2022 U.S. Trials Previews: Men’s 50 & 100 Back As Crowded As Ever

2022 U.S. INTERNATIONAL TEAM TRIALS

  • April 26-30, 2022
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Greensboro Aquatic Center
  • LCM (50m)
  • Meet Central
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live Results

Men’s 100 Back

  • World Record: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 51.85 (2016)
  • American Record: Ryan Murphy (USA) – 51.85 (2016)
  • US Open Record: Aaron Peirsol (USA) – 51.94 (2009)
  • 2019 World Champion: Xu Jiayu (CHN) – 52.43
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 54.03

As has become the norm at selection meets, the 100 back is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested events of the U.S. International Team Trials. We can rattle off over a dozen names with potential to make the final, but there are only eight lanes. With this meet being swum without semi-finals, swimmers will have to be at their very best in the morning to even have a chance to make the World Championship team at night.

THE PROS

After a disappointing bronze medal in Tokyo and missing the podium at the 2019 Worlds in the 100 back, Ryan Murphy will no doubt be looking to make a statement this year. He’s still the favorite here – he’s been the top American in the event since 2015 and it would be a big upset if he didn’t make the team. His best this season is a 53.03, swum at the Westmont Pro Series in early March.

Murphy also holds the American Record in the 50 back (24.24) from the 2018 Nationals, so he’s also the favorite there as well.

Shaine Casas has been on fire this season. He holds the third-best time in the world in the 200 IM and the 100 fly. In San Antonio, he was 53.54 in the 100 back and said after the race that he missed his turn. His best stands at 52.72 from 2019 Nationals and with the season he’s having, it’s hard not to think he’ll be at that time or better. We’re not sure if he’ll opt in to the 50 back though – it comes at the end of the same session as the 100 fly, which he could be focusing on (NCAA swimmers are no strangers to doubles, however).

The Wolfpack’s Coleman Stewart set a world record in the short course meter version of this event last August, swimming a time of 48.33. His longcourse season best is a 55.44 from San Antonio, but expect him to be faster here.

Earlier this month, Justin Ress announced that he’s moved to train with the Mission Viejo Pro Group under Jeff Julian, who is also the coach for Ress’s ISL team the Cali Condors. In his announcement on Instagram, Ress said that he’s racing at World Trials “with the goal of having fun and not putting any pressure on [himself].” In his own words, Ress has done “relatively little” training in the offseason, but despite that he swam a 24.74 50 back at the Fran Crippen SMOC, the fastest time in the world this year.

CAL CREW

There will be plenty of Cal Bears on the heat sheet along with Murphy. None of them have swum a long course 100 back this season, which leaves a lot unknown about their long course training.

A Tokyo Olympian in the 200 back, Bryce Mefford spoke on the SwimSwam podcast earlier this year, saying he was unsure what his swimming future holds after the collegiate season. Psych sheets should be out later this week. If Mefford is swimming, he should be a factor in the final; his lifetime best is 52.87, and he was fourth at the Olympic Trials.

Destin Lasco is another Cal Bear to watch. He’s the defending NCAA champ in the 200 back, and he swam a lifetime best 44.36 in the 100 to take fourth. In long course, his best is 54.08. He didn’t match that at Olympic Trials last summer, but he’s continued his progression after his breakout freshman season, and his short course speed suggests that he’s got a faster long course swim in him. Given his 200 strength, he might skip the 50 back, though it doesn’t interfere with his schedule.

Daniel Carr just completed his fifth-year season. His lifetime best is a 53.50 from the 2019 Pan American Games, where he won gold in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Last season, his best was a 53.65, which he swam in the lead up to Olympic Trials.

Jack Alexy swam his lifetime best 55.47 at Olympic Trials before heading to Cal. He might seem like more of a dark horse pick, but it’s hard to say that someone getting Cal backstroke coaching is a dark horse. He went a lifetime best in yards this season, which could signal a long course drop is coming.

EASTERN STANDARD TIME STANDOUTS

2021 Olympian Hunter Armstrong swam a 52.48 at Trials to become the fifth-fastest American performer. Like the Cal men, he hasn’t swum a long course 100 back this season. But he swam a lifetime best 44.36 at Big 10s, and he’ll want to qualify for his first long course Worlds and defend his spot on the international team.

Last month at NCAAs, Luca Urlando broke Ryan Murphy’s American record in the 100y back, leading off the 400 medley relay in a blistering 43.35. He’s better known as a butterflier, but after a swim like that, it’s possible he’s thinking of adding the 100 back to his lineup since it doesn’t interfere with his other likely events. His best is a 56.49 from 2018 Nationals and it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be faster if he swam here. However, don’t expect him in the 50– it’s the same night as the 100 fly. 

In the individual 100 back at NCAAs, Brendan Burns finished second in 44.15, a lifetime best. In long-course, he finished 24th at Trials, off his best of 54.86. However, his drops in short-course could point to an incoming drop in the big pool. 

At the 2021 Olympic Trials, Adam Chaney finished ninth in the semi-finals, .07 behind eighth-place Michael Andrew. Andrew has already said that the 100 back isn’t in his lineup for World Trials and the 53.89 Chaney swam then is his lifetime best. At the Toyota Open in December, he swam 55.43, but he should be tapered and faster than that next week.

UVA freshman Jack Aikins is better known for his speed in the 200, but at the UVA Long Course time trial, he swam a 54.44, four-tenths off his lifetime best 54.03 from Trials. If he hits his taper, he’s certainly capable of sneaking into the final. Like Lasco, given his talents in the 200, he might be another swimmer who doesn’t race the 50.

Olympic Trials finalist Hunter Tapp opted to swim the 200 free instead of the 100 back at NCAAs, which could signal a shift in focus. However, he was 52.52 at SC Worlds in December, so we wouldn’t read too much into it. He should be in the mix in the final as well.

Age group standout Daniel Diehl could make a serious impact in the 100 back as well, having exploded for a new 15-16 National Age Group Record (53.59) last month.

While that swim was a huge best time for Diehl (previous best of 54.90) and it might be unrealistic to expect him to recreate it in a pressure-packed final, he’s coming in with nothing to lose and should be dangerous.

50 BACK SPECIALISTS

There are a couple of swimmers who could feature in the 50 back but skip the 100. A potential example of this is Ryan Held. His only long course meet this season was the Westmont Pro Series, where he swam no backstroke. But in the ISL, he swam 23.17 SCM. His lifetime best in long course is 24.59 from 2018 Nationals, where he tied for third with Michael Andrew.

Speaking of Michael Andrew, he didn’t mention the 50 back as one of the events he’d be targeting. Given that it’s directly after the 50 breast in the schedule, it seems unlikely that he’ll swim but if he does, he’ll be a threat.

It’s also worth noting that the last time many of these athletes swam a 50 back was at the 2018 Nationals, the selection meet for 2019 Worlds. This could mean some big drops across the pool.

TOP 8 PICKS – 100 BACK

Place Name Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Ryan Murphy 53.03 51.85
2 Shaine Casas 53.28 52.72
3 Hunter Armstrong 52.48
4 Daniel Diehl 53.59 53.59
5 Hunter Tapp 53.45
6 Coleman Stewart 55.44 53.85
7 Adam Chaney 55.43 53.89
8 Justin Ress 52.86

Dark Horse: Nicolas Albiero (Louisville) – Much more known for his butterfly, Nicolas Albiero is certainly capable of sneaking into this backstroke final. He swam a lifetime best 54.21 at Trials, and had a strong fifth-year season at Louisville. The event doesn’t conflict with what we think the rest of his schedule will be, so if he’s managed the double taper and is swimming well, he could be one to watch. 

TOP 8 PICKS – 50 BACK

Place Name Season Best Lifetime Best
1 Justin Ress 24.74 24.31
2 Ryan Murphy 24.24
3 Ryan Held 24.59
4 Daniel Carr 24.81
5 Adam Chaney 25.60
6 Destin Lasco 26.13
7 Coleman Stewart 25.67
8 Hunter Armstrong 25.45

Dark Horse: Brendan Burns (Indiana) – For the reasons we talked about above, Burns is our dark horse pick in the 50. His lifetime best is a 26.71 from way back in 2017. After his NCAAs and the way he’s progressed, if he swims the 50, there’s no doubt he’ll be faster and have a real shot at the final.

Keep up to date with all of SwimSwam’s previews for the meet with our official preview index here.

In This Story

34
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
34 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
200backisthebest
2 months ago

update hunterr armstrong won w a world record

Bobo Gigi
2 months ago

Hopefully Destin Lasco makes the final in the 100 free and finishes in the top 2 in the 200 back.
But I’m a little bit pessimistic with the SCY season finishing only one month ago.

GowdyRaines
2 months ago

I’m not confident that Ryan Murphy makes the team, especially after bling everyone but himself for his 3rd place in Tokyo (which btw was still a very solid time).

I think Casas, Stewart, and Armstrong could all conceivably finish ahead of him in the 100.

In the 50 he has a better shot, but Ress, Chaney, and Held all are viable picks too.

Casas has been on fire lately, and Eddie certainly knows how to prepare swimmers for LCM.

Meathead
2 months ago

Not the same without Grevers

Jack aikins biggest fan
2 months ago

Mark my words jack aikins going to make the team in 100 🤷🏻‍♂️🤷🏻‍♂️

DMSWIM
2 months ago

So Brendan Burns doesn’t get a mention in the 200 fly preview as defending NCAA champ, but he gets one for 50 back with a time from 2017?

daeleb cressel
Reply to  DMSWIM
2 months ago

Based

Brendan Burns
Reply to  DMSWIM
2 months ago

The best part is I’m not swimming the 50
Back

DMSWIM
Reply to  Brendan Burns
2 months ago

Well I hope you crush it in the 200 fly like you did at NCAAs.

Brendan Burns
Reply to  DMSWIM
2 months ago

Appreciate it

WhatIDo
2 months ago

Is it really crowded as ever if Daddy Murlphy is still untouchable (besides Casas).

PNW
2 months ago

Predicting Destin Lasco to final in the 50 but not the 100 does not make sense to me. He’s always been better at the longer distance

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  PNW
2 months ago

What you are saying is common sense.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

Read More »