Five Big Things From Day 1 At The Longhorn Elite Invite


#1. Phelps Wins Tight 100 Free, Loses Tight 100 Fly

Historically in-season Michael Phelps hasn’t had much success winning the 100 freestyle, usually up against tough competition such as Nathan Adrian, but comes out on top more often than not in the 100 fly as he is the three-time Olympic champion and world record holder.

However, on day 1 in Austin, Phelps won the 100 free while coming up short in the 100 fly, backwards of what usually happens. Phelps started the session off with a close win in the 100 free over Jack Conger by just one one-hundredth of a second, with North Baltimore teammate David Nolan not too far behind.

In the final heat of the session Phelps, Conger and Nolan got up on the blocks again for the 100 fly final, but this time none of them would come out on top. It was Conger’s Singaporean University of Texas teammate  Joseph Schooling who won in 51.58, just ahead of Phelps (51.65) and Conger (51.72).

Despite going one for two on the night this is a successful start to the meet for Phelps, as he looks forward to the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha beginning June 28th. Tomorrow Phelps will swim the 200 free, where he’ll look to put up a time good enough to land him a relay spot in Rio in order to avoid swimming the race at the Trials.

#2. Clark Smith Blazes To 400 Free Win

After a shockingly disappointing NCAA Championships where he was well off best times in all of his swims, Texas Longhorn Clark Smith has been putting in some impressive swims throughout the long course season, with his best coming tonight in the 400 free. After finishing just 0.02 behind Michael McBroom in the prelims, Smith won the final decisively in 3:48.08 to McBroom’s 3:51.17.

That swim is less than a second off Smith’s best of 3:47.10 from the 2015 U.S. Nationals, and makes him the 2nd fastest American in 2016 behind only Conor Dwyer. Smith will certainly be in the fight for an Olympic spot in this race in Omaha.

#3. Licon, Kalisz Go Head-to-Head Again After 2015 NCAA Showdown

In the 200 breaststroke Will Licon and Chase Kalisz went head-to-head in what felt like the first time since the 2015 NCAA Championships, where Licon defeated Kalisz, the American record holder and two-time defending champion, in the 400 IM in a huge upset. With Licon and Kalisz at different tapered meets last summer (U.S. Nats and Worlds), and Kalisz redshirting the NCAA season, the two haven’t really had a chance to battle it out again since that meet.

Licon got the better of Kalisz once again, winning the 200 breast in 2:10.68 over Kalisz who was 2:12.57. Unfortunately the two won’t battle it out again in Austin, with Licon swimming the 100 breast and 200 IM while Kalisz will be in the 200 fly and 400 IM. However, they’ll likely clash again in Omaha.

#4. Allison Schmitt Has Impressive 100-400 Double

Allison Schmitt of North Baltimore had an impressive double tonight winning the 100 free and finishing a close 3rd in the 400 with just one event in between.

In the 100 Schmitt edged out Missy Franklin and Margo Geer in 54.30, a positive sign heading into Omaha as Schmitt will battle it out with them and many others for spots on the Olympic team. In the 400 Schmitt’s NBAC teammates Lotte Friis and Cierra Runge edged her out, with Schmitt going 4:08.36 for 3rd.

Schmitt and Franklin will battle it out in the 200 free tomorrow, with the two of them likely battling with Katie Ledecky for just two Olympic spots in an event where the three of them could be Olympic medalists. Ledecky and Franklin were the gold and bronze medalists at the World Championships last summer, while Schmitt is the defending Olympic champion.

#5. David Nolan Has Impressive Day 1

It’s well documented that 200 IM SCY American record holder David Nolan hasn’t been able to translate all of his short course success to long course easily, but his performance here on day 1 is a positive sign heading into Omaha.

Nolan took the top seed in the morning in both the 100 free and 100 fly, and followed up equalling his time in the 100 free (49.80) and dropping a bit in the 100 fly (53.06), despite not winning either race.

Considering the 49.80 is Nolan’s first time under 50 seconds in-season (and he did it twice), his prospects on the men’s 400 free relay are certainly alive, as it may be his best shot at an Olympic berth.

Nolan will also swim the 200 free and 200 IM on Saturday and Sunday, with this likely emulating his event lineup for Omaha.

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7 years ago

In the “old” days, a 1 and a 2 place to Phelps wouldn’t have been called “strong day” – that would have been a dissapointing day.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Kim
7 years ago

Have you seen how he looked last year in May in Charlotte for example? And how he looked in August?

ice age swimmer
7 years ago

Way to go Clark Smith! Just focus and trust your training, and you will be awesome in Omaha!!!

bobo gigi
7 years ago
Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

Down votes for videos? Really? Come on? BOBO makes commenting fun.

bobo gigi
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
7 years ago

Mel, don’t worry. I don’t care at all. I’m used to that for a very long time now. 🙂 Someone said recently it was probably very often the same person. I NEVER upvote or downvote a comment. Why? Because that’s a great example of false democracy. One of the bad sides of Internet. By the way Americans should rather vote at their elections instead of voting for or against the comments.

bobo gigi
7 years ago
bobo gigi
7 years ago
bobo gigi
7 years ago

Today very important double 200 free/200 back for Missy Franklin.
We will know more about her overall condition.
I was pleased with her first race of the meet.
4 years ago at the same meet she was in 54.73 on the 100 free. 54.56 yesterday.
She was in 1.57.91 in the 200 free and 2.08.74 in the 200 back.

Allison Schmitt’s 200 free will be to watch closely too.
She swam a very good 100 free yesterday in 54.30. During her golden year of 2012 she was in 53.94 at the same meet. Her 200 free was already impressive that week in 1.55.04. I would be pleased with a 1.56 low tonight. It would mean… Read more »

7 years ago

I was on deck tonight and the meet was quiet — extremely quiet. Every other meet I’ve been to when Grevers, Franklin or Phelps’ name is announced, there’s some noise from the stands… Not at this meet, which I THINK is why the elites came to Austin. They wanted a quiet meet to test their speed and to see how much rest they’ll need for Omaha.

I forgot about the vibe of this meet back in 2012. We’re 3 weeks out from Olympic Trials and you feel the tension on deck. Everyone’s very low-key, all business. The meet feels more like a SPEED DAY at practice.

100 fly was intense, a great race between Schooling, Phelps and Conger,… Read more »

Lane Four
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
7 years ago

Mel, do you know if there is any video to upload of that 100 fly race? Thanks in advance!

Kristaps Porzingis
Reply to  Lane Four
7 years ago
Reply to  Kristaps Porzingis
7 years ago

Thanks for sharing the link. We/SwimSwam cannot officially post. ESPN/Longhorn Network owns the rights to the races. We can post race video 48 hours after the meet is over and only then.

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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