The Trials That Would Have Been: Manuel, Dressel Chasing Barriers On Day 8

It’s a bittersweet week. While the world, and by extension the sport of swimming, is starting to emerge from weeks of pandemic-related shutdown, we also face the absence of the season that would-have-been. With U.S. Olympic Trials originally scheduled for this week, we’re taking a day-by-day trip into the hypothetical, analyzing the events that would have happened each day, along with our predictions of how the Olympic roster would have formed, had the season not been halted in the pandemic.

These won’t be full-length previews, and won’t be exhaustive in naming every top contender for the U.S. Olympic team. Our picks will be what we expected to happen in June of 2020, had the season not been shut down at all amid the pandemic. Our 2021 predictions will almost certainly be different when we get closer to the Trials themselves. Feel free to add your own predictions – for both the 2020 Trials and the rescheduled Trials in 2021 – in the comments.

Men’s 50 free final

One more win for Caeleb Dresselwho hits 21-low for his best swim ever outside of a World Championships meet. That’s just a hair off the U.S. Open record, held by Cesar Cielo at 21.14.

Michael Andrew finishes second to add another event to his Olympic lineup. True to form, Andrew’s Olympic events are an unorthodox combo requiring exactly the amount of unusual versatility that’s always been Andrew’s calling card: he makes the team in the 200 IM and 50 free.

Women’s 50 free final

Simone Manuel is perfectly consistent, hitting between 24.1 and 24.3 in all three rounds. Behind her, it’s Abbey Weitzeilwho hadn’t hit a personal-best in the 50-yard or 50-meter free since 2016, but broke through this college season for the first 20-point swim in history for the 50-yard free. She has a similar breakthrough in meters, going 24.2.

Men’s 1500 free final

Bobby Finke has gotten stronger and stronger as the meet has gone on, and he caps off the week with a 14:44 win in the 1500 free. That’s a U.S. Open record, and getting to within striking distance of Connor Jaeger’s American record of 14:39.

It’s a young crew manning the longest men’s race of the Olympic program. 20-year-old Michael Brinegar breaks 15 minutes for the first time in his career, an Olympic gap year paying off to the tune of Brinegar’s first-ever Olympic berth.


Other events today:

  • None

Olympic Team As Of Tonight:


  1. Melanie Margalis (400 IM, 200 IM)
  2. Kelsi Dahlia (100 FL)
  3. Katie Ledecky (400 FR, 200 FR, 1500 FR, 800 FR, 4×200 FRR)
  4. Regan Smith (100 BK, 200 FL, 200 BK)
  5. Lilly King (100 BR)
  6. Simone Manuel (200 FR 100 FR, 50 FR, 4×200 FRR, 4×100 FRR)
  7. Katie McLaughlin (4×200 FRR)
  8. Paige Madden (4×200 FRR)
  9. Hali Flickinger (200 FL)
  10. Mallory Comerford (100 FR, 4×100 FRR)
  11. Abbey Weitzeil (50 FR, 4×100 FRR)
  12. Gretchen Walsh (4×100 FRR)
  13. Brooke Forde (400 IM)
  14. Torri Huske (100 FL)
  15. Leah Smith (400 FR, 800 FR 4×200 FRR)
  16. Kathleen Baker (100 BK, 200 BK)
  17. Annie Lazor (100 BR, 200 BR)
  18. Alex Walsh (200 IM)
  19. Erica Sullivan (1500 FR)
  20. Bethany Galat (200 BR)
  21. Erika Brown (4×100 FRR)
  22. Gabby DeLoof (4×200 FRR)
  23. Margo Geer (4×100 FRR)


  1. Chase Kalisz (400 IM, 200 IM)
  2. Zane Grothe (400 FR, 800 FR)
  3. Andrew Wilson (100 BR, 200 BR)
  4. Blake Pieroni (200 FR, 4×200 FRR, 4×100 FRR)
  5. Andrew Seliskar (200 FR, 4×200 FRR)
  6. Zach Apple (4×200 FRR, 4×100 FRR)
  7. Townley Haas (4×200 FRR)
  8. Ryan Murphy (100 BK, 200 BK)
  9. Luca Urlando (200 FL)
  10. Caeleb Dressel (100 FR 100 FL, 50 FR, 4×100 FRR, 4×200 FRR)
  11. Ryan Held (100 FR, 4×100 FRR)
  12. Jay Litherland (400 IM)
  13. Kieran Smith (400 FR, 4×200 FRR)
  14. Cody Miller (100 BR)
  15. Matt Grevers (100 BK)
  16. Nicolas Albiero (200 FL)
  17. Bobby Finke (800 FR, 1500 FR)
  18. Will Licon (200 BR)
  19. Shaine Casas (200 BK)
  20. Michael Andrew (200 IM, 50 FR)
  21. Maxime Rooney (100 FL)
  22. Michael Brinegar (1500 FR)
  23. Nathan Adrian (4×100 FRR)
  24. Dean Farris (4×100 FRR)

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Daeleb Cressel
2 months ago

Abbey Weitzeil for the 50 free is an interesting pick. Personally, I can see Dean Farris giving Manuel a run for her money.

Reply to  Daeleb Cressel
2 months ago

Very wise choice my friend

Virginia Gators Swimmer
2 months ago

Congrats to the spectacular swimmers who made the (hypothetical) United States 2020 Olympic Team!!

Reply to  Virginia Gators Swimmer
2 months ago

There is no sizzle without Bacon.

2 months ago

Michael Andrew finally getting some love in the hypothetical trials results!

Reply to  Yaboi
2 months ago

I think he had more love in the 2im. I was kinda expecting him to get the 50 free spot.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »