Carson Foster Will Use Unusual Strategy to Test-Run Olympic Trials This Weekend

2020 Ohio MAKO Senior Meet

  • February 28th-March 1st, 2020
  • Corwin Nixon Aquatic Center, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
  • LCM (50m)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2020 OH MAKO Senior Meet”

US National Teamer Carson Foster will make his first big Olympic preparation in long course at the 2020 Ohio MAKO Senior Meet this weekend. The meet, usually a short course yards event, is a big marker for the top high school-aged swimmers in the state of Ohio, which includes the 18-year old Foster.

Specifically, Foster will test out his preparedness to race a trio of 200 IMs within a 40 hour window, which is what he’ll have to do in order to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team later this summer in Omaha, Nebraska.

On Friday morning, Foster began his meet with a 2:00.27 in the 200 IM prelims. He’ll follow that with a swim in the ‘finals’ on Friday (which he’ll treat as semi-finals).

Then, on Saturday morning, the plan is to do enough in the 200 fly prelims to earn a spot in a finals heat on Saturday evening, at which point he will take a DQ by swimming the finals of the 200 fly as a 200 IM in order to simulate the Olympic Trials schedule.

Foster will then race the 200 free as scheduled on Sunday.

Foster has never swum a meet with semi-finals for races 200 meters or longer before, so this simulation will give him a taste of the Olympic Trials experience.

In 2016, it took a 2:01.96 to qualify for the semi-finals of the men’s 200 IM and 1:59.86 to qualify for the finals of the men’s 200 IM. The top 2 finishers at that meet were Michael Phelps in 1:55.91 and Ryan Lochte in 1:56.22.

In the 2018-2019 season, Foster ranked 18th in the world in the 200 IM with a 1:58.46 to win gold at the World Junior Championships. That also made him the 5th-fastest American. At the U.S. Open in December, he swam a best time of 1:57.59.

Fastest Americans, Men’s 200 LCM IM, 2018-2019 Season

  1. Chase Kalisz – 1:56.78
  2. Michael Andrew – 1:57.49
  3. Abrahm Devine – 1:57.66
  4. Ryan Lochte – 1:57.76
  5. Carson Foster – 1:58.46
  6. Shaine Casas – 1:58.83

Foster graduated high school early and is sitting out his last season of high school competition in order to prepare for the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials this summer. That preparation will include several camps around the country, notably an upcoming camp in Sarasota, Florida with fellow National Teamer and Olympic hopeful Luca Urlando.



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He is getting great coaching.


Seems kind of lame taking a finals spot from someone and take a DQ in order to simulate this. He can’t time trial it or race by himself in the pool after the finals session is over?


The 9th place guy probably does a 2:17. I’m sure he would rather be in lane 4 of the consol heat anyway and the 17th place guy is thanking Carson all day long


Why is t7th thanking him? Most kids like getting 2nd swims


As a former 100/200 flyer who was only able to 1 trick SCY because of underwaters and was absolutely dead this time of year, you can be assured that if i was the 17th seed, I would, indeed, be thanking him.


But fr who wants to swim 2 200 flys. Hes just saving the guy who would have been 8th.

Last 50

Well then they should all beat him so he doesn’t make finals, and then they’ll deserve the finals spot


How is he taking a finals spot from someone? The plan is to qualify for the final by swimming faster than other swimmers. He wouldn’t be taking a spot from anyone, he would be earning a spot for himself.
I think this is a super smart plan by his coach and love that he is thinking differently. It’s not like this is some high level meet where the spot in finals might cost someone a chance at making a national team…its the Ohio MAKO Senior Meet! Seems like this is the perfect meet to do something like this.


He earns the spot with no intention of competing in the actual event, it should be treated as a no show.

And if this is some silly meet where he is just going to be dominating then why not just simulate it at his team’s pool over the weekend? There is no point of attending the meet.


He is competing in the final though… everybody else will be doing 200 fly’s and he will do a 200 IM


Just seems like a stunt to me. Man up and do something like this at a Pro-Series meet.

Ol' Longhorn

I completely —- and I mean completely —- agree.


“No point of attending the meet”. Love that you live in a world of absolutes, but the rest of us live in reality.


I agree with this. He will earn the 200 fly spot fair and square by swimming the 2 fly. Because he qualified for the finals, its his choice to swim what he wishes with his spot, even if he will DQ from it.

Coach Mike

I think that in this sport, there are times we as a collective “Team USA” should be willing to make small sacrifices to help with the preparation of our olympians and at a regional level, we should be willing to make small sacrifices for those swimmers who may have the chance to represent our area at the Olympics. As many have said, he will have to earn the spot in the finals just like everyone else, and the swimmer who qualifies 9th may very well have a better environment to swim fast in the middle lane of the consolation heat than in Lane 8 of the final. I coach in NJ and don’t know the Fosters or Ohio Swimming at… Read more »


@coach mike amen


Can’t wait to see the post in the Coaches Idea Exchange tomorrow complaining about how this kid “took a spot away” from some deserving 16 yr old. I’m all for our potential Olympians (if we even have one), preparing to succeed.


There are other ways to simulate this… just seems disruptive to the meet and a little attention grabby to me 🤷‍♂️


“Attention grabby” is a stretch to say the least. Pretty sure Carson Foster gets plenty of attention from his peers in Ohio Swimming and isn’t out to grab more attention.


…aside from contacting swimswam to let them know he’d be doing this? Seems attention grabby


Hey Braden! Did the Foster contact you about the meet this weekend!


Many other swimmers have done this in the past. Pickrem did this last year for the 200 free at Sectionals by swimming the 200 IM after qualifying in the 200 free. Still beat most bottom half swimmers


But the difference that is that it’s legal to swim a 200 IM during a 200 free. Here he is swimming an event with the sole intention to do it in a manner that will get him disqualified.


No it isn’t. Like the only rule that free DOES have is that you can’t switch strokes at any point.


Thanks Braden, TIL. I could have sworn that was a rule.

Ol' Longhorn

That’s rap. Not swimming. Can’t change strokes while freestyling in rap:. flag has to hang from one pocket. Can’t switch it.


I enjoyed watching a teen swimmer do a 500fr at a meet, up freestyle, back backstroke, up free, back back, rinse, repeat. As long as she did the same pattern the entire time, no DQ. Kept it interesting for us parents! I can’t remember what the motivation was for the swimmer, though….

Kathleen Baker’s Lats

Fully submerging after breaking the surface prior to the 15m mark (like a swimmer might do every stroke of breaststroke) would however be a DQ.


Do you ever whine when a swimmer just goes through the motions in a finals event? Saw it twice last week at a D2 conf meet. Or what about when a swimmer in a 200 event goes for a 100 time and then finishes last over the 2nd 200?


I saw it multiple times. Three swimmers from the same team all did that in the 200 fly final, 2 of them finishing in over 2:17. Disgusting! Time trial the 100 fly instead of disrespecting the 200 fly like that.


I’ve seen Peaty swim breastroke in a freestyle race . Was that for attention ? Don’t think so


Correct me if I’m wrong but FREEstyle means you can swim whatever you want.


Correct . But he was swimming differently to everyone else in the race . Did he steal a spot from someone else ? No . Let Foster swim it in peace .
I don’t know many meets at all that have heats , semis and finals the next night in racing conditions . Do you ?



About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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