Night One of Phillips 66 US Nationals was a big night for A3 Performance and the newest A3 Performer, Arizona Wildcat post-grad Justin Wright. In the first event of the meet, Wright exceeded all expectations, winning gold and securing his spot on the 2018 Pan Pacific Championship Team.
With his best event, the 200m FL, as the first event of the meet, Wright didn't have a lot of momentum; in fact, Wright was the momentum.
Going into prelims, Wright was seeded 5th with a 1:56.11 in a stacked event. After a slower start off the blocks, Wright built into the race, with his strongest strokes in the second half. In the second to last circle-seeded heat, Wright touched the wall first in a time of 1:55.49. It was Wright's best time and enough to put him in lane 4 going into the evening's finals.
With less than a second separating Wright from the 8th seed, everyone knew the final heat was going to be a battle. Coming off of an excellent morning swim, it was obvious that Wright had a lot of confidence going into finals at night.
He took the race out in a 26.17, which was faster than his morning swim, but still behind the rest of the field. Wright held it together and swam his race just as he did in the morning, with his strongest strokes in the second half. After touching 8th at the 100m marked, Wright stormed the finish to hit the wall first in a final time of 1:54.63.
Not only was Wright's 1:54.63 the only 1:54 in the field and his best time, but his victory earned him a top spot to represent Team USA at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo next month. Wright's swim also puts him in consideration for a spot on the 2019 World Championship Team.
Catch Wright's incredible 200m FL and his post-race interview below: