2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II: Day 5 Prelims Live Recap

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

We’ve had to wait four full days for reigning world champ Simone Manuel to make her debut at U.S. Olympic Trials. But the wait is over, as Manual leads the 100 free heats this morning.

Manuel is the defending Olympic and World champion in the 100 free. She’ll head up a tough 100 free field this morning. In each of our circle seeded heats, we should see established sprint veterans take on rising newcomers. In the first circle-seeded heat, it’ll be 2016 Olympian Abbey Weitzeil vs newly-minted 16-year-old Olympian Claire Curzanfresh off a runner-up finish in the 100 fly. Next up is former American record-holder Mallory Comerford taking on 100 fly champ Torri Huske18. In the final heat, Manuel and former NCAA star Erika Brown will match up with 2019 World Junior champion Gretchen Walsh18.

We’ll get to see Ryan Murphy lead the 200 back heats after winning the 100 back a few nights ago and booking his return to the Olympic stage. Behind Murphy, Texas A&M standout Shaine Casas looks to bounce back after a third-place finish in the 100 back on Tuesday night.

The 200 breast should be a smash. Lilly King defended her Olympic Trials title in the 100 breast Tuesday night – the first woman to do so since the 1980s. But she’s got a tough field to face in the longer distance, especially after both Annie Lazor and Bethany Galat swam very well in the 100 – both Lazor and Galat are more endurance-based breastrokers who should thrive in the 200, while King is more of a sprinter who is working to add the 200 to her world-level range.

The session will end with the 200 IM, pitting Trials 400 IM winner Chase Kalisz against Trials 100 breast winner Michael Andrew in a true clash of two of USA Swimming’s most versatile talents – one (Kalisz) geared towards endurance and the other (Andrew) a true speedster.

That event will also feature 6-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte trying to make his fifth consecutive U.S. Olympic team at the age of 36. Olympic 4×200 free relay qualifier Andrew Seliskar should also be in the mix.

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

Women’s 100 free

  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 51.71 (2017)
  • American Record: Simone Manuel – 52.04 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Simone Manuel (USA) – 52.54 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Penny Oleksiak (CAN) – 52.70 (2016)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Simone Manuel (USA) / Penny Oleksiak (CAN) – 52.70
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Abbey Weitzeil – 53.28
  • Wave I Cut: 56.29
  • Wave II Cut: 55.56

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) – 53.52
  2. Olivia Smoliga (ABSC) – 54.00
  3. Catie DeLoof (CA-Y) – 54.21
  4. Natalie Hinds (ABSC) – 54.34
  5. Linnea Mack (TE) – 54.37
  6. Simone Manuel (ALTO) – 54.47
  7. Erika Brown (TNAQ) – 54.61
  8. Kate Douglass (UVA) – 54.62
  9. Beata Nelson (WA) – 54.71
  10. Katie McLaughlin (CAL) – 54.72
  11. Allison Schmitt (SUN) – 54.78
  12. Torri Huske (AAC) – 54.80
  13. Claire Curzan (TAC) – 54.84
  14. Mallory Comerford (CARD) – 54.85
  15. Kelsi Dahlia (CARD) – 54.96
  16. Gabby DeLoof (CW) – 55.22

In the battle of vets vs teens, the veterans won a resounding 3-0 victory this morning. 2016 Olympian Abbey Weitzeil won the opening circle-seeded heat by seven-tenths of a second, and her time held up as the top swim through the final two heats. Weitzeil is the only swimmer sub-54 in the morning. In 2016, four women broke 54 in heats and five did it in semis.

Weitzeil, though, was actually remarkably similar to her heats swim five years ago. Weitzeil was 53.58 in heats in 2016, also qualifying first. She would win all three rounds, going 53.5 again in semis and then 53.2 in the final.

The second circle-seeded heat featured Olivia Smoliga charging to the front with two incredible breakouts off her start and turn. Smoliga finished a heartbreaking third in the 100 back final a few nights ago, but looked great this morning as she fights for a return Olympic trip. She hit a career-best 54.00 to qualify second.

It was a great morning for veterans all-around. 27-year-old Natalie Hinds won the final heat in 54.34, beating defending Olympic champ Simone Manuel (54.47).

It’ll be a very competitive set of semifinals tonight, with just three-tenths of a second separating 7th-place Erika Brown and 15th-place Kelsi Dahlia. (Dahlia, like Smoliga, was just left out of the Olympic spots in her primary stroke, but came through with a good swim this morning to keep her Olympic repeat hopes alive).

Further back, 16-year-old Santa Maria Swim Club swimmer Claire Tuggle dropped two-tenths to go 55.89 – that moves her up to #44 all-time in the 15-16 age group.

As with the 200 free, we had a lot of notable names scratch the event late. Likely Olympic 400 and 4×200 free relay qualifier Paige Madden was a no-show. She still has an entry into the 800 tomorrow. 2019 World Champs butterfly bronze medalist Katie Drabot scratched, in what was her last entry of these Trials. 200 IM winner Alex Walsh was a no-show in her heat.

Notable swimmers left out of the semifinals include 2019 World Junior champ Gretchen Walsh (who was 28th in 55.91) and Wave I breakout star Camille Spink, who had a solid 55.57 but wound up 22nd.

Men’s 200 back

  • World Record: Aaron Peirsol (USA) – 1:51.92 (2009)
  • American Record: Aaron Peirsol – 1:51.92 (2009)
  • US Open Record: Aaron Peirsol (USA) – 1:53.08 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 1:55.14 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 1:53.62
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Ryan Murphy – 1:53.95
  • Wave I Cut: 2:02.99
  • Wave II Cut: 2:00.81

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Destin Lasco (CAL) – 1:56.88
  2. Bryce Mefford (SMST) – 1:57.51
  3. Jack Aikins (SA) – 1:57.57
  4. Hunter Tapp (NCS) – 1:57.62
  5. Ryan Murphy (CAL) – 1:57.95
  6. Austin Katz (TXLA) – 1:58.09
  7. Daniel Carr (PPA) – 1:59.09
  8. Ian Grum (DYNA) – 1:59.23
  9. Shaine Casas (TAMU) – 1:59
  10. Clark Beach (FLOR) – 1:59.57
  11. Jacob Steele (ISC) – 2:00.28
  12. Will Grant (VS) – 2:00.41
  13. Tim Gallagher (UN-HI) – 2:00.55
  14. Nick Alexander (TRI) – 2:00.66
  15. Jack Dahlgren (UMIZ) – 2:00.67
  16. Alex Boratto (ALTO) – 2:00.71

Cal’s freshman sensation from NCAA season, Destin Lascohad a huge swim out of an early heat, dropping from 2:00.9 to 1:56.88. That’ll put the 19-year-old into the semifinals as the #1 prelims qualifier. Lasco is now the #17 U.S. man of any age, passing up Matt Grevers in the all-time ranks.

SwimAtlanta’s Jack Aikins crushed a 1:57.57 out of that same early heat. That ranks the 18-year-old #7 all-time in USA Swimming’s 17-18 rankings, tying 2016 Olympian Jacob Pebley.

All-in-all, those early-heat speedsters were a contrast to a pretty sleepy morning session from the circle-seeded heats. Three of the top four seeds came from non-circle-seeded heats, including NC State’s Hunter Tappwho dropped from 2:00.9 to 1:57.6 to win the second heat and wound up fourth overall.

Cal’s Bryce Mefford followed up his great 100 back with a 1:57.51 this morning in the 200. That’s just tenths from his career-best, put up at Summer Nationals in 2019.

The pre-meet favorites got into semifinals, but in lower places than expected. Defending Olympic champ Ryan Murphy is just fifth in 1:57.95. NCAA champ Shaine Casas sits just 9th in 1:59.52. Casas narrowly missed the Olympic team in the 100 back earlier this meet.

Cal men make up four of the top seven – and that’s without 2016 Olympian Jacob Pebley event swimming this meet. Lasco & Mefford (who swam for Cal at NCAAs this season) sit 1-2, alumnus Murphy is 5th and Daniel Carr (who swam as a senior for Cal this year) is 7th.

Indiana’s Jacob Steele was a Wave I wild card transfer. He won the 100 back at the Wave I meet, but made the Wave II semifinals in this 200 back. Steele sits 11th after going 2:00.28 this morning. That’s eight-tenths faster than his Wave I swim, but still about half a second shy of his lifetime-best from the summer of 2018.

Ryan Lochte was entered in both this race and the 200 IM, but he was a no-show for this race. That probably makes sense, as the 200 IM is a much better Olympic path for Lochte and the double would be rough on anyone, much less a 36-year-old. Louisville’s Nicolas Albiero was also a no-show this morning.

Women’s 200 breast

  • World Record: Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN) – 2:19.11 (2013)
  • American Record: Rebecca Soni – 2:19.59 (2012)
  • US Open Record: Rebecca Soni (USA) – 2:20.38 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Viktoriya Zeynep Gunes (TUR) – 2:19.64 (2015)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Rie Kaneto (JPN) – 2:20.30
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Lilly King – 2:24.08
  • Wave I Cut: 2:33.29
  • Wave II Cut: 2:30.49

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Annie Lazor (MVN) – 2:23.63
  2. Ella Nelson (NAC) – 2:25.35
  3. Lilly King (ISC) – 2:25.82
  4. Emily Escobedo (COND) – 2:26.18
  5. Bethany Galat (AGS) – 2:26.51
  6. Micah Sumrall (GAME) – 2:27.96
  7. Rachel Bernhardt (GAME) – 2:28.00
  8. Allie Raab (NAC) – 2:28.36
  9. Anna Keating (MACH) – 2:28.65
  10. Gillian Davey (KYA) – 2:28.77
  11. Isabelle Odgers (TASC) – 2:29.17
  12. Julia Poole (NCS) – 2:29.75
  13. Lindsey Kozelsky (UN-MN) – 2:29.85
  14. Mackenzie Looze (ISC) – 2:29.87
  15. Olivia Anderson (AQJT) – 2:30.24
  16. Zoe Bartel (FAST) – 2:30.32

One big theme of this morning is veterans responding to disappointment. Some big names who missed Olympic teams in their primary events (Dahlia, Smoliga) have fired off big swims in the heats, while others have either scratched out or struggled after early-meet disappointments.

Count Annie Lazor firmly in the bounce-back category. Lazor missed the Olympic team by 0.32 seconds in the 100 breast, but she crushed all comers in this 200 breast heats round. Lazor went 2:23.63 this morning, 1.7 seconds faster than any other swimmer. In fact, Lazor’s time is almost three seconds faster than the top time out of heats in this event in 2016 (2:26.2) and is faster than any other swimmer went in any round of 2016 Trials. (Lilly King led semifinals and the final with 2:24.0s in 2016).

Virginia/Nashville Aquatic Club swimmer Ella Nelson took second behind Lazor in her heat, and sits second overall as well. Nelson went 2:25.35, a time drop of six-tenths from her lifetime-best. Virginia has been on fire lately, including a 1-2 sweep of the 200 IM Olympic spots last night. Nelson was the NCAA runner-up in this event this season for UVA.

Lilly King sits third. She was out very fast, but faded over the final 50 – time will tell whether she shut it down late, or whether her 100-speed just ran out a little bit at the end of the longer breaststroke race. She leads Emily Escobedo and Bethany Galat among the top qualifiers this morning.

Madisyn Cox, the #5 seed, was a no-show this morning. Cox missed the Olympic team by .02 seconds in the 200 IM last night and also missed the final of the 400 IM. This 200 breast was her last event entry at Olympic Trials. Vanessa Pearl, the #7 seed coming into the meet, was also a no-show.

Meanwhile Georgia’s Zoie Hartman, who was an NCAA A finalist in the event, took a disqualification out of her heat.

Men’s 200 IM

  • World Record: Ryan Lochte (USA) – 1:54.00 (2011)
  • American Record: Ryan Lochte – 1:54.00 (2011)
  • US Open Record: Ryan Lochte (USA) – 1:54.56 (2009)
  • World Junior Record: Hubert Kos (HUN) – 1:56.99 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:54.66
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Michael Phelps – 1:55.91
  • Wave I Cut: 2:04.09
  • Wave II Cut: 2:03.02

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Michael Andrew (RPC) – 1:56.25
  2. Ryan Lochte (GSC) – 1:58.48
  3. Carson Foster (RAYS) – 1:58.95
  4. Chase Kalisz (ABSC) – 1:59.14
  5. Sam Stewart (YHF) – 1:59.15
  6. Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 1:59.31
  7. Andrew Seliskar (CAL) – 1:59.38
  8. Raunak Khosla (FMC) – 1:59.83
  9. Grant Sanders (GSC) – 2:00.32
  10. Jay Litherland (DYNA) – 2:00.43
  11. Grant House (SUN) – 2:00.52
  12. Jake Foster (RAYS) – 2:00.72
  13. Trenton Julian (ROSE) – 2:00.73
  14. Abrahm DeVine (TE) – 2:01.20
  15. Rick Mihm (ALTO) – 2:01.24
  16. Jason Louser (LIAC) – 2:01.26

As is tradition, Michael Andrew blasted a huge prelims swim, cutting six-tenths from his lifetime-best to go 1:56.25 for the top spot. That moves Andrew from #6 to #5 all-time among U.S. men. It’s a big jump from #5 to #4, currently held by Chase Kalisz at 1:55.40 from 2018.

The #1 swimmer in history (of any nationality) is Ryan Lochtewho made the semifinals easily in his bid for a 5th-straight Olympic team. Lochte went 1:58.48 swimming right next to Andrew in that heat.

Andrew’s swim came courtesy of a bruising front half in which he was under Lochte’s world record pace with 50 meters to go. Andrew led all qualifiers this morning by three full seconds at the 150-split. Even though his free split got under 30 seconds, Andrew will definitely have some swimmers closing on him in the next two rounds as a number of qualifiers went 28s on their freestyles this morning.

400 IM champ Chase Kalisz is into the final in 4th. His former Georgia teammate Jay Litherland, the other likely 400 IM Olympic entrant, also made the final. Carson Fosterwhom Litherland ran down for the second 400 IM spot on Sunday night, sits third with a solid swim of 1:58.95 this morning.

It’s going to be a semifinal field with a lot of potential multi-event Olympic qualifiers – that should help the men’s side get under the roster cap overall. 200/400 free winner Kieran Smith is sitting 6th, and 4×200 free relay member Andrew Seliskar is seventh.

Will Licon, the 10th seed, was a no-show this morning. So was Gunnar Bentz, who made the Olympic team via the 200 fly last night. #9 seed Josh Prenot didn’t compete – he indicated on social media that he’d be taking a hiatus from racing after missing semifinals of the 200 breast in his defense of a 2016 Olympic silver medal.

Cal’s Destin Lasco scratched out here after qualifying 1st in the 200 back earlier this session. Wave I wild card qualifier Jacob Steele of Indiana also scratched this half of the 200 back/200 IM double.

Former world junior record-holding 400 IMer Sean Grieshop was just on the outside in 17th, along with Michigan teammates Charlie Swanson (18th) and Tommy Cope (19th).

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swimfan210_
1 year ago

will the pickem results for day 4 be posted?

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Destin Lasco fastest time in prelims. 😎 I’m staying calm. 😆
What happens to Gretchen Walsh this week? 🙁
I hope I’m worrying for nothing about Simone Manuel.
Very intriguing women’s 100 free prelims. I hope that Manuel, Curzan and Huske have hidden their cards. We’ll know much more in semis.
Great performance by MA but is he able to swim differently than going full speed on each round? I hope he can go 1.55 mid in final.
Jacoby is really only a 100 breast swimmer. At least for the moment.
I think Lazor will swim very fast in final.

Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

The final of the women’s 200 meter breaststroke is shaping up to be a doozy.

UGA89
1 year ago

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OLIVIA!!!!!!!!!!!!

mills
1 year ago

At Lochte’s age, he can’t afford to expend energy he doesn’t need too. I’d expect a time drop this evening when the stakes rise.

anonymous
Reply to  mills
1 year ago

Even if he makes the Olympics he won’t make it past prelims because he can’t expend the energy.

Mr Piano
Reply to  anonymous
1 year ago

Lol ok

Landen
Reply to  anonymous
1 year ago

If I’m at the Olympics and I have to swim agains Ryan f*ckn Lochte, I’m messing my pants

Xman
1 year ago

Crazy question, but would MA be able to close the final 50 by limiting his breathing to every 4 or 6 strokes? Or if possible just stop taking breaths the last 20-25 meters and do a 50 style sprint to the finish?

CRD
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

You want him to not breathe after nearly sprinting 150 meters?

The White Whale
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

Try this out yourself and report back how it goes.

Xman
Reply to  The White Whale
1 year ago

I think Dressel did something like that in the 100, at least I don’t remember him breathing every stroke.

And MA did say he is treating the 200IM like he is swimming 100s of the stroke.

The White Whale
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

You can’t really compare a race that takes under 50 seconds to one that takes close to two minutes.

Smith-King-Huske-Manuel
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

Do you want him to turn blue and pass out?

bigNowhere
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

he needs a longer, smoother stroke, i.e. different mechanics. His current mechanics for freestyle aren’t very good, which is why he loses momentum when he takes a breath. The way to fix it is to fix the mechanics, not to stop breathing.

Deep End
Reply to  bigNowhere
1 year ago

He needs to rebuild his free stroke for 100-200 events/ closing IM next quad (tri?).

He needs a leg driven stroke instead of shoulder driven. Will be tough at first but it should all fall into place w the way he trains.. remember how ugly his strokes were until 2018?

It looks like his kick is inconsistent like what we see from the middle portion of most distance free swimmers races.

swimfast
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

You’re on the right track with limiting breathing to maybe every 4 but anything more than that after how fast he goes on the first 150 is just not in the cards. And to swim the last 20-25 no breathe? Absolutely not, he would like pass out…

Last edited 1 year ago by swimfast
Xman
Reply to  swimfast
1 year ago

It would funny if he reads these posts and does this tonight 😅

Cate
Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

You’re right, it is.

A C
1 year ago

Leah Smith swam and finished eighth, right?

Joe
1 year ago

What event will Lochte be trying to make for 2028 LA?

1650 Onetrick
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

Assistant coach

The White Whale
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

Surfing.

Com Truise
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

Scientology recruitment

Landen
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

200 free

Swammerstein
1 year ago

No one mentioning the legend Amanda Weir is still swimming? why has this not come up anywhere?

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Swammerstein
1 year ago

I mentioned it! Look above.

The White Whale
Reply to  Swammerstein
1 year ago

How many swimmers who were born in the 1980s are swimming? Weir, Ervin, Adrian, Lochte, Grevers, Twichell (bonus point for first time Olympian), Madison Kennedy…Probably missing one or two.

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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