2021 U.S. Olympic Roster Update 4: Schmitt Returns, Harting & Walsh Newest OLY


Team USA’s Olympic swimming roster welcomes both veteran and first-time Olympians following the conclusion of the fourth day of competition in Omaha.

Katie Ledecky, who already qualified for the women’s 400 freestyle on Monday, added the 200 and 1500 freestyles to her Tokyo lineup Wednesday night. With Ledecky taking the top spot in each of these races, 2nd-place finishers are able to breathe a little easier as it becomes increasingly certain they will be added to the growing Olympic team.

2012 Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt and newbie Erica Sullivan both finished behind Ledecky in the 200 and 1500 freestyles, respectively. For Schmitt, her ticket to Tokyo is a certainty as she will be needed for the 4×200 freestyle relay. Finishing in 3rd and 4th in the 200 freestyle were Paige Madden, who already qualified for Tokyo by way of a 2nd place finish in the 400 free, and Katie McLaughlin, who qualifies for her first Olympics. Both are now qualified as members of the 4×200 free relay.

For Sullivan, her qualification is technically still pending, though Ledecky is expected to qualify individually in one more event, the 800 freestyle, and with other women likely to pick up their second events over the next couple of days, Sullivan is almost certain to be included on the roster.

The women’s 200 IM was easily the race of the night. Three women took it down to the wire, all finishing within 0.04 of one another. Touching the wall first was 2021 NCAA Champion Alex Walsh in 2:09.30. Walsh was closely followed by teammate Kate Douglass in 2:09.32. Douglass just out-touched Madisyn Cox who finished in 2:09.34. Walsh signed her name on the drum and Douglass is expected to do so in a few days’ time.

On the men’s side, Dark Knight Zach Harting punched his ticket with a victory in the 200 fly. Finishing 2nd to Harting was 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gunnar Bentz. Bentz, who competed in Rio in the 4×200 free relay and no individual events, finished 4th at Trials in the 200 fly in 2016. Now, with a 2nd place finish, Bentz will have the opportunity to swim an individual event in Olympic competition–pending the finalization of the team roster.


Tonight’s new qualifiers are noted in bold.

Tentative qualifiers (who need a certain number of multi-event qualifiers to be officially added) are listed in italics.



  • Chase Kalisz: 400 IM
  • Kieran Smith: 400 free, 200 free, 4×200 free relay
  • Michael Andrew: 100 breast
  • Townley Haas: 200 free, 4×200 free relay
  • Drew Kibler: 4×200 free relay
  • Andrew Seliskar: 4×200 free relay
  • Ryan Murphy: 100 back
  • Zach Harting: 200 fly
  • Jay Litherland: 400 IM
  • Jake Mitchell: 400 free
  • Andrew Wilson: 100 breast
  • Hunter Armstrong: 100 back
  • Zach Apple: 4×200 free relay
  • Patrick Callan: 4×200 free relay
  • Gunnar Bentz: 200 fly


Here’s an overly-simplified version of the U.S. Olympic selection process: the team can have a maximum of 26 men and 26 women. Swimmers are added to the roster in these priorities until the roster cap is hit:

  1. Top 4 in 100/200 frees, Winner of all other events
  2. 2nd-place finisher in all events (besides 100/200 free)
  3. 5th-place finisher in 100/200 free
  4. 6th-place finisher in 100/200 free

We track ‘doubles’ as a way of knowing when the next priority of swimmers can be officially added to the team. A ‘double’ is effectively a swimmer qualifying in more than one event. One swimmer qualifying in three events counts as two ‘doubles’ for our purposes.

The Magic Numbers:

  • 6 doubles on either the men’s or women’s side means all priority 2 athletes (2nd-place finishers) can be added for that gender
  • 8 doubles on either the men’s or women’s side means all priority 3 athletes (5th-place in 100/200 free) can be added for that gender
  • 10 doubles on either the men’s or women’s side means all priority 4 athletes (6th-place in 100/200 free) can be added for that gender

After Day 3:

There aren’t many doubles yet, but there’s still plenty of meet left with multi-event threats including Caeleb Dressel, Simone Manuel, and Michael Andrew waiting to swim some of their best events. Ledecky, for her part, has yet to swim the 800 freestyle, where she is the heavy favorite. World Record holder Regan Smith also has yet to swim her prime event, the 200 backstroke, though she is already qualified in the 100 back.

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1 year ago

So here we are after 4 days, and no qualifications for Adrian, Grevers, Leah Smith, Miller, Cox, Margalis, Grothe, Smoliga, Baker, Dahlia. A few of them may still make it, but most won’t. What a changing of the guard.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  MTK
1 year ago

I have to say I’m very pleased. I was rooting for the youngsters in all of those races. The only one that makes me sick is Kathleen Baker and her injury. She can beat 58.60 in the 100 backstroke while alternating between bumping the left lane line and the right. She might have qualified for the 200 medley also.

Darnell Hayes
1 year ago

Coaching Staff- who you have based on 50% of meet concluded?

Bob Bowman
Bruce Gemmell
Has Dave Marsh qualified anyone?
Jack Baurle
Todd Desorbo
Will a Texas Coach be named to list ?
Will Michael Andrew’s dad get names to list
How about Mike Paratto

Let’s Pick Um

Reply to  Darnell Hayes
1 year ago

Gemmel won’t be on staff, Ledecky hadn’t swum with him in 5 years. Cant you tell.

Reply to  Darnell Hayes
1 year ago

Chris Barber – Head Age Group coach for SAND

1 year ago

Two things I like to see in this article, the inclusion of the women’s 5th and 6th place finishers in 200 free since they are included for the men.
Since the 2nd place finishers are added based on comparison to the world record I would like to see them sorted based on that.

Reply to  Dan
1 year ago

2nd place finishers are added based upon modified world rankings (March 1, 2019-June 7, 2021) but with their finals time also substituted in. (as I read the criteria, they don’t get to use a time from semi-finals or prelims (or time trials) but instead can only use their finals times. Also not clear, but criteria seem to imply that they also cannot use another prior time from the March1-June 7 period that would rank them higher. Hopefully none of this complexity comes into play – but every second place finisher (and 5-6 for relays) will be rooting for swimmers already on the team to double up.

1 year ago

I might be wrong here but is Paige Madden not considered a double? She qualifies under Priority 1 on her finish in the 200 free. On the flip side and theoretically speaking, couldn’t that 400 free spot be taken by someone else. Since it isn’t and she was second and occupies that spot, it should be considered a double, no?

PK doesn’t like his long name
Reply to  Kaz
1 year ago

I too believe this is correct.

Also Alex Walsh shouldn’t be in italics.

Reply to  PK doesn’t like his long name
1 year ago

Thanks, and in BOLD! 🤣

Last edited 1 year ago by Kaz
Reply to  Kaz
1 year ago

Other than Alex, none of the swimmers in italics should be in bold since they are not officially on the team – yet.

1 year ago

Guess we took for granted all the years Phelps and Lochte would triple or quadruple(or quintuple) qualify, the breastrokers and backstrokers would double up, and the free relay teams would be similar! Suppose as times get faster, the specialization required to place will continue to make the 5th and 6th relay spot less and less secure. Guys like Ricky Berens and Dave Walters are rare nowadays

Reply to  Ragnar
1 year ago

Since I just compiled this data…David Walters never swam the 4×100 at the Olympics, and Ricky Berens only did both relays once. Apple is looking good to make both this year. Pieroni came close. Haas has been on both relays at Worlds. Kibler could do it in the future. Without checking too closely, only a handful of guys have done it at all, even less at two Olympics…and then you have Phelps…who was on both free relays four times.

1 year ago

Doesn’t Paige Madden count as a double too for the women’s? She still opens up a spot by making the 4×200 free relay.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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