Looking Back at Day 2 of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials

It’s June 22nd, and today was originally supposed to be Day 2 of the 2020 US Olympic Trials. Although the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to 2021, we still want to honor the would-have-been Day 2 of the 2020 Olympic Trials, by reliving Day 2 of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials. So without further ado, let’s go back and remember what was going on during the 2nd day of the Olympic Trials back in 2012 and 2016.

2016

MICHAEL PHELPS OPTS OUT OF 200 FREE

Michael Phelps scratched out of prelims of the 200 free, essentially eliminating his chances to be a member of the 800 free relay in London. Heading into Trials, Phelps had attempted to swim a fast enough 200 free that he could still be named to the Olympic relay roster without swimming the event at Trials. However, Phelps was only able to post a 1:48.73 heading into Trials, which would not be fast enough to get him a spot on the Olympic team. There’s still a very slim possibility that Phelps could make the Olympic 800 free relay squad because Bob Bowman is the head coach of the men’s Olympic team, and could potentially still name Phelps to the relay.

With no 200 free for Phelps, his first event will be the 200 fly on day 3.

Michael ANDREW GOES 3-for-3 IN MEN’S 100 BREAST PERSONAL BESTS

After becoming the youngest American to break 1:00 in the 100 breast in history on Day 1, 17-year-old Michael Andrew posted another personal best in finals, going 3-for-3 on personal bests in the event at this meet. In finals, Andrew swam a 59.82, knocking another .02 seconds off his personal best from semi-finals, and the 17-18 National Age Group Record. Andrew also came in 4th as the youngest swimmer in the field, just .01 seconds from 3rd place.

The Kevin Cordes/Cody Miller showdown was an exciting race, although they both swam slightly slower than they did in semi-finals. After breaking the American, U.S. Open, and U.S. Nationals Records in semi-finals, Kevin Cordes got the win with a 59.18. Miller was right behind Cordes at 59.26.

KELSI WORRELL TURNS IT ON AT THE END TO DEFEAT DANA VOLLMER

Kelsi Worrell (now Kelsi Dahlia) used a late charge to defeat Dana Vollmer in finals of the women’s 100 fly. Based on the prelims and semi-finals, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Kelsi Worrell and Dana Vollmer would be the 2 swimmers representing the US in Rio, but we were excited to actually get to see the young gun and the veteran go head-to-head in the final.

Dana Vollmer did what she does best – used her incredible speed to take the lead on the first 50. Vollmer turned in 26.23 to Worrell’s 26.51. Worrell had a fantastic turn and breakout, and by the 75 meter mark, she had pulled even, and was continuing to swim faster than Vollmer. Worrell charged into the wall with a 29.97 on the 2nd 50, touching in 56.48, just off Vollmer’s winning time of 56.42 from 2012. Vollmer faded a bit down the stretch, posting a 30.98 on the 2nd 50, for a 57.21 and a second place finish.

LEDECKY AND SMITH DOMINATE THE WOMEN’S 400 FREE

In her first finals appearance of the meet, distance star Katie Ledecky looked like she was going to break her own 400 free World Record for over half the race. Ledecky swam a 3:58.98, earning a very much expected spot on the Olympic Team in the event.

Leah Smith proved to us with this swim that she wasn’t content to simply take 2nd to Ledecky and earn a roster spot in Rio. Smith went out with Ledecky, and stayed on her feet for the entire race. Today, we’ve seen Ledecky lose a 400 free final at the 2019 World Champs in Gwangju, but at the time, seeing another swimmer stay with Ledecky for an entire 400 free was stunning. Smith easily came in 2nd, posting a 4:00.65, which made her the 2nd fastest textile swimmer in American history. The swim also proved the the Americans had a real shot at going 1-2 in the Olympics in the women’s 400 free.

Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin Squeak Their Way into the 100 Back Final

Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin narrowly making a 100 back final feels like a bizarre dream, but it was reality in 2016. Expectations were high for Franklin after her historic 2012 Olympics, but there were questions surrounding injuries that had been plaguing her. The American Record holder (58.33), Missy swam a 1:00.45 in semi-finals, taking 7th place. Veteran Natalie Coughlin was right behind Franklin, swimming a 1:00.46 for 8th. 16-year-old Grace Ariola was just .03 seconds behind Coughlin, swimming a 1:00.49 for 9th place.

After the semi-finals of the 100 back, it seemed like we had to come to grips with the idea that Missy Franklin was likely not going to be on the Olympic Roster for the 100 back, one of her top events. Instead, it was Olivia Smoliga who stole the show, swimming a 59.16 to lead the way into Day 3’s final.

2016 OLYMPIC TEAM QUALIFIERS DAY 2

2012

IS KATIE LEDECKY THE NEXT AMERICAN WOMEN’S DISTANCE STAR?

15-year-old rising star Katie Ledecky did what seemed like the impossible, breaking the 15-16 NAG Janet Evans held for 24 long years. Ledecky swam a 4:05.00 in finals of the 400 free, taking 3rd place and undercutting Janet Evans’ 4:05.45 15-16 NAG. At just 15 years old, Katie Ledecky will have a whole additional year to take that NAG down even further.

The record by Ledecky was so exciting for American swimming fans because we hadn’t seen a high school aged American women’s middle-distance swimmer break a NAG since Janet Evans. The record was 24 years in the making, and left swimming fans excited to see what Katie Ledecky would have in store for us over the years.

PURSUING WORLD RECORD, DANA VOLLMER PUNCHES TICKET TO LONDON

Fresh off American, U.S. Open, and U.S. Nationals Records in the semi-final of the women’s 100 fly, Dana Vollmer was as close to a sure thing for making the Olympic roster as you can get. Vollmer was ever so slightly off her semi-finals time in finals on Day 2, clocking a 56.50 (56.42 in semi-finals). She showed us again just how fast she can go out in a 100 fly, splitting 26.31 on the first 50. With all the relevant US records under her belt now, we would have to wait until the Olympics to see if Vollmer could return the World Record to an American swimmer.

CHLOE SUTTON MAKES HISTORY

American distance star Chloe Sutton made history on Day 2 of the 2012 Olympic Trials, when she finished 2nd in the 400 free to punch her ticket to London. This was a historic moment for USA Swimming. By qualifying for the Olympic Team in the 400 free, Sutton became the first American swimmer ever to make Olympic teams in both open water and pool events. Back in 2008, Sutton was on the open water Olympic Team in Beijing.

Sutton came in 2nd to Allison Schmitt, who nearly made history herself. Schmitt was out under World Record pace for the first 200 meters of the race. She fell off the pace a bit on the back half, but still picked up the win comfortably with a 4:02.84.

HE’S BACK! BRENDAN HANSEN MAKES 3rd OLYMPIC TEAM

With Japanese superstar Kosuke Kitajima in the stands, Brendan Hansen delivered on his comeback. Hansen swam his fastest 100 breast of the meet, clocking a 59.68. The swim was a breath of relief for American swimming fans, giving hope for a 100 breast medal in London. Hansen made his 3rd consecutive Olympic team with the swim, accomplishing an ultra-rare feat.

Eric Shanteau swam a 1:00.15 for 2nd place, earning a spot on the Olympic roster.

2012 OLYMPIC TEAM QUALIFIERS DAY 2

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Yaboi
1 year ago

In 2016, 17 year old Michael Andrew lowers the 17-18 NAG to 59.82 and places 4th.
In 2012, Eric Shanteau swims a 1:00.15 to place 2nd and qualify for the Olympic team.
What a difference those 4 years made.

Reply to  Yaboi
1 year ago

….a huge difference!

swimfan210_
Reply to  Yaboi
1 year ago

Swimming just keeps getting faster. It’s great that we get to reflect on that now and realize how much slower 2016 might seem in 2020. Especially in the women’s 100 back…crazy how in what feels like yesterday a 1:00 would get you into finals, but if it happened in 2020 you’d need I guess a 59-low. Even the weak events seem to be getting faster and faster.

iLikePsych
Reply to  Yaboi
1 year ago

And yet Shanteau was closer to the WR at the time! At trials in 2012 it was 58.58 (supersuited), and in 2016 it was 57.92.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  iLikePsych
1 year ago

goes to show the dominance of Peaty!

Nswim
1 year ago

The Rio section mentions London a lot lol

200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
1 year ago

Memorable quote from Rio Trials was after the 400m Free Final when Leah Smith told the interviewer: “I was able to see Katie Ledecky’s feet!”

torchbearer
Reply to  200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
1 year ago

Except in the 200m, that is an a big achievement!

Cal fan
1 year ago

Didn’t the lights go off during the 2016 men’s 100 breast final?

Admin
Reply to  Cal fan
1 year ago

I’ll admit that I don’t remember that, but it’s also been a long 4 years since then lol.

Dudeman
Reply to  Cal fan
1 year ago

Yeah there was an issue with the lighting system. The big lights went out and the small moving lights stayed on for the first half of the race

swimfan210_
Reply to  Cal fan
1 year ago

Yeah (this is off topic but nothing like once when I was at practice…and there was lightning and all the lights blacked out while I was swimming)