2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


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 Smithlast 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:

  1. Regan Smith (RIPT) – 58.35
  2. Rhyan White (BAMA)/ Katharine Berkoff (NCS) – 58.88
  3. Olivia Smoliga (ABSC) – 59.24
  4. Phoebe Bacon (WA) – 59.32
  5. Isabelle Stadden (CAL) – 59.53
  6. Cate DeLoof (CA-Y) – 59.96
  7. Amy Bilquist (SAC) – 1:00.12
  8. Lisa Bratton (AGS) – 1:00.26
  9. Ali DeLoof (TNAQ) – 1:00.44
  10. Kathleen Baker (TE) – 1:00.46
  11. Sophie Lindner (UNC) – 1:00.81
  12. Alex Walsh (NAC) – 1:00.86
  13. Sophie Sorenson (KYA) – 1:00.90
  14. Berit Berglund (CSC) – 1:00.96
  15. 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:

  1. Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 1:46.54
  2. Caeleb Dressel (GSC) – 1:46.63
  3. Patrick Callan (UN-MI) – 1:46.96
  4. Townley Haas (NOVA) – 1:47.06
  5. Andrew Seliskar (CAL) – 1:47.07
  6. Luca Urlando (DART) – 1:47.20
  7. Drew Kibler (TXLA) – 1:47.31
  8. Carson Foster (RAYS) – 1:47.33
  9. Zach Apple (MVN) / Blake Pieroni (SAND) – 1:47.35
  10. Ryan Held (NYAC) – 1:47.57
  11. Trenton Julian (ROSE) – 1:47.63
  12. Jake Magahey (SA) / Zane Grothe (BCH) – 1:47.93
  13. 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:

  1. Lilly King (ISC) – 1:05.67
  2. Bethany Galat (AGS) – 1:05.89
  3. Annie Lazor (MVN) – 1:05.92
  4. Lydia Jacoby (STSC) – 1:06.40
  5. Kaitlyn Dobler (TDPS) – 1:07.42
  6. Emily Escobedo (COND) – 1:07.45
  7. Micah Sumrall (GAME) – 1:07.60
  8. Allie Raab (NAC) – 1:07.69
  9. Molly Hannis (TNAQ) – 1:07.78
  10. Hannah Bach (OSU) – 1:07.89
  11. Miranda Tucker (UN-MI) – 1:08.07
  12. Emma Weber (TOPS) – 1:08.30
  13. Olivia Anderson (AQJT) – 1:08.79
  14. Letitia Sim (TNT) – 1:08.81
  15. Heather Maccausland (NCS) – 1:08.92
  16. 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 LazorThey sit 2nd and 3rd, respectively, behind world record-holder Lilly KingKing 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:

  1. Bryce Mefford (SMST) – 52.99
  2. Justin Ress (WOLF) – 53.07
  3. Shaine Casas (TAMU) / Ryan Murphy (CAL) – 53.08
  4. Hunter Armstrong (OSU) – 53.28
  5. Matt Grevers (CLCK) – 53.65
  6. Michael Andrew (RPC) – 53.66
  7. Hunter Tapp (NCS) – 53.77
  8. Will Grant (VS) / Adam Chaney (FLOR) – 53.96
  9. Jack Aikins (SA) – 54.16
  10. Daniel Carr (PPA) – 54.18
  11. Nicolas Albiero (UOFL) – 54.21
  12. Dean Farris (VS) – 54.27
  13. Coleman Stewart (WOLF) – 54.45
  14. Nick Simons (SAND) – 54.52

It’s a California alum atop the 100 back, but it’s not world record-holder Ryan Murphy.

Bryce Meffordwho 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.

Meanwhile the two favorites for the Olympic team tied for third place. World record-holder Ryan Murphy and NCAA star Shaine Casas both went 53.08 out of separate heats 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

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Katie Ledecky (NCAP) – 4:03.07
  2. Paige Madden (UVA) – 4:05.92
  3. Haley Anderson (MVN) – 4:06.87
  4. Leah Smith (CLCK) – 4:06.88
  5. Sierra Schmidt (UN-AZ) – 4:09.00
  6. Kaersten Meitz (BA) – 4:09.07
  7. Emma Nordin (SUN) – 4:10.31
  8. 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.

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5 months ago

Hunter Armstrong time!!!!

Joe Bailey
Reply to  Dressel_42.8
5 months ago

what time do you think he will go?

Reply to  Joe Bailey
5 months ago


Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
5 months ago

51.1? How can possibly think he’ll go that fast based on his recent performances?

Reply to  Dressel_42.8
5 months ago

The magician will disappear and then reappear at the finish in 30 seconds

5 months ago

The IU Taper misfire is good for Lydia Jacoby today and Emily Escobedo in the 200. We will see if Lazor is on.

5 months ago

Regan smith is still a world record holder…

Reply to  Idk
5 months ago

In the context it is talking about the 100 back.

Daeleb Cressel
Reply to  Idk
5 months ago


Reply to  Idk
5 months ago

Not in 100 for now

Reply to  Hswimmer
5 months ago

200 back will be earlier on US or AUS trials?

5 months ago

Surprised to see Dean scratch the 200 free

Reply to  PFA
5 months ago

shocked he’s scratching it at this stage. would have figured he would swim prelims and then scratch for the 100 back if anything

He's breathing to his right
5 months ago

Katie Ledecky go BRRRRRRR

Reply to  He's breathing to his right
5 months ago

Ledecky “Alright Titmus I’ll show you how it’s done!”

Reply to  Swimfan
5 months ago


Troll Longhorn
Reply to  Swimfan
5 months ago

I don’t know, Titmus threw down the gauntlet and not sure Ledecky will be able to beat that. A 1;53.5 would be great IMO.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Troll Longhorn
5 months ago

A 1:53.5 from Ledecky would be insane.

She was 1:53.7 in the meet of her life at Rio 2016.

Titmus nearly blowing right through to 1:52 doesn’t change how amazing a sub-1:54 200 free is. There’s a reason that it’s only been done by two other people in history: the queen of 200 free Pellegrini, aided by a double supersuit, and Allison Schmitt, who could probably have made the Olympic podium with a kickboard.

Old Man Chalmers

did pellegrini stack suits? I thought she just had one jaked/arena x-glide and nothing else. pretty sure suit stacking was why bernard’s 46.94 was never a ratified wr

Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
5 months ago

Pellegrini didn’t stack suits at least in that race–just rewatched the video and it doesn’t appear to be the case. The reason why Bernard’s 46.94 couldn’t be ratified isn’t because of double suits, it is because he wore an Arena model that never got FINA approval for 2009 even retroactively. It was sort of a “prototype” of the X-Glide.

Reply to  HJones
5 months ago

Pelegrini, if memory serves, did stack suit when see first broke the 400 record at the Euro in 2008. She did not in 2009.

Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  He's breathing to his right
5 months ago

Titmus > Ledecky

Reply to  Eric the eel > Phelps
5 months ago

yea right. What planet do you live on?

Curious swimmer
Reply to  Chris
5 months ago

The one we’re moving forward turned may become more dominant? I do not think the comment means overall career success. But I’d be willing to put money on titmus taking over the mid D Throne

The Real AJC
Reply to  Eric the eel > Phelps
5 months ago

Props to Titmus on her swims this week. But it’s not even close when you compare championships/Olympics resumes (even if she were to sweep this year).

Reply to  The Real AJC
5 months ago

Yeah, I mean Titus has had some incredible swims, but comparing over the past olympics and world championships, Ledecky is clearly dominant.

5 months ago

For those struggling to find a way to watch. I signed up for a Sling TV free trial and have been able to watch everything. I heard Hulu TV also works. Just make sure to cancel your trial afterwards.

Reply to  BillyBob
5 months ago

Can you watch heats? I just took a look and nbcolympics channel is not listed.

Teacher and Coach
Reply to  Ger
5 months ago

Go to the stream.nbcolympics.com page. When you get to the point where you have to enter your cable provider, ignore the logos and find the dropdown menu. That’s where you can select Hulu, or whatever service you’ve gotten for your free trial subscription.

Reply to  Teacher and Coach
5 months ago

ah ok, thanks

Reply to  Teacher and Coach
5 months ago

The trial did not work for me, says I have to upgrade to Live TV which does not seem to have a free trial.

Reply to  BillyBob
5 months ago

I am so confused, I was always able to watch NBC Sports content with my YouTube TV subscription and now I get “not authorized” message, is anyone with YouTube TV can access the NBC preliminary stream?

Reply to  Tomek
5 months ago

It looks like it could be my ad blocker, I am getting it now

5 months ago

Usually not a Monday morning person, but kicking off the day/week with the women’s 100 back is pretty incredible! Let’s roll!

5 months ago

MA 51.9 just watch

Reply to  Drake
5 months ago

A week ago I would have said “You are crazy!” Now I look at this comment and think “Sounds quite reasonable.”

Reply to  Drake
5 months ago

Do you think MA is 100% tapered/rested right now?

Reply to  Drake
5 months ago

Or maybe he just focus on breast these days, cause he knows it is his best chance to make the team, so maybe we dont see insane times on his others events. But would be amazing if he could swim the other events in the same level of his breast…

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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