2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap


After getting his feet wet in the prelims of the 200 freestyle on Monday, Caeleb Dressel will dive into the pool at the CHI Health Center in Omaha in one of three events in which he is the two-time defending world champion for the first time on Wednesday morning.

Dressel will occupy Lane 4 in the eighth and final heat of a loaded men’s 100 freestyle, an event that features six men who have been under the 48-second barrier in their career.

Dressel will race alongside 2012 gold and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in this event, Nathan Adrian, in the last heat, along with Zach AppleTownley Haas and Kieran Smith, who are all coming off big swims in the 200 free final last night.

Second seed Ryan Held dropped the 200 free semis, like Dressel, and will swim in the middle lane in the penultimate heat, as will Blake Pieroni, who narrowly missed putting himself in line for Olympic qualification by finishing seventh in last night’s 200 free.

Highlighting the first circle-seeded heat will be Maxime Rooney and Dean Farris, both still looking to get some momentum going here in Omaha.

In addition to the men’s 100 free, we’ll also see preliminary heats in the women’s 200 fly, men’s 200 breast and the men’s 800 free.

The top two seeds in the women’s 200 fly, Hali Flickinger (400 IM runner-up) and Regan Smith (100 back winner) have already qualified for Tokyo, while the men’s 200 breast will feature several men who missed out in the 100.

That includes third-place finisher Nic Fink, who might be the new favorite in the event given his time drop in the 100. 2016 Olympians Josh PrenotKevin Cordes and Cody Miller will also be on the hunt to get back on the team, while top seed Will Licon and Daniel Roy will be among those trying to get there for the first time. Andrew Wilson, the runner-up in the 100 breast, will also be a major player.

The men’s 800 free, one of two new individual events this year, will have seven heats, including a loaded final one that includes top seed Bobby Finke, U.S. Open Record holder Zane Grothe and Jake Mitchell. Mitchell will be coming off the high of qualifying for the Olympic team (provided roster numbers don’t exceed limits) in a solo time trial last night, having produced a time of 3:45.86 in the 400 free to get well under the FINA ‘A’ cut of 3:46.78.

Jordan Wilimovsky, who has been qualified for the U.S. Olympic team since 2019 in open water, headlines the penultimate heat.


  • World Record: 46.91 — Cesar Cielo (BRA), 2009
  • American Record: 46.96 — Caeleb Dressel, 2019
  • U.S. Open Record: 47.39 — Ryan Held (USA), 2019
  • World Junior Record: 47.57 — Andrei Minakov (RUS), 2020
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Kyle Chalmers (AUS) — 47.58
  • 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Nathan Adrian — 47.72
  • Wave I Cut: 50.49
  • Wave II Cut: 49.74
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 48.57
  1. Ryan Held (NYAC), 48.07
  2. Blake Pieroni (SAND), 48.14
  3. Zach Apple (MVN), 48.21
  4. Brooks Curry (LSU), 48.23
  5. Caeleb Dressel (GSC), 48.25
  6. Nathan Adrian (CAL), 48.37
  7. Coleman Stewart (WOLF), 48.45
  8. Bowe Becker (SAND), 48.61
  9. Jack Alexy (GSCY), 48.69
  10. Drew Kibler (TXLA), 48.72
  11. Brett Pinfold (SHAC), 48.83
  12. Adam Chaney (FLOR), 48.95
  13. Arsenio Bustos (WAC), 49.03
  14. Michael Chadwick (NCAC), 49.04
  15. Maxime Rooney (PLS), 49.05
  16. Dean Farris (VS), 49.07

2016 Olympian Ryan Held paced this morning’s preliminary heats in the men’s 100 freestyle in a time of 48.07, using the fastest opening 50 in the field (22.64) to hold off Blake Pieroni and win the seventh heat in a new season-best time.

Pieroni, who finished fourth in this event at the 2019 World Championships and is coming off a seventh-place finish in last night’s 200 free, was the only swimmer in the field to close sub-25 (24.95), giving him a nice rebound swim to qualify second overall in 48.14.

LSU’s Brooks Curry was a close third in that heat, taking two-tenths off his best time in 48.23 for fourth overall, slotting him into 16th all-time among Americans in the event.

Zach Apple (48.21) out-touched Caeleb Dressel (48.25) and Nathan Adrian (48.37) to win the final heat, safely advancing all three of them into the semis, and Bowe Becker won the first circle-seeded heat in a best time of 48.61 for eighth overall.

Finishing closely behind Becker was 18-year-old Jack Alexy, who smashed his personal best time of 49.31 in 48.69 to lower the 17-18 National Age Group Record of 48.78 previously held by Dressel.

Arsenio Bustos, also 18, dropped a best time of his own in 49.03, moving into fourth all-time in the age group (and ahead of Michael Phelps, who was 49.05 in 2004).

In Heat 5, Wolfpack Elite’s Coleman Stewart broke the 49-second barrier for the first time in a scintillating 48.45, good enough to qualify him seventh for the semis.

Maxime Rooney and Dean Farris, who swam respective best times of 47.61 and 48.07 in 2019, squeaked into tonight’s session by placing 15th and 16th overall in 49.05 and 49.07, respectively.

Notably missing the semis, at least for the time being, was Daniel Krueger, who tied with Grant House for 17th in 49.24—meaning they’ll likely have a swim-off.

Also missing the top-16 was Kieran Smith (49.40) and Townley Haas (49.45), the top two finishers in last night’s 200 free, while Justin Ress and Andrew Seliskar were both no-shows.

The time required to advance out of the heats this year, 49.07, was almost a half-second faster than it was in 2016 (49.55).


  • World Record: Liu Zige (CHN) – 2:01.81 (2009)
  • American Record: Mary Descenza – 2:04.14 (2009)
  • US Open Record: Hali Flickinger (USA) – 2:05.87 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Suzuka Hasegawa (JPN) – 2:06.29 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) – 2:04.85
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Cammile Adams – 2:06.80
  • Wave I Cut: 2:14.59
  • Wave II Cut: 2:12.56
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:08.43
  1. Hali Flickinger (SUN), 2:08.14
  2. Dakota Luther (ABSC), 2:08.96
  3. Kelly Pash (CSC), 2:09.09
  4. Regan Smith (RIPT), 2:09.15
  5. Charlotte Hook (TAC), 2:09.55
  6. Olivia Carter (MICH), 2:09.78
  7. Katie Drabot (ALTO), 2:10.34
  8. Leah Gingrich (HURR), 2:10.44
  9. Lindsay Looney (SUN), 2:10.66
  10. Amanda Ray (FLOR), 2:10.85
  11. Rachel Klinker (CAL), 2:11.11
  12. Olivia Bray (TXLA), 2:11.29
  13. Lillie Nordmann (ALTO), 2:11.41
  14. Tess Howley (LIAC), 2:11.64
  15. Taylor Pike (TAMU), 2:11.70
  16. Alena Kraus (UOFL), 2:12.14

2016 Olympic finalist Hali Flickinger cruised to the top spot in the women’s 200 fly prelims in a time of 2:08.14, winning the fifth and final heat over Michigan’s Olivia Carter (2:09.78).

Flickinger, the third-fastest American of all-time of this event with her best sitting at 2:05.87 from 2018, was the 2019 World Championship silver medalist in this race and has already likely qualified for Tokyo after placing second in the 400 IM on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, currently training out of Arizona State with Bob Bowman, also ranks third in the world this season with her time of 2:06.68 from April’s Pro Swim Series event in Mission Viejo.

The battle in Heat 4 was much tighter, with Athens Bulldogs swimmer Dakota Luther (2:08.96) holding off Carmel’s Kelly Pash (2:09.09) and Riptide’s Regan Smith (2:09.15), qualifying them second, third and fourth overall.

17-year-old Charlotte Hook won the first circle-seeded heat in 2:09.55, good for fifth overall, while #3 seed coming in Katie Drabot was back in 2:10.34 for seventh.


  • World Record: Anton Chupkov (RUS) – 2:06.12 (2019)
  • American Record: Josh Prenot – 2:07.17 (2016)
  • US Open Record: Josh Prenot (USA) – 2:07.17 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Qin Haiyan (CHN) – 2:07.35 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Dmitriy Balandin (KAZ) – 2:07.46
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Josh Prenot – 2:07.17
  • Wave I Cut: 2:17.89
  • Wave II Cut: 2:15.28
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:10.35
  1. Matt Fallon (GSCY), 2:10.13
  2. Nic Fink (ABSC), 2:10.24
  3. Kevin Cordes (ABSC), 2:10.45
  4. Daniel Roy (ALTO), 2:10.47
  5. Will Licon (TXLA), 2:10.58
  6. Charlie Swanson (CW), 2:10.62
  7. Jake Foster (RAYS), 2:10.83
  8. Andrew Wilson (ABSC), 2:11.15
  9. Ilya Evdokimov (PRVT), 2:11.54
  10. Reece Whitley (PCAC), 2:11.79
  11. Cody Miller (SAND), 2:12.17
  12. AJ Pouch (VT), 2:12.21
  13. Jonathan Tybur (GSC), 2:12.29
  14. Tommy Cope (CW), 2:12.51
  15. Brandon Fischer (LAC), 2:12.93
  16. AJ Bornstein (MICH), 2:13.14

18-year-old Matt Fallon is the surprise #1 qualifier out of the men’s 200 breast prelims, overtaking Nic Fink on the third 50 of Heat 5, and then doing the same to Kevin Cordes on the way home to touch first in 2:10.13

That time knocks Fallon’s previous personal best of 2:11.33 down by over a second, moving him up from seventh to second in the all-time 17-18 boys’ rankings. The National Age Group Record stands at 2:09.73, set by Daniel Roy in 2018.

Fallon also moves to 17th all-time among American men, notably overtaking Mike Barrowman, whose 2:10.16 won Olympic gold in 1992.

Fink (2:10.24) and Cordes (2:10.45) easily qualified second and third overall, while Roy won the following heat in 2:10.47 for fourth. Roy is the fastest American this season at 2:08.89.

The final heat saw Will Licon (2:10.58) close strong to out-touch Charlie Swanson (2:10.62) and Jake Foster (2:10.83), with Swanson and Foster both cracking 2:11 for the first time.

Andrew Wilson and Cody Miller, fourth and fifth in this event in 2016, safely advanced in eighth and 11th overall, but the winner from five years ago did not.

Reigning Olympic silver medalist and American Record holder Josh Prenot placed sixth in the final heat in 2:13.42, ultimately ranking him 17th overall and out of the semi-finals, barring any scratches. Prenot, who won the event in 2:07.17 in 2016, has been as fast as 2:11.87 this season.

Also missing was 18-year-old Josh Matheny, a finalist in the 100 breast who owns a PB of 2:09.40. Matheny went 2:13.88 for 20th place.

2016 semi-finalist Reece Whitley rebounded after finishing 29th in the 100 breast, qualifying 10th overall in 2:11.79—almost two seconds under his season-best coming in.


  • World Record: Zhang Lin (CHN) – 7:32.12 (2009)
  • American Record: Michael McBroom – 7:43.60 (2013)
  • US Open Record: Zane Grothe (USA) – 7:44.57 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Mack Horton (AUS) – 7:45.67 (2013)
  • 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: 8:12.99
  • Wave II Cut: 8:08.95
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 7:54.31
  1. Will Gallant (MVN), 7:53.76
  2. Bobby Finke (SPA), 7:54.02
  3. Ross Dant (NCS), 7:54.98
  4. Michael Brinegar (MVN), 7:55.50
  5. James Plage (WOLF), 7:56.87
  6. Andrew Abruzzo (PWAC), 7:57.03
  7. Trey Freeman (FLOR), 7:57.07
  8. Jordan Wilimovsky (KSWM), 7:57.11

Mission Viejo’s Will Gallant dropped almost four seconds to claim the top seed for tomorrow’s final in the men’s 800 freestyle, winning the sixth of seven heats in a time of 7:53.76.

The 19-year-old previously held a PB of 7:57.55, set in April, and now ranks as the second-fastest American this season behind Bobby Finke.

Finke, who clocked 7:53.05 at the U.S. Open last November, won the last heat in 7:54.02, holding a one-second advantage over Ross Dant the entire back-half to qualify second overall.

Dant, who was third in the 400 free on the first night of competition in a big best time, chopped just over a second off his 2019 PB of 7:56.03 in 7:54.98 for third overall.

Michael Brinegar took second to his Nadadore teammate Gallant in Heat 6, clocking 7:55.50 for fourth, while Wolfpack Elite’s James Plage dropped a massive best time of 7:56.87 to advance in fifth from the non-circle-seeded fifth heat.

Plage, 18, moves into 11th all-time in the 17-18 age group with that swim, having set his previous best time of 8:03.84 back at the 2019 Summer Junior Nationals.

Zane Grothe, the second-fastest American ever in this event and the fastest among swimmers in this field, missed the final for a third time here in Omaha, placing 12th overall in 8:00.00. Grothe owns a best of 7:43.74 from the 2018 Pan Pacs, and was 7:58.04 two months ago in Mission Viejo.

That leaves open water dynamo Jordan Wilimovsky as the man with the fastest PB who will be in tomorrow’s final, as he hit a 7:45.19 at those 2018 Pan Pacs. Finke is next up with a best of 7:47.58 from 2019.

Jake Mitchellfresh off his electric 400 free time trial last night, was well off the mark this morning in 8:11.25, placing 31st. Mitchell owns a best time of 7:54.70 from the 2019 World Juniors.

It shouldn’t come into play in tomorrow’s final, but you never know: only two men were under the FINA ‘A’ cut of 7:54.31 this morning.

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2 years ago

Is Matt Greevers swimming anymore this week? I thought he would do the 100 free but he didn’t. Will he be doing the 100 fly or 50 free?

2 years ago

Adrian dropping 48.3’s. Tufffff

Stan Crump
2 years ago

Anyone know what’s up with Grothe? Sick? Hurt? Bad meet?

2 years ago

Someone please tell me they saw Prenot’s reaction when he realized he was 17th…

Billy Mays
Reply to  Deepblue
2 years ago

What was it?

Captain Ahab
2 years ago

Zane Grothe:

If you are reading this do not get in the swimming pool again until Saturday, June 19. You accidentally over trained. The only way to hit your taper right now is just to sleep and eat Thursday and Friday.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

Why would you think he’d be reading this? 🤨

2 years ago

After watching several days, I have to say that I like swimmers who display class, humility, sportsmanship and are cheering on younger athletes who will eventually replace them (Murphy, Grevers, Andrew & Ledecky embody this) more than those who trash talk or play mind games (Lilly King). These qualities have distinguished swimming from lots of other sports for a long time and I hope that doesn’t change. It’s a lot easier to go out with class (Grevers) when you’ve had class your entire career than if you’re cocky and have to get cut down to size.

Reply to  Andy
2 years ago

So you don’t like people “talking trash,” but you get on a message board and anonymously talk trash yourself?

Reply to  Andy
2 years ago

People like King are what is making swimming fun. It’s a sport

Reply to  Andy
2 years ago

I wouldn’t say Michael Andrew is a veteran at 22 And his first Olympics. Lilly King makes the sport fun.

Reply to  Andy
2 years ago

You must not be very old.

Reply to  Andy
2 years ago

and sometimes the media has a way to create a story and keep it alive…

Even the NBC short clip before her 100 final yesterday seems to be short clip from this short clip and painted a picture of her evil-ness… but most swimmers had real interaction with Lily seems to thinking her a a easygoing person, joke a lot

saw this longer version a few months ago -https://youtu.be/wVIFjA3v3HM – and realize NBC has been selling that story since 2016 and make sure it is still alive in 2021

2 years ago

Did Australia and the UK avoid some of the pool closures that interrupted training for a lot of Americans? It’s pretty clear from NCAAs and these Trials that the longer events are much weaker this year. Yeah, NCAA emphasizes sprints but that’s been true for 30 years. This year the 500s were weak (and the miles) and here at OTs the 400s have been pretty rough.. I know conditions varied quite a bit for different swimmers, but it’s hard not to think that many were not able to build a great base last summer and fall. I’m just curious if that was the same in the countries that look extra sharp right now.

Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

But also ‘Murica is just bad at distance. Before and after COVID

Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

I think Australia avoided a lot generally, they’re advantaged at the Olympics this year imo. All my friends there (outside Victoria) pretty much went as normal, not much changed for them.

In the UK, funded athletes (elites) missed pool time in 2020, March until May/June, then they were allowed to train under strict protocols. They trained hard at National Centres (NCs) all year after that. Some (Kayla van der Merwe I believe) were unable to though, so they were stuck out of the pool all year.

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

That’s not my understanding. They were really strict about their shutdowns.

Aussie Crawl
Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Time wise.
Yes we are at a advantage.
Tokyo one hour behind Sydney time.
But 2016 no.
The dolphins were racing in Canberra at their training camps
At 2:00 am in the morning to
Aclimatise to the time zone.
Is it fair for NBC to have a say
For US prime time ??
No the yanks should set their alarms for early morning and watch like the rest of the world
Over the years.

Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

Not sure why you brought up the UK? They are pretty weak in distance events. In Europe alone Italy and Germany (maybe also Turkey and Russia) are better than the UK.

Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

Oh look guys he returned just to hate on GB… Again

Reply to  Juggernaut
2 years ago

Nope, no hate, just facts. If you don’t agree then please show me recent times that prove that the UK is good (better than the US) in distance events, especially on the women’s side.

The fact that you think that the UK is good in distance freestyle makes me pretty sad. Why are you spending your free time on a swimming website when you clearly have no clue what you are talking about?

Last edited 2 years ago by AnEn
Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

I didn’t say that they were good at distance events, I’m saying that you only seem to do these “facts” with GB swimmers not with anyone else

Reply to  Juggernaut
2 years ago

You said that i was only here to hate on GB and now you admit that my take was actually correct … ? Don’t you recognize yourself how absurd that is?

The comment i answered to was talking about the strength of UK and Australia in distance swimming and since Australia is actually good in those events it wouldn’t have made sense to claim otherwise, which only left the UK for me to “hate” on …

I can give you my observations about any nation you want, not just the UK. If you would like to know my opinion about other topics, you could have just asked me instead of just making assumptions and treating them as facts. Here is… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by AnEn
Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

Uk isn’t good at distance but sprinters are much more valued over distance stars in an NCAA format, which is contributing, imo, to USA distance decline but taking USA sprint power to new heights.

Reply to  Huh
2 years ago

US women’s distance swimming suggests everything about this whole “NCAA format” narrative doesn’t track…

Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

The 500s were weak? Could have fooled me. The men’s record was stuck at 408 over 20 years. It has only been in recent years that a few guys have gone below it (Grothe, Smith, Magahey). That includes this year, which had a handful of 4:06 and 4:07s.

Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

Australia was more Draconian about their shutdowns than we were. That’s why they got their covid rates under control. And no the UK didn’t avoid pool closures either

Aussie Crawl
Reply to  Caleb
2 years ago

Australia is the lucky country.
Here in Queensland, particularly on the Gold Coast the pools were shut for about 3 1/2 months.
I know a lot of the swimmers are surfers and swam in the ocean all that time. In pairs or solo.
Maybe thank old mate Trump
For burying his head.
Be blessed with that we are here
Discussing the greatest sport on earth.
Stay safe and be healthy.
Bring on Tokyo!!

2 years ago

Way to go Matt and Nic….Go Pingry!!!

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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