2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS
- Wave I Dates: June 4-7, 2021
- Wave II Dates: June 13-20, 2021
- Prelims: 10am CDT | Finals: 7pm CDT
- Where: CHI Health Center / Omaha, Nebraska
- 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifying Cuts
- Wave I & II Event Order
- LCM (50m)
- Prelims Live Stream (NBC Olympics)
- Finals Live Stream (Olympic Channel)
- Psych Sheets
- Wave II Live Results
A number of notable names within USA Swimming took part in a series of press conferences ahead of Wave II of the 2021 US Olympic Swimming Trials.
The four separate interview sessions included 2016 Olympic gold medalists Lilly King, Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Lochte, and Ryan Murphy, as well coaches Ray Looze, Gregg Troy, and Dave Durden, and USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey.
A number of questions directed at Lilly King regarded the topic of doping; something that she has been particularly outspoken about is years past. As a strong anti-doping advocate, Lilly King reaffirmed her stance on the matter and warned that she believes that there will be “cheats” at the Tokyo Games. She also remarked that while she believes USA Swimming has done its part in terms of doping control, some countries may have taken advantage of the COVID-19-induced lack of testing.
Q. How are you feeling about the state of doping in the world, especially after all the disruptions we have seen from the pandemic in the last year?
LILLY KING: Definitely concerning, as always, but especially with COVID. I would definitely say some of the countries that have not been as trusted are probably taking advantage of the time that they had without testing. Personally, I know I have been tested over 20 times in the past year, so I know the Americans are being well taken care of, and myself especially. But I think, unfortunately, the Americans can control what they can control, but the rest of the world, I’m not so sure.
USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey also offered some thoughts of the matter.
Q. A question about just the world anti-doping situation in a year when there was basically a blackout on what everybody was doing. How good do you feel about where the world stands from that standpoint from swimming?
TIM HINCHEY III: It’s a great question. I think there’s no doubt there’s concerns, just to be very honest with you. I think you talk to our athletes and talk to our coaches, talk to our staff, there’s no doubt there’s been a bit of a blackout I think. So that’s a concern. I think what gives me some confidence going forward in particular is the recent changes at FINA. I think Husain has made this an important part of his new agenda as the incoming new president for FINA. And then you look at the new executive director from CAS. Brent has experience obviously working on anti-doping.
So I think from a swimming perspective that’s really good news and I think it’s something that needs to happen and go forward. At the same time, I think that what’s also, again, as a swim fan prior to me taking over the four years ago, the American team, our team, our athletes, and Lilly’s been great with her outspokenness about it, but they still compete and they still find ways to win. And so I think our team’s going to race against whomever no matter what happens regardless of what may or may not be happening that is out of our control, but I think our team will be ready to compete. But I do have confidence in the future of FINA.
King’s long-time coach Ray Looze was asked about King’s tendency to speak out on issues while also being able to perform well in the pool.
Q. What issue do you think that kind of drives, Lilly and every athlete has kind of different ways they approach things and hers is to have to not shy away from tough issues, and what is it about her that she’s able to kind of thrive on that and speak her mind and still succeed in the pool?
RAY LOOZE: Well, Lilly dreams about racing a lot. That’s the number one thing she likes to do. And the greater the stakes, the more the pressure, the happier she is. So if she gets to race somebody that’s a threat, she gets super excited and that’s when you’ll see the best come out of Lilly.
But she’s also one of the most durable people I’ve ever seen, never misses workout, trains super hard, and then the people that she’s been around a lot, from her parents to her coaches have never stifled her voice. Even when it wasn’t the best voice or maybe the best opinion out there, I think we just let her be herself. Katie Meili, she was telling me a story about her, and she said, Do you know, I have a greater appreciation for Katie Meili now because Katie let me be myself, and that says a lot about the people that have been around Lilly.
Speaking with Ryan Lochte, one reporter asked him about how he now, 5 years later, has learned from his experience at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Q. To follow-up also. When you look back, if you look back on Rio in 2016, in the pool and then out, I’m curious, when you look back, what do you think of, what lessons might have been learned, how do you look at what happened in Rio now?
RYAN LOCHTE: You know, Rio, I try not to dwell on the past and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m here standing in front of you guys, because no matter in life how many times you get knocked down, it’s how you get up that defines you as a person. And, I mean, I’ve been knocked down, but I’m a fighter, and I got up and I kept moving forward, setting new goals in my life, in the pool and out of the pool. So I mean, 2016 happened and I can’t regret those things that happened because it helped shape me who I am today and I am the happiest person I’ve ever been in my entire life and I’m doing what I love to do and these guys help me every day. Like, they help make swimming fun again. So, and like I said earlier, everything happens for a reason. It needed to happen because everything that was happening in my life, it was just going down a dark hole, and it was someone saying, You need to wake up and smell the coffee. There’s more to life than just being a rock star, having that rock star persona. So, I mean, I had wake up call and now I’m the happiest person ever.
One question directed at Caeleb Dressel asked whether or not it feels weird to be at an Olympic Trials without Michael Phelps. In a follow-up, he was also asked whether he feels as if there is now a burden on him to pick up from where Phelps left off.
Q. Caeleb, does it feel weird to be in a trials without a Michael Phelps?
CAELEB DRESSEL: I don’t know if I’m a seasoned enough veteran to be qualified to answer that question as much as some other people can. But for me, I was actually, when we first walked on deck, I was talking to Ryan, and 2012 was my first trials, as a 15-year-old, and I remember where I was sitting when I was watching him and Michael race and it’s just, it’s funny how full circle things have come now to where now I have my picture on the big thing out front. It’s just weird for me because I still feel like that 15-year-old sitting up in the nosebleed seats nine years ago. So it’s crazy. For me, I got to see Michael swim twice at trials, 2012, 2016. So for me it’s not that weird, but I think for, I think Michael’s first trials was 2000, so for some people like Ryan, I mean, Ryan’s had them since 2004. That was his first trial. So I think for some people more so than myself it would be weird.
Q. As a follow-up, do you feel any burden in picking up that mantel that Michael has left?
CAELEB DRESSEL: I don’t think that falls on my shoulders alone. Michael was one guy within USA Swimming, but he wasn’t USA Swimming. I think that’s what makes USA Swimming so strong is the team and as a collective whole. I say that every time. My favorite part about any team trip I’ve been on is the training camp because that’s when Team USA really becomes Team USA. We bond together and is really is a collective group and I don’t think that should fall on one person’s shoulders.
I don’t think it was Michael alone and it’s certainly not myself alone.
Troy offered some comments on the effect that COVID-19 has on the training of both Lochte and Dressel over the past year.
GREGG TROY: It’s been a unique situation for these guys at different ends of the spectrum. Ryan, we were pretty prepared for last year, I thought for him. And another year added on, he’s not quite to Anthony’s 40 yet, but he’s working on it pretty hard. Another year of extending everything made that a little bit tougher for him, I believe.
Caeleb handled it in a little different manner. He had so many different things on his plate. Got married this year. His wife was finishing up school. And we had some unique dynamics training-wise. We were traveling almost an hour for practice, sometimes a little bit further. So we did a lot of time on the road and it gave us a little different perspective in the whole group of what we were doing training, what we were training for, and allowed us to spend some time and work on some weaknesses and re-adjust the way we looked at things.
Ryan Murphy also discussed the year-long delay and the effect that it’s had on his training.
Q. Ryan, how did the year-long delay impact your training approach, your mental approach, just your overall build-up to the games?
RYAN MURPHY: Yeah, so I think the build-up to the games was interesting in the fact that there actually was a build-up in terms of what we were allowed to do at Cal. I think as the initial shutdown came down, we weren’t able to swim at Cal. We had to find some other options. We had to find some other weight rooms/dry land options. We eventually were able to get back into Cal with a small group. That group ended up kind of growing throughout the year until now where the whole team is able to swim together. So that, that was pretty, that’s a pretty good symbol of the year, is we kind of got back to close to normal by the end here. And in terms of like my physical/mental approach, it’s been great. I think this year has been about as good of a year of training as I’ve ever had and I’m really, really excited to see how it all comes together out here.
Murphy’s coach and head coach of the University of California, Berkeley men’s swim team Dave Durden was asked what he has learned from Cal swimmer Jacob Pebley’s recent announcement that he would not be competing at the 2021 Olympic Trials.
Q. Is there something to be learned in a broader perspective, as a coach, as a coaching staff, as an organization, when you have one of your 2016 Olympians step away, not because he doesn’t enjoy competing or swimming anymore, but just the pursuit of Olympic medals or nothing has become burdensome.
DAVE DURDEN: Yeah, I mean, I, there’s absolutely something to be learned from that. I think we’re learning and have learned a lot in the past — well, I don’t want to speak for others. I’ll speak for me. I’ve learned a lot in the past year. I’ve learned a lot in the past four years, going from Rio to getting ready for Tokyo to getting ready for now 2021, getting ready for 2020 and now for 2021. My perspective is one as a college coach, which I understand the balance of intercollegiate athletics and academic pursuits, which also includes professional pursuits that go beyond the sport of swimming. Sometimes those professional goals do not involve swimming. Some of those professional life goals, as our guys get a little bit older, a little bit more wise, a little more understanding that they, that the sport that they have loved as a kid or even as adult, their priorities have changed, and we appreciate that.
We celebrate that. We want to make sure that we get them going in the right direction in life. So I have learned that. I continue to learn that. And I know that over the next four years, I’ll, or even three years, I’ll continue to learn more about it.
To watch the full press conference with all 8 interviewees as they discuss a variety of topics, check out the following videos on SwimSwam’s YouYube channel: