2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Previews: Huske Puts World Record On High Alert In 100 Fly

2024 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS

WOMEN’S 100 BUTTERFLY – BY THE NUMBERS

  • 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 Olympic Champion: Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.59
  • 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Champion: Torri Huske, 55.66
  • U.S. Olympic Trials Cut: 1:00.19
  • 2024 Olympic Qualifying Time (‘A’ Cut): 57.92

The U.S. women are incredibly deep in a number of events, and the 100 butterfly is certainly one of them, with four swimmers ranked inside the top eight in the world this season. There’s a clear frontrunner as we head to Indianapolis, but the second spot is up for grabs with some of the country’s best female swimmers in contention.

HUSKE SEPARATES HERSELF

Torri Huske emerged as the best female American 100 butterflier in history at the U.S. Olympic Trials three years ago, dropping over a second from her best time in Omaha to take out Dana Vollmer‘s nine-year-old American Record and qualify for her first Olympic Games in 55.66.

In Tokyo, Huske was essentially right on her best time (and just a quarter of a second shy of the world record) in 55.73, but was locked out of the medals, placing 4th in a razor-thin race.

Coming off her freshman year at Stanford, Huske had a standout 2022 that included winning the world title in the 100 fly, resetting her American Record in 55.64.

She was relatively off by her lofty standards in 2023, claiming bronze at Worlds in 56.61, but has bounced back with a vengeance so far this year.

Opting to redshirt her junior year with the Cardinal, Huske has been on fire during the long course season, blasting a time of 55.68 at the Pro Swim in San Antonio to establish herself as the early favorite for gold in Paris.

The 21-year-old recently said she feels like she’s living life on “easy mode” during her redshirt year, and it’s certainly showing up in her performance. Although it remains to be seen if Huske will be the gold medal favorite at the Olympics, there’s little doubt she’ll earn her spot there in Indianapolis, with Sarah Sjostrom‘s eight-year-old world record of 55.48 on high alert.

VIRGINIA DUO LEADS RACE FOR SECOND

Behind Huske, there are three other women who have broken 57 seconds this season, two of whom train at the University of Virginia.

That’s Gretchen Walsh, who represented the U.S. alongside Huske at the 2023 Worlds, and Claire Curzan, who was 10th in Tokyo, 5th at the 2022 Worlds, and then won silver this past February at the 2024 Worlds in Doha.

Both Walsh and Curzan have other events to focus on, but they represent the next two swimmers (behind Huske) who will have the 100 fly extremely high on their priority list at the Trials.

Another Virginia-trained swimmer, Kate Douglass, has no shortage of events to choose from in Indianapolis, but will place all of her focus on the 200 IM, 200 breast and 100 free, recently saying those are the three events she’ll race (with the 50 free as a maybe) at Trials.

She was 3rd at the 2021 Olympic Trials, 4th at the 2022 Nationals and 3rd at the 2023 Nationals, but will sit out this year despite an elite best time of 56.43.

The non-UVA swimmer who has been 56 this season is Regan Smith, who likely places the 100 fly fourth on her list of priorities despite being elite in the event.

Smith also won’t have an event conflict, barring a surprising entry in the 200 free, so this race lines up to be a wild showdown for the second spot in Paris assuming Huske is firing on all cylinders.

2023-24 U.S. Rankings, Women’s 100 Butterfly (LCM)

  1. Torri Huske, 55.68 – 2024 PSS – San Antonio
  2. Gretchen Walsh, 56.14 – 2024 PSS – San Antonio
  3. Regan Smith, 56.36 – 2024 PSS – Westmpnt
  4. Claire Curzan, 56.61 – 2024 World Championships
  5. Alex Shackell, 57.22 – 2024 Indy May Cup
  6. Alex Walsh, 57.59 – 2024 PSS – Knoxville
  7. Kelly Pash, 57.85 – 2023 Pan Am Games
  8. Leah Shackley, 58.29 – 2023 World Junior Championships
  9. Olivia Bray, 58.36 – 2023 Pan Am Games
  10. Josephine Fuller, 58.37 – 2024 TNAQ April Invite

G. Walsh

The leading candidate to nab the remaining spot in Paris is Walsh, who is coming off arguably the greatest collegiate season in swimming history with her performance in the 100 fly at NCAAs being her banner moment. Walsh is more than a second faster than anyone else has ever been in the short course yards event, and has made significant strides in long course over the last 12 months.

The 21-year-old broke 57 for the first time in June 2023, qualified for the World Championships later that month in 56.34, and after making the final last year in Fukuoka, set a new PB of 56.14 in April.

Curzan

Claire Curzan. Photo: Fabio Cetti

The 100 fly was previously the event in which Curzan was synonymous with, as she broke the World Junior Record and became the second-fastest American of all-time (at the time) in 2021, going under the 17-18 NAG Record at the age of 16 in 56.20.

She followed up by qualifying for Tokyo under pressure at the U.S. Trials in Omaha, clocking 56.43 to edge out Douglass and veteran Kelsi Dahlia.

Curzan went 56.35 at the 2022 U.S. Nationals, placed 5th at the World Championships in Budapest (56.74), but missed the 2023 World Championship team altogether, and after transitioning from Stanford to Virginia, has emerged as a better backstroker than she is in the 100 fly.

At the 2024 World Championships, Curzan swept the backstroke events and was the silver medalist in the 100 fly, matching her fastest time from 2023 in 56.61. The 19-year-old could have a very busy schedule at Trials, but the 100 fly will surely be in her lineup and if her recent trend of improvement continues since moving to Charlottesville, she’ll be in contention for a second straight Olympic berth in the event.

Smith

Smith is very much like Douglass, being in the hunt for an Olympic spot despite the 100 fly likely nowhere near a top focus in training leading up to Trials.

The six fastest 100 fly swims of Smith’s career have in the last 14 months, including setting a new lifetime best of 56.36 in March.

Smith, who has been on fire ever since joining Bob Bowman at Arizona State (and now Texas), scratched the 100 fly final at the 2021 U.S. Trials and didn’t race it at either selection meet in 2022 and 2023, so it’s possibly we see her dial in on the 100 back, 200 back and 200 fly and forgo the event in Indianapolis.

Smith could race the prelims and make her decision from there, but something that shouldn’t be overlooked is the fact that her newly-minted PB set at an in-season meet in March would’ve won silver at the 2023 World Championships.

TEENAGE DISRUPTORS

There are always surprises at the U.S. Olympic Trials, and particularly in 2021, we saw young stars such as Huske and Curzan emerge after the one-year delay gave them extra time to develop while the established veterans had to try and maintain their form for 12 more months.

That’s not the case this time around, but nonetheless, there are a few burgeoning swimmers who could shake things up and challenge the big guns in Indianapolis.

Leading that charge is Alex Shackell, the 17-year-old who set a best time of 57.22 last week to become #3 all-time in the 17-18 age group behind Huske and Curzan (with Smith and Walsh ranked 4-5).

Shackell was 6th last summer at U.S. Nationals in 57.59, and given that she’s already faster than that in-season, we could easily see her in the 56s at Trials and in the fight with the others for a top two finish.

Shackell towers over the girls’ high school class of 2025 in the 100 fly, while the fastest swimmer in the event in the class one year ahead is Leah Shackley, the other teenager who could make some noise in Indy.

Shackley, 18, got some international experience under her belt last September at World Juniors, winning silver in Netanya in 58.29 after setting a PB of 57.98 in July.

The NC State commit wasn’t far off that at the Westmont Pro Swim in March, going 58.39, so another 57 seems imminent which should slot her into the ‘A’ final.

LONGHORNS LURKING

Along with the two qualifiers from Tokyo, Huske and Curzan, the only other returning ‘A’ finalists from the 2021 Olympic Trials are Kelly Pash and Olivia Bray, two of three University of Texas-based women in contention in Indianapolis.

Pash recorded a personal best time of 57.53 at the 2023 U.S. Nationals, placing 5th, and clocked 57.85 early this season at the Pan Am Games to claim the silver medal. The 23-year-old went 58.16 last weekend at the Longhorn Invite, right on where she was at this time last year.

Bray was 7th at the 2023 U.S. Nationals in a lifetime best of 57.64, and won bronze behind Pash at Pan Ams in 58.36. The 22-year-old was the slowest among the Texas trio last weekend at 59.08—she went 58.22 at the same time last year.

At the 2024 Women’s NCAA Championships, Bray and Pash placed 3-4 in the 100 fly, with teammate Emma Sticklen earning the runner-up spot while also repeating as champion in the 200 fly.

Sticklen went 58.57 at the Longhorn Invite, just four-tenths shy of her PB set last year, and is coming off hitting a lifetime best of 49.70 in the short course pool.

Among these three, Pash has the best chance to make the ‘A’ final based on her pedigree of churning out 57s, but Bray and Sticklen both promise to make things interesting in the semis.

OTHER CONTENDERS

The lone American sub-58 this season we’ve yet to touch on is Alex Walsh, who recently confirmed she won’t swim the 100 fly in Indianapolis.

Walsh has reeled off the four fastest swims of her career in 2024, setting her PB of 57.59 at the Knoxville Pro Swim.

Josephine Fuller has done the exact same thing this year, breaking 1:00 for the first time in April with a big best of 58.37.

Beata NelsonBailey HartmanLillie NordmannCaroline LarsenDakota LutherAbby Arens and Charlotte Crush have all been under 59 seconds this season as well, and Gabi Albiero (59.14 this season) made the ‘A’ final at the 2023 U.S. Nationals.

All of those names will be fighting it out during the first session of the meet to try and earn a berth in the semis, and if any of them can crack the 58-second barrier, they’ll be in championship final territory.

SWIMSWAM PICKS

PLACE SWIMMER SEASON BEST
LIFETIME BEST
1 Torri Huske 55.68 55.64
2 Gretchen Walsh 56.14 56.14
3 Claire Curzan 56.61 56.20
4 Regan Smith 56.36 56.36
5 Alex Shackell 57.22 57.22
6 Leah Shackley 58.29 57.98
7 Kelly Pash 57.85 57.53
8 Emma Sticklen 58.57 58.17

Dark Horse: Mena Boardman – Boardman exploded for a massive best time at the Federal Way Sectionals in March, breaking 1:00 for the first time in 59.37 at the age of 15. It may be too early for the now 16-year-old to challenge the top names, but another drop will put her in the hunt for a second and possibly third swim in this stacked event.

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Tani
20 days ago

Huske is very inconsistent (just look at her international meet record). I imagine she will qualify to the Olympics, only to win bronzes or place 4th or 5th. Silvers in her relays (Australia will smash USA to bits sadly). No individual golds whatsoever (actually no golds at all). She will be a second rate Natalie Coughlin (whose LCM inconsistency Huske reminds me of much).

Fraser Thorpe
22 days ago

Huske seems really dialled in, and REALLY fired up. She’s making the team and taking the gold in Paris. MM brings it on the big stage, but I think Huske is primed to take that next step.

HOO love
22 days ago

Let’s go Gretchen and Claire!!

Swimdad
22 days ago

Huske, KD, Walsh sisters, Ledecky, Regan Smith, Jacoby, King….US women have a chance of win every gold available in Paris. This must be the deepest team in recent memory.

Tanner-Garapick-Oleksiak-McIntosh
Reply to  Swimdad
22 days ago

I would put there chances at winning the 200 free and 400 IM very slim at best.

Swimdad

True, but don’t underestimate KD 400IM.

JimSwim22

50 Fr is a very tall order too

Beginner Swimmer at 25
Reply to  Swimdad
22 days ago

Weyant is totally gonna smash summer

CanSwimFan
Reply to  Beginner Swimmer at 25
22 days ago

lol

Crazycucumber93
Reply to  Beginner Swimmer at 25
22 days ago

Are you also a beginner swim fan

Troyy
Reply to  Swimdad
22 days ago

Didn’t Lilly King say something similar before Tokyo?

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Troyy
22 days ago

comment image

DustySA
Reply to  Swimdad
22 days ago

You seem to have forgotten amazing World beater Aussies and Canadians will be there too!!

KeithM
Reply to  Swimdad
22 days ago

Now if you had just said they would have a chance to medal in every event…that would show you’re residing on the same plane of reality (even though a 200fr medal at this moment seems a stretch). But alas…

Yikes
Reply to  Swimdad
22 days ago

I can’t tell if this is a post mocking Lilly King or if you’re truly that delusional…

Dan tm
Reply to  Swimdad
22 days ago

At this stage,right now, the only individual events that the US women can considered as favourites for Paris would be the,
100m Fly
800m Free
1500m Free

Thats it.
Maybe the US are not as deep as many like to think.

Obviously 2 massive selection trials to come (Aus/US) before then anyway.

KeithM
Reply to  Dan tm
21 days ago

That the US, possibly, may be favored in three events is not the best indicator of depth. That the US can potentially medal in almost all women’s events shows that the US is quite deep. The OPs preposterous assertion about contending for every gold notwithstanding the idea that the team is very deep is well supported. Although depth & dominance are not mutually exclusive they’re not quite the same thing.

Caveman
22 days ago

Walsh and Huske are both going to break the WR

Octavio Gupta
22 days ago

Torri Huske is a 100 fly specialist.

Admin
Reply to  Octavio Gupta
22 days ago

100 fly specialist who goes 24.31/52.92 in frees and 2:08.47 in the 200 IM.

Last edited 22 days ago by Braden Keith
Eli
Reply to  Braden Keith
22 days ago

52.92

Sub13
Reply to  Braden Keith
22 days ago

When did Huske become the second fastest 100 freestyler of all time? Clearly I missed that

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
22 days ago

Food for thought:

Torri Huske swims the 50 FR or the 200 IM at the 2024 Olympic Team Trials.

Martini
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
22 days ago

Why did you abbreviate the words freestyle and individual medley?

Fast and Furious
Reply to  Martini
22 days ago

He also didn’t mention if it’s the women’s event or the men’s, hard to tell

hin qaiyang
Reply to  Fast and Furious
21 days ago

Additionally, they never said whether its LCM or not 🤷

Swimz
23 days ago

Small correction: is not Vollmer went 55.99 in London to became WR holder..she is the second fastest American all time..the writer has mentioned that Huske bettered AR over one second, nooo..and has mentioned curzan became second fastest American all time 2021..

Lotus
Reply to  Swimz
22 days ago

Curzan swam that time before Huske swam her 55

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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