2022 U.S. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TRIALS
- April 26-30, 2022
- Greensboro, NC
- Greensboro Aquatic Center
- LCM (50m)
- Start Times: Prelims – 9 am ET / Finals – 6 pm ET
- Worlds Qualifying Criteria
- SwimSwam Preview Index
- SwimSwam Pick ‘Em Contest
- How To Watch
- Meet Central
- Psych Sheets
- Live Results
- Day 1 Finals Live Recap
The American women went in to the 2022 US Trials with a big question: do they have enough to catch the Australians, or the Canadians for that matter, in the 400 free relay, with both teams short-handed headed toward Budapest.
So far, the pathway to a gold medal at the World Championships isn’t obvious.
It’s not that there weren’t good swims by the Americans. The next two big things for American sprinting, Torri Huske and Claire Curzan, finished 1-2 in the race, with Huske (53.35) going a personal best coming off the college season, and Curzan (53.58) just-missing her personal best.
Kate Douglass, the NCAA’s second-fastest swimmer in the 100 yard free last season, bounced back for a 53.99 and 5th place: her first time under 54 seconds in this event.
Erika Brown was very close to her personal best, as was Natalie Hinds, even after changing her training back to Florida post-Trials.
The 6th-place finisher, Mallory Comerford, went another best-in-years time of 54.09 to give herself a shot at the roster (she will have to wait to see how many doubles appear before she’s guaranteed a spot).
All of these are very good things for the Americans. Yet, the gap between them and the Australians might have gotten even bigger.
That’s because the US will be without the only two American women who have been under 53 seconds on a flat-start since 2018 Pan Pacs: Simone Manuel and Abbey Weitzeil. Weitzeil added from 54.19 in prelims to 54.41 in finals, finishing 7th (though her prelims time would have also placed 7th).
And so the Americans are left with a lot of women who can go solid 53s, but none of the 52s that they badly need to close the gaps on their primary competition.
Here’s the comparison
|Trials Top 4||Trials Top 4||
|Torri Huske – 53.35||Kayla Sanchez – 53.68||
Shayna Jack – 53.13
|Claire Curzan – 53.58||Penny Oleksiak – 53.70 (prelims)||
Mollie O’Callaghan – 53.67
|Erika Brown – 53.59||Taylor Ruck – 53.99||
Madi Wilson – 53.68
|Natalie Hinds – 53.65||Rebecca Smith – 55.21 (prelims)||Meg Harris – 54.04|
|Aggregate – 3:34.17||Aggregate – 3:36.58||
Aggregate – 3:34.52
*Australia’s 2022 bests list excludes swimmers who have announced that they’re skipping Worlds.
Australia will be without at least Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell, half of its World Record setting finals relay from the Olympics. Even before their Trials, Australia’s best this season would have been 1-5-5-6 at US Trials, and all four of those swimmers are, so far, still in for the World Championships.
With Meg Harris appearing to be on her way to health after an injury earlier this year, and Shayna Jack back on her meteoric trajectory from before a doping suspension, the Australian women have an embarrassment of riches in the 100 free. While Canada’s fate balances on a razor’s edge and will depend largely on the health of Maggie MacNeil’s fractured elbow, Australia is resilient to the absence of swimmers like McKeon and the Campbell sisters.
The United States’ best hope at a gold in this event at the World Championships now is Abbey Weitzeil qualifying later in the meet in the 50 free. That would then leave U.S. coaches with a day 1 gamble about whether to use her in this relay, though with only 1 individual event there would be no reason to not give her a prelims-relay test.
There’s probably a little room to grow for the top four here from Trials in the two months between now and Worlds, but it feels like tenths for each, and not enough to add up to what the Americans would need to fight off Australia. Barring a radical shift between now and Budapest, it looks like the Australian women’s dominance in this relay will continue, even if it’s not with a World Record.