Michael Andrew caps breakout US Nationals with 50 free win
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Michael Andrew is swimming in deeper waters now, having qualified for his first major international senior meet with a breakout performance at the U.S. national championships.
Andrew earned his fourth victory, upsetting current world champion Caeleb Dressel and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nathan Adrian in the 50-meter freestyle on Sunday night.
"My lucky number is four," Andrew said, noting it signifies the fastest qualifying lane. "I felt like it would be a nice way to end nationals with four titles."
Andrew, who turned pro five years ago at age 14, outdueled Dressel in the closing meters to touch first in 21.49.
"I'm superstoked with the time and for the entire nationals," Andrew said. "It's been incredible."
Andrew punched the water with his right hand and then raised both arms in the lane next to Dressel.
"Already being on the team there was no pressure, I could race completely free," Andrew said.
He also won the 100 breaststroke and titles in the 50 breast and 50 butterfly at the meet that determined the U.S. roster for next month's Pan Pacific championships in Tokyo.
Dressel finished in 21.67, while Adrian was third in 21.85. They were the only men under 22 seconds in the 50 free final.
Simone Manuel won the women's 50 free to go with her earlier title in the 100 free.
"There's a lot of aspects in both my races that I can improve going into Tokyo," she said.
The Olympic silver medalist in Rio got to the wall first in 24.10, bettering the U.S. Open record of 24.13 set by Cate Campbell of Australia in May 2008. Manuel's time also took down the 10-year-old meet record of 24.25 by Dara Torres and it was fourth-quickest in the world this year.
"That's cool," Manuel said of the records.
Olympian Abbey Weitzeil finished second in 24.63. Margo Geer was third.
Geer was third in the 100 free and Weitzeil was fourth.
Kathleen Baker won her third individual event, racing to victory by 1.11 seconds in the 200 individual medley.
Baker led all the way and won in 2 minutes, 8.32 seconds, lowering the U.S. Open record of 2:08.66 set by Katinka Hosszu of Hungary in 2015. Her time in the four-stroke event was also the fastest in the world this year.
Baker qualified to swim three individual events at Pan Pacs after setting a world record in the 100 backstroke and tying for first in the 200 back.
Olympian Chase Kalisz won the men's 200 IM in 1:55.73, fastest in the world this year.
The men's 800 free title went to Zane Grothe in 7:44.57. He broke the U.S. Open record of 7:46.78 set by Connor Jaeger in 2013. Open-water Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky was a distant second in 7:47.51.
Ashley Twichell won the 1,500 free by 6.88 seconds over Ally McHugh. Twichell touched in 15:55.68, the only woman in the final to break 16 minutes. McHugh was timed in 16:02.56.