USA Swimming News

Friday, June 30, 2023

Tight Races, Near Record-Breaking Performances Rule Night Three of Phillips 66 National Championships

Katharine Berkoff header 885x544

The 2023 Phillips 66 National Championships continued Thursday at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis with a new batch of national champions crowned and more tickets punched to the World Aquatics Championships next month in Fukuoka, Japan. 

The night was filled with fast racing and tight finishes but none tighter than the women’s 50m backstroke where Katherine Berkoff (Missoula, Mont./Wolfpack Elite) got her hand on the wall just .01 seconds ahead of Regan Smith (Lakeville, Minn./Sun Devil Swimming), and just .01 seconds off her own American and U.S. Open records. 

“You don’t really have to think about (the 50m backstroke) a whole lot because it’s so fast,” Berkoff said. “I’m really trying to nail my start and get the details right. It wasn’t as good of a start this morning, so I was a little nervous, but I felt like my swimming was pretty on. It felt really good to swim the 50 back. I couldn’t even see how close it was.” 

Katie Grimes (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada) kicked the night off with her first national title in the 400m individual medley, clocking a time of 4:33.80. With her win, Grimes has now secured a spot on the pool team, in addition to her open water team slot, for this year’s World Aquatics Championships. 

“Honestly, my only emotion was relief because I was giving myself a really tough mental challenge for some reason with that race,” Grimes said. “I couldn’t really figure out why. I felt really relieved that I overcame that. I’m not super happy with the time but we’ll get there.” 

On the men’s side, Carson Foster (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mason Manta Rays) defended his national title in the 400m individual medley with a time of 4:08.14, out-touching 2020 Olympic gold medalist Chase Kalisz (Baltimore, Md./Sun Devil Swimming) by .08 seconds. 

“It was a great race,” Foster said. “The U.S. is so deep in the 400 IM so you know you’re never going to run away with it. I think it was good for me to practice racing and stay tough the last 30 meters. I’m just glad I get to run it back with Chase (Kalisz) again.” 

Defending World Champion in the event, Torri Huske (Arlington, Va./Arlington Aquatic Club) won the 100m butterfly with a time of 56.18, the best time posted in the world this year. 

“There’s a lot of fast swimming at this meet which is really exciting, and it’s also a little bit stressful,” Huske said. “(Other athletes) are going to bring out the best in you so it’s a good thing to have that. I was just trying to focus on my race, and I typically go out pretty fast, so I was just trying to not look around me and focus on myself.” 

Dare Rose (Jersey City, N.J./California Aquatics) won his first national championship and set a new personal best en route to winning the 100m butterfly in a time of 50.74. 

“I wanted to put my head down and get to the wall,” Rose said. “I was happy with that.” 

Swimming the third-fastest time in the world this year, Lilly King (Evansville, Ind./Indiana Swim Club) picked up her second win of these national championships with her victory in the 50m breaststroke. 

“At some point – last year, maybe – I started overthinking the 50, which I never thought I would do,” King said. “That’s definitely the best it’s felt. I stuck to the race plan and had a good time. I think my one-day-a-week of sprint group is helping.” 

Nic Fink (Morristown, N.J./Metro Atlantic Aquatic Club) won the men’s 50m breaststroke in a time of 26.74. 

“I knew going into this meet, I’d be a little sharper in the 50 and 100 (breaststroke),” Fink said. “I have more eggs in those baskets. I’m happy the 50 (breaststroke) turned out well after the 200 (breaststroke).” 
Justin Ress (Cary, N.C./Mission Viejo Nadadores) rounded out the night with his win in the 50m backstroke, clocking 24.10 – the best time posted in the world this year. 

“I’m learning not to worry,” Ress said. “Once you’re behind the blocks, there’s nothing more you can do to improve it. Might as well go out and have fun, say ‘what’s up’ to the crowd. That’s what I did, and it worked out. The finish was great tonight, but I was worried about the start.” 

2023 World Aquatics Championships Qualifiers as of June 29:  

Kate Douglass – 100m freestyle, 200m breaststroke  
Erin Gemmell – 4x200m freestyle relay  
Katie Grimes – 400m individual medley 
Torri Huske – 4x100m freestyle relay, 100m butterfly 
Lilly King – 200m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke 
Katie Ledecky – 800m freestyle, 200m freestyle  
Bella Sims – 4x200m freestyle relay  
Regan Smith – 200m butterfly, 200m backstroke 
Olivia Smoliga – 4x100m freestyle relay  
Gretchen Walsh – 4x100m freestyle relay, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly 
Claire Weinstein – 200m freestyle 
Abbey Weitzeil – 100m freestyle  

Jack Alexy – 100m freestyle  
Matt Fallon – 200m breaststroke  
Bobby Finke – 1500m freestyle  
Carson Foster – 200m butterfly, 400m individual medley 
Chris Guiliano – 100m freestyle 
Luke Hobson – 200m freestyle  
Drew Kibler – 4x200m freestyle relay  
Matt King – 4x100m freestyle relay 
Destin Lasco – 4x100m freestyle relay, 200m backstroke 
Jake Mitchell – 4x200m freestyle relay  
Ryan Murphy – 200m backstroke 
Dare Rose – 100m butterfly 
Kieran Smith – 200m freestyle 

Competition continues through Saturday with prelims beginning at 10 a.m. ET and finals at 7 p.m. ET daily. Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on and 7 p.m. on Peacock. 

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