Will Olympic Champion Nathan Adrian Make the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team?

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.comWill 5-time Olympic champion Nathan Adrian make the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team? It’s a fair question. He’s on the march toward his 4th U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, and I’m bullish on his performance for two reasons:

  1. Back at the 2019 World Championships, 5 months after recovering from cancer, Nathan anchored the men’s 4×100 free relay with a 47.08 — holding off Russia’s Evgeny Rylov to help Team USA to World Championship gold.
  2. At the recent Mission Pro Swim he dropped a 48.7 100m free, a very solid in-season swim after this trying COVID shutdown year.
I’m not sure he’ll make the U.S. Olympic Team individually, but I do see him on the 4×100 free relay, and I see him leading the U.S. Team as captain to a successful effort in Tokyo.
U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS PREDICTIONS – MEN’S 100m FREE
Considering Nathan’s 2019 World Championship relay split, 47.08, and his 48.7 flat start swim at the recent Mission Pro Swim, I see him dipping under 48 seconds, dropping a 47.79 in the 100m free final.  I think that’s going to be 4th or 5th in the U.S. Trials final.  Nathan’s gone 48 in the 100m free more times than any human in history. He can dip under 48 seconds shaven and tapered from muscle-memory alone.  4th or 5th puts him on the relay, and at the Olympic Games, I think his experience will be what puts him on the 4×100 free relay at night in the Olympic final.  But who cares what I think. It’s all about what you think. Bring me your best expert swimming analysis.

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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.

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Markster
7 months ago

He’ll be in top 6 for 100 free at trials and I think he’ll be selected for the finals relay in tokyo

25Backstroke
Reply to  Markster
7 months ago

I like Adrian, but realistically Held, Dressel, Apple, Pieroni are very likely to beat him, and Jackson, Rooney, Farris, Krueger are up there with a bunch of dark horses as well. I put his odds at 1/3, improbable but a decent chance

Mean Dean
7 months ago

I sincerely hope he does. I hope he gets that relay spot and gets a gold to end his career

Jasan Aghuilo
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
7 months ago

Do you know smth about Aleksey Tarasenko? This is 21 y.o.uzbekistan swimmer, which training in The University of Tennessee? I think he can beat Adrian in OG.

swimmerfromcali
Reply to  Jasan Aghuilo
7 months ago

I’m not Mel, but based off his recent times from Big Tens and his bests from a year or two ago, I’d say he probably couldn’t beat Nathan in Tokyo, if Nathan Makes the team (which I think he will). Although, if he does, great for him.

Jasan Aghuilo
Reply to  swimmerfromcali
7 months ago

Bro, this guy dropped 1,75 seconds in 3 days and hitted 48,55 100m free in Uzbekistan Olympic Trials 1 week ago. If he keep pushing like that, I think he may compete with other top swimmers. There are many haters that say like results are fake and some indian athlete dropped the video about corruption in Uzbekistan swimming federation, but i think it’s just jelaousy. Haters gonna hate. Let’s pray for Aleksey!

John
Reply to  Jasan Aghuilo
7 months ago

Pray for Aleksey? Does he need divine intervention to beat Adrian, likely!

JCO
7 months ago

Hard to see him beating out Dressel, Held, or Apple. I do believe he will be top 6, but there will be some young guys trying to knock him off for sure.

My top 8 (in order):
Dressel
Held
Apple
Farris
Adrian
Brooks Curry
Rooney
Pieroni

Next 8 (in no order):
Jackson
Haas
Krueger
Kibler
Conger
Matt King
Seliskar
Chadwick

JCO
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
7 months ago

I have a feeling that he’ll be much more focused on the 200 given the depth in the 100, and because of that, won’t have enough speed going out to make top 8 in the 100. Obviously most of us commentators have absolutely no idea where the focus is for these guys, but that’s just my gut feeling.

Hswimmer
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

Rooney will be higher

swimgeek
Reply to  Hswimmer
7 months ago

Agreed. I don’t see Rooney missing top 6. Dude was a monster the last time anyone swam a championship LC meet (2019)

PhillyMark
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

Hoping Hoffer has nice breakthrough in LCM. How about Robert Howard also….haven’t seen him swim in a bit but he was great @ WUG’s

PhillyMark
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

Also, Kieran’s gotta be up there!

JCO
Reply to  PhillyMark
7 months ago

Somehow I completely missed Kieran. I’d probably put him on the lower side of the 9-16 group if he decides to focus on it. I am very bullish on him in the 200 and 400 though. I think he’ll be 1:44/1:45 low in the 200. Hoping we get a 3:42 out of him in the 400. USA needs someone to fill the middle distance gap right now, and I have a feeling Kieran and Magahey will be the two to carry USA middle distance into the spotlight.

Last edited 7 months ago by JCO
Chad
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

Nice list. I think Rooney will be higher and I don’t think Curry will make the final. We’ll see if I eat my words (not my goggles though) in a couple months.

Dudeman
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

I’m gonna blaspheme here and say that Dean is too high on that list and I firmly believe Pieroni will be top 6 given he was under 48 at 2019 World’s

swimfan210_
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

Think Pieroni should be higher

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

What about Adam Chaney?
He split 47.9 before he got to UF.
Once at UF he dropped 1.5 secs.

Blackflag82
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

I think Dean at 4th is pretty reasonable since he’ll be swimming breaststroke to give everyone a sporting chance

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

It’s so stacked

swimmerswammer
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

chaney? i don’t know how he’ll fit in that mix but i still wouldn’t count him out

JCO
Reply to  swimmerswammer
7 months ago

Also missed Chaney. The depth in this event is unreal

Idk
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

I think Rooney makes the team over curry and Farris is also throw smith in there based off his 200

aurelius
Reply to  JCO
7 months ago

…Justin Ress? Currently ranked 6th in the US…

Joe Koller
7 months ago

Unless he places top 4 at trials I don’t know if he can be put on put in an Olympic final after what happened in the men’s medley in 2019. I’m not saying he can’t do it but I think he needs to earn it just like everyone else and not rely on past success to put him on the relays at night.

USA 4x100 Medley Gold Medel 2021
Reply to  Joe Koller
7 months ago

Agreed.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Joe Koller
7 months ago

Bro he had cancer in 2019…

Dave
7 months ago

I think it’s pretty optimistic to think 47.7 will be 4th or 5th at trials. I think it goes Caeleb 47.2, Pieroni 47.7, Adrian 47.9, Apple 47.9, Held 48.0, and Dean Farris 48.1

Dave
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
7 months ago

I agree there are lots of guys capable of going that fast…but I think it’s unlikely they all hit their taper right and swim their best at trials especially given the interruptions in training over the past year.

Chad
Reply to  Dave
7 months ago

After the times Held just posted without untapered, I think he’ll have to be faster than 48.0 in the finals. I recall he was about 48.7 in season in 2019 before tapering and dropping that 47.4/47.3 combo at nationals. I think he’ll be in that same range in June. Also, if you look at his prelims/semi-finals/finals performances from trials in 2016, he performances were all pretty consistent there as well. I think a 47 mid from him in the finals is a fairly safe bet for him.

Chad
Reply to  Dave
7 months ago

Also, I think you mixed up the 4 and the 1 in Farris’s time

Swimmer
Reply to  Dave
7 months ago

Besides Dressel which will be in a SEC kinda taper, everyone will be fully tapered. You only get one shot every 4(or 5 this time) years and you don’t wanna blow it. I think it will be a super close race.

Lcaz
Reply to  Swimmer
7 months ago

What makes you think dressel won’t full taper? I think that he would need to be to make the 4 x 200 relay.

leisurely1:29
Reply to  Lcaz
7 months ago

I genuinely don’t think Dressel will “full taper” just to be on a 4×200 that has an outside shot at Bronze at best…

Swimmer
Reply to  Lcaz
7 months ago

Because I believe that he would rather save a bit so he could have a better shot at 6 golds.

Chad
7 months ago

I don’t see Adrian getting that second individual spot in the 100 free. I think he might have a better chance at getting the second 50 free spot. But his best shot is without a doubt a relay spot in the 100 free. I think the top 8 at trials will go as follows:

Dressel 47.1
Held 47.4
Apple 47.5
Rooney 47.7
Adrian 47.8
Pieroni 48.0
Haas 48.0
Jackson 48.1

They’ll most likely use Adrian in the finals in Tokyo considering his relay experience, but I don’t know if they’ll anchor with him.

Dudeman
Reply to  Chad
7 months ago

If there are 4 guys faster than Adrian it may be a mistake to put him on the finals relay, which is sad to say but the USA shouldn’t risk a gold medal for a feel-good send off. Apple should have anchored in 2019 and I think that the coaches will keep that in mind, especially given how close Russia and Australia could be

Troyy
Reply to  Dudeman
7 months ago

Australia will be lucky to medal let alone be close to the US and Russia.

Robbos
Reply to  Troyy
7 months ago

Australia would only be close after the first leg if Chalmers led them off.
They are way off the pace against the Americans & the Russians & even the Brits.

Chad
Reply to  Dudeman
7 months ago

I think they’ll use him in the finals, but I don’t think the motive will be to have that feel-good presumably final Olympic swim for Adrian. I think they’ll do it since they feel as if he’s more of a sure bet to not choke. I know that anchor in Gwangju left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth, but that’s the only time he’s ever given up a lead while anchoring a relay in his professional career in a major international competition. And that’s for a dude that’s anchored the vast majority of our 400 free and 400 medley relays since 2009. And he’s had a lot of come from behind victories for us as well. He’s proven himself to… Read more »

swimgeek
Reply to  Chad
7 months ago

in 2019 wasn’t he just coming off cancer treatment?

Swimmer
Reply to  Chad
7 months ago

Adrian went 47.0 anchoring the 4*100 free relay. While 47.6 might be a bit slower, he was also 30 years old swimming at the last day of the meet which I don’t think you could have expected much better. To me Duncan Scott won it with his 46.1 more than Adrian lost it. Gotta give credit when credit is due.

Having said that, I don’t see him anchoring the medley relay this time, but he might be a part of the 4*100 free.

Chad
Reply to  Swimmer
7 months ago

Agreed. Duncan Scott had an outrageous split and, all things considered, Nathan’s split wasn’t bad. However, I was just re-watching that relay a couple days ago and noticed that Nathan did make a couple mistakes. First, he spun his arms a bit too quickly in that first 50 and it didn’t really seem like he was catching as much water as he normally does. Second, he moved away from Morozov and toward Scott off of the turn, which allowed Scott to draft off of him coming home. Since he wasn’t breathing that way in the first 50, he probably had no idea Scott was that close. But still, for a guy who just beat cancer, I thought he did a… Read more »

Blackflag82
Reply to  Chad
7 months ago

And a guy with as much experience as him is going to learn from every one of those things from that race (and more)…imo, he’s the guy you want anchoring…the combo of speed and experience trumps outright speed at the Olympics…Lezak 2008 anyone?

Jack
Reply to  Dudeman
7 months ago

There could easily be 4 guys faster than him flat-start. But there’s never been a sprinter who drops more time between his individual swims and his relay swims. In his prime, the guy pumped out 46.8 like clockwork and hit 46.6 more than any other human. His flat start best time is .07 slower than Phelps, but his relay start best time is like .5 faster than Phelps. Even if he finishes 6th at Trials, his relay split will be the fastest on our team, and probably in the field.

I know Dressel always leads off because his flat start is so good, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if an on-his-game Nathan could out-split Caleb even if both… Read more »

Troyy
Reply to  Jack
7 months ago

But there’s never been a sprinter who drops more time between his individual swims and his relay swims.

van den Hoogenband has entered the chat

Jack
Reply to  Troyy
7 months ago

lol that’s fair

Bub
Reply to  Dudeman
7 months ago

Nah, Apple was dead at that point, he must’ve swam the 100/200 free like 8 times by then

Owlmundo
7 months ago

1000% yes

Pvdh
7 months ago

Never underestimate all those years of experience. Many swimmers will be in the spotlight for the first time. Nathan won’t be. I can easily see him making the team in the 50 and a relay spot

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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