TYR Pro Swim Series Mission Viejo: Youssef Ramadan, Ryan Held Tie in 50 Butterfly (Men’s Recap)

Youssef Ramadan -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

TYR Pro Swim Series Mission Viejo: Youssef Ramadan, Ryan Held Tie in 50 Butterfly (Men’s Recap)

During the Friday night finals session at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, Calif., Gabriel Jett asserted himself as a legitimate U.S. contender in the 200 freestyle while Nic Fink once again came out on top in the 50 breaststroke. Next, a pair of sprint specialists at different ends of the experience spectrum tied in the 50 butterfly. The session also included men’s finals in the 200 backstroke, where Keaton Jones grabbed an upset win over world champion Ryan Murphy, and the 400 IM.

Men’s 200 Freestyle

Gabriel Jett had a rough swim Thursday in his best event, finishing sixth in the 200 butterfly, but he bounced back in a big way in the 200 free as he finished just off his best time to win by almost a second. Jett, who just completed his sophomore year at Cal, took control of the event on the second 50 and pulled away to win by more than six tenths. His final time of 1:47.54 was just a hair behind his best time of 1:47.41, and Jett is poised to take a run at a relay spot on the U.S. World Championships team next month.

Stanford’s Michael Cotter came in second in 1:48.21, leading a quartet of swimmers who all finished in the 1:48-range. Jack Dahlgren was third in 1:48.58, just ahead of 2022 Worlds relay alternate Coby Carrozza (1:48.65) and Jett’s Cal teammate Robin Hanson (1:48.85). Veteran Grant House ended up sixth (1:49.15).

Men’s 50 Breaststroke

Lately, a men’s breaststroke event at any U.S. meet means it’s time for Nic Fink to do his thing, and the 29-year-old had no peer in the 50 breast final, finishing three tenths clear of the field for his second win of the meet after previously topping the 100 breast Thursday. Fink finished in 27.50 for the win, while Matthew Jensen took second in 27.83. Third went to Brandon Fischer in 27.95.

Men’s 50 Butterfly

Two sprinters touched the wall at exactly the same time to share the win in the 50 butterfly. American Ryan Held, a 27-year-old veteran of the 2016 Olympics and 2022 World Championships, is best known for his freestyle while Egyptian Youssef Ramadan, a 20-year-old based at Virginia Tech, was the NCAA champion this year in the 100-yard fly. Although Held is mostly a freestyler, their skillsets converged in the one-lap butterfly race, and both touched in 23.76.

Hunter Armstrong, better known for his times in sprint freestyle and backstroke, finished second in 23.84, just ahead of his Cal training partner Dare Rose (23.87) and Arizona State’s Jonny Kulow (23.91).

Men’s 200 Backstroke

Keaton Jones pulled off a significant upset in the 200 backstroke as he knocked off world champion Ryan Murphy. Jones actually led for most of the race, and he pulled into the wall in 1:57.04 to beat his previous best time of 1:57.97 by nine tenths. Jones became the ninth-fastest swimmer in the world this season, with only Murphy and Carson Foster the only Americans to have broken 1:57.

Murphy looked poised to steal the title with a strong last 50, but he did not have the finishing burst to hang with Jones, and he ended up second in 1:57.50. His top time this year, a 1:56.31 from last month’s Pro Series meet in Westmont, Ill., is just over a second faster and ranks fourth in the world this year. Another Cal swimmer, Hugo Gonzalez, finished well to take third in 1:57.73 while yet another Golden Bear, NCAA 200-yard back champion Destin Lasco, ended up fourth in 1:58.42.

Men’s 400 IM

A pair of Texas swimmers earned the top two spots in this event, with David Johnston topping the field by almost four seconds with his time of 4:17.27. Johnston previously finished fourth in the 400 free Thursday evening. Jake Foster grabbed second in 4:21.20, edging out Texas A&M’s Baylor Nelson (4:21.75) by a half-second.

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