2016 U.S. Olympic Trials 6 Months Out: Women’s Formchart

With the 2016 Olympic Games looming, below find the women’s 6 months-out-formchart for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. This is a high-level look at the current favorites for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team to guide your viewing of the rest of the NCAA season as well as the remainder of the Pro Swim Series. As the Trials near we will fine-tune (and expand upon) this form-chart into our formal SwimSwam predictions. If you want to see the men’s formchart from earlier click here.


50m Freestyle               2012 Qualifying Time (2nd Place): 24.73

                                                    2015 Best                       US Rank                  World Rank        Oly.Experience

1.Simone Manuel                 24.47                            1                                  8                           No

2.Natalie Coughlin               24.66                           2                                  14                   ’04,’08,’12

3.Madison Kennedy                   24.71                          3                                    15                           No

4.Abbey Weitzeil                         24.86                         5                                    24                          No

5.Kelsi Worrell                             25.01                         6                                    32                          No

6.Amanada Weir                         24.85                         4                                    23                      ’04,’12

Darkhorse: Faith Johnson        25.18                        14                                   51                            No

Simone Manuel is poised to make her first Olympic team this summer in Omaha, as she has proven herself as America’s top freestyle sprinter. The battle for 2nd place will be very tight. Natalie Coughlin won bronze in this event at Pan Ams, and has a very good shot. Madison Kennedy took home the National title in August, Abbey Weitzeil lost to Manuel by just 0.03 at Winter Nats and Amanda Weir also went under 25 seconds at Nationals finishing 2nd. Kelsi Worrell’s primary focus will be the butterfly events, but with the 50 free prelims not until the 2nd to last day of competition there’s no reason why she couldn’t swim it. In her young career she has already developed a reputation for delivering under pressure. There are many, many women capable of making the top-8 in this event, but one to watch for is Faith Johnson of Tennessee, who tied for 4th at Nationals and has been very fast so far in the NCAA season.

100m Freestyle                2012 Qualifying Time (Ind.): 54.15   Relay: 54.44

                                                     2015 Best                     US Rank                 World Rank            Oly.Experience

1.Simone Manuel                  53.81                            2                             10                             No

2.Missy Franklin                   53.68                            1                              9                               ’12

3.Margo Geer                            53.95                             4                                22                               No

4.Abbey Weitzeil                      54.11                              6                                30                              No

5.Natalie Coughlin                   53.85                             3                                16                        ’04,’08,’12

6.Lia Neal                                   54.01                             5                                27                              ’12

Darkhorse: Dana Vollmer       54.95                           15                                74                          ’04,’12

In what will be a very hotly contested event at Trials, Simone Manuel and Missy Franklin are the clear top-2 as of now. The battle for a top-6 spot will be fierce, with many capable of qualifying. Margo Geer, Abbey Weitzeil and Lia Neal all swam well on relays at Worlds, and Natalie Coughlin won silver at Pan Ams . On her comeback trail in search of defending her 100 fly Olympic title, Dana Vollmer went sub-55 at Winter Nats in this event and certainly has the ability to push for a relay spot. She didn’t focus on it in 2015, but we could see a resurgence in sprint freestyle from Jessica Hardy as well.

200m Freestyle              2012 Qualifying Time (Ind.): 1:56.79   Relay: 1:58.40

                                                2015 Best                US Rank                World Rank            Oly.Experience

1.Katie Ledecky                   1:55.16                    1                                4                              ’12

2.Missy Franklin                 1:55.49                   2                               6                               ’12

3.Allison Schmitt                    1:56.23                   3                                 10                                 ’08,’12

4.Leah Smith                           1:57.52                   4                                  26                                   No

5.Melanie Margalis                1:57.91                    6                                  35                                   No

6.Elizabeth Pelton                  1:58.30                  8                                   46                                  No

Darkhorse: Simone Manuel   1:58.54                 12                                 57                                  No

The women’s 200 free will have three elite women vying for 2 spots, with 2015 World Champion Katie Ledecky, 2013 World Champion Missy Franklin and 2012 Olympic Champion Allison Schmitt set to do battle. After those three, Leah Smith and Melanie Margalis look good to make the team in the relay after going sub-1:58 in 2015. Both Katie McLaughlin and Hali Flickinger will both be considered for the relay as well after posting the 5th and 7th fastest American times in 2015. However, they will both be contesting the 200 fly which have semi-finals taking place shortly after the 200 free final, so it is unlikely we’ll see them in the final. Keep an eye out for sprint specialist Simone Manuel, who could make a push in this event. She has proven herself in yards, and was a very respectable 1:58.5 at Winter Nats.

400m Freestyle              2012 Qualifying Time: 4:04.18

                                                 2015 Best             US Rank         World Rank        Oly.Experience

1.Katie Ledecky               3:59.13                     1                           1                        ’12

2.Allison Schmitt            4:06.88                   3                          19                   ’08,’12

3.Leah Smith                       4:04.66                     2                            6                           No

4.Hali Flickinger                 4:07.93                     7                            33                         No

5.Lindsay Vrooman            4:07.16                   4                              23                         No

6.Sierra Schmidt                 4:07.47                   5                             28                          No

Darkhorse: Courtney Harnish    4:08.22        9                             39                          No

2-time World Champion Katie Ledecky will look for her first Olympic title in the 400. 2012 Olympic runner-up Allison Schmitt is a good bet for 2nd after a very fast 4:06.8 in-season swim at Winter Nats. Leah Smith will give her a run after going 4:04 at World University Games, and Hali Flickinger will be a major player after an scintillating 3:58.2 (SCM) at the Duel in the Pool. Lindsay Vrooman and Sierra Schmidt will also be in the fight, as will youngster Courtney Harnish after a surprising 3rd place finish at Summer Nationals.

800m Freestyle             2012 Qualifying Time: 8:21.87

                                                2015 Best            US Rank            World Rank        Oly.Experience

1.Katie Ledecky                8:07.39                1                           1                            ’12

2.Becca Mann                    8:21.77                 2                          6                             No

3.Leah Smith                         8:24.74                  3                           10                              No

4.Lindsay Vrooman              8:26.67                 4                            11                               No

5.Haley Anderson                 8:29.32                  7                          20                                ’12

6.Stephanie Peacock            8:28.25                 6                           14                                No

Darkhorse: Cierra Runge    8:31.55                  9                           34                               No

Katie Ledecky will begin her pursuit of defending her 800m Olympic title in Omaha, where she shouldn’t have any trouble winning. Even if first place is all but decided, the battle for second should be a good one. Becca Mann posted a best time of 8:21.77 recently at the Minneapolis Pro Series, and got her first taste of World Championship action this past summer. Leah Smith had an excellent 2015 and though her primary focus has been the 200/400 lately, she certainly has a shot in the 800 based off her casual 8:24.7 at the VA Last Chance Meet in June. Lindsay Vrooman is coming off the national title in this event, Haley Anderson recently won Winter Nationals and Stephanie Peacock was runner-up to Vrooman at Nationals. Look out for Cierra Runge, who looked good at Winter Nationals after a dynamite 2014.

100m Backstroke             2012 Qualifying Time: 59.49

                                                  2015 Best            US Rank            World Rank          Oly.Experience

1.Missy Franklin                  59.40                 2                           8                          ’12

2.Natalie Coughlin              59.05                  1                          6                     ’04,’08,’12

3.Claire Adams                         59.58                    3                           10                            No

4.Kathleen Baker                     59.63                     4                           12                            No

5.Ali Deloof                              1:00.10                   7                            24                           No

6.Olivia Smoliga                     1:00.06                   6                            22                           No

Darkhorse: Courtney Bartholomew   1:02.13     44                        169                          No

Missy will be back in top form and will be the favorite for this event. Natalie Coughlin announced she was back on the 100 back scene when she dropped a 59.05 medley relay lead-off at Pan Ams. She’ll be very dangerous. Claire Adams will push both Franklin and Coughlin after winning Nationals in August, Kathleen Baker was 59.6 at Worlds and Ali Deloof has consistently improved finishing 3rd at Summer Nats and 2nd at Winter Nats. Someone to keep an eye out for is Courtney Bartholomew. She recently had an outstanding Duel in the Pool where she broke Natalie Coughlin‘s SCM American record. Yes, short course and long course are very different but she is someone everyone will have to keep an eye out for. This is an event that has a lot of contenders for a top-8 position, as I haven’t even mentioned the likes of Hannah StevensRachel BootsmaClara Smiddy, etc… There’s a lot of young backstroke talent (as there always seems to be in the U.S.) that could/should wind up in finals, but those will shake out as more data points arise.

200m Backstroke            2012 Qualifying Time: 2:07.58

                                                  2015 Best              US Rank         World Rank      Oly.Experience

1.Missy Franklin                 2:06.34                 1                       3                         ’12

2.Maya Dirado                     2:08.28                 2                      9                         No

3.Claire Adams                        2:09.44                    4                        18                         No

4.Elizabeth Beisel                    2:09.54                   5                         21                       ’08,’12

5.Lisa Bratton                           2:09.31                   3                        15                          No

6.Elizabeth Pelton                    2:10.54                  7                        37                          No

Darkhorse: Danielle Galyer    2:09.75                 6                        25                          No

After Maya Dirado pushed Missy Franklin to the finish in the final at Winter Nationals, she would have to be considered the favorite for the 2nd spot behind the defending Olympic champion. Claire Adams won the National title, Lisa Bratton won the World University Games title, and Elizabeth Beisel will look to make her third straight Olympic team while Elizabeth Pelton is still looking for her first. Danielle Galyer from the University of Kentucky finished 2nd to Adams at Nationals and could surprise a lot of people.

100m Breaststroke             2012 Qualifying Time: 1:05.99

                                                   2015 Best           US Rank          World Rank          Oly.Experience

1.Katie Meili                          1:05.64               1                          3                            No

2.Jessica Hardy                    1:06.68              4                          9                            ’12

3.Lilly King                               1:06.43                  2                            6                              No

4.Breeja Larson                        1:07.19                  5                           21                            ’12

5.Molly Hannis                         1:06.60                 3                           8                              No

6.Laura Sogar                            1:07.41                 7                           27                             No

Darkhorse: Andrea Cottrell    1:07.63                9                           35                             No

After a breakout summer that saw her win both Pan Am and US National gold, Katie Meili would have to be considered the favorite heading into 2016. Jessica Hardy faltered a bit at Worlds, but still gets the nod in 2nd given her experience. Lilly King finished 2nd at both Summer and Winter Nationals, Molly Hannis went the 8th fastest time in the world on the World Cup circuit, and Breeja Larson will look to rectify a poor 2015 with a second consecutive Olympic berth. The University of Louisville’s Andrea Cottrell‘s stock is on the rise, after a impressive 4th place finish at Summer Nationals.

200m Breaststroke            2012 Qualifying Time: 2:23.03

                                                      2015 Best         US Rank          World Rank        Oly.Experience

1.Micah Lawrence                 2:22.04            1                           5                        ’12

2.Laura Sogar                         2:23.54             2                          15                       No

3.Lilly King                                  2:24.47               3                            19                         No

4.Molly Hannis                           2:25.26               4                            25                         No

5.Miranda Tucker                       2:26.08              5                           32                         No

6.Breeja Larson                           2:26.32               6                          34                         ’12

Darkhorse: Melanie Margalis   2:27.24              11                          57                          No

Micah Lawrence is clearly the top pick after winning silver at the World Championships, and Laura Sogar is a clear 2nd pick after her big win at Nationals. Lilly King recently had a big win at Winter Nationals, Molly Hannis was 2nd at Summer Nationals to Sogar, and Miranda Tucker posted her best time of the year recently at Winter Nats. Someone to be aware of in this event is Melanie Margalis, who had a big surprise win over Russia’s Yuliya Efimova at the Duel in the Pool.

100m Butterfly                    2012 Qualifying Time: 57.57

                                                        2015 Best          US Rank         World Rank      Oly.Experience

1.Kelsi Worrell                          57.24                  1                       3                        No

2.Dana Vollmer                         57.95                  3                      16                   ’04,’12

3.Katie McLaughlin                      57.87                    2                       15                       No

4.Kendyl Stewart                          58.05                   4                       19                       No

5.Claire Donahue                          58.08                  5                        21                       ’12

6.Felicia Lee                                   58.54                  6                        38                       No

Darkhorse: Cassidy Bayer           58.87                  9                        50                       No

After her breakout summer and continued success right through 2015, I’m giving the nod to Kelsi Worrell in the 100 fly over Dana Vollmer. This will be a very exciting race to watch. 200 fly specialist Katie McLaughlin will be dangerous coming home on that second 50. Kendyl Stewart had a somewhat disappointing World Championships but did pop a 56.8 relay leg, Claire Donahue also had a disappointing Worlds and will look to bounce back, and Felicia Lee had an impressive 2nd place finish to Worrell at Summer Nationals. Cassidy Bayer is a young swimmer on the rise, claiming a bronze and two fourth place finishes at Junior Worlds.

200m Butterfly                     2012 Qualifying Time: 2:07.72

                                                      2015 Best            US Rank       World Rank       Oly.Experience

1.Cammile Adams                   2:06.33              1                       5                        ’12

2.Katie McLaughlin                2:06.95              2                      9                         No

3.Hali Flickinger                          2:07.59                 3                        12                        No

4.Cassidy Bayer                            2:08.03                4                        18                        No

5.Kate Mills                                   2:08.89                6                       29                       No

6.Christina Bechtel                      2:09.20                7                       33                        No

Darkhorse: Kelsi Worrell            2:08.61               5                        22                        No

Cammile Adams and Katie McLaughlin are the easy 1-2 picks after finishing 2nd and 6th respectively at the World Championships. Hali Flickinger, Cassidy Bayer and Christina Bechtel went 1-2-3 at Nationals, and Kate Mills won silver at Pan Ams. Despite potential to make the team in this event, Kelsi Worrell is a darkhorse. She did scratch this final at Nationals, and simply may decide she has a better chance qualifying in the 400 free relay than the 200 fly (which would create a scheduling conflict).

200m Individual Medley        2012 Qualifying Time: 2:11.30

                                                      2015 Best            US Rank         World Rank     Oly.Experience

1.Maya Dirado                        2:08.99               1                       4                         No

2.Melanie Margalis               2:10.26               2                        7                         No

3.Caitlin Leverenz                       2:10.35                  3                         8                          ’12

4.Madisyn Cox                             2:10.75                  4                         9                          No

5.Meghan Small                           2:11.26                  5                        14                          No

6.Bethany Galat                           2:12.13                  7                         21                          No

Darkhorse: Kathleen Baker       2:12.09                 6                         20                         No

Maya Dirado‘s very impressive World Championship performance makes her the clear favorite in both IM races heading into 2016. Melanie Margalis and Caitlin Leverenz look like they’ll have a good race for 2nd place, with Madisyn Cox not far behind. Leverenz won both US Nationals and Pan Ams, just ahead of Cox (Nationals) and Meghan Small (Pan Ams). Bethany Galat was a respectable 3rd at Nationals, and Kathleen Baker is someone who could surprise in this event. Known more for her backstroke, Baker has a deadly front half and used it to finish 3rd recently at Winter Nationals.

400m Individual Medley   2012 Qualifying Time: 4:34.48

                                                    2015 Best        US Rank         World Rank        Oly.Experience

1.Maya Dirado                        4:31.71              1                        2                         No

2.Caitlin Leverenz                  4:35.46            2                       6                         ’12

3.Elizabeth Beisel                    4:36.71                3                            11                       ’08,’12

4.Becca Mann                            4:37.04              4                            12                          No

5.Sarah Henry                            4:38.88             5                            22                         No

6.Madisyn Cox                            4:41.75             6                             38                         No

Darkhorse: Brooke Forde         4:43.20            15                           54                         No

Maya Dirado had an amazing swim at Worlds, challenging Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu all the way to the wall, finishing 2nd. She is again the clear favorite, after a massive 4:31.7. Caitlin Leverenz pulled off the win at both Pan Ams and Nationals, and will battle 2012 Olympic silver medallist Elizabeth Beisel for the 2nd spot. Open water and distance freestyle ace Becca Mann was a very impressive 4:37.0 at the Minneapolis Pro Series, Sarah Henry won gold at the World University Games, and Madisyn Cox picked up a bronze behind Leverenz and Henry at Nationals. If there’s a young swimmer on the rise in this event, it’s Brooke Forde. She swam 4:43.20 to finish 4th at Junior Worlds which finished off a year where she dropped 12 seconds in the long course 400 IM.




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4 years ago

Eva Merrell as dark horse 100 fly.

4 years ago

Leaving Beisel out of your picks. Bold but justified I guess for the time being. It’s gonna be a dog fight for so many of those spots. Especially the 200 free relay positions…

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  Swag
4 years ago

Bold perhaps, but not prescient. If she is healthy and fit (and it now looks like she’s past her injury), I can’t see Beisel finishing outside of the top 2 in the 400IM

4 years ago

Amanda Kendall dark horse in both the 50 and 100 Free

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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