Update: Both Whitley and Finnerty scratched the 200 IM, meaning they’ll be well-rested for the swim-off.
With a tie looming for the a spot at the 2019 World University Games, USA Swimming will hold a 100 meter breaststroke swimoff between Reece Whitley and Ian Finnerty on Sunday after the preliminary session. The two tied for 2nd in the B-Final of the 100 breaststroke on Saturday, which, with the right number of doubles, and no withdrawals from teams could result in a tie for the last invitation to next year’s World University Games.
While we still don’t know that the swim-off will for sure be necessary (there’s a chance that there will be enough doubles that they’ll be tied for the first spot at WUGs, in which case both would go), by swimming now, at a meet where both swimmers are tapered, it avoids complicated scheduling later in the season for two swimmers who will be in the midst of their college seasons.
Two more doubles ahead of them are needed for the swim-off to matter, which seems likely.
Officially, the first option is for the two athletes to agree on a time and place, with USA Swimming intervening if they cannot. Both swimmers are entered in the 200 IM during the preliminary session. If they do the swim-off right after prelims, and neither scratches the 200 IM, that gives him at least an hour-and-a-half between races.
The last high-profile swim-off for a roster spot was in 2011, when Josh Schneider and Cullen Jones had a swim-off for a spot on the 2011 World Championship team (which was on a similar spot in the rotation, the year before the Olympics and with roster selection done in 2010). Jones won that race, which was held in May of 2011 in Charlotte.
The official selection procedures language:
Tie in Same Individual Olympic Event. In the instance where there is a tie between two swimmers in the same Individual Olympic Event for first place, both swimmers will be classified under Priority #1. In the instance where there is a tie between three or more swimmers for first place in the same Individual Olympic Event or where there is a tie between two or more swimmers in the same Individual Olympic Event for second place, a swim-off will be conducted at a time determined by the National Team Managing Director, Technical Advisor, the swimmers, and the personal coaches of the swimmers. If the parties are unable to agree on a date and time for the swim-off, then the date and time will be established by the National Team Managing Director. If the initial swim-off fails to break the tie, this process will continue until the tie is broken. The swimmers will be assigned to their respective Priorities based on their finish in the swim-off(s). The swim-off results will only be used to determine places of those involved in the swim-off and may not be used to change the finish order otherwise determined at the Qualifying Competition (for example, the winner of the swim-off between the second and third place finishers at the Qualifying Competition may not use his/her time in the swim-off to move to Priority #1 if the swim-off time is better than the time of the winner of the Qualifying Competition).