2017 U.S. Worlds Trials Previews: Licon Chasing Cordes, Prenot in 200 Breast

Find links to all of our event-by-event previews here.

2017 U.S. Nationals/World Championships Trials

  • Tuesday, June 27th-Saturday, July 1st
  • 50-Meter Course
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Meet Info

Kevin Cordes (photo: Simone Castrovillari)

Since 2013, Team USA’s Kevin Cordes has represented the Americans every year on the international stage in the 200 breast. Cordes, who was a finalist in both breaststroke races at the Rio Olympics, is the defending silver medalist in the 200 breast after taking 2nd to Marco Koch in 2015. To return to the podium, however, he’ll first have to earn a spot on the team against Olympic silver medalist Josh Prenot and NCAA champion Will Licon.

Cal’s Prenot (2:07.17), the American Record holder in the long course pool, is the favorite heading into Trials. He’s also within a half second of the World Record, which stands at a 2:06.67 done by Japan’s Ippei Watanabe back in January. Aside from Prenot, Cordes (2:07.81) is the only man who will enter with a best time below 2:08. While those 2 men represented the U.S. in Rio in this event, Texas’ Licon was narrowly behind, taking 3rd at Olympic Trials with a 2:08.14. He was just .14 shy of what it took to make the team, as Cordes clocked in at 2:08.00 in the final to take 2nd place.

During the 2016-17 NCAA season, Licon became the national champion in both breaststrokes. He shattered the American Record in the 200 breast, becoming the first man to break 1:48 and taking a 3rd straight title in the event with his winning time of 1:47.91. If he can carry that momentum into the long course season, we could see him on top of the podium at Nationals this time around.

Georgia’s Nic Fink has represented the U.S. at the past 2 World Championships. He swam this event in 2015, placing 10th in the semifinals. Outside of the 3 frontrunners, he’s the only man to have broken 2:09, having set a personal best 2:08.89 at the World Cup in 2015. Fink has consistently been sub-2:10 every summer since 2014.

Though they’ve had slightly more success in the 100 breast so far, Indiana’s Cody Miller and Emory’s Andrew Wilson can’t be counted out. Miller, the Olympic bronze medalist in the 100 breast, swam a personal best 2:09.05 at a 2015 World Cup meet. He wasn’t quite as fast last summer, but still swam below the 2:10-barrier. Wilson, who started training with Longhorn Aquatics in the lead up to 2016 Trials, continues to improve since breaking onto the National Team scene in 2015. He brought his time down to a 2:09.35 at Olympic Trials, and continued to show impressive speed when he shattered the NCAA Division 3 Record with a 1:50.80 in the 200 breast this season.

Olympic silver medal-winning 400 IMer Chase Kalisz has had some success in this race, and it actually fits into his probable Nationals lineup pretty neatly. But we don’t expect him to make a run at this event, especially the day before his all-important 400 IM. It’s probably more likely that we see Kalisz go after the 200 fly if he puts a premium on trying to qualify for Worlds in a non-IM event.

Since narrowly missing out on the Olympic Trials final with a 9th place finish, Junior National Teamer Daniel Roy has gotten even faster. Roy was the bronze medalist at 2016 Junior Pan Pacs, lowering his personal best 2:12.16. He’s already been within tenths of that this season with his 2:12.86 to place 5th in finals at the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series in Mesa. Fellow National Junior Teamer Reece Whitley is also one to watch out for. He shattered the 15-16 NAG Record in the 200 yard breast with a 1:52.37, and has already been as fast as 2:11.30 in the long course pool.

National Team veteran BJ Johnson represented the U.S. in this event at the 2013 World Championships. Though he missed the team in 2015, he continues to be a top 8 swimmer in this race. Last summer, he took 6th at Olympic Trials with a 2:10.70, which was the fastest time he’s swum since qualifying for Worlds in 2013.

TOP 8 PREDICTIONS:

Place Swimmer Best Time Since 2015 Predicted Time
1 Josh Prenot 2:07.17 2:07.5
2 Will Licon 2:08.14 2:07.7
3 Kevin Cordes 2:07.81 2:08.2
4 Nic Fink 2:08.89 2:08.6
5 Andrew Wilson 2:09.35 2:09.0
6 Cody Miller 2:09.08 2:09.5
7 Reece Whitley 2:11.30 2:10.3
8 Daniel Roy 2:12.17 2:11.2

DARKHORSE: Michigan’s Jacob Montague competed alongside Roy and Whitley at the 2016 Junior Pan Pacs. He was a medalist in both breaststrokes at the Big Ten Championships and and NCAA scorer in the 200 breast during his freshman season with the Wolverines. Montague was a semifinalist in this race at 2016 Olympic Trials, and has been as fast as 2:13.15.

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Lonestar
5 years ago

One thing amazing about Daniel Roy- he lives in a small town and practices alone because his team is based on the other side of the state. It is simply amazing a 16-year-old ( I think he had just turned 17) to do that.

Lonestar
5 years ago

Looking forward to this!!!

Person
5 years ago

Optimistic (maybe?) 200 breast predictions:
Prenot – 2:07.5 (Trials)
Licon – 2:07.9 (Trials)
Cordes – 2:08.3 (Trials)
Andrew Wilson could be in there too. Looking towards the future Reece Whitley would be in a great position of he could get under 2:10, Daniel Roy will probably be just a bit slower. Reece could challenge for a spot in a couple years.

Budapest:
Prenot – 2:06.7 if he’s more aggressive, 2:07.0 if he holds back like he usually does.
Licon – 2:07.6
Both those times will challenge for medals. For some reason I’ve got the feeling Watanabe won’t match his WR… call me out later if I’m wrong.

So, in my fevered mind I… Read more »

Patrick
Reply to  Person
5 years ago

Rowdy also talks about how prenot is right on top if the lane line.

DMacNCheez
Reply to  Person
5 years ago

*unbelievable not incredible
Plus Dan Hicks made those calls at the end, not Rowdy. 🙂 But I love the enthusiasm and agree with your prediction.

Uberfan
5 years ago

BJ Johnson is my dark horse

korn
Reply to  Uberfan
5 years ago

Is he still swimming?

Uberfan
Reply to  korn
5 years ago

Yes

iLikePsych
5 years ago

I’m always amazed that Bentz was a 2:12 as a 17 year old and then hasn’t swum this event again. Wonder what he could go if he focused solely on breast.

Caleb
Reply to  iLikePsych
5 years ago

Conger in the 200 back… Clark Smith in the 200 fly… Lots can change in 5 years.

Uberfan
Reply to  iLikePsych
5 years ago

Gunnar is the most versatile swimmer we have right now, 200 freestyle relay member, 200 fly finalist, 200 IM finalist, 400 IM finalist, kids a beast

Uberfan
Reply to  Uberfan
5 years ago

What’s with the Gunnar hate 🙁

korn
Reply to  iLikePsych
5 years ago

His IM’sh haven’t dropped much since he was 17 either. His big drops are in 2fly and 2free which he didn’t focus on much at that point.

Dee
5 years ago

Licon/Prenot for me

He Gets It Done Again
5 years ago

I think/hope Kalisz will swim this. I don’t think he needs a day off before the 400IM. He didn’t get one at NCAAs and still crushed the field. He can be well off his PB of 4:06 and still qualify for worlds

Go Bearcats
Reply to  He Gets It Done Again
5 years ago

We’re talking about a man who posted a world leading time at an Arena Pro Series in the 4IM (didn’t have days off prior). I completely agree that he can fit this 200 BR into his schedule and still crush it in the 4IM.

Caleb
Reply to  Go Bearcats
5 years ago

Hard to say… I don’t think it would hurt him much to race the day before the 400 IM, but he doesn’t have a great shot to make the team in the 200 breast, and even less chance to medal at Worlds. If he does swim and makes it, I’d expect him to drop this event at WCs. Would racing a lot hurt his 200 IM later in the meet, where he has less margin for error, especially if he’s not fully rested? I dunno. On the other hand, maybe racing is more fun than sitting around for a day.

bobo gigi
Reply to  He Gets It Done Again
5 years ago

Yes. It would be a good idea for him to swim the 200 breast while he can win the 400 IM at worlds!
I will never understand that. Keep your energy for your best events!
200 fly/200 IM/400 IM is well enough for Kalisz.

korn
Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

I agree with Bobo. Chase isn’t one for a lot of events. He scratched everything after he made the 4im at Trials. Also he never scored the last day of NCAA’s …..let him do well in 3 events and not push it. Not everyone can focus on a lot of events.

Brownie
5 years ago

Prenot and Cordes again I don’t think Licon can catch them just yet in the long course pool

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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