cavalier Aquatics’ Claire Tuggle rounded out the top three in 1:58.34.
"I didn’t feel very sharp this morning so just wanted to try and turn it around," Ledecky said. "I went a lot faster than I kind of expected after this morning, so I’m really pleased with how that went.”
Indiana’s Mackenzie Looze used a strong back-half of the race to power her way to victory in the women’s 200m breast final. Looze, who turned in fifth at the first wall, had the fastest third-and-fourth 50s of the whole field and finished in 2:25.35. Cavalier Aquatics’ Anna Keating (2:25.82) and Nashville Aquatic Club’s Ella Nelson (2:27.40) rounded out the top three.
“I’ve definitely been working on my strategy for that race for quite a long time," Looze said. "To be honest, it’s hard to realize how fast you have to go out with it. In 200s, you kind of want to take it out kind of easy. Lilly King–who is a good friend of mine–says ‘Just take it out and hope no one catches you.’ So, honestly, that was kind of the idea: Take it out with the field, push it the last 100 and see how it goes, and it went well so I’m really glad!”
After an epic semi-final swim last summer at Olympic Trials, Athens Bulldog’s Matt Fallon proved that swim was no fluke with another come-from-behind win in the men’s 200m breast. After turning in seventh at the halfway point, Fallon turned on the jets and came home nearly two seconds faster than anyone else on the second 100 to win in 2:07.91, a second under his 2:08.91 from Trials. Mason Manta Rays’ Jake Foster finished second in 2:09.00, right in front of Caspar Corbeau (2:09.03).
Cal’s Isabelle Stadden upset 2020 Olympian Rhyan White to win the women’s 200m back, 2:07.29 to 2:07.51. Cavalier Aquatics had another podium finish with Reilly Tiltmann posting a 2:09.61 for third. Swim Atlanta’s Jack Aikins got his hand on the wall first in the men’s 200m back with a 1:57.52, just in front of Dynamo’s Ian Grum (1:57.59) and Lake Oswego’s Nick Simons (1:57.70).
Tomorrow’s prelims are scheduled to begin at noon ET with finals starting at 8 p.m. ET.