It’s finally the Olympic year, and we’re seeing the stars beginning to align for certain athletes. In the 50 meter freestyle at the Knoxville Pro Swim, University of Tennessee standout Erika Brown edged defending world champ Simone Manuel.
Knox Pro Swim – 50m Free
Making the U.S. Olympic Team is all about timing, and Erika Brown is peaking in the right year. Another crucial step toward making Team USA is having an Olympic Trials under your belt. You need to experience the pressure-cooker once to get over the hype and distractions. Erika competed back in 2016, and another Tennessee sprint star, a high school junior, Gretchen Walsh, was the youngest swimmer to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials. In the video above we caught up with Erika, Gretchen, and Simone at the Knoxville Pro Swim for their take on where they are at in training on the march to Omaha.
Way Too Early U.S. Olympic Trials Prediction – Women’s 50m Free
No one is beating Simone Manuel. She reigns as National Champ with 23.89 in Omaha.
Erika Brown slips in for second at 24 flat, marking her Olympic berth. (I’m an University of Tennessee alum, but I’m not biased. Go VOLS!)
Youngster Gretchen Walsh is on the bubble for me. She impresses us with 24.31.
Still, the 50m free is always a big question. Abbey Weitzeil just dropped 20.9 in the 50 yard free – flat start. She’s dangerous. She was a 24.2 50m free at ’16 Olympic Trials. And there’s Margo Geer, Lia Neal and Madison Kennedy, but… who cares what I think! What do you think?
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This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.