2024 U.S. Olympic Trials: Day 6 Finals Live Recap

2024 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS

It’s time for the sixth of nine finals sessions at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials. There are three finals on deck tonight: the women’s 200 butterfly, men’s 200 backstroke, and women’s 200 breaststroke. Additionally, we’ve got semifinals of the men’s 50 freestyle, women’s 200 backstroke, and men’s 200 IM.

In the first final of the night, Regan Smith aims to make her second individual Olympic event after resetting the 100 back world record two nights ago. The race for second behind her was wide open coming into the meet, but Alex Shackell has distanced herself from the crowd through the first two rounds. In semifinals, she took down Smith’s 17-18 NAG with a 2:06.10. But 2023 Worlds qualifier Lindsay Looney will push her, as will Dakota Luther and Tess Howley.

Up next, Ryan Murphy will try to sweep the 200 backstrokes. DOn’t let the fact that he’s not the top qualifier fool you, not only has Murphy been incredibly consistent through his long career, but he’s shown that he can show up when it matters most. With #2 seed and 2023 Worlds qualifier Destin Lasco scratching out of this race in prelims, someone else has the opportunity to step up as well and get second. Keaton Jones (1st, 1:55.49), Jack Aikins (3rd, 1:55.95), Tommy Janton (1:56.87), and Daniel Diehl (1:57.29) all could make a move.

The last final of the night is the women’s 200 breaststroke, set to be a heavyweight fight between American record holder Kate Douglass and hometown hero Lilly King. Douglass set a new championship record in prelims because the crowd was being too quiet — a move which stands up to King’s “come and get me gesture” she did after winning the first semifinal. If anything, it’s King that needs to catch up to Douglass’ 2:19, but it should be a great battle between them, while other Cavaliers like Alex Walsh and Ella Nelson will be trying to upset King and make it a Virginia 1-2.

WOMEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY — Final

  • World Record: 2:01.81 — Liu Zige (CHN), 2009
  • American Record: 2:03.87 — Regan Smith, 2023
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:03.87 — Regan Smith (USA), 2023
  • World Junior Record: 2:04.06 – Summer McIntosh (CAN), 2023
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: 2:05.85 — Hali Flickinger
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 2:08.43

Top 8:

  1. Regan Smith (SUN), 2:05.70
  2. Alex Shackell (CSC), 2:06.69
  3. Lindsay Looney (TXLA), 2:07.03
  4. Emma Sticklen (TXLA), 2:08.07
  5. Dakota Luther (TXLA), 2:08.63
  6. Charlotte Hook (ALTO), 2:10.04
  7. Tess Howley (LIAC), 2:10.45
  8. Lucy Bell (ALTO), 2:10.58

Regan Smith added another event to her Olympic schedule, taking the win in the women’s 200 butterfly final. She was off the 2:04.91 championship record that she set during the semifinals, but still won the race by nearly a second.

Smith was at the heart of the action the entire race — she went out at the start in 27.72, turning first. Emma Sticklen took control of the race on the second 50, turning in 59.40 at the halfway mark, .05 seconds ahead of Smith.

Alex Shackell had a huge third 50, splitting 32.39 to join Sticklen and Smith at the front of the race. Shackell turned for home in first place, with Smith running second and Sticklen third. Smith dug in over the final 50 meters, splitting 33.52 to get the win. Shackell held on for second in 2:06.69, and while she likely already qualified in the women’s 4×200 free relay, this swim gives her an individual event in Paris.

Sticklen ran out of gas on the last 50, splitting 35.58. That gave Lindsay Looney more than enough room to catch her as she was the fastest closing split in the field (33.39). In a slower final than expected, Looney was actually the only one to drop from semifinals and swam a lifetime best 2:07.03.

MEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE — Final

  • World Record: 1:51.92 — Aaron Piersol (USA), 2009
  • American Record: 1:51.92 — Aaron Piersol (USA), 2009
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:53.08 — Aaron Piersol (USA), 2009
  • World Junior Record: 1:55.14– Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS), 2017
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: 1:54.20 — Ryan Murphy
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 1:57.50

Top 8:

  1. Ryan Murphy (CAL), 1:54.33
  2. Keaton Jones (CAL), 1:54.61
  3. Jack Aikins (SA), 1:54.78
  4. Tommy Janton (ND), 1:57.12
  5. Jay Litherland (TXLA), 1:57.16
  6. Daniel Diehl (WOLF), 1:57.60
  7. Caleb Maldari (FLOR), 1:58.31
  8. Hunter Tapp (WOLF), 1:59.30

The Backstroke Bears reign again. For the third straight Olympic Trials, the Cal Golden Bears have gone 1-2 in the 200 backstroke.

The constant throughout that streak is Ryan Murphy, who just became the first man to sweep the 100/200 backstroke at three straight Olympic Trials. Murphy did not leave anything to chance in this race, leading from start to finish. He earned the win in 1:54.33, lowering the fastest time in the world this year.

Likely joining Murphy in the 200 backstroke in Paris is Keaton Jones, who had a quietly strong freshman season at Cal. Jones arrived in Indianapolis as the 7th seed with a PB of 1:56.79 from this April. Over the rounds, he’s lowered his best by 2.18 seconds to the 1:54.61 he just hit to grab second place.

Jones was running third behind Murphy and Jack Aikins at the final turn. Aikins was .09 seconds ahead of Jones, but Jones outsplit him 28.92 to 29.18 over the final 50 meters to get his hand on the wall .17 seconds ahead of Aikins.

This is Aikins second third place finish of the meet. He touched third in the 100 backstroke, .02 seconds behind second-place Hunter Armstrong.

MEN’S 50 FREESTYLE — Semifinals

  • World Record: 20.91 — Cesar Cielo (BRA), 2009
  • American Record: 21.04 — Caeleb Dressel, 2019 / 2021
  • U.S. Open Record: 21.04 — Caeleb Dressel (USA), 2021
  • World Junior Record: 21.75 — Michael Andrew (USA), 2017 / 2017
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Caeleb Dressel, 21.04
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 21.96

Final Qualifiers: 

  1. Chris Guiliano (ND), 21.59
  2. Caeleb Dressel (GSC), 21.61
  3. Jack Alexy (CAL), 21.66
  4. Ryan Held (NYAC), 21.82
  5. Michael Andrew (SUN), 21.83
  6. Quintin McCarty (WOLF), 21.85
  7. Matt King (TFA), 21.88
  8. Adam Chaney (FLOR) / Jonny Kulow (SUN), 21.89*

*swim-off required

Chris Guiliano just keeps rolling in Indianapolis this week. He shattered the personal best 21.83 that he swam in prelims with a 21.59 that won the first semifinal and moved him through to the final as the top seed. If Guiliano does qualify in the 50 free, he will be the first America since Matt Biondi in 1988 to qualify individually in the 50/100/200 freestyle.

After a 22.00 in prelims, Caeleb Dressel exploded to win the second semi-final. Dressel rocketed to a 21.61, his fastest time in two years.

Jack Alexy sits just .05 seconds behind Guiliano in 21.66, improving from his prelims swim by eight-hundredths. And after tying for the top time this morning (21.70), Ryan Held and Michael Andrew remain close, separated by just a hundredth of a second in 4th and 5th.

There will be yet another swim-off at this meet. Florida’s Adam Chaney and Arizona State’s Jonny Kulow will swim-off for a spot in the final after tying in 21.89. Kulow was just off his lifetime-best while this marks Chaney’s first swim under 22 seconds.

WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE — Final

  • World Record: 2:17.55 — Evgeniia Chikunova (RUS), 2023
  • American Record: 2:19.30 — Kate Douglass, 2024
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:19.30 — Kate Douglass (USA), 2024
  • World Junior Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoriya Zeynep Gunes (TUR), 2015
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: 2:21.07 — Annie Lazor
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 2:23.91

Top 8:

  1. Kate Douglass (NYAC), 2:19.46 CR
  2. Lilly King (ISC), 2:21.93
  3. Alex Walsh (NAC), 2:22.38
  4. Ella Nelson (NAC), 2:23.95
  5. Kaelyn Gridley (DUKE), 2:27.44
  6. Anna Keating (CA-Y), 2:29.54
  7. Isabelle Odgers (TROJ), 2:30.07
  8. Raya Mellot (CROW), 2:30.19

Kate Douglass brought the crowd to their feet in the women’s 200 breaststroke final. Douglass was out like a shot, opening her race in 31.58, already .55 seconds under world record pace. She was still under the world record pace at the halfway point, splitting 1:06.93 to Chikunova’s 1:07.28. For the record, 1:06.93 would’ve been 5th in the 100 breaststroke final.

Douglass fell off the world record pace on the third 50 (35.88) but was still almost two seconds ahead of the rest of the field. She came home in 36.55, breaking the championship record that she set in prelims of this race with a 2:19.46. She got closer to her American record as well, missing it by just .16 seconds.

The race for second was between Lilly King and Alex Walsh. King was ahead of Walsh through the first 100 meters, but Walsh turned on the gas during the third 50 with a 36.43 split, making the final turn .72 seconds ahead of King.

But the Indiana native came charging home, throwing down a field-best 36.50 on the closing 50 to get her hands on the wall ahead of Walsh in 2:21.93. Walsh finished third in 2:22.38, swimming a new lifetime best.

WOMEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE — Semifinals

  • World Record: 2:03.14 — Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 2023
  • American Record: 2:03.35 — Regan Smith, 2019
  • U.S. Open Record: 2:03.80 — Regan Smith (USA), 2023
  • World Junior Record: 2:19.64 – 2:03.35 — Regan Smith (USA), 2019
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Rhyan White, 2:05.73
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 2:10.39

Final Qualifiers: 

  1. Regan Smith (SUN), 2:06.41
  2. Phoebe Bacon (UW), 2:07.23
  3. Claire Curzan (TAC), 2:07.47
  4. Katie Grimes (SAND), 2:07.75
  5. Teagan O’Dell (MVN), 2:07.97
  6. Isabelle Stadden (CAL), 2:08.40
  7. Rhyan White (WOLF), 2:08.63
  8. Kennedy Noble (WOLF), 2:08.87

Less than an hour after the 200 butterfly final, Regan Smith was back up in the second semifinal of the 200 backstroke. She improved from her prelims swim by 2.89 seconds, powering ahead of the rest of the won in her semifinal with a 2:06.41, good for the fastest time heading into tomorrow night’s final.

She took the win in the second semifinal almost a second ahead of Claire Curzan, who posted a 2:07.47 to qualify for the final in 3rd.

Tokyo Olympian and 2022 Worlds silver medalist Phoebe Bacon won the first semifinal, improving her season-best by .01 seconds. She earned the win in that semi ahead of Katie Grimes, who is doing well in her 200 backstroke side quest. Grimes broke 2:08 for the first time tonight, swimming a 2:07.75. She’s sitting 4th right now and could challenge for a roster spot in this race.

It took a 2:08.87 from Kennedy Noble to make it into the final.

Though she missed the final, 14 year old Audrey Derivaux swam a lifetime best 2:09.80 to move up to 4th all-time in the 13-14 age group.

MEN’S 200 IM — Semifinals

  • World Record: 1:54.00 — Ryan Lochte (USA), 2011
  • American Record: 1:54.00 — Ryan Lochte (USA), 2011
  • U.S. Open Record: 1:54.56 — Ryan Lochte (USA), 2009
  • World Junior Record: 1:56.99 – Hubert Kos (HUN), 2021
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Michael Andrew, 1:55.44
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 1:57.94

Final Qualifiers: 

  1. Chase Kalisz (TXLA), 1:56.83
  2. Shaine Casas (TXLA), 1:57.87
  3. Kieran Smith (RAC), 1:57.94
  4. Carson Foster (RAYS), 1:57.96
  5. Owen McDonald (ISC), 1:58.21
  6. Grant House (SUN), 1:58.24
  7. Arsenio Bustos (WOLF), 1:58.37
  8. Will Modglin (ZSC), 1:58.44

Chase Kalisz swam away from the field in the second semifinal. The 30 year old veteran clocked a 1:56.83 which is his fastest time since the 2022 U.S. Open and secured him lane 4 for tomorrow night’s final.

Kalisz sits over a second ahead of the rest of the field as Shaine Casas posted a 1:57.87 to win the first semifinal in decisive fashion. Casas led that semifinal from start to finish, improving from 9th going into the semis to 2nd heading into the final. He also improved on his prelims time by 1.23 seconds, swimming 1:57.87.

Already qualified for Paris in the 4×200 free relay, Kieran Smith qualified for the finals in 3rd in 1:57.96. He’s .02 seconds ahead of 400 IM winner Carson Foster, who qualified fourth after swimming 1:57.96 in the second semifinal, touching behind both Kalisz and Smith.

Men’s 50 Freestyle — Swim-Off 

  1. Adam Chaney (FLOR) / Jonny Kulow (SUN) — 21.79

It’s another tie! Adam Chaney appeared to be ahead of Jonny Kulow, but Kulow found another gear in the closing meters. At the touch, the two remained locked together but this time at 21.79. That’s a tenth faster than they went in the original semifinal.

It’s the second best time of the session for Chaney, who had yet to break 22 seconds before arriving for finals tonight. Meanwhile, it’s Kulow’s first as he got under the 21.87 he swam at 2023 U.S. Nationals.

21.79 would’ve been 4th in the original semifinal.

The second swim off will happen at 9:50pm ET.

Men’s 50 Freestyle — Swim-Off (Again)

  1. Adam Chaney (FLOR), 21.81
  2. Jonny Kulow (SUN), 21.99

This race played out similarly to how the first swim-off did: both got off the blocks quickly (separated by only .01 second on their reaction time) but Chaney charged ahead to the lead. Kulow didn’t let him get far though, and once again the Sun Devil kicked into gear during the closing meters of the race.

But it wasn’t enough to get past Chaney this time — the Florida Gator got his hand on the wall in 21.81, just .02 seconds off his lifetime best from the first swim-off. Kulow finished second in 21.99.

So, it’s Chaney who moves on to tomorrow night’s final after one of the most exciting swims we’ve seen at this meet — which is saying alot.

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Swimfan27
29 days ago

Bummer for Destin Lasco

Austinpoolboy
29 days ago

US Oly trials introduces “skins” format

ButlerBuck
29 days ago

Way to go Adam! Mason Manta Ray gets another shot at making the team.

Awsi Dooger
29 days ago

Walsh needed to lead King by 3/4 of a body length with 25 meters remaining. That was my pre race estimate and I’m not sure it would have been enough. King is such a fighter in those situations. I have no idea why Dan Hicks got so carried away with Walsh’s edge when it was never close to sufficient.

Very awkward at finish. King understood that Douglass was hoping Walsh had placed. That would have been a joyous hug. King did a great job by restraining celebration, given the situational aspect.

Walsh is similar to where Douglass was in this event 2 years ago. Not quite the upside. But all it would have taken was 6 months earlier emphasis.… Read more »

STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
29 days ago

I think both Keaton Jones and Jack Aikins move into the all-time top 20 with those swims. Over the last few decades this event has undoubtedly been the strongest event for the USA on the men’s side. It must be really tough for Aikins to finish third in a tight race yet again.

ROPES
29 days ago

Would like to see Michael Andrew back doing the 200IM! Makes sense.

Disappointing !
29 days ago

Another sad Rowdy commentary slides under the notice of NBC.

Women’s 200 Fly.

Rowdy was too busy playing games with Dan Patrick over Regan worship and Shackell family human interest value to notice an actual developing race. Regan handled her race the way she should, touching 2nd at the 150 before pulling away, totally under control, down the last lap.

Rowdy was so out of touch with the overall race that he called Emma Sticklen, who had gone out on the lead before the piano hit her, as the third place finisher.

Lindsay Looney was worthy of recognition in the battle as an American finalist in the last real World Championships in Fukuoka. She was 4th at… Read more »

NCSwimFan
Reply to  Disappointing !
29 days ago

This hurts to read today as Lindsay Looney has retired. Be better, Rowdy. Pay attention to the WHOLE race.

Swimmer
29 days ago

what if Alex doesn’t make it 💔

random
Reply to  Swimmer
29 days ago

Alex Walsh says regardless of what happens, they are olympians

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Swimmer
29 days ago

Alex Walsh should have swum the 400 IM in lieu of the 100 BR.

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, …

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