Three-time Olympian Allison Schmitt was second behind Katie Ledecky in the 200-meter freestyle A final Thursday night at the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships.

Ledecky won her second event of the meet in 1:54.60 ahead of American record holder Schmitt (1:55.82), who trains with coach Bob Bowman at Arizona State and now represents Pitchfork Aquatics.

Schmitt returned to competitive swimming in April for the first time since the 2016 Olympics.

Leah Smith of Tucson Ford Aquatics was fourth (1:56.93) after taking second behind Ledecky in the 800 free Wednesday in Irvine, Calif.

Former Arizona swimmer Kevin Cordes, a 2016 Olympian, was fifth in the 200 breaststroke (2:09.71).

Arizona’s Chatham Dobbs, representing Tucson Ford, was third (23.38) and Giles Smith of Phoenix Swim Club fourth (23.64) in the 50 butterfly. 

ASU’s Grant House won the men’s 200 free B final in 1:46.95.

2012 Olympian Breeja Larson of Mesa, who trains with Phoenix Swim Club, was fifth in the women’s 200 breaststroke B final.

ASU’s Zach Poti was fourth in the 200 backstroke B final.

The meet continues through Sunday. Swimmers are competing for berths at the Pan Pacific Championships, Aug. 9-12 in Tokyo.

Justin Wright, Leah Smith lead Arizona swimmers in 1st day at nationals

July 25, 2018

Justin Wright of Tucson Ford Aquatics won the 200-meter butterfly Wednesday on the first night of finals at the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships in Irvine, Calif.

Wright, who swam in college at Arizona, won in 1:54.63 ahead of Zach Harting (1:55.11). Jack Conger and Gianluca Urlando tied for third (1:55.21).

Leah Smith of Tucson Ford was runner-up by almost 11 seconds behind world-record holder Katie Ledecky in the 800 freestyle.

Ledecky won in 8:11.98 followed by Smith (8:22.79) and Haley Anderson (8:24.13). Arizona State’s Cierra Runge was 10th (8:34.28).

Former UA swimmer Margo Geer and three-time Olympian Allison Schmitt, who trains at ASU with Pitchfork Aquatics, were third and sixth in the 100 free.

Simone Manuel won in 52.54 ahead of Mallory Comerford (53.09) and Geer (53.44). Schmitt, back at nationals for the first time since 2016, finished in 54.24.

Arizona-based Olympic swimmers competing for Pan Pacific berths

July 23, 2018

Olympians Matt Grevers, Allison Schmitt, Leah Smith, Cierra Runge and Breeja Larson are among Arizona-based swimmers competing for national-team berths at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

The USA Swimming nationals — Wednesday through Sunday in Irvine, Calif. — will determine qualifiers for the Pan Pacific Championships, Aug. 9-12 in Tokyo. Combined results from nationals and Pan Pacs will be used to select the roster for the 2019 World Championships.

Grevers, 33, of Tucson Ford Aquatics still is among the nation’s leading backstrokers but faces still competition in the 100-meter back from Rio Olympic three-time gold medalist Ryan Murphy.

Smith also is now training in Tucson with Arizona assistant coach Cory Chitwood, who also coached Smith when she was at Virginia.

Behind only Katie Ledecky, Smith, 23, is among the freestylers in the U.S. from 200- up to 1500-meter. She is the women’s points leader in the TYR Pro Swim Series, which includes nationals. The series champions earn $10,000 and a one-year lease of a BMW.

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Schmitt, a three-time Olympian and eight-time medalist, returned to competitive swimming this year for the first time since the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is training at Arizona State with coach Bob Bowman as is Runge, who transferred from Wisconsin to ASU in December. Both trained for the Rio Games at ASU along with now retired Michael Phelps and Chase Kalisz, the TYR Pro Swim Series men’s points leader.

Smith and Schmitt were on the U.S. gold-medal-winning 800 free relay in Rio along with Ledecky and Maya DiRado. Runge also earned a gold medal on that relay for swimming in preliminaries.

Larson, 26, of Mesa is training with Phoenix Swim Club and battling to keep up with breaststrokers like Lilly King and Katie Meili.

Other highly seeded swimmers with Arizona ties at nationals include 2016 Olympian Kevin Cordes, 2012 Olympian Margo Geer, Giles Smith and Becca Mann. Cordes is seeded first in three breaststroke events.

Many of the elite swimmers competing at nationals were in Mesa for the TYR Pro Series meet at Skyline Aquatic Center in April. 

ASU has 11 swimmers entered at nationals including Runge, who becomes eligible for the Sun Devils after the fall semester.