Zach Yeadon places seventh in 800 freestyle at U.S. nationals

Former Reagan swimmer Zach Yeadon beat his entry time by more than six seconds and placed seventh in the 800-meter freestyle relay Sunday on the last night of the Phillips 66 National Championships.

It was the third top-10 finish of the week for Yeadon, 19, a 6-foot-5 rising sophomore at Notre Dame. The meet was held at the Woolett Aquatics Center in Irvine, California.

Competing for Alamo Area Aquatics and swimming for coach Lou Walker, Yeadon notched a 10th-place showing in the 1,500 freestyle on Wednesday. He added a fourth place in the 400 free on Saturday.

Finally, he took seventh in the 800 with a time of 7 minutes and 56.32 seconds. It was a significant drop from his entry time of 8:02.52. Yeadon was seeded 15th coming into the meet.

Zane Grothe won in 7:44.57 for his second victory in two nights. Grothe claimed the title in the 400 free on Saturday.

Texas notables

Former O’Connor swimmer Mikey Calvillo was 16th in the 800 at 8:02.18.

Simone Manuel, who became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in the Olympics two years ago, set a U.S. open record in winning the 50 free in 24.10 seconds.

Manuel, 21, from Sugar Land, also claimed first place in the 100 free last week. A swimmer at Stanford, she was fifth in the 200 after not competing in the event last year.

Evie Pfeifer, 19, a rising sophomore at the University of Texas, placed fourth in the 200 individual medley.

Yeadon races into conversation for Tokyo in 2020

I first met Zach Yeadon three years ago.

He was entered in most of the freestyle races when the U.S. junior and senior nationals were held at the Northside Swim Center.

Yeadon, formerly of Reagan High School, has come a long way since then.

He placed a surprising fourth Saturday night in the 400-meter free at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

The U.S. summer nationals are being held in Irvine, California.

Trailing in third place early in the race, Yeadon made a move and surged into the lead at the 200-meter mark.

But in the final 200, the 19-year-old rising sophomore at Notre Dame couldn’t hold on.

Zane Grothe, who took the lead at 250 meters, went on to win in 3 minutes and 46.53 seconds.

Grant Shoults claimed second in 3:46.90. Chris Wieser swam 3:48.92 for third place, followed by Yeadon in 3:49.09.

Yeadon, known primarily as a distance specialist, placed 10th in the 1,500-meter free on Wednesday.

He entered the 400 on Saturday with the 22nd-best qualifying time — a 3:53.10 — and broke it twice.

First, he swam 3:51.01 in the morning preliminaries for the No. 8 time of the session to claim a spot in the championship finals.

Next, Yeadon competed against the nation’s best in the night finals and lowered his time by another two seconds.

In the first 200 meters, he had the lead at 1:52.81. In the second half, he faded. But, still, Yeadon had executed another 2-second time drop.

So, what’s in store for this young man?

If Yeadon gains enough stamina in coming years to kick at the end of the 400 as well as he starts it, he could challenge for a spot on the next U.S. Olympic team.


Yeadon is swimming the national meet for Alamo Area Aquatics under the guidance of coach Lou Walker (pictured in photo above).

Former O’Connor star Mikey Calvillo, 17, also made his mark in the 400 free. He swam 3:55.56 for fourth place in the ‘D’ consolation final.

Notre Dame highlights

Yeadon, a Reagan graduate, was named Notre Dame men’s swimming Most Valuable Swimmer in 2017-18.

He equaled the best Notre Dame finish at the NCAA championship, placing fourth in the 1,650-yard freestyle to claim first-team, All-America honors.

Yeadon established program records in the 500 (4:12.74), the 1000 (8:51.16) and 1,650-yard (14:34.60) freestyle.

Reagan highlights

Yeadon won a state championship as a Regan High School senior in 2017. Swimming the final individual race of his prep career, he claimed a gold medal in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:19.13. He also took third in the 200 free.

Gibson finishes fourth in 50-meter butterfly at U.S. nationals

Former Reagan High School swimmer Sarah Gibson finished fourth in the 50-meter butterfly Thursday night to highlight standout performances from San Antonio athletes at the Phillips 66 National Championships.

Kelsi Dahlia (formerly Kelsi Worrell) won the event in 25.48 seconds to tie her own American record. Kendyl Stewart was second in 25.83, followed by Hellen Moffitt in 26.45 and Gibson in 26.65.

For Gibson, 23, a gold medalist at the 2017 FINA World Championship, it was her second appearance in a championship final in the past two nights at the national meet.

She finished seventh in the 200 fly on opening night. The meet opened Wednesday and is scheduled to run through Sunday at the Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine, California.

The nationals are considered pivotal for elite athletes in the four-year cycle leading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

At stake this week are berths in the Pan Pacific Championships, set for Aug. 9-13 in Tokyo.

U.S. athletes’ performances at nationals and at the Pan Pacific meet both factor into selection of the team for the 2019 world championships.

Gibson, a former All-American at Texas A&M, reached the 2017 world championships and won gold in the 4×100 medley relay. She is training under coach David Marsh at Team Elite’s west coast site in San Diego.

Meanwhile, distance freestyle specialists Zach Yeadon and Mikey Calvillo are coming off strong performances at the nationals in the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Yeadon, a Notre Dame swimmer from Reagan, posted the 10th best time in the field Wednesday night. Calvillo, a former O’Connor student who has signed with Indiana, placed 13th.

Both Yeadon and Calvillo are competing for Alamo Area Aquatics.