North America: Women’s 200 Breast the “Double Miss” Event for U.S. in 2016


We’re used to American dominance in this sport. It’s what we know.

But dominant doesn’t mean perfect, and it seems that every Olympics in this century, the Americans tend to have an event where both swimmers miss the final.

In 2008, Katie Hoff and Kate Ziegler missed the 800 free final. In 2004, Ian Crocker and Jason Lezak missed the 100 free final. Lindsay Benko and Rada Owen missed the 200 free final in 2000. It didn’t happen in London, but it’s happened at 4 of the 5 Olympics in the 21st century. Now, in 2016, Lilly King and Molly Hannis have failed to qualify for the 200 breast final.

Were they expected to make it? Nope. Is it that big of a deal that they missed it? Not really.

Rather, it serves as a reminder that as dominant as the Americans are, they’re not perfect. There are American swimmers who miss the final, sometimes both in the same event.

So, what does that mean, exactly?

It plays into the storyline of the rest of the world “catching up,” if you will. While America is the iconic model of swimming greatness, as a whole, it is certainly not the model for female 200 butterfliers. The rest of the world doesn’t really look up to the American male sprint breaststrokers. It means that, yes, the mighty United States has something to work on.

Which is great. The better the rest of the world gets, and the more that other nations set the pace for various events, the more competitive the entire playing field gets. It’s everyone chasing each other.

This isn’t to say that it’s necessarily *good* that Americans are missing Olympic finals. This isn’t to take away from the tough performances that King and Hannis gritted through. It’s not all about the Americans! My hands are on your ears and I’m shaking your head!

This is about the sport of swimming; the grand scheme of competition. And while King and Hannis might have missed the mark in this event, the Americans have plenty to be excited about this week.

Other than the disappointment of the 200 breast for the U.S. this evening, there were plenty of highlights for North Americans on day 5. Take a look:

  • Canada’s Penny Oleksiak re-broke her own world junior record in the women’s 100 free semis, qualifying 2nd for the final in an incredible 52.72. Only world record holder Cate Campbell (52.71) was faster than Oleksiak in the semis. It also broke her own Canadian record.
  • American Josh Prenot picked up a silver medal in the men’s 200 breast, missing the gold medal spot by just seven one-hundredths of a second.
  • Fellow American Nathan Adrian didn’t finish in the spot he wanted, but still made his way onto the podium in the men’s 100 freestyle, winning bronze in 47.85. Canadian Santo Condorelli led through the first 70 metres of the race, ultimately just missing a medal in 4th.
  • Both the American and Canadian women medalled in their second second straight relay, with the Americans taking gold and the Canadians bronze in the 4×200 free. That makes three gold and four total medals for Katie Ledecky, and gives Penny Oleksiak from Canada her third medal. Oleksiak will look to become the first Canadian swimmer to win four medals at one Olympics tomorrow night in the 100 free where she’s seeded 2nd.
  • Other North Americans who qualified for finals tomorrow night: Simone Manuel and Abbey Weitzel in the women’s 100 free, Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley in the men’s 200 back, Kierra Smith in the women’s 200 breast, and the Phelps/Lochte duo in the men’s 200 IM.
















In the medal column, the United States had their slowest night thus far, but still added one medal of each color to make it an impressive total of 21 through five days.

With their fourth medal, the Canadians now have won the same number of medals in swimming through five days in Rio than they did at the previous four Olympics combined.

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Dan T
4 years ago

Wasn’t Bethany galat faster then both at US Open?

4 years ago

Well, being a bully doesnt always work out for her.

Reply to  R2SJ
4 years ago

How’s it bullying when Efimova did this to herself by cheating in the first place?

Lane Four
Reply to  R2SJ
4 years ago

So I take it you are one of those who defend cheaters? How wonderful of you.

Reply to  Lane Four
4 years ago

I don’t defend so called “cheater” . My point is that a champ should act with class.

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  R2SJ
4 years ago

Actually, she acted with class.
If I were her and knew that my main rival cheated, I would have beaten her to a pulp.

Reply to  Lane Four
4 years ago

I stand with Yulia and I’m proud to do so.

King may never be a 200 swimmer, but that’s OK, she won gold and can be proud of that. R2SJ does have a point though. Efimova never engaged with her. King was out there thinking she’s Rosa Parks or something. The King antics are no better than Le Clos ready room behavior, but I’m sure you all think differently about that.

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  GOYULIA
4 years ago

LOL. You are trying too hard.

Phelps is no drug cheat like yuliya

Reply to  GOYULIA
4 years ago

Absolutely Goyulia. You are right on…it is cool for King to act boorish but not Le Clos. Go figure. It is obviously in the eyes of the beholder. Some say Trump, some say Hitlery.

4 years ago

Or you might argue that on one hand, the rest of the world still has some work to do to catch up with the US in the women’s 100 breast where US women placed 1, 4, 7, & 9th on the year. But yes, currently, have more work to do in the longer event. We clearly lead the world in the shorter of the two breaststrokes!!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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