US Open Day 4 Prelims: Mallory Comerford, Regan Smith Top Seeds; Thomas Heilman Breaks Own NAG Record

Mallory Comerford. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The 2021 US Open began its final day with the prelims session Saturday from Greensboro Aquatic Center.

Katie Ledecky has proved to be in strong form all meet, and several other Olympians have come away with victories, including Bobby Finke and Regan Smith.

Smith again has a top seed along with national teamer and NCAA champion Mallory Comerford. Meanwhile 14-year-old Thomas Heilman broke another 13-14 National Age Group Record, his sixth NAG record of the meet.


US Open: Women’s 200 Backstroke

After earning a convincing victory in the women’s 100 backstroke, Regan Smith is aiming to sweep the stroke events. The Olympic medalist took the top seed in the 200 back in 2:10.51 on Saturday.

It was a second ahead of the field and nearly seven seconds off of her own American record. Missy Franklin holds the US Open record at 2:05.68 and that could be within striking distance in the finals.

The second seed went to Olympian Leah Smith, who continues to show she is more than a distance specialist. She touched the wall in 2:11.55, ahead of Florida’s Rosie Zavaros (2:13.34).

us-open-Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.10.00 AM


US Open: Men’s 200 Backstroke

NC State’s Hunter Tapp put together an impressive prelims race in the men’s 200 backstroke. He was the only swimmer in the field to start the race with a 27 split and continued to hold the lead until he touched the wall in 1:58.74 to earn the top seed in finals.

His time was more than two seconds ahead of the field. Richie Stokes took the second seed in 2:01.40, followed by SwimMAC’s Caleb Maldari (2:01.91) and Baylor Nelson (2:02.30).

Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.17.52 AM


US Open: Women’s 100 Freestyle

Mallory Comerford continues to impress in her first big meet since the Olympic Trials. The former NCAA champion at Louisville put together a quick start with a 26.21 first 50 in the 100 freestyle, then closed in 28.89 to take the top seeding 55.10.

There was a tie for the second seed with Arina Openysheva and Camille Spink each touching the wall in 55.66.

Erin Gemmell, who has performed well in a number of events this week, squeaked into the finals with the eighth seed (56.87).

us-open-Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.22.10 AM


US Open: Men’s 100 Freestyle

Cardinal Aquatics’ Andrej Barna was close to 23 flat on his first 50, on his way to taking the top seed in the 100 free. Barna closed with a 25.63 to touch the wall first in 48.66.

Former Michigan swimmer Gus Borges took the second seed in 49.34. He also had a first split in the 23s, to finish ahead of Nitro’s Tate Jackson (49.89).

Thomas Heilman, who has set several 13-14 NAG records, took the 14th seed with a 51.12, his sixth NAG record of the meet. He broke his own previous NAG record of 51.20 that he set last year at the US Open.

He has set records in the 50 free, 100 fly, 200 free and 100 free, with the 50 free and 100 fly broken twice this meet.

Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.31.27 AM


US Open: Women’s 200 Breaststroke

Korea’s Ahryoung Kim took the top seed in the 200 breaststroke, finishing in 2:30.44.

Louisville’s Abby Hay took the second spot in 2:31.11, followed by Karina Kanary (2:34.89).

The US Open record is 2:20.38 set by Rebecca Soni, while the meet record is 2:22.00 set in 2019 by Emily Escobedo.

Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.35.15 AM


US Open: Men’s 200 Breaststroke

Brandon Fisher was able to keep a strong pace in the middle of the race to win the 200 breaststroke.

He took the top seed in 2:15.74 after being able to keep a pair of 34 splits in the middle 100 of the race.

Virginia’s Noah Nichols took the second seeding 2:17.38, followed by Marcus Mok (2:18.24).

Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.38.53 AM


US Open: Women’s 200 Butterfly

Thirty-one-year-old Leah Gingrich took the top seed in the 200 butterfly, touching the wall in  2:12.79 after an opening 29 split then a strong 33 in the second 50 to take control.

The next two seeds, Amanda Ray (2:13.18) and Regan Smith (2:13.41) are each 12 years younger than Gingrich, who will look to hold off the young guns in the final.

Leah Smith also snuck into the finals with the seventh seed (2:14.93).

Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.43.39 AM


US Open: Men’s 200 Butterfly

Korean swimmers Minseop Kim and Junheon Hwangbo took the top two seeds in the 200 butterfly.

Kim finished in 2:00.74, just ahead of Hwangbo (2:0091).

Landon Gentry was a full second behind at 2:01.94.

Thomas Heilman put together another great performance, taking the fourth seed in 2:01.95. It was not a National Age Group record, which is held by Michael Phelps (1:59.02). Heilman has set six NAG records during the meet.

Screen Shot 2021-12-04 at 11.56.17 AM