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2023 U.S. Open Championships – Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2023 U.S. Open Swimming Championships

The 2023 U.S. Open Swimming Championships commence tonight in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tonight’s session will be a short one, with just the timed finals of the men’s and women’s 800 freestyle to kick off the competition.

Three-time defending Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky highlights the women’s 800 freestyle fastest heat. She won the world title in the event this past summer (8:08.87) after posting the 3rd fastest time in history a month before in Indianapolis (8:07.07). Ledecky won the event last year in a time of 8:13.90, and holds the meet record (8:12.81) from 2021.

World Championship team member Jillian Cox will also be present in tonight’s 800 freestyle timed final, coming off a 6th place finish in Fukuoka this past summer. She recorded a personal best time of 8:19.73 en route to her 6th place finish at Worlds. Cox has had a major breakthrough in 2023, lowering her 800 best time from 8:30.38 down to 8:19.73 in less than a year.

Olympic Gold Medalist Bobby Finke headlines the fastest heat of the men’s 800 free. His entry time of 7:38.67 leads the field by over 12 seconds after this summer’s World Champion, Ahmed Hafnaoui, withdrew from the event.

Luka Mijatovic, the 14-year-old from the Pleasanton Seahawks, will be one to watch in tonight’s fastest heat. Mijatovic will swim in lane 1, seeded 7th with his 13-14 NAG record of 7:59.64.

You can catch tonight’s action live on YouTube:

Women’s 800 Freestyle – Timed Final


  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC) –  8:15.91
  2. Paige Madden (NYAC) – 8:29.91
  3. Jillian Cox (TXLA) – 8:33.77

Katie Ledecky opened up the meet with a decisive win in the 800 freestyle, posting a time of 8:15.91 to win by exactly 14 seconds. Ledecky’s time of 8:15.91 is about 2 seconds shy of the 8:13.90 she posted to take the win at this meet last year.  Ledecky took the race out strong, splitting 4:06.10 through the first 400 before closing in 4:09.81. Ledecky will contest the 400 freestyle prelims tomorrow morning.

Paige Madden, who is currently training under Bob Bowman at ASU, posted a time of 8:29.91 to grab 2nd place. Her time checks-in just shy of her 8:27.99 best time, which she posted to win the Pan American Games last month.

TXLA’s Jillian Cox touched in 8:33.77 to place 3rd overall. Cox has been as fast as 8:19.73 in the event, which she posted en route to a 6th place finish at the World Championships last summer.

Men’s 800 Freestyle – Timed Final

  • World Record: 7:32.12 – Lin Zhang (2009)
  • American Record: 7:38.67 – Bobby Finke (2023)
  • U.S. Open Meet Record: 7:47.27 – Chad La Tourette (2009)


  1. Charlie Clark (OSU) – 7:50.49
  2. David Johnston (TST) – 7:53.87
  3. Ilia Sibirtsev (UOFL) – 7:54.36

David Johnstonwho is taking a redshirt year to train under Mark Schubert in California, took an early lead through the first 550m. OSU’s Charlie Clark then took over the lead and never relinquished it, recording a final time of 7:50.49 to grab the win. The time by Clark checks-in just off his best time (7:50.07), which he recorded at the 2022 International Team Trials.

Clark spoke with USA Swimming after the completion of his race, and made the following remarks:

“That was my first 800m since the world champs back in July, so I was really just focusing on my race plan more than anything. I was trying to focus on going out pretty controlled but trying to stay relevant in the race and not getting too far behind, then building the race as I went on to see how far I could finish.” 

“My best time is about .3 faster than that so I was like right on my best unrested this time of year so I couldn’t be happier with a time like that. It’s faster than I was at [nationals] this past year.”

Johnston touched in 2nd place tonight with a time of 7:53.87. The swim is about 2 seconds shy of his best time (7:51.70), which he recorded to place 5th at this summer’s World Championship Trials.

Ilia Sibirtsev of Louisville posted a 7:54.36 in heat 3 to take 3rd overall. His swim takes over 21 seconds off his entry time of 8:15.50. Sibirtsev is a graduate student at Louisville and is a native of Barnaul, Russia.

2021 Olympic Champion Bobby Finke posted a time of 7:54.90 to grab 4rd place. The performance by Finke is on par with where he is usually at around this time of the year, having posted a similar time (7:54.07) at the 2021 U.S. Open.

Luka Mijatovic, who owns the 13-14 national age group record in the event, posted a time of 8:05.44 to place 8th overall.

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