Alex Shackell Shines at Indy Spring Cup as Top Americans Tune-Up for Nationals (Weekend Roundup)

Alex Shackell -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Alex Shackell Shines at Indy Spring Cup as Top Americans Tune-Up for Nationals

Just over five weeks remain until the top American swimmers race for spots on the World Championships team in Indianapolis, and while plenty of big names raced either last weekend at the Atlanta Classic or this weekend at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, Calif., other contenders were scattered at various long course competitions throughout the country. The top performance out of those meets came from 16-year-old Alex Shackell, who swam three lifetime-best marks at the Indy Spring Cup.

Shackell opened up the meet with the 100 butterfly, and in prelims, she bettered her best time of 58.33 with a time of 57.89. The rising star from Carmel Swim Club cut two tenths more in the final, touching in 57.69 to edge out veteran Gabi Albiero (58.03). Shackell’s time ranks her fourth in the United States so far this year, with only Regan Smith (56.60), Torri Huske (56.84) and Claire Curzan (57.26) while Albiero is now sixth (with Kelly Pash fifth at 57.89).

In the 200 fly, Shackell clocked a time of 2:08.68 to beat her previous best time of 2:09.44. She now ranks fourth in the country this year behind Smith (2:07.92), Pash (2:08.25) and Dakota Luther (2:08.30). Finally, Shackell swam another best time in the 100 freestyle, her 54.69 edging out her previous top mark of 54.87 and beating out strong swims from Indiana’s Anna Peplowski (54.81) and Ohio State’s Amy Fulmer (54.87). Between all those swims, Shackell could be in a position to challenge for a spot on her first senior-level international team next month.

Also in Indianapolis, Peplowski swam a time of 1:57.02 in the 200 free, knocking a second off her previous best time of 1:58.03 that she swam to win the event at last month’s TYR Pro Series in Indianapolis. Peplowski now ranks second in the country in the event for 2023 behind Katie Ledecky (1:54.96) and will undoubtedly be in contention to challenge for a Worlds spot in the event.

A competitive race in the women’s 100 back went to Fulmer in 1:00.46, just ahead of Carmel’s Berit Berglund (1:00.50) and Peplowski (1:00.74). Fulmer also won the 50 free in 25.32, although Albiero swam a faster time of 25.23 in prelims before scratching.

On the men’s side, Indiana’s Rafael Miroslaw scored wins in the 200 free (1:47.98) and 100 free (49.23). The 200 free field also included U.S. Olympian Drew Kibler, who took second in 1:48.66, while the 100 free saw Blake Pieroni finish third in 49.65. The meet was Pieroni’s first since ending his brief retirement.

Charlie Clark, the Ohio State distance swimmer who raced for the U.S. at last year’s World Championships, posted strong times of 15:04.80 in the 1500 free and 7:55.76 in the 800 free, and Nick Albiero, older brother of Gabi, won the 100 fly in 52.57 and swam a time of 1:57.22 in the 200 fly before scratching finals. Aaron Shackell, older brother of Alex, won the event in finals in 1:58.47. Cody Miller, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in the 100 breaststroke, won his signature event in 1:01.04, beating out Tommy Cope (1:01.53) and Josh Matheny (1:01.55).

Other Meets This Weekend:

Carson Foster, the World Championships silver medalist in both individual medley events, raced at an age group meet in Austin, Texas, over the weekend and swam times of 1:56.51 in the 200 IM and 1:47.25 in the 200 free. The IM time ranks Foster as the third-fastest swimmer in the world this season behind Leon Marchand (1:55.68) and Shaine Casas (1:56.06), ahead of 2019 world champion Daiya Seto (1:56.62). In the 200 free, Foster’s time is fourth among Americans behind Kibler (1:45.82), Kieran Smith (1:46.84) and Henry McFadden (1:47.23).

Several of Foster’s Texas training partners were also racing at the meet. Shaine Casas won the 200 back (1:59.65) and 50 free (22.65) while Luke Hobson went 3:57.56 in the 400 free and Will Licon clocked 2:12.48 in the 200 breast.

Meanwhile, several members of the Texas women’s team raced at the Martha McKee Open in Charlotte, and Anna Elendt swam as fast as 1:07.14 in the 100 breast and 30.36 in the 50 breast, jumping into the global top-10 in the shorter race. Olivia Bray clocked a solid mark of 58.22 in the 100 fly while the 200 fly featured a strong swim from future Virginia Cavalier Tess Howley, who touched in 2:09.44.

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