2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II: Day 4 Finals Preview

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

Tonight’s finals session of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II will feature the first women’s 1500 free final in Olympic history.

It’s showtime for 1500 free World Record holder Katie Ledecky who has a 200 free and 1500 free double tonight, and both are finals races. She leads both events, but UVA star Paige Madden was not far behind her in the 200 free semifinals. The event will also feature Cal alumnus Katie McLaughlin, ranked 3rd after the semifinal, and two-time Olympian Allison Schmitt, ranked 4th.

In the 1500 free prelims, Erica Sullivan of Sandpipers of Nevada was Ledecky’s closest challenger. She finished with a time of 15:56.24, right on her lifetime best in prelims and about 13 seconds off of Ledecky. 2018 U.S. Nationals champion Ashley Twichell, who has already made the Olympic team in open water, is 3rd going into the final.

Another race to watch will be the men’s 100 free semifinals. Three-time Olympian Nathan Adrian had a solid prelims swim that earned him 6th going into the semifinal. Top seed and 2016 Olympic relay medalist Caeleb Dressel placed 5th overall this morning. They may save the big speed for the final tomorrow night, but we can look forward to faster swims from them both tonight. Adrian won gold in this event at the 2012 Olympics and bronze in 2016.

Rio Olympians Ryan Held and Blake Pieroni had the fastest prelims times (48.07 and 48.14, respectively), but the top six are separated by just .30. And it will be a battle to both get into the final.

Then, it is 200 fly night for both men and women. It’s the finals race for the men, lead by Georgia’s Luca Urlando from DART Swimming and 2018 Pan Pacific Championships bronze medalist Zach Harting. They both posted 1:55.21’s in the semifinals.

Cal’s Trenton Julian and 2016 Olympic relay medalist Gunnar Bentz were right there with them, making for an intense race tonight. It will be interesting to see if there’s a change in race strategy here, after Urlando blasted a 54.74 first 100 meters in the semifinals compare to Harting’s more reserved 55.79.

On the women’s side, 2016 Rio Olympian Hali Flickinger looks to officially secure her ticket to Tokyo. She finished second place in the 400 IM final after an incredible finish, but USA Swimming is waiting to see if the women’s team reaches the roster limit of 26 people before officially announcing that the second place finishers have made the Olympic team.

Flickinger placed 1st in the 200 fly prelims race by .82 and she made it look easy. Michigan’s Olivia Carter was right there with her at the 150-meter mark until Flickinger really picked it up the last 20 meters to extend her lead. There’s no guarantee Flickinger will go for a fast time tonight in the semifinals, but she showed this morning she is capable of some serious speed. Her lifetime best is 2:05.87 from 2018.

Georgia’s Dakota Luther, Texas’ Kelly Pash and future Stanford swimmer Regan Smith from Riptide are her closest competition, based on prelims results. 4th seed Smith could go off as well, following her victory in the 100 back final last night. Her lifetime best 200 fly time is 2:06.39 from March 2020.

The men’s 200 breast semifinals are set up to be extremely close. 1st through 4th place in prelims were separated by less than .30. 18-year-old Matt Fallon from Greater Somerset County YMCA leads the field, followed by Nic Fink, Kevin Cordes and Daniel Roy. Cordes is the second all-time fastest performer in the 200 breast in the country.

But Andrew Wilson, who placed 2nd in the 100 breast, is in the mix as well, ranked 8th. Rio Olympian Cody Miller is ranked 11th going into this race. The semifinals will feature six out of the top 10 all-time fastest 200 breaststrokers in the country including Fink (#6), Roy (#8), Miller (#9), and Wilson (#5), and Will Licon (#4).

There were no finals scratches tonight except for Rio silver medalist Josh Prenot who withdrew his first alternate spot in the 200 breast, which you can read more about here.

The women’s 200 IM final will be another make-or-break moment, this time for 2016 Olympian Melanie Margalis. Her seed time of 2:08.84 would have won the semifinal so she is within striking distance of making the team. She finished 5th in the semifinals race with a 2:11.25.

Virginia’s Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass are ranked 1-2 going into tonight’s final, and Walsh was the only swimmer to crack 2:09.00 in the semifinal. They will have to race the likes of Margalis and Texas alumnus Madisyn Cox, though, to vie for those Olympic Team spots.

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ACC
1 month ago

Regan Smith didn’t swim a world record last night…

TUSwim22
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

I was wondering when I missed that…

ACC
Reply to  TUSwim22
1 month ago

Also impressive that Andrew Wilson finished second in the 100 free as that hasn’t happened yet and he didn’t swim it this morning.

Stephen
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Must’ve been another statement swim.

Relay Enthusiast
1 month ago

How many sub 48 swims will we see in the semis. I’m thinking 4. Pieroni, Held, Dressel, Apple.

Curious Swimma
Reply to  Relay Enthusiast
1 month ago

pepperoni might drop another 48low, but idk about 47… I think Held and Dressel will put on a show, top 8 is hard for me to even guess beyond those two due to the crazy trials we have had so far.

Swimfan
1 month ago

Will ledecky go under 155? And how many 156 will we see?

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

Does Katie Ledecky swim it for the win in the women’s 200 meter freestyle to conserve energy for the women’s 1500 meter freestyle?

As for sub 1:57 performances in the women’s 200 meter freestyle:

Ledecky
Madden
McLaughlin – on the fence
Schmitt – on the fence

dinicti
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

Her hx and MO is to win, silly question.

MakinWaves
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

Schmitttttttty

jeff
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

i think she should go hard on the 200, there is a chance she doesn’t make it if she doesn’t go all in, but she’s all but guaranteed to win the 1500

Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

Personally, I would like to see Katie Ledecky go all out in the women’s 200 meter freestyle and post a personal best time for calendar year 2021. Basically, mimic the intensity of a final at the Summer Olympic Games.

MakinWaves
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

Schmitty

SoloArtist
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

Ledecky
Schmitt
Madden

Jimmy Johns
1 month ago

This article is riddled w errors my lord

Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

Change my view: Dressel is just the American James Magnussen, but without an individual Olympic medal. Gold twice in the 100 free at the WCs, but can’t pull it together at the Olympics. The heats swim tells us Dressel isn’t in good form.

Relay Enthusiast
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

It’s just the heats. Swimmers rarely go sub 48 in the heats. And Magnussen only went 47 low once. Dressel has done it so many times. And a 46.96!

Also he kills it in the 50 free, 50 fly and 100 fly and delivers in relays. Magnussen ain’t got shit on Dressel.

Mr Sandals
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

oh ye of little faith. repent!

Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
Reply to  Mr Sandals
1 month ago

Don’t feed the trolls.

Horninco
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

You are on a roll, but this is a little weaker

2/5

Robbos
Reply to  Horninco
1 month ago

Not with King Kyle looking to repeat!!!

Wut
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

Magnussen never had individual world records

Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

The life story of the Campbell sisters but without an individual gold medal at the Summer Olympics. That won’t change after Tokyo, either.

Robbos
Reply to  Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
1 month ago

But can the same be with Mckeon, McKeown & Titmus? Plus Campbell sisters will in years to come show their grand kids their 5 relay golds!!!!

Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Fun fact:

Neither C1 or C2 have won a medal of any color in the women’s 100 meter freestyle at the Summer Olympic Games.

Fun fact:

Simone Manuel has won more gold medals (2) in the women’s 100 meter freestyle at the FINA World Aquatics Championships than C1 (1) and C2 (1).

Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

I never mentioned McKeown (DOB 12 Jul 2001) or Titmus (DOB 07 Sep 2000). Stop moving the goal posts.

Stephen
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

When the Americans start mentioning the Aussie girl so frequently. You know they are feeling the pressure.
The but what about the Aussies attitude is a clear sign.

Stephen
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

OMG……give the boy some slack…..heats only.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

He’s not in good form. But he’s in good enough form. Held is the only one that’s looked like he’ll drop something to give him a race 100. The Indiana guys are laying turds. Rooney is a non-factor in the fly now, so Dressel can go 50. low and make the team. Best Andrew or Held will do in the 50 free is a 21.5, and Dressel already did that in Atlanta. But you’re right, until he wins an individual Olympic medal, he’ll be joining C1 and others to not deliver when it matters most for history. That’s pretty f’in unlikely. BTW, Magnussen is a pretty good commentator.

SWIMDOG
1 month ago

Random note: Wasn’t David Nolan planning a comeback as a sprinter for these trials?

Togger
1 month ago

Semis of the hundred free is going be hype. I think only Dressel can afford not to go full gas, and he’ll probably need to give it everything for 75m then perhaps ease up a little for the last 25.

Ole 99
Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

Margins seem to get tighter every year. Don’t know that anyone can afford to hold much of anything back.

Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

Probs goes 47.5

Joel Lin
1 month ago

YOU GOTTA MAKE IT HAPPEN