SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers what the most head-turning swim of U.S. Trials was on the women’s side:
Question: If Hunter Armstrong‘s 50 back WR is the answer on the men’s side, what was the biggest surprise swim of US Trials for the women?
- Claire Weinstein, 200 free – 41.7%
- Leah Hayes, 200 IM – 23.3%
- Katie Grimes, 400 IM – 22.4%
- Kate Douglass, 200 breast – 12.6%
As it turned out, there weren’t too many low seeds that went on to qualify for the World Championship at the U.S. Trials last month, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t see some eye-opening swims in Greensboro.
Without a doubt, the biggest surprise of the meet came in the men’s 50 backstroke, where the top three finishers launched themselves into the top-four all-time in the event, and none of those spots went to the now former American Record holder Ryan Murphy.
Hunter Armstrong broke the world record in a time of 23.71, downing Russian Kliment Kolesnikov‘s previous mark of 23.80, and Justin Ress (23.92) and Shaine Casas (24.00) became the third and fourth-fastest swimmers ever.
So with the caveat that Armstrong had the surprise swim of the meet, this poll asked readers what the biggest shock was on the women’s side (only factoring in Worlds-qualifying performances).
Coming out on top at just under 42 percent was the 200 freestyle swim from Claire Weinstein, who became the fastest 15-year-old girl in U.S. history with a time of 1:57.08.
Weinstein, who swims for the Sandpipers of Nevada, dropped nearly a second and a half off her best time in the event over the course of the day, having lowered her previous mark of 1:58.53 down to 1:57.71 in the prelims.
While that swim in the morning heats certainly made her performance in the final less of a “shock,” it was still a bit of a surprise to see Weinstein overcome established veterans like Leah Smith (1:57.44) and Hali Flickinger (1:57.53) and book the second individual spot in the event at the World Championships behind Katie Ledecky (1:55.15).
Receiving over 20 percent of votes were both Leah Hayes‘ 200 IM (23.3 percent) and Katie Grimes‘ 400 IM (22.4 percent), who both qualified for Worlds despite being far from favored to do so entering Trials.
Hayes took full advantage of a pared-down field that included the absence of Olympic bronze medalist Kate Douglass and broke the girls’ 15-16 National Age Group Record in the 200 IM final in a time of 2:09.99, qualifying for Worlds with a runner-up finish behind the Olympic silver medalist, Alex Walsh.
Grimes dropped five seconds to win the 400 IM in 4:36.17, a performance that came after falling just shy of qualifying for Worlds in the 800 free and 800 free relay. That swim also saw Grimes defeat Olympic silver and bronze medalists Emma Weyant and Flickinger.
Rounding out the poll was Douglass, who still received over 12 percent of votes for her swim in the 200 breast.
Douglass swam the fastest-ever time in short course yards to win the NCAA title in March in 2:02.19, but looked to be a long shot to finish in the top two at Trials given her fastest swim coming in was 2:24.0, well off what we saw Lilly King (2:19.9) and Annie Lazor (2:20.8) produce last summer to stand on the Olympic podium.
But Douglass dropped over two seconds (though her previous PB was unofficial) to place second to King in 2:21.43, out-touching Lazor (2:21.91).
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: Who is the biggest benefactor of all of the withdrawals we’ve seen from the 2022 World Championships:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.