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Abbey Weitzeil still the fastest U.S. female swimmer with another Pro Series win

Abbey Weitzeil wins the women’s 100m freestyle, putting up the fastest time for an American this year.

A year after missing the world championships team, Abbey Weitzeil has been the fastest U.S. female swimmer of 2023.

She proved it again Thursday, beating a deep field in the 100m freestyle at the last Pro Swim Series stop before next month’s national championships.

Weitzeil, who placed eighth in the Tokyo Olympic 100m free after winning the Olympic Trials, clocked 53.26 seconds, the best time by an American this year, on Thursday in Mission Viejo.

She distanced most of the rest of the top U.S. sprint freestylers -- Torri Huske (54.27), Simone Manuel (54.50), Claire Curzan (54.50) and Olivia Smoliga (54.76).

Weitzeil is the lone U.S. woman to break 54 seconds this year and has done it seven times, plus shares the top U.S. time in the 50m free. She is tied for seventh in the world in the 100m free in 2023.

Last year, Weitzeil placed seventh in the 100m free at the April trials for the world championships, missing the team by one spot (the top six go for relay duty). She entered just one race the rest of the year, while also getting engaged before Thanksgiving.

“I’ve just been mentally really in it this year,” she told Swimswam last month. “I guess a break last year was good for me, mentally and physically.”

Expect her competition to speed up come nationals in late June, where the top two in most individual events qualify for July’s worlds in Fukuoka, Japan.

Last year, the top five finishers at trials broke 54 seconds, with Huske and Curzan going one-two. They’re competing at a long-course meters meet this week for the first time in 2023 after racing short-course yards for Stanford in the winter.

Manuel, the 2016 Olympic 100m free co-champion, was diagnosed with overtraining syndrome in 2021, then took 17 months off from competition following the Tokyo Games. She is tied for eighth-fastest in the U.S. in the 100m free this year.

The Mission Viejo meet continues Friday with finals at 8 p.m. ET, live on Peacock.

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