A recent SwimVortex look at the coming year in American waters analyzed a brewing storm in the 200 breaststroke, where as many as seven men could make a run for a berth to the World Championships this summer in Budapest. At the helm of the storm is Josh Prenot, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the event from the Games in Rio.
As the USA Swimming Pro Series got rolling on Friday night in Austin, Prenot maintained his status as the man to beat in the race for USA berths. Behind a triumphant time of 2:11.15, the Cal-Berkeley product held off Nic Fink, who was second in 2:11.40. Andrew Wilson, the star of the Division III college scene for Emory College, was third in 2:13.12.
Trailing Wilson at the midway point, 1:03.55 to 1:04.11, Prenot moved into the lead spot on the third lap and fended off Fink down the stretch. The victory enabled Prenot to start his season in successful fashion, just a handful of months after he finished as the runnerup to Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin in the 200 breast at the Rio Games. Prenot is part of a stacked field in the event in the United States, with Fink, Wilson, Kevin Cordes, Will Licon, Cody Miller and Reece Whitley also rating as challengers for duty in Budapest.
Japan’s Daiya Seto, the bronze medalist in the 400 individual medley in Rio, secured victory in the 100 fly in Austin, his clocking of 52.67 supplying a comfortable decision over American teenager Michael Andrew (53.32). Seto is set up for a big weekend as the 100 fly ranks as his fourth-best event, trailing both medley disciplines and the 200 fly.
Three-time Olympian Amanda Weir was the only woman to eclipse the 55-second barrier in the 100 freestyle, going 54.60. On the men’s side, Japan’s Shinri Shioura paced a multi-country podium with a winning time of 49.16, ahead of the 49.32 of American Ryan Held and the 49.51 of Canadian Yuri Kisil.
A 2:26.14 effort was swift enough to hand the United States’ Melanie Margalis first place in the 200 breaststroke while Sarah Gibson earned top honors in the 100 butterfly in 58.94. Ashley Twichell (4:08.99) and Anton Ipsen (3:49.59) claimed 400 free titles.