Evaluating Team USA’s Performance in Swimming at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The United States got off to a tough start at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in swimming, finding themselves in a battle for the top of the medal table with the Australians.

But a strong back-half of the meet, led by 3 individual golds from Caeleb Dressel and a pair of distance wins from Katie Ledecky, left Team USA on top of the medals table for the 8th-straight Olympics (regardless of the outcome of open water).

The new distance freestyle events, which were won by Katie Ledecky (women’s 1500 free) and Bobby Finke (men’s 800 free) and netted the Americans 3 total medals helped pump up the medal counts a bit here, though even without those races they will would have topped the table (albeit be tied for gold with Australia).

Gold Silver Bronze Total
Tokyo 2020 11 10 9 30
Rio 2016 16 8 9 33
London 2012 16 9 6 31
Beijing 2008 12 9 10 31
Athens 2004 12 9 7 28
Sydney 2000 14 8 11 33
Atlanta 1996 13 11 2 26
Barcelona 1992 11 9 7 27
Seoul 1988 8 6 4 18

But in total, the U.S. will leave this meet with BIG questions to answer about team selection and relay selection following what was probably the United States’ worst Olympic relay performance in recent memory.

There were definitely highlights of the meet. Caeleb Dressel won 3 individual gold medals and 5 total, plus a World Record in the 100 fly, was definitely one. He lived up to the hype coming in, even if he wasn’t put in positions to succeed in the 800 free relay or mixed medley relay.

Katie Ledecky continued to be unbeatable in the longest distance races, and was able to realize the full value of her 1500.

The men’s medley relay finished the meet with a win and World Record (perhaps an unexpected one) in the 400 medley relay too, which healed a lot of wounds. That relay featured three swimmers in Ryan MurphyMichael Andrew, and Zach Apple, who had difficult meets for one reason or another. Murphy for the response to some anti-doping comments he made that he says weren’t targeted at anyone specifically, but which were read as such anyway. Andrew for his controversial comments about masks and vaccines combined with missing individual podiums in all three races, being left off the mixed medley where it could have earned a medal, and lots of questions about whether he belonged on the men’s medley relay final. Apple for having a bad swim on the 800 free relay, that didn’t medal.

On top of the prelims group coming dangerously close to not making the final, there was some pressure on that team, and those three, along with the new “Captain America” Caeleb Dressel, acquitted themselves marvelously in the final.

But in spite of the final numbers being not that bad, I think there are two primary factors driving this taste of disappointment in the hoi polloi of American swimming.

One is most obvious, and that’s the men’s 800 free relay and mixed 400 medley relay. Their 4th and 5th place performances, respectively, are the lowest-ever performances by American relays at the Olympic Games and the only ones to not medal.

I think the other is more nuanced.

When we think about American swimming at the Olympics, we think about the swimmers who rise to the moment and grab medals that maybe we didn’t think they were going to win. In 2016, that included names like Anthony Ervin in the 50 free, Cody Miller in the 100 breast, David Plummer in the 100 back, Simone Manuel in the 100 free, and Maya DiRado in the 200 back.

In a normal Olympics, those “pleasant surprises” are additive to the long roster of favorites holding serve.

In Tokyo, we certainly got some pleasant surprises from the Americans. Bobby Finke winning the 800 and 1500 both was arguably the stunner of the week. Lydia Jacoby upsetting Lilly King in the 100 breast was huge.

But there were so many “could’ve beens” that didn’t come true that those pleasant surprises were just kind of bringing us back to neutral. Murphy didn’t win either backstroke. Ledecky was upended by Ariarne Titmus in both the 200 and 400 freestyles and didn’t medal at all in the 200 free. Just 1 bronze in the women’s backstroke races. A 2-3 finish in both IMs but neither of the possible golds came through. The women’s medley getting silver after having the slowest aggregate relay exchanges in the field.

None of those are bad finishes by any account. Even Olympic silver and bronze medals are huge accomplishments that should be celebrated. The other 450,000+ American swimmers would give anything asked for even an Olympic final swim, let alone a medal.

But, it leaves this sense of melancholy for American fans that there were opportunities left on the table. It was a good meet for a country for which the standard is dominance.

Part of this is owed not to American slips, but to the Australians, who swam exceedingly well. After two-straight Olympic flops, Australia, through investigation and sanction and massive culture shift and the hiring of Olympic champion and administrative master Alex Baumann to remake the organization, Australia shone. They made swimming cool again in Australia for something beyond their battles with China. They polished their program and put the Americans on notice that the world order in swimming is not permanent.

And that’s where the Americans can have hope. It’s only 3 years until Paris, but this isn’t something that can’t be turned around for Team USA. There are a lot of really good young pieces – Regan Smith, Lydia Jacoby, Torri Huske, Claire Curzan, the Sandpiper distance girls, Bobby Finke and Kieran Smith on the men’s side – and the Americans just need to figure out how to iron out the cracks that came in Tokyo.

This has happened before. 1988, the aforementioned last time the U.S. didn’t win the medals table, was a bad meet for the Americans that was salvaged by huge performances from Matt Biondi and Janet Evans, who were the Dressel and Ledecky of their day.

That led to the creation of the USA Swimming National Team Director position: essentially a super-elite coach at the top of a pile of elite coaches to guide policy, to unify strategy, to focus the American team, to capture innovation like USRPT, and to figure out how this massive American swimming juggernaut can come together as the 50 best to perform at the Olympics.

That role has been changed in the last quad, with Lindsay Mintenko taking on a different set of responsibilities, and pushing more of those traditional NT duties to a college of coaches, so to speak.

Now the US will have to decide how they’ll move forward with this one. As Dressel, the leader, said after the race, in the U.S., 5th place in an Olympic relay is “unacceptable.” And that seems like a harsh word, a word that can run counter to initiatives of mental health that are going to dominate Olympic sport between now and Paris. But that’s his word – that’s the mentality of the athlete that won 5 Olympic gold medals. So there’s a balance to be struck between “pressure makes diamonds” and teaching athletes how to deal with that pressure in a positive and healthy way and not crack beneath its weight.

The U.S. has three years to figure it out. The swim industry in America is predicated upon being the best team at the Olympics. That’s a pressure that exists whether we like it or not.

This is one of a number of tests that will face USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey in the next three years of his tenure. Many of his challenges have nothing to do with elite sport, but this one will arguably be the most visible of those challenges. He doesn’t have to have all the answer, but CEOs are paid to lead the effort – and so ultimately he needs to create the atmosphere to fix the problems.

Individual US Olympic Medals Table, Tokyo 2020 Olympics:

Note: these totals don’t add to the same as the by-country medals table, because each prelims and finals swimmer on a relay is counted as 1 medal below, versus 1 medal in aggregate per country in the primary medals table. So, for example, the American women will receive 20 total medals for relays, though in the country table that only counts as 3.

Gold Silver Bronze Total
Caeleb Dressel 5 0 0 5
Katie Ledecky 2 2 0 4
Bobby Finke 2 0 0 2
Blake Pieroni 2 0 0 2
Zach Apple 2 0 0 2
Ryan Murphy 1 1 1 3
Lydia Jacoby 1 1 0 2
Chase Kalisz 1 0 0 1
Bowe Becker 1 0 0 1
Brooks Curry 1 0 0 1
Michael Andrew 1 0 0 1
Hunter Armstrong 1 0 0 1
Andrew Wilson 1 0 0 1
Tom Shields 1 0 0 1
Lilly King 0 2 1 3
Regan Smith 0 2 1 3
Erika Brown 0 1 1 2
Abbey Weitzeil 0 1 1 2
Allison Schmitt 0 1 1 2
Erica Sullivan 0 1 0 1
Alex Walsh 0 1 0 1
Emma Weyant 0 1 0 1
Jay Litherland 0 1 0 1
Paige Madden 0 1 0 1
Katie McLaughlin 0 1 0 1
Brooke Forde 0 1 0 1
Bella Sims 0 1 0 1
Torri Huske 0 1 0 1
Rhyan White 0 1 0 1
Claire Curzan 0 1 0 1
Hali Flickinger 0 0 2 2
Natalie Hinds 0 0 1 1
Simone Manuel 0 0 1 1
Catie DeLoof 0 0 1 1
Olivia Smoliga 0 0 1 1
Annie Lazor 0 0 1 1
Kate Douglass 0 0 1 1
Kieran Smith 0 0 1 1
TOTAL 22 22 15 59

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bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

2024’s going to be really strong, when the current young generation gets closer to their prime and forms some sort of nucleus for international meet teams.

Last edited 1 month ago by bobthebuilderrocks
Swammerstein
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

I agree plus there wont be a pandemic to throw a wrench in things. Also with phelps back in the 200 im…..

CasualSwimmer
Reply to  Swammerstein
1 month ago

Unfortunately there’s no certainty concerning this, especially since the whole climat change things means less and less diverse ecosystems, which in turn means more and more chances of pandemics (through zoonosis and natural reservoirs)
The chances of this pandemic being “a one time only” experience are slim to none

Yup
Reply to  Swammerstein
1 month ago

there won’t? what makes you say that?

Coach
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

We need a National Team Director who has experience coaching at high level international meets.

We need a National Jr Team Director who has experience coaching at high level international meets.

We need people in the National Team Division who have experience coaching at high level international meets. Margo Geer now has more coaching experience than our entire National Team Division combined.

Tim Hinchey needs to open up technical positions for outsiders to apply. His trend is to make easy hires by promoting people within the building who have no experience preparing athletes for high level international meets.

The Board of Directors needs to make sure that Tim Hinchey has a plan, particularly to address relays, for 2024 and 2028.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Coach
Blairt
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

Could not agree more. Well said!!

Swiminsammy
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

Meanwhile the top 13 execs on USA Swimming make more than all the atlehetes do combined.

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

Nailed it.

HeWhoRemains
Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
1 month ago

Agree, and Dressel at age 27 should be interesting as well given he’ll be in his prime and considering the competition he has coming up with Milak and Popovici.

JVW
Reply to  HeWhoRemains
1 month ago

I would love to see Dressel contest the 200 IM in Paris. But that may not be in the cards.

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I feel like to compare medal tables to past games you sort of need to know the maximum number of medals they could win. Like hey, we won only 3 fewer medals than Rio, that’s cool. But there were 5 more opportunities to win medals w/ the additions of the 800/1500 frees and mixed medley relays.

Can spin it positively by saying oh, 30 medals, right on the average for that whole table, but you can also spin it in a bad was as “fewest gold medals since 1992.”

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Also I think you’re pretty spot-on in why the meet sorta feels bad, even though the end results were as a whole very good.

I think the women not winning a single relay AND multiple relays being off the podium is probably a bigger part of the “meh” evaluation than the lack of surprise wins, because we sorta got a few of those like you mentioned. But aside from both the men’s 400 free and medley relays, none of the relays both won and exceeded expectations. (The women’s 800 free relay definitely exceeded expectations – who woulda thought they’d beat Australia!?- but it was still “just” a silver medal.)

but it was still “just” a silver medal.) Q q
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

“but it was still “just” a silver medal.)”
It’s unbelievable how unjustifiably demanding the sport fan can be.
Have you expected this team that looked very week after Trials to beat the world record by almost a second?
The next complain I expect to hear that Ledecky didn’t swim her relay leg properly being pretty slow by her standards at the second half (58.76). It was 58.3 in Rio. And because of that American team got silver medals only being 0.4 sec behind new world record.

Steve Nolan

Do you want me to type out the entire sentence again, or can you just go back and read the whole thing?

The US team themselves have said all week they’re here to win golds, especially on relays.

Pags

I love KL, and she swam her guts out for the team on that relay. But her R/T on the exchange was slower that her flat start in the 200F final.

Yozhik
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

“but it was still “just” a silver medal.)”
It’s unbelievable how unjustifiably demanding the sport fan can be.
Have you expected this team that looked very week after Trials to beat the world record by almost a second?
The next complain I expect to hear that Ledecky didn’t swim her relay leg properly being pretty slow by her standards at the second half (58.76). It was 58.3 in Rio. And because of that American team got silver medals only being 0.4 sec behind new world record.

swimapologist
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

Did you see the American women after the race?

They didn’t seem any happier with it.

Yozhik
Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

Maybe because Ledecky passed Australian swimmer and was closing on Chinese and suddenly the hope arose.
But I haven’t notice any disappointed face. Who exactly was unsatisfied? Ledecky? Schmitt? McLaughlin? I think it was you and you saw everything this way. I saw swimmers who were happy with their performances and they indeed showed their season bests.

Swimfan
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

I think the American women were more happy to finally beat Australia in the 4×200

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

USA won the women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay in the following calendar years during the textile era:

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Troyy
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Yes, it was more like Australia finally beat the US in 2019.

jim
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

There were only 3 additional opportunities. The women’s 800 and the men’s 1500 were already part of the Games.

Mel
Reply to  jim
1 month ago

5 additional medal opportunities. 2 in each of w1500 and m800 and 1 relay medal up for grabs.

jim
Reply to  Mel
1 month ago

I am sure the Americans have traditionally won a higher percentage of the relay medals than was the case for individual races. There were three more events, but the percentage increase in medal opportunities calculated your way is actually less than simply the percentage increase in events–so the adjustment needed your way would be less than the adjustment figured my way.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Mel
1 month ago

Thanks to the coaching staff, the mixed 4 x 100 meter medley relay was doomed from the start.

Linda bee
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

I think it’s the philosophy of rewarding the fastest swimmer in the events versus putting on the proven swimmer with strong relay history. Think women’s 4x100m London final without Natalie Coughlin anchoring.

Walter
1 month ago

Women 18 medals, Men 12 medals.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  Walter
1 month ago

U.S. women really stealthily piled up the minor medals. I’d say A++ for depth, but less of the “Wheaties Box” star power U.S. casual swimming fans are accustomed to witnessing.

We saw four of the 2-3 sweeps alone: 200 breast, 200 fly, 200 IM, and 400 IM.

U.S. men have the opposite “limitation” on their hands currently. Reliance on stars and not enough others performing at the right moment.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Yep. it’s telling 3 golds for women vs 8 for the men (Dressel contributing to 5).

Eerily similar situation to 2008. There it was 2 golds for the women (no relay golds) and 10 for the men (a certain fella accounting for 8).

Like Beijing, it wasn’t so much a case of the US women underperforming as the Aussie ladies swimming out of this world.

oldswimguy
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

The women had 10 teenagers on the team. That is a great nucleus for the future. Australians had a fairly old team. Most of their success will be either retired or way past prime. Women will need to find some more sprinters. Men will need to replace Murphy and the IMers. Then find some 200/400 freestylers beyond Smith. I think this was a transition year for the team. Oldsters cycling out and newbies still a little young. Also think the decision of the pro swimmers to remain in California to train was a bad call. Appears the Gainesville and other non-California trainers were better prepared and had better overall performances. Those extensive lockdowns in California really hurt the preparation/training.

Max Hardie
Reply to  oldswimguy
1 month ago

McKewon is 20, Titmus 22, there is this 17 yo that split 1.55!

maverick1993
Reply to  Max Hardie
1 month ago

And I feel that Mckeon will completely focus on the 50,100 free and 100 fly. She is going to be a beast in these events atleast in the near future so the relays on the womens side are going to be incredible for the Aussies till 2024 with the new sprinters just rolling in.

Bud
Reply to  maverick1993
1 month ago

She’s 27, doesn’t have more than 2 years of top form left

96Swim
Reply to  Bud
1 month ago

Sjostrom is 55 with a bionic elbow and still super-competitive. McKeon will be fine in Paris.

Troyy
Reply to  Max Hardie
1 month ago

Titmus is 20 (21 in September).

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

On the women’s side, the current under 22 crowd:

White, Rhyan – DOB 25 Jan 2000
Sullivan, Erica – DOB 09 Aug 2000
Walsh, Alex – DOB 31 Jul 2001
Douglass, Kate – DOB 17 Nov 2001
Weyant, Emma – DOB 24 Dec 2001
Smith, Regan – DOB 09 Feb 2002
Bacon, Phoebe – DOB 12 Aug 2002
Huske, Torri – DOB 07 Dec 2002
Jacoby, Lydia – DOB 29 Feb 2004
Curzan, Claire – DOB 30 Jun 2004
Sims, Bella – DOB 25 May 2005
Grimes, Katie – DOB 08 Jan 2006

GeauxTigers
1 month ago

The 3 year turnaround to the next Games should stave off retirement for at least a few athletes at the elite level, which can only be a positive for Team USA.

Jess
Reply to  GeauxTigers
1 month ago

But not any other country???

LBSWIM
Reply to  Jess
1 month ago

Dude this article is about USA swimming. Stay in your lane.

jim
Reply to  LBSWIM
1 month ago

I call FOUL. It can only be a positive for Team USA and every other team if you are interested in performance judged on an absolute scale, but the situation is different if you are interested in how well different countries do in competition with each other.

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  jim
1 month ago

Performance in a timed sport like swimming IS on an absolute scale at the Olympic Games (or any other major international competition).

PhillyMark
Reply to  GeauxTigers
1 month ago

There’s so many swimmers that didn’t make the team that have opportunities to step up.
Comerford, Baker, Dahlia, Adrian, Margalis, L. Smith, Held, and Cox as established vets.
Casas, Rooney, Farris, Foster, Lasco, MaGahey, Curtiss, Julian, Berkhoff as up-and- upcomers who seemingly have an upward trajectory within next 3 years.

Then there are youngsters that made the team that will likely have a shot at expanding their repertoire…Walsh, Douglass, Curzan, Huske and hopefully able to contribute more in terms of freestyle relays.

PhillyMark
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Which of the youngsters would u be upset w making the team….they all have 3 years to grow and address weaknesses in their strokes. A 50-point butterflyer? A 58 backstroker? a freestyler w a 47.0 relay start? A 4:08 IM’er? a 21.8 high schooler? a 1:55 butterflyer? A winner in 500 free @ NCAA’s, a 44/1:35 backstroker?

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

That’s not the case with the women’s 100 meter freestyle sprinters. It’s Abbey Weitzeil and the ……………………

You honestly don’t want to know what I think of the rest.

Last edited 1 month ago by Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Mallory Comerford (DOB 06 Sep 1997) is washed up prior to her 24th birthday? I find it hard to believe especially with the current status of the women’s 100 meter freestyle sprinters unlike Dahlia or Margalis.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  PhillyMark
1 month ago

On the women’s side, the two swimmers on the list who may have an opportunity to return are Baker and Comerford. The rest of the veterans are at least twenty-six years old (Cox, Dahlia, Margalis, Smith).

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  GeauxTigers
1 month ago

I sincerely doubt it.

Allison Schmitt (DOB 07 Jun 1990) – 31
Natalie Hinds (DOB 07 Dec 1993) – 27
Hali Flickinger (DOB 07 Jul 1994) – 27
Annie Lazor (DOB 17 Aug 1994) – 26
Olivia Smoliga (DOB 12 Oct 1994) – 26

Last edited 1 month ago by Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Wave 1.5 Qualifier
1 month ago

Good insight. And 3 years (in fact, probably less than that until the U.S. 2024 Trials) is not a long time at all.

Coach
1 month ago

My opinion: the NCAA system is awesome and helps the U.S. in so many different ways. That being said, it is not the end all be all. We cannot expect or rely on college coaches/programs to do it all.

It’s obvious there are many club coaches/teams getting it done at a very high level. Those coaches need to be leveraged and resourced to a great degree.

We also need more differentiation between college programs and postgrads. Tacking on postgrad groups to college programs isn’t going to be a long term path to success. There need to be more options (sustainable and resourced) for postgrads to continue their careers in a LCM/international focused setting.

Added to this, the… Read more »

Remember Me?
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

A system was tried for elite athletes and post-grads. All it did was line the pockets of people like David Marsh.

Coach
Reply to  Remember Me?
1 month ago

Hostile takeovers of current club teams wasn’t what I was thinking. One of the reasons that ended poorly (although there was certainly success along the way), was that it was trying to balance a large, mostly age group, club program, with an elite post grad group…and trying to fund one with the other.

We need good club programs focused on developing age group swimmers. This is the heart of the sport.

We need good college swimming to allow most athletes to combine academics and athletics, at a level that matches their ability and commitment. This also allows for continued talent development and a funnel towards elite swimming. Most importantly it gives age group swimmers something to look forward to… Read more »

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

Nailed this post too.

Ours is the only major NGB with almost no centralized program for development.

Meanwhile, Australia and others take elite athlete development very seriously – they direct it at the highest levels – and it shows. Undoubtedly, with the commitment and scholarships of the university system, many of our elites simply won’t fall under the USA Swimming system for 4-5 years, because rightfully, their coaches have the final say on their swimming. Me thinks some cooperation might be in order?

Tomek
Reply to  Time For Barta To Go
1 month ago

Due to recent developments in college athletics we may no longer have to worry about NCAA swimming in few years…It will be all about football/basketball. Athletics have already hard time attracting top talent. All the fast guys want to become wide receivers these days.

Swim3057
Reply to  Coach
1 month ago

A post collegiate training center(s) is definitely needed. College coaches with mixed responsibilities will always be challenged to balance their commitments.
it wasn’t too long ago that Mark Schubert had this concept in mind and was trying to implement this in the waning days of his tenure as NTD. Yes, mistakes were made at all levels with certain coach decisions, broken promises that led to court cases and lawsuits and the fracturing of the relationship between Wielgus and Schubert that led to his removal as NTD.
But, the concept wasn’t necessarily flawed. Learning from the past could make for a successful future of this program. But it would need buy in from our coaches and couldn’t have the… Read more »

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  Swim3057
1 month ago

This post nails it too.

I hope USA Swimming leadership is taking a hard look at the National Team department, and senior swimming generally. While we can all argue about specific decisions and circumstances over the past few years (which is understandably spirited and passionate), I think most would agree that our NGB has not performed at the same level as previous.

Everyone means well. Of course, coaches, athletes, parents, officials and USA staff all want our nation to perform well. But wanting it and doing it are two different things.

Meow
1 month ago

Gotta get the teens to Colorado to practice their relay exchanges!

Yozhik
Reply to  Meow
1 month ago

I think, until Olympic team coaches are kept responsible for poor relay exchange nothing will be changed in this department. If the team loses silver medal (w4x100FR) or gold medal (w4x100 medley) because of poor exchange there is no consequences for coaches. They are swimmer who could swim faster. And it is still a medal that gives a credit to coaches. But if the team DQes then there would be a lot of noise.
I won’t be surprised if swimmers are explicitly instructed by coaches to be safe first of all and to not be risky with exchange.
There are for sure training exercises that help relay team be perfect with exchange. And that not much time needed… Read more »

The Original Tim
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

It still isn’t rocket science even if they don’t know till day of who they’re going to be going off of. If it’s a medley relay, there are generally only one or two swimmers who are viable options for the swimmer in front of you.

In the W 4×100 MR, for example, the coaches should have had both Huske and Curzan practicing exchanges off of both Jacoby and King in training camp to cover the possible breast-fly combinations.

Same for the free relays.

The MMR is the only real wild card, but there still aren’t *that* many possible permutations to choose for practicing possible exchanges.

Yes, a swimmer dying on their way into the finish certainly complicates relay exchanges,… Read more »

Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

Simone not being 100% and Regan missing the 2 back Hurt the US. I think order of events stopped some women in trying the 200 free as well.

Yozhik
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

It is a long due to have a 200FR specialist who will take place of Allison Schmitt who will probably retire soon. So far we have swimmers who join 200FR competition just because it gives 6 places on Olympic team. It is hard to imagine a gold medal in W4x200 relay in Paris without having two 1:54 swimmers.

Last edited 1 month ago by Yozhik
Steve Nolan
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

Was Regan Smith in the 200 back the most obvious “lost a medal” due to a poor showing at trials? (She sorta gained a semi unexpected one in the 2 fly, but she was definitely in shape enough to have beaten Seebohm in back. ((Even tho I think Seebohm is great, nothing against her.)))

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Since 1 January 2021, the biggest individual disappointment has been Simone Manuel on the women’s side.

At least Regan Smith medaled in the women’s 100 meter backstroke and the women’s 200 meter butterfly. Furthermore, Regan Smith exceeded expectations in the women’s 200 meter butterfly since I honestly thought the order of finish would have been Yufei, Flickinger, Kapas.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Simone was at the Olympics and swam a 100 free on a relay. It was not nearly good enough to medal individually. She also swam the 50 and didn’t final.

My point was that Regan was in shape enough to snag a medal in the 2 back, but “due to a poor showing at trials” – the exact words I used – she didn’t get to swim it in Tokyo. (She dropped 1.6s in the 200 fly from trials, so I feel like she could at least have snagged a bronze in back.)

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Hogwash!

Rhyan White posted a time of 2:05.73 in the final of the women’s 200 meter backstroke at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials only to post a time of 2:06.39 in the final of the women’s 200 meter backstroke at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Ya, and that’s why she didn’t win a medal. (And you see how Smith improved over a 200m distance? Obviously no guarantee she does that in the 2 back but this is what I’m talking about!!!)

You might be able to convince me this guy is just an AI that can read meet results and post comments but nothing else.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Don’t blame Regan Smith for Rhyan White’s performance in the women’s 200 meter backstroke at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

Rhyan White matched her personal best time (58.43) in the final of the women’s 100 meter backstroke at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics yet failed to match her personal best time (2:05.73) in the final of the women’s 200 meter backstroke at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

End of story!

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

…and Regan matched her 100 time and bettered a time in a 200, right? Hence my whole “huh, wonder if she coulda medaled here” comment.

Breezeway
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Simone is the biggest disappointment, please. Get her some help. I see nothing on the horizon

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Breezeway
1 month ago

USA will need another bolt from the blue, this time in the women’s 100 meter freestyle.

Sub13
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I can see how you might think that but Em’s swim was more than 0.6 better than Regan’s trials time. I don’t think you can assume she would have been faster, considering her other results.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Oh for sure, but I don’t think it’s crazy to think she had a 2:05 in her this week. (Probably more so than Bacon and White, nothing against those two either.)

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

You can’t go back to the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to play the shouldah, couldah, wouldah game.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Dude, of course you can. That’s basically the entire point of these comments, to just make stuff up and talk about it.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

There is nothing to suggest Simone Manuel’s resurgence. A change of scenary and change of coaches would be a positive step in the right direction.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

lol you’re predicting the end of Simone Manuel insanely, INSANELY prematurely.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Simone Manuel failed to qualify for the final of the women’s 50 meter freestyle at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

CJJones
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Manuel not 100%. Was not at trials. Still not now. We all know that. We will see if there is a resurgence once she has time to completely recover. No need to keep bashing her. Golden opportunity for others to step up and get it done and the only sub 53 we got was a 52.99, once. That’s not going to cut it. We need sprinters who can drop 52 mid/low flat starts and 52 low/51 high relay starts.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  CJJones
1 month ago

Revisionist history at its finest.

Simone Manuel was at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Simone Manuel qualified in the women’s 50 meter freestyle.

CJJones
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Revisionist history? No, just stating the facts. Yes she qualified in a time she can swim in-season when healthy. What was her time at last WC’s? 24.0? Did not qualify in her best event….100 free (longer event). The fact that she was uncharacteristically slow in San Antonio in March, missed Mission Viejo in April, slow again in May and had not swam the 200 free at any meets this year something was off with her. She explained it at trials….overtrained. Maybe you missed that or choose to not believe it ….selective memory at its finest. True overtraining won’t disappear in a month; especially when you’re still training and racing at an intense level.
Again, golden opportunity for others to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by CJJones
Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  CJJones
1 month ago

If Simone Manuel was still overtraining, Simone Manuel should have stopped completely and withdrew from the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

You can’t have it both ways.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

I said that thing about you being a meet-results reading AI before I saw this comment. Now I’m nearly convinced.

Yeah, and she’s also a 25 year old – HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIMONE!! – Olympic gold medalist, world champion and American record holder.

If she was 30 and did what she did at Trials, sure, stick a fork in her. But she’s got at least another Olympic cycle where I’m not betting against her to get back to her previous form. (Like, just look at Penny Oleksiak. She looked toast from 2018-2020, but set a bunch of PRs here. Simone’s not had nearly as many bad years as Penny.)

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

You remember Allison Schmitt? The same Allison Schmitt who was on a three hiatus (2013-2015) away from the national team.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

…what?

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

The women’s 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay exceeded expectations. Lots of hand wringing prior to the race.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

Regan Smith was beaten by Bacon and White in the women’s 200 meter backstroke at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. It’s water under the bridge.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

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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