Reviewing SwimSwam’s 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials Event Predictions – Women’s Edition

2024 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS

The U.S. Olympic Trials can be wildly unpredictable, and that proved to be the case last week as an unforgettable nine days of racing in Indianapolis saw its fair share of surprises, though a lot of the big stars made good on their status as pre-race favorites.

SwimSwam’s official picks tied for 34th out of nearly 1000 entries in the Pick ’em Contest, a solid mark, though that only accounts for the top four picks in each event.

Taking a bird’s eye view of all of our picks, let’s review how the SwimSwam picks did accounting for the eight finalists in each event.

On the women’s side, our best showing came in the 200 freestyle, where we correctly predicted seven of the eight finalists. We also went 6/8 in the 100 free, 100 back, 200 back, 200 breast and 100 fly.

Technically, our worst showing came in the 400 free—the second prelim on the entire schedule—where only four of the eight finalists were picked correctly. However, that doesn’t account for our 5th-place pick Katie Grimes, who qualified for the final but scratched out.

A total of 11 of our finalist selections ended up scratching from their respective events, either before the prelims or after one of the early rounds:

Below, find the swimmers ordered 1-8 based on how we predicted them to finish, with their final placing in the far right column. At the bottom of each event, “Moving In” refers to the swimmers who made the final that we didn’t predict, while the bottom right corner gives a tally of the correct finalists we picked out of eight.

50 Freestyle

PICKS FINISH
1 Kate Douglass scratch
2 Gretchen Walsh 2nd
3 Simone Manuel 1st
4 Abbey Weitzeil 3rd
5 Torri Huske 4th
6 Olivia Smoliga 10th
7 Catie DeLoof 7th
8 Anna Moesch 23rd
Moving In:
Rylee Erisman (5th), Erika Connolly (6th), Maxine Parker (8th)
5/8

Note: In the preview, we noted that if Douglass scratched, Maxine Parker would be our pick for the next finalist. Douglass did scratch and Parker cracked the final, placing 8th.

100 Freestyle

PICKS FINISH
1 Kate Douglass 1st
2 Torri Huske 2nd
3 Abbey Weitzeil 5th
4 Gretchen Walsh 3rd
5 Simone Manuel 4th
6 Maxine Parker 17th
7 Bella Sims 31st
8 Catie DeLoof 6th
Moving In:
6/8

200 Freestyle

PICKS FINISH
1 Katie Ledecky 1st
2 Bella Sims 17th
3 Erin Gemmell 4th
4 Claire Weinstein 2nd
5 Anna Peplowski 5th
6 Paige Madden 3rd
7 Simone Manuel 7th
8 Alex Shackell 6th
Moving In: Katie Grimes (8th) 7/8

400 Freestyle

PICKS FINISH
1 Katie Ledecky 1st
2 Paige Madden 2nd
3 Bella Sims 20th
4 Claire Weinstein 30th
5 Katie Grimes
7th prelims/scratch final
6 Jillian Cox 3rd
7 Madi Mintenko 8th
8 Rachel Stege 13th
Moving In:
Kayla Han (4th), Aurora Roghair (5th), Anna Peplowski (6th), Leah Smith (7th)
4/8*

*not including Grimes, who made the final and scratched.

800 Freestyle

PICKS FINISH
1 Katie Ledecky 1st
2 Jillian Cox 3rd
3 Katie Grimes scratch
4 Claire Weinstein 7th
5 Leah Smith scratch
6 Aurora Roghair 4th
7 Kayla Han 28th
8 Paige Madden 2nd
Moving In:
Rachel Stege (5th), Kate Hurst (6th), Ashley Twichell (8th)
5/8

1500 Freestyle

PICKS FINISH
1 Katie Ledecky 1st
2 Katie Grimes 2nd
3 Kate Hurst 4th
4 Kayla Han 27th
5 Paige Madden scratch
6 Jillian Cox scratch
7 Erica Sullivan 7th
8 Rachel Stege 6th
Moving In:
Ashley Twichell (3rd), Aurora Roghair (5th), Mariah Denigan (8th)
5/8

100 Backstroke

PICKS FINISH
1 Regan Smith 1st
2 Katharine Berkoff 2nd
3 Claire Curzan 8th
4 Isabelle Stadden 9th
5 Rhyan White 5th
6 Kennedy Noble 3rd
7 Erika Pelaez 13th
8 Phoebe Bacon 6th
Moving In:
Josephine Fuller (4th), Leah Shackley (7th)
6/8

200 Backstroke

PICKS FINISH
1 Regan Smith 1st
2 Claire Curzan 3rd
3 Phoebe Bacon 2nd
4 Kennedy Noble 4th
5 Rhyan White 5th
6 Isabelle Stadden 7th
7 Leah Shackley 17th
8 Josephine Fuller 16th
Moving In:
Katie Grimes (6th), Teagan O’Dell (8th)
6/8

100 Breaststroke

PICKS FINISH
1 Lilly King 1st
2 Lydia Jacoby 3rd
3 Kaitlyn Dobler 4th
4 Emma Weber 2nd
5 Alex Walsh 6th
6 Piper Enge 14th
7 Skyler Smith 9th
8 Hannah Bach 13th
Moving In:
Kaelyn Gridley (5th), McKenzie Siroky (7th), Ella Nelson (8th)
5/8

200 Breaststroke

PICKS FINISH
1 Kate Douglass 1st
2 Lilly King 2nd
3 Alex Walsh 3rd
4 Ella Nelson 4th
5 Lydia Jacoby scratch
6 Anna Keating 6th
7 Kaitlyn Dobler 9th
8 Isabelle Odgers 7th
Moving In:
Kaelyn Gridley (5th), Raya Mellott (8th)
6/8

100 Butterfly

PICKS FINISH
1 Torri Huske 2nd
2 Gretchen Walsh 1st
3 Claire Curzan 4th
4 Regan Smith 3rd
5 Alex Shackell
4th prelims/scratch semis
6 Leah Shackley 12th
7 Kelly Pash 5th
8 Emma Sticklen 8th
Moving In:
Beata Nelson (6th), Lillie Nordmann (7th)
6/8*

*Not including Shackell, who advanced to the semis in 4th and scratched.

200 Butterfly

PICKS FINISH
1 Regan Smith 1st
2 Alex Shackell 2nd
3 Dakota Luther 5th
4 Lindsay Looney 3rd
5 Rachel Klinker 13th
6 Kelly Pash 11th
7 Tess Howley 7th
8 Caroline Bricker 12th
Moving In:
Emma Sticklen (4th), Charlotte Hook (6th), Lucy Bell (8th)
5/8

200 IM

PICKS FINISH
1 Kate Douglass 1st
2 Alex Walsh 2nd
3 Torri Huske
3rd semis/scratch final
4 Leah Hayes 5th
5 Bella Sims scratch
6 Isabel Ivey 3rd
7 Phoebe Bacon scratch
8 Beata Nelson 4th
Moving In:
Zoe Dixon (6th), Lilla Bognar (7th), Lucy Bell (8th)
5/8*

*Not including Huske, who made the final but scratched.

400 IM

PICKS FINISH
1 Katie Grimes 1st
2 Emma Weyant 2nd
3 Leah Hayes 5th
4 Lilla Bognar 3rd
5 Lucy Bell 6th
6 Ella Nelson 26th
7 Megan van Berkom 9th
8 Kayla Han 10th
Moving In:
Leah Smith (4th), Zoe Dixon (7th), Audrey Derivaux (8th)
5/8

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Seven women made the final in multiple events that we didn’t predict: Erika Connolly (50/100 free), Aurora Roghair (400/1500 free), Leah Smith (400 free/400 IM), Ashley Twichell (800/1500 free), Kaelyn Gridley (100/200 breast), Beata Nelson (100 free/100 fly), and Lucy Bell (200 fly/200 IM).
  • Roghair (800 free), Nelson (200 IM) and Bell (400 IM) also made the final of an additional event that we predicted.
  • Connolly was the only female swimmer we didn’t pick to final to finish in an Olympic-qualifying position (tied for 6th in 100 free).
  • The effect that the nine-day schedule had on swimmers is evident in cases where an athlete may have performed well in some events, but been way off in others. Kayla Han, for example, had a breakthrough swim early in the meet in the 400 free, placing 4th (after being scratched into the final) after she wasn’t picked to place in the top eight. In the 800 free, 1500 free and 400 IM, the 16-year-old was picked to be in the final but missed out, with respective finishes of 28th, 27th and 10th.
  • In the case of Josephine Fuller, she was not picked to make the 100 back final but placed 4th. She was then picked to make the 200 back final but fell to 16th—perhaps a sign of fatigue late in the meet.
  • It was evident that Bella Sims wasn’t at her best from the first session, and that carried through for the week. Sims was picked to make the final in four events, and she missed out in three and scratched the 200 IM.
  • Picking the winners on the women’s side was fairly clear-cut, as we got all but two correct, only missing the 50 free and 100 fly.
  • In the 50 free, Kate Douglass was our pick to win but she scratched out. However, we still would be wrong on that one even if the scratch was factored in, as our #2 pick, Gretchen Walsh, ended up being the runner-up to Simone Manuel (picked 3rd).
  • The only other miss on picking winners was the 100 fly, where Walsh upset Torri Huske after breaking the world record in the semis.
  • We picked the top two finishers (in either order) in nine of 14 events. We missed the:

In This Story

41
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

41 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tracy Kosinski
26 days ago

Poor Bella, BUT, she’s good to go for 2028 and will probably win a gold medal.

Troyy
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
26 days ago

What’s she gonna win a gold medal in?

Andy
Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

I guess they can hope Titmus retires by then and the relay is winnable?

But between MOC/Summer/Ledecky I can’t see Sims winning any individual free

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  Troyy
26 days ago

Synchronized swimming

Hmm
26 days ago

what happened to Bella Sims?

Barbossa Andrew 🐍
27 days ago

In Ledecky We Trust 😎

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
27 days ago

If Lydia Jacoby continues the downward spiral at the University of Texas, the future of the women’s 100 meter breaststroke looks to be Weber and Gridley, at first glance. Since Carol Capitani already sent two females into early retirement (Luther, Sullivan) during the month of June, I don’t expect the situation to change with Lydia Jacoby.

I would rate the performance of the University of Texas women’s swimming program under Carol Capitani at the 2024 Olympic Team Trials as a freakin’ disaster. One relay only swimmer is all to show for. How she manages to keep her job is a joke.

IU Swammer
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
27 days ago

Not many coaches will be fired for under performing when they get second at NCAAs. There may be some issues, but this criticism seems over the top.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  IU Swammer
26 days ago

Which doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when it comes to USA Swimming.

Taa
Reply to  IU Swammer
26 days ago

Does scoring a lot of diving points make her a good swim coach? A lot of girls come out of high school already fast enough to score so if you can recruit it can really hide your inability to develop your swimmers. I think thats what is happening here.

JimSwim22
Reply to  Taa
26 days ago

So Mary T’s coach was awesome from 1978-1981 them suddenly stopped being any good? She never dropped time from age 16 on. That’s incredibly common amongst women athletes in all sports. Ones like Titmus that drop time into their mid 20s are the exception to the rule

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  JimSwim22
26 days ago

Ariarne Titmus turns 24 years old on 7 Sept 2024. Technically, Ariarne Titmus has not reached her mid 20s.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  JimSwim22
26 days ago

It’s happened more often than you think in post supersuit era.

Boyle – 27
Friis – 25
Hosszu – 27
Kohler – 27

Federica Pellegrini posted her fastest textile performance in the women’s 200 meter freestyle at the age of 30.

Please tell that to the 25 year old Paige Madden at the 2024 Olympic Team Trials.

JeahBrah
Reply to  Taa
26 days ago

This is so tired and I don’t understand the grief Carol gets. Most of Texas’s points came from stud swimmers who improved a lot while at Texas – Pash, Sticklen, Bray, Elendt. Key relay pieces like Cooper and Longi improved. Jacoby and Gemmell went best yards times under Carol and co. Freshmen Coe, Berglund, Stoll, Kern all went PBs already.
Yes Sullivan didn’t improve but she has had shoulder injuries. Even Desorbo has some swimmers who don’t improve.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  JeahBrah
26 days ago

Pash, Sticklen, Bray, Cooper have yet to qualify for a major international competition (LCM).

Who gives a damn about a swimmer’s best yards performances at the 2024 Olympic Team Trials?

Yet, Lydia Jacoby regressed in the 100 BR and 200 BR. Lydia Jacoby did not even qualify for the Championship Final in the 200 BR at the 2024 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Let’s sweep that under the rug.

Last edited 26 days ago by Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Freddie
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
27 days ago

You must have an ax to grind. Did she cut you or your daughter at some point?

Lane8 Swammer
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
26 days ago

I hate the narrative of “good swim good swimmer. bad swim bad coach”.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Lane8 Swammer
26 days ago

You mean when the former high school junior gold medalist fails to qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympics as a collegiate sophomore.

Stingy
Reply to  Lane8 Swammer
26 days ago

How else are you supposed to measure a coaches success then??

jeff
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
26 days ago

who were you expecting besides Jacoby to make the team individually? They don’t really have any of that super elite top-end talent in LCM; their butterfly trio of Bray-Pash-Sticklen never had a chance in any event they swam – Sticklen even dropped a huge lifetime PB of over a second in the 200 fly semis. Gemmell finished in the same position that she did last summer at trials, could have been better but the 200 final in general was not very fast

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  jeff
26 days ago

Jillian Cox

Please compare the times posted in the women’s 800 meter freestyle at the 2023 Phillips 66 National Championships to the 2024 Olympic Team Trials. It’s fricken’ regression!

Erin Gemmell

Please compare the times posted in the women’s 200 meter freestyle at the 2023 Phillips 66 National Championships to the 2024 Olympic Team Trials. It’s fricken’ regression!

Lydia Jacoby

Please compare the times posted in the women’s 100 meter breaststroke at the 2022 International Team Trials to the 2024 Olympic Team Trials. Lydia Jacoby was even worse in 2024 as a collegiate sophomore than in 2022 as a high school senior when she failed to qualify for the 2022 World Aquatics Championships.

Regression! Regression! Regression!

Where’s the accountability?

Last edited 26 days ago by Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
JeahBrah
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
26 days ago

Jillian Cox doesn’t yet train under Carol.

Tracy Kosinski
Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
26 days ago

Ouchies!

Flatlander
27 days ago

Shaped up to be a fantastic women’s team. So stoked for these women. Would have loved to have seen Bella make that team. That was a heartbreaking meet for her I’m sure. Good luck ladies!!!!

HOO love
Reply to  Flatlander
27 days ago

and Claire 💔

VA Steve
27 days ago

Gretchen Walsh is such an anomaly who will continue to cause prognosticators problems. Next one may be the 50FR in Paris, we shall see.

Euro Swimmer
Reply to  VA Steve
26 days ago

In Paris, I think the 50FR is Sarah’s

VA Steve
Reply to  Euro Swimmer
25 days ago

Very likely. The +\- on Gretchen is unpredictable. In a couple of years we’ll know more. Who would have predicted the fly time?

David
Reply to  VA Steve
23 days ago

I certainly didn’t

ScovaNotiaSwimmer
27 days ago

Please do an analysis of SwimSwam’s Way Too Early Olympic Predictions article that was published back in early 2023!

Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
27 days ago

We’re working on that right now! 😉

KeithM
Reply to  Yanyan Li
27 days ago

I promise I’ll restrain myself from any Regan Smith snark. 😇

Hint of Lime
Reply to  ScovaNotiaSwimmer
27 days ago

https://swimswam.com/swimswams-way-too-early-2024-u-s-olympic-team-trials-picks/ if this is the article that you’re referring to.

Truly so wild to see how Guiliano and Alexy were not on the radar at all. “Favorites” this year (Rose, Lasco) weren’t on the radar pre-Worlds either. And I know it hasn’t been that long, but wild to think that Flick wasn’t officially retired then yet either.

jeff
Reply to  Hint of Lime
26 days ago

the overall prediction for Gretchen was actually pretty accurate if you average all 21 predictions across the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly, counting any event where she was unranked as the next possible spot. Across those 21 predictions, she averaged a 2.19 ranking, compared to actually having a 2.0 overall placement at trials (1 in the 100 fly, 2 in the 50 free, 3 in the 100 free)

Douglass and Regan are arguably the 2 biggest American on the women’s side besides Ledecky and they were definitely underrated (even if it might’ve been justified at the time). Douglass had a 4.57 average in the 100 free, was completely unranked in the 50 free, and 2.43 in the 200… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by jeff
Just Keep Swimming
Reply to  jeff
26 days ago

4/7 predictions had her winning both the 50 and 100 free and 6/7 had her winning at least one and she won neither. 0/7 had her winning the 100 fly and 2/7 had her top 2 and she won. I don’t see how you can consider those accurate.

jeff
Reply to  Just Keep Swimming
26 days ago

did you stop reading after the first 8 words? Her average prediction across the 3 events (21 predictions total with 7 people) was a 2.19, which is worse than what she actually did. Given how unaccomplished she was in LCM at the point of writing that article, those predictions are pretty good

Last edited 26 days ago by jeff
VA Steve
Reply to  jeff
26 days ago

Douglass is always underrated. Not sure why–she does everything right and is incredibly predictable and clutch.

chickenlamp
27 days ago

When ya’ll have recovered from these very busy two weeks, I would love to see a comparison to the early trials picks you did a couple years ago

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »