Familiar faces Ledecky and Dressel shine on first night of International Swim Team Trials

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Hali Flickinger swims in the 200m butterfly final.

In one of the biggest showdowns of opening night, Hali Flickinger held on to edge out fellow Olympian Regan Smith to win the women’s 200m butterfly.

The race featured two of the world’s best swimmers in the 200 butterfly. Smith won the silver medal at the Tokyo event and Flickinger finished right behind her as the bronze medalist.

Flickinger got the better of Smith in Greensboro, winning in 2:06.35 to Smith’s 2:07.93.

“I just wanted to get my hand on the wall first, and I kind of swam it that way,” Flickinger said.

Flickinger’s time was the second fastest in the world this year, behind only Canada’s Summer McIntosh (2:05.81), and that qualified her for her third world championships.

Flickinger, who won two bronze medals in Tokyo, admitted she was curious about Smith’s strategy on Tuesday.

However, Flickinger couldn’t see Smith during the race because they weren’t in side-by-side lanes. Instead, Flickinger had to swim without any knowledge of how his biggest competition was going.

“I always want to think about what she’s going to do because she usually gets out of it really fast, and I couldn’t actually see her in (her hallway),” Flickinger said. “So it was kind of weird not being right next to her to see what she was doing, but I try to focus on myself because every swimmer is different.”

Bobby Finke, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500 freestyle, proved he was still the swimmer to beat in the event by winning in 14:45.72.

He rode to victory to qualify for the world championships, where he will once again be among the favorites for the event.

Nominated at the world championships on Tuesday

Men
Brooks Curry – 100m freestyle
Caeleb Dressel – 100m freestyle
Bobby Finke – 1500m freestyle
Ryan Held – freestyle relay
Luca Urlando – 200m butterfly

Women
Erika Brown – freestyle relay
Claire Curzan – 100m freestyle
Hali Flickinger – 200m butterfly
Natalie Hinds – freestyle relay
Torri Huske – 100m freestyle
Katie Ledecky – 800m freestyle

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