2024 Trials Day 4 Prelims Overreaction: 2 Fly Swim Off Dreams Dashed and Other Ramblings


This is an opinion piece and may not reflect the views of SwimSwam

First off, I hope you enjoy this article (or at least pretend to) as much as you have Laura Rosado‘s.

Also, humble brag: I started the morning beating Braden Keith and Barry Revzin in their invite-only, competitive trivia league by answering five of the six questions correctly compared to their measly four correct answers, I did also drop half a sandwich out of my mouth this morning, but I don’t think anyone noticed so I’d still say I am net positive on the morning. Also, to stay in Barry’s good graces, so he will keep on messaging me the questions, I’m going to use Shakespeare quotes as all my subheadings for the articles.

“Two Fly or Not Two Fly”

I love a swim-off. Correction. I love watching a swim-off, I don’t think I’d revel in the opportunity of having to swim one. Having served as the in-house announcer for numerous college Conference Meets and USA swim meets, as well as doubling up and doing the commentary for live-streamed meets during COVID (I’ve worn many swim hats), the most fun race to call in a swim-off.

Often times the stands empty and it just the teammates gathering at the end of pool to cheer on their teammates, but it can be the loudest cheering. Even if the crowd stays, there seems to be quieter more anticiapated hush that descends upon everyone.

And Chase Kalisz took that dream away from me.

I know we’ve had some amazing swim-offs already this meet. Danny Kovac and Ben Cono were stroke for stroke over a 100 breast with Kovac getting the touch by .03. Aaron Shackell and Daniel Diehl had an epic 200 free swim-off for a spot in the final and major relay roster implications. But the tie between Carl Bloebaum and Logan Robinson for 16th place was not to be resolved by a swim-off as Chase Kalisz‘s scratching of his 7th seed took away what was going to be one of the most grueling yet fun races.

I don’t really blame Kalisz and nor do I wish for anyone’s shoulders to suffer three long course 200 flys in a day. As some who once went out in 31 for the first 50 of fly and came home in 50, I pretend to feel their pain.

“This above all: to thine own self be true”

In looking for a quote that tied into the detrimental effects of no-showing events, I came to the conclusion that I had reversed my position and needed to change my quote. I’ve written about no-shows and their repercussions on swimming and mentioned them whenever they appear when I’ve done live recaps and wrote an opinion piece on them, which you can read here, when things came to a critical mass at the 2024 Knoxville PSS when Will Licon had four lanes of the pool to himself in the last heat of the 200 IM.

My collegue Yanyan Li wrote an article about Carson Foster‘s 3rd and 4th No-Shows of the Olympic Trials and I had a plan to have this session be about his apparent “Allergies to the Scratch Table”.

I have no issues with swimmers over entering the meet, as coach, having more options for your swimmers is always better than not and I have no issues is with swimmers waiting to the last minute to decide to see if they are physically (or mentally) able to swim. Only they know what is best for them and I will never deride one for putting their own well being over my enjoyment of watching full heats.

I will take umbrage, however if they know before the scratch deadline and do nothing about it as

  1. It potentially makes the meet longer, as a scratch could condense heats
  2. It makes for poor watching as empty lanes lead to less excitement and thrilling side-by-side finishes
  3. It prevents other swimmers from being surrounded by competition and gives everyone the best shot at having their best race

I cannot fathom to know what is going on in Carson Foster‘s mind nor have I had any personal interaction to ask, but hope in the future he may take these points into consideration

“I am Ill at the Numbers”

I thought I like data and numbers and analysis and then I met Barry, I tried to use numbers to justify my picks for most and least likely world records to be broken and I made a massive spreadsheet typing by hand what it took to make it back to semis and finals at the most recent worlds.

But two big numbers that he has been crunching (and that I am stealing) are the time differentials between making it back in 2021 and 2024 in the Women’s 100 free and the Women’s 1500. In the 1500, 8th place from prelims was more than nine seconds slower than it was 2024 going from 16:16.09 to 16:25.33. While it may seem like a large number, and the relatively slow (and boring) pace of the 1500 may support it the nine second add as being indicative of the event becoming slower, high profile and high-ranked scratches and no-shows from Claire Weinstein (#4 – 16:09.85), Paige Madden (#5 – 16:09.93) and Bella Sims (#11 – 16:19.79) could have also accounted for that swing.

My collegues suggested that perhaps they never were going to swim, and that was not the best analysis, but Barry, in his infinite wisdom, did suggest that it doesn’t really matter, as swimmers ranked 1-5 know what they need to do to qualify and 8th place is really just indicative of what 8th place is. Does that make sense? I’ll leave it to the experts.

“Behind every great woman… is another great woman.”- Kate Hodges

Shakespeare does not age well on a variety of topics, particularly when addressing women, and I could not think of how “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” could be spun in any great light, so I switched tact.

Based on Barry’s numbers, 16th place in the women’s 100 free was a full half a second faster this year than it was in 2021.  Three years ago in Omaha, it took 55.22, whereas this morning it was 54.72. 55.22 would have placed 26th this morning, behind Lily King ‘s 55.14, no, not Lilly King.

All this could be moot if the 50 pans out to not also be faster, but the growth of the women’s 100 free and sprinting in general across American swimming has been staggering. Yes, you could attribute it to the rise of Kate Douglass and Gretchen Walsh as well as veterans Simone Manuel and Abbey Weitzeil still competing at a high level, but we see it in the youth as well. Rylee Erisman, who was born in 2009, was 7th after this morning, and Erika Pelaez, born in 2006, tied for 13th.

With the present and future of American sprinting working together to improve, I think the sky’s the limit. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to pick the Aussies in my Olympics Pick’em, but I wouldn’t rule it out for LA.



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1 month ago

I love these Mark Wild posts. And the Laura Rosado posts, too. Thank you both.

Grant Drukker
1 month ago

Aren’t you supposed to be fined for DNS? Or is that only for final sessions per meet rules?

Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 month ago

Yes, but if the swimmer did a declared false start (DFS), it doesn’t appeared to be marked differently as a DNS.

Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Thank you for calling out the Carson foster DNS nonsense. Hope the message gets to him.

Ole 99
1 month ago

Can not like the DFS / DNS comment enough.

Tracy Kosinski
1 month ago

Aaron raced Daniel, not Alex 🙂

1 month ago

I approve of this post.