University of Georgia Bulldog Gunnar Bentz will be targeting 5 events at the 2016 Olympic Trials in Omaha which are now just 10 days away. The junior-to-be, who in his youth was primarily a breaststroker to go with his IMs, has embraced his more recent success as a butterflier, selecting those events ahead of the former. He has Trials cuts in both the 100m and 200m distance of both breaststroke and butterfly
Bentz will kick-off his Trials meet with the 400m IM on day one. That’s an event in which the 21-year-old is a finals contender after ranking 5th among Americans in 2015. He’ll follow that up with the 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 200m IM, 100m butterfly races over the remainder of the meet, giving Bentz a nice spread of exertion in a possible maximum of 14 splashes across the 7-day affair.
As for the packed schedule, Bentz says it suits him just fine. “I like to swim every day, I don’t like having breaks,” Bentz said. “That’s why I enter in so many events. Those five races all line up perfectly, one a day, five days in a row. I like to do it that way, that’s how I grew up doing it.”
Below is what Bentz’s schedule will look like if he were to make semi-finals and finals in all 5 events:
- Sunday, 06/26 – 400 IM prelim AM; 400 IM final PM
- Monday, 06/27 – 200 free prelim AM; 200 free semi-final PM
- Tuesday, 06/28 – 200 fly prelim AM; 200 free final PM; 200 fly semi-final PM
- Wednesday, 06/29 – 200 fly final PM
- Thursday, 06/30 – 200 IM prelim AM; 200 IM semi-final PM
- Friday, 07/01 – 100 fly prelim AM; 200 IM final PM; 100 fly semi-final PM
- Saturday, 07/02 – 100 fly final PM
Based on Bentz’s personal best times, recent performances and where he sits in the national rankings, the 200 butterfly, 200 IM and 400 IM events represent his strongest opportunities to snatch up a U.S. Olympic roster spot.
As a nod to his growing prowess in the 200 fly, Bentz clocked a personal best 200 butterfly time of 1:57.70 last month at the Arena Pro Swim in Indianapolis, positioning him as the 5th-fastest American in the event during the 2015-2016 season.
In the IM races, Bentz’s personal best times of 1:59.19 in the 200 from 2014 and 4:14.16 in the 400 from last summer rank within the nation’s top tier of racers looking to nail down a lane in the final. SwimSwam’s 200 IM preview post notched the Bulldog in at the 7th place finishing spot with a time prediction of 1:58.60.
“He’s good at everything,” Georgia Head Coach Jack Bauerle said. “He looks so much better than a year ago. I don’t know what he’s going to do but I know it’s going to be fast. He is an uncommon athlete and I love coaching him.”
“His butterfly has taken off since he’s been here,” Bauerle said. “He’s turning into a world class butterfly swimmer and that really wasn’t even in the agenda when he got here.”