Matt Grevers Scratches 200 Backstroke Semi’s

Despite looking incredibly easy in the 200 back prelims, Matt Grevers has scratched the 200 backstroke semi-final*. He was the 3rd seed in the morning heats in 1:58.90, about a second-and-a-half behind the defending World Champion Ryan Lochte.

The scenario really made this a difficult decision. In this evening’s session, he also has the 100 free final. If he does make top two in this 200 backstroke, he’s a big-time medal candidate. But if he’s on the 400 free relay, he’s a big time medal candidate there as well. The deal-breaker seems to be that making top two in the 200 backstroke would’ve required him to be one of the best 4 in the world, whereas the 100 free didn’t at all.

Grevers already has an Olympic spot on his docket with a win in the 100 back in a 52.0.

That moves Stanford All-American 200 backstroker Matt Thompson (2:01.79) into the final.

200 back semi-final start lists available here.

*We’re pretty sure he means it this time, based on the released start sheets.

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67 Comments on "Matt Grevers Scratches 200 Backstroke Semi’s"

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Makes no sense. Why even swim the Prelim then.

Well it certainly shows a change of mind. I suppose that besides whatever calculus he used for medal probabilities, as indicated above, he realized that “easy” 200 backs are few and far between…..some would argue its tougher than the 200 fly (LCM).
I do not think he was going to finish high enough in the 100 free tonight after the 200 back semis to be a no-brain pick for evening relay. Now he has a chance to make his case to swim at night. Hope it works out well for him. I think the US will be just fine in the 200 back, regardless.

This makes sense for Grevers and is a good move. Will not beat Lochte and will be tough to beat Clary. His next best shot for a medal is the 4×100 free relay. We also need major help in that department.

The thing about the 100 is that swimming another race earlier in the session doesn’t just put an individual spot at risk, it puts the relay spot at risk, too. He would still stand a pretty good chance of making top 6 if he swam the 2 BK beforehand, but the field is so tightly bunched that there’s very little margin for error. Plus with Phelps and Lochte already advocating for swimming on the PM relay w/o qualifying in the 1, there’s no way the coaches are going to consider that for anyone else. So the schedule basically forced him to scratch one or the other, and since you can earn 2 medals via the 100 vs. only 1 in… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of 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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