Cal’s Reece Whitley best in 200 breast at U.S. swimming championships

Reece Whitley, a 19-year-old rising sophomore at Cal, won the men’s 200 breaststroke Thursday at the U.S. national swimming championships at Stanford.

His time of 2:09.69 put him just ahead of Daniel Roy (2:10.01). Joshua Matheny was third.

Elijah Winnington won the men’s 200 free in 1:46.19, followed closely by Kieran Smith and Dean Farris.

Allison Schmitt, an eight-time Olympic medalist, won the women’s 200 free in 1:56.97 ahead of Paige Madden and Brooke Forde. Teen phenom Claire Tuggle was fourth at the final turn before fading to sixth.

The women’s 200 breaststroke was dominated by Madisyn Cox, a medalist at the World Championships. Cox beat her personal best by 2 seconds, winning by more than a body length in a time of 2:23.84. Abby Arens was second, just in front of Jenna Strauch.

Cox was suspended last year after failing a drug test. Cox’s ban was reduced from two years to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after she argued that her positive test was the result of a legal multivitamin that had been contaminated.

Cox was forced to miss last year’s U.S. nationals, which was the qualifying meet for last year’s Pan Pacific championships and the recent world championships in South Korea — the two biggest international meets before the 2020 Olympics.

Asia Seidt won the national title in the women’s 200 back in a time of 2:08.90, well ahead of Emma Seiberlich and Erin Voss, who finished in a second-place tie.

Austin Katz won the men’s 200 back in 1:55.72, edging runner-up Shaine Casas despite slipping at the start.

Ryan Lochte failed to qualify for the 200-meter freestyle final. The 12-time Olympic medalist finished 37th in the preliminary heats Thursday with a time of 1 minute, 50.25 seconds.

Lochte is competing this week for the first time since the recent end of a 14-month suspension for receiving an infusion of vitamin B-12 above the allowable limit.

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