2022 U.S. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TRIALS
- April 26-30, 2022
- Greensboro, NC
- Greensboro Aquatic Center
- LCM (50m)
- Start Times: Prelims – 9 am ET / Finals – 6 pm ET
- Worlds Qualifying Criteria
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- How To Watch
- Meet Central
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Men’s 100 Butterfly
World record holder Caeleb Dressel is still the king of the 100 butterfly. The Olympic gold medalist and 2017 and 2019 World Champion has no true American challenger when he is rested, though he is not invulnerable in-season. At the last two stops on the 2022 Pro Swim Series, Dressel was bested first by Michael Andrew and later by Shaine Casas.
In terms of world rankings, Dressel currently sits 15th with his 51.79 from early March. Budapest will be Dressel’s first World Championships under coach Anthony Nesty. Previously, during his time at the University of Florida and for the first three years of his professional career, Dressel was coached by Gregg Troy, who nailed the double-taper for Dressel, doing just enough to make the U.S. team comfortably while saving his best stuff for down the road. With a larger span of time separating U.S. Trials and the World Championships than the Olympics, perhaps we will see a more rested version of Dressel than we usually do at U.S. Nationals.
Dressel is the heavy favorite to win this race, the only question is, how fast will he be? Will he lower his own U.S. Open Record, or perhaps even his World Record from the Tokyo Olympics? Probably not, but if he manages a 50-point-low or a 49-high, he’ll easily win the race.
Men’s 100 Butterfly
- World Record – Caeleb Dressel, 49.45 (2021)
- American Record – Caeleb Dressel, 49.45 (2021)
- U.S. Open Record — Caeleb Dressel, 49.76 (2021)
- 2021 Olympic Trials Champion — Caeleb Dressel, 49.87
- FINA ‘A’ Cut- 51.96
Michael Andrew made the 2020 Olympic Team in the 50 free, 100 breast, and 200 IM. Andrew also placed 8th in the 100 backstroke. As for the 100 butterfly, Andrew scratched the race, despite being the 2nd-fastest American man in the event before Trials. Andrew has mentioned that he wants to pursue the 100 fly more seriously in 2022, and has beaten Dressel once this season. Andrew is ranked 13th in the world this year with a 51.74, within a second of his lifetime best. Andrew probably can’t chase down Dressel in the 100, but he doesn’t need to get his hands on the wall first, only second. However, Andrew is entered in 7 events in Greensboro, 3 of which, the 100 fly, 50 back, and 50 breast, all fall on the same day, Day 3. If Andrew is serious about pursuing the 100 fly this year, he may need to reconsider one or both of the 50s of stroke.
If we rewind to the 2018 U.S. National Championships where Andrew took on the same double, we see that he placed 3rd in the 100 fly, 4th in the 50 back, and 1st in the 50 breast. It’s obvious he can handle this triple, but in order to make the team in 2 out of the 3, he would probably be better off skipping the 50 back. The 100 fly will come first, at least.
Andrew’s biggest competition for the second spot on the U.S. team in the 100 fly will come from Shaine Casas, who holds a 51.09 from the San Antonio stop of the Pro Swim Series in late March. Casas is the 4th-fastest man in the world in 2022 so far, and the fastest American by more than half a second over Andrew. Casas, like Andrew, will have a big schedule in Greensboro and will have to swim a double as the 100 fly and 50 backs are both on day three.
Tom Shields placed 2nd in the 100 fly at both the 2016 and 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, however, recent results indicate that Shields may not be on his top form in Greensboro. At the recent Fran Crippen SMOC, Shields swam a 57.42: a swim far enough down the rankings that most of us missed it.
Remember that at the end of a very good fall season last year, Shields fought a brutal case of pneumonia that he still appears to be working his way back from. It’s a hard call to leave a Tokyo Olympian out of the final, but his time at Mission Viejo doesn’t give us any reason to include him either.
Coleman Stewart and Trenton Julian tied for 4th in the 100 fly at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, posting times of 51.78. Stewart has been a professional since 2020 while Julian just finished his 5th season in the NCAA. Both men will most likely be in the final, though making the team in the 100 fly is a bit of a stretch for either of them. Julian is better at the 200 fly and may also challenge for a spot on the team in the 200 IM, while Stewart will swim both back and fly in Greensboro.
Another swimmer to watch for is Maxime Rooney, who blasted a time of 50.68 in the 100 fly in the prelims of the 2019 U.S. National Championships.
He later won the race in the final in 51.09, and hasn’t been close to his lifetime best since, including a 12th-place finish at the Olympic Trials last summer (52.30 in the heats, 52.64 in semis). Rooney is the type of swimmer who, when he’s on, he’s really on. If he’s on fire early in the meet in the 100 free, he’s someone that could threaten for a top finish, but it’s more likely he’ll be in a battle just to make the ‘A’ final.
The 200 Fly Specialists
Luca Urlando placed 3rd in both the 100 and 200 butterfly at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials. Urlando had a huge NCAA season, placing 2nd in both the 100 and 200 flys at NCAAs, 3rd in the 200 IM, and also broke the American Record in the 100 backstroke leading off Georgia’s 400 medley relay. Despite this versatility, Urlando’s best shots at making the Worlds team still come in the butterfly, particularly the 200. That said, Urlando’s short course times could indicate he’s ready to go sub-51, which could get him on the team, depending how fast Andrew and Casas are.
Two more 200 flyers to watch in Greensboro include Zach Harting and Nicolas Albiero, both from Louisville. Harting made the final of the 100 fly last summer in Omaha, placing 7th in the final, while Albiero placed 13th in the semifinals. Both are coming off of great short course seasons as well – Harting developed into one of the DC Trident’s most valuable swimmers last fall in Naples during the ISL season, while Albiero, much more recently, was far and away Louisville’s most valuable swimmer at the NCAA Championships. Both seem likely for new lifetime bests in the 100 fly, though realistically both would need to drop huge amounts of time to be in the mix for 2nd.
Brendan Burns of Indiana won the 200 fly at the 2022 NCAA Championships, as well as placed 9th in the 100 fly and 2nd in the 100 backstroke. Burns has a relatively low seed at 24th with a time of 53.39, though his short course success indicates that he’s probably in for a big time drop. Burns has yet to log a time in the 100 long course butterfly in 2022.
The Next Generation
In 2008, talk of a post-Michael Phelps era for swimming was blasphemous. In 2022, talking of a post-Caeleb Dressel era is equally as inconceivable. Regardless, this time will someday come, and though it seems difficult to imagine a worthy successor, Team USA is in good hands.
Aiden Hayes, Thomas Heilman, Ilya Kharun, Scotty Buff, and Daniel Diehl are some of the young names to watch for in Greensboro. Of those four, Hayes holds the highest seed at 15th (he’s also the oldest). Each of these swimmers had massive short course yards seasons which they now must translate into long course. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see Hayes in the top 8, given his NCAA performances, but it seems like a stretch for the others. Again, this group represents the future of sprint butterfly for Team USA, so regardless of what happens this year, we’ll expect big things from these guys down the road.
100 LCM backstroke World Record holder Ryan Murphy, as well as the highly-versatile freestyle specialist Drew Kibler, are both entered in the 100 fly. While it isn’t surprising to see a backstroker or a freestyler enter the 100 fly at U.S. Trials, and even swim it through the championship final, a la Aaron Peirsol in 2009 or Ryan Lochte in 2012 (Lochte is both a backstroke and freestyle specialist). We don’t want to leave you on a cliff-hanger here, both Peirsol and Lochte placed 3rd at U.S. Trials in the 100 fly in 2009 and 2012, respectively, just missing making the Worlds and Olympic teams in that event. But back to this year’s World Championship Trials, what can we realistically expect from Murphy and Kibler?
Murphy is the 9th seed with a 52.08 while Kibler is the 18th seed with a 52.94. Murphy will also take on the 50 backstroke on day three of the meet, while Kibler has no other events on day three. Given that the 100 fly comes before the 50 back, Murphy will possibly swim the 100 fly in prelims but not in finals, preferring to give all of his energy to the 50 backstroke. The 100 fly and the 50 back are only separated by one event, the 50 breaststroke, which will go quickly. In prelims, this shouldn’t be a problem for a veteran like Murphy, but in finals, expect him to invest fully in the 50 backstroke.
As for Kibler? If he makes championship final, he’ll probably swim the race, especially if he can get under the 52-second barrier. As for making the team in this event–that would be one of the biggest surprises of the meet.
SwimSwam’s Top-8 Picks
|Place||Swimmer||Season Best||Lifetime Best|
|3||Luca Urlando||N/A (43.80 SCY)||51.64|
|6||Trenton Julian||N/A (45.86 SCY)||51.70|
|7||Brendan Burns||N/A (44.54 SCY)||53.39|
Men’s 50 Butterfly
Men’s 50 Butterfly
- World Record – Andrii Govorov (UKR), 22.35 (2018)
- American Record – Caeleb Dressel, 22.35 (2019)
- U.S. Open Record — Bryan Lundquist, 22.91 (2009)
- 2021 Olympic Trials Champion — N/A
- FINA ‘A’ Cut- 23.63
The men’s 50 butterfly is another specialty of Dressel’s. Being the 2019 World Champion and the 2nd-fastest all-time, Dressel is the favorite to take this title, though he is not the reigning U.S. National Champion. In 2018, Michael Andrew got the better of Dressel in the 50 fly at U.S. Nationals, though since the event is not part of the Pan Pacs lineup, they would not square off again until the following summer in Gwangju, where Dressel dominated the field.
Coleman Stewart is another sprint specialist that could earn a spot on the team in this non-Olympic event. Stewart represented Team USA in the 50 fly at the 2019 World University Games, and his improvement in the 100 fly in 2021 shows that he has figured out how to swim butterfly in long course.
Luca Urlando demonstrated incredible speed at the NCAA Championships, posting a 43.80 in the 100 yard butterfly, the fastest of any American in the field. Though Urlando is better known as a 200 specialist, he ought to be able to bring some incredible speed here as well.
2019 National Champion in the 100 fly Maxime Rooney will make an appearance in the 50 in Greensboro. Though Rooney did not get beyond the semifinals of the 100 fly in Omaha last summer, he could slip into the final here.
Camden Murphy did not swim at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, but did go on to have a decent short course season with the DC Trident in the ISL last fall. Both Murphy and Rooney lack the raw speed to really be in the mix for a spot on the team in this race, but both could be in the final.
NC State’s Luke Miller is another NCAA standout with tons of speed. If he can translate that into the big pool, he could be in the championship final. Dalton Lowe of Louisville became a huge asset to his team in the 200 medley relay and could also be a factor in this race.
Tom Shields enters as the 3rd seed overall, though with a question regarding his health, it’s hard to know what to expect from him. Perhaps we’ll see him in the final, but a spot on the team in this race would require a big swim.
SwimSwam’s Top-8 Picks
|Place||Swimmer||Season Best||Lifetime Best|
|3||Luca Urlando||N/A (20.19 SCY)*||24.15|
|5||Aiden Hayes||N/A (20.62 SCY)*||24.47|
|6||Dalton Lowe||N/A (20.82 SCY)*||24.33|
|7||Scotty Buff||N/A (20.54 SCY)||25.79|
*Splits from the first 50 of a swimmer’s season-best 100 yard butterfly.