2022 PHILLIPS 66 INTERNATIONAL TEAM TRIALS
- April 26-30, 2022
- Greensboro, NC
- Greensboro Aquatic Center
- LCM (50m)
- FINA Qualifying Criteria
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- SwimSwam Pick ‘Em Contest
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
MEN’S 200 FREE
- World Record: Paul Biedermann (GER) – 1:42.00 (2009)
- American Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:42.96 (2008)
- US Open Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:44.10 (2008)
- 2019 World Champion: Sun Yang (CHN) – 1:44.93
- FINA ‘A’ Standard: 1:47.06
For a bevy of reasons, it’s been a weird few years in the swimming world. That fact particularly rings true for the US men in this event — thanks to an injury and two mid-quad retirements, three of the men who formed the USA’s 200 free core during the previous quad will not be competing this week.
Blake Pieroni recently had knee surgery, and Townley Haas and Andrew Seliskar each retired recently. Those three accounted for 8 of 12 finals spots in 4×200 relay at the US’s key international long course meet from 2017-2019. All three also participated in the 4×200 in Tokyo, with Haas swimming finals and other two swimming prelims.
So, on one hand, there are some big shoes to fill. On the other, three of the four men who swam on the 4×200 final in Rio return, and they hold the top three spots on the psych sheet. Not only that, but all four men who were on the gold medal relay at last December’s short course worlds should be in the hunt as well.
The Tokyo Returners
Kieran Smith is the obvious favorite here. He went 1:44.74 leading off the relay, making the 3rd-fastest American ever in the event. He didn’t match his best times at NCAAs this year, but with Florida’s known long-course focus, that could easily be due to keeping his eye on the ball for this summer.
Right after Smith on the psych sheet is Drew Kibler, who like Smith just wrapped up his senior year at Texas, winning his first individual NCAA title with a win in the 200 free. Kibler finished 3rd in this event at last summer’s Olympic Trials. He’s the only other man on the psych sheet who’s been under 1:46, and given his strong NCAA performance, he seems to have the inside track on the 2nd individual spot after Smith.
While Zach Apple may be better known as a 100 freestyler, he’s also been a staple on US 4×200 relays over the last few years, including a gold medal in that event at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. His lifetime best of comes from Trials with a 1:46.22, before he finished 5th in finals with a 1:46.45.
Michigan’s Patrick Callan sits 4th on the psych sheet with his best time of 1:46.49. He didn’t have a stellar NCAA season, but Michigan has mid/distance long course history, and like some of the other contenders, he may have kept an eye on long course this season.
The Rest of 1:46 Club
US swim fans have wondered for a while what Caeleb Dressel is capable of in this event, with speculation that he has at least 1:45 relay swim in him. He’s seeded 5th with a 1:46.63 from last summer’s Olympic Trials, which he swam in prelims before scratching the semi-finals. However, there’s no guarantee that Dressel will swim this event. It’s the same session as the 50 fly, and while the 200 free is an hour before the 50 fly, he may opt to leave this out of a fairly crowded schedule. If he does swim it, he should be in the final.
A pair of 20 year-olds hold the next two spots on the psych sheet: Carson Foster (1:46.67) and Luca Urlando (1:46.93). Memorably, Urlando finished ahead of Foster in this event in the OT semi-finals, but then chose to scratch, allowing Foster in to the final. Foster improved his time, but still missed making the relay team by less than two-tenths of a second, finishing 8th. He had a great NCAA season, swam on the victorious 4×200 at short course worlds, and reportedly went 1:46-low in a Texas time trial a couple weeks ago.
Urlando also had an incredible NCAA championship despite suffering an injury not too far out from the big dance. He split 1:30.58 on Georgia 2nd place relay at NCAAs, one of the fastest splits in the field, but he hasn’t registered any long course swims this season. Like Dressel, he is entered in the 50 fly, although it seems like his path to a spot on the team may be clearer in this event.
Three other men have lifetime bests of 1:47, but not during the qualification period, so those times don’t appear on the psych sheet.
Zane Grothe is seeded 8th at 1:47.26, although he has a lifetime best of 1:46.39 from 2017. It’s a similar story for former Gator and Longhorn Maxime Rooney, whose lifetime best of 1:46.89 came in 2019.
Grant House just wrapped up a strong fifth year campaign with Arizona State. He had actually had the fastest 200 yard time in the country this season with a 1:30.23 from Pac-12s, even though he didn’t match it at NCAAs. and he’ll be looking for his first lifetime best since 2018, when he went 1:46.95.
Looking for a Drop
With up to six swimmers qualifying for the team thanks to this event, there’s a near endless list of men who could have one great day and drop a 1:46 that it’s likely to take to make the team for relay purposes. So, without mentioning each of the 40+ guys entered in this event, here’s just a few of the more likely candidates from further on down the list.
Florida senior Trey Freeman didn’t look his best at NCAAs, but he clocked a 1:47.90 at December’s U.S. Open, nearing his lifetime best of 1:47.70 from 2018. That time puts him only behind Kibler’s 1:47.61 among US swimmers this season.
There’s a pretty strong track record of NCAA 500 free championships making international teams in at least the 4×200 free, so keep an eye on 2021 NCAA champ Jake Magahey, who is seeded 8th with a 1:47.30.
Cal fifth year Trenton Julian has one of the fastest times in the country so far this season, 1:48.50, and he had the fastest split on this relay at short course worlds. His Golden Bear teammate Gabriel Jett had a fantastic freshman campaign and is worth watching as well
House’s ASU teammate Julian Hill has been 1:47.58, and it’s also worth noting that 2016 Olympian Ryan Held is training with the Sun Devils. He was 1:47.57 at last summer’s Olympic Trials, and he was also on this relay at Short Course Worlds
You can never count out the Texas crew, which includes guys like Tim Connery (1:47.96), Coby Carrozza (1:49.10), and Luke Hobson (1:49.10) this year. Carrozza is particularly intriguing, as he unofficially went 1:47.3 in the Texas time trial meet in which Foster set an unofficial best recently.
Michael Cotter of the TAC Titans has been the fastest high schooler in the country so far this season, posting a 1:48.63 that puts him 16th on the psych sheet.
Dark horse: Jay Litherland – While he’s primarily known for his 400 IM, you may recall that Litherland actually swam in the 4×200 prelims in 2017 after Dressel didn’t swim, and his lifetime best of 1:47.58 from 2018 would tie him for the #12 seed on the psych sheet. It’s not uncommon for some veteran to randomly pop a big swim in this event and make the team, and Litherland could easily fit that bill.