As Chase Kalisz hit the wall Sunday night at the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships in Irvine, Calif., he became the best in the world.
The Bel Air native and Olympic silver medalist clinched the 200-meter individual medley on the last day of U.S. nationals, qualifying for his second event at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo next month. His time of 1 minute, 55.73 seconds is the fastest in the world this year and just two-tenths of a second slower than Kalisz’s own lifetime best, set last summer. Kalisz also swept the IM titles at last year’s national championships.
Kalisz, a Fallston alumnus, was behind Stanford’s Abrahm DeVine for the first two legs of the race, a pattern that has not been out of character for the Maryland-born swimmer this week.
But as Kalisz flip-turned into the breaststroke, he propelled forward, quickly overtaking DeVine to transition into the freestyle with about a body-length’s lead for the win.
Also Sunday, Simone Manuel won the 50-meter freestyle, completing a sprint sweep at the U.S. national championships.
The Olympic silver medalist in Rio got to the wall first in 24.10 seconds, bettering the U.S. Open record of 24.13 set by Cate Campbell of Australia in May 2008. Manuel's time also took down the 10-year-old meet record of 24.25 by Dara Torres and it was fourth-quickest in the world this year.
Olympian Abbey Weitzeil finished second in 24.63. Margo Geer was third.
Manuel won the 100 free earlier in the meet, with Geer third and Weitzeil fourth.
Michael Andrew upset current world champion Caeleb Dressel and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nathan Adrian to win the men's 50 free.
Andrew, who turned pro five years ago at age 14, outdueled Dressel in the closing meters to touch first in 21.49. Dressel stopped the clock in 21.67, while Adrian was third in 21.85. They were the only men under 22 seconds in the final.
Andrew punched the water with his right hand and then raised both arms in the lane next to Dressel.
Kathleen Baker won her third individual event, racing to victory by 1.11 seconds in the 200 individual medley.
Baker led all the way and won in 2 minutes, 8.32 seconds, lowering the U.S. Open record of 2:08.66 set by Katinka Hosszu of Hungary in 2015. Her time in the four-stroke event was also the fastest in the world this year on the last night of the meet.
Baker qualified to swim three individual events at next month's Pan Pacific championships in Tokyo, after setting a world record in the 100 backstroke and tying for first in the 200 back.
The men's 800 free title went to Zane Grothe in 7:44.57. He broke the U.S. Open record of 7:46.78 set by Connor Jaeger in 2013. Open-water Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky was a distant second in 7:47.51.