2024 U.S. Olympic Trials: Day 8 Prelims Live Recap

2024 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS

Bonjour Mes Amis. Welcome to the last prelims session of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials. It’s been a long week, and it is rather bittersweet as while this is the beginning of the end, it also means we are one step closer to naming the Olympic team. It’s the shortest session by the number of events, as there are just two events on the schedule: the Women’s 50 free and the Men’s 1500 free, the shortest event on the women’s side and the longest on the men’s side.

Abbey Weitzeil will look to join an illustrious club of winning the same event at three consecutive Olympic Trials. Last night, Ryan Murphy completed the triple-double as he swept the backstrokes at three consecutive trials.

Weitzeil faces a tougher task than Murphy or Lilly King did in the 100 breast, as she is not entered as the top seed. That honor belongs to Kate Douglass, who recently broke the American Record in the event at the 2024 Doha World Championships, where she set a new benchmark of 23.91.

The fastest woman over 50 yards, Gretchen Walsh, is seeded 3rd behind Douglass and Weitzeil, and after setting a new World Record in the 100 fly, cannot be underestimated.

In the last prelims swims of the meet, that’s right, the last morning swims, the men will take on the 1500. Much like in the 50 free, American record-holder Bobby Finke leads the pack. Finke, who swept the gold in Tokyo, is a massive favorite for the win, as his entry time is more than 19 seconds faster than the next competitor, Charlie Clark.

If you’re a betting kind of person, Finke should be a clear favorite, but second will be up for grabs and could be one of a handful of swimmers. Clark represented the US in the event at the 2022, 2023, and 2024 Worlds, but this week only made the finals of the 800 after being scratched in.

Luke Whitlock, who finished 2nd in the 800 could be a factor in the 1500, as he dropped 5 seconds in the 800, but as the 7th seed has plenty of swimmers ahead of him like the 2023 NCAA champion in the mile, Will Gallant.

However, it shakes out I hope you have enjoyed watching and following along with all our coverages as the next Olympic Trials preliminary session wont be for another four years.

WOMEN’S 50 FREE — Prelims 

Semifinal Qualifiers: 

  1. Torri Huske (AAC) – 24.47
  2. Catie Deloof (NYAC) – 24.53
  3. Erika Connolly (TNAQ) – 24.55
  4. Abbey Weitzeil (CAL) – 24.56
  5. Simone Manuel (SUN) – 24.58
  6. Olivia Smoliga (SUN) – 24.70
  7. Gretchen Walsh (NAC) – 24.72
  8. Maxine Parker (CA-Y) – 24.73
  9. Kristina Paegle (ISC) – 24.80
  10. Grace Cooper (TXLA) – 24.91
  11. Rylee Erisman (LAKR) – 25.01
  12. Annam Olasewere (CPAC) – 25.12
  13. Brady Kendall (MICH)/Erin Gemmell (NCAP) – 25.13
  14. Gabi Albiero (UOFL)/Amy Fulmer (OSU) – 25.20

The first heat of the morning saw UMLY’s Alexa Fulton take the win in 25.59. The Texas rising sophomore dropped a tenth from her seed and took the top spot. Fulton would remain in that spot until Danielle Melilli took over with her .27 seconds of a drop from seed to post a time of 25.28. Melilli’s time held onto the top spot until the University of Louisville’s Lucy Mehraban posted a 25.23 in heat 6, clipping Melilli’s time by .05.

In Heat 7, two new swimmers posted times of 25.13 and 25.21. Gemmell has already made the team to Paris in the 4×200 free relay. Through this point, with the three circle-seeded heats remaining, there are already 11 swims under what it took to make the semis in 2021.

The first of the circle-seeded heats saw four swimmers dip under the 25-second barrier as Erika Connolly, the winner of two swim-offs in the 100 free, posted the top time in Heat 8, stopping the clock in 24.55, ahead of Olivia Smoliga’s 24.70, Gretchen Walsh‘s 24.72 and Grace Cooper’s 24.91.

Heat 9, the penultimate heat, saw Abbey Weitzeil and Simone Manuel also dip under the 25-second barrier as the pair of Olympians stopped the clock in 24.56 and 24.58 and currently with just one heat remaining slot into the #2 and #3 spots.

The last heat was a fast affair as Torri Huske posted the top time and took over the overall seed in 24.47; the only swimmer under 24.5, Huske scratched out of the finals of tonight’s 200 IM, and with her swim this morning being just .16 off her personal best has put herself into a good position to add another event. Catie Deloof, who tied with Connolly in the finals of the 100 free but lost the swim-off for 6th, posted a new personal best by .03 to move into the semifinal in 2nd behind Huske in a time of 24.53.

Top seed and American Record holder Kate Douglass did not swim the prelims of the 50 free despite appearing on the heat sheet.

MEN’S 1500 FREESTYLE — Prelims

  • World Record: Sun Yang (CHN) – 14:31.02 (2012)
  • American Record: Bobby Finke – 14:31.59 (2023)
  • U.S. Open Record: Bobby Finke (USA) – 14:42.81 (2023)
  • World Junior Record: Franko Grgic (CRO) – 14:46.09 (2019)
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Bobby Finke – 14:46.06
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time: 15:00.99

Finals Qualifiers: 

  1. Bobby Finke (SPA) – 14:59.04
  2. David Johnston (TST) – 15:02.42
  3. Charlie Clark (OSU) – 15:04.77
  4. Luke Whitlock (FAST) – 15:07.36
  5. William Mulgrew (SAC) – 15:14.88
  6. Luke Ellis (SAND) – 15:14.93
  7. Daniel Matheson (SUN) – 15:16.84
  8. Casron Hick (KYA) – 15:17.36

Heat one was a close and exciting affair as Josh Parent, Andrew Taylor and Lukas Vetkoetter dueled each other over the course of 1500 meters. Vetkoetter led at the 400, flipping in 4:05.30 as compared to Parent’s 4:06.70 and Taylor’s 4:06.93. At the 800, the lead had grown as Vetkoetter flipped in 8:13.00, more than two seconds clear of the pair of Florida Gators. But if there was one thing that training with Bobby Finke and swimming in the Florida distance program taught them both, it was how to back half, and Parent and Taylor both surged over the last couple of hundred meters. At the 1200-meter turn, the pair had caught up with Vetkoetter. The Gators would both charge into the wall, with Parent taking the win in 15:25.11, Taylor less than second behind in 15:26.07, and Vetkoetter finishing third in 15:30.65.

While heat one was a tight battle, heat two was the Carson Hick affair. Hick, who dropped nearly six seconds to place 10th in the 800 free, was alone for much of the 1500 as he absolutely dropped the hammer on heat 2. Hick was 4:02.01 at the 400 and, from that point on, maintained splits from 30.5 to 31.0 until the last 50, which was 29.67. The rising sophomore at Kentucky stopped the clock in 15:17.36, dropping nearly 20 seconds from his personal best time, which he had just set a month ago in May.

Heat 3 saw Ivan Puskovitch catch the early leader, Luke Corey, and outpace him over the last 1100. Corey was ahead of Puskovitch at the 400 by less than a tenth but started splitting 31 mids compared to Puskovitch’s 30-point highs to mids. Puskovitch would continue to gain ground on Corey and post a time of 15:23.03, nine seconds faster than his seed time. Corey would finish 3rd in his heat in 15:34.18 after having been also passed by Matthew Chai (15:30.34).

The 4th heat and last before the circle seed heats only reaffirmed why distance racing is entertaining. Josh Brown of Sandpipers and Lance Norris of Wolfpack finished just .20 of a second apart, with Norris getting the heat win in 15:17.94 and Brown having to settle for 2nd in 15:18.14. For reference, Caeleb Dressel won the 50 free by a larger margin (.28). Brown led at the 400 (4:02.81) and increased the lead to 1.90 seconds at the 800 (8:08.51), but Norris was always there slowly tracking him down and by 1200 had pulled within a second and by 1400 was leading by over .2 seconds. They both went to their legs in the closing 100, but Brown couldn’t match Norris’s closing 50 of 27.96.

The first of two circle-seeded heats, remember that events without semifinals (400 meters and up) only have two circle-seeded heats was a battle of youth versus experience.  Charlie Clark, the number two seed, squared off with Luke Whitlock, the runner-up in the 800 free from earlier in the meet. Whitlock was out faster than Clark, hitting the 400 turn in 3:56.20, 1.11 ahead of Clark. At the 800, however, the position had reversed, and Clark, who represented the US in this event at the last three World Champs, had taken over the lead, splitting 7:58.54 compared to Whitlock’s 7:59.03. Clark, who redshirted the first semester of the year at OSU, cruised into the wall in 15:04.77, coming home in a 59.90 to take over the top time. Whitlock finished with a last 100 of 1:00.36 to hit the wall in 15:07.36. Will Mulgrew of Shawmut Aquatic Club also dipped under Hick’s time and currently sits in third, posting a time of 15:14.88.

The last heat was the Bobby Finke affair. A double gold Tokyo Gold medalist in the distances, Finke won the heat in a controlled and smooth performance of 14:59.04 to overtake the top spot from Clark and post the only swim under 15:00.00. Finke was trailed by David Johnston for much of the race as the pair were within a second of each other at the 400, 3:56.59 to 3:57.55. Johnston had actually closed the gap a little by the 800, now being .85 seconds behind (not much of a change, to be fair), but Finke coincidentally also picked up the pace slightly, dropping three sub-30 splits over the next 300, whereas Johnston was above 30.4 on three of those same 50s.

Johnston, who is on a redshirt year from Texas and is training with Mark Shubert and ‘The Swim Team’  finished in 15:02.42, just .05 off his personal best of 15:02.37 from the 2022 Summer Nationals.

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Aragon Son of Arathorne
29 days ago

i really want to see simone drop the hammer in that 50. I also expected a little more speed from gretchen in the 50 and also surprised kate didn’t swim it

NCSwimFan
Reply to  Aragon Son of Arathorne
29 days ago

Gretchen was noticeably bad on the start in the 50. She’s normally not good off the blocks, but it was REALLY not good in the 50. Hopefully can rectify that for semis and finals, she’s been able to drop a good amount from prelims to semis all meet.

NCSwimFan
29 days ago

The girls’ Junior Pan Pacs roster appears to be fully set, as only two eligible 18Us (Rylee Erisman and Annam Olasewere) made the semifinals of the 50 free. In total, 21 girls made the priority list, with Lily King being the lowest priority via her 4th-place 100 free and not making the roster capped at 20.

  1. Madi Mintenko (200 free, 400 free, 4×100 free relay) (Priority 1)
  2. Lillie Nesty (200 free) (P1)
  3. Rylee Erisman (100 free, 50 free) (P1)
  4. Erika Pelaez (100 free) (P1)
  5. Kayla Han (400 free, 1500 free) (Priority 2)
  6. Lilla Bognar (400 IM, 200 back, 200 IM) (P2)
  7. Piper Enge (100 breast) (P2)
  8. Leah Shackley (100 back, 100 fly) (P2)
  9. Paige Downey (1500 free) (P2)
  10. Audrey
… Read more »

NCSwimFan
Reply to  NCSwimFan
29 days ago

The boys roster is a little more challenging, with 22 boys making the priority list. Luke Ellis and William Mulgrew will determine who makes Priority 2 and who Priority 5 in the 1500 final tomorrow night, which could prove consequential. Quin Seider as the only Priority 6 swimmer is off the team as the first cut, while the second cut will be the Priority 5 swimmer with the lowest percentage of the OQT.

  1. Luka Mijatovic (200 free, 400 free) (Priority 1)
  2. Jason Zhao (200 free) (P1)
  3. Kaii Winkler (100 free, 50 free, 100 fly) (P1)
  4. Maximus Williamson (100 free, 200 IM, 4×200 free relay) (P1)
  5. Sean Green (400 free, 400 IM, 800 free) (Priority 2)
  6. Gregg Enoch (400 IM)
… Read more »

NCSwimFan
Reply to  NCSwimFan
29 days ago

Sorry, meant to type 15:14.88 for Mulgrew’s 1500 time near the bottom, and don’t want to edit the above comment as the formatting tends to mess up when I edit comments with lists.

NCSwimFan
Reply to  NCSwimFan
29 days ago

If Howat is indeed the final cut there’s going to be a major hole for the boys in the 4×100 free relay, as behind Winkler, Williamson, and Zhao (who have all been sub-50) there doesn’t appear to be a boy on the roster sub-52 in the 100 free. Winkler and Williamson have both been tremendously fast in the 100 free so they may very well be able to overcome that hurdle, and there are a number of boys (Cox, Green, Mijatovic, and Shackell) who have all been right at 52 low, but it’s certainly a hole.

NCSwimFan
29 days ago

deleted

Last edited 29 days ago by NCSwimFan
Orange Mandela
29 days ago

This AP report makes me proud to be an American!

US OLYMPIC TEAM plans to take its own air conditioners to Paris. Take that Australia!
—————

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Olympic team is one of a handful that will supply air conditioners for their athletes at the Paris Games in a move that undercuts organizers’ plans to cut carbon emissions.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic CEO Sarah Hirshland said Friday that while the U.S. team appreciates efforts aimed at sustainability, the federation would be supplying AC units for what is typically the largest contingent of athletes at the Summer Games.

“As you can imagine, this is a period of time in which consistency and predictability is critical for… Read more »

jeff
Reply to  Orange Mandela
29 days ago

but Australia is also bringing their own AC?

Meow
Reply to  Orange Mandela
29 days ago
Last edited 29 days ago by Meow
Swim fan
Reply to  Meow
29 days ago

They really do have the best coffee in the world imho. No, I’m not Australian – just travel a lot

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

How about cowbells?

IMO
29 days ago

Haven’t seen anything here about Finke and Clark being the only ones with ‘A’ cuts. Theoretically Johnston or Whitlock could finish second, but if they don’t get the ‘A’ cut, Clark gets the Olympic roster spot.

NCSwimFan
Reply to  IMO
29 days ago

Yeah I mentioned that yesterday in the finals live recap but I’m sure it got buried. Kind of wild to have been rebuilding a distance core, getting 5 under in the 400 final and 4 under in the 800 final, and yet the 1500 has lagged behind dramatically. Both Johnston and Matheson have been close so it’s certainly possible one of them goes under, and Whitlock goes faster pretty much every time he hits the pool so anything’s possible.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  NCSwimFan
29 days ago

I really think, if we want to rebuild distance properly, that Division 1 NCAA Championships needs to go the route of Division 2: 4-day meet that includes the 1000Fr as well and thus a) makes the distance swimmers more relevant/valuable and b) doesn’t incentivize strictly training for the 200/500 and hoping for the best in the 1650.

Doggiepaddle
29 days ago

Assuming Johnston makes the team, swimmers trained by Eddie will once again make up about 20% or more of the men’s team. The sport is really going to miss him.

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Doggiepaddle
29 days ago

He should have stayed with Texas/Eddie. Most people would have said training with Schubert probably wasn’t the answer.

cynthia curran
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
29 days ago

Makes sense unless he wanted a different enviroment, but I agree with you he should have stayed with Eddie.

Justin Pollard
Reply to  Doggiepaddle
29 days ago

Eddie was a superb coach for sure. He will be missed. I do think others will step up to fill his shoes though.

M L
29 days ago

I hope Deloof will streamline her cap situation tonight to give herself the best chance. She lost the 100 swim off on that alone.

kazoo
Reply to  M L
29 days ago

Hard to believe that an experienced swimmer would not be aware of this. Maybe she doesn’t like her straps inside her cap?

Cowbell Mafia
Reply to  M L
29 days ago

Out of all the places in that race to get .04 seconds from, the goggles over the cap were not the deciding factor

jeff
Reply to  Cowbell Mafia
29 days ago

0.01 could’ve been it though

M L
29 days ago

How is the AR holder from this very year not swimming the 50? Is Douglass that worried about the double? Even after Huske’s scratch in the IM? It’s really too bad.

And why no Curzan?

Swimfan27
Reply to  M L
29 days ago

Curzan didn’t enter the 50 free. On a podcast Kate said she is focusing on events she can win at the Olympics, and both she and Todd DeSorbo acknowledged that she isn’t going to beat Sarah Sjostrom.

NCSwimFan
Reply to  M L
29 days ago

Curzan’s PB of 24.17 was done back in May of 2021 (a time she’s not been within a quarter-second of since), and since April of 2022 she hasn’t been under 24.55 in the event, likely not going to be fast enough to make the team.

Trials Countdown
Reply to  NCSwimFan
29 days ago

Claire had 20.98 50 free and 46.85 100 free relay splits at Stanford so her speed is still there. Would have had a great chance to be top 6 and make team.

VA Steve
Reply to  M L
29 days ago

Schedule sucks for Kate. Period.

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  VA Steve
28 days ago

Schedule sucks for most top swimmers because they can swim many events