Overreacting: Grothe and Cox Amongst Swimmers to Miss Finals at Olympic Trials

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS


Although there were many strong swims on the first day of the US Olympic trials, there were also several notable swimmers who missed finals in their respective events. 

The biggest name to miss finals was distance standout Zane Grothe, who placed 11th overall in the 400 freestyle. Grothe represented the US at the 2018 Pan Pac Championships and the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the event, making every international roster since the Rio Olympics. 

Grothe’s best time in the 400 freestyle stands at 3:44.43, which would’ve qualified for finals in the top spot by 4 seconds had he met it. However, Grothe has struggled in the event this season, only holding a season best of 3:53.07 going into the meet. Grothe still has the 800 freestyle and 1500 freestyle on his slate in Omaha. 

Townley Haas also missed the final in the 400 freestyle, finishing 12th in a time of 3:50.89. Haas finished 3rd overall in the event at the 2016 Olympic Trials, but hasn’t placed much focus upon it internationally. 

Sprint freestylers Erika Brown and Mallory Comerford both missed making semi-finals in the 100 butterfly. Brown touched in 59.82, while Comerford finished in 1:00.11, both missing their best times of 58.79 and 57.95, respectively.

Both Charlie Swanson and Sean Grieshop missed the final of the men’s 400 IM. Swanson, the reigning Pan American Champion in the event, finished in a time of 4:18.82, adding almost 7 seconds on to his best time of 4:11.46 which had him seeded 3rd entering the meet. Grieshop, the former World Junior Record holder in the event, also added a significant chunk of time onto his personal best of 4:12.72. Had each man hit their person best, they both would have made it back to finals. 

In the women’s event, 2016 Olympic Trials finalist Madisyn Cox was the most notable miss. Cox finished 10th overall in a time of 4:44.36, just missing the final. Cox was entered with her personal best of 4:36.61, which would have made the final in first overall by a second. 

Josh Prenot missed the final in the men’s 100 breaststroke after finishing 3rd overall in 2016. Prenot finished in a time of 1:01.73 for 24th overall. NCAA standout Reece Whitley also missed the final in the event, placing 29th overall with a final time of 1:01.98, after coming into the meet seeded 7th overall.

Notable Declared False Starts/No Shows: 

  • Trenton Julian a declared false start in the men’s 400 freestyle, as he is conserving his energy for the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly according to his coach Dave Durden
  • Kay Sargent, the 7th seed in the women’s 400 IM, was a no-show in the final heat this morning. 

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pvdh
4 months ago

man reece whitley has been a disappointment in long course. figured hed put it together by now but i guess it just isnt meant to be

monsterbasher
Reply to  pvdh
4 months ago

Peaked when he was 14

Stewie
Reply to  pvdh
4 months ago

He’s a much better SCY than LCM swimmer. Nowhere to hide in the big pool – the walls (and extra dolphin kicks) aren’t available.

oxyswim
Reply to  Stewie
4 months ago

That hasn’t been true in the 100, only the 200

flygirl21
Reply to  pvdh
4 months ago

Who is he disappointing? You? Seems like he’s got a pretty bright future ahead regardless of swimming.

Pvdh
Reply to  flygirl21
4 months ago

1 – who tf else would I be talking about? My neighbor Wilfred?

2 – good thing I didn’t say anything about his life outside of swimming.

Last edited 4 months ago by Pvdh
KenMC
Reply to  Pvdh
4 months ago

All of these swimmers have been through so much during this pandemic, instead of saying “guess it wasn’t meant to be” maybe, just maybe, have a little bit more compassion about someone who has done so much for the sport and has inspired so many young swimmers to reach big. Just going to trials is an accomplishment in itself.

swimfast
Reply to  KenMC
4 months ago

This includes well before the pandemic…and not 1 single top tier high school recruit in the history of swimming hasn’t had multiple trials cuts upon graduating high school ….it’s literally a criteria to be a top recruit. So that argument is kinda silly. By the end of high school Whitley had medaled at junior worlds in both breast races- so for him to demote to simply competing at trials is indeed disappointing, in regard to his career as a swimmer, yes.

Last edited 4 months ago by swimfast
Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Pvdh
4 months ago

Tell us more about Wilfred

frug
Reply to  Pvdh
4 months ago

Well since you bring it up, how is Wilfred?

Swimmer
Reply to  Pvdh
4 months ago

What happened to his life outside of swimming?

swimfast
Reply to  flygirl21
4 months ago

He literally said “in long course” not “in life” bruh

Emerson
Reply to  flygirl21
4 months ago

This is a swimming website; discussing swimming only. Not Reece’s fault, he has been very overrated, so no way he can meet swim fan expectations.

Gowdy Raines
Reply to  pvdh
4 months ago

Too much hype for a 15yr old. Even his extra dolphin kicks can’t get him where he should be.

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  pvdh
4 months ago

Chas Morton Syndrome (CMS). It happens.

Walter
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
4 months ago

Chas Morton seems to be more successful in real life than more than a few who had more “success” in swimming, no?

Swamererer
Reply to  Walter
4 months ago

I always appreciate a good Chas Morton reference.

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  Walter
4 months ago

I believe that you are correct and that his life outside and after swimming has been a successful one. I didn’t mean for one second to denigrate him but after reading your reply I realize I sort of did.
I followed Mr. Morton’s exploits via the age group swims of the week in Swimming World back in the 80s. A young age grouper like myself going that fast in so many events blew my mind. But I didn’t read much about him later. Took me a few years to realize that early success in swimming doesn’t necessarliy dictate later results, and the pressure on age group phemons to keep on track must be unbelievable. It must be very hard… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by BearlyBreathing
SwimFani
Reply to  Walter
4 months ago

He a bum

Stewie
Reply to  pvdh
4 months ago

When it didn’t count.

Chris
4 months ago

I just double checked the selection procedures for what happens if either of the top 2 do not go at least 3:46.78 (the Olympic Qualifying Time) in finals. If no one in finals goes the Olympic OQT cut, then we only send 1 swimmer. If the winner gets the OQT cut, but not the second place finisher, the selection moves to the third place, if they have swam an OQT cut since March 1, 2019. They continue to go down the results from trials until they hit the first person that has swam an OQT cut. If I am correct, Grothe is the only one that has swam an OQT cut in that time period. So, if the winner gets… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Chris
Yup
Reply to  Chris
4 months ago

yea, but would you really want Zane swimming a 3:52 in Tokyo???

PVSFree
Reply to  Yup
4 months ago

I mean I think it’s more of an embarrassment for the US if we don’t send two swimmers. Grothe’s either on or off, and if he’s on he could definitely make the final. Better to take that risk than just send no one

Ghost
Reply to  PVSFree
4 months ago

What is sad is that NONE of the Top 8 Americans would have made the top heat in Australia! NONE. They are a country of 25 million and USA is a country of 360 million!

ab88
Reply to  Ghost
4 months ago

even Italy has huge depth in this event. Disappointing

Tomek
Reply to  Ghost
4 months ago

Are you looking at the correct results? The 6th place swimmer in Australian finals swam 3:49.61 final, 3:48.59 in prelims, 7th and 8th swimmers swam 3:55.19 and 3:55.27 respectively in the final, Kieran and Ross would both made the Australian 400 free finals as 7th and 8th seeds.

Jack
Reply to  Yup
4 months ago

He’s got an OQT. If we don’t have 2 swimmers make the cut, I’d be proud to have him represent us. Don’t forget we’re one of very few countries that could even think about being picky over whether a qualified athlete is “good enough” to represent us. Turning our nose up at someone who has swum a FINA A cut is kind of a slap in the face to countries who would kill to have multiple qualifiers in most events.

We’re the best nation ever in the history of the sport. There’s no shame in occasionally having an event where we’re not strong.

I’m rooting for the top 2 to smash the A cut. But if not, go Zane go!

Just curious
Reply to  Jack
4 months ago

Given that this scenario has never happened before, IF it happened, do you think Zane would accept the invitation? More specifically, would he feel awkward about how his teammates might react to his earning a non-traditional roster spot when making kit through the crucible of trials has always been the standard? I wish him only the best, but I might feel like an interloper in that scenario.

Swimmer
Reply to  Just curious
4 months ago

Not sure about his form, but he does have a chance of making it in the 800/1500 and then it wouldn’t be a problem

Just curious
Reply to  Swimmer
4 months ago

Absolutely if he qualifies with a top two finish in the 800/1500, then his swimming the 400 is a no-brainer. I’m just hypothesizing about what if he didn’t make top two in any other events, and this alternate selection process for the 400 was his only ticket to the show, would he (or anyone) feel comfortable with that? I actually hope it doesn’t come to that, because I know how I’d feel. I’m hoping he continues to rest throughout the week and knocks his other events out of the park.

Beverly Drangus
Reply to  Just curious
4 months ago

I hope he would accept. He didn’t write the selection procedures. If someone else wants to go, they should swim the OQT.

ct swim fan
Reply to  Jack
4 months ago

Before I would offer the spot to Zane, I would want to know why he was so bad compared to his best. There better be a good explanation backed up by facts.

coach
4 months ago

One race does not define a career. Hopefully they are all able to bounce back.

Jenny Sater
Reply to  coach
4 months ago

This right here 👆🏼! Can everyone in the comments section stay positive about the athletes this week? Y’all do know they read these comments…

coach
Reply to  Jenny Sater
4 months ago

We have had a number of athletes come forward with mental health issues/ suicidal thoughts. Particularly during one of the most emotional days in their life, we don’t need to help push people deeper down a dark hole.

Taa
Reply to  coach
4 months ago

I sure hope USA swimming is giving everyone a participation trophy so they don’t feel bad for swimming slow

Joe
Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

Big difference between that and showing some compassion when posting on an forum that lots of people in the swim community read.

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

Who took the jelly out of your donut?

bodybyfood
Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

With the current push for equitable outcomes, why have competition at all?

Walter
Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

But probably not as slooooow as you right?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  coach
4 months ago

ffs. They’re pro swimmers. It comes with the territory. We have the most namby-pamby attitude towards pros of any sport. Geez, they’re throwing water bottles at pro basketball players, hurling racial insults, etc. — and that’s to their faces. Their comment boards make ours look like we’re nuns. Swimming will never be taken seriously if fans are supposed to be restricted to not hurting the pros’ feelings.

Walter
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
4 months ago

A sport can’t be taken seriously unless it has a fan base of jerks and rascists?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Walter
4 months ago

No, but you can say C1 choked in Rio (she used those words to describe it herself) and you can say that Grothe and Cox (and others) completely fell on their faces without having to hear the incessant “but their feelings.” When a job performance sucks, bosses don’t say, “well, there will be another day, chin up,” they say “you’re fired.” Time to be grown-ups.

Pvdh
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
4 months ago

Lol fr. I wonder what these nuns would think of nba Twitter

Don Megerle
Reply to  coach
4 months ago

So due to fragile egos we can’t discuss it? Charming

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Jenny Sater
4 months ago

no

Aquajosh
Reply to  Jenny Sater
4 months ago

No athlete at OTs right now should be reading the Swimswam comments section. Social media management at taper meets needs to be part of any good coach’s curriculum.

Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
Reply to  coach
4 months ago

For some, it becomes a three year wait.

Dmswim
Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
4 months ago

All of these athletes have other events this meet, so it isn’t a three year wait for them to bounce back.

TeamDASH
4 months ago

What is USA Swimming / USOPC stance if no one makes the Olympic “A” cut in the 400 at this meet, but Groethe has it during the qualifying window?

Karl Boss
Reply to  TeamDASH
4 months ago

I think at least Kieran Smith will hit the “A” cut. He was coasting and let up at the end in the prelims.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  TeamDASH
4 months ago

Katie Ledecky gets the second spot.

PK doesn’t like his long name
4 months ago

Townley’s speed looked fine but he got way out of it the 3rd 100. Unsure about the 200 for him.

Cox disintegrated on the 2nd 50 of the breast and the whole free. Not the best of signs but she has shorter events to bounce back with.

I didn’t think anyone else in this post will make the team. I’m sad that my concern for Comerford looks valid.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  PK doesn’t like his long name
4 months ago

Comerford belonged in Wave 1. That may be cruel but it’s more representative of her current level than opportunity to grab an Olympic spot

Swammer
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
4 months ago

Although it’s been sad to see Mallory be off her best and we all hope for her to do well—I would agree this comment is quite cruel considering her worst times in the 100 free this year would have easily won Wave 1.

Troyy
Reply to  Swammer
4 months ago

That’s unfortunately not true.

Winner of Wave I in 100 free: 55.25
Comerford’s best 100 free this year: 55.31

Swammer
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

I thought one meet she was a low 55–my sincere apologizes. In all due respect time will tell, as of now I will say there is a difference between a tapered swim at wave 1 and non tapered meets Mallory was at. She was far from dead last in the 100 fly today and that isn’t her best race. Here’s to hoping for the best.

Mr Piano
4 months ago

Did Cox taper for the TYR pro swim meet or what

usaswimerror
Reply to  Mr Piano
4 months ago

Has to be sick.

MX4x50relay
4 months ago

I had madisyn finishing 2nd 😀

Teamwiess
Reply to  MX4x50relay
4 months ago

Same. Also had Grothe as second.

PVSFree
4 months ago

Here are my way too early overreacting takes:

  1. The Georgia and Florida swimmers look like they nailed their taper, along with the UVA women.
  2. Cal isn’t looking great at all.
  3. US distance swimming isn’t dead – we’ve literally got the greatest distance swimmer of all time in Ledecky, we’re just missing a counterpart on the men’s side.
Last edited 4 months ago by PVSFree
VFL
Reply to  PVSFree
4 months ago

Smith looked very smooth this morning. Expecting him to drop a hammer tonight!

Schwim
Reply to  PVSFree
4 months ago

Texas is also looking great

Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
Reply to  Schwim
4 months ago

Madisyn Cox?

IU Swammer
Reply to  PVSFree
4 months ago

And IU looks terrible so far. Everyone has added significant time: Grothe, Cavillo, Brinnegar, Looze, Miller. The only one who’s looked decent so far is Backes.

Stewie
Reply to  IU Swammer
4 months ago

#burntheships

JCO
Reply to  PVSFree
4 months ago

UGA looks good with the exception of Magahey. Really thought he’d be up there competing for a spot

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is an active …

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