Overreacting: Sprinters Stepping Up, Lochte Bounces Back


We’re back with some overreactions to all of the action that took place during day 5 prelims at the 2021 US Olympic Trials, including the biggest storyline of the day: can Simone Manuel make the team in the 100 freestyle? 

Manuel, the defending World and Olympic champion, was only 6th this morning with her time of 54.47 coming in well over her American record of 52.04. During her race, Manuel was fairly long in her strokes, which may indicate that she has room left in the tank to improve tonight. 

However, with Stanford’s swimmers underperforming at these trials, it’s hard to tell exactly where Manuel stands. Despite this, we all know that Manuel needs to be significantly faster to earn a chance to defend her Olympic title: several American women have already been under 54 this season. 

Weitzeil and Smoliga Showing Their Cards 

On the flip side of Manuel’s situation, American record holder Abbey Weitzeil appears to be on form. The 2016 Trials Champion swam a time of 53.52 this morning, nearly matching her time from 2016 (53.28) to take the top spot for the semi-finals. 

After narrowly missing out on an individual berth in the 100 backstroke, Olivia Smoliga swam a best time this morning in the 100 freestyle to qualify second in 54.00. Smoliga was out fast, flipping first at the 50 meter mark before fading down the stretch. If she can replicate her performance, she’s in a good position to make the 4×100 freestyle relay for Tokyo.

Lochte’s Holding On 

Coming into Trials, one of the biggest questions of the meet was if Ryan Lochte would make it to his 5th Olympic Games. On day 2, that seemed bleak, as Lochte missed the semi-finals in the 200 meter freestyle by placing 25th overall. 

This morning, however, Lochte placed 2nd overall in the 200 IM, putting himself in the position to make the team. His time of 1:58.48 was only a half second shy of the time he swam in prelims back in 2016, when Lochte ultimately took 2nd overall in finals behind Michael Phelps

Lasco Drops Massive 200 Backstroke 

At the 2021 NCAA Championships, Destin Lasco was a breakout star, giving Texas A&M’s Shaine Casas a run for his money in the backstroke events. During the meet, Lasco also became the 3rd fastest performer in history in the 200 yard backstroke with his time of 1:35.99, only trailing Casas and Ryan Murphy.

Despite his short course performances, Lasco had yet to back up his times in the long course pool. His best time in the long course 200 backstroke only stood at 2:00.91 entering trials, which didn’t even exceed the wave II cut time. However, Lasco demolished that standard this morning, swimming a time of 1:56.88 to chop over 4 seconds off of his personal best and take the top seed out of prelims.

Although Ryan Murphy is still the favorite to claim first place in the final, Lasco put himself in contention for a roster spot, especially considering Casas was only 1:59 this morning.

Casas Confidence Takes a Hit

After losing out on making the team in the 100 backstroke, Shaine Casas dramatically underperformed in the prelims of the 200 backstroke, only placing 9th overall.

Casas relies heavily upon confidence in his swimming, and it is clear that the 100 backstroke miss disrupted his momentum. Can Casas get back on track during the semi-finals to move himself back into contention? 

Notable Misses

Notable No-Shows: 

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4 months ago

I think weitzel’s swim this morning looked super controlled and I am very bullish on her chances tomorrow. I think huske drops a 53 low tonight to make in interesting. I think we all hope Simone was taking it easy this morning.

Reply to  Eagleswim
4 months ago

what’s with all the Simone hype? I genuinely don’t get why everyone loves her so much?

Lois T. St Cyr
Reply to  Jeffery
4 months ago

That’s because you don’t really know and follow Yah Jesus. .

4 months ago

Drabot missed the 200 fly finals

Lois T. St Cyr
Reply to  Joe
4 months ago

Like the song said, We fall down but we get up. At least he tried. Keep trying is in the eyes of the beholder. I applaud to ones that tried. ❤✌🙏😇

Samuel Huntington
4 months ago

Sprinters stepping up? There was only 1 53 – they have work to do.

Ole 99
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
4 months ago


The Scribe
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
4 months ago

They do indeed, and if they can’t manage it, the Aussies are odds on to win the W4x100m Freestyle Relay comfortably and make it 3 in a row. Isn’t the 2000 Sydney Olympics the last time the US team won it?

Reply to  Samuel Huntington
4 months ago

Update – they still have work to do. Need at least one 52…

Lois T. St Cyr
Reply to  Samuel Huntington
4 months ago

We all have work to do. BE MORE supported to everyone that’s in any trials out. ❤🙏

4 months ago


Reply to  BearlyBreathing
4 months ago

Smith-King-Curzan-Huske or Smith-King-Huske-Curzan is a reasonable possibility

Last edited 4 months ago by wow
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
4 months ago

Kate Douglass enters the chat!

4 months ago

Manuel has always been very efficient and peaks only when the time is right

Reply to  SwamFly
4 months ago

Yeah she’s a classic racer – too tough to not grab her spot surely

Reply to  FraserThorpe
4 months ago

This aged well

4 months ago

What’s happened to the long hyped Gretchen Walsh?

4 months ago

We are reading too much into prelims

Reply to  Xman
4 months ago

Its what we do. Manuel in trouble. Heck the whole relay is in trouble if the ladies can’t break 53/

Sapnu puas
Reply to  Xman
4 months ago


Cheesehead swim
4 months ago

Casas always goes easy in prelims I wouldn’t count him out

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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