INDIANAPOLIS, July 1 – Avon native Madison Kennedy broke the 24-second barrier for the second time this season in the 50-meter freestyle but it wasn’t enough at the Phillips 66 U.S. Swimming national championship meet.
Kennedy swam a season-best time of 24.95 seconds but she finished seventh in the 50 freestyle at the U.S. championships. She was just 0.21 of a second out of second place and a trip to the world championships later this month. But there were five swimmers ahead of Kennedy and a spot on the U.S team in a tightly-packed field.
Simone Manuel, the Olympic champion in the 100 meters, won the race with a time of 24.27 seconds – the third fastest time in the world this year so far and the fifth fastest time ever by an American swimmer.
Manuel won her fourth national championship and her third title in the 50 freestyle.
“In that 50 free I walked out on deck and had a better sense of calm and was more relaxed,” Manuel said. “I was happy with that swim, and pretty surprised with a 24.2 based on how I’ve been feeling in the water. I think with a little more rest I’ll definitely be able to go faster.”
Abbey Weitzeil was second with a time of 24.74 seconds and nipped Lia Neal by 0.03 of a second and Kelsi Worrell by 0.05 of a second to earn the berth to the world championships in July.
Kennedy, 29, was sixth overall after qualifying with a time of 25.06 seconds, second in her heat behind Worrell in 25.03.
It is the first finish outside the top five in the 50 free at the nationals for Kennedy. She was third in the 50 free at last year’s Olympic Trials in 24.48, won the 50 free in 2015 in Texas with a time of 24.71 seconds and was fourth at the 2014 nationals (24.83). She was ninth at the 2013 nationals with a time of 25.32 seconds.
Her career-best time in the 50 free is a 24.39 which she swam at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the semifinals.
Kennedy graduated from Avon High in 2005 and the University of California in Berkeley in 2010. She has been living in North Carolina training with Swim MAC’s Team Elite since 2012.
Women’s 50 freestyle
Individual results – 1. Simone Manuel, 24.27 seconds, 2. Abbey Weltzeil 24.74, 3. Lia Neal, 24.77, 4. Kelsi Worrell 24.79, 5. Olivia Smoliga 24.84, 6. Mallory Comerford 24.93, 7. Madison Kennedy 24.95, 8. Grace Ariola 25.03