USA Swimming has finalized the stroke 50s for the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships. In short: the breaks fell right where they were projected to fall when we wrote about them in mid-May: two weeks before the USA Swimming mandated deadline for swimmers to put up qualifying swims in the events.
This means that the USA will only have 1 entry in both the women’s 50 fly and the women’s 50 breaststroke. Hands of coaches were a little tied in those events, as there were no other swimmers eligible by combination of USA Swimming and FINA guidelines: all other swimmers with A times (FINA’s requirement for entering 2 swimmers in an event) were not already on the roster (USA Swimming’s requirement for taking the 2nd spot in these events where available).
|NATIONAL CHAMPION||SECOND ENTRY|
|Men’s 50 fly||Michael Andrew||Caeleb Dressel|
|Men’s 50 back||Ryan Murphy||Michael Andrew|
|Men’s 50 breast||Michael Andrew||Andrew Wilson|
|Women’s 50 fly||Kelsi Dahlia||No Swimmers Available|
|Women’s 50 back||Olivia Smoliga||Kathleen Baker|
|Women’s 50 breast||Lilly King||No Swimmers Available|
Rather than add new swimmers to the roster, USA Swimming will leave those spots vacant.
The Process for filling vacant spots in the 50 meter stroke events:
The vacant spot will be filled by the swimmer already on the roster with the fastest time in that event between March 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019.
The US went without medals in the women’s 50 breaststroke in 2015 and in 2003, but in every other edition, they’ve taken at least one medal. Their 3 golds, 3 silvers, and 4 bronze medals are a better record in that event than any country since it was first offered at the World Championships in 2001. Katie Meili, who took bronze in 2017, was qualified for the US roster, but declined her spot. Lilly King, the defending World Champion, will be the only American entrant.
The American women have had much less success in the 50 fly. In fact, Jenny Thompson’s silver medal in 2003 is the only American medal at the long course edition of the World Championships in this event. Kelsi Worrell, the only American entrant in 2019, was the #2 qualifier through to the final in the last edition of the meet in 2017, but finished 4th (albeit in a new American Record of 25.48).
On the men’s side, all spots will be filled. Michael Andrew has been officially awarded the 2nd spot in the men’s 50 backstroke, and Andrew Wilson has been awarded the 2nd spot in the men’s 50 breaststroke (the only swims up for grabs). For Andrew, the current World Leader in the 50 backstroke, he will now swim all 4 stroke 50s at the World Championships, in addition to the 100 breaststroke. He’ll also have a probable spot in the men’s 400 medley relay, and a possible spot in the mixed 400 medley relay, depending on how coaches decide to stack that event.
The 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships begin on July 12th in Gwangju, South Korea. The pool swimming portion begins on July 21st at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center.