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2017 U.S. Nationals/World Championships Trials
- Tuesday, June 27th-Saturday, July 1st
- 50-Meter Course
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Meet Info
The U.S. will likely see a pair of fresh faces representing the red, white, and blue in the men’s 200 IM in Budapest. Olympic champion Michael Phelps is now retired, and Ryan Lochte is barred from competing at Nationals after the infamous gas station incident. Additionally, David Nolan, who placed 3rd at 2016 Trials, is no longer swimming, and World Champs medalist Conor Dwyer is coming off a long break from training after Rio. While this event has been practically locked down by Phelps and Lochte for well over a decade, the door is now wide open for some of the up-and-comers to grab a roster spot.
Georgia’s Chase Kalisz, Cal’s Josh Prenot, and Texas’ Will Licon are among the men who may be inclined to go for it now that Phelps and Lochte are out of the picture. Heading into Trials, Kalisz is the frontrunner after setting a personal best 1:57.21 in season at the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series in Atlanta. If he’s able to improve on that, he could be far ahead of anyone else.
We could see a 3-way battle for the 2nd spot between Licon, Prenot, and Dwyer. Of the men who will swim the event at Trials, Dwyer is the only man to have broken 1:58 since 2015. However, Licon and Prenot aren’t far behind, as both put up 1:58-lows in 2015 and didn’t swim this race at Trials, so we may not have seen all their cards in the event yet.
Age group phenom Michael Andrew placed 6th in this event in semifinals at Olympic Trials, but then opted out of the final. Andrew has already improved his best time this season. He’ll look to break through the 1:59-barrier after putting up a 1:59.12 at the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis. He’s got the speed and versatility after winning a world championships title in the short course 100 IM, but matching the endurance of the Kalisz types in the field will be his biggest challenge.
There are several other returners in this race who were finalists at 2016 Olympic Trials, including Georgia teammates Gunnar Bentz and Jay Litherland along with Pac-12 rivals Abrahm DeVine and Andrew Seliskar. Last summer, Georgia’s Bentz and Litherland finished 4th and 5th in the event respectively. Bentz made huge strides during the NCAA season, and could compete for a spot in this event is he can translate his improvements into the long course pool. Litherland, a 2016 Olympian, is better known for his talent in the 400 IM, but he’s an excellent IMer so he could surprise us in the shorter IM in Indy.
Cal’s Seliskar hit a slump in this event after 2013, but then he came within 2 hundredths of his best time with a 1:59.86 at last summer’s Trials. Like Bentz, he’ll look to move on his momentum after a great NCAA season. Stanford’s DeVine, who finished one place ahead of Seliskar at 2016 Trials, has been a few tenths faster with a lifetime best 1:59-low.
TOP 8 PREDICTIONS:
|Place||Swimmer||Best Time Since 2015||Predicted Time|
DARKHORSE: Cal’s Matt Josa was DQed in the yards version of those event at NCAAs due to a violation on the breaststroke leg, but would have been fast enough to make it into the final. Should he choose to enter this event and work on his breaststroke leg, Josa could be a factor. As of now, his personal best is a 2:00.94 from 2015 Nationals, but with the speed he showed at NCAAs, we could see a sub-2:00 swim from him.