Entering the 400-meter individual medley final Thursday night at the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championships Trials in Indianapolis, Bel Air native Chase Kalisz (Fallston) had the opportunity he had been waiting for his entire career.
He came into the finals as the top seed, the favorite to win the national title, after finishing the preliminaries 1.39 seconds faster than anyone else in the field.
The Georgia sophomore and North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimmer did not disappoint. Kalisz raced a career-best 4 minutes, 11.83 seconds in a 2.79-second victory over Olympian Tyler Clary. En route to his first national title, Kalisz also qualified for his first FINA Aquatics World Championships, which will take place next month in Barcelona, Spain.
His swim Thursday night ranks sixth in the world this year, passing his previous career-best time of 4:11.85 set June 1 at the Santa Clara (Calif.) Grand Prix.
Kalisz still has one event remaining, the 200 IM, in which he is seeded third heading into preliminary heats Saturday. Should he finish in the top two in finals, he will swim in the event at the world championships.