2016 Rio Olympics: Day 2 Prelims Preview

2016 RIO OLYMPIC GAMES

After a wild opening day of swimming that saw a rivalry created between Mack Horton and Sun Yang, multiple world records fall and an exciting opening 400 free relay that required all three teams who medalled to break their national record (and the Aussies broke the world record), it’s time for day 2 prelims. Day 2 should ultimately be equally exciting, with the women’s 100 back, men’s 200 free, women’s 100 breast, men’s 100 back, women’s 400 free and the men’s 400 free relay all scheduled for this morning.

First up is the women’s 100 back, where 2012 Olympic gold medallist Missy Franklin and 2004 & 2008 champ Natalie Coughlin failed to qualify for the team at US Trials, leaving it to Trials champ Olivia Smoliga and runner-up Kathleen Baker to carry on the tradition of excellence. Smoliga will swim in the first of the circle seeded heats, heat 3, along with Australia’s Madison Wilson, the silver medallist in this event at last years World Championships. Baker will then swim in heat 4 alongside Denmark’s Mie Nielsen, who is the #2 seed coming in.

The final heat features last years World Champion and 2012 silver medallist Emily Seebohm of Australia, who will be the favorite for gold here and will be looking for that world record of 58.12. Her best currently sits at 58.26. Joining her in the final heat will be #4 seed Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, who created a lot of momentum for herself by smashing the 400 IM world record last night en route to her first Olympic medal. Hosszu actually carried the top seed after prelims in this year last year in Kazan, but opted to scratch. Also swimming in that last heat will be Canadian Kylie Masse, who is an outside threat after a 59.06 Canadian record in April.

Next will be the men’s 200 free, which has become a wide open event over the past few years. After convincing performances from Yannick Agnel in 2012 and 2013, he hasn’t been close to his top form recently and will be in tough to even make the final here. The first of the circle seeded heats, heat 4, will feature Agnel, along with world record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany and upstart American Townley Haas. Though Biedermann’s 2009 record is heavily scrutinized, he has proven himself worth with bronze medals at two of the past three World Championships. Haas surprised many with a blistering NCAA and American record at the NCAA Championships in 1:30.46, but is lacking major international experience. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs on the big stage after coming through at US Trials.

Among those in heat 5 are Sun Yang, coming off a disappointing silver medal last night in the 400 free, and Chad Le Clos, who may or may not swim this race all the way to the final (if he qualifies) as his main focus will be on the butterfly events. Sun is the only man to crack the 1:45 barrier this year. In the last heat we’ll see 2015 World Champion James Guy, last night’s 400 IM winner Kosuke Hagino, 400 free 4th place Conor Dwyer and Park Tae Hwan, who missed the 400 final yesterday but won silver in this event four years ago. From what we’ve seen in previous years, it usually takes around a 1:47-high to advance to the semis. It will probably be a little faster today, in the 1:47-mid range.

The women’s 100 breaststroke is filled with controversy, with 2015 World Champ Yuliya Efimova added back to the start lists originally being banned from the meet due to a previous history of doping. 2012 Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte then called out FINA on twitter, posting “you’ve just lost the faith of thousands of swimmers and supporters”. Efimova will swim in heat 5 of 6, while Meilutyte will go in the last heat. Though this brewing rivalry may lead the headlines, it’s American Lilly King who comes in as the top seed with her time of 1:05.20, as she’ll swim alongside Meilutyte this morning in heat 6. Other notables include Katie Meili and Kanako Watanabe in heat 4 and Alia Atkinson in heat 5.

The men’s 100 back, like the women’s, saw the defending Olympic champ miss the team in this event at the US Trials, as Matt Grevers took a disappointing 3rd behind Ryan Murphy and David Plummer. The race dominated by Grevers in London is now wide open between at least three men, as Murphy, Plummer and Australian Mitch Larkin all hold best times of 52.1. They’ll all swim in lane 4 of the circle seeded heats, 3, 4 and 5. One who could join those three as a medal contender is France’s Camille Lacourt, the 2011 World Champion, who will swim beside Larkin in heat 5.

After two impressive legs on the Americans 400 free relay yesterday, Katie Ledecky takes to the water for her first individual event in Rio in the 400 free. She’ll swim in heat 4, and her teammate Leah Smith, who sits 2nd in the world, will headline heat 3. Ledecky (3:58.9) and Smith (4:00.6) have no one close to them in the world this year, with the next best time being 4:03, where seven women reside. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia will swim in heat 3 with Smith after winning bronze in the 400 IM last night.

Then comes maybe the most anticipated relay of the Games, the men’s 4×100 free. It will be a dogfight to get into the final, especially after last years World Championships where both the Americans and Australians missed the final. Heat 1 will see the Russians, Italians and Canadians, while heat 2 appears more loaded with the Australians, Americans, host Brazil and of course, the French, who haven’t lost on the Olympic or World stage since 2011. After the Americans poor performance last year, they find themselves out in lane 1 in the 2nd heat.

Check back on SwimSwam for complete relay lineups once they are released.

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Cheatinvlad

I’m thinking LeClos to intimidated to swim the 200 free. He’s tough as hell in the event in the short pool, but can’t step up in the big pool.

RJ Cid

russians have 4 swimmers?? lol

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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