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

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

Three of USA Swimming’s brightest stars – all reigning world record-holders and World champions – will lead this morning’s heats. That means every single event swum this morning will feature both the world record-holder and the 2019 World champion in that event.

It starts with the 800 free, where Katie Ledecky is looking for a clean 4-for-4 sweep in her events this week. Ledecky is already qualified to the Olympic team in the 200, 400, and 1500 frees. She’s the world record-holder in this 800, and has won the past two Olympic golds and past four World Championships golds in the event.

Behind her, 1500 free runner-up Erica Sullivan looks like a strong contender to add another Olympic event. In her circle-seeded heat, she’ll take on Leah Smiththe six-time World Champs medalist who just missed the Olympic team in the 200 free (by two spots) and 400 free (by one spot). Also in that heat: Olympic open water entrant Haley Andersonwho has a pair of top-5 finishes in the 400 and 1500 frees this week, and 400 free runner-up and new Olympian Paige Madden.

Ledecky’s heat features likely 4×200 free relay Olympic qualifier Bella Simsthe 16-year-old who stormed into the 200 free final. Sims is another outstanding open water swimmer, and she and 1500 free fourth-placer Ally McHugh.

In the 100 fly, Caeleb Dressel looks to build on his 100 free win (and U.S. Open record) from last night. The world record-holder leads the final heat along with NCAA backstroke star Shaine Casas and 4×200 free relay Olympic qualifier Andrew SeliskarIn the other heats, it’s veterans looking to bounce back: Maxime Rooney leads heat 8 after missing the 100 free final; Jack Conger and Tom Shields lead heat 7 as they try to make repeat Olympic appearances for Team USA.

The session concludes with the 200 back, where world record-holder Regan Smith is looking for her third Olympic event. Smith, 19, leads the final heat, swimming right next to her likely Olympic 100 back partner Rhyan WhiteBut this event is thick with talent. 18-year-old Phoebe Bacon heads the first circle-seeded heat next to veteran 200 back specialist Lisa BrattonAfter that, 2016 Olympian Kathleen Baker gets her final shot to make the Olympic team through a foot injury, while 18-year-old Isabelle Stadden aims for her first Olympic Games after a strong 100 back.

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

Women’s 800 free

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Katie Ledecky (NCAP) – 8:16.61
  2. Bella Sims (SAND) – 8:27.45
  3. Erica Sullivan (SAND) – 8:28.67
  4. Ally McHugh (WA) – 8:29.00
  5. Haley Anderson (MVN) – 8:29.24
  6. Kaersten Meitz (BA) – 8:29.54
  7. Sierra Schmidt (UN-AZ) – 8:29.93
  8. Katie Grimes (SAND) – 8:31.73

Katie Ledecky dominated this morning’s heats, going 8:16.61 for the top spot. That’s just outside of the top 25 performances of all-time – of which, Ledecky owns 24. The only non-Ledecky swim still in that mix is the former world record of 8:14.10 from Becky Adlington in 2008. Adlington sits #24 all-time, so Ledecky could theoretically take over the entire top 25 in history if she can crack 8:14 tomorrow night, and then again at the Olympics.

16-year-old Bella Sims of the Sandpipers of Nevada continued her outstanding meet, qualifying second in 8:27.45. Sims is likely on the Olympic team as a relay swimmer for the 4×200 free relay, but she’ll now have a shot to add an individual event. Sims was four-tenths off her career-best time, which ranks #5 all-time in the 15-16 age group. Keep an eye on her in the final – she could move to #3 all-time behind Ledecky and Janet Evans if she can go 8:22.45 or faster in the final.

1500 free runner-up Erica Sullivan should also be in a great spot for another Olympic berth. Sullivan should make the team in that 1500, and she won her heat this morning in 8:28.67.

Wisonsin Aquatics (and Penn State alum) Ally McHugh has been in the hunt several times already this week, and she gets to chase an Olympic berth as the four-seed heading into tomorrow’s final. It’s a Big Ten-heavy field with Purdue alum Kaersten Meitz and Michigan alum Sierra Schmidt all in the top 8.

Open water Olympian Haley Anderson sits fifth, between McHugh and Meitz.

15-year-old Katie Grimes of the Sandpipers of Nevada crushed an early heat in 8:31.73 – that was a 5.7-second drop and moved her up to #18 all-time in USA Swimming’s 15-16 age group. Grimes snuck into the final in 8th place and will get another swim tomorrow night. Out of that same heat, 16-year-old Cavan Gormsen went 8:39.03 to drop a second and move to #58 all-time in the age group.

Men’s 100 fly

  • World Record: Caeleb Dressel (USA) – 49.50 (2019)
  • American Record: Caeleb Dressel – 49.50 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 50.22 (2009)
  • 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

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Caeleb Dressel (GSC) – 50.17 US Open Record
  2. Trenton Julian (ROSE) / Tom Shields (CAL) – 51.71
  3. Danny Kovac (UMIZ) – 51.73
  4. Tyler Sesvold (BAMA) – 51.83
  5. Zach Harting (CARD) – 51.86
  6. Coleman Stewart (WOLF) – 52.12
  7. Luca Urlando (DART) – 52.19
  8. Jack Conger (PRVT) / Blake Manoff (VT) – 52.23
  9. Maxime Rooney (PLS) – 52.30
  10. Miles Smachlo (CW) – 52.39
  11. Matthew Josa (AIA) – 52.52
  12. Nicolas Albiero (UOFL) – 52.54
  13. Cody Bybee (SUN) – 52.62
  14. John Shebat (NCAP) – 52.63

Caeleb Dressel‘s butterfly always seems to be a little ahead of his freestyle in-season, and with Dressel likely saving his full taper for the Olympics, we saw a similar story play out this morning. Dressel cracked the U.S. Open record set by Michael Phelps back in 2019, going 50.17 this morning. That’s the #1 time in the world this season, just shaving .01 under Kristof Milak‘s time from the European Championships last month.

Beyond Dressel, though, the field looks completely wide open for the second Olympic spot. There was more than a second and a half this morning between Dressel and the rest of the field. That also suggests that if Dressel wins the 100 fly and 100 free, he’ll probably wind up the butterflyer on the U.S. medley relay, as the dropoff here is steep compared to the dropoff from Dressel to Zach Apple in the 100 free.

Trenton Julian and Tom Shields – two Cal Golden Bears – tied for second in 51.71. Shields was the second Olympic entrant behind Phelps in this race in 2016 and just might be in a spot to do the same thing this time around behind Dressel.

Julian is more known as a 200 flyer, but has been having a nice meet so far with lifetime-bests in the 200 free, 200 fly and 200 IM. He was 5th in the 200 fly final, but his semifinal swim would have been .01 away from second in the final. This morning’s swim was a massive drop, from a 53.3 to a 51.7 out of one of the early heats.

It’s a few NCAA standouts after that: Missouri’s Danny Kovac and Alabama’s Tyler Sesvold.

200 fly winner Zach Harting is also in, along with 200 fly third-placer Luca Urlando and fourth-placer Nicolas Albiero.

At one point, Maxime Rooney looked like the clear-cut #2 U.S. swimmer behind Dressel in this event. Rooney went 50.68 back in 2019. He’s easily into the semifinals, but sits 11th and will need a big swim to move on to the final.

A few big names were clipped for the semifinal spots. #1 overall recruit in the high school senior class Aiden Hayes had a lifetime-best 52.67, but ended up 17th – though he could scratch in. Jack Saunderson, the #6 seed coming into the meet, finished 24th.

Among the very notable no-shows: Olympic star Ryan Lochte (who is likely gearing up for the 200 IM final tonight), backstroke world record-holder Ryan Murphy, 4×200 free relay Olympian Andrew Seliskar and NCAA backstroke champ Shaine CasasLochte and Seliskar will both swim in the 200 IM final tonight, while Murphy and Casas have the 200 back final tonight.

Women’s 200 back

  • 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

Top 16 Qualifiers:

  1. Regan Smith (RIPT) – 2:07.81
  2. Phoebe Bacon (WA) – 2:08.71
  3. Rhyan White (BAMA) – 2:08.92
  4. Lisa Bratton (CAL) – 2:09.64
  5. Katharine Berkoff (NCS) – 2:10.09
  6. Jo Jo Ramey (FAST) – 2:10.55
  7. Sophie Sorenson (KYA) – 2:10.93
  8. Isabelle Stadden (CAL) – 2:11.01
  9. Kennedy Noble (YWSF) – 2:11.51
  10. Ali Deloof (TNAQ) – 2:11.71
  11. Kathleen Baker (TE) – 2:11.78
  12. Sophie Lindnder (UNC) – 2:11.82
  13. Mara Newman (WA) – 2:11.91
  14. Summer Smith (ABF) – 2:12.01
  15. Hali Flickinger (SUN) – 2:12.02
  16. Beata Nelson (WA) – 2:12.11

World record-holder Regan Smith made it 3-for-3 with the favorites holding onto their #1 seeds this morning. Smith was 2:07.81, one of just four women under 2:10 in heats.

In 2016, just two women broke 2:10 in heats, and Smith was almost two full seconds faster than the #1 time that year, a 2:09.69 from Missy Franklin.

The 19-year-old Smith trains with her Riptide club in Minnesota. Just across the border in Wisconsin is the training base of 18-year-old Phoebe Baconwho qualified second in 2:08.71. EArlier this year, Bacon hit the #3 spot in USA Swimming’s all-time 17-18 ranks behind Smith and Franklin. Both Smith’s and Franklin’s 17-18 times were the world record when swum.

#4 in that 17-18 age group history is Isabelle Staddenwho also made the next round in 8th. Bacon and Stadden will chase the top two in age group history in tonight’s semifinals.

Lisa Bratton of Texas A&M was the other swimmer under 2:10 this morning, though NC State’s Katharine Berkoff was close.

16-year-old Jo Jo Ramey is easily into semifinals in 6th. She was a tick off her best time of 2:09.72, which ranks #11 all-time in the 15-16 age group.

Early on, 17-year-old Kennedy Noble dropped a second and a half, going 2:11.51 to move to #33 all-time in the USA Swimming 17-18 ranks. In the same heat, 18-year-old Madelyn Christman moved to #49 all-time with a 2:12.46.

2016 Olympian Kathleen Baker made the semifinals like she did in the 100 back and 200 IM, but she’ll again be sitting in the 9th-16th range and needing a big swim to move on through tonight’s semifinals. Baker was 11th in semifinals of both the 200 IM and 100 back, and qualified 11th this morning.

200 fly winner and two-event Olympian Hali Flickinger moved on in 15th, and former Wisconsin NCAA standout Beata Nelson just snuck into the 16th spot.

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super classy swim
1 month ago

what place is cody miller getting in the 2 IM today?? /j

Reese’s Personal Best Cups
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

At least we know for sure, he’s not getting 8th place

Colonel Sanders
Reply to  Reese’s Personal Best Cups
1 month ago

Let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen

swimmer1688
Reply to  Colonel Sanders
1 month ago

Man, why do people hate Cody Miller so much? Did I miss something?

Guerra
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

It’s one thing if you hate Indiana, or GOAT Coach Ray Looze, but why so much hate towards Cody? Do you have any idea of the personal journey he’s had to get to the things he accomplished? And I’m not even talking about the swimming part. It’s a damn miracle and a testimony to his great character that he has accomplished what he did under some of the hardships that he faced. Through it all this man overcame more than people know and he’s done nothing but unselfishly touch other people’s lives by giving back and lifting others up. In my opinion, he’s as important and vital to the reemergence of Indiana University Men’s Swimming as anybody and he’s a… Read more »

Not-So-Silent Observer
Reply to  super classy swim
1 month ago

with all the Cody bashing, I would assume that if Lochte goes slower than what he went yesterday in the 200 IM, ppl will give him this much grief in the comments section?

Since both made public statements about how they will swim at trials before the race occurs.
Only makes sense.

If not, then let’s give it a rest. We already know that many Olympic athletes (past a present) go through big depression periods and even Schmitty has come out to confess she had thoughts of suicide. Let’s not have the SwimSwam comment section become an additional source for negativity.

whever
1 month ago

prediction: someone will comment ‘this is the easiest <insert a time> i’ve ever seen’ in this section.

Emg1986
Reply to  whever
1 month ago

Definitely would make the cut for the olympic

ACC
Reply to  whever
1 month ago

“This is the easiest 8:18 I’ve ever seen.”

“This is the easiest 50.2 I’ve ever seen.”

“This is the easiest 2:06 I’ve ever seen.”

Done!

Shaddy419
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

You were really close on that 50.2 call

ACC
Reply to  Shaddy419
1 month ago

Too conservative on the 8:18 though.

Stephen C
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Dressel 50.17 100 fly looking like he was taking a bath. You guys see that sly grin on his face when he finished? He definitely didn’t expect that and there will be more from him tonight. So I’ll say it with conviction. EASIEST 50.1 100 FLY I’VE EVER SEEN.

MikeYoung
Reply to  Stephen C
1 month ago

Agree. I’m surprised Michael Andrew scratched this one. Even with the quick turnaround tonight he’d like make the finals

Irish Ringer
Reply to  whever
1 month ago

That swim bodes well for <insert stroke/distance> here.

Last edited 1 month ago by Irish Ringer
Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  whever
1 month ago

this is the easiest 47.7 i’ve ever seen (Dressel 100 free semis)

2cool4swimschool
1 month ago

UF men on track to win every free event at Trials.
Caeleb Dressel 50/100 free
Kieran Smith 200/400 free
Bobby Finke 800/1500 free

Rafael
Reply to  2cool4swimschool
1 month ago

University of freestyle?

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

Bravo – LOL!

Rafael
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
1 month ago

I would want to see University of fly also But I don´t know if Harting studied there..

Eric the eel > Phelps
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

With OG Troy on the top

Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
Reply to  2cool4swimschool
1 month ago

The strength coach, Matt Delaney probably deserves a lot of credit. Those boys have great turns

rice
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

I wish we could send Townley to work with him for a few years.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  rice
1 month ago

to add dolphin kicks after the walls on a 100/200

PACFAN
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

Delancey brings a lot of the ingredients to the UF secret sauce

jablo
1 month ago

prediction: dressel scares the us open record in prelims before going under it by .01 in semis, michael andrew is right there with dressel for 75 yards before backing off/dying?

Last edited 1 month ago by jablo
Rafael
Reply to  jablo
1 month ago

Dying after 70meter so? Use a normal measurement unit

dresselgoat
Reply to  Rafael
1 month ago

He did.

Anonymoose
Reply to  dresselgoat
1 month ago

Not

Flyingstingray
Reply to  jablo
1 month ago

If you are referring to 100fly I think MA scratched

jablo
Reply to  Flyingstingray
1 month ago

damn i didnt know that. he definitely could have put up a banger based off going out in 23.9 last night, but definitely the smarter decision

anonymous
Reply to  jablo
1 month ago

As much as I would want to see MA in this form against dressel in the 1Fly
I think it’s a good desicion he scratched and focused for the 2IM where he can be only the third man to break 1:55

swim4fun
Reply to  jablo
1 month ago

MA literally finished that event before Dressel even started lol

Cheesehead swim
Reply to  jablo
1 month ago

Nah he decided not to wait

NC Swammer
1 month ago

Some predictions:

W 800: Ledecky cruise control 8:14, obviously doesn’t show her full hand

M 100 fly: Dressel 51-low, think we see 6-8 51s

W 200 back: Smith 2:07, think we see a few surprise 2:08s and 2:09s

mclovin
Reply to  NC Swammer
1 month ago

What trials have you been seing this week?

NC Swammer
Reply to  mclovin
1 month ago

Well I wasn’t that far off, little off on Ledecky, way underestimated Dressel apparently, 6 guys went 51 (nailed it).

And smith went 2:07, albeit no real surprises at 2:08/9.

I’d say I did alright

beedo
1 month ago

ready to see Hunter Armstrong win that 100 fly

KSW
1 month ago

Michael Andrew 48.xx 100 fly incoming

Zanna
Reply to  KSW
1 month ago

MA scratched the 100 fly.

ACC
Reply to  Zanna
1 month ago

MA swam a 48 in the warmup pool

The facts
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

lol, I heard it was a 42!

Coach Chackett
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

That was in the short course meters portion of the warmup pool.

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

With Schooling.

ACC
Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
1 month ago

Glad someone got the reference

Coach
Reply to  KSW
1 month ago

There is more to this story then u think. After putting down MA training for all these years u really think there is not jealousy over his current success? Alot of our big name swimmers did not fare well this week. Way off times. Think about it!

Walter
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

Agree.

BillyBob
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

I also agree. MA has great relationships with a lot of international swimmers because of all the meets he does abroad. However, in the US there are a lot of jealous swimmers. Even those at the top level. Part of it is because he was getting a lot of attention before accomplishing as much. Now those same swimmers who called him overrated are having to accept the fact that he’s one of the top US swimmers.

N80M80
1 month ago

Bacon qualifies top in the 200, so says swimstradamus

Irish Ringer
Reply to  N80M80
1 month ago

I don’t know. Bacon seemed a bit off on the 100.

N80m80
Reply to  Irish Ringer
1 month ago

Damn, 1 off tho so close enough

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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