2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave I: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


U.S. Olympic Trials season officially opens today, with the first prelims session of the Wave I meet in Omaha.

We’ll be recapping all the action over the next 17 days session-by-session, starting with this morning’s live recap.

Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event updates of all the action from Omaha.

This morning we’ll see the 100 freestyle, 200 butterfly and 100 backstroke, along with one heat of women and one heat of men in the 800 free. The fastest seeded heats will swim with finals.

A refresher on the Wave I format: the top two finishers in each of tonight’s ‘A’ finals will advance to the Wave II Trials from June 13-20. Since the official Trials qualifying period is now over, a swimmer hitting a Wave II cut here won’t earn them a spot next week, only a top two finish.

Entering the women’s 100 free as the top seed is Mykenzie Leehy, fresh off a standout senior year at the University of Houston that included earning second swims at the NCAA Championships in the 200 free (12th) and 100 free (16th).

University of Louisville swimmer Michael Eastman is the lone man entered sub-50 in the 100 free (49.87), while rising Notre Dame sophomore Megan Deuel and rising NC State junior Noah Henderson head up the 200 fly fields.

In the 100 back, Megan Moroney, the #1 seed in the 200 back, is notably not on the heat sheets. Despite being entered in the meet, Moroney has not competed since prior to the pandemic.

Arizona’s Aria Bernal and OSU’s RJ Kondalski come in as the top seeds in the 100 back, though both fields are tightly bunched at the top.

Women’s 100 Free Prelims

  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 51.71 (2017)
  • American Record: Simone Manuel – 52.04 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Simone Manuel (USA) – 52.54 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Penny Oleksiak (CAN) – 52.70 (2016)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Simone Manuel (USA) / Penny Oleksiak (CAN) – 52.70
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Abbey Weitzeil – 53.28
  • Wave I Cut: 56.29
  • Wave II Cut: 55.56
  1. Camille Spink (NCAP), 55.63
  2. Kristina Paegle (ISC), 56.04
  3. Zoe Skirboll (RXA), 56.13
  4. Mykenzie Leehy (ISWM), 56.17
  5. Christiana Regenauer (UOFL), 56.24
  6. Sarah Shackelford (VT) / Marina Spadoni (UN-FL), 56.28
  7. Trude Rothrock (TENN), 56.30

16-year-old Camille Spink out of Nation’s Capital stepped up in a big way in the opening event of the Trials, claiming the top seed in the women’s 100 freestyle in a time of 55.63 out of Heat 2.

Spink was almost a full four tenths under her entry time of 56.01, and now moves into 29th all-time in the 15-16 age group.

Indiana Swim Club’s Kristina Paegle was second to Spink in the heat, and ended up being the #2 qualifier overall, in a time of 56.04, .01 slower than her entry.

Another 16-year-old, Zoe Skirboll, had the slowest entry time in the field at 56.28, but she dropped a 56.13 from Heat 1 to qualify third overall.

The top seed coming in, Mykenzie Leehy, won the final heat and comfortably advanced in fourth with a time of 56.17.

Men’s 100 Free Prelims

  • World Record: Cesar Cielo (BRA) – 46.91 (2009)
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel – 46.96 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Ryan Held (USA) – 47.39 (2019)
  • World Junior Record: Andrei Minakov (RUS) – 47.57 (2020)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Kyle Chalmers (AUS) – 47.58
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Nathan Adrian – 47.72
  • Wave I Cut: 50.49
  • Wave II Cut: 49.74
  1. Andrew Benson (WA), 50.10
  2. Luke Miller (EA), 50.13
  3. Patrick Sammon (AQUASN), 50.25
  4. Steven Richardson (AGS), 50.46
  5. Seth Bailey (TNAQ) / Connor Boyle (FMC), 50.58
  6. Michael Eastman (UOFL), 50.64
  7. Phil Costin (UN-SC), 50.72

Andrew Benson used a scintillating opening 50 to earn himself the top seed for tonight’s men’s 100 freestyle final, as the 18-year-old Wisconsin Aquatics swimmer flipped in 23.58 before winning Heat 3 in a time of 50.10.

Benson, who actually tied his entry time exactly, was almost three tenths faster than anyone else on the opening 50.

25-year-old Steven Richardson from the Aggie Swim Club had a strong showing from Benson’s heat in Lane 8, splitting 23.97/26.49 for a time of 50.46 and the fourth-fastest time overall.

Elevation’s Luke Miller was the only swimmer in the field to close sub-26, splitting 25.91 on the way home to win the fourth and final heat in a time of 50.13, running down AquaSol’s Patrick Sammon (50.25).

Top seed coming in Michael Eastman was out fast in 23.86 but ended up taking fifth in the last heat, still managing to qualify for the ‘A’ final in seventh (50.64). Eastman is the only swimmer in the field entered sub-50 at 49.87.

Women’s 200 Fly Prelims

  • World Record: Liu Zige (CHN) – 2:01.81 (2009)
  • American Record: Mary Descenza – 2:04.14 (2009)
  • US Open Record: Hali Flickinger (USA) – 2:05.87 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Suzuka Hasegawa (JPN) – 2:06.29 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) – 2:04.85
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Cammile Adams – 2:06.80
  • Wave I Cut: 2:14.59
  • Wave II Cut: 2:12.56
  1. Alex Massey (NAC), 2:13.01
  2. Emma Sticklen (KATY), 2:13.20
  3. Casey Cullen (PWAC), 2:13.76
  4. Caroline Sheble (NOVAVA), 2:14.08
  5. Mackenzie McConagha (NCAP), 2:14.11
  6. Martina Peroni (NAAC), 2:14.30
  7. Katie Trace (OSU), 2:14.71
  8. Kate McCarville (SPA), 2:14.77

U.S. National Junior Team member and University of Texas Longhorn Emma Sticklen threw down the gauntlet in Heat 2 of the women’s 200 butterfly, dominating the heat in a time of 2:13.20 to chop more than a second off her seed time (2:14.23).

Through the three remaining heats Sticklen’s time held up as the second-fastest overall – Nashville Aquatic Club’s Alex Massey made moves from Heat 4, putting up a clocking of 2:13.01 to lower her entry of 2:13.40 and claim the top seed for the final.

Casey Cullen (2:13.76) and Caroline Sheble (2:14.08) qualified third and fourth overall from Massey’s heat, while NCAP’s Mackenzie McConagha dulled it out with Katie Trace in the last heat, ultimately qualifying fifth and seventh overall, respectively.

Cullen was notably the slowest ‘A’ finalist at the 100m mark in 1:04.63, but came back stronger than anyone in 1:09.13 (34.27/34.86).

In Heat 3, New Albany Aquatics Club member Martina Peroni touched first out of Lane 8 in 2:14.30, two tenths off her entry, qualifying the 17-year-old sixth for the final. Peroni had the fastest closing 50 in the field at 34.79.

Sierra Marlins’ Morgan Gore was disqualified after reportedly stopping because her cap came off.

Men’s 200 Fly Prelims

  • World Record: Kristof Milak (HUN) – 1:50.73 (2019)
  • American Record: Michael Phelps – 1:51.51 (2009)
  • US Open Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:52.20 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Kristof Milak (HUN) – 1:52.71 (2018)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:53.36
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Michael Phelps – 1:54.84
  • Wave I Cut: 2:01.19
  • Wave II Cut: 1:59.63
  1. Carl Bloebaum (RAYS), 1:59.57
  2. Micah Slaton (TRI), 1:59.75
  3. Sebastien Sergile (SA-GA), 1:59.87
  4. Noah Henderson (NCS), 1:59.90
  5. Colby Mefford (SMST), 2:00.15
  6. Sam Folger (GS), 2:01.29
  7. Sam Artmann (TXLA), 2:01.50
  8. Jacob Pishko (TAC-NC), 2:01.64

Mason Manta Ray Carl Bloebaum becomes the first swimmer at the meet to hit a Wave II Trials cut, as he dropped a personal best 1:59.57 from the penultimate heat of the men’s 200 fly.

Bloebaum, 17, was the second seed coming in with a time of 1:59.94, and had to overtake Team Triumph’s Micah Slaton down the stretch to win the heat, with Slaton cracking 2:00 as well in 1:59.75 – just off the Wave II time of 1:59.63.

Though Bloebaum hit the Wave II cut, he’ll need to finish in the top two of tonight’s final to earn a spot at the Wave II Trials.

Similar to Slaton, who had some outside smoke from Lane 8 in Heat 3, SwimAtlanta’s Sebastien Sergile took Heat 4 by storm from out in Lane 1, sticking right behind top seed Noah Henderson before clipping him at the wall in 1:59.87, qualifying third overall. Sergile, 17, breaks 2:00 for the first time, while Henderson, the top seed coming in at 1:59.66, was just .03 back for fourth in 1:59.90.

Sierra Marlins swimmer Colby Mefford, a rising sophomore at Cal, topped Heat 2 in a personal best of 2:00.15 for fifth overall, notably closing stronger than anyone in the field (30.95/31.11 for a back half of 1:02.06).

Women’s 100 Back Prelims

  • World Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 57.57 (2019)
  • American Record: Regan Smith – 57.57 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Kathleen Baker (USA) – 58.00 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 57.57 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 58.45
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Olivia Smoliga – 59.02
  • Wave I Cut: 1:02.69
  • Wave II Cut: 1:01.49
  1. Autumn Haebig (HUSK), 1:01.58
  2. Kobie Melton (UARK), 1:01.77
  3. Tea Laughlin (CAL), 1:02.37
  4. Casey Chung (CW), 1:02.42
  5. Emily Lenihan (DUKE), 1:02.65
  6. Marie Schobel (UN-NJ), 1:02.69
  7. Tatum Wall (NCAP), 1:02.82
  8. Bayley Stewart (UN-CO), 1:02.83

Club Husker’s Autumn Haebig and U Arkansas’ Kobie Melton duelled it out in the last heat of the women’s 100 back, with Haebig coming home strong to touch first in a time of 1:01.58, qualifying her first for tonight’s final.

Haebig, 22, picks up her first best time in the event in more than five years, with her previous PB of 1:01.71 having been set at the 2016 NCSAs when she was just 17. Since the beginning of 2019, her fastest swim on record was 1:03.23 coming into today.

Melton, 20, went almost half a second under her entry time of 1:02.24 for second overall in 1:01.77, as both swimmers inched closer to the Wave II standard of 1:01.49.

California Aquatics swimmer Tea Laughlin paced the first circle-seeded heat in 1:02.37 for third overall, adding a tenth to her entry time, while Club Wolverine’s Casey Chung topped the penultimate heat in 1:02.42 for fourth. Chung came in seeded second in 1:01.79.

The #1 seed coming in, Aria Bernal, was well back in 1:04.16, finishing 32nd overall.

Men’s 100 Back Prelims

  • World Record: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 51.85 (2016)
  • American Record: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 51.85 (2016)
  • US Open Record: Aaron Peirsol (USA) – 51.94 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 52.53 (2018)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 51.97
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Ryan Murphy – 52.26
  • Wave I Cut: 56.59
  • Wave II Cut: 55.51
  1. Jacob Steele (ISC), 55.46
  2. Nathaniel Stoffle (SPAC), 55.62
  3. Nate Germonprez (ISWM), 55.77
  4. Tucker Burhans (UNC), 55.80
  5. Ethan Gogulski (TAMU), 55.83
  6. Joseph Hayburn (ASC-MD), 55.90
  7. Blake Hanna, (CATS), 55.96
  8. RJ Kondalski (OSU), 55.98

The men’s 100 backstroke was hotly-contested in this morning’s prelims, with a sub-56 swim required for the ‘A’ final and the top eight qualifiers all within 52 one hundredths of one another.

Indiana Swim Club’s Jacob Steele posted the top time from the penultimate heat (Heat 7) in a time of 55.46, his second-fastest performance ever. Steele, 22, set his PB of 55.27 at the 2018 Summer Nationals, prior to the Trials qualifying period. His fastest swim inside the qualifying period was set at the 2019 Summer Nationals in 55.52.

Spartan Aquatic Club’s Nathaniel Stoffle, who has been a fixture on several of the club’s NAG record-breaking relays this season, dropped a massive best time from the fifth heat for second overall, clocking 55.62. The 18-year-old came in with a best time of 56.24, set at the Atlanta Classic just a few weeks ago.

Nate Germonprez had a similar drop in Heat 6, as the 16-year-old out of the Inspire Swim Team led the heat in 55.77 to crack the 56-second barrier for the first time, having previously been 56.15 in March. Germonprez also moves into 18th all-time in the 15-16 age group.

Germonprez only broke the minute barrier in this event in November, going 57.15, and his 56.15 swim in March was his first time cracking the Trials cut.

Sixth-fastest qualifier Joseph Hayburn did so out of the opening heat, blasting a time of 55.90 to annihilate his PB of 56.58 set less than three weeks ago. Hayburn, 17, entered the 2021 calendar year having never broken 58 seconds, and now he finds himself under 56.

Women’s 800 Free Timed Finals

Fastest heat to swim with finals

  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:04.79 (2016)
  • American Record: Katie Ledecky – 8:04.79 (2016)
  • US Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:06.68 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:11.00 (2014)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:04.79
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Katie Ledecky – 8:10.32
  • Wave I Cut: 8:48.09
  • Wave II Cut: 8:44.01
  1. Sally Tafuto (OSU), 8:49.18
  2. Michaela Mattes (SYS-FL), 9:07.50
  3. Emily Gjertsen (DUKE), 9:12.33

Rising OSU senior Sally Tafuto dominated the early heat of the women’s 800 freestyle, finishing over 18 seconds clear of second place in a time of 8:49.18.

Tafuto, 21, had only qualified to compete at the meet last week, where she was a best time of 8:47.53 to get under the qualifying time of 8:48.09 by half a second. She almost negative-split her race, out in 4:24.22 at the 400 and coming back in 4:24.96.

Tafuto is also slated to swim the 400 free here in Omaha, having qualified in that event at the same meet one week ago (OSU Last Chance) with a PB of 4:16.05.

16-year-old Sarasota Shark Michaela Mattes was second in 9:07.50, having set a best time of 8:47.79 at the U.S. Open in November. Duke’s Emily Gjertsen rounded out the early heat in 9:12.33, with her best time standing at 8:47.97 from July of 2019.

Men’s 800 Free Timed Finals

Fastest heat to swim with finals

  • World Record: Zhang Lin (CHN) – 7:32.12 (2009)
  • American Record: Michael McBroom – 7:43.60 (2013)
  • US Open Record: Zane Grothe (USA) – 7:44.57 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Mack Horton (AUS) – 7:45.67 (2013)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: N/A (New Olympic event in 2021)
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: N/A (New Olympic event in 2021)
  • Wave I Cut: 8:12.99
  • Wave II Cut: 8:08.95
  1. Joshua Brown (HIGH), 8:15.07
  2. Parker Reynolds (SMSC), 8:26.03
  3. Joseph Gutierrez (UN-MV), 8:42.93

Joshua Brown of the Highlander Aquatic Club was the decisive winner in the early heat of the men’s 800 free, pulling away from Santa Maria’s Parker Reynolds around the 300m mark and ultimately touching first by 11 seconds.

Brown held 31-mids most of the way, splitting 4:05.8/4:09.2 for a final time of 8:15.07, three seconds off his personal best of 8:12.02 set in March. According to USA Swimming’s database, this was only the fourth long course 800 free done by the 18-year-old (though he does have five 1500s on record) – with three of them coming this year (the third was an 8:15.66 in February).

Reynolds couldn’t hang with Brown on the back-half, finishing in a time of 8:26.03. The 17-year-old owns a best time of 8:11.86 set in 2019, and his fastest swim this season was an 8:21.05 from one month ago at the TYR 18&U Spring Cup in Irvine.

Joseph Gutierrez, who holds a PB of 8:12.27 from June of 2019, rounded out the three competitors in the heat in 8:42.93. Gutierrez is coming off of his sophomore season at Mizzou, and only has two long course swims on record this season (the 100 and 200 free) from December.

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1 year ago

If you’re having trouble getting to USASwimming.org stream, try the NBC Sports app or stream on NBCOlympics here: https://stream.nbcolympics.com/swimming-us-trials-wave-1-day-1-prelims

Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Braden the goat

MA 100 breaststroke gold medal
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

The people’s champion

Heather Archambeault
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

thank you for this!!!!

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

any place where they might have a replay?

1 year ago

Here is one of my confusions. If Sally Tafuto is now qualified for Wave II by winning the 800 free … then why would she stick around to even swim the 400 if she already has that cut? And does this dropout rate impact the depth of field on the later days of the Wave I qualifying period?

Reply to  Jonathan
1 year ago

She’s not qualified for wave 2. There’s another heat of the 800 free tonight.

small bird
1 year ago

i’m going all in on the Long Pool Theory. seems like 50.5 meters to me.

1 year ago

Glad to see men’s 100 Back broke the trend of only needing to hit the wave 1 QT to make A final

1 year ago

Are they tapered?

Reply to  Khachaturian
1 year ago

Of course not. It’s not an important meet or anything

Reply to  Khachaturian
1 year ago

Nobody is ever ✨[email protected]

1 year ago

I feel bad for R. gridley slipped off the wedge and had a great first 50 then died at the end I’m pretty sure this is his final meet…
…but I’m glad M. Grodecki took it out fast and held on to at least get a second swim in tonight.

1 year ago

There have been a few time drops in both men’s and women’s backstrokes and another wave two cut in the men’s backstroke

Reply to  Comet
1 year ago

The swimmers that make the top 2 in this meet will get three swims in their event at the Olympic Trials.

Instead of just one. So that’s a bonus for them.

VA Steve
1 year ago

Assume the Wave 1 swimmers that advance will be seeded by time? Not just put at bottom (assuming they “win” with a Wave 2 time)?

1 year ago

This meet just looks like the first few heats of the OTs being swum a week early.

Those that make the A and B finals will get an extra swim. I hope that turns into some PBs that will have made it worth it to go to Omaha.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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