2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave I: Day 2 Finals Live Recap



The 2nd finals session of the Olympic Trials Wave I is about to be underway. Tonight’s session should be a short one, with just 12 total heats. We’ll kick things off with the 200 freestyles, then the 100 breaststrokes, and the session will end with the 400 IMs.

Reminder: The top two finishers in each A final tonight will earn spots in the Wave II meet that begins next week.

Nebraska’s Autumn Haebig is chasing her 2nd title of the meet tonight. She entered the meet as the top seed in the 200 free, and posted the top time this morning as well. Haebig won the 100 back last night, after posting lifetime bests in both prelims and finals.

Another swimmer chasing her 2nd win of the meet is Ohio State’s Katie Trace. Trace took the women’s 200 fly last night in an incredibly tight race, then posted the #2 time in the women’s 400 IM this morning. Trace has the 4th fastest lifetime best of the field tonight, but if she can remake her 200 fly magic, she may earn a 2nd Wave I title tonight.

AquaSol’s Patrick Sammon, 17, will also be chasing a 2nd title tonight. Sammon won the men’s 100 free in a new personal best last night, but was off his time this morning. Nonetheless, he still qualified for the A final, and will have a chance to win again tonight.

Auburn’s Reid Mikuta had an great race in the men’s 100 breast this morning, swimming a lifetime best by nearly a full second, and taking the top seed for tonight. Mikuta was the only swimmer in prelims this morning to swim a Wave II cut.


  • World Record: 1:52.08  — Federica Pellegrini (ITA), 2009
  • American Record: 1:53.61 — Allison Schmitt, 2012
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:54.40 — Allison Schmitt, 2012
  • World Junior Record: 1:55.43 — Junxuan Yang (CHN), 2019
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) — 1:53.73
  • 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Katie Ledecky – 1:54.88
  • Wave I Cut: 2:01.69
  • Wave II Cut: 2:00.24


  1. Malia Rausch (ASC) – 2:00.93
  2. Autumn Haebig (HUSK) – 2:00.94
  3. Jillian Barczyk (COLA) – 2:01.35

In a display of outside smoke, ASC’s Malia Rausch, swimming in lane 8, flipped 2nd at the 50 mark before taking over the lead on the 2nd 50. The 18-year-old maintained her lead through the 3rd 50, then it looked like she was fading on the final 50, but with a final burst of speed on the last 20 meters, she managed to get her hand on the wall first. Autumn Haebig picked up her 2nd Wave II qualification by swimming to a 2nd place finish tonight.

Haebig had incredible closing speed yet again, flipping 8th at the 100 mark, and moving all the way up to 2nd by the 150 turn. She actually split the race closer tonight than she did this morning, splitting 1:00.19 on the first 100, and 1:00.75 on the 2nd 100.

Rausch scratched finals of the 400 IM to focus on the 200 free, and that decision seems to have paid off.


  • World Record: Paul Biederman (GER) – 1:42.00 (2009)
  • American Record: Michael Phelps  – 1:42.96 (2008)
  • US Open Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:44.10 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Sunwoo Hwang (KOR) – 1:44.96 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Sun Yang (CHN) – 1:44.65
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Townley Haas – 1:45.66
  • Wave I Cut: 1:50.79
  • Wave II Cut: 1:49.65


  1. Liam Bresette (SUN) – 1:49.22
  2. Patrick Sammon (AQUASN) – 1:49.30
  3. Luke Miller (EA) – 1:49.99

Liam Bresette, an Arizona State swimmer, and Patrick Sammon, a future Arizona State swimmer, went 1-2 in the men’s 200 free. Sammon, who won the men’s 100 free on day 1, took the race out quicker than Bresette, but Bresette had the superior closing speed, and was able to get his hand on the wall first. Both swimmers posted lifetime bests with the swim, and will be advancing to Wave II next week.

Luke Miller took 3rd in 1:49.99, marking a personal best for him as well.


  • World Record: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.13 (2017)
  • American Record: Lilly King – 1:04.13 (2017)
  • US Open Record: Jessica Hardy (USA) – 1:04.45 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Ruta Meilutyte (LTU) – 1:05.21 (2014)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Lilly King (USA) – 1:04.93
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Lilly King – 1:05.20
  • Wave I Cut: 1:10.99
  • Wave II Cut: 1:09.55


  1. Heather McCausland (NCS) – 1:08.27
  2. Zoe Skirboll (RXA) – 1:09.32
  3. Joelle Vereb (VT) – 1:10.01

Heather McCausland dropped over 2 seconds in the event over the course of today, breaking 1:10 and 1:09 for the first times in her career. The NC State swimmer was electric on the 2nd 50 of the race, particularly the last 25 meters. She pulled ahead of Skirboll to leave no doubt as she touched the wall. McCausland blew away the Wave II standard with her swim, and if she can replicate this race in prelims of Wave II, she may have a shot at making the semifinals.

Zoe Skirboll also swam a lifetime best tonight, also hitting the Wave II standard. The 16-year-old also had a great back half, out-splitting everyone in the field except for McCausland on the final 50. Virginia Tech’s Joelle Vereb was the top seed entering finals after swimming a lifetime best this morning. Despite adding a bit from the morning, Vereb’s swim is still her 2nd-fastest of her career.


  • World Record: Adam Peaty (GBR) – 56.88 (2019)
  • American Record: Kevin Cordes – 58.64 (2017)
  • US Open Record: Michael Andrew (USA) – 58.67 (2021)
  • World Junior Record: Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) – 59.01 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Adam Peaty (GBR) – 57.13
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Kevin Cordes – 59.18
  • Wave I Cut: 1:03.29
  • Wave II Cut: 1:01.97


  1. Zhier Fan (MTRO) – 1:01.74
  2. Reid Mikuta (AU) – 1:01.88
  3. Luke Barr (ISWM) – 1:02.41

Zhier Fan and Reid Mikuta were the only swimmers to touch under 1:02, were also the only swimmers under the Wave II standard. Eli Fouts took the race out the fastest, splitting 28.56 on the first 50. Fan and Mikuta had the closing speed to get the job done however, both coming home in mid-32s. Luke Barr was right in the thick of it at the 50 mark, but didn’t hold it together quite as well on the final 50.

Fan’s swim marks a personal best, while Mikuta’s was his 2nd-fastest ever, with his fastest being from this morning.


  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 4:26.36 (2016)
  • American Record: Katie Hoff – 4:31.12 (2008)
  • US Open Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 4:31.07 (2015)
  • World Junior Record: Yu Yiting (CHN) – 4:35.94 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 4:26.36
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Maya DiRado – 4:33.73
  • Wave I Cut: 4:51.79
  • Wave II Cut: 4:47.72


  1. Kate McCarville (SPA) – 4:47.15
  2. Katie Trace (OSU) – 4:48.76
  3. Katie McCarthy (EDI) – 4:50.72

Kate McCarville took the race over relatively early, and didn’t look back. She established her greatest lead on breaststroke, and managed to hold off a charging Katie Trace on the free leg. McCarville swam a new lifetime best by 1.6 seconds, also coming in under the Wave II standard. She’ll get another shot at the race in Wave II.

Katie Trace picked up her 2nd advancement to Wave II, pulling away from the field sans McCarville at the end to finish 2nd by a big margin. Trace and McCarville, both of whom competed in the 200 fly last night, used their butterfly speed to their advantages, getting out to a big lead over the rest of the field on the first 100 of the race.

The youngest qualifier of this Olympic Trials cycle, Kayla Han, won the B final of the race. Han, who was 12 last week when she qualified and is now 13, put on some unbelievable closing speed to go from a distant 4th to 1st on the free leg. She touched in 4:51.08, just off her personal best from last week.


  • World record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 4:03.84 (2008)
  • American record: Michael Phelps – 4:03.84 (2008)
  • U.S. Open record: Michael Phelps – 4:05.25 (2008)
  • World Junior record: Ilya Borodin (RUS) – 4:11.17 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Kosuke Hagino (JPN) – 4:06.05
  • 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Chase Kalisz – 4:09.54
  • Wave I Cut: 4:25.99
  • Wave II Cut: 4:23.24


  1. Tyler Kopp (CAL) – 4:21.20
  2. Kyle Ponsler (FAST) – 4:22.23
  3. Dominic Falcon (UCSB) – 4:24.46

Rising Cal sophomore Tyler Kopp pulled away from the field on breaststroke, and managed to hold his lead through the finish, securing his spot in the Wave II meet. Kyle Ponsler, operating out of lane 8, managed to pull through on the back half of the race, and got his hand on the wall 2nd.

Ponsler swims for the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers in Indiana as a high school junior and is committed to swim for NC State in the fall of 2022.

Both Kopp (by 4.67 seconds) and Ponsler (by 1.60 seconds) clocked lifetime bests as they earned their ways to the Wave II meet. Kopp joins his former club and high school teammate Emma Sticklen among those who advance to the Wave II meet: Sticklen placed 2nd in the 200 fly on Friday.

There were two disqualifications in the heat. 16-year-old Humberto Najera touched 3rd but was DQ’d for doing to dolphin kicks on the breaststroke underwater pullout. Alexander Gusev was also disqualified.

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Circle swim
3 years ago

The personal bests, the swimmers’ enthusiasm and the close races are creating an awesome atmosphere. I originally thought some of the wave I qualifiers would skip wave II, but I’ve changed my mind.

3 years ago

“Tyler Kopp pulled away from the field on breaststroke, and managed to hold his lead through the finish. Tyler Kopp, operating out of lane 8, managed to pull through on the back half of the race, and got his hand on the wall 2nd”

Tyler Kopp with the 1-2 finish

Reply to  worm
3 years ago

Ctl-C Ctl-V strikes again…

Reply to  worm
3 years ago

A very close battle indeed between Tyler Kopp of KATY and Tyler Kopp of Cal.

3 years ago

finally, officials cracking down on these dolphin kicks

3 years ago

Maybe we should not have underwater filming of the turns, the illegal turns become so obvious (ie. Men A final of the 400 IM).

3 years ago

Listening to what the commentators have said so far and from what I read, there could/will be more than 2 swimmers added to Wave 2 from Wave 1 in several events, ex. finishing 4th in the 200 Fly and Top 2 in the 400 IM.

Did I get this right or did I miss something?

Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

I think if you get top 2 in one event you can swim your other cute in wave 2 but I’m not sure

Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

Beisel just doesn’t know what she is talking about

Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 years ago

Still better than some other commentators.

Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

Yeah we can cut her some slack. This is going to be Rowdy’s 7th olympics i believe commentating so him not as much 🤣

3 years ago

i swear i just saw a second dolphin kick on that

Reply to  swimmerswammer
3 years ago

You mean the right leg on the underwater video?

Reply to  Laker4Life
3 years ago

if this comment is referring to the men’s, i didnt watch it and i’m sad i didn’t, but the winner in the women’s looked like she did a second kick on the first pullout in the 4 IM

Last edited 3 years ago by swimmerswammer
3 years ago


3 years ago

Parents of kids 14 and under your kids do not need tech suits – stick with a healthy break lunch and dinner.

That B final (IM) was fun to watch 🙂

So confused
Reply to  Xman
3 years ago

How about you leave the parenting decisions up to the parents.

Reply to  So confused
3 years ago

You can’t tell me you actually think that little kids wearing a tech suit isn’t ridiculous the overwhelming majority of the time.

The futility of it is so embarrassing. It will not make your child more talented and it makes swimming look like even more of an access sport financially than it already is.

Reply to  Riccardo
3 years ago

Beyond the cost I don’t think there is a benefit to the advanced muscle compression these suits provide to children who don’t have muscles to compress.

I think it’s great there are non tech knee skins for girls to wear if they want them. The boys have had jammers since the late 90s. But no one that age needs to wear the tech suit.

Reply to  Xman
3 years ago

I’ll save you $500- push off each wall in a tight streamline. Add the $500 to your kid’s college fund.

Reply to  coach
3 years ago

Good deal 🤝