2024 U.S. Olympic Trials: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2024 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS

The first finals session of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials is upon us, with up to four athletes having the chance to become the first pool swimmers to punch their ticket to Paris.

The session will kick off with two semi-final heats in the women’s 100 fly, with Gretchen Walsh coming in as the top seed after a scorching prelim swim of 55.94, becoming the second-fastest American of all-time, overtaking the legendary Dana Vollmer (55.98) and only trailing National Record holder Torri Huske.

Huske, who qualified 2nd this morning in 56.26, will head up Lane 4 in the first semi tonight before Walsh stares down Regan Smith in the second heat. Smith had a promising morning swim of her own in 56.68, just over four-tenths shy of the PB she set earlier this year.

Next up will be the men’s 400 free, where the first U.S. Olympic pool swimmer(s) will qualify for the Olympic team.

Three years ago, we saw Jake Mitchell take on a solo swim-off in order to take the second spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the 400 free after Kieran Smith was the only swimmer to notch the Olympic ‘A’ cut in the final.

It’s not likely, but far from impossible, that the same scenario happens this year as Luke Whitlock was the only one under the 3:46.78 standard this morning in 3:46.42, a massive breakthrough for the 18-year-old.

Whitlock put himself within striking distance of Larsen Jensen‘s boys’ 17-18 National Age Group Record of 3:46.08 from 2002, meanwhile, David Johnston, Mitchell and Aaron Shackell are close behind him, all hitting 3:47 this morning. Smith is lurking out in Lane 7 alongside his Florida teammate Bobby Finke, who as we know can close like a freight train.

The women’s 400 free will be the Katie Ledecky show after she walked through the prelims in dominant fashion, clocking 3:59.99 to produce the biggest cheer from the crowd of the morning.

The race for second won’t feature some of the names we thought it might, namely Bella Sims and Claire Weinstein, who both missed the final after ‘off’ morning performances. Veteran Paige Madden, along with youngsters Madi Mintenko and Jillian Cox, are the next three seeds after Ledecky.

The men’s 100 breast saw five men dip under 1:00 this morning, led by world champion and perennial favorite Nic Fink in 59.24.

Fink will center the second semi alongside Charlie Swanson (59.44) and Michael Andrew (59.72), while Josh Matheny (59.34) and Jake Foster (59.59) highlight Heat 1.

WOMEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY – SEMI-FINALS

  • World Record: 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 2016 Olympic Games
  • American Record: 55.64, Torri Huske – 2022 World Championships
  • U.S. Open Record: 55.66, Torri Huske (USA) – 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials
  • World Junior Record: 56.20, Claire Curzan (USA) – 2021 TAC Titans Premier Invitational
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Torri Huske, 55.66
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 57.92

Finals Qualifiers: 

  1. Gretchen Walsh (NAC), 55.18 WR
  2. Torri Huske (AAC), 55.79
  3. Regan Smith (TXLA), 55.92
  4. Alex Shackell (CSC), 56.78
  5. Claire Curzan (TAC), 57.24
  6. Emma Sticklen (TXLA), 57.77
  7. Beata Nelson (UN-WI), 57.80
  8. Kelly Pash (TXLA), 57.97

Gretchen Walsh brought the crowd to its feet with an earth-shattering performance in the second semi of the women’s 100 fly, annihilating the eight-year-old world record by three-tenths of a second.

Out like lightning, Walsh turned at 25.45 over the first 50 meters, more than half a second under Sarah Sjostrom‘s world record pace, and held strong throughout the back half to touch in a time of 55.18, breaking Sjostrom’s longstanding mark of 55.48 set at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The 21-year-old Walsh broke the 56-second barrier for the first time this morning, clocking 55.94 in the prelims to lower her previous PB of 56.14 and rank #2 all-time among Americans.

Now, she sits atop the leaderboard on the all the rankings, cracking Torri Huske‘s American Record of 55.64 and Huske’s U.S. Open Record of 55.66 in the process.

Huske kicked off the session by winning the first semi-final in a time of 55.79, a significant drop from the prelims (56.26) and just shy of her season-best 55.68.

After we came into the day with only two Americans ever under 56 seconds, we now have four, as Regan Smith joined the party tonight in a blistering 55.92.

Smith, lowering her previous best of 56.26 set earlier this year, is now the 7th-fastest performer of all-time.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 100 Butterfly (LCM) – Sub-56

  1. Gretchen Walsh (USA), 55.18 – 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials
  2. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 55.48 – 2016 Olympic Games
  3. Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.59 – 2021 Olympic Games
  4. Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.62 – 2020 Chinese Nationals
  5. Torri Huske (USA), 55.64 – 2022 World Championships
  6. Emma McKeon (AUS), 55.72 – 2021 Olympic Games
  7. Regan Smith (USA), 55.92 – 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials
  8. Dana Vollmer (USA), 55.98 – 2012 Olympic Games

Qualifying 4th was 17-year-old standout Alex Shackell, who doesn’t move up the all-time rankings for 17-18 girls (still #3) but does break 57 seconds for the first time in 56.78, cracking the 57.07 PB she set this morning.

MEN’S 400 FREESTYLE — FINAL

  • World Record: 3:40.07, Paul Biedermann (GER) – 2009 World Championships
  • American Record: 3:42.78, Larsen Jensen – 2008 Olympic Games
  • U.S. Open Record: 3:43.53, Larsen Jensen (USA) – 2008 Olympic Trials
  • World Junior Record: 3:44.31, Peter Mitsin (BUL) – 2023 European Junior Championships
  • 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Kieran Smith — 3:44.86
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 3:46.78
  1. Aaron Shackell (CSC), 3:45.46
  2. Kieran Smith (RAC), 3:45.76
  3. David Johnston (TST), 3:46.19
  4. Bobby Finke (SPA), 3:46.27
  5. Luke Whitlock (FAST), 3:46.55
  6. Jake Magahey (SA), 3:46.89
  7. Daniel Matheson (SUN), 3:48.63
  8. Jake Mitchell (FLOR), 3:50.76

Any question about the American men putting two swimmers under the ‘A’ cut in the 400 free can be put to rest as five dipped under the standard in the hotly contested Trials final, with Aaron Shackell making some magic happen to claim the victory.

Shackell, 19, grabbed the lead from the first 50 and never relinquished it, fending off a push from Kieran Smith late to touch 1st in a time of 3:45.46, knocking more than a second and a half off his lifetime best of 3:47.00.

Shackell is also a homegrown Indiana product, getting some extra cheers from the Indianapolis crowd after his impressive victory.

Smith, the Trials champion three years ago, was jockeying with the majority of the field for most of the race but saved something for the last 50, closing in 27.41, the fastest in the field, to solidify a second straight Olympic berth in the event in 3:45.76. The time is also a new PB for Smith by .01.

David Johnston, who owns a lifetime best of 3:45.75, was right in the thick of things but ultimately touched 3rd in 3:46.19, while Bobby Finke made a push from Lane 8 to record a sizeable best time and place 4th in 3:46.27—his first time ever under 3:48.

Luke Whitlock was the story of the prelims, putting up a massive best time and qualifying 1st overall in 3:46.42, and he backed that performance up by nearly matching the time in 3:46.55. The 18-year-old ranks #2 all-time in the 17-18 age group after his prelim swim.

WOMEN’S 400 FREESTYLE – FINAL

  • World Record: 3:55.38, Ariarne Titmus (AUS) – 2023 World Championships
  • American Record: 3:56.46, Katie Ledecky (USA) – 2016 Olympic Games
  • U.S. Open Record: 3:57.94, Katie Ledecky (USA) – 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series
  • World Junior Record: 3:56.08, Summer McIntosh (CAN) – 2023 World Championships
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Katie Ledecky, 4:01.27
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 4:07.90
  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC), 3:58.35
  2. Paige Madden (NYAC), 4:02.08
  3. Jillian Cox (TXLA), 4:06.89
  4. Aurora Roghair (ALTO), 4:08.66
  5. Kayla Han (CSC), 4:08.21
  6. Anna Peplowski (ISC), 4:09.20
  7. Leah Smith (TXLA), 4:09.34
  8. Madi Mintenko (PPA), 4:12.05

Katie Ledecky made her 30th time under the 4:00 barrier in the 400 freestyle a special one, as the 27-year-old punched her ticket to her fourth Olympic Games with another dominant performance.

Ledecky was out fast, flipping in 1:57.18 at the 200, held 30s over the next three 50s, and then closed in 29.10 to touch in 3:58.35, the sixth-fastest swim of her career and her quickest since 2022. At the 2021 Olympic Trials, Ledecky was nearly three seconds slower (4:01.27).

Once the race got going, the runner-up position never looked like it was in doubt for Paige Madden, as the 25-year-old, after so many training base changes over the last few years, qualified for her second straight U.S. Olympic team in the 400 free, dropping almost a full second from her lifetime best of 4:03.02 in 4:02.08.

Madden overtakes Katie Anderson (Hoff) for #3 all-time among American women, trailing only Ledecky and Leah Smith (4:01.29).

Longhorn Aquatics’ Jillian Cox had a clear path to 3rd most of the way, finishing in 4:06.89 to fall just shy of the best time she set in the prelims (4:06.35).

Out in Lanes 1 and 2, Kayla Han and Aurora Roghair were locked in a battle for 4th, with the 16-year-old Han pulling ahead down the stretch to earn a top-four finish after she was scratched into the final after initially placing 9th in the heats.

Han’s personal best of 4:08.21 moves her into 13th all-time in the girls’ 15-16 age group.

Roghair, 21, also produced a new PB, lowering the 4:09.46 she set earlier this year in 4:08.66 to place 5th.

MEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE— SEMI-FINALS

  • World Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR) – 2019 World Championships
  • American Record: 58.14, Michael Andrew – 2021 Olympic Trials
  • U.S. Open Record: 58.14, Michael Andrew (USA) – 2021 Olympic Trials
  • World Junior Record: 59.01, Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) – 2017 World Junior Championships
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Michael Andrew – 58.73
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 59.49

Finals Qualifiers: 

  1. Charlie Swanson (NOVA), 59.34
  2. Josh Matheny (ISC), 59.42
  3. Nic Fink (NYAC), 59.46
  4. Liam Bell (CAL), 59.57
  5. Jake Foster (RAYS), 59.63
  6. Michael Andrew (MASA), 59.65
  7. Noah Nichols (CA), 59.76
  8. Luke Rodarte (CAL), 59.78

The men came to play in the semis of the 100 breaststroke, as 10 swimmers dipped under the 1:00 barrier, leaving two of them out of the ‘A’ final.

Qualifying 1st was a surprise, as Charlie Swanson, known more for his 200 prowess, powered down the back half of the second semi in a blistering 31.19, overtaking Nic Fink and Michael Andrew to touch in a new lifetime best of 59.34.

The 26-year-old Swanson came into the meet with a PB of 59.89, and then lowered it to 59.44 this morning before chipping another tenth off tonight.

Fink (59.46) and Andrew (59.65) were 2nd and 3rd in the heat, advancing into the final in 3rd and 6th, respectively.

The first semi was an incredibly tight battle won by Indiana’s Josh Matheny, as he set a new season-best of 59.42 to qualify #2 overall into the final. Matheny set a PB of 59.20 last year at the World Championships.

Cal’s Liam Bell broke 1:00 for the first time in 59.57 to advance in 4th, while Jake FosterNoah Nichols and Luke Rodarte also got into the final.

It’s an incredible rise to an Olympic Trials final for Rodarte, who came into the meet with a personal best time of 1:00.78. He went a PB of 1:00.23 to make the semis, and then dropped all the way down to 59.78 to make the final, taking off exactly one second over the course of the day.

AJ Pouch and Tommy Cope both broke 1:00 for the first time, producing matching 59.86s, but it was only good enough to tie for 9th tonight.

The two will swim-off for first alternate in case of a scratch in the final.

MEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE— SWIM-OFF

  • World Record: 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR) – 2019 World Championships
  • American Record: 58.14, Michael Andrew – 2021 Olympic Trials
  • U.S. Open Record: 58.14, Michael Andrew (USA) – 2021 Olympic Trials
  • World Junior Record: 59.01, Nicolo Martinenghi (ITA) – 2017 World Junior Championships
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Michael Andrew – 58.73
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 59.49
  1. AJ Pouch (VT), 59.81
  2. Tommy Cope (CW), 1:00.00

Tommy Cope took it out fast but AJ Pouch was too much on the back half, as Pouch erased a half-second deficit at the turn to win the swim-off for first alternate in the men’s 100 breast.

Out in 28.49, Pouch stormed home in 31.32 to run down Cope and clock 59.81, bettering his newly-minted lifetime best of 59.86 from the semis.

Cope, who like Pouch, broke 1:00 for the first time earlier in the session, was out in 27.98 and back in 32.02 for a final time of 1:00.00.

Pouch will now be the first alternate for tomorrow’s final.

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Tay
1 month ago

Where is Natalie hinds

Cleo Lemon
1 month ago

*deleted*

Last edited 1 month ago by Cleo Lemon
swimlax
1 month ago

impossible for MA to speak w/out passive aggressively or directly slamming other swimmers. even thinks hes superior in mindset and healthy identity. his parents have brainwashed MA to believe if a swimmer goes to college or trains differently than MA they (all swimmers but MA) are inferior in faith, virtue, balanced life and ability. MA believes the world orbits around him. even claims his own lane in warm ups at trials cause hes too above the others to share a lane. here’s his swimming world quote after last nights 100 b semis. egomaniac. yep, MA has to brag that he doesn’t crumble like the rest cause hes superior in all ways. “Mindset is good. I think what I recognize more… Read more »

PineappleNoMore
Reply to  swimlax
1 month ago

Are you ok?

Swimfan
1 month ago

Hopefully day 2 finals we can hit 2,000 comments

FinsUp
1 month ago

Would love to see Smith and Huske get up in the 100 Fly tonight!

Swimfan
1 month ago

200 free today how many sub 1:57 will we see during prelims?

HeGetsItDoneAgain
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

4

Last edited 1 month ago by HeGetsItDoneAgain
Butler_Buck
1 month ago

Go Jake Foster! Go Mason Manta Rays! Swim your best race tonight.

Last edited 1 month ago by Butler_Buck
Swimfan
1 month ago

If anything I’m more excited now for the 100 free! We could see 4 under 53 in the final maybe 5 if wietzeil is on form

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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