Justin Ress tuned up for the U.S. Olympic Trials with two huge personal bests, including the #2 time among all Americans this season in the 100 back.
Swimming at the NC NCAC Long Course Qualifier in North Carolina, Ress went 53.00 in the 100 long course meter backstroke. That marks a drop of 0.26 seconds from his previous best, set back in 2018 at Summer Nationals. This season (stretching back to September of 2020), only one American man has broken 53 seconds. That’s world record-holder Ryan Murphy, who went 52.95 in Atlanta last week. Ress sits #2 nationally and should be inside the top 10 in the world this season even when our world ranks update:
Ress is an NC State alum competing for Wolfpack Elite. He also hit a new personal best in the 50 free, going 22.31.
Current NC State swimmer Hunter Tapp also had a huge 100 back swim. Tapp entered the meet with a lifetime-best of 55.49 hit back in December of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Tapp crushed a 53.95 to improve his standing among the Wave II U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers.
Tapp also went 49.77 in the 100 free for a new career-best. That’s his first swim under 50 seconds.
Keeping the NC State backstroke prowess moving, current NC State swimmer Katharine Berkoff hit a new season-best of 59.38 in the 100 back. Berkoff is just a tenth away from her lifetime-best, hit while winning gold at the 2019 World University Games. She now sits #5 in the U.S. ranks for this season in what could be one of the most crowded Olympic Trials fields of any event.
Berkoff also went 2:10.95 in the 200 back, just off her season-best from November.
A few other notable swims from the North Carolina meet:
- Duke’s Sally Foley hit lifetime-bests of 1:09.85 in the 100 breast and 2:31.74 in the 200 breast. That 100 breast time is a new Wave I Olympic Trial cut, and Foley improved her Wave I cut in the 200 breast.
- UNC’s Sophie Lindner hit career-bests in the 100 free (56.05) and 100 fly (59.97). The 100 free was a new Wave I Trials cut. The 100 fly was Lindner’s first time under a minute.
- Her teammate Emily Lenihan hit a new Wave I Trials cut (1:02.35) in the 100 back. Another Duke swimmer, Lucy Callard, dropped 3.5 seconds for her first Wave I Trials cut in the 200 fly (2:13.96), and on the men’s side, Cole Reznick hit a new Wave I cut with a 1:03.28 in the 100 breast.
- Boston College’s Haley Dolan dropped almost half a second for a new Wave I Trials cut in the 50 free (25.88).
- Meanwhile UNC’s Boyd Poelke hit a new Wave I cut in the 100 fly, going 53.64 with a full-second drop.
- Wolfpack Elite swimmer and NC State alum Coleman Stewart went 53.24 in the 100 fly, about a second off a career-best.
- Distance swimmers Ross Dant (8:08.57) and James Plage (8:08.85) had nice swims in the 800 free. That was a season-best for Plage and close for Dant.