Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship
Penn State swimming and diving’s Ally McHugh won gold with an upset in the 400m individual medley Friday night at the USA Swimming Phillips 66 Nationals meet in Irvine, California.
In fifth place for much of the race, McHugh pulled out the win in the second half and as the only competitor under 30 seconds for the final 50m. She finished in 4:34.80, ahead of Stanford’s Brooke Forde at 4:35:09, Melanie Margalis in third at 4:35:50, and defending national champion Leah Smith in fourth at 4:35:68.
It’s been quite a year for McHugh, who won the Big Ten in her specialty event, the 1,650m freestyle and set a school record in the process. A month later, she broke her own record yet again at the NCAA championships and placed second only to Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
The Phillips 66 Nationals is the selection event for the USA National Teams competing at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, 2019 World Championships, 2019 World University Games, 2019 Pan American Championships, and 2018 Jr. Pan Pacific Championships. The meet doesn’t count toward 2020 Olympic Trials qualifying.
McHugh also finished fourth in the 800m free on Wednesday and is expected to compete in the 400m free on Saturday and the 1500m free on Sunday.