2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II: Day 6 Finals Live Recap


Day six. Finals. U.S. Olympic Trials. *Pressure intensifies*

As we come down the back nine here in Omaha, almost all swimmers, minus the men tackling the 100 fly/50 free double and the women in the 100 free final tonight and 50 free starting tomorrow, are onto their last event of the meet. And for those in contention for Olympic qualification, but haven’t yet done so, it’s now or never.

We’ve got four more finals on tonight’s schedule, led off by the women’s 200 breaststroke, where Lilly King and Annie Lazor, training partners in Bloomington, come in favored to go 1-2, with Emily Escobedo projected to be a major factor as well.

King is the only swimmer in the field already qualified for the Olympic team, and Micah Sumrall, a 2012 Olympian in this event, is the only other swimmer that has ever qualified for the Games.

We’ll then have the men’s 200 back, where Ryan Murphy is a near lock to win, and the second spot is largely up for grabs. Murphy will be the elder statesman of the field at 25, with the rest of the heat aged 22 and under.

The third final of the night comes in the men’s 200 IM, which is expected to be Ryan Lochte‘s last race on U.S. soil. Lochte will need his best swim of the meet by far to qualify for a fifth straight Olympic team, with Michael Andrew head and shoulders ahead of the field in the semis after dropping a sizzling 1:55.26.

Chase Kalisz, the winner of the 400 IM on opening night, will be favored by many to snag the second spot. Carson Foster was painfully close to qualifying in the 400 IM, so this will be his last chance, and Andrew Seliskar scratched out of the 100 fly to put all his eggs in the medley basket (Andrew and Lochte also dropped the 100 fly).

Kieran Smith will also be dangerous, coming in with no pressure and nothing to lose after winning the 200 and 400 freestyle earlier.

The women’s 100 freestyle will be the last final of the night, with the top five seeds from the semis having yet to qualify for Tokyo. Olivia Smoliga and Natalie Hinds tied for the top time last night in 53.55, and Abbey Weitzeil, the 2016 Trials winner, was close behind in 53.66.

Allison Schmitt (200 free) and Kate Douglass (200 IM) are the only two swimmers in the field already qualified for the Games, with Catie DeloofLinnea Mack and Erika Brown joining Hinds in the hunt to become a first-time Olympian.

With Simone Manuel failing to advance from the semis, this event has become completely wide open.

We’ll also see semi-final heats in the women’s 200 back and men’s 100 fly, where reigning world champions and world record holders Regan Smith and Caeleb Dressel headlining their respective fields.

Dressel has a shot to go sub-50 tonight after setting a U.S. Open Record of 50.17 in the prelims.

Every event on tonight’s schedule will include a current individual long course world record holder, other than the women’s 100 free.

Trenton Julian deserves a mention for taking on the Phelps double, as he’ll race the 200 IM final and 100 fly semi within 16 minutes of one another.


  • 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
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:25.52
  1. Annie Lazor (MVN), 2:21.07
  2. Lilly King (ISC), 2:21.75
  3. Emily Escobedo (COND), 2:22.64

In undoubtedly the most emotionally-charged finish of the meet, training partners Annie Lazor and Lilly King went 1-2 in the women’s 200 breaststroke to officially punch Lazor’s ticket to Tokyo, with the 26-year-old claiming the win in a time of 2:21.07.

That showing falls just three-tenths shy of Lazor’s best time, set in 2019, and propels her into third in the world this season.

King took it out early, grabbing the lead with a 31.66 opening 50, but Lazor, Emily Escobedo and Bethany Galat stalked her down the second lap, and at the 100 turn, it was a four-way scrap.

Lazor blew by everyone on the third 50, splitting 35.97, and then extended the gap coming home for the victory.

King made a big push on the last length, pulling away from Escobedo and Galat to snag second in 2:21.75 and add a second event to her Tokyo schedule. This is King’s first “loss” in an Olympic Trials final, having gone 3/3 up until this point (I don’t think she minds).

King added a few tenths to her best of 2:21.39, set in May of 2019.

Escobedo and Galat, both 25, split the race almost identically, with Escobedo edging her on the last 50 to take third in 2:22.64, just off her PB of 2:22.00 set at the 2019 U.S. Open. Galat, who was a best of 2:21.77 in 2017, took fourth in 2:22.81.

The fourth-place time this year would’ve won the 2016 final by more than a second.


  • 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
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 1:57.50
  1. Ryan Murphy (CAL), 1:54.20
  2. Bryce Mefford (SMST), 1:54.79
  3. Austin Katz (TXLA), 1:55.86

Ryan Murphy took control of the men’s 200 back final from the get-go and the win was never in doubt, as the defending Olympic champion touched first in a time of 1:54.20.

Murphy moves into second in the world rankings this season, and posts his fastest swim since the 2019 World Championships. It’s his seventh-fastest ever, having been sub-1:54 three occasions.

One of Murphy’s training partners at Cal, Bryce Mefford, moved into second, passing Austin Katz, on the third 50, and then charged down the last 50—even making up ground on Murphy.

Mefford came back in 29.46, the fastest in the field, to take second in 1:54.79, a massive best time and also the second consecutive 1-2 finish at Trials for Cal swimmers in this event. Mefford entered the meet with a 2019 best of 1:57.39, and then brought that down to 1:56.57 in the semis before this showing.

The 22-year-old is now the eighth-fastest American of all-time.

Katz took third in 1:55.86, adding a few tenths to his best time of 1:55.57, and NC State’s Hunter Tapp moved up from sixth at the 150 to snag fourth in 1:56.76, taking eight tenths off his PB set in the semis.


  • World Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • American Record: Regan Smith – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Missy Franklin (USA) – 2:05.68 (2013)
  • World Junior Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Maya DiRado (USA) – 2:05.99
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Maya DiRado – 2:06.90
  • Wave I Cut: 2:14.69
  • Wave II Cut: 2:12.94
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:10.39
  1. Regan Smith (RIPT), 2:07.23
  2. Phoebe Bacon (WA), 2:07.46
  3. Rhyan White (BAMA), 2:08.39
  4. Kathleen Baker (TE), 2:08.58
  5. Jo Jo Ramey (FASTIN), 2:08.90
  6. Lisa Bratton (AGS), 2:09.09
  7. Isabelle Stadden (CAL), 2:09.20
  8. Hali Flickinger (SUN), 2:09.61

Regan Smith and Phoebe Bacon won their respective semi-finals in the women’s 200 backstroke quite comfortably, producing near-identical splits en route to qualifying first and second overall for the final.

Smith was locked in a tight battle with Rhyan WhiteKatharine Berkoff and Kathleen Baker through the 150 in the second semi, but turned on the jets coming home to touch first by over a second in 2:07.23. That’s just over three-tenths slower than Smith’s season-best of 2:06.90.

White took second in the heat in 2:08.39, qualifying her third for the final, while Baker had a huge swim with her back against the wall, advancing in the fourth position in 2:08.58. Berkoff faded on the last 50 and ended up ninth in 2:09.76.

Bacon clocked 2:07.46 from the first semi, her second-fastest swim ever, and 16-year-old Jo Jo Ramey lowered her best time down to 2:08.90 in second, moving up from 11th to sixth in the 15-16 age group.

Also qualifying for the final was workhorse Hali Flickinger, who has already qualified in the 200 fly and 400 IM, clocking 2:09.61 for eighth.


  • 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
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 1:59.67
  1. Michael Andrew (RPC), 1:55.44
  2. Chase Kalisz (ABSC), 1:56.97
  3. Kieran Smith (FLOR), 1:57.23

Michael Andrew delivered almost the exact same swim we saw from him last night, except this time it was done with the pressure on.

Andrew blitzed the field on the first 50, out in 23.77, and had subsequent splits of 29.29 and 32.29 on back and breast, putting him five one-hundredths shy of his 150 pace compared to last night.

The 22-year-old was way ahead of the field at that point, more than two and a half seconds, and despite laboring over the final few strokes, he won by over a second and a half in 1:55.44, just off his PB of 1:55.26 from last night.

That adds a second individual event for Andrew in Tokyo, having won the 100 breast early in the meet, and he’ll look to add a third in the 50 free.

Chase Kalisz moved up from fifth at the 100 to second with 50 meters to go, joining Andrew sub-33 on breast in 32.77, as he locks in a second event of his won at the Games with a runner-up finish in 1:56.97.

Florida’s Kieran Smith sneaked up on Kalisz a little on the free, closing in 28.43 to take a close third in 1:57.23, lowering his best time of 1:57.61 from the semis. Carson Foster took fourth in 1:57.99, adding a bit from the semis, as he has three near-misses her in Omaha.

Back in seventh was Ryan Lochte, the world record holder in the event, who, at 36, may have just raced competitively at the highest level for the last time. Lochte was never in serious contention in this race, ultimately clocking 1:59.67.


  • 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
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 54.38
  1. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL), 53.53
  2. Erika Brown (TNAQ), 53.59
  3. Olivia Smoliga (ABSC), 53.63
  4. Natalie Hinds (ABSC), 53.84
  5. Catie Deloof (CA-Y), 53.87
  6. Allison Schmitt (SUN), 54.12

The wide-open women’s 100 freestyle came down to the wire, with speedster Abbey Weitzeil and Tennessee’s Erika Brown jumping on the lead early.

Brown, who squeaked into the final by two one-hundredths, provided some true outside smoke from Lane 8, blasting down the back-half as she looked like she was leading the pack.

Olivia SmoligaNatalie Hinds and Catie Deloof began to make up some ground down the stretch, but ultimately Weitzeil and Brown held on, going 1-2 with respective times of 53.53 and 53.59.

The victory for Weitzeil is her second straight in the event at Trials, having won in 2016, and was just off her season-best of 53.52 set in the prelims.

Brown, who was a bit off early in the meet, failing to advance out of the heats in the 200 free and 100 fly, stepped up big when it mattered, producing the third-fastest swim of her career—just shy of her best time of 53.42 set at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Smoliga (53.63), Hinds (53.84) and Deloof (53.87) all had slight adds from the semis, all qualifying for the team for the first time (though Deloof’s spot is not yet confirmed).

Allison Schmitt, who qualified individually in the 200 free, took sixth in 54.12 to round out the relay slots, edging Kate Douglass (54.17) and Linnea Mack (54.32).


  • World Record: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 49.50 (2019)
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel – 49.50 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Caeleb Dressel – 50.17 (2021)
  • World Junior Record: Kristof Milak (HUN) – 50.62 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Joseph Schooling (SGP) – 50.39
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Michael Phelps – 51.00
  • Wave I Cut: 54.19
  • Wave II Cut: 53.37
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 51.96
  1. Caeleb Dressel (GSC), 49.76 US
  2. Tom Shields (CAL), 51.20
  3. Coleman Stewart (WOLF), 51.54
  4. Danny Kovac (UMIZ), 51.61
  5. Trenton Julian (SMSC), 51.70
  6. Luca Urlando (DART), 51.77
  7. Zach Harting (CARD), 51.99
  8. Tyler Sesvold (BAMA), 52.06

Caeleb Dressel torched his hours-old U.S. Open Record in the men’s 100 butterfly, blasting a time of 49.76 in the second semi-final to lower his prelim mark of 50.17.

Dressel’s performance is his fourth under 50 seconds, something that has only been done twice before in history, when Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic had their epic duel in the 2009 World Championship final.

Dressel, the two-time reigning world champion in this event, also now owns seven of the 10-fastest swims in history.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 100 Butterfly (LCM)

  1. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.50 – 2019
  2. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.66 – 2019
  3. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.76 – 2021
  4. Michael Phelps (USA), 49.82 – 2009
  5. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 49.86 – 2017
  6. Milorad Cavic (SRB), 49.95 – 2009
  7. Milorad Cavic (SRB), 50.01 – 2009
  8. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 50.07 – 2017
  9. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 50.08 – 2017
  10. Caeleb Dressel (USA), 50.17 – 2021

Dressel led that second semi-final over Tom Shields (51.20) and Coleman Stewart (51.54), both of whom had phenomenal showings based on their personal bests.

Shields’ swim is his fastest since the 2016 Olympic Trials (where he also went 51.20, qualifying for the Olympic team behind Phelps), while Stewart’s lops almost six-tenths off his lifetime best of 52.11 set at the 2019 World University Games.

Missouri’s Danny Kovac (51.61) held off Trenton Julian (51.70) and Luca Urlando (51.77) to win the first semi, lowering his prelim best by over a tenth (51.73). Kovac came into the day with a best of 52.22. He now ranks in a tie for 17th all-time among Americans.

Julian, who also hits a PB, impressively came back from an eighth-place 200 IM showing to qualify fifth overall here, while Urlando also reset his lifetime best as he’ll look to bounce back after a close third place finish in the 200 fly earlier.

Dressel and Zach Harting (51.99 for seventh tonight) will be the only two swimmers qualified for the team in tomorrow’s final.

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Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

The IOC has approved the addition of 2 more Olympic swimming events for 2024:
1.) Men’s 150-meter IM. Unorthodox to finish the race on the other end of the pool from where the swimmers enter, but let’s be honest, that first 150m is the only part that matters.
2.) Women’s 4 x 800-meter Free Relay. Rumor has it the Sandpipers of Nevada will be petitioning to form their own country before 2024.

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago


Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

Taking a page out of the para event schedule, nice!

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

150 IM would be a fun event SCY

Last edited 4 months ago by ChefJake
Reply to  ChefJake
4 months ago

Fun fact, before the invention of butterfly it was the 150 IM.

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

It’s June 18 not April fools 😝

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

I heard the isl will be giving bonus cash to anyone who’s slowest IM split is not breastroke.

Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

I’d go with that. My son also dies on the free, like MA – not quite as quick as him on the first 150 though.

4 months ago

Are trials not starting at 8EST?

Reply to  Shaddy419
4 months ago

Nope, I read it’s an hour later tonight.

Reply to  Shaddy419
4 months ago

Looks like 9PM tonight.

Reply to  Mande
4 months ago

or later since golf is running behind – not sure if NBC will cut away from golf or delay the swim broadcast.

Ben Zee
Reply to  Wahooswimfan
4 months ago

I am having trouble with the link too

Reply to  Shaddy419
4 months ago

I think its 8 cdt on friday and saturday

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Shaddy419
4 months ago

It seems NBC is starting an hour later F & Sat. because they are “tape-delaying” the broadcast so that the 9 CDT slot can go to track & field trials in Eugene. How about that? First Jake Mitchell, now this.

4 months ago

I can’t think of many people who have qualified in 3 different “disciplines” … assuming he gets the IM and 50 free. Phelps got back, fly, IM one year I believe

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  Thomas
4 months ago

200 IM / 50 Free combination from the USA is pretty baller. Douglass and Andrew both in contention for it.

Little Mermaid
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
4 months ago

Do they breath in the 50? Was reading some don’t!

Reply to  Little Mermaid
4 months ago

MA doesn’t take a breath.

Reply to  Little Mermaid
4 months ago

For moderate workloads, it takes an average of 22 seconds for blood from working peripheral muscle to circulate into the lungs so if you train to not breathe it doesn’t affect the 50. And another 22 seconds back into the muscle so the race is long over. The 50 uses glycogen and the glycolytic system exclusively

Reply to  Thomas
4 months ago

Phelps got back, fly, IM, and free in 2004.

Lochte had back, IM, and free regularly and added fly once or twice at Worlds.

Coughlin had IM, back, and free.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jack
Reply to  Jack
4 months ago

Coughlin MEDALED Fly, Back, Free, and IM at Worlds/Olympics

Reply to  Eyeballer
4 months ago

Very true, but I don’t believe she did more than three in a single big meet.

Reply to  Eyeballer
4 months ago

Yeah, her breaststroke accomplishments are pretty thin, though.

Reply to  Ferb
4 months ago

Lol. I honest can’t think of any other swimmer who medaled in 4 different disciplines at Worlds/Olympics though.

Reply to  Eyeballer
4 months ago

that would be a good sporcle

Reply to  Eyeballer
4 months ago

I believe Tracy Caulkins had American records in all 4 strokes at some point in her career.

Reply to  Thomas
4 months ago

Hosszu back fly im and had cut on free also
Sjostrom one year had cut on fly free back maybe she could also did IM, Do not know of breast

Ruta could have swam breast free and IM

Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Hosszu had a 2:20 scm breast on 2019, imagine imagine 2015/2016 hosszu

M d e
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

To be fair SC and LC breaststroke are different planets.

Someone with great skills and UW can go 2:20 for the 200 SCM while being over 2:30 on the LCM.

Not that she would have been that far apart necessarily, but I would expect her to have a larger than average gap.

Last edited 4 months ago by M d e
Reply to  M d e
4 months ago

We never really Saw her swimming but she had world class back free fly IM and her breast splits were very good

Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Sarah’s best 100IM is 57.10 (NR) from 2017 Moscow World Cup and finished 1st in Singapore (2018 World Cup) in front of Hosszu with 57.49.

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Thomas
4 months ago

Phelps had 4 in 04 and 3 in 08/12.
Lochte had 2.5 in 08 and 3 in 12.
Coughlin had 3 in 08.

Last edited 4 months ago by PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Thomas
4 months ago

Phelps qualified for fly, back, free, and IM in 08, however he opted to not swim the backstroke

Reply to  Nswim
4 months ago


Swimswam follower
Reply to  Nswim
4 months ago

That was actually 2004 200 back not 2008
In 2004 he had 200 back final, 200 IM final, and 100 fly semi final . He said “I’m a little tired after those 3 races.” Wow
He was 19 years old

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Swimswam follower
4 months ago

He qualified for 6 races in the 2004 Olympics but dropped 200 back.
However, at the 2008 Santa Clara invitational, he won the 100 free, the 200IM, and last but not least the 100 back where he beat Aaron Piersol and Matt Grevers the 2008 100 back gold and silver medalists.
Mel, you should remember that because you interviewed Phelps as he was leaving. You both were giggling. He was an animal in 2007 and 2008. Wow Wow Wow!

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Nswim
4 months ago

You’re right, he did qualify for all of those strokes

tea rex
Reply to  Thomas
4 months ago

Caulkins – like all the events in 1980/4.
Sandeno – fly, free, im in 2004.

John Culhane
Reply to  tea rex
4 months ago

Caulkins was world-class in every stroke. Missing 1980 hurt her more than anyone. Hi

Pau Hana
Reply to  Thomas
4 months ago

Nancy Hogshead in 84 : 100 free, 200 IM, 200 fly

4 months ago

Welp, Andrew on the cover. Guess he’s a 1:59 tonight

Reply to  SwimSwamCursed
4 months ago

Remove it now… Put ummm Miller guy I think he is swimming tonight yep put him up

super classy swim
Reply to  Xman
4 months ago

how dare you say that. cody miller is swimming the final of the 2 IM tonight and is going to rip out a 1:11. In ode to his 11th place finish in the 1 breast.

4 months ago

Splits for 200 im 23.8 28 32.5 30

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  Khachaturian
4 months ago

You swapped the breast and free splits by accident.

Reply to  Khachaturian
4 months ago

Seems like my backstroke split was too fast

Sun Yangs Hammer
4 months ago

I can’t believe Sun Yang made the US team in the women’s 800 free. Totally unprecedented. Really hammered that last 50

Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
4 months ago

hahahha hammered

Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
4 months ago

the reverse michael andrew

4 months ago

Rooting for Natalie and Olivia 1-2

Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

a 52 High for Natalie could be neat ….

Texas Tap Water
4 months ago


4 months ago

Carson Foster probably wears tighty whiteys under his mizuno

Farson Coster
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
4 months ago

They get washed together…never apart!

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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