Predicting Tokyo: SwimSwam 2020 US Olympians Draft Part 2

The following is a lightly edited transcript of a Slack chat that took place over the last three weeks. This is part 2 of 2. The first 4 rounds were published yesterday. Check that out here for a refresher on the rules.  People’s opinions expressed below are their own.

Teams after Rounds 1-4 (note that this was a snake draft. The pick order reveres every round)

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Karl Caeleb Dressel Blake Pieroni Kelsi Dahlia Cody Miller
Andrew Katie Ledecky Leah Smith Zane Grothe Jack Conger
Lauren Simone Manuel Andrew Seliskar Dean Farris Erika Brown
Robert Regan Smith Townley Haas Hali Flickinger Melanie Margalis
Braden Lily King Ella Eastin Katie McLaughlin Jay Litherland
Morgan Ryan Murphy Chase Kalisz Abbey Weitzeil Matt Grevers
Reid Kathleen Baker Mallory Comerford Jordan Wilimovsky Zach Apple
Nick Michael Andrew Luca Urlando Annie Lazor Nathan Adrian

–Start of Round 5–

karl And then I’ll take Olivia Smoliga. Already went a best this year in-season in the 100 back, and I could see her going 58-low — it’ll be a death match between her, Baker, and Smith for those two spots, maybe Bacon, too. Smoliga also has an outside shot at the 4×100 free relay, and if she makes the team in back, would have her on medley in at least prelims.

Jared I know the women’s backstrokes are brutal. But I’m a big Smoliga supporter. She’s on an awesome run the past few seasons. No one was picking her to survive Baker/Smith and make the Worlds team last summer, but she did.
I like Miller a lot too. When he’s healthy, I think he’s better than any of the other breaststrokers except maybe MA.

karl I also think that should Miller and Smoliga make the 100 breast/back, they have a shot at an individual medal, too. More so Smoliga.

andrew Since 2010 only 4 American women have been under 1:56 in the 200 free. Three of them are Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin (who is retired), and Leah Smith. Smith’s best time is 1:55.97. My next pick Allison Schmitt was 1:55.8 last year. Schmidt might be getting older, but 1:55.8 is a serious time and enough to get her 2 events at the Olympics.

Robert Gibbs She was going to be my next pick if she was still available.

Morgan P When the dust settles, the big names that AREN’T going to make the Olympic team is gonna be bananas
There are some loaded fields where we only take two swimmers

Lauren I’ll go with Josh Prenot

karl Was just thinking that we’ve been very tentative about U.S. male breaststrokers.. but at least one of them will have a medal by way of the medley relay.

Robert Gibbs Lol, I was gonna suggest we do a special supplemental round for men’s breaststrokers.

Robert Gibbs Mulling over 5 or 6 names here, but I’m going to go with Clark Smith. If he’s clicking at Trials, he could conceivably make the team in the 4×200, 400, and 800. Big risk. Big upside.

Braden Keith By my count, there are 3 individual World Championship medalists from 2017 left on the board. One of them is a male breaststroker (no thanks). So, of the other 2, I feel most confident about Pebley.
I’ll be honest – I wasn’t that confident about his move to San Diego, losing the training with Murphy every day, and everything that was working for him at Cal. But…lately it seems like he’s clicking again, feeling better about himself. This Tall Slim Tees thing he’s got going with Chadwick feels like it’s activating a different part of his brain and engaging him.

Jared Unrelated to swimming, but those guys are pretty funny too. I get occasional Workaholics vibes from their sketches

karl I think he’s one of the really strong #2’s in an individual event that I feel good about, so it’s a solid pick. Though I don’t see it for him for relays

Robert Gibbs who’s up? @Morgan P?

Morgan P Guys. I’m doing it. GIMME RYAN LOCHTE, BABY

Robert Gibbs Nice. Lots of experience, lots of upside. NBC would love it. Just who knows what kind of shape he’s in.

Morgan P He can be carrying an extra 10 pounds and still quality in the 2 IM, unless someone makes a huge leap
Plus, he’s back where he had major success, and seems like he’s focused on rebuilding and going out with a bang

Braden Keith Is this going to be the “Lauren chooses Missy Franklin” pick of this year’s draft?

Morgan P Entirely possible, @Braden Keith but loving the 5th-round value here

andrew I figured he would get picked. I’m surprised he went this high.

Morgan P <shrug emoji>

karl I feel like Lochte’s shown he can get back into shape. Though I think a younger person with potential drops might be too much for him in the 200 IM
If Devine is on, he’s going to be a 1:56. That’s fast

Morgan P My whole reasoning… by all accounts, Lochte wasn’t exactly focused following 2012, and also had a lot of bad breaks (e.g., tearing his ACL)… and still went 1:56.2
Seems like he hit the bottom already personally, and really wants to turn things around
So, could definitely see him beating that time

karl For sure. I wouldn’t be very surprised if he were to pull another swim like that. But that was seven years ago.

Morgan P 1:56 was 3 years ago. Not saying he’ll go 1:53 again, but…

karl Oh oh
I thought you were saying he was 1:56.2 in ’12

Morgan P He was 1:54 back in 2011

karl I honestly have no idea how his training is going // where he’s at. I’m sure we’ll find out in August once he’s done with his ban and we can see a race or two from him
besides Devine, though, it still isn’t clear what will happen for the #2 spot in the 200 IM, assuming Kalisz is all good to go. The third threat coming to mind is MA, what with guys getting older like Bentz and Prenot not really doing all that much in this event the last couple of seasons.
So Lochte still has a solid opening

Morgan P 98% chance MA will be absolutely gassed by the end of trials

karl I suppose someone like Luca or Carson or Kieran Smith could do something big

Morgan P Remember, 2 IM is night of day 6
Well… let me pull back on that
MA might only try 4 events over the meet
And yes, have strong faith in Devine being fast

karl Definitely. 100 breast and 100 back kind of conflict, and 100 fly and 2IM kind of conflict.. if MA were to phase out the 100 fly, I think he could have a great shot at a 1:56

Morgan P Yeah. Helps when there are no 50s at the meet. Lottttt fewer races haha

karl If I were MA, I’d for sure want to do the 50 free and 100 breast. 100 back has Murphy/Grevers/Ress/Pebley with real sub-53 potential. 100 fly has Dressel, of course, and then a slew of 51’s. 200 IM is sort of open to whomever can swim big in the final. Choices!

Robert Gibbs That freestyle breathing tho’…

Reid Alright, I’ll take Andrew Wilson.

Robert Gibbs Last year, Kevin Cordes was the 10th overall pick. This year we’ve now had several men’s breaststrokers go ahead of him, and he remains unpicked in the 5th round.

Reid Yeah, Cordes was my second pick last year. Meili my third, I believe. Breaststroke is a revolving door the past couple years on Team USA, except for Lilly King.

Robert Gibbs What are the chances that Cordes and/or Miller (Pan Am) are faster than Andrew/Wilson (Worlds)?

Morgan P Reasonable.
I’d believe anything with US men’s breaststroke at this point haha

karl lol Andrew/Wilson
I would really like to see someone like Finnerty or M. McHugh blow up this summer. I need a Luca in breaststroke. No more games

Nick okay friends I will pick Madisyn Cox for Team Pec. She is very much capable of being an IM contender and I see her doing really well in the 2 BR. My guess would be the 2 IM is her best shot.

Robert Gibbs 3rd-fastest USA woman in the 200 IM since the last Olympics. And she’ll presumably be pretty driven after not being able to compete last summer.

Morgan P Very strong pick

karl I think she hit bests in free and IM this spring. Definitely someone who could break out in the 2IM and qualify
If Baker does the 2IM it’ll be a crazy event

Morgan P Bananaland

Nick I wonder if the 200 BR would be just as crazy since a good number of the US women IMers are strong in breast

–End of Round 5–

Round 5 Summary

Karl Olivia Smoliga
Andrew Allison Schmitt
Lauren Josh Prenot
Robert Clark Smith
Braden Jacob Pebley
Morgan Ryan Lochte
Reid Andrew Wilson
Nick Madisyn Cox

–Start of Round 6–

Robert Gibbs I mean, how many events won’t be crazy?
I.e., in which events do we feel reasonably good about picking the top two? Women’s distance? Men’s back?

Nick good point, but I meant you know not like a 3-person race only 2 make it kinda like the men’s 100 breast last time where the whole final had tons of talent

Morgan P Great question, Robert
Where are the thinnest top-end of the fields / “most sure” things?
(1) Women’s distance events

Braden Keith Do we see anybody taking out Andrew or Dressel in the men’s 50 free?

Nick not really

Morgan P Maybe.
But still, only 1-2 other people who are possible, right?
So yeah, that’s thin
Men’s 200 back has 3 names, max

Robert Gibbs Who’s the 3rd for you? Katz?

Morgan P Yeah\

Nick men’s 400 IM? Kalisz and Litherland might repeat 1-2 again

Robert Gibbs I’d agree.

Morgan P But, let’s be real, Pebley and Murph are quite a bit ahead in my mind

Morgan P Women’s sprints are Simone, Mallory, Weitzeil (feel she’ll rebound)… then pretty open

Nick I will pick Will Licon, bringing my BR/IM picks to now four

Robert Gibbs Bold strategy, Cotton.

Braden Keith Ensuring that he won’t lose, and also that he won’t win lol

Nick It feels at this point that after Miller/Andrew/Prenot in breast the rest of the names are more of a gamble

Reid Alright, let’s gamble on the youth. I’m going with Gretchen Walsh. Alex will probably be the stronger multi-event pick in 2024, but as far as chances of getting on that 4 x 100 free relay go, I think Gretchen has the edge.

Jared K so Dean just went 47.0 and I feel very foolish for my earlier comments

(editor’s note: this is a reference to day 1 of WUGs )

Nick how dare you disrespect our savior.
do we think he can go 46?

Morgan P That’ll be me.
Well after this WUGS day, I’m staying away from trying to figure out the men’s sprint group. I’ll take Abe Devine.
Could definitely be a two event qualifier, pushed through a tough year mentally by all accounts this year, and now has a full year as a pro swimmer in a better environment to just focus on LCM

Braden Keith Am I really going to have to be the one to call out the Stanford shill?

Robert Gibbs Huh?

Braden Keith I just can’t believe it took Morgan this long to pick his first Stanford swimmer…

Robert Gibbs Oh right

Morgan P Lol
I am the most biased person out there, don’t forget

Robert Gibbs Swimswam hates -fill in your favorite team here-

Morgan P *-fill in any team here-

Braden Keith All of this to set up my next pick: fellow Texas A&M Aggie Bethany Galat, who I still think is the best bet for the #2 US spot in the 200 breaststroke, in spite of recent developments.

Morgan P We‘re anti-everyone, don’t forget

Robert Gibbs Wait. Which school did Braden go to?

Robert Gibbs Believe I’m up. I’m going with Margo Geer.

Lauren I’m gonna take Maxime Rooney. See if the move to Texas pays off in the 200 free for a relay spot and with that 48 low in the 100 free could end up on 2 relays maybe.

andrew I’m going with Katie Drabot here. 2:06.6 in the 200 fly at a random meet is serious speed. That time makes her a serious medal contender. 5th fastest in the world since 1/1/2018 and within a tenth of 3rd. Flickinger looks to have the top qualifying spot on lock. However, among Americans only Regan Smith has been within a second of that time in the last year and a half, and she may have other priorities. Ella Eastin could also take Drabot’s spot here, but I like Drabot’s chances.
Plus while we’re talking about homerism, this pick gives me the chance to grab a Wisconsin native.

karl I’ll take Ryan Held. Obviously getting very crowded in the men’s sprints but I think he’s had a good start to his season and went a PR in the 50 free already this spring

–End of Round 6–

Round 6 Summary

Nick Will Licon
Reid Gretchen Walsh
Morgan Abrahm Devine
Braden Bethany Galat
Robert Margo Geer
Lauren Maxime Rooney
Andrew Katie Drabot
Karl Ryan Held

–Start of Round 7–

karl Then I’ll go with Erica Sullivan. Really think she’s going to keep dropping and her mile was fantastic a few weeks ago. She really looks solid for just one event to make the team, since Smith has the 800 pretty locked down for #2, but in her one event I could see a podium finish in a year and a month

andrew I’m glad you took Sullivan. I she was on my list for my next pick, but I didn’t want to because my team already has so many distance swimmers.

karl I was toying between her and Sumrall, but ultimately 2 breast is more crowded than the mile

andrew The weird thing about the 1500 is that I don’t think any of the top 6 Americans in that event consider it to be their main event. Ledecky, Smith, and McHugh prefer shorter events and Sullivan, Twitchell, and Anderson are mostly open water athletes

Morgan P Very solid value from the last three picks

andrew Kevin Cordes. No one knows what’s going to happen in the men’s breaststrokes, so I’ll buy a lottery ticket in the form of the guy with the longest resume in the field

Lauren Gotta think on this for a bit

Robert Gibbs :thinking_face:

Lauren I’ll go Bobby Finke

andrew I like the pick as long as his dropping out of WUGs doesn’t turn out to be because of anything serious

Robert Gibbs It’s a long shot, but I want to snap up Carson Foster before anyone else does. I believe he was the youngest male OT qualifier in 2016. His 400 IM has gone from 4:27 to 4:21 to 4:14 from 2016-2018. Wouldn’t take too much more of a drop for him to seriously challenge for the 2nd spot in this event.

Braden Keith It’s starting to get hard.
I’m going to take Gabby DeLoof. She could make 2 relays, and I think has a decent shot at grabbing a 200 free spot individually.
I’m actually really happy with that pick, now that I think about it

Nick especially with her WUGs swims so far

karl Actually a very solid pick, we know she has a great shot at 4×2, and her 100 is coming along where I could see her be 53 high or so.

Morgan P It is truly getting thin. I’ll take Lia Neal. This is me banking on a 4×1 medal and likely nothing more.

Robert Gibbs I nearly went with her, but i already took Geer last round.

Reid Okay, I’ll take Zach Harting. I think his 200 fly is going to be stronger than Conger, Shields, and Kalisz. Urlando obviously has this win, but who gets 2nd is anybody’s guess. I have faith in Justin Wright as well, but Harting has performed better internationally. If he makes the team, I think he makes the Olympic final in the 200 fly.

Braden Keith Not going to mention the defending national champion in your “ands”?

Robert Gibbs I like it. I was considering taking him with my last pick if he was still available.

Reid I may think differently in a few weeks, but for now I think the 2nd spot is going to Harting or Wright, but my money’s on the Dark Knight.

karl We’re ALMOST on the final round. @Nick you’re up twice

Nick alright I will take Trey Freeman. Very good middle distance FR with great relay potential and possibly a contender for the 400

–End of Round 7–

Round 7 Summary

Karl Erica Sullivan
Andrew Kevin Cordes
Lauren Bobby Finke
Robert Carson Foster
Braden Gabby DeLoof
Morgan Lia Neal
Reid Zach Harting
Nick Trey Freeman

–Start of Round 8–

Nick and rounding out my top 8 picks I will choose Ashley Twichell. She’s racked up numerous open water national titles and worlds medals and can definitely make a statement at Trials for an Olympic berth.

karl I feel like if she goes for the 1500/pool Olympic berth, she has a great shot to battle with Sullivan for that spot behind Ledecky.

andrew That’s one of my most anticipated trials races: Sullivan’s recent time at a PSS: 15:55.2. Twichell at last summer nationals 15:55.6

karl Wow

Reid Okay, I’ll take Ally McHugh.

andrew McHugh is a swimmer with the potential to have a rough trials. It’s possible she gets 3rd in 3 events. Of course that also means that if she has a great meet she could qualify in a bunch of events. I like the pick.

Morgan P Welp. May as well pick Austin Katz after that 2 back

Reid He’s going to be a major threat to Pebley for the second spot in the 2 back.

Braden Keith Who’s left on the board?

Robert Gibbs Roughly 7.656 billion people :joy:

Braden Keith I only need one. Brooke Forde. She’s dropping time in droves, and heck her 4:31 in the 500 free leads me to believe that she’s got a shot in qualifying for the 400 free in addition to the 400 IM.

karl noooooo
thought she would be forgotten

Robert Gibbs Gonna buy one lottery ticket here with the name “Conor Dwyer” on it. Not really sure what’s up with him, but don’t see him retiring one year away from the Olympics. I think there’s a good chance he’s just been enjoying life, lurking, and will rev it up for one more 4×200 gold medal next year.

Morgan P Strong pick, Braden…

Lauren Justin Wright

andrew Given that it’s the last round I wanted to take a flier on another Wisconsin homer pick and go with Beata Nelson, but there’s a swimmer that had the #3 time in the world last year in a 100 still sitting there. I pick Molly Hannis.

karl Last pick…. I don’t really know if I should pick someone who has a solid shot at a roster spot or if I should just have fun with it.
Part of me really wants to pick Stadden, Bacon, Curzan, or Alex Walsh. Or Claire Tuggle. I don’t think any of them have been picked.
But I am going to take Trenton Julian. His 1:46 relay split from just now was enticing, but I think he had such a great NCAA season and he’s been able to drop in LCM. He’s 1:56.20 in the 200 fly, and I think relay spot + outside shot at 2 fly spot is realistic.
He also went 4:11 in the 500 this year and I’d like to think he could at least make the 400 free final at OTs, and he went 1:59/4:17 IMs last summer. I could’ve also gone with Grieshop, who has a similar talent set, but Julian has that relay potential.

–End of Round 8 and Draft–

Round 8 Summary

Nick Ashley Twichell
Reid Ally McHugh
Morgan Austin Katz
Braden Brooke Forde
Robert Conor Dwyer
Lauren Justin Wright
Andrew Molly Hannis
Karl Trenton Julian


Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8
Karl Caeleb Dressel Blake Pieroni Kelsi Dahlia Cody Miller Olivia Smoliga Ryan Held Erica Sullivan Trenton Julian
Andrew Katie Ledecky Leah Smith Zane Grothe Jack Conger Allison Schmitt Katie Drabot Kevin Cordes Molly Hannis
Lauren Simone Manuel Andrew Seliskar Dean Farris Erika Brown Josh Prenot Maxime Rooney Bobby Finke Justin Wright
Robert Regan Smith Townley Haas Hali Flickinger Melanie Margalis Clark Smith Margo Geer Carson Foster Conor Dwyer
Braden Lily King Ella Eastin Katie McLaughlin Jay Litherland Jacob Pebley Bethany Galat Gabby DeLoof Brooke Forde
Morgan Ryan Murphy Chase Kalisz Abbey Weitzeil Matt Grevers Ryan Lochte Abrahm Devine Lia Neal Austin Katz
Reid Kathleen Baker Mallory Comerford Jordan Wilimovsky Zach Apple Andrew Wilson Gretchen Walsh Zach Harting Ally McHugh
Nick Michael Andrew Luca Urlando Annie Lazor Nathan Adrian Madisyn Cox Will Licon Trey Freeman Ashley Twichell

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Muddy Canary

After the first 4 rounds I had Morgan pegged for the strongest draft. The Lochte pick… idk, don’t see him picking up any spot, think he’ll be 3/4th in the IM with 1:58 low 1:57 high. Bentz/Devine/Foster/Andrew/Seliskar to be right around the same, too. Lochte will be lucky to final in the 200 free with how strong the USA group is in that particular event. Katz is up against Pebley, and some other strong backstrokers for that second spot in the 200 back. Nick had the stronger back half picks. Cox, Licon, Twichell have all had recent success at major internationals, and Freeman is a good bet for picking up a 4×200 relay spot. While none are the favorites in… Read more »


Katie Meili will qualify second in the 100BR behind LK. Add the medley relay as a prelim swimmer.


Is there a link to the results of the draft from last year? Was it for Pan Pacs or Worlds?

It was for the Olympics – both drafts are for the Olympics. Andrew’s going to post some with a comparison to last year to measure shifting attitudes soon. Links:

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