15-Year-Old Joshua Chen Scores Two Olympic Trials Cuts in Des Moines

2021 DSMY Road to Omaha Swimvitational

  • May 21-23
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Long Course Meters (LCM)
  • Results available on Meet Mobile, “2021 DSMY Road to Omaha Swimvitational”

After nearing the 100 and 200 breastroke Trials cuts earlier this month at the TYR 18&U Spring Cup, Joshua Chen finally secured his ticket to Omaha by swimming his way to two Trials cuts at the Road to Omaha meet in Des Moines, Iowa.

Chen swam the 100 breast on Friday and snagged his first Trials cut in the 100 breastroke during finals, shaving .25 off of the time he posted at the TYR Spring Cup. He dominated the event by more than 13 seconds, with the second place finisher Justin Shin touching in 1:16.98. Although the meet is open to all ages, the final included age group swimmers only, ranging from 13 to 15 in age. 

Before 2021, Chen’s best LCM time in the 100 breaststroke was 1:10.53. He started out the year with a six second drop at the Des Moines Speedo Sectionals meet in March where he swam a 1:04.33. His SCY times show the same improvement. Over the course of a year, Chen lowered his SCY 100 breast time from a 59.28 to a 55.70, which he achieved at the Iowa Swimming Senior Championships in February. With his time of 1:03.53 from the TYR Spring Cup, Chen ranks as first in the nation for his age in the event (for the 2021 season). In the short course event, he ranks fourth.

On Saturday, Chen competed in the 200 breaststroke, but missed the Trials cut after swimming a 2:18.42. He still finished well-ahead of the field however, as the second place finisher Levi Manning clocked in at a 2:41.67. On Sunday, Chen took another shot at the Trials cut by swimming a time trial in the event. He achieved the feat, posting a 2:17.36 to dip under the Trials cut of 2:17.89. Just like his 100 breast LCM, the time ranks him first in the nation for his age. 

On the women’s side, another breaststroke Trials cut was achieved. Tori Beeler, who swims with the University of Nebraska, hit the 100 breaststroke Trials cut on the nose with her time of 1:10.99. Beeler’s best time in the event comes from the 2018 Phillips 66 Summer Nationals, where she swam a 1:10.79. She hadn’t swam another 1:10 in the event until the Road to Omaha meet. As the 2018 Phillips meet falls outside of the Trials qualification period, she needed to post another 1:10 during the qualification period to attend Trials.

Throughout Beeler’s career at the University of Nebraska, she served as one of the Husker’s best breastrokers. Her best 100 breast SCY time comes from the 2018 Mizzou Last Chance meet, where she swam a 1:00.60. Out of high school, Beeler was a 1:03-mid 100 breastroker. 

During Sunday’s prelims session, Gregg Lichinsky of McKendree University dropped 1.5 seconds in his 100 freestyle to achieve the 100 freestyle Trials cut of 50.49. Lichinsky, whose best time was a 51.84 before the Road to Omaha meet, swam a 50.33 in the event. His time was four seconds faster than Tom Hancock, who touched in second behind Lischinsky with a time of 54.87.

Lichinksy’s 100 free was not his first Trials cut, however. Prior to coming to the meet, Lichinsky had qualified for Trials in the 50 free with his time of 22.88 that he swam at the 2020 Toyota US Open. He swam the 50 again at the Road to Omaha meet and shaved another .09 off of his best time, but missed the Wave II Trials cut of 22.71. Lichinsky decided to try again for the Wave II Trials cut in the 50 with an intermediate split in his 100 free. In his second attempt, he nailed the cut by a wide margin (over .2) with a time of 22.49.

On Friday, Lichinsky narrowly missed the 100 fly cut of 54.19 after posting a time of 54.21 in the event. However, he swam the event later in a time trial and snagged the cut with a new lifetime best of 53.97.

Lichinksy finished out his Junior season at McKendree at the NCAA Division II Championships, where he swam to three top-10 finishes in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly. In the 50, he placed 9th with a time of 19.50. Overall, however, Lichinsky’s time would’ve put him at 4th in the event. His 13th place finish during prelims locked him into the B final. He finished 3rd in both the 100 free and 100 fly, posting times of 42.97 and 46.29, respectively.

Other highlights from the meet include:

  • John Culver took two full seconds off of his 100 back time during Saturday’s finals session. Entered in the meet with a 59.40, Culver touched in a 57.40 and finished a second faster than any of his competitors.
  • 15-year-old Natalya Woods shaved .5 seconds off her 50 free time, swimming to a 26.89 and placing first in the event. NC State commit Meghan Donald tied Woods in the event, but added .26 from her entry time of 26.63. 
  • The women’s 100 backstroke had 3 sub-1:04 finishers. Meghan Donald touched in first with a 1:03.28 (a .76 drop from her entry time), followed by future Mizzou Tiger Sydney Bales with a 1:03.33. Zoe Summer took third place with a 1:03.42. All three swims qualify for the 2021 Speedo Summer Championships. Abbie Kehmeier, who finished in fourth with a 1:04.23, also met the qualification.

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Ethan Johnston
1 year ago

Gregg actually got his wave II cut in the 50 (in the 100 free final…22.49) and his 100 fly cut in a time trial (53.97).

1 year ago

I have swam at meets against him! Fun to watch