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

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

Strap in.

The first of eight days and 15 sessions of racing at Wave II of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials has finally arrived, and you can look forward to a roller-coaster week of racing as the best swimmers in the United States vie for an opportunity to represent their country on sport’s biggest stage.

The opening session begins with the men’s 400 IM, where Ryan Lochte will be absent in the event at Trials for the first time since the year 2000—not necessarily a surprise given he’s 36.

Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland, the two men who locked Lochte out of the event at the 2016 Trials by going 1-2, come in as the favorites to do that again, while 19-year-old Carson Foster is the fastest American this season and is projected to have a real shot to spoil the party.

This morning will also feature two other 400s—the men’s 400 free and women’s 400 IM—where the swimmers will have to be on their ‘A’ game in order to earn a spot into tonight’s final. Zane Grothe and Kieran Smith man Lane 4 in the two fastest heats in the 400 free, while Melanie Margalis and Emma Weyant hold that distinction in the 400 IM.

The two events with semi-finals on the Day 1 schedule is the women’s 100 fly and men’s 100 breast, with Claire Curzan and Michael Andrew getting their first races under their belt in Omaha after fantastic 2020-21 seasons. Both rank fourth in the world and tops among Americans this season in their respective events.

For a full breakdown of this morning’s session, click here.

Men’s 400 IM Prelims

  • 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. Carson Foster (RAYSOH), 4:10.50
  2. Chase Kalisz (ABSC), 4:10.61
  3. Jay Litherland (DYNA), 4:13.28
  4. Bobby Finke (SPA-FL), 4:13.53
  5. Jake Foster (RAYSOH), 4:15.26
  6. Gunnar Bentz (DYNA), 4:16.61
  7. David Johnston (TXLA), 4:16.74
  8. Sam Stewart (YHF), 4:17.60

Carson Foster made a statement in the first event of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, blasting out to a decisive lead in the first circle-seeded heat of the men’s 400 IM.

The 19-year-old Mason Manta Ray was up by about three seconds on 2016 champ Chase Kalisz at the 200m mark, and despite being out-split on all four of the last 50s, held on to win Heat 4 in a time of 4:10.50. That showing marks a new personal best for Foster, who went a PB of 4:11.13 in May, and keeps him at fifth in the 2020-21 world rankings.

Kalisz, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the event, almost ran down Foster, finishing 11 one-hundredths back in 4:10.61, marking his fastest performance since 2018.

In the last heat it was Jay Litherland, the runner-up to Kalisz five years ago, cruising to victory in a time of 4:13.28, edging out Bobby Finke (4:13.53) as they qualified third and fourth into the final, respectively. Litherland’s swim is a new season-best, while Finke wasn’t far off his all-time best of 4:13.15.

Three current and one former Texas Longhorn made the final, with Carson Foster joined by older brother Jake Foster (4:15.26), David Johnston (4:16.74) and Sam Stewart (4:17.60).

Overall, it took 4:17.60 to make the final, which is well off the eighth-place time from the 2016 Trials prelims of 4:15.41. However, that year saw three men scratch the final, and a 4:19.85 ended up getting in.

In the earlier heats, Bluefish’s Josh Parent dropped a 4:21.90 to move into 10th all-time in the boys’ 15-16 age group, chopping two seconds off his previous best time set in January.

Charlie Swanson, one of just five men in the field who had broken 4:12 coming into today, missed the final in 13th (4:18.82). As did Sean Grieshop (4:22.67, 16th), who was fifth in 2016.

Women’s 100 Fly Prelims

  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 55.48 (2016)
  • American Record: Dana Vollmer – 55.98 (2012)
  • US Open Record: Claire Curzan (USA) – 56.20 (2021)
  • World Junior Record: Claire Curzan (USA) – 56.20 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 55.48
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Kelsi (Worrell) Dahlia – 56.48
  • Wave I Cut: 1:00.69
  • Wave II Cut: 59.59
  1. Kelsi Dahlia (CARD), 56.56
  2. Torri Huske (AAC), 56.69
  3. Kate Douglass (UVA), 57.29
  4. Claire Curzan (TAC-NC), 57.61
  5. Regan Smith (RIPT), 57.63
  6. Katie McLaughlin (CAL), 57.72
  7. Aly Tetzloff (WOLF), 58.55
  8. Gretchen Walsh (NAC)/ Kylee Alons (NCS), 58.58
  9. Natalie Hinds (ABSC), 58.62
  10. Beata Nelson (WA), 58.72
  11. Lillie Nordmann (ALTO), 58.84
  12. Kelly Pash (CSC), 58.86
  13. Olivia Bray (TXLA), 58.90
  14. Rachel Klinker (CAL) / Rhyan White (BAMA), 59.05

In an event chock-full of potential contenders, it was veteran Kelsi Dahlia and youngster Torri Huske asserting themselves atop the heap in the women’s 100 fly prelims, producing a pair of sub-57 second performances.

Dahlia, the winner of the 2016 Trials, dominated the first circle-seeded heat in a time of 56.56, less than two-tenths off her best time (56.37) and her fastest showing since 2018, to elevate her into fifth in the 2020-21 world rankings.

Huske, just 18, followed suit in the next heat, matching her PB right on the nose in 56.69, looking extremely light on the water and in good shape heading into tonight. Regan Smith opened up her Trials campaign with a time of 57.63, second to Huske in Heat 7, less than three tenths shy of her best time set in March 2020 (57.34).

Kate Douglass clipped her best time down to 57.29 from the eighth and final heat, out-touching a cruising Claire Curzan (57.61) for the heat victory as they snag the third and fourth seeds for tonight. Douglass’ previous PB was 57.43, set at the U.S. Open last November.

Katie McLaughlin rounded out the morning’s sub-58 performers, hitting a 57.72 for sixth overall. McLaughlin came into the day as the third-fastest American this season with her 57.39 from April’s CAL Spring Classic.

It ended up taking a quick 59.05 to make it back to tonight’s semis, significantly faster than it did in 2016 (59.87). This resulted in several notable names failing to advance, including Mallory Comerford (1:00.11 – t-38th), Erika Brown (59.82 – 32nd) and Linnea Mack (59.18 – 18th).

Men’s 400 Free Prelims

  • World Record: Paul Biedermann (GER) – 3:40.07 (2009)
  • American Record: Larsen Jensen – 3:42.78 (2008)
  • US Open Record: Larsen Jensen – 3:43.53 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Mack Horton (AUS) – 3:44.60 (2014)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Mack Horton (AUS) – 3:41.55
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Connor Jaeger – 3:43.79
  • Wave I Cut: 3:57.29
  • Wave II Cut: 3:54.21
  1. Kieran Smith (FLOR), 3:48.06
  2. Ross Dant (NCS), 3:48.40
  3. Chris Wieser (DART), 3:48.84
  4. Trey Freeman (FLOR), 3:48.88
  5. Brooks Fail (CLCK), 3:49.37
  6. Jake Mitchell (CSC), 3:49.39
  7. Andrew Abruzzo (PWAC), 3:49.43
  8. Mitch D’Arrigo (GSC), 3:49.43

The biggest story of the men’s 400 freestyle prelims is who won’t be swimming the event tonight: Zane Grothe.

Grothe, who has represented the U.S. in this event at each of the last two World Championships and been under 3:46 nine times in his career, labored to a time of 3:50.80 in the seventh and final heat this morning, ranking him 11th overall and out of the final.

The man expected to duel with Grothe in the final, Kieran Smith, will be flying solo tonight as he looked incredibly smooth in winning the penultimate heat in 3:48.06 and qualifying first overall. The American Record holder in the 500 yard free, Smith records his third-fastest time ever, just over three tenths off his PB set last month at the Atlanta Classic (3:47.71).

Chris Wieser (3:48.84) and Trey Freeman (3:48.88) battled Smith in Heat 7, touching second and third, which ultimately qualified them third and fourth for the final. Freeman’s swim marked his first time under 3:49.

In the final heat, alongside Grothe, NC State’s Ross Dant dropped three seconds from his best time to touch first in 3:48.40, and Brooks Fail (3:49.37) was second to qualify for the final in fifth.

Jake Mitchell, who dropped a best time of 3:47.95 at the 2019 World Juniors, had his fastest swim since then to qualify sixth in 3:49.39, running down Mitch D’Arrigo (3:49.49) in Heat 7. Similar to Mitchell, Andrew Abruzzo had his fastest performance since the 2019 Pan Ams to qualify seventh in 3:49.43.

Third in 2016, Townley Haas jumped on it from the fourth heat, flipping in the fastest 200 time in the field (1:52.35). Haas ended up producing a time of 3:50.89, which earned him 12th overall.

The Olympic qualifying standard in this event is 3:46.78, and now, especially with Grothe out, it’s far from a slam dunk that two men get under that time tonight (or even one), which has never happened. No one in the the field for finals has ever been under that time.

Trenton Julian was a no-show, reportedly opting to direct his energy into the 200 free and 200 fly in the coming days.

Women’s 400 IM Prelims

  • 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. Hali Flickinger (SUN), 4:37.79
  2. Emma Weyant (SYS), 4:38.35
  3. Melanie Margalis (SPA), 4:39.38
  4. Ally McHugh (WA), 4:39.60
  5. Justina Kozan (MVN), 4:40.57
  6. Leah Smith (CLCK), 4:40.74
  7. Evie Pfeifer (TXLA), 4:42.42
  8. Brooke Forde (LAK), 4:42.63

Sun Devil Swimming’s Hali Flickinger took full advantage of her butterfly strength during the penultimate heat of the women’s 400 IM, opening up a big early lead with an opening 100 of 1:01.80. Maintaining a one-second lead over Emma Weyant after the breaststroke leg, Flickinger held her off to touch first and solidify the top seed in 4:37.79, just over two-tenths shy of her best time set in April.

Weyant, a 19-year-old out of the Sarasota Sharks, produced her second-fastest swim ever, trailing only her 4:35.47 from the 2019 Summer Nationals, to qualify second behind Flickinger in 4:38.35. Weyant pulled away from 2018 National champ Ally McHugh (4:39.60) on the freestyle, along with Madisyn Cox, the #4 seed coming in.

Cox, who was fourth in this event at the 2016 Trials, buckled on the freestyle leg, splitting 1:08.32 to fall to a time of 4:44.36, which ended up missing the final in 10th.

In the last heat, Melanie Margalis broke away from the field with a 1:18.8 breaststroke split, touching first for the morning’s third-fastest time of 4:39.38. Margalis owns the fastest best time in the field and also leads the nation this season with a 4:35.18 at the Mission Viejo Pro Swim in April.

17-year-old Justina Kozan had a very strong swim from Margalis’ heat, producing the fastest freestyle leg in the field (1:00.83) to rocket by Leah Smith (4:40.74) and qualify fifth overall in 4:40.57. That marks a new best for Kozan, a member of the Mission Viejo Nadadores, who had previously been 4:42.05 at the TYR 18&U Spring Cup in April.

In what turned out to be a battle for the last spot in the final, Brooke Forde (4:42.63) managed to hold off Emma Barksdale (4:42.91) in the final heat, with Barksdale making up over two seconds on the freestyle.

Ella Nelson was disqualified, while Kay Sargent was a noteworthy no-show.

Men’s 100 Breast Prelims

  • 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. Michael Andrew (RPC), 58.19 AR
  2. Andrew Wilson (ABSC), 58.80
  3. Nic Fink (ABSC), 59.21
  4. Max McHugh (UOFM), 59.93
  5. Kevin Cordes (ABSC), 1:00.02
  6. Josh Matheny (PEAQ), 1:00.06
  7. Ben Cono (GAME), 1:00.18
  8. Ilya Evdokimov (PRVT), 1:00.22
  9. Zane Backes (ISC), 1:00.26
  10. AJ Pouch (VT), 1:00.36
  11. Cody Miller (SAND), 1:00.37
  12. Tommy Cope (CW), 1:00.41
  13. Brandon Fischer (LAC), 1:00.63
  14. Noah Nichols (UVA), 1:00.66
  15. Will Licon (TXLA), 1:00.70
  16. Jason Mathews (UN-OH), 1:00.81

Michael Andrew‘s first swim of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials couldn’t have gone any better.

Andrew, who set a new U.S. Open Record of 58.67 in the men’s 100 breaststroke exactly one month ago, slaughtered the American Record by almost half-a-second in this morning’s prelims in a time of 58.19, launching him up to third all-time in the event’s history.

The 22-year-old, who was fourth in this event at the 2016 Trials, torched the field on the opening 50 in 27.05, over seven-tenths of a second faster than the next-fastest swimmer. He then came home faster than he ever has, 31.14, to put up that 58.19.

In breaking Kevin Cordes‘ 2017 American Record of 58.64, Andrew now trails only Adam Peaty and Arno Kamminga in the event’s all-time rankings. Coming into today, his 58.67 had him tied for 11th.

All-Time Performers, Men’s 100 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Adam Peaty (GBR), 56.88 – 2019
  2. Arno Kamminga (NED), 57.90 – 2021
  3. Michael Andrew (USA), 58.19 – 2021
  4. Ilya Shymanovich (BLR), 58.29 – 2019
  5. Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA), 58.37 – 2021

It speaks to how incredible the swims in this event have been this year that Andrew is now the third-fastest man ever, but also only the third-fastest man this season.

2020-2021 LCM Men 100 Breast

AdamGBR
Peaty
07/26
57.37
2Arno
Kamminga
NED57.8007/24
3Michael
Andrew
USA58.1406/13
4Nicolo
Martinenghi
ITA58.2807/25
5Ilya
Shymanovich
BLR58.4605/17
View Top 26»

After Andrew did his magic in Heat 6, Andrew Wilson had a strong performance to cap the prelims session in Heat 7, hitting a personal best time of 58.80 to become the third-fastest American ever and eighth in this world this season. Wilson, who was fifth in this event in 2016, set his previous PB of 58.93 at the 2019 FINA World Cup stop in Singapore.

The top four swimmers all hit best times, with veteran Nic Fink third in 59.21 and collegiate standout Max McHugh fourth in 59.93. Fink had previously been 59.40 at the 2017 Summer Nationals, while McHugh was over a second under his old PB of 1:00.99 from July of 2019.

2016 Trials winner Kevin Cordes had his fastest showing since 2018 to qualify fifth in 1:00.02, while Josh Matheny hit a best time of 1:00.06 to move into second all-time in the 17-18 age group, moving past Reece Whitley (1:00.08) and trailing only Michael Andrew‘s 2016 NAG of 59.82.

Whitley, who went 1:00.53 just last month, finished 29th in 1:01.98, over a second shy of what it took to make it into the semi-finals.

2016 Olympic bronze medalist Cody Miller advanced in 11th, seven tenths slower than his season-best in 1:00.37, while two notable misses were 200 specialists Daniel Roy (1:01.49) and Josh Prenot (1:01.73). Prenot was third in the event in 2016.

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LORI HIRSCH
11 months ago

What about Allison Schmitt?

Catherine
11 months ago

Why didn’t Kendyl Stewart swim the 100 fly? Only a week ago she was being touted as being among the favorites and she didn’t even swim. is she injured? Is the answer somewhere in the 731 comments so far?

Paul Windrath
11 months ago

The live streaming is so user UNFRIEDLY!!!!!

Leshii
11 months ago

hello everyone I’m from Russia tell me where you can watch the broadcast ?

Pvdh
Reply to  Leshii
11 months ago

For the final session?

Snarky
11 months ago

Team Performance Analysis Day One:

Top three HOT teams: (3T)Texas men/ Georgia, (2) Florida men, (1) NCSU.

Top three NOT teams: (3T) Stanford/Cal men, (2) Michigan, (3) Indiana.

Very surprising.

Caeleb’s left suit string
11 months ago

58.1. WHAT. THE. SHIZ. Blew away expectations, MA is a maniac.

super classy swim
11 months ago

really hope that the 4 ims are super tight tonight to build up for some exciting racing for the upcoming days…

Clownley Honks
11 months ago

If Michael Andrew and Andrew Wilson are close in finals this could get confusing

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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