10 Closest Trials Finishes that Determined the 2022 World Championship Team

2022 U.S. World Championship Trials

The US World Championship Trials last week provided one shot for swimmers from across the country to earn a chance to compete at the 2022 FINA World Championships. Worlds will be held in Budapest later this summer, with the pool swimming portion of the competition running from June 18-25. The full qualification criteria for team USA can be found here.

Making the US National team is very competitive and, in many races, comes down to mere tenths of a second. Here is a list of the top 10 closest margins from the 2022 Trials that determined who made the World Championship team:

Event Athlete Place Time Time that Qualified Percentage Missed
Men’s 400 Medley Bobby Finke 3rd 4:10.57 4:10.50 .03%
Women’s 50 Free Gretchen Walsh 3rd 24.53 24.52 .04%
Men’s 400 Free Ross Dant 3rd 3:47.11 3:46.93 .08%
Women’s 100 Breast Kaitlyn Dobler 3rd 1:06.19 1:06.12 .11%
Men’s 50 Breast* Nic Fink 2nd 26.55 26.52 .11%
Women’s 50 Free Claire Curzan 4th 24.55 24.52 .12%
Men’s 50 Fly* Michael Andrew 2nd 22.87 22.84 .13%
Women’s 100 Breast Lydia Jacoby 4th 1:06.21 1:06.12 .14%
Women’s 200 Free Erin Gemmell 7th 1:58.12 1:57.82 .25%
Men’s 100 Free Kieran Smith 7th 48.51 48.38 .27%

*In the 50s of stroke, only the top qualifier gets a guaranteed spot on the roster. The second spot goes to the next-fastest finisher who made the team in another event. In these cases, Fink and Andrew missed the guaranteed spot, but both made the team in other events and thus will still compete in their respective 50s at worlds. 

Of these 10 athletes that narrowly missed the qualifying spot, five of them made the team in other events.

In the 50 freestyle, both Gretchen Walsh (24.53) and Claire Curzan (24.55) narrowly missed earning an individual berth, placing third and fourth, respectively, behind Erika Brown (24.52).

In addition to coming within .01 of making the team in the 50 free, she also made the ‘A’ final of the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly, coming in 5th and 4th, respectively.

Curzan is the only female on the list above who qualified for Worlds in a different event. She qualified to swim the 100 free, 50 fly, 100 fly, and 100 back in Budapest. At Trials, Curzan placed second to Torri Huske in the 100 free and 100 fly,  second to Regan Smith in the 100 back, and won the 50 fly.

Curzan competed at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in the 100m butterfly, finishing 10th overall with a time of 57.42. Last week, she posted a 56.35 which is only .15 slower than her best time from April of 2021.

The other athletes on this list who made the Worlds roster in another event are Bobby Finke, Michael Andrew, Nic Fink, and Kieran Smith.

In the 400 IM, Finke dropped .87 seconds off his previous best time, set at the Olympic Trials last summer. However, that drop wasn’t quite enough to qualify for Worlds, as he finished a mere .07 seconds behind Chase Kalisz. This was the closest finish of the Trials by percentage, with only .03% separating second and third place.

Although he just missed the chance to swim the 400 IM at Worlds, Finke will be representing the USA in the 800 and 1500 meter freestyles.

Michael Andrew finished second in the 50 butterfly, clocking in .03 seconds behind Caeleb Dressel. In the 50s of stroke, only the top finisher is guaranteed a spot on the final roster. However, since Dressel was also the winner of the 100 fly, Andrew gets a spot in the 50 as the fastest swimmer in the event already on the Worlds roster. He also qualified in the 50 free, 50 breast, and 100 breast.

Nic Fink is in a similar situation to Andrew. He narrowly missed a guaranteed spot in the 50 breast by .03 seconds, but ultimately will compete in that event anyway. Fink won the 100 breast in a time of 58.37, dropping .13 off his previous best from Olympic Trials. He finished second to Andrew in the 50 but beat him by .14 in the 100. Fink will also be competing in the 200 breaststroke where he tied for first with Charlie Swanson.

Kieran Smith made the team in the 200 and 400 freestyles, winning both. He missed his chance at the 4×100 free relay by .27%, coming in 7th, just .13 seconds behind Justin Ress.

A notable name that is missing from the final roster is Lydia Jacoby, 2021 Olympic Champion in the 100 breaststroke. At Trials, Jacoby competed in the 50 (3rd), 100 (4th), and 200 (5th) breaststrokes. The closest she got to making the team (by percentage) was in the 100 breaststroke, where she finished .09 seconds away from Annie Lazor in second place. Finishing between Jacoby and Lazor was Kaityln Dobler in a time of 1:06.19, just .07 away from Lazor’s 1:06.12.

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Tom
1 month ago

No mention to Zane Grothee ?

Swimmerj
1 month ago

Gretchen is so close! Excited to see how this motivates her.

Joe Koller
1 month ago

What about Shane Casas in the 50 back?

Last edited 1 month ago by Joe Koller
jeff
Reply to  Joe Koller
1 month ago

Casas was 24.0 to Armstrongs 23.71 which is 1.2% slower

Smith-King-Huske-Curzan
1 month ago

In the case of the women’s 50 meter freestyle; Huske, Curzan, Brown were already on the team based on the results in the women’s 100 meter freestyle.

jeff
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Curzan
1 month ago

by “ Curzan is the only woman on this list who made the team in a different event”, they meant that the other 4 ladies out of the 10 on this list did not make the team (GWalsh, Dobler, Jacoby, Gemmell)

NB1
1 month ago

Lydia needed 20 more centimeters. Or a faster start. I was rooting for her all the way

Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

I was desperately rooting for Dant to hold on, and for Gretchen to win the touch. Both agonizing. Gretchen in particular had so many ways to make up that missing hundredth. Obviously her reaction time is poor. Then when she surfaces she pauses briefly before the first stroke. I’ve noted that previously but it really stands out in a frantic 50.

I still thought her incredibly long reach would bail her out. Normally she times it perfectly especially in short course. But this time her final stroke ended slightly too far away so there was a reach and glide element. Too much. Her arm was second out of the water behind Huske but Erika Brown was torso closer.

Gretchen needs… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Awsi Dooger
Swimmer
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

This was almost an ok comment until your unnecessary last sentence.

Potato
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 month ago

Outta pocket last sentence

For the Love of the Swim
1 month ago

When was the last time someone other than Ledecky won three events at a world or Olympic trials?

Bud
Reply to  For the Love of the Swim
1 month ago

Dressel? At literally every major meet since 2017?

Last edited 1 month ago by Bud
For the Love of the Swim
Reply to  Bud
1 month ago

Should have been more specific. Bud. Do you know when the last time a women did it?

Smith-King-Huske-Curzan
Reply to  For the Love of the Swim
1 month ago

Olympic Team Trials?

2016 Olympic Team Trials
DiRado – 200 BK, 200 IM, 400 IM
Phelps – 100 FL, 200 FL, 200 IM

Tik Tok
Reply to  For the Love of the Swim
1 month ago

Dressel has entered chat

Troyy
Reply to  For the Love of the Swim
1 month ago

Didn’t Huske just do it at the recent trials? 100 free, 100 fly, 50 free

For the Love of the Swim
Reply to  For the Love of the Swim
1 month ago

Should have been more specific bud. Bud do you know the answer to the women?

Troyy
Reply to  For the Love of the Swim
1 month ago

This year by Torri Huske (I already said this in another comment).

Thomas
1 month ago

Although he placed 7th, I could still see Kieran swim prelims on the 4×100.

Pvdh
Reply to  Thomas
1 month ago

Held has the experience to swim only finals, and Curry and Dressel will probably be saved too so I could see him on it.

HJones
Reply to  Pvdh
1 month ago

What “experience” does Held have that warrants him to swim only in finals? He’s made one other international “A” team, and that was 6 years ago.