With the Olympic season underway, it’s time to take stock of where the qualifications for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials are at.
The qualifying window for the event opened on November 30, 2022. With a huge stadium to fill, we suspect that USA Swimming is targeting a field on the bigger end of the typical range, but that will mean a lot of work in the next nine months, the time when swimmers really seem to rise to the occasion.
So far, we count 380 men who have met the standards for the 2024 Trials in at least one event.
2024 US Olympic Trials Standards:
|2:16.09||200m Individual Medley||2:03.49|
|4:49.89||400m Individual Medley||4:25.19|
Let’s learn a little bit more about who is qualifying.
- Note: LSC and club data can be a bit wonky if athletes change clubs during the qualifying period.
- See the 2021 data here to make fun comparisons. Remember there was an extra year on that qualifying period because of the COVID-19 delay.
Swimmers With The Most Events
There are currently 10 men who have qualified for the Olympic Trials in at least five events. A lot of these aren’t a surprise – IMers, freestylers with range, or stroke swimmers who also are good at freestyle races.
I think some people will be surprised to see middle-distance ace Kieran Smith at the top of this list with eight (my guess would’ve been the versatile Shaine Casas) but remember —he was recruited to Florida as a backstroker and IMer, so his specialty belies his versatility.
|Full Name||Club||LSC||Event Count|
|1||Smith, Kieran||Ridgefield Aquatic Club||CT||8|
|2||Casas, Shaine||Longhorn Aquatics||ST||7|
|3||Diehl, Daniel||YMCA of Cumberland||MD||6|
|3||Shackell, Aaron||Carmel Swim Club||IN||6|
|3||Julian, Trenton||Mission Viejo Nadadores||CA||6|
|3||Foster, Carson||Mason Manta Rays||OH||6|
|3||Maurer, Rex||Rose Bowl Aquatics||CA||6|
|3||Litherland, Jay||Sun Devil Swimming||AZ||6|
|3||Kalisz, Chase||Sun Devil Swimming||AZ||6|
|10||Heilman, Thomas||Cavalier Aquatics/Piedmont Family YMCA||VA||5|
|10||Dahlgren, Jack||Team Triumph||MV||5|
|10||Nelson, Baylor||Aggie Swim Club||GU||5|
|10||Jett, Gabriel||California Aquatics||PC||5|
|10||Burns, Brendan||Indiana Swim Club||IN||5|
|10||Lucas, Cooper||Lakeside Aquatic Club||NT||5|
|10||Albiero, Nicolas||Cardinal Aquatics||KY||5|
|10||Finke, Bobby||Saint Petersburg Aquatics||FL||5|
|10||Ellis, Luke||Sandpipers Of Nevada||CA||5|
Kieran Smith‘s Qualified Events:
- 100 free – 48.58
- 200 free – 1:45.63
- 400 free – 3:45.77
- 800 free – 8:01.14
- 100 back – 55.10
- 200 back – 1:58.43
- 200 IM – 1:57.99
- 400 IM – 4:19.67
Beyond Smith and Casas, we see some of the other usual suspects high on this list, such as medley specialists Carson Foster, Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland, but it’s also interesting to see some of the next generation qualifying in five or more events. Daniel Diehl, Aaron Shackell and Rex Maurer all have six qualified events, and Thomas Heilman has five.
Don’t get mad at me, y’all choose who you represent.
The athletes on this list represent 169 different clubs. That doesn’t include nine unattached swimmers.
Most of the teams at the top are, unsurprisingly, tied to colleges. That’s where most Olympic Trials qualifiers train.
The top club not attached to a college is Texas Ford Aquatics with six qualifiers – though that includes Coley Stickels‘ pro group.
Ultimately, lack of consistency in club representation makes the data kind of useless, but fun to look at anyway.
|3||Indiana Swim Club||13|
|5||Sun Devil Swimming||12|
|6||University of Florida||9|
|8||Ohio State University||8|
|9||Athens Bulldog Swim Club||7|
|9||Aggie Swim Club||7|
This one is what’s really interesting. In the past, the 50 free has consistently been the most-qualified-for event.
But not so far this year. This year, it’s the individual medley races. The 400 IM is especially surprising, because that, along with the distance freestyles, is usually the least-qualified-for event.
|200 IM LCM||76|
|400 IM LCM||69|
|100 FR LCM||63|
|100 FL LCM||60|
|200 BK LCM||59|
|400 FR LCM||58|
|100 BR LCM||57|
|800 FR LCM||56|
|100 BK LCM||56|
|200 FR LCM||55|
|200 FL LCM||52|
|1500 FR LCM||51|
|200 BR LCM||51|
|50 FR LCM||50|
Perhaps the 200 and 400 IM events ranking atop the heap thus far makes sense given that they were the two events that saw the smallest improvement in terms of standard percentage-wise relative to the 2021 Trials cuts (every standard got faster to some degree).
The 50 free got faster by 1.72 percent, dropping from 23.19 to 22.79, which helps us understand why there are only 50 qualifiers in the event thus far. In 2021, the men’s 50 free had the most qualified swimmers (including women’s events) at 167.
NUMBER OF QUALIFIERS VERSUS 2021
The 400 IM is also the only event that has more qualifiers so far for the 2024 Trials compared to 2021.
|Event||Qualified Swimmers In 2021||Qualified Swimmers In 2024*||Difference|
*Through September 28, 2023
So far, 42 out of the 59 LSCs in USA Swimming are represented among the Olympic Trials qualifiers, with the North Carolina, Indiana, and Southern California LSCs leading the way.
Places with big pro groups and elite college teams (where athletes represent their schools, not their home club) do often have an outsized number of swims versus swimmers. Southern California, for example, checks this box. More elite swimmers are more likely to have more qualifying times, so one explanation for these numbers is that “swimmers” shows depth, whereas “swims” represents more elite top-end talent.
Arizona is a good example of that in action.
All of the same caveats as above.
The influx of new blood atop the U.S. swimming scene is on display as we look at the current top seeds in each event, as only two swimmers, Bobby Finke and Ryan Murphy, two of the world’s best in their respective disciplines, hold the fastest time in multiple events.
|50 Free||Ryan Held||21.50||2023 Phillips 66 National Championships||New York Athletic Club||MR|
|100 Free||Jack Alexy||47.31||2023 World Champs||California Aquatics||PC|
|200 Free||Luke Hobson||1:44.87||2023 World Champs||Longhorn Aquatics||ST|
|400 Free||David Johnston||3:45.75||2023 Phillips 66 National Championships||Longhorn Aquatics||ST|
|800 Free||Bobby Finke||7:38.67||2023 World Champs||Saint Petersburg Aquatics||FL|
|1500 Free||Bobby Finke||14:31.59||2023 World Champs||Saint Petersburg Aquatics||FL|
|100 Back||Ryan Murphy||52.02||2023 World Champs||California Aquatics||PC|
|200 Back||Ryan Murphy||1:54.83||2023 World Champs||California Aquatics||PC|
|100 Breast||Nic Fink||58.36||2023 Phillips 66 National Championships||Metro Atlanta Aquatic Club||GA|
|200 Breast||Matt Fallon||2:07.71||2023 Phillips 66 National Championships||Athens Bulldog Swim Club||GA|
|100 Fly||Dare Rose||50.46||2023 World Champs||California Aquatics||PC|
|200 Fly||Thomas Heilman||1:53.82||2023 World Champs||Cavalier Aquatics/Piedmont Family YMCA||VA|
|200 IM||Shaine Casas||1:56.06||2023 TYR Pro Swim Series Westmont||Longhorn Aquatics||ST|
|400 IM||Carson Foster||4:06.56||2023 World Champs||Mason Manta Rays||OH|
FULL LIST OF QUALIFIERS
The qualifying window for the Olympic Trials will close on May 30, 2024. The event will then take place from June 15-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.