Overreacting: Lochte Misses 200 Free Semi, Baker Hindered by Injury

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS


Day two of wave II of the 2021 US Olympic Trials did not fail to provide us with many surprises, the biggest one being Ryan Lochte missing the semi-finals in the 200 freestyle. 

Lochte, a 4-time Olympian, has represented the United States in the 4×200 freestyle relay at every Olympic Games he’s contested, winning 4 Olympic gold medals from the event. In 2016, Lochte swam a time of 1:46.62 to finish 4th overall in finals. Today, he was almost 3 seconds off of that time, posting a 1:49.23 to place 25th out of prelims, missing the semi-finals by over a second. 

For Lochte, his performance in the 200 freestyle is a possible foreshadowing of his 200 IM later in the meet. In 2016, Lochte placed 2nd with a time of 1:56.22. However, during the Olympic Trials qualification period, he has only been 1:57.76 in the event. 

Lochte later missed his heat in the 100 backstroke, opting for a declared false start. 

Baker’s Injury Impacts

As predicted, the field for the women’s 100 backstroke was extremely tight through prelims. However, what few people could have predicted was the fact that former world record holder Kathleen Baker was only 11th out of prelims, failing to break a minute in the event. 

Baker, who has been dealing with a foot injury, had a low start and appeared to lose her kick during the closing meters of the race. Her time of 1:00.46 from this morning was almost exactly a second off of her season best of 59.45. In order to make the final, Baker will most likely have to match her season best, as 7 out of the top 8 finishers in prelims were under a minute. 

Farris’ Event Selection 

NCAA Champion Dean Farris scratched the 200 freestyle event this morning to focus upon the 100 backstroke. The move was surprising for some, especially considering he is the American Record holder in the short course version of the 200 freestyle. 

Although Farris had traditionally focused more on the 100 freestyle, the move has raised some concerns. Farris was only 14th overall this morning in the 100 backstroke with a time of 54.27. Plus, the top 6 finishers in the 200 freestyle make the team as opposed to the top 2 in the 100 backstroke. 

King’s Prelims Performance

World record holder Lilly King did not appear too content with her performance in the 100 breaststroke prelims, even appearing to mouth some choice words after her finish. 

Despite this, King was still almost a second faster in prelims this morning that she was during prelims in 2016. At the 2016 meet, King touched in a time of 1:06.45, qualifying first overall for semi-finals, before eventually going a time of 1:05.20 in finals. Today, King touched in a time of 1:05.67, appearing fairly controlled throughout the race, to still take first overall out of prelims. 

Madden Shaking Up the 400 Free

Paige Madden had a statement swim in the 400 freestyle. After claiming 3 NCAA titles this year, Madden was expected to have a big performance at Trials. However, her swim this morning revealed she may even have more up-her-sleeve than originally anticipated. 

During prelims, Madden stayed right on Katie Ledecky’s toes, finishing in 4:05.92 to move to #13 all-time in US History. Madden’s time was a massive improvement upon her previous best of 4:09.19, and she may challenge Leah Smith for the second roster spot tonight. 

Other Notable Misses

Notable Declared False Starts/No Shows

  • Jay Litherland did not swim the 200 freestyle after qualifying for Tokyo in the 400 IM last night. Litherland was a member of the 4×200 freestyle relay at the 2017 World Championships.
  • Nikol Popov did not swim the 100 breaststroke, where she was seeded 19th overall.
  • As previously mentioned, Lochte was a no show for his heat in the 100 backstroke after swimming the 200 freestyle prelims. 

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A C
1 month ago

What did Lochte swim in the first round of the 200 Free prelims in 2016?

ACC
Reply to  A C
1 month ago

1:47.77, then 1:47.56 in semis. But he was fresher this time, he swam the 4IM the day before in 2016.

Last edited 1 month ago by ACC
A C
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

Thx! So he was 1.46 seconds slower. Not a good sign. His back half was reasonably good. Needs to go out faster and see what he can do on the back half.

Pvdh
1 month ago

Padre Tiempo comes for us all.

Except Anthony Ervin I guess.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Pvdh
1 month ago

Came for Ervin too, just a few years later.

BillyBob
Reply to  Pvdh
1 month ago

Tom Brady has entered the chat.

A C
1 month ago

From this morning, Lochte’s 50m splits: 25.87, 27.83, 27.57, 27.96. 100m splits: 53.70, 55.53. As compared to the 16 semi-finalists (18 with scratches), and particularly the 9 to 16 qualifiers (18 with scratches), his front half was about 1.5 seconds slower and his back half was a couple tenths faster. Did he go out too slow because he was in a slower heat?

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  A C
1 month ago

Probably but he should know that his heat was slower based on the seed times

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  A C
1 month ago

Pretty sure he was doing it as a gauge for what his last 50 of the 200 IM would feel like. That would be a nice split. I doubt he or Troy were delusional enough to think he could go 1:46. But Chase is swimming well, but not peak form, and MA, though swimming great, is going to be one tired puppy by the time the IM comes around.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

I don’t know. I’m sure Troy had his suspicions, but Lochte probably believed he could still do it.

He went out a little slow and could have done a 1:48, maybe a 1:47 but under swam that first 1/2.

Last edited 1 month ago by Irish Ringer
A C
Reply to  Irish Ringer
1 month ago

Based on his historical race times posted below, the big difference was the last 50. Maybe he has lost some of that fast twitch explosive power that he used to have.

cynthia curran
Reply to  A C
1 month ago

The Masters American record id a 1;52. So, a 1″49 is very good at age 36.

The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

Lochte broke the masters world record for his age by just over 3.5 seconds. Not too shabby.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

That’s looking on the bright side…smashed that WR.

cynthia curran
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

That’s what I said.

maybe?
1 month ago

Anyone know how serious Baker’s injury is?, I don’t think she was gonna make the team in the 100 Back anyway but I think she would have had a great shot in the 200IM, Fingers crossed it isn’t too serious and she is back to her best for the IM.

SCCOACH
Reply to  maybe?
1 month ago

She should be a lot better than 1:00 in the 100 back so I’d say it’s serious enough to be concerned about the IM

Curious
Reply to  SCCOACH
1 month ago

She was visibly limping on deck during all the warm up sessions leading up to the meet. Looks like she cannot put 100% of her weight on one of her feet. She is not in a boot or anything, but it is far from 100%. Good to see her battling through.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  maybe?
1 month ago

She got killed on the start, so I’d say pretty significant. Maybe it will be less evident on a dive.

Deepblue
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 month ago

But more evident on the breaststroke…

Xman
Reply to  Deepblue
1 month ago

I’ve had some foot problems throughout the years and I cannot do the breastroke kick. The lame foot will not do what the other foot does.

It’s not even the pain it’s just the compensation your body does that messes the symmetry

Mr Piano
1 month ago

Hopefully this is just Lochte’s warmup swim for the meet, I still have hope. But the situation is dire.

A C
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

Yeah, red alert! He’s still a great swimmer but can he go 1:56 or better for the 200IM plus survive three rounds?

A C
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

Is this the kinder gentler side of Mr Piano?

A C
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

I just watched the NBC broadcast from earlier today. Based on his comments, Rowdy seemed to think that Lochte was just getting a warmup swim — like you are hoping. Maybe Rowdy has inside information.

morgan
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

the situation is not dire, people need to pay a closer attention as to what they comment. Comments like these, and articles that come off as bashing a swimmers performance can have big affects on the swimmer. So think about the human being you are talking about and their feelings before you go about questioning their races.

SCCOACH
1 month ago

Are people really surprised by Dean? When was the last time he put up some top tier times?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  SCCOACH
1 month ago

I blame Madyson Cox for the decline.

Dudeman
Reply to  SCCOACH
1 month ago

Maybe the fans just didn’t meme him hard enough!?

Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

I dunno what it is this time around but Lilly King is really getting on my nerves. This brash, in-your-face side of her has been accommodated for too long

Distance Per Stroke
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

She also waited forever to get on the block If I remember correctly.

Murphy is my dad
Reply to  Distance Per Stroke
1 month ago

She’s the world record holder, the officials will wait for the greatest swimmer in the history of the event

Shane Potsdam
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

Spot on

RoamingPanda
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

Probably the fact that people were much more forgiving due to her age and just the fact that she hadn’t been around very long.

I’ve never really liked her from the get-go and she always gave off that rough and loud “I’m the greatest” American stereotype.

Jeremy Schultheiss
Reply to  RoamingPanda
1 month ago

Interesting take on King…. however, I’d like to assert that if she were a man then people would not say these things. If she were a man, rather than saying “brash, in your face” we would say “he is a fighter, a real winner, he kicks you know what”.Think GHJ. Think playing air guitar on deck at Sydney Olympics.

Just my 3 cents.

M d e
Reply to  Jeremy Schultheiss
1 month ago

Everyone hated GHJ though and clowned on him when the Australians beat him.

If Lily King keeps winning most people will say that stuff. And that’s what they have been saying. If she starts losing things will get negative quickly. It’s the nature of conducting yourself in that way, you have to back it up every single time.

BillyBob
Reply to  Jeremy Schultheiss
1 month ago

I immediately thought of GHJ and not liking him for the same reasons.

Pvdh
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

And you’ll have accommodate it for longer. Don’t get your undies in a twist princess.

Kitajima Fan
Reply to  Pvdh
1 month ago

The retired specter of Kitajima looks down on you with stern disapproval

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

“Shut up and swim”?

Landen
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

I love swimmers like hat. Sport needs it

A C
Reply to  Kitajima Fan
1 month ago

The world is filled with all kinds of people. Maybe best to appreciate our differences.

Jotolo
Reply to  A C
1 month ago

Amen!

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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