2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS
- Wave I Dates: June 4-7, 2021
- Wave II Dates: June 13-20, 2021
- Prelims: 10am CDT | Finals: 7pm CDT
- Where: CHI Health Center / Omaha, Nebraska
- 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Cuts
- Wave I & II Event Order
- LCM (50m)
- Prelims Live Stream (NBC Olympics)
- Psych Sheets
- Wave II Live Results
- Day 2 Prelims Heat Sheets
Today’s explosive day 2 heats feature events with three reigning world record-holders (Lilly King – 100 breast, Ryan Murphy – 100 back, Katie Ledecky – 400 free) and one very recent world record-holder (Regan Smith – 100 back).
King holds the fastest time in history in the 100 breast, where she’ll lead heats this morning. Murphy is the 100 back world record-holder on the men’s side in one of the more-anticipated races of Trials. And Ledecky is the best in history in the 400 free, which closes this morning’s session.
To open the session, Smith will get a chance to answer back in the 100 back, just a day or so after Australia’s Kaylee McKeown erased Smith’s world record at Australia’s Olympic Trials.
We’ve also got a deep men’s 200 free field featuring last night’s 400 free champ Kieran Smith, last night’s 400 IM champ Jay Litherland, and national team stalwarts like Andrew Seliskar, Townley Haas, Blake Pieroni and Zach Apple, along with world record-holding sprinter Caeleb Dressel.
Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event updates of all the heats action from Omaha.
Women’s 100 back – Prelims
- World Record: Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 57.45 (2021)
- 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
Top 16 Qualifiers:
- Regan Smith (RIPT) – 58.35
- Rhyan White (BAMA)/ Katharine Berkoff (NCS) – 58.88
- Olivia Smoliga (ABSC) – 59.24
- Phoebe Bacon (WA) – 59.32
- Isabelle Stadden (CAL) – 59.53
- Cate DeLoof (CA-Y) – 59.96
- Amy Bilquist (SAC) – 1:00.12
- Lisa Bratton (AGS) – 1:00.26
- Ali DeLoof (TNAQ) – 1:00.44
- Kathleen Baker (TE) – 1:00.46
- Sophie Lindner (UNC) – 1:00.81
- Alex Walsh (NAC) – 1:00.86
- Sophie Sorenson (KYA) – 1:00.90
- Berit Berglund (CSC) – 1:00.96
- Talia Bates (FLOR) – 1:01.02
19-year-old Regan Smith fired off a very good swim this morning, going 58.35 to lead a tough field by half a second. Smith is in an interesting spot today. She’s considered a strong favorite after a 2019 breakout in which she broke world records in the 100 and 200 backstrokes while winning World Championships gold in the latter. But she’s also in search of her first-ever Olympic berth, and chose to drop tonight’s 100 fly final to focus on securing her first Olympic roster spot in the 100 back.
Smith also woke up to news from Australia this week that Kaylee McKeown, also 19, had broken her world record by a tenth of a second at Australian Olympic Trials. McKeown was just 58.57 in prelims of her race, so round-for-round, Smith is two-tenths ahead of where McKeown was.
We expected this field to be deep, and it delivered – although it didn’t show all the way down to 16th the way some might have predicted. It took 1:01.3 to get 16th out of prelims in 2016; this year it took just three-tenths faster than that. 8th was about six-tenths faster this morning than in 2016. But the big difference was at the top, with seven women breaking a minute this morning. Just three went sub-minute in prelims in 2016, and none were faster than 59.6.
College standouts Rhyan White (Alabama) and Katharine Berkoff (NC State) tied for second at 58.88, with 2016 Olympian Olivia Smoliga sitting fourth on the other side of the 59-barrier. (Smoliga went 59.6 in prelims five years ago, so she’s actually quite a bit faster with her 59.2 this morning than she was in the 2016 heats, though she was the #1 prelims qualifier back then and is just fourth this year).
Pretty much all the young stars made it through heats – Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon is fifth and Cal’s Isabelle Stadden sixth.
It’s worth noting that former world record-holder and 2016 Olympian Kathleen Baker was just 11th this morning. Her start appeared on the low side, perhaps a side effect of the foot injury she’s been nursing the past few weeks. Baker was still a solid six-tenths away from missing the semifinals, but she’ll have to go significantly faster tonight to move on to the final as one of the top 8.
Men’s 200 free – Prelims
- World Record: Paul Biedermann (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: Hwang Sun Woo (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
Top 16 Qualifiers:
- Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 1:46.54
- Caeleb Dressel (GSC) – 1:46.63
- Patrick Callan (UN-MI) – 1:46.96
- Townley Haas (NOVA) – 1:47.06
- Andrew Seliskar (CAL) – 1:47.07
- Luca Urlando (DART) – 1:47.20
- Drew Kibler (TXLA) – 1:47.31
- Carson Foster (RAYS) – 1:47.33
- Zach Apple (MVN) / Blake Pieroni (SAND) – 1:47.35
- Ryan Held (NYAC) – 1:47.57
- Trenton Julian (ROSE) – 1:47.63
- Jake Magahey (SA) / Zane Grothe (BCH) – 1:47.93
- Jack Dahlgren (UMIZ) / Jeff Newkirk (TXLA) – 1:48.15
It’s Florida Gators sitting in the top two spots coming out of heats in this men’s 200 free. Last night’s 400 free winner Kieran Smith led the way, sitting only about three-tenths of a second off his lifetime-best. Smith’s best time ranks #13 all-time among U.S. men, and he’s got a shot to crack the top 10 tonight or tomorrow night.
Caeleb Dressel qualified very well here. He went a lifetime-best 1:46.63 this morning, moving to #20 all-time among U.S. men. Dressel will have a very busy schedule here in Omaha, and he’s a frontrunner to qualify for the Olympic team in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly. Adding this 200 free could give him a Phelpsian Olympic event lineup – especially if Dressel is able to hang onto a top-2 spot through tomorrow night’s final.
Michigan’s Patrick Callan scratched the 400 yesterday to focus on this race. And it paid off in a big way, as the 21-year-old went a career-best 1:46.96 for the third spot. He’s on the cusp of joining the top 25 American men in history.
A number of the current top 25 in history were competing. Some made the final: Townley Haas (#5 in history, 4th this morning), Andrew Seliskar (#8 in history, 5th this morning), Blake Pieroni (#11 in history, 9th this morning), Zane Grothe (#15 in history, 13th this morning), Luca Urlando (#18 in history, 6th this morning).
Some key names missed out, though: #9 American in history Jack Conger scratched out of this race and will likely focus on butterfly this week. #21 all-time American Maxime Rooney missed the semifinals, finishing 19th. And #2 all-time American Ryan Lochte went just 1:49.23 this morning, taking 25th. He will miss the semifinals in his bid to make a fifth-straight Olympic team at age 36.
Women’s 100 breast – Prelims
- 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
Top 16 Qualifiers:
- Lilly King (ISC) – 1:05.67
- Bethany Galat (AGS) – 1:05.89
- Annie Lazor (MVN) – 1:05.92
- Lydia Jacoby (STSC) – 1:06.40
- Kaitlyn Dobler (TDPS) – 1:07.42
- Emily Escobedo (COND) – 1:07.45
- Micah Sumrall (GAME) – 1:07.60
- Allie Raab (NAC) – 1:07.69
- Molly Hannis (TNAQ) – 1:07.78
- Hannah Bach (OSU) – 1:07.89
- Miranda Tucker (UN-MI) – 1:08.07
- Emma Weber (TOPS) – 1:08.30
- Olivia Anderson (AQJT) – 1:08.79
- Letitia Sim (TNT) – 1:08.81
- Heather Maccausland (NCS) – 1:08.92
- Zoie Hartman (ABSC) – 1:09.00
In 2016, U.S. Trials had just two women under 1:07 in heats. This morning, three women broke 1:06. That included personal bests (and first-ever forays under 1:06) for Bethany Galat and Annie Lazor. They sit 2nd and 3rd, respectively, behind world record-holder Lilly King. King is still a second and a half off her best time in what was a pretty casual morning swim.
King, like Regan Smith a few events ago, has some extra motivation after a young swimmer broke one of her world records this year. For King, it’s the non-Olympic-event 50 breast, which was broken by Italy’s Benedetta Pilato earlier this year.
Galat dropped six-tenths of a second to move to #8 all-time among U.S. women. Lazor cut a tenth, though she actually remains #9 all-time with Galat moving past her. Lazor is now tied with Breeja Larson for #9 all-time among U.S. women.
17-year-old Lydia Jacoby is fourth, and should be the top challenger to those two for the second Olympic spot tomorrow night. Jacoby was just .02 off her career-best, which ranks #3 all-time among the U.S. 17-18 age group historical ranks. She’ll chase the National Age Group (NAG) record tonight – it stands at 1:05.75 from Kasey Carlson back in 2009.
A few other names to highlight further down the list: 2016 U.S. Olympian Molly Hannis made the team in the 200 breast last time around, and was third in this event. She’s into the semifinals in 9th. We also had our first Wave I ‘wild card’ qualifier to make a semifinal: that’s NC State’s Heather Maccausland, who won the Wave I meet in 1:08.27. She was seven-tenths slower this morning, but qualified 15th and will compete in a semifinal.
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
Top 16 Qualifiers:
- Bryce Mefford (SMST) – 52.99
- Justin Ress (WOLF) – 53.07
- Shaine Casas (TAMU) / Ryan Murphy (CAL) – 53.08
- Hunter Armstrong (OSU) – 53.28
- Matt Grevers (CLCK) – 53.65
- Michael Andrew (RPC) – 53.66
- Hunter Tapp (NCS) – 53.77
- Will Grant (VS) / Adam Chaney (FLOR) – 53.96
- Jack Aikins (SA) – 54.16
- Daniel Carr (PPA) – 54.18
- Nicolas Albiero (UOFL) – 54.21
- Dean Farris (VS) – 54.27
- Coleman Stewart (WOLF) – 54.45
- Nick Simons (SAND) – 54.52
It’s a California alum atop the 100 back, but it’s not world record-holder Ryan Murphy.
Bryce Mefford, who just wrapped up his senior season at Cal, blasted a lifetime-best 52.99 to lead heats this morning. That’s a drop of almost a second for Mefford, who moves from #22 in American history to #9. At 2016 Olympic Trials, just four men broke 53 between prelims, semifinals and finals, so Mefford’s time gives him a great shot at a high finish tomorrow night if he can stay under 53.
NC State’s Justin Ress is now #10 all-time just behind Mefford in the U.S. ranks. Ress hit a lifetime-best 53.00 exactly one month ago, and he followed it up with a strong 53.07 this morning.
Cal and NC State are well-represented in the semifinals. Mefford and Murphy are joined by Cal graduating senior Daniel Carr (12th). Freshman breakout star Destin Lasco just missed the semis in 17th place, though there’s a chance he scratches into the semis. Michael Andrew qualified 7th this morning, but leads the 100 breast final tonight and could scratch this event to focus on booking his first Olympic berth in that breaststroke. Lasco swam the 200 free/100 back double this morning, taking 29th in the former and 17th in the latter. If he indeed scratches in tonight, he could have room to drop without the 200 earlier in the session.
NC State has Ress in second, Hunter Tapp in 8th and Coleman Stewart in 15th.
Former Olympic champ Matt Grevers is safely into the semis in 6th. He went 53.65. Grevers has been as fast as 52.1, but is now 36 years old and facing a field of swimmers a decade or more younger than he is. Another notable vet, 36-year-old Ryan Lochte, scratched this event after swimming the 200 free earlier in the session.
Harvard star Dean Farris surprised some by scratching the 200 free in favor of this 100 back. He was 14th and barely scraped by into semifinals, going 54.27. That’s about three-tenths off his lifetime-best.
Women’s 400 free – Prelims
- World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:56.46 (2016)
- American Record: Katie Ledecky – 3:56.46 (2016)
- US Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:57.94 (2018)
- World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:58.37 (2014)
- 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:56.46
- 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Katie Ledecky – 3:58.98
- Wave I Cut: 4:16.89
- Wave II Cut: 4:13.28
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Katie Ledecky (NCAP) – 4:03.07
- Paige Madden (UVA) – 4:05.92
- Haley Anderson (MVN) – 4:06.87
- Leah Smith (CLCK) – 4:06.88
- Sierra Schmidt (UN-AZ) – 4:09.00
- Kaersten Meitz (BA) – 4:09.07
- Emma Nordin (SUN) – 4:10.31
- Ashley Twichell (TAC) – 4:10.51
To no one’s surprise, Katie Ledecky paced the final heat easily in a 4:03.07 – but the heat still had a big surprise as NCAA star Paige Madden beat all of the other top seeds from out in lane 7. Madden, who won three NCAA titles in yards this season (200/500/1650 free), dropped three seconds to take second behind Ledecky in the heat. Her 4:05.92 stood up as the second-fastest time across all six heats. Madden also moves to #13 all-time among U.S. women in the event.
Open water Olympic qualifier Haley Anderson had a lifetime-best of her own, dropping four-tenths of a second with a 4:06.87. Anderson won silver at 2019 Worlds in the 10K open water race and will contest that 10K at the Olympics. But she’s also looking like a great candidate to make the Olympic team in pool swimming somewhere between the 400, 800, or the newly-added 1500 free.
Leah Smith is still the favorite to earn the second Olympic spot in this event if she can come anywhere near her season-best (4:04.8) or lifetime-best (4:00.6) in tonight’s final.
There’s a bit of a dropoff from those four to the rest of the final qualifiers. But 6th-place Kaersten Meitz has been 4:05.80 previously in her career while winning 2019 World University Games gold, and is in the mix tonight. The WUGs bronze medalist in that same race, Sierra Schmidt, is one spot ahead of Meitz after qualifying.