50 Free Semifinalist Payton Sorenson Only Swam One Meet Between 2021 And 2024 Trials


Between the 2021 and 2024 U.S. Olympic trials, 30-year-old Payton Sorenson swam at one singular meet. And yet, he ended up as a semi-finalist at both competitions.

Sorenson, a former BYU swimmer and 2016 NCAA All-American, turned heads in the 2nd heat of the men’s 50 free on Thursday morning when he swam 22.19 — a time that survived as the top seed all the way until the circle-seeded heats. The time would eventually settle at 12th, advancing him to the semifinals on Thursday night. In the semi-finals, he went a 22.24 to finish 14th overall.

“I wasn’t expecting to go 22-low,” Sorenson said. “I was just coming to see what I could do.”

“There’s no other atmosphere like it. Swimming at the U.S. trials is one of the greatest experiences…the crowd is electric.”

Prior to this meet though, Sorenson had only been training for two months. After setting a best time of 22.08 and finishing 12th at 2021 trials, he thought he was done with swimming for good. Sometime following that meet though, he began following Pro Swim Series meets, where he saw swimmers that he’s raced against throughout his career post fast times. He then remembered his ultimate career goal — to break 22 seconds in the 50 free. And he was so close.

So Sorenson started training two months ago, and signed up for the Cactus Classic in Arizona that took place in late May. And off just three weeks of swimming and lifting in the gym, he hit a time of 22.76 in the 50 free, booking a ticket to trials.

“It’s kind of just one of those things where it’s, ‘I’m going to sign up for a meet in May and if I get a time, great, I’m going to go,'” Sorenson said. “If not, it is what it is.”

Even though Sorenson didn’t match his goal of breaking 22 seconds, swimming at trials inspired him to keep going in the sport. He still works a full-time job as a roofer in Arizona, but he plans on entering future Pro Series meets and potentially training to hit another trials cut.

After all, as 46-year-old Gabrielle Rose showed us this week, it’s never too late to pursue a goal.

“Since I got close, I think that I’m going to keep training and see if I can go to some meets maybe in the future,” Sorenson said.

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28 days ago

Off just two months of training, that’s pretty sick

Toro Cougar Seadog
Reply to  Boomer
28 days ago

It may not be ‘specific’ but be assured that being a roofer in Arizona, especially in the summer period, is pretty heavy duty training.

28 days ago

I wish more older (I know he’s only 30) swimmers would keep going part time and swimming in some meets. I love seeing these guys at trials and pro series meets. Shoutout to Grevers too!

29 days ago

Making BYU proud! We love you payton!

Byu alum
Reply to  Jtiff
28 days ago

As did you

This Guy
29 days ago

Is there a chance he takes it a bit further just to see what he can do in the next year? Geeze that’s some talent

29 days ago

Raise the roof!

29 days ago

Roofer in AZ? Brutal!

29 days ago

Can’t wait for Brett Hawke to pretend he’s been a support the whole time and spew his sprint revolution BS

Reply to  Andrew
29 days ago

I came here to say the same thing #sprintrevolution

Old Bruin
29 days ago

This is awesome, good for him!

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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