2021 U.S. Olympic Trials: Day 1 Prelims Preview

2021 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

In the immortal words of Hugh Jackman, “Ladies and gents, this is the moment you’ve waited for.” It’s been a weird and at-times tumultuous five years, but the best swimmers in the United States will once again race at the CHI Health Center in Omaha in the quest to earn a spot on Team USA’s Olympic roster. This morning we’ll see preliminary heats of the men’s 400 IM, women’s 100 fly, men’s 400 free, women’s 400 IM, and men’s 100 breast, and there’s sure to be plenty of excitement from the get-go.

The first race of the day, the 400 IM, will feature the two men who made the team in 2016 in this event, former Georgia Bulldogs Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland. Another three finalists from 2016 are entered in the event, Gunnar BentzSean Grieshop and Charlie Swanson, while Ryan Lochte scratched. Keep an eye on Carson Foster, who qualified for Trials in this event five years ago at the age of 14, and is seeded 2nd on the psych sheet, and Florida’s Bobby Finke, who won this event at NCAAs.

While Dana Vollmer has retired, Kelsi Dahlia returns after repping the USA in the women’s 100 fly in Rio (and getting married, she last competed here as Kelsi Worrell). However, she may have her work cut out for her, thanks to the meteoric rise of teenagers Claire Curzan and Torri Huske, who sit 1st and 2nd on the psych sheet. One thing to keep an eye on this morning is how veterans like Dahlia and relative newcomers like Curzan and Huske pace themselves through the heats, with another two rounds of swimming to go before qualification.

The Australian men threw down the gauntlet in the 400 free on Saturday, with five guys at 3:45 or better, while the US has a single man seeded under 3:47, Zane Grothe (3:45.78). Still, it seems like the potential is there for some big swims out of current college swimmers like Kieran Smith and Jake Magahey, both of whom went 4:06 in the 500 yard free earlier this year and already have strong long course resumes, or one of several other guys. The 2016 Olympians in this event, Conor Dwyer, and Connor Jaeger, are both retired and won’t be competing here.

Similarly, Elizabeth Beisel and Maya DiRado, who represented the USA women in the 400 IM in Ri,  are both retired, so we won’t be seeing them in the pool this morning. Madisyn Cox is the only returning finalist, and she’ll be swimming in the next-to-last heat, alongside #2 seed Emma Weyant. 2016 Olympian (though not in this event) Melanie Margalis holds the top seed, and she’ll be swimming in lane 4 of heat 6.

The men’s 100 breast seems to be wide open, despite the return of both of the 2016 qualifiers, Kevin Cordes and Cody Miller. Andrew Wilson tops the psych sheet and will swim in lane 4 of heat 7, but Michael Andrew just set the U.S. Open Record last month, and don’t be surprised if he throws down a fast time this morning in heat 6. And there’s plenty of younger guys competing who could represent the future of the USA in this event, including Reece Whitley and Josh Matheny.

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Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

So who else had difficulty sleeping last night?

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Had the Tate Jackson special and slept like a baby.

1 month ago

Let’s Go!!!!

1 month ago


Last edited 1 month ago by Troyy
1 month ago

Did anyone else see that Townley is in one of the early 400 heats? Could be interesting

1 month ago

Can someone explain why MAs seed time in the 100 breast is 59.1 instead of 58.6

Reply to  PsuFan
1 month ago

Not certain but it could be that he swam it after the qualification period ended and thus it didn’t count towards seeding

1 month ago

ok US time to respond to the world

1 month ago

Excited to see how well huske and Curzan responses to mckeons 55.93 from last night 😬😬😬

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

42,358 hours down, 2 hours to go.