2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

Katie Ledecky should swim twice this morning, with qualifying heats of the 200 free and 1500 free.

In the 200, Ledecky will swim right alongside Paige Madden in a reunion of last night’s top two 400 free finishers. In the 1500, Ledecky will share a heat with two other 400 free A finalists: Sierra Schmidt and Haley Anderson.

The 200 offers plenty of crossover for sprinters swimming upwards in distance. 50/100 free world champ Simone Manuel will lead the first circle-seeded heat, and we’ll see Olympic backstroker Olivia Smoliga alongside Olympic champion 200 freestyler Allison Schmitt in the next heat before Ledecky and Madden close things down.

The 1500 will also bring in a new wave of over-distance and open water swimmers, like open water national champion Erica Sullivan and open water Olympic entrant Ashley Twichell.

There’s just one men’s event this morning – the 200 fly. 19-year-old Luca Urlando is the top seed, looking to carry on the U.S. legacy for what will be the first U.S. Olympic team without Michael Phelps in the 200 fly since 1996. Urlando is the top seed, but before his heat, we’ll get two alum-vs-collegiate battles. Trenton Julian just wrapped up his fourth season with Cal, and he’ll face Cal alumnus and Olympic 200 flyer Tom Shields in heat 5. Nicolas Albiero just won an NCAA 200 fly title for Louisville in his senior season; he’ll battle Louisville alum Zach Harting in heat 6.

The women’s side is much busier this morning with heats of three events. Ledecky leads both freestyle events. Meanwhile Madisyn Cox is the top seed into the women’s 200 IM, but 400 IM third-placer Melanie Margalis should be primed to challenge her. Former 100 back world record-holder Kathleen Baker missed the 100 back final last night, but she’s got her best shot at a return trip to the Olympics in this 200 IM. We’ll also see Alex Walsh, who won the NCAA title this year as a freshman, plus 100 fly winner and newly-minted Olympian Torri Huske.

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

Women’s 200 free

  • World Record: Federica Pellegrini (ITA) – 1:52.98 (2009)
  • American Record: Allison Schmitt – 1:53.61 (2012)
  • US Open Record: Allison Schmitt (USA) / Katie Ledecky (USA) – 1:54.40 (2012 / 2021)
  • World Junior Record: Yang Junxuan (CHN) – 1:55.43 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 1:53.73
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Katie Ledecky – 1:54.88
  • Wave I Cut: 2:01.69
  • Wave II Cut: 2:00.24

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Leah Smith (CLCK) – 1:57.52
  2. Katie Ledecky (NCAP) – 1:57.58
  3. Allison Schmitt (SUN) – 1:57.84
  4. Paige Madden (UVA) – 1:58.08
  5. Gabby DeLoof (CW) – 1:58.39
  6. Katie McLaughlin (CAL) – 1:58.63
  7. Brooke Forde (LAK) – 1:58.72
  8. Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 1:58.96
  9. Hali Flickinger (SUN) – 1:59.13
  10. Bella Sims (SAND) – 1:59.16
  11. Claire Tuggle (SMSC) – 1:59.37
  12. Torri Huske (AAC) – 1:59.48
  13. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) – 1:59.53
  14. Izzy Ivey (CAL) – 1:59.60
  15. Kelly Pash (CSC) – 1:59.73
  16. Kayla Wilson (TIDE) – 2:00.03

Leah Smith missed out on a repeat Olympic bid in the 400 free last night, but she’s looking strong in the 200 with the top qualifying time out of heats. Smith was 1:57.52 to win her circle-seeded heat, swimming next to an empty lane due to scratches. (More on that below).

Katie Ledecky remains the favorite for the top spot, and she cruised a 1:57.58 to win her heat this morning. Ledecky won the 400 by a wide margin last night and really only did what she needed to this morning, with heats of the 1500 free coming later in the session.

There were some big-name no-shows in this event that should affect a lot of finalist predictions. #3 seed Simone Manuel did not contest this event. Manuel is a world champion in the 50 and 100 frees and the nation’s top sprinter, but was also expected to be a strong contender for the a 200 free and/or 4×200 free relay spot.

Other notable no-shows beyond the scratches we’d already reported: #5 seed Olivia Smoliga and #24 seed Catie DeLoof. Both are in tonight’s 100 back final.

2012 Olympic champ Allison Schmitt is third in 1:57.84. At the last Olympic Trials in 2016, it was Ledecky, Smith and Schmitt finishing in that order out of semifinals, and those same three lead us into the semis five years later.

Last night’s 400 free runner-up (and likely first-time Olympian) Paige Madden is fourth and only about half a second off her career-best.

Further back in the field, 16-year-old Erin Gemmell cut two-tenths off her best time to finish 8th in 1:58.96. That moves her up to #11 all-time in USA Swimming’s 15-16 ranks. She’s just ahead of Dana Vollmer and just behind Izzy Ivey, who also made this final.

16-year-old Bella Sims won one of the non-circle-seeded heats, dropping eight-tenths of a second to go 1:59.16. That moves her to #14 all-time in USA Swimming’s 15-16 ranks, just a tick behind Gemmell. It’ll be a young semifinal round tonight: those two are joined by 16-year-old Claire Tuggle, 17-year-old Kayla Wilson and 18-year-old Torri Huske.

Men’s 200 fly

  • 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

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Zach Harting (CARD) – 1:55.34
  2. Nicolas Albiero (UOFL) – 1:56.13
  3. Trenton Julian (ROSE) – 1:56.42
  4. Gunnar Bentz (DYNA) – 1:56.46
  5. Miles Smachlo (CW) – 1:56.64
  6. Chase Kalisz (ABSC) – 1:56.74
  7. Luca Urlando (DART) – 1:56.94
  8. Brooks Fail (CLCK) – 1:57.04
  9. Corey Gambardella (ISC) – 1:57.32
  10. Jay Litherland (DYNA) – 1:57.67
  11. Justin Wright (NCAC) – 1:57.78
  12. Zach Brown (NCS) – 1:57.89
  13. Tom Shields (CAL) – 1:57.92
  14. Jace Crawford (FLOR) – 1:58.20
  15. Cole Crane (TXLA) – 1:58.33
  16. Jack Conger (PRVT) – 1:58.37

It’s Louisville teammates Zach Harting and Nicolas Albiero leading the way this morning. The two paced their circle-seeded heat in 1:55.3 and 1:56.1, respectively, and will lead the field into semifinals tonight.

For Harting, the time is three-tenths off his best time and 1.3 seconds faster than anyone went in heats of this event at 2016 Olympic Trials. Harting himself had a breakout meet at 2016 Trials, and was just 1:57.9 out of heats. He would go on to go 1:56.9 in both semis and finals. Harting gained some buzz in that field by wearing a Batman mask behind the blocks of semifinals, followed by a full Batman onesie before the final.

Albiero, the 2021 NCAA champ in the yards version of this event, went 1:56.13 this morning, about a tenth off his best time.

Cal’s Trenton Julian sits third after winning his heat in 1:56.42. Julian was the NCAA runner-up behind Albiero this year, and they’ll battle across semifinals tonight. Meanwhile NCAA fourth-placer Luca Urlando is also safely into the semis in 7th.

2016 Olympian (in the 200 free) Gunnar Bentz qualified fourth in what might be his best Olympic shot. He didn’t enter the 200 free this time around. Fellow 2016 Olympian Jack Conger (who also skipped the 200 free) barely snuck into semis in 16th place. Conger was third and Bentz fourth in this race five years ago.

One more veteran of note is Tom Shields, who took second in 2016 and made the Olympic team. He sits 13th after this morning.

Wave I champion Carl Bloebaum held onto his taper pretty well here, going 1:59.60. He was 1:58.90 to win the Wave I meet last week.

Carson Foster was a notable no-show. He was seeded 26th after morning scratches.

Women’s 200 IM

  • World Record: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:06.12 (2015)
  • American Record: Ariana Kukors – 2:06.15 (2009)
  • US Open Record: Kathleen Baker (USA) – 2:08.32 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Yu Yiting (CHN) – 2:09.64 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:06.58
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Maya DiRado – 2:09.54
  • Wave I Cut: 2:17.39
  • Wave II Cut: 2:15.26

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Kate Douglass (UVA) – 2:10.53
  2. Madisyn Cox (TXLA) – 2:10.64
  3. Melanie Margalis (SPA) – 2:11.33
  4. Meghan Small (TNAQ) – 2:11.48
  5. Alex Walsh (NAC) – 2:11.88
  6. Beata Nelson (WA) – 2:12.09
  7. Emma Barksdale (GAME) – 2:12.38
  8. Torri Huske (AAC) – 2:12.51
  9. Evie Pfeifer (TXLA) – 2:13.31
  10. Julia Poole (NCS) – 2:13.32
  11. Leah Hayes (TIDE) – 2:13.38
  12. Kathleen Baker (TE) – 2:13.89
  13. Alexis Yager (TNAQ) – 2:14.38
  14. Charlotte Hook (TAC) – 2:14.50
  15. Abby Hay (UOFL) – 2:14.68
  16. Caroline Thiel (TAMU) – 2:14.72

Virginia’s Kate Douglass won heat 6 in a solid 2:10.53. That’s a personal-best by two-tenths of a second for Douglass, who hit personal bests in all three rounds of the 100 fly on Sunday and Monday. (For reference, she cut about two-tenths in heats, followed by another two-tenths in semis and four-tenths in the final).

It was the final heat that really shook up the rankings. 6 of 8 swimmers in the final circle-seeded heat made the semifinals, led by Texas Longhorn alum Madisyn CoxCox had a disappointing showing in Sunday’s 400 IM, falling from the #4 seed to missing the final in 10th. But she was much better here, safely winning her heat and finishing second overall.

Also from that heat: 4th qualifier Meghan Small5th qualifier Alex Walsh, 6th qualifier Beata Nelson, 10th qualifier Julia Poole and 14th qualifier Charlotte Hook. Small was only about two-tenths off her best time from 2015 Pan Ams. Walsh and Small were Pan Ams teammates in 2019, with Walsh winning gold in this event and Small silver. Walsh, the 2021 NCAA champ in the yards version of this event, was almost three seconds off her career-best time this morning, and might be primed for a big drop in semis tonight.

Melanie Margalis missed out on an Olympic bid in the 400 IM by just 0.12 seconds to her teammate Hali Flickinger. But she’s the #3 qualifier here and a strong contender for a repeat Olympic berth.

Nelson is a former NCAA champ in this event, and she cam through with a great drop of about a second to place inside the top 8.

Meanwhile 100 fly winner Torri Huske continues to be on fire this week. She’s now qualified for semifinals of both the 200 free and 200 IM, though she may choose one or the other for tonight’s finals session.

15-year-old Leah Hayes didn’t go a lifetime-best, but as she’s new to the 15-16 age group, her 2:13.38 officially checks her in at #16 in 15-16 USA Swimming history. Hayes moves past Ella Eastin and sits just behind Kathleen Baker. Baker sits 12th into semis tonight, but the foot injury she sustained last month is clearly hampering her times thus far. Baker was the #2 seed coming into the meet, but faded to 12th this morning, more than five seconds off her best time.

Stanford’s Brooke Forde did not contest this event. She already swam the 200 free heats this morning and is sitting 7th heading into tonight’s semifinals. Other no-shows included Bethany Galat, Allie Raab

A few strong age group swims further back: 18-year-old Samantha Tadder won the opening heat in 2:15.66, a drop of a second and a half that moves her to #81 all-time in the 17-18 age group. In that same heat, 16-year-old Zoe Skirboll dropped half a second to move to #85 all-time in the 15-16 age group at 2:16.75.

Women’s 1500 free

  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:20.48 (2018)
  • American Record: Katie Ledecky – 15:20.48 (2018)
  • US Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:20.48
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:28.36 (2014)
  • 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: 16:49.19
  • Wave II Cut: 16:44.60

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Katie Ledecky (NCAP) – 15:43.10
  2. Erica Sullivan (SAND) – 15:56.24
  3. Ashley Twichell (TAC) – 16:03.39
  4. Ally McHugh (WA) – 16:04.36
  5. Haley Anderson (MVN) – 16:05.05
  6. Katie Grimes (SAND) – 16:07.33
  7. Sierra Schmidt (UN-AZ) – 16:07.44
  8. Kensey McMahon (BAMA) – 16:16.09

In the second half of her double today, Katie Ledecky easily paced the 1500 free by 13 seconds. Ledecky already owns the 10 fastest performances in history in this event – her #10 all-time swim is a 15:36.53, setting a bar for her finals swim tomorrow night. This morning, Ledecky checked in with the #19 swim of all-time, giving her 15 of the top 20 in history.

Sandpiper of Nevada Erica Sullivan qualified second, seven seconds ahead of Ashley TwichellTwichell and Sullivan have sparred plenty of times in open water over the past few years. Twichell is one of the two U.S. Olympic entrants in open water via her top-10 finish at 2019 Worlds. But Sullivan will look to make her first Olympic appearance by beating Twichell in this final.

Also in the hunt: Wisconsin Aquatics’ Ally McHugh and Mission Viejo’s Haley Anderson, the other open water Olympic entrant for Team USA.

15-year-old Katie Grimes of the Sandpipers of Nevada has surged in open water lately. But here she joined a storied USA Swimming age group history in the pool. Grimes cut 13 seconds from her career-best, going 16:07.33 to move to #5 all-time in USA Swimming’s 15-16 ranks. She sits behind only Ledecky (15:36.53), Janet Evans (15:52.10), Kim Linehan (16:04.49), and Sullivan (16:05.83) in the 15-16s with a full year left in that age group.

Out of an early heat, Northwestern’s Lola Mull dropped four and a half seconds, moving to #55 all-time in the 17-18 age group (she is 18) with a 16:31.41. Meanwhile 16-year-old Paige Kuwata, the Sandpipers teammate of both Sullivan and Grimes, went 16:27.73 to improve her best time by four-tenths of a second. Kuwata remains the #27 swimmer in 15-16 age group history in this event.

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Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Another exciting day. Which event is Simone Biles going to be swimming? Or, since she is just that good, will she be doing 200 free, 200 IM, AND the 1500?

SwimSam
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

I’ve got her as a lock for the 50 free seeing as she easily clears the length of the pool with her gravity defying acrobatics

Rafael
Reply to  SwimSam
1 month ago

It is a new gymnastic apparatus.

Instead of Balance Beam, she will do the Swimming Lane

Falling on the water leads to immediate DQ

Last edited 1 month ago by Rafael
frug
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

Put the beam over a shark tank. If you fall you are DQed… forever.

PVSFree
Reply to  SwimSam
1 month ago

Woah what a great phrase “gravity defying.” NBC should use that in a promo campaign, I’m sure it’d go over well

Little Mermaid
Reply to  SwimSam
1 month ago

Yea no breath! Plus 22 commercials! Hey Now

super classy swim
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

and she’s been eating super well with uber eats !!!

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

Cheesy cauliflower pizza?

Floater
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

We’re doing shots every time they run the commercial. Unfortunately, I fell off my chair after two events and missed most of the telecast!

PVSFree
Reply to  Jared Anderson
1 month ago

I DON’T KNOW WHO I’M HYPED FOR BUT I’M HYPED

Joel Lin
Reply to  Jared Anderson
1 month ago

Liam Gallagher on deck screaming YOU GOTTA MAKE IT HAPPEN hype now.

Little Mermaid
Reply to  Jared Anderson
1 month ago

Walsh 200IM!

Admin
Reply to  Jared Anderson
1 month ago

I’m MICHAEL PHELPS AFTER CHASE KALISZ WON THE 400 IM hyped rn.

Deepblue
Reply to  Jared Anderson
1 month ago

Scam Traaaaiiiinnnnn

super classy swim
1 month ago

any guesses on times for today???

RJP
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

For the Prelim
200 free Ledecky 1.56.5, Madden 1.57.0
200 fly Urlando 1.55.7
200 IM Walsh and Douglass in 2.09.5
1500 free Ledecky 15.50

Konner Scott
Reply to  RJP
1 month ago

IM seems fast, but I can get behind the rest.

super classy swim
1 month ago

cant wait for ryan murphy’s back to be shaved so he goes WR 😩

PVSFree
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

The dude was just EXUDING confidence in that interview. He knows he’s in GREAT shape

PFA
Reply to  PVSFree
1 month ago

I love Ryan’s sense of humor the confidence he’s feeling after that semi finals must be at an all time high can’t wait to see how he does tonight and the 200 back as well.

Edit: Also same thing for Regan as well.

Last edited 1 month ago by PFA
BillyBob
Reply to  PFA
1 month ago

Regan didn’t seem confident like Ryan. She seemed more relieved imo. Relieved to see that she’s still able to throw down those times from 2 years ago. I have no doubt now that she’ll be 57.5 or faster in Tokyo.

Stan Crump
Reply to  BillyBob
1 month ago

I with you on that one. Things haven’t gone quite so well for her after World Champs. She looked very relieved. Finally starting to feel tapered.

Dudeman
Reply to  PVSFree
1 month ago

I think he went the exact same time he went in semi’s in 2016 but this swim looked SO much smoother and relaxed on the first 50, it looked like he only really swam hard for 70-75m the entire 100 (first 30m off the start and the 2nd 50 until about 10m out).

I think when swimming is said and done for him he’d be an amazing commentator, great sense of humor and really good confidence in his speaking. I think he could make it very entertaining for the average fan and swim nerds alike

THEO
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

Murphy has to be the undisputed #2 star on the men’s side. Dude is a 5-year WR holder and it shows

BillyBob
Reply to  THEO
1 month ago

It’s a little tough to say to me. Chase and MA both have the potential to qualify in so many more events. Being top in the world in 2 events is better than being top 10 in the world in 4 events but I think a lot of people will see MA as more of a star if he medals in multiple events and makes 3 (4 if you count the relay) finals in Tokyo.

M L
Reply to  BillyBob
1 month ago

MA’s astoundingly poor energy-management makes me doubt he’ll win multiple medals individually.

Deepblue
Reply to  THEO
1 month ago

The Jackpot MASTER

super classy swim
1 month ago

so CD isn’t swimming anything today right

Bruce
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

Correct

Hswimmer
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

Right

PhillyMark
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

400 free time trial maybe

Sunday Morning Grind
Reply to  PhillyMark
1 month ago

Gregg Troy’s ears definitely pricked up when he heard about it

Swimfan
1 month ago

Anyone know if huske it’s going to swim the 200 free? Or the 200 IM or both? I feel like she can put up a 155 in the 200 free if she just drops the 200 IM because she’s already on the team

Ger
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

She’s listed in heat 7

Hswimmer
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

I don’t think she drops one she’s confident and ready.

Swimfan
Reply to  Hswimmer
1 month ago

I don’t know I’m a little worried after seeing what the Aussies did the other day and I kind of feel like American are locked out of gold I just hope we see some fast prelim so we can get a clear picture of how the relay is going to shape up if they want any chance whatsoever

Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

Live with it and move on to the next event.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

A bit cruel putting the 200 free and 200 IM for women on the same sessions.
Tough choices for many athletes.

And no, 100 fly / 50 free for men was not the same level of schedule conflict.

Swimfan
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Only successful athlete I’ve seen do it is Katie Hoff back in 2008 she went 155 and 209 at trials… But ended up finishing 4th in both events in Beijing

WahooSwimFan
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

1500 prelims at end of the am session, with 200 free semis for women is also a tough conflict – I see both Madden and L Smith dropped the 1500. Urlando dropped the 200 free. Probably see a few more drops – other than Ledecky and Dressell I would expect we see a few more drops – competition is just too stiff, and will be so at Olympics too – frankly surprised Huske is keeping the 200 IM on her agenda instead of resting up for the 50 and 100 free. Those 3 plus 2 relays would make for quite a busy agenda in Tokyo.

Phil McDade
Reply to  WahooSwimFan
1 month ago

Two relays or three? Most folks have Dressel locked into the fly leg of the mixed medley, but there’s an emerging argument for Huske on the fly leg of the mixed in finals. One thing coming out of Trials so far — U.S. squad seems to have much more flexibility about how to arrange the mixed medley with emergence of Huske, MAndrew, even potentially Held if he swims the 100 free like I think he will.

frug
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

They should trade one of them so the men don’t have to swim the 400 fr and IM on day one.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Kinda like 200 IM/200 back for the men (cf Lochte, Larkin, Casas etc).

Swamfan
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Yeah the women have a history of crappy event lineups in the Olympics, more so than the men, If I’m remembering correctly. The event line up was a factor in Natalie Coughlin not winning more medals. They used to have the 200 IM semi-final right before the 100 back final. Coughlin chose to swim the 100 back over arguably her 2md best event (IM.) The timing of the 100 fly/ 100 back double is also difficult

RJP
1 month ago

Good battle in women 200 IM. Hoping for sub 2.10 for 4 teen ( Walsh, Douglass, Huske, Kozan) in 200IM. Hopefully any of those can put up sub 2.09 in the final. Huske and Douglass have the momentum but Walsh with better PB and Kozan is the youngest of them all.

VA Steve
Reply to  RJP
1 month ago

I’d say Douglass has some momentum, her drops in fly were significant. She’s in form.

Little Mermaid
Reply to  VA Steve
1 month ago

Walsh Big time!

Swimfan
Reply to  VA Steve
1 month ago

And she has one of the fastest time breast and free in yards

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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