In a field that included multiple Olympic champions, it wasn’t a question of whether Americans would bring home hardware, just how much of it.
U.S. swimmers won gold in eight of 10 events and medaled in the other two on the first night of finals Thursday at the TYR Pro Swim Series meet in Mesa, Arizona.
Three-time Olympian and 2012 200-meter freestyle gold medalist Allison Schmitt returned to competitive swimming with a second-place finish in the women’s 200-meter freestyle.
She finished Thursday’s race in 1:59.57, just behind two-time Olympic medalist Leah Smith.
Schmitt last raced at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, where she won a pair of medals to go along with the five she took home from London in 2012 and one from Beijing in 2008. She started training again last fall and targeted this competition in the TYR series as her return. Schmitt will also swim in the 100 free on Friday.
Also on Thursday night, Olympic silver medalist Chase Kalisz beat out fellow Olympian Josh Prenot for the top spot in the men’s 400 IM. Kalisz, who beat Michael Phelps’ world championship meet record in the 400 IM in 2017, swam a time of 4:14.08 followed by Prenot in 4:19.56. Kalisz won the silver medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 in the 400 IM while Prenot won silver in the 200 breaststroke.
Prenot also swam the 200 breaststroke on Thursday night and won by 1.43 seconds over Nic Fink.
In the men’s 200 backstroke, three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy was able to claim the victory by 1.79 seconds over teammate Jacob Pebley, who finished fifth in the event in Rio. Murphy, the defending Olympic champion in the event, had a time of 1:56.51 while Pebley swam it in 1:58.30.
Other Americans to win in Mesa were Kelsi Dahlia in the women’s 100 butterfly, Tim Phillips in the men’s 100 fly, Olivia Smoliga in the women’s 200 back and Emily Escobedo in the women’s 200 breaststroke.