Carson Foster Enters 200 Fly, No Backstroke At U.S. Olympic Trials


One of many up-and-coming swimmers who will vie for their first Olympic berth in a few day’s time, Carson Foster has entered four events for the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, which are set to begin on Sunday.

Foster, fresh off his freshman year at the University of Texas, has entered the 200 and 400 individual medley, along with the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly.

Carson Foster Olympic Trials Entries

  • 200 freestyle (#13 seed, 1:47.47)
  • 200 butterfly (#27 seed, 1:58.60)
  • 200 IM (#3 seed, 1:57.59)
  • 400 IM (#2 seed, 4:11.13)

While none of these entries are a surprise, it does, to an extent, finalize Foster’s shift out of the backstroke realm, where he had specialized and thrived earlier in his career.

The now 19-year-old was the silver medalist in the 200 back at the 2017 World Junior Championships, and further lowered his best time down to 1:57.70 at the 2018 U.S. Nationals in Irvine.

Though he did race the 200 back at NCAAs in March, Foster has since transitioned to become more of a 200 freestyler to go along with his medley prowess, and he’s certainly among the candidates to finish in the top six of the event at Trials and qualify for the 800 free relay in Tokyo.

The main deterrent that probably assured Foster’s absence in the 200 back was it’s conflict with the 200 IM, where he’s directed much of his focus over the last few years. It’s a double we’ve seen Ryan Lochte tackle at his peak, and even then it wasn’t easy.

All three rounds of the men’s 200 back and 200 IM fall in the same session at Trials, essentially forcing athletes to pick one or the other. Foster’s fastest 200 back time inside the Trials qualifying period, 1:58.26, would’ve seeded him eighth in Omaha.

The lone conflict that pops up when looking at Foster’s actual Trials schedule comes on Day 3, where the 200 free final precedes the 200 fly semis.

However, given that the 200 free final comes first, he could conceivably take on the 200 fly semis after the fact with nothing to lose—though he may opt to sit out of the 200 fly heats in preparation for the 200 free final, should he get there.

Sitting out of the 200 fly would also give the Mason Manta Ray a full day off prior to the 200 IM, where he’s slated to challenge for an Olympic spot as the #3 seed.

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10 days ago

Woahhhh big Michael Phelps guy over here👈

10 days ago

Obvious events. Don’t think his backstroke has followed his IM as well since early HS days.

Mr Piano
10 days ago

Very smart move to not go for 200 back lmao

Reply to  Mr Piano
10 days ago

M. Piano of all people probably knows what happens to the legs

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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