Sleepy 100 Free Prelims Leaves Sprinting Concern

We’re at the halfway point of the 2012 US Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, and it’s another quick prelims session with the men’s 100 free, the women’s 200 fly, and the men’s 200 breast. This one is an exciting one, as we’re finally going to see our first sprint freestyle races, which are always a gas.

Check back as we update with observations from throughout the meet.

10:03 AM – how about Nicholas Soedel from Utah. Tiny reaction time of .65, takes an early lead. Finishes just off of seed, but that’s something for the young freshman to build off of.

10:09 AM – Austin Surhoff, who knew, still leads the way after 6 heats with a 50.48 from heat 1. Who knew the former NCAA Champion in the 200 IM had that kind of speed? Best time by a full second, a little George-Bovell-esque.

10:13 AM – Matt McLean from FAST in 50.93 to take heat 8. He doesn’t have any more “primary” events, so this was more of a just-because swim. Not a best time, but fastest that he’s been since 2009.

10:15 AM – Austin Staab is in the house! Started out strong, but didn’t look like he had enough shape to finish the race well. 8th in his heat in 51.70, well out of semi-final contention. Neil Caskey from Texas with a nice swim of 50.50. Through 10 heats, Longhorns 1-2.

10:24 AM – Lots of big names in heat 14, but nobody broke 50 seconds as we head into the circle-seeded heats. That includes Tyler Messerschmidt, my big upset pick to make the final.

10:25 AM – Davis Tarwater NOT in the men’s 100 free. Josh Schneider goes out in 22.99, holds on pretty well in 49.37.

Men’s 100 Free Prelims

The competitors in the prelims of the men’s 100 free played dangerously with fire. In a race where only 7-tenths of a second separated first from a one-way ticket to alternate-town, not a single competitor put out enough gas to break 49 seconds.

As it was, Scot Robison took the top seed in 49.08, which is by far his 2012 best in a year where he’s really struggled. That, in fact, is as fast as he was at Summer Nationals in prelims. Not that he’s maxed out either, but there’s a lot of competitors who would seem to have a lot more left to give in later rounds than he does, so he needs to keep working.

Nathan Adrian, meanwhile, in his first event swam a 49.17 for the 2nd seed. He’s been able to go 48’s so easily this year it seems like, that this was an interesting pace for him. Matt Grevers (49.24), Jimmy Feigen (49.29), and Ryan Lochte (49.33) closed out the top 5.

Josh Schneider took this race out very fast, the only swimmer under 23-seconds with a 22.99 on the first 50. But unlike previous swims, he held onto this one fairly well to make the semi-final in 8th in 49.37.

Cullen Jones looked great for about 85 meters, and pulled up in the last 15. He’s still got a chance at being a factor in this race if he finishes better. Anthony Ervin also made the semi’s, as did another of the wily veterans Jason Lezak in 9th in 49.40.

In a race like this, there’s always some finals candidates who don’t make it out of the morning heats. This time, that includes Dax Hill, who was 21st in 49.96, which ends his shot at the Olympics without even making an evening swim; Eugene Godsoe; and Conor Dwyer. We did see Austin Staab get a nice warmup for his 100 fly later in this race, though a lot of people weren’t sure if he was going to show up at all.

10:48 AM – After a great senior year at LSU, Audrey Lawson wins heat 4, easily becomes fastest overall in 2:14.52.

11:05 AM – Megan Kingsley from the Mountain Pacific Swim Club, just 16, broke out with a 2:11.83 to lead headed into heat 10 (of 14). 

11:10 AM – Harvard’s Courtney Otto attacked the front of this 200 fly, and still looked fresh up until the last 2-3 strokes. 2:12.22, 2nd as we enter the circle-seeded heats.

11:12 AM – Remedy Rule DQ’ed for pushing off a turn on her back from lane 3.

11:17 AM – Good to see Kim Vandenberg in the mix, wins heat 12 in 2:08.78. Teresa Crippen was dreadful on the front-half, but cleaned that up and was 2nd in 2:09.48.

 11:20 AM – Kara Kopczso from Franco’s Fins DQ’ed for a one-handed touch in heat 13. Probable semi-finalist, but will have more opportunities at only 16 years old.

Women’s 200 Fly Prelims

Kim Vandenberg, back training in California (with the group in Berkeley) after spending some time overseas living in France, is back in the mix for the US Olympic Team. After sort of silently doing her work for four years after making the 2008 team in just a relay, she’s now once again in position for a spot in this 200 fly after finishing 3rd in 2008.

There’s an interesting little parallel between her and SwimMAC’s Davis Tarwater going on in the men’s and women’s 200 butterflies. Tarwater (who will be the 2nd seed in tonight’s final) was also third in his edition of this race at the 2008 Trials, and also spent a big chunk of time living and training in Europe (he was at Oxford in the UK). Now, both have looked great in early rounds and will have a chance at redemption.

Cammile Adams, the top seed coming in, finished 2nd in the morning heats in 2:08.84. She closed as well as anybody, which implies either she had more to give, or she was more efforted than much of the competition was in the race. Kelsey Floyd, 4th in the 100 fly, continued to excel by finishing as the number-three seed in this prelim in 2:09.02 – her best time by almost two seconds.

Teresa Crippen, who has been sick all week, finally showed some significant improvements in this 200 fly final. She was out in only 1:02.0, but finished very well for a 2:09.48 and the 4th seed. Those were the only four who cracked 2:10.

Meanwhile, Kathleen Hersey, who is one of the favorites in this race, looked extremely relaxed in this swim. She held her rhythm perfectly through the 200 meters, and didn’t even breather about her last 5 strokes. Only a 2:10.25 as the final result, but she’s got much more to give in the final.

SwimMAC’s Kate Mills continued to have a good long course season, with a 2:11.68. Becca Mann took 7th in 2:11.19,

There were a lot of huge misses in this final, including 2008 Olympian in the event Elaine Breeden. That means she, who was on the team in two individuals in 2008 at only 19, seems to be off of the team this year.

Jasmine Tosky missed this final as well – after showing a little bit of life in the 200 IM semi’s to make the final, she’s going backward again. But that will avoid a double for her in tonight’s evening session. Claire Donahue, runner-up in the 100 fly, was 19th here in 2:13.01 and also miss the final.

11:43 AM – We’re into the men’s 200 breaststroke, Purdue’s Wyatt Hodges first DQ for multiple dolphin kicks.

11:44 AM – Brendan McHugh from Philly with a nice swim of 2:13.87. That’s a best time by over 6 seconds. Huuuge.

11:52 AM – Max Cartwright from the Aquajets DQ’ed for dolphin-kicking before he initiated his pull. Still nobody close to McHugh.

12:05 PM – Great 200 for Nic Fink in 2:13.89, 2nd seed after pre-circle seeded heats. He didn’t have a great 200 IM, but has built since then.

12:09 PM – Mark Gangloff scratched the men’s 200 breast. That probably means that his career is about over.

Men’s 200 Breast Prelims

Clark Burckle looked outstanding in the prelims of the men’s 200 breaststroke with an easy 2:10.30 to cruise into the top seed. Between this casual performance, combined with his drop in the 100, I don’t think there’s much of a concern anymore than his 2:09.7 from the Indy Grand Prix.

That swim wasn’t a big surprise, but Scott Weltz taking the second spot in 2:10.90. That’s another monster drop for him – it seemed initially that the 100 was his best opportunity for London, but now he’s seriously in the mix for this 200 as well. Eric Shanteau comfortably cruised to 3rd in 2:11.57.

Elliott Keefer went out very well in his 200, and will be the 4th seed in 2:11.90. He’s been doing some great things in practice, but this is the first time we’ve seen it show up in a meet. That time is already better than the one that put him on the World Championships Team .

An admirable effort goes to Indiana’s Cody Miller, the two-time defending Big Ten Champion in this race. His FastSkin 3 ripped just before the start of this 200 breaststroke. He ran up the stars at the CenturyLink Center, deck-changed on the concourse into a LZR Elite, ran back down the stairs, and then took one more trip back up and down. Riding on Adrenaline, he still went a 2:13.61 which is a best time. Assuming all goes better in the semi-finals; he’s tied for 12th in 2:13.81.

Ed Moses was better in this 200 than his 100, but in 18th in 2:14.32, he missed the final. Arizona’s Carl Mickelson was 20th in 2:14.45. Other swimmers who missed were John Criste, who couldn’t recreate his early-round magic from the 100; Michael Phelps’ training partner Chase Kalisz who was only a 2:15.81; and Mark Gangloff who declared a false start.

Day 4 results available here.

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53 Comments on "Sleepy 100 Free Prelims Leaves Sprinting Concern"

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Adrian, Feigen and Weber-Gale in the first heat tonight. Grevers, Lochte, Berens and Lezak in the second.

what’s lochte’s goal? is he going to swim tonight?

i would guess he has to if he wants to be on relay…

This was incredibly slow. Think that last heat had a big advantage being able to see the times being put up and knowing it would not take much to advance. This needs to be way faster tonight.

It only goes to show everyone that swimming a 47 or 48 second without the high tech suits is very tough to do.

Tonight should be a little faster.


Very true, but the Aussies don’t seem to have trouble doing it. Tonight should be faster!

With the exception of Magnussen and Targett, the aussies’ prelims were actually similar, and in fact slower at the bottom, to the prelims this morning.


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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