What to watch for Tuesday at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.
Schedule of Events:
Prelims: 10 a.m.
Women's 200m Free
Men's 200m Fly
Women's 200m IM
Finals: 6:45 p.m.
Women's 200m Free - Semifinal
Men's 200m Free - Final
Women's 100m Back - Final
Men's 100m Back - Final
Women's 100m Breast - Final
Men's 200m Fly - Semifinal
Women's 200m IM -- Semifinal
Recapping Monday night
Katie Ledecky stole the show Monday night, winning her first event of the meet in the 400m Free with a blistering time of 3:59.98, the third fastest time in history. Ledecky was over two full seconds ahead of world record pace (which she holds) at one point in the race before fading near the end. It could be the first of several wins this week for Ledecky. First time Olympian Leah Smith swam a personal best of 4:00.65 to take second place.
Also punching their tickets to Rio last night were Kelsi Worrell and Dana Vollmer in the 100m Butterfly. Worrell clocked in at 56.48, good enough for second fastest in the world this year. Dana Vollmer makes the return trip to the Olympics to defend her gold medal.
Two more first Olympians earned berths in the 100m Breaststroke final, with Kevin Cordes and Cody Miller taking the top two spots in a tightly contested race.
The semifinals in both the Women’s 100m Backstroke and Men’s 200m Free provided some tense moments for some of the bigger names Monday. Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin both made in through to the finals safely in the backstroke, but posted the seventh and eighth fastest times in the semis to claim the last two spots.
Franklin and Coughlin have claimed the previous three Olympic gold medals in the event. The final will feature five swimmers making their first trials finals appearance.
Ryan Lochte managed to advance to the finals of the Men’s 200m Free, but posted just the fifth fastest time while finishing third in his heat. At this point, its more about survive and advance for Lochte than posting a top time prior to the finals in any event, as he continues to battle a groin injury. He reportedly received an injection late Monday afternoon to help treat the inflammation. Conor Dwyer, who is already qualified in the 400m IM, paced the field in the semifinals.
Phelps to make his 2016 debut Tuesday
Although Phelps has yet to hit the water, he’ll be making a big splash Tuesday, making his 2016 trials debut in the 200m Butterfly.
This is one of Phelps’ signature events, and with due respect to the rest of the field, it would be a fairly major surprise if anyone catches him in Omaha. He’s owns just about every record out there at this distance, including the all time world best at 1:51.51. Phelps has the top seed time by over a second entering the competition.
Look for Phelps in the final preliminary heat of nine scheduled Tuesday morning, and likely again in the semifinals at night.
Ledecky looking for more?
Fresh off a win in the 400m Free, Katie Ledecky will take to the pool in the 200m Free Tuesday morning, and likely again Tuesday night in the semifinals.
However, Ledecky may not go nearly as unchallenged in this event. She enters with the top seed time of 1:54:43, but Missy Franklin and American record holder Allison Schmitt are right behind her. Leah Smith could also figure into this distance after securing a spot in Rio Monday night.
Backstroke finals providing plenty of storylines
As mentioned above, Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin have accounted for the previous three Olympic gold medals in this event, but saw six swimmers finish faster in the semifinals. While they’re both safe bets to ratchet it up for the finals, it would be quite the surprise to see one (or even both) of them not make the Olympic team.
The men’s final will be all about speed. Both Ryan Murphy and David Plummer were ahead of Aaron Peirsol’s world record pace at the 50m turn Monday night. To top if off, Murphy managed to swim the fastest time in the world this year in the first semifinal, only to see Plummer go faster in the second. Defending Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers is also in the field, posting the third fastest time in the semis.
More for Maya?
Maya DiRado secured her first career Olympic trip on Sunday night, winning the Women’s 400m IM. She’ll be back in action Tuesday in the 200m IM, where she enters as the only swimmer with a sub-2:10 seed time.