2017 U.S. Trials Previews: Will Comerford Snag a Spot in 100 Free?

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2017 U.S. NATIONALS/WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TRIALS

Simone Manuel has been shockingly good in the 100 free over the past year. She was already a top-tier sprinter, but after pulling off a stunning upset to tie for gold in the 100 free at the Rio Olympics, she was arguably even more jaw-dropping at 2017 NCAAs. Swimming fans watched as Manuel stepped up for the 100 free final, waiting to witness what could possibly have been the first sub-46 100 free ever done by a woman. What followed was beyond expectation, as she shattered her own American Record in 45.56. Manuel, the heavy favorite ahead of Trials, now looks to break her own American Record in the long course pool, which stands at a 52.70 from the Rio olympics.

Abbey Weitzeil, who also represented the U.S. in this race in Rio, is the 2nd fastest swimmer on the psych sheets. She’s was slightly off her bests during the short course season and hasn’t been quite as fast in-season at the Arena Pro Swim Series meets as she was last year. But it’s still likely we’ll see her on the team even if only for the relay. If she hits her stride, she could be looking at a sub-53. She’s already been 53-low a couple of times, including a 53.28 at 2016 Trials.

After a phenomenal NCAA season, Mallory Comerford looks to be the biggest threat for a roster spot behind Manuel. She made huge improvements in 2016, knocking over a second off her time to make semifinals at Trials. She’s already been half a second faster than that in 2017, putting up a quick 53.91 at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis. With her improvements so far this year, it’s not inconceivable to think Comerford could be 53-low to 53-mid. During the yards season, she knocked over a second and a half off her best time, bringing it down to a lightning fast 46.35 at NCAAs.

Amanda Weir (photo: Tim Binning)

It’ll likely take a sub-54 to make the top 6, and 3 more swimmers return after competing on the 400 free relay in Rio: Amanda Weir, Lia Neal, and Katie Ledecky. It’s hard to predict how fast Ledecky will be since she’s one of the few swimmers who doesn’t have to taper at all for Trials to make the team in her main events, but her personal best 53.75 is from an in-season meet anyways. Weir has been representing the U.S. internationally for over a decade. Her fastest time in a textile suit is a 53.58 from 2006, but she came within 2 hundredths of that last summer, so it’s safe to say she’s one of the Americans’ top prospects in Indianapolis. Like Weir, Neal is a veteran of the 400 free relay and has continued to improve since making her first Olympic team in 2012.

Kelsi Worrell narrowly missed making the Olympic relay with an 8th place finish at Trials and set a personal best 54.00. She’s been showing great freestyle speed at the Arena Pro Swim Series meets so far this season, so we could see her dip into the 53s to snag a spot. Similarly, 2016 Trials semifinalists Olivia Smoliga and Madison Kennedy have been 54-low and could potentially take a relay spot if they’re able to dip into the 53-high range. Kennedy was 9th at Trials and boasts a personal best 54.18. Smoliga has been just off that with her personal best 54.21 and showed blistering speed during the short course season with her 46.30 at NCAAs.

TOP 8 PREDICTIONS:

Place Swimmer Best Time Since 2015 Predicted Time
1 Simone Manuel 52.7 52.5
2 Mallory Comerford 53.91 53.2
3 Abbey Weitzeil 53.28 53.5
4 Lia Neal 53.77 53.7
5 Amanda Weir 53.6 53.8
6 Katie Ledecky 53.75 53.8
7 Olivia Smoliga 54.21 54.0
8 Kelsi Worrell 54.00 54.0

 

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john26
4 years ago

…what has she done in the last year that has suggested she can blast a 52.5? Apart from being American and therefore can “rise to the challenge”

He Gets It Done Again
Reply to  john26
4 years ago

Well for starters she went 52.7 ten months ago and 45.5 in yards three months ago

Pvdh
Reply to  john26
4 years ago

Why is it that so many posters are so dismissive of Americans improving their times by mere tenths, but are so willing to say that international swimmers can drop crazy amounts of time.

E Gamble
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

My guess is there is some international trolling going on right before our national meet. ?

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  E Gamble
4 years ago

sure they are trolls around …..

Dee
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

Bias. The same reason Americans often over-estimate their swimmers, Brits theirs, Aussies theirs etc etc. It’s 50/50 though – That 52.7 is very much alone for now, I struggle to see 52.5 at Trials, virtually untested. At Worlds, I’d be surprised but not shocked. If she has a few more 52s swims, and solidifies, it’ll be a good season, even without a PB.

Can’t see any of the top 3 hitting those times – Neal may be the one to nick 2nd.

Manuel/Comerford individually for me.
Neal, Ledecky, Smoliga, Weitzeil next 4.

I’m not sure on Weitzeil this year though… I think she is as likely to miss the team as she is to make it.

meeeeee
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Don’t agree that the US over-estimates. Who thought we would get 33 medals in Rio? No one.

Lauren Neidigh
Reply to  john26
4 years ago

See her performance in Rio and at NCAAs. If you read the article you’ll see the reasoning.

Paul
4 years ago

Worrell not on the team and adding time? I doubt it.

RUN-DMC
Reply to  Paul
4 years ago

Worrell will go 53.7 and probably place 6th.

KRB
Reply to  RUN-DMC
4 years ago

I think Worrell will definitely place higher than 8th. She dropped the 200 fly, so I suspect she is training well for freestyle and thinks she can make the relay team instead

Lauren Neidigh
Reply to  Paul
4 years ago

I don’t see her adding time

ArtVanDeLegh10
4 years ago

I’m very interested to see how Weitzel does. She hasn’t been very good since Rio SCY or LCM. Hopefully she can turn it around.

ervin
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
4 years ago

she swam a 45 on the relay that got dq’d, after that she fell off

Stallion6
Reply to  ervin
4 years ago

TRUE!

AvidSwimFan
Reply to  ervin
4 years ago

Wasn’t she the reason they dq’d? If I remember clearly she left early, so the 45, is an over-estimation.

gigglewater
4 years ago

The finalists I agree, seem like these 8 swimmers.
Same with Paul, I would rank Worrell hinger.
The prediction time though…I just don’t see Manuel go 52.5 at here.

ervin
4 years ago

i bet Olivia Smoliga gets the sixth slot over Katie Ledecky, but then they put Ledecky on the relay anyway

Pvdh
Reply to  ervin
4 years ago

Ledecky split 52.6 and 52.7 on the relay last year. Why wouldn’t they include her?

Dee
Reply to  Pvdh
4 years ago

Because other athletes who work their arses off earned their chance by beating her?

Pvdh
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Tell me, would you put a swimmer, that you know isn’t the best option, on the finals of a relay that is contending for a medal?

KeithM
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

The coaches in Budapest are going to select who they believe will be the four fastest girls regardless of their finishing order in Indy. The top 4 at Nationals would have to be impressive for the coaches to consider not putting a tapered Ledecky on the sprint relay. No swimmer “earns” their way onto a relay at the qualifying meet. Not even the winner. The selection process for the US is discretionary and always has been. That being said Ledecky can’t take anything for granted, which is why she’s entered the 100, although given she’s so dominant in the 800 there is little risk in swimming both heats and finals (should she qualify).

BSD
4 years ago

I think Lea Neal will beat Weitzeil, she’s looked good so far this season.

Marley09
4 years ago

Simone won’t be anywhere near 52.5 in Indy because she doesn’t need to show all her cards. 53.0 to 53.5 is likely all she’s going to need to get an individual lane in Budapest. I think Amanda Weir might be left without a chair once the music stops. Worried about Weitzeil too.

Swimmer?
Reply to  Marley09
4 years ago

Right, Manuel was 53.5 at trials last year, and she will probably be around there this year too.

E Gamble
Reply to  Swimmer?
4 years ago

She’s already been 53.6 and 53.8 unrested in the 100 free at Mesa and Atlanta this year.

a_trojan
Reply to  E Gamble
4 years ago

and she will be lightly rested at Indy, hence 53.5 wouldn’t be surprising

Ex Quaker
Reply to  Marley09
4 years ago

I wouldn’t doubt Amanda… Even at her age, her consistency in both meets and training is staggering. I’d honestly be surprised if she weren’t top 6.

Editor
4 years ago

I don’t feel great about Weitzeil and Weir being top 6. Worrell has looked great this year so I’d give her a top 6 spot. Excited to see if someone younger (Ivey, Merrell, Ariola) can steal a finals spot away.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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