2013 Worlds Trials Previews: Men’s 100 Butterfly Wide Open Field

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Regardless of whether or not anything comes from last week’s rumors, there is a big void in the international lineup for the U.S. this summer with the [temporary?] retirement of the greatest Olympic champion of all time, Michael Phelps.  Phelps had a spot in the men’s 100 meter fly on lock at every big international long course meet but one from 2002-2012 (the exception was 2006 Pan Pacs), winning three Olympic gold medals and multiple World Championships along the way.  That open spot, along with the likely absence of Trials finalist Davis Tarwater (he hasn’t competed since December), spells opportunity for a number of national team members and a few young guns at the upcoming World Championship Trials in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The closest thing to a lock in securing a spot in this event has to be Tyler McGill.  The former Auburn Tiger grabbed some big international experience a year ago in London, where he finished seventh in the 100 fly final (just 0.08 out of fourth) and grabbed a gold medal with his prelims swim on the 400 medley relay.  His 51.32 at Olympic Trials actually made him the second fastest performer in the world a year ago, behind only Phelps, the eventual Olympic gold medalist.

McGill should face a stiff challenge from the two biggest names in the field: five-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte and short course king Tom Shields.  Lochte almost pulled a fast one on the entire field a year ago at Trials, finishing third out of lane 1 in a time that would been fourth in London.  His prospects in the sprint fly this summer are better than they have ever been before; the departure of Phelps leaves an open spot, and Lochte’s decision to drop the 400 IM will save his legs for later in big meets.  Although he had a busy post-Olympic publicity circuit, it’s not like Lochte was completely out of the water.  He was training plenty this winter, and ultimately will have almost three fully-devoted months under his belt with coach Greg Troy before he rests.

While Shields has been dominant on the American short course scene for years, he has only recently started to establish himself in the Olympic-sized tank.  He made big steps last summer, finishing fourth in the 100 and ninth in the 200 at Olympic Trials, proving that he is capable of being an elite above-the-water swimmer.  His ascendence to the top ranks continued this fall during the FINA World Cup circuit, where he competed against (and, at times, beat) a loaded butterfly field that included 100 fly Olympic finalists Steffen Deibler, Yevgeny Korotyshkin, Chad Le Clos, and Joeri Verlinden.  When he returned to Cal for his senior campaign, he managed to raise the bar again, tying the American record in the short course 200 yard fly.  With NCAA swimming in the rearview mirror, Shields could take the next step internationally as he undoubtedly invests more time and energy into long course endeavors.

A pair of former Stanford teammates and current national team members—Eugene Godsoe and Bobby Bollier—will look to make the jump onto their first top tier international squad this summer.  Godsoe was an Olympic Trials finalist in the 100 fly and 100 back while training with David Marsh at Mecklenburg Aquatic Club, but has since moved back to Palo Alto to serve as an assistant on the Stanford men’s staff and train under Tony Batis in a relatively new post-graduate group (shameless plug: keep an eye out for a Batis interview and workout video in the coming weeks).  He followed up his best long course season ever with some incredible short course times this winter, posting lifetime bests in his top five individual events (the three backstrokes, 100 fly, and 100 free).

Joining him in practice every morning is Bollier, a butterfly specialist and fellow Cardinal alum.  While the 200 distance has always been more up his alley, Bollier has really adjusted his training this year to focus on more speed and power.  So far, it’s showing; he is the sixth fastest American this season.

For the last couple of years, rising college seniors Tim Phillips (Ohio State/Ohio State Swim Club) and Giles Smith (Arizona/Tuscon Ford) have had the misfortune of fighting for short course NCAA titles against the likes of Shields and Austin Staab, and long course team spots against Phelps and McGill.  The field has really opened up now, and one of these guys has to be poised for a breakthrough long course swims.  Phillips is a well-known “fly-and-die” swimmer, with more natural speed than just about any flyer in the world.  He’ll likely come into Indianapolis as the third overall seed, and if he has improved his final 15 meters, expect him to punch a ticket to Barcelona.

Two young guys worth remembering: Jack Conger of Machine Aquatics (formerly Rockville Montgomery, and soon to be Texas) and 16-year-old Justin Lynch of Terrapins Swim Club.  Conger will be looking to cement his status as an all-time great high school swimmers with a strong long course performance this summer.  The future Longhorn and #1 recruit in this year’s class (although you might be able to talk me into Ryan Murphy) is the third fastest American so far in 2013, and has been known to be an absolute taper monster.  Lynch broke 54 seconds as a 15-year-old last summer in Omaha and has showed no signs of plateauing; he swim a lifetime best 53.47 last month at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Arizona.

All in all, it looks like 12 of the 16 semifinalists will be competing again this summer, including Maclin Davis, Kyler Van Swol, Jacob Jarzen, Matt Ellis, and Dan Madwed.  

Keep an eye out for Barrett Miesfeld from NC State and David Nolan of Stanford.  Miesfeld, a junior, had an incredible short course season for the Wolfpack, dropping more than a full second from his sophomore campaign to earn All-American honors in the 100 fly at this year’s NCAA’s (he finished 7th).  With a best time of 54.49 from February 2012, Miesfeld will be further down the psych sheet, but the potential is there for a 53-low swim.  After a sub-par freshman year and Olympic Trials, Nolan returned to form this season, capturing two individual NCAA titles.  He was 53.05 back in 2010, and will have a chance to swim this without other events getting in the way (the only other thing he would swim that day is the 50 backstroke, which is the last event of the session).

 

  Morgan’s Picks Braden’s Picks Matt and Reed’s Picks
1. Tyler McGill, NYAC, 51.26 Tyler McGill, NYAC, 51.26 Tyler McGill, NYAC, 51.26
2. Tom Shields, Cal, 51.86 Tom Shields, Cal, 51.86 Tom Shields, Cal, 51.86
3. Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach Swimming, 51.65 Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach Swimming, 51.65 Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach Swimming, 51.65
4. Tim Phillips, Ohio State/SwimMAC, 51.69 Tim Phillips, Ohio State/SwimMAC, 51.69 Tim Phillips, Ohio State/SwimMAC, 51.69
5. Eugene Godsoe, Stanford, 52.41 Giles Smith, Tuscon Ford, 52.50 Giles Smith, Tuscon Ford, 52.50
6. Bobby Bollier, Stanford, 52.80 Bobby Bollier, Stanford, 52.80 Eugene Godsoe, Stanford, 52.41
7. Giles Smith, Tuscon Ford, 52.50 Maclin Davis, Trojan Swim Club, 52.89 Maclin Davis, Trojan Swim Club, 52.89
8. Jack Conger, Machine Aquatics, 53.04 Dan Madwed, Club Wolverine, 52.73 Jack Conger, Machine Aquatics, 53.04

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PAC12BACKER
8 years ago

Are you telling me that ALL of you guys, Morgan, Braden, Matt, and Reed are all picking the same top four picks? McGil, Shields, Lochte, and Phillips in that order? I sense collusion here! lol. Come on, someone’s got to pick Lochte or Shields first.

Reply to  PAC12BACKER
8 years ago

PAC12BBACKER – I’m putting all my money on Shields. I think he’s got what it takes.

AnotherSwimmingFan
8 years ago

I know Tom died hard at the Mesa Grand Prix in the 100 fly, but I really think he’s the best hope for the United States in the 100m butterfly (unless Phelps returns). He’s a relay guy too, so he can probably throw down a fast split in the 400 medley (43 SCY split and 48 SCM splits are evidence enough). My bet is that he takes first, McGill second.

Philip Johnson
8 years ago

Shield is the question mark for me. he had a fantastic meet in Istanbul (a 48.66 relay split!), but then again that was short course so i’m not going crazy. we shall see.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
8 years ago

Either Shields or Locthe will take the second spot.. but I would be more for Locthe now.. but I think Locthe should give up the 100 fly and focus on his 200 back/200IM combo if he wishes a individual gold by 2016..

aswimfan
Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
8 years ago

Totally agree.

The only way for Lochte to pick up individual gold in Rio if he focuses on 200 IM/back combo. Can’t see him winning anything outside those events.

bobo gigi
Reply to  aswimfan
8 years ago

Perhaps I’m wrong but I believe the 200 back is over for Ryan Lochte, in terms of gold medal. At the last short course world championships he has been well beaten by Radoslaw Kawecki and almost by Ryan Murphy. And it was in short course! He has faded in the last lenght, like in London. It looks like he isn’t in love with this race anymore. I say here his only sure gold medal next summer on individual is in the 200 IM. But he has to be careful for 2015 and 2016 with Kosuke Hagino and Chase Kalisz!

ZYNG43
Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
8 years ago

Lochte should do the 100 fly. The 200 back is one he should drop. He hasn’t even training enough for the 200 back/200 IM double and the rest of the world caught up to him. Maybe at the next Olympics if he refocuses on training but for now he’d be better off with just the 200 IM instead of doing the double.

Matt
8 years ago

I’ll tell you, when Reed and I were talking, we both agreed that Lochte in the Olympic year would likely beat Shields (as he did last summer), but that Shields put in the work this year and showed some international chops at SC Worlds. While I’m sure Lochte in a regular year could give Shields a push, this year with all of his distractions, I think he’s going to be a bit off Plus, Shields showed more improvement in Fly than Back this year, which tells me he’s also focusing on it more. Hence, Shields.

bobo gigi
8 years ago

3 years ago David Nolan swum 53.05 in the 100 fly. Almost all swimming fans thought he was the future. And now, none of you, the specialists, pick him in their 8 first names! Even Mr Priestley of Stanford!!!! It proves at least you are objective.

Goodsport
Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago

Seems like the specialists, only want to talk about the old guys and/or the new guys coming up and no one in between. Shields & Hamilton have great underwaters in short course but that doesn’t mean they can’t swim the stroke in long course. Hoping that Hamilton, Stubblefield, Nolan etc. all do well in the fly.

bobo gigi
8 years ago

McGill, Shields, Lochte, yes of course, they look well ahead of the others but I want 1 or 2 new faces too! Jack Conger, Clark Smith, Maclin Davis and Justin Lynch are the best youngers to watch.

PAC12BACKER
Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago

We’re talking the 100M Fly here. The younger guys you mention are too young and not physically powerful enough to make the World Championship event in this sprint event. Similar to why you won’t see any 18 o 19 year olds making the 50 and 100 freestyle slots.

bobo gigi
Reply to  PAC12BACKER
8 years ago

I don’t mention these young guys for Barcelona, just for the future.

John Smith
Reply to  PAC12BACKER
8 years ago

I agree. The 100 fly is very much a power event and well suited for more mature very strong swimmers. Hard to break a :52 if you are not as physcially developed.

ole 99
Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago

I’d add Connor Black to that list of young guys to watch. If he can go a 53.1 while only training in a shallow high school SCY pool, Imagine what he can do after training in a real pool.

bobo gigi
Reply to  ole 99
8 years ago

Correct. I had forgotten him.

ZYNG43
8 years ago

Bobo,

Maybe they don’t pick him because they think he’s going to focus more on the backstroker and 200 IM. His NCAA events. He’s been training for those

bobo gigi
Reply to  ZYNG43
8 years ago

I’m absolutely not shocked by their picks without David Nolan. I would have done the same thing. He’s so disappointing in long course since 2010. It’s hard to pick him. I just wanted to show you can move in 3 years from biggest hope status to ordinary swimmer status. But I hope he will swim well in Indianapolis and finally show us what he can do now in long course. He’s talented. We’ll see.

About Morgan Priestley

Morgan Priestley

A Stanford University and Birmingham, Michigan native, Morgan Priestley started writing for SwimSwam in February 2013 on a whim, and is loving that his tendency to follow and over-analyze swim results can finally be put to good use. Morgan swam competitively for 15+ years, primarily excelling in the mid-distance freestyles. While …

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