2022 U.S. INTERNATIONAL TEAM TRIALS
- April 26-30, 2022
- Greensboro, NC
- Greensboro Aquatic Center
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
WOMEN’S 400 FREESTYLE
- World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:56.46, 2016
- American Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:56.46, 2016
- US Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:57.94, 2018
- 2019 World Champion: Ariarne Timus (AUS) – 3:58.96
- 2020 Olympic Champion: Ariarne Titmus (AUS) – 3:56.69
- FINA ‘A’ Standard: 4:10.57
The World, American, U.S. Open, and Olympic Record Holder: Katie Ledecky
It would come as quite a shock if Katie Ledecky doesn’t win the 400 free this week. The World Record holder is seeded 6.6 seconds ahead of anyone else in this field, and her personal best is over 4 seconds faster than anyone else’s in this field. Since her move to Gainesville to train under Anthony Nesty, Ledecky has swum well.
She popped off a 1:54.66 200 free in February, before swimming a 4:00.95 400 free at the same meet. Ledecky has been 4:00-point in the 400 free twice already this season, first at the U.S. Open in December, and second at the 2022 FL SZ South Sectional Championships in February. She has yet to break 4:00 this season, a mark which we can fairly confidently project she’ll break at this meet. While Ledecky certainly doesn’t need a full taper to safely qualify for the World Championships team in the 200, 400, 800, and 1500, she and Nesty may want to get a reading on where she’s at with her racing right now.
Ledecky would need to blow away her season best in order to crack her U.S. Open Record of 3:57.94, however, it’s not out of the question.
Other Veterans Ready to Make their Mark
It was UVA alum Paige Madden who took the 2nd spot on the Olympic roster last summer, finishing behind Ledecky at the Olympic Trials. The NCAA Champion would go on to swim her lifetime best of 4:03.98 in prelims of the 400 free in Tokyo, qualifying for finals. In finals, she was slower, but still grabbed a 7th place finish with a 4:06.81.
Madden enters this meet as the #2 seed with her 4:03.98 from Tokyo, but she’ll have a battle on her hands to finish 2nd and qualify for Budapest. Leah Smith, the #2 American all-time in the event, is seeded 3rd with a 4:04.73. Smith has been as fast as 4:00.65, a time which she swam at the 2016 Olympic Trials. While that was 6 years ago, Smith has been swimming well this year since moving to Austin to train under Carol Capitani and Mitch Dalton. Already in 2022, Smith has swum a 4:06, 4:05, and 4:04 400, displaying in-season consistency in the event. If Smith is able to get down to the 4:02 range, she’ll be under Madden’s personal best by over a second.
Emma Weyant is the #5 seed coming into the meet. The NCAA runner-up in the SCY 500 free is primarily an LCM 400 IM’er, winning the Silver medal in Tokyo last summer. However, Weyant is an excellent freestyler as well, and she improved by nearly 4 seconds in the 500 free this year. Weyant’s personal best in the 400 free comes in at 4:09.07, a time which she swam back at the 2019 U.S. Nationals when she was 17. Given her improvement in the yards 500 this year, it’s plausible Weyant drops a few seconds and gets up there with the group battling for second.
Another veteran in the field is Hali Flickinger. Flickinger has the 4th fastest personal best in the field, coming in at 4:06.72. Now, based off her peak meets in the past, there’s a good chance Flickinger ends up scratching out of this event. However, it’s also possible that with a thinner field than we’re used to seeing at U.S. selection meets Flickinger might see her best opportunity to try and qualify for a World Championships team in the 400. Flickinger has swum very well since teaming up with Bob Bowman in Tempe, and if she ends up swimming the race, it’s not out of the question that she could challenge for a 2nd place finish.
A name you might have overlooked is Ohio State’s Maya Geringer. Seeded 2nd-to-last, Geringer is entered with her SCY 500 time of 4:39.55. While her LCM 400 free time only comes in at 4:19.27, Geringer swam exceptionally well this season for the Buckeyes. She dropped from 4:44.74 to 4:39.55 in the 500, and got under 16:00 for the first time in the 1650. With a great swim in prelims, Geringer could find herself in the final.
A Deep Group of Juniors
There is a deep group of 17&unders in this field. Starting with Bella Sims, a Sandpipers of Nevada 16-year-old who won a Bronze medal on the 4×200 free relay in Tokyo last summer. Sims is the #8 seed in the event, seeded with her personal best of 4:10.25, which she swam last April. A 1:57.53 200 freestyler, Sims represents a threat in this field, since we know she has the 200 speed to keep up with Paige Madden, Leah Smith, and potentially Hali Flickinger on the front half of the race. As an 8:23.55 800 freestyler, we also know she has the endurance to back it up.
Another young swimmer to keep your eyes on is Katie Grimes, another Sandpipers 16-year-old. Grimes was an Olympian in the 800 free last summer, finishing 4th, just a second off the podium. Don’t be fooled by Grimes because she’s entered at 4:11.17. She has a personal best of 8:17.05 in the 800 free. You may be thinking to yourself hmm well that doesn’t quite add up, and you would be correct. In her best time 800 free performance, Grimes flipped in 4:07.51 at the 400m mark. Remember, that split included a turn at the end rather than a finish, so we can safely say if she had simply touched the wall with her hand there she would have been a 4:06-point, and that still came on the first half of an 800.
One more Sandpiper, Claire Weinstein, represents a threat here. Weinstein, who recently turned 15, is the #9 seed with a 4:11.11. After moving to Las Vegas to train with the Sandpipers this past fall, Weinstein has been on a phenomenal track. She dropped huge amounts of time in the SCY 100 free, 200 free, 500 free, and 1650 free this past fall, and has already swum personal bests in the LCM 50 free, 100 free, and 800 free in 2022. Given the trajectory of her swimming over the past 8 months, it seems likely Weinstein will get under 4:10 in the 400 free this week.
Nation’s Capital’s Erin Gemmell is another name to watch. Gemmell swam her personal best of 4:09.81 on April 1st, breaking 4:10 for the first time. The swim came after she swam a monumental 1:57.41 in the 200 free earlier in the meet, which bodes well for her ability to take the 400 out quickly. We don’t know how much rest Gemmell took for the Speedo Sectionals meet in Indianapolis at the beginning of the month, but if the U.S. International Team Trials have been targeted as her peak meet, it would seem she’s primed for another personal best in the 400.
Long Island Aquatic Club’s Cavan Gormsen swam her personal best of 4:09.85 at the Olympic Trials Wave II last summer. Nearly a year later, she could have a big swim in store for this week. While Gormsen was a bit off in most of her yards freestyle races this past fall, she did swim a new personal best of 4:37.90 in the 500 free in February of this year. That’s a good sign for her LCM 400 free.
SwimSwam’s Top 8 Picks:
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