SwimSwam Pulse: How Many American Records Will Fall At The U.S. Olympic Trials?

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.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers how many National Records will be set next month at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis:

Question: How many American Records will be broken at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials?


  • 1-2 – 40.8%
  • 3-4 – 39.0%
  • 5+ – 11.7%
  • Zero – 8.5%

The U.S. Olympic Trials are all about performing under a title wave of pressure and nerves and qualifying for the Olympics.

Given the weight swimmers feel while competing, record performances have been hard to come by.

At the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, five American Records were broken by three swimmers in three events, as Torri Huske (women’s 100 fly) and Michael Andrew (men’s 100 breast) reset marks twice in their events while Caeleb Dressel matched his record in the men’s 50 free.

In 2016, the only two National Records broken came in the men’s breaststroke events from Kevin Cordes and Josh Prenot, and in 2012, it was only Dana Vollmer in the women’s 100 fly (2x) and Allison Schmitt in the women’s 200 free.

Entering the 2024 Trials, there are some contenders to break American and potentially even world records, led by Kate Douglass, who has already set new national marks in the women’s 50 free (23.91) and 200 breast (2:19.30) this year.

Of course, for someone like Douglass who will take on a daunting program in Indianapolis with the ultimate goal of winning medals in Paris, managing energy throughout the competition is paramount, so it’s possible she takes her foot off the gas down the stretch of a race where she’s on pace to do something special but already in position to either qualify for the Games or advance to the final.

In our latest poll asking SwimSwam readers how many American Records would fall at the Trials, the overwhelming result was, not surprisingly, that there would be one to four.

The 1-2 option came out on top with 40.8% of votes, followed closely by the 3-4 selection at 39%.

In addition to Douglass breaking her own records in the 50 and 200 breast, some of the other contenders for American Records at Trials include:

Since the Tokyo Olympics, the only Americans to set new National Records in Olympic events other than Douglass this year have been Bobby Finke in the men’s 800 and 1500 free, Torri Huske in the women’s 100 fly, and Regan Smith in the women’s 200 fly.

Finke should cruise to wins in the 800 and 1500 free, so we won’t be expecting him to push for records, but Huske will be expected to knock off her mark of 55.64 in the 100 fly after she blasted a 55.68 last month.

Smith’s priority will be qualifying in the 100 back, 200 back and 200 fly, but she’s been so fast in-season recently all three records are at risk. Her backstroke records still stem from 2019, while she took out the 200 fly mark last year in 2:03.87.

Katie Grimes has gone 4:31 twice in the 400 IM, so Katie Hoff‘s record of 4:31.12 from 2008 (set at the Olympic Trials) is certainly on the radar, while the women’s 200 IM record of 2:06.15 from Ariana Kukors looks like it’s out of reach, but Douglass or even Alex Walsh could surprise (if they challenge Kukors record, the world record is in play as it’s only .03 faster).

We cannot overlook what Gretchen Walsh did in the NCAA this past season, as she’s consistently improved in the short course pool and is coming off a breakout long course campaign last summer. She could take down Douglass’ 50 free record, as could Abbey Weitzeil. Even in the 100 fly, Walsh could end up getting into the 55s and challenging Huske.

It’s harder to read what’s going to happen on the men’s side, though Nic Fink has consistently been going 58s in the 100 breast so Michael Andrew‘s mark of 58.14 from the 2021 Trials could go down, and Ryan Murphy and Hunter Armstrong are both capable of going 51 in the 100 back.

Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky can never be counted out, but how fast Dressel drops down this year remains to be seen and we should expect his fastest to be in Paris, while Ledecky, like Finke, can comfortably qualify so we shouldn’t expect her records to be in peril.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Which Canadian women’s relay is looking best heading to the Olympics?

Which Canadian women's relay has the best medal prospects in Paris?

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

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1 month ago

W 100 BK
W 100 FL
W 400 IM

I would love to see the American Record fall in the W 200 IM.

Reply to  Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
10 days ago

Agree with those … and if they get the W 200 IM AR, a few more hundredths will give them the WR.

1 month ago

A lot of US Open records are going to get destroyed in Indianapolis.

Reply to  RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

We could get a lot of PB .

Reply to  RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

Imagine what they’ll be like after LA 2028.

1 month ago

Regan 100 back, Torri 100 fly, Katie 400IM are my picks

1 month ago

Question: Do you think there will be any events at the US Olympics Swimming Trials where the average time of the top 8 finalists will be faster than the average time of the top 8 finalists at the actual Olympics?

Reply to  Wahoowa
1 month ago

No. But it is possible in the women’s 200 back. The field is extremely weak internationally after the top 2.

1 month ago

Franklin also broke the AR in the 100 back in 2012 to undercut Coughlin’s record from Beijing.

1 month ago

Men’s Events:
50 Free – Nobody bar potentially Dressel himself is going 21 flat.
100 Free – The NR is not getting touched at Trials, but Dressel’s US Open record of 47.39 (shared with Ryan Held) probably will fall.
200 Free – Phelps’ record won’t be touched either and his US Open one is probably just fast enough to stay ahead of the curve since I don’t expect a tremendous amount of 1:44 lows.
400 Free – Jensen’s 400 Free record is also safe considering that event if probably the US’ weakest.
800 & 1500 Free – I don’t envision Finke going all-out to break his records in the 800 and 1500, but that’ll be… Read more »

Reply to  cheese
1 month ago

You think it’s more likely Douglass/Walsh will drop a full second in the 200IM than Huske drops .15 in the 100 fly?

Reply to  cheese
1 month ago

Few notes about this I agree with some of this but disagree on some of the US open record predictions.

For the men, agree with the 50, 100 free I think 3+ guys could be under the US open record, I think the 2 free US open record has a shot of going down by Hobson. Outside shot the 4 free US open record falls but not too sure with that one. I think the distance records will depend on how much finke is resting for trials. I think Murph or Armstrong could break Piersols US open record here outside shot at the AR going down here. Unless something crazy happens neither 2 back record will be touched. Feel… Read more »

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 …

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