“After my swim in 2016, I was like ‘Thank God I’m not doing another meet,'” Micah Sumrall née Lawrence said when reflecting on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. Well, turns out she swam a few more meets, and tonight, she’s a U.S. National champion and America’s top delegate in the 200 breaststroke heading into the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo in two weeks’ time. So, if you don’t remember Micah Lawrence from the London 2012 Olympics, it’s time to refresh your memory, ‘cuz she back!
Sumrall didn’t seriously train for a year after the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials where she placed 4th, only 54-one-hundredths behind Molly Hannis for the second spot on the Olympic Team. After that disappointment, her career seemed to be finished. Though she ranks as the 2nd-fastest American of all time in the 200m breaststroke thanks to her bronze medal performance at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona (2:21.74), she missed the Olympic Team. Despite that, tonight she finished ahead of presumptive favorites Bethany Galat of Texas A&M and Indiana’s Lilly King, the world record holder in the 50 and 100 meter breaststroke and two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Inspired by the swimmers she coaches at Chattahoochee Gold near Atlanta, GA, Sumrall got back in the water and attempted to branch out and improve her secondary strokes so that she was no longer “all breaststroke all the time.” Whether she has is still in question; what we do know is that tonight she became a U.S. National Champion in the 200m breastroke by a margin of 1.16 seconds over Bethany Galat, the 2017 FINA World Championships silver medalist in this event, posting a 2:22.06 over Galat’s 2:23.32. King, the favorite, finished 5th in 2:25.31. Heading into Pan Pacs, Sumrall has the 4th-fastest time in the world.