Olympic gold medalists Leah Smith and Kelsi (Worrell) Dahlia blasted ahead in the season’s world rankings Friday night with wins at the TYR Pro Swim Series meet in Columbus, Ohio.
Their performances highlighted night two of four at the final Pro Swim Series stop of the season. It is also the last major competition prior to the Phillips 66 National Championships in late July, which is part of the Team USA Summer Champions Series, presented by Xfinity.
Smith, relay gold medalist and bronze medalist in the 400 freestyle in Rio, won the women’s 400-meter freestyle with a time of 4:04.23 – the fourth fastest time of the year. She was more than four seconds faster than runner-up Cierra Runge, also an Olympic relay champion. Eight-time Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt placed third in this race and also in the 100 free.
Dahlia, a 4x100 medley gold medalist at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, won the women’s 100-meter butterfly in 57.29 seconds for the sixth fastest time of the year, finishing more than a second ahead of Amanda Kendall. She is a top seed in the 200 fly and 50 freestyle races as the meet continues through Sunday.
Also winning Friday was two-time Olympic gold medalist Lilly King, the world-record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke. She won the 200 breast with a time of 2:24.83.
On the men’s side, Olympian Chase Kalisz had a busy first night. The men’s points leader in the TYR Pro Swim Series won the 200 breast with a time of 2:10.97. He also finished third in the 100 butterfly.
Zane Grothe pulled out a victory in the men’s 800-meter freestyle, winning with a time of 3:48.69. That followed a second-place finish in the men’s 1,500 freestyle on Thursday.
Other men’s winners included Michael Andrew, who won the 100 fly in 51.86 seconds for a 15th-place world ranking, and Blake Pieroni, an Olympic relay gold medalist who won the 100 freestyle in 49.04 seconds. Pieroni tied his season-best time.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.