Absences: Big College Names McHugh, Magahey, & Mefford Out of Trials

Men’s Edition

The 2022 USA Swimming International Team Trials are on a unique timeline by American swimming standards. Though April trials meets coming out of the NCAA Championships are common internationally, in the U.S., athletes usually have at least a few months to regroup before setting out again for another taper meet.

This is also an opportunity for some athletes as well. Those collegiate swimmers who have exhausted their eligibility don’t have as difficult of a decision to make about hanging on for another month, just to see what happens.

We’ve compiled a list of swimmers who would have been high seeds and probable A-Finalists in at least one event who are absent entirely from the psych sheets. Not just absent in an event, but not participating at all.

Who is included in this list:

  • Swimmers who have not competed since the 2021 US Olympic Trials. We recognize that many of these athletes are probably retired, and that they may have told their friends and teammates that they are retired, but they have not announced it publicly, so we won’t jump to any conclusions.
  • Swimmers who may be skipping the meet because they just completed their collegiate seasons.
  • Swimmers who are injured, but who we have not reported their injuries yet.

Who is not included in this list:

  • Swimmers who have announced their retirements.
  • Swimmers about whom we’ve published reports on their injuries (i.e. Blake Pieroni).
  • Swimmers who have already announced they won’t be racing at this meet (i.e. Jake Mitchell, upon his transfer to Florida)


  • Max McHugh, Minnesota – #3 seed in the 100 breast (without Andrew Wilson competing, this event is down to Michael Andrew and Nic Fink, but McHugh felt like one of maybe two or three guys who could disrupt that. While he finished his senior season at Minnesota, McHugh has already announced that he’s returning for a 5th year, so he’s not done yet).
  • Michael Brinegar, The Swim Team – #2 seed in the 800 free, #2 seed in the 1500 free (Brinegar was 5th at Open Water Nationals in the 10k in March, and was the #4 American, which put him in position to make the National Team there. After NCAAs, where he finished 6th in the mile, he turned pro and said he was focusing on the Paris Olympics in California back with Mark Schubert. Brinegar was on the US team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where he placed 17th in both the 800 and 1500 frees).
  • Daniel Roy, Stanford – #3 seed in the 200 breast (he finished his senior season at Stanford in March with an 8th-place finish in the 200 breast. He was well within reach of the World Championships team in the 200 breast: his 2:08.89 best time is only four-tenths away from second seed Will Licon).
  • Jake Magahey, Georgia – #10 seed in the 200 free, #5 seed in the 400 free, #8 seed in the 800 free (the 2021 NCAA Champion in the 500 free, Magahey finished 2nd (and as the top American) in 2022. He hasn’t raced since NCAAs at the end of March).
  • Bryce Mefford, Cal – #5 seed in the 100 back, #2 seed in the 200 back (the Tokyo 2020 Olympian Mefford was wishy-washy about whether he’d race for Cal last season using his 5th season of eligibility after a post-Olympic break. He ultimately did, and contributed points to the team’s NCAA title with a 7th place finish in the 200 back and a 14th place finish in the 100 back, but he never really looked all-in on the season).
  • Arik Katz, Harvard – #3 seed in the 1500 free, #8 seed in the 800 free (Katz, who was on the US team at World Juniors in 2019, finished 25th in the mile at NCAAs in his freshman year at Harvard. Harvard’s finals don’t start until the meet ends, for the most part).
  • Brooks Fail, Arizona – #5 seed in the 200 fly, #5 seed in the 400 free (Fail, a current member of the US National Team, finished 5th, 6th, and 7th in the 500 free, 400 IM, and 1650 free at NCAAs in March, completing a decorated five-year career at Arizona. His best long course races, the 400 free and the 200 fly, are wide-open events).
  • Reece Whitley, Cal – #7 seed in the 200 breast, #9 seed in the 100 breast (Whitley hinted at NCAAs that he was likely done with his elite swimming career as he’s looking toward grad school).
  • Corey Gambardella, Indiana – #5 seed in the 200 fly (Gambardella was 5th in the 200 fly at NCAAs after hanging around Indiana to use his 5th year of eligibility last season).
  • Zach Brown, NC State – #6 seed in the 200 fly (Brown didn’t crack NC State’s roster for NCAAs, but he’s a better long course swimmer in the 200 fly than short course. He was a senior last season for NC State.
  • Matt Fenlon, Stanford – #6 seed in the 200 fly (a lot of guys moved into A-final contention in this race – because of scratches in this 1:56 range. Fenlon couldn’t crack a best time in the 200 fly in his first season at Stanford. He was 20th last year out of high school at the Olympic Trials).
  • Andrew Abruzzo, Georgia – #6 seed in the 800 free (after missing the NCAA Championships, Abruzzo isn’t going to give it a shot at Trials).
  • Will Davis, Florida – #8 seed in the 50 free (Davis has the same lifetime best in the long course 50 free as NCAA Champion Brooks Curry. He announced his retirement after NCAAs, but after half-a-second drop during the collegiate season, we were excited to see what he could do in long course).
  • Ian Grum, Georgia – #7 seed in the 200 back
  • Clark Beach, Florida – #7 seed in the 200 back
  • Ethan Gogulski, Texas A&M – #7 seed in the 200 back
  • Danny Kovac, Missouri – #6 seed in the 100 fly
  • Tyler Sesvold, Alabama – #8 seed in the 100 fly


Like jobs, graduate degrees, etc.

  • Nathan Adrian (started a swim school and swim club in Northern California, has only raced once since the Olympic Trials at a small local meet in California).
  • Matt Grevers (who opened a swim school in Arizona).
  • Josh Prenot (began a career as a Data Analyst with ClickUp in August 2021).


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1 year ago

Liam Bell! He didn’t swim last summer (ankle injury or something) and didn’t compete LC but he’s always been a good LC competitor.

1 year ago

Big changing of the guard on the men’s side over the next few years.

Alex Dragovich
1 year ago

It makes sense for the athletes to want a reset right now. Or to start a training block geared toward competitions late this year & next year and/or OTs & Paris. Or, whatever else.

The athletes themselves + their coaches, families, teams, friends etc. know what works for them and the reasoning behind it. We have no idea what’s happening in their lives, how Covid has effected things, etc.

No armchair commentator here has any place projecting or trying to make some uninformed judgement about the athletes’ reasoning for not attending this meet. So more athletes than usual won’t make Nationals/WC trials. And? These are not “usual” times.

Grant Drukker
1 year ago

I’ll never understand the “Preparing for next years championship, so I’m not gonna race this trials meet” mindset. Seen it a lot with the Australians over the years, remember Cielo saying it a fair amount.

Even if you’re not 100% sure in yourself to make the team, why not just try to make it? Worst case is you get racing experience in. Is skipping a 5-7 day meet really going to put you in a better spot for a competition 12-18 months out from now?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

Tapering once sets you back at least 2-3 years.

Grant Drukker
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 year ago

Some say Lilly king never tapered all of NCAAs

Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

Which Australians in the past? Unless you mean when they were having surgery (Chalmers in 2017) or looking after their mental health (Campbell in 2017).

Boxall's Railing
Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

True, but I could see Mr. Furosemide doing this to just get out of a few more drug tests.

Reply to  Grant Drukker
1 year ago

Many of these swimmers are students who are a week away from final exams. Every national meet requires them to take approximately a week off to travel/compete. Imagine how difficult that would be as a full time student. Not ideal when there are ‘big’ meets every month or so. These student athletes devote much of their lives to swimming, and DO need a life outside of swimming. Please think before you judge their reasons for not competing in one single meet.

1 year ago

Cooper Van der Laan is from Australia if I am not mistaken

The Original Tim
1 year ago

Kinda bummed, I was hoping some of the big name no shows here, or at least the big names at the tail ends of their international careers, would make an appearance at USMS Nationals in San Antonio instead. Haven’t seen any on the psych sheet, though.

I remember watching Grevers and Ervin at USMS Nats in San Antonio in 2015, it was a lot of fun to “race” them in their events!

Last edited 1 year ago by The Original Tim
JP input is too short
Reply to  The Original Tim
1 year ago

The “big names” at USMS Nationals from a former international level in the younger age groups would be Josh Prenot, Tim Phillips, and Eugene Godsoe.

There are a nice variety of former D1 type guys scattered around the psych sheet too.

Wish I could have made it to that meet, it’s really deep overall. Good competition.

NJT fan
1 year ago

Where’s Nick Simons? He’s a national junior teamer who isn’t on the psych sheet. He made semi-finals at Wave II last year

1 year ago

Is there a total # athlete count somewhere?

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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