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

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

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.

 MEN’S 100 FREESTYLE PRELIMS

  • 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).

WOMEN’S 200 FLY PRELIMS

  • 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.

MEN’S 200 BREAST PRELIMS

  • 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.

MEN’S 800 FREE PRELIMS

  • 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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GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

HUNTER ARMSTRONG 46.8 IN THE 100 FREE

Dressel_42.8
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

GATOR CHOMP gets it. My man understands that nobody is safe.

Chris
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

lol wtf

Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

Ikr, don’t sleep on him he is a sprint freestyler

Comet
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

Is that just ahead of dean Farris 😝

123456
Reply to  Comet
3 months ago

Dean needs to get it together after making an irrational decision to scratch the 200 free

Megbert
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

I guess HUNTER was ARMWEAK today

Last edited 3 months ago by Megbert
Joe
3 months ago

Think Dressel will be able to beat Hunter Armstrong in 100 free tomorrow night?

Ytho
Reply to  Joe
3 months ago

If Dressel is fast enough in the final, he might be able to surf Hunter Armstrong’s legwater

Megbert
Reply to  Ytho
3 months ago

legwater is the funniest way of saying wake I’ve ever heard 😂

Extra Broccolini
3 months ago

Can’t wait to listen to the best announcer EVER for the next 2 hours.
USA Swimming, please promote that amazing human.

Landen
Reply to  Extra Broccolini
3 months ago

I hope this isn’t sarcastic, I love Rowdy Gaines

Dressel_42.8
3 months ago

You guys better stop sleeping on Hunter “The Magic Man” Armstrong. You’ve seen what he can do. He sends fools straight to the gulag. Man has so much power he gonna start banning people to the shadow realm.

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
Reply to  Dressel_42.8
3 months ago

If he gets a relay spot i will poop my pants.

Dressel_42.8
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

If he gets an individual spot I’ll poop your pants.

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
Reply to  Dressel_42.8
3 months ago

Are we about to kiss right now?

Dressel_42.8
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

No that would be wrong and unprofessional… unless….

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  Dressel_42.8
3 months ago

So wrong… but so right…

Dudeman
Reply to  Dressel_42.8
3 months ago

All I asked was if you two wanted anything to drink…

Jojo
3 months ago

the time is now for Nic Fink! Claiming that he’ll win the 200!!

PFA
Reply to  Jojo
3 months ago

Sub 2:07 could happen at least I hope so.

Friuti
Reply to  Jojo
3 months ago

Very possible we see no crossover in qualifiers between the 2 breastrokes, on both the mens and womens sides.

Megbert
Reply to  Friuti
3 months ago

with Lazor out of the 100, I think Andrew Wilson is the best shot at qualifying for both. And that’s not a huge shot.

Last edited 3 months ago by Megbert
maybe?
Reply to  Megbert
3 months ago

King?

swimfan210_
Reply to  Jojo
3 months ago

I really hope he does

ctswimtex
Reply to  Jojo
3 months ago

Hoping to see Fink & Licon get in for the 200

Megbert
Reply to  Jojo
3 months ago

He seemed to go well, though Wilson does still look good and poised.

Friuti
3 months ago

And the sprint show begins. Who will shock and who will disappoint, clearly some indicators of peoples form so far. Couple guys I’m watching in the 100 Free who could go either way
Rooney: 200 was no good, maybe more focus on the shorter distances
Armstrong: Will he keep momentum from the 100 Back or did he get 10 minutes of sleep?
Ress/Farris: How do they bounce back?
Becker: Will he have a long course breakthrough after a solid ISL?
Curry: Show us the money.

Lots more to watch, just a few I thought will be interesting this morning.

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
Reply to  Friuti
3 months ago

Armstrong’s 49.7 was from 2 years ago and he’s made huge strides since then. It’s go time

Friuti
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

I’m here for it. Like Murphy said, if Hunter continues his improvement curve he’s going 49 in the 100 Back in Tokyo 😀

The French Laundry Swim Club
3 months ago

US Swimming missed a golden Opportunity to make The Olympic Trials a more visually appealing television-viewing event: they should have made the middle lane lines for lane lines 4 and 5 YELLOW (just like they do at the Olympics and other major events). It would be ever so much easier to “read” the lanes if they did this.

Splashanddasher
Reply to  The French Laundry Swim Club
3 months ago

Or just know how to count to 4 or 5 lol

The French Laundry Swim Club
Reply to  Splashanddasher
3 months ago

@Splashanddasher
How about those underwater shots when the camera is zoomed in on only 3 lanes? How do you orient yourself on those and other tight shots? It’s tough.

Khachaturian
Reply to  Splashanddasher
3 months ago

i am mentally challenged when it comes to counting numbers and reciting the alphabet

Philip Johnson
Reply to  The French Laundry Swim Club
3 months ago

I agree, fan of the middle yellow lane lines.

Eugene
Reply to  The French Laundry Swim Club
3 months ago

“Middle lane lines for lane lines 4 and 5”… 🧠

NC Fan
Reply to  The French Laundry Swim Club
3 months ago

Can’t you tell the difference between red and blue (lanes 4 and 5)?

Chris
Reply to  The French Laundry Swim Club
3 months ago

theres also no pyrotechnics. Boring AF

Chris
3 months ago

Hunter Armstrong goes under 46 and shocks the world today. Just wait….

Sqiddy
Reply to  Chris
3 months ago

He didn’t do it- but he breaks 40!!!

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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