Smith on the USA Men’s 4×200 Free: “I Think We’ll Be All Set”

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

Tonight’s 100 back champion Ryan Murphy, along with the top four men in the 200 free – Kieran Smith, Townley Haas, Drew Kibler, and Andrew Seliskar, spoke with the press after the conclusion of the session.

Murphy described the ups and downs he’s had since 2016, and how things like focusing on academics during the 2016-2017 school year, and an (assistant) coaching change at Cal disrupted his training a bit.

I guess after 2016, went back to college for my senior year, really put a big emphasis on the academic side, and in 2017, one of my big goals was to try to graduate with above a 3.5 and I was hovering at that line going into my senior year, so that was kind of my main goal after ’16.

I was pretty disappointed with the results that summer, so came back, really wanted to kind of prove to myself that I was still good at swimming, and that kind of propelled me to a good year in 2018.

2019 we had a little bit of a coaching change and tried out some new things in practice, and some of those were good, some of those weren’t good, and then the past two years it’s just been really dialed in trying to prepare for Tokyo.

Haas, Seliskar, and Kibler talked about how it feels goes from NCAA rivals to now being teammates on swimming’s biggest stage. Kibler said:

After the race, being able to give Seli here like a hug and a fist bump…after my freshman year, like just wanting nothing more than to beat him…so it was just fun just to be able to embrace him and we can both celebrate all of our great swims this evening. Yeah, definitely a fun change in perspective.

Additionally, the 200 free quartet expressed optimism about their 4×200 gold medal chances next month, with Kieran Smith running down everyone’s times and saying that the USA should be “all set” to contend. Of note, it will be an almost entirely new-look relay, with Haas the sole returner from last year’s 200 free final.

Reported by James Sutherland 

 

MEN’S 200 FREE FINAL

  1. Kieran Smith (FLOR), 1:45.29
  2. Townley Haas (NOVA), 1:45.66
  3. Drew Kibler (TXLA), 1:45.92
  4. Andrew Seliskar (CAL), 1:46.34
  5. Zach Apple (MVN), 1:46.45
  6. Patrick Callan (UN-MI), 1:46.49

It looked like a three-man race at the 100, with Kieran SmithTownley Haas and Zach Apple taking early command of the men’s 200 free final. On the third 50, however, Smith and Haas created some separation from the field, and then the stage was set for a wild battle on the last 50.

Smith edged in front down the stretch, getting his hand on the wall first in a time of 1:45.29, dropping almost a half-second from semi-final PB (1:45.74) to add a second individual event to his Olympic program after winning the 400 free on opening night.

The 21-year-old now ranks eighth all-time among Americans.

Haas, who won this event at the 2016 Trials, came through in a big way after an up-and-down quad, touching in 1:45.66 for second—which actually ties his winning time from the 2016 final.

In the mad scramble for relay spots, Haas’ former Texas Longhorn teammate Drew Kibler held steady on the back-half, splitting a pair of 27.1s, to grab third place in a best time of 1:45.92. Kibler entered the meet having never broken 1:47.

Andrew Seliskar made a big rally on the third 50, putting himself into the mix with a 26.92 split, and then managed to hold Apple at bay to pick up fourth in 1:46.34.

The third and fourth-place finishers are assured an Olympic relay spot, while fifth and sixth will likely be added later. Those spots went to Apple (1:46.34) and Patrick Callan (1:46.49), with Blake Pieroni(1:46.57) and Carson Foster (1:46.67) on the outside looking in.

MEN’S 100 BACK FINAL

  1. Ryan Murphy (CAL), 52.33
  2. Hunter Armstrong (OSU), 52.48
  3. Shaine Casas (TAMU), 52.76

Ryan Murphy held off an unbelievable late push from the upstart Hunter Armstrong to win his second straight Olympic Trials 100 backstroke title in a time of 52.33, adding just over a tenth to his season-best (52.22) from last night.

That swim from the semi-finals ranks Murphy second in the 2020-21 world rankings.

Armstrong, a 20-year-old out of Ohio State, surprised many when he popped off with a 52.67 swim in the semi-finals, and he went almost a full two-tenths quicker tonight to make the team (most likely) in the second spot.

Turning seventh at the 50 in 25.73, Armstrong turned on the jets coming back, marking the only swimmer in the field to close sub-27 in 26.78. That moved him past early leader Shaine Casas to snag the runner-up spot in 52.48, making him the fifth-fastest American of all-time.

Casas, who owns a PB of 52.72, blasted out in 25.18 but faded a bit coming home, taking third in 52.76, while Bryce Mefford went sub-53 for the third time in two days for fourth in 52.91.

Two of the men expected to challenge for the second spot coming into the meet, Justin Ress and 2012 Olympic champ Matt Grevers, finished fifth and sixth in 53.00 and 53.27, respectively.

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Anonymous
1 month ago

Haas still has the worst start and turns.

SCCOACH
Reply to  Anonymous
1 month ago

…but he has that Olympic rings tattoo and you don’t

Akos
Reply to  SCCOACH
1 month ago

This is a popular sentiment and totally incoherent. By that logic, I guess Eddie Reese is not qualified to criticize Haas’ technique 🙄

Mr Piano
Reply to  Akos
1 month ago

Agreed. Trash talking an Olympic swimmer disrespectfully is silly, and I’m always disgusted when I see it on these boards, but technical critique is another. We point out that Haas has some shortcomings in his underwaters because we want him to get even better

Sunday Morning Grind
Reply to  Akos
1 month ago

Lol you think you’re as good as Eddie?

Akos
Reply to  Sunday Morning Grind
1 month ago

Was that somehow implied by what I said? Just in case, no I don’t think that. I just think one should be able to comment about a swimmer’s technique on a SWIMMING FORUM without hearing the tired old response that you don’t get to speak if you personally didn’t win a gold medal.

Anonymous
Reply to  SCCOACH
1 month ago

It is fixable. He could be the gold medalist with better start and turns. Watch the race Haas outswims everyone but gives up so much on the start and on the turns.

Zanna
1 month ago

Drew looks like a hockey player. Well spoken young man!

swimfast
Reply to  Zanna
1 month ago

He’s the best looking guy on the US team at the moment

BillyBob
Reply to  swimfast
1 month ago

MA

Not-So-Silent Observer
1 month ago

Loving Seliskar’s reaction to the NBC reporter asking Drew about his tattoos.

I shared the same feeling of “why is this being asked right now?” 🤣

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Not-So-Silent Observer
1 month ago

LOL

Troyy
1 month ago

All set for a minor medal at best.

M L
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

In 2012 Dwyer and Berens went from 1:46 mids in Omaha to 1:45.2s on the relay in London…

MTK
1 month ago

Ryan Murphy the joker: “Townley is going to be leading team meetings now.” hahaha

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  MTK
1 month ago

We all know Townley is the best spokesman of them all lol

Khachaturian
1 month ago

I would say that we are the dark horse in this event

Togger
Reply to  Khachaturian
1 month ago

I think it’s tighter than that. Based on tonight, the US look slightly quicker than the Russians and slightly slower than the Brits, but anything could happen (Dressel a big unknown factor still).

What’s surprising is the global depth, previously a GB team with two 1.44s would probably still struggle against a US team pumping out four straight 1.45s. Now the Brits and maybe Russia look like they’ve got the depth to rival the US.

Joel
Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

And Australia

123456
Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

I think it’ll take sub 7 mins to win or maybe even a WR. Smith and Haas must split 1:44

manoj ghimire
Reply to  Togger
1 month ago

Every thing is unclear . . GB, AUs, Russia are looking strong . But Dressel may me key factor . Hass is un predictable If he got His form of 2018 many can be changed..

Swim fan
Reply to  manoj ghimire
1 month ago

No way dressel should factor into this relay without ever going sub 1:46.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 month ago

Drew Kibler is seriously the most articulate when answering the questions . He is at ease for a guy earning his first Olympic experience . Can Townley work on his dolphin kicks to go 1.43 again on the relay ? i am probably dreaming out loud here ….ha ha ha . Over the water , he showed serious speed on the 2d & 4th 50 . The can hopefully all work on shaving off a few tenths by the Time Tokyo rolls out …

Iain
1 month ago

On top four times this season
GBR – 7:00.86
AUS – 7:01.95
RUS – 7:01.98
USA – 7:03.09

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Iain
1 month ago

Going to be a tough hill to climb for the US, but also makes for an interesting final.

Texas A&M Swim Fan
Reply to  Iain
1 month ago

Yeah, it’s gonna take personal bests from all 4 to get into the medal picture I believe. It’s possible but if I’m putting money out on this event, I’d want at least 4-1 odds before I’d bet on them making the podium.

Last edited 1 month ago by Texas A&M Swim Fan