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King and Dressel bounce back at nationals

The third day of swimming at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine featured two marquee names hoping for redemption.

Lilly King and Caeleb Dressel, who struggled through disappointing races earlier in the week, found a way to come back strong Friday at Woollett Aquatics Center.

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Two-time Olympic medalist King erased some bad memories with a victory in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke.

“I did not swim the way I wanted,” she said of her fifth-place finish at 200 meters on Thursday. “But it’s nothing to mope about.”

Dressel, who won seven gold medals at last year’s world championships, had previously struggled in the men’s 100-meter freestyle but looked impressive winning the men’s 100-meter butterfly.

“I do enjoy the pressure,” he said. “I understand it comes with the sport and it makes it fun and exciting.”

Friday was especially busy for Michael Andrew, who competed in three events, finishing third behind Dressel and then winning the 50-meter breaststroke.

In other races, Chase Kalisz took first in the men’s 400-meter individual medley and Kelsi Dahlia won the women’s 100-meter butterfly. Olivia Smoliga won the women’s 50-meter backstroke and Ryan Murphy won the men’s version of the event by breaking a nearly 10-year-old U.S. record.

While King and Dressel were restoring their reputations, Ally McHugh was making a name for herself.

The Philadelphia swimmer lowered her lifetime best by nearly five seconds to win the first national title of her career, taking first in the women’s 400-meter individual medley.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I was so excited and I couldn’t believe it.”

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