U.S. Olympic Swim Trials: Day 4 preview

What to watch for Wednesday
Posted at 9:57 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 23:05:23-04

What to watch for Wednesday at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials. 


Schedule of Events: 


Prelims: 10 a.m.

Men's 100m Free

Women's 200m Fly

Men's 200m Breast


Finals: 6:45 p.m.

Men's 100m Free - Semis

Women's 200m Free - Semis

Men's 200m Fly - Final

Women's 200m Fly - Semis

Men's 200m Breast - Semis

Women's 200m IM - Final 


Recapping Tuesday night


The Men’s 200m Freestyle started the evening off with a bang, with 19-year old Townley Haas beating a field filled with veterans for his first Olympic trials win. Haas swam 1:45.66 to better the field by just .01 second. 


Conor Dwyer was second, followed by Jack Conger and Ryan Lochte. With the top four guaranteed to make the U.S. Olympic Team, Lochte punched his ticket to Rio, taking some pressure off going forward. There’s a strong chance Gunnar Bentz and Clark Smith could still be named to the team later depending on the outcome of other events. More on that later. 


The Women’s 100m Backstroke saw 21-year Olivia Smoliga capture her first Olympic trials win and secure her first games trip with a time of 59.02. Fellow first time Olympian Kathleen Baker finished second at 59.29. Perhaps more surprisingly, Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin, who have accounted for the past three Olympic gold medals and were in the final, weren’t a factor in the race at all. In fact, Franklin and Coughlin brought up the rear finishing seventh and eighth respectively. 


The Men’s 100m Backstroke also saw two first time Olympians qualify for Rio. 20-year old Ryan Murphy won with a time of 52.26, with 30-year old Olympic rookie David Plummer finishing second. Defending gold medalist Matt Grevers finished in third place, and just missed the cut. It wasn’t hard to see the disappointment in his eyes after the race. All three swimmers appeared to be under world record pace at the 50m turn. 


19-year old Lilly King from Indiana University was the winner of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke. She’ll likely be joined in Rio by fellow first time Olympian Katie Meili. American record holder and gold medalist Jessica Hardy finished sixth in the final. 


There weren’t too many surprises in the Women’s 200m Free semifinals. Katie Ledecky paced the field with the top time, with American record holder Allison Schmitt and Missy Franklin also into the final Wednesday night. Ledecky feels like a good bet to grab one of the top spots, but the others should be up for grabs among several swimmers. Maya DiRado cruised to the top time in the Women’s 200m IM, as she looks to build on her win the 400m IM earlier this week. 


Missy misses out - what’s next? 


Missy Franklin’s performance in the 100m Backstroke had to be terribly disappointing for her. She’s the American record holder in the event, and the defending Olympic champion. To finish seventh in the final is a bit of a head scratcher. 


She admitted afterwards she’s feeling more pressure than ever before, but also said its part of the learning process for her going forward. Fatigue could have also played a factor in her poor showing - she faced less than a 30 minute turn around between races Tuesday night. 


Franklin has a chance to rebound Wednesday night and make the Olympic team in the 200m Free, but will need to finish in the top four of a stacked final. Katie Ledecky, Leah Smith, Allison Schmitt, Melanie Margalis, and Simone Manuel are all world class swimmers that will challenge for the top four spots. 


She’ll also have a few strong chances later in the week - Franklin enters with the second best seed time in the 100m Free, and her best event is the 200m Backstroke, where she holds the world record and top seed time by almost two seconds. 


It was a disappointing night, but the bottom line is it’s far from panic time just yet for Missy Franklin. 


Brace for the Men’s 100m Freestyle 


One of the premier events in the men’s program starts Wednesday. The field is basically a who’s who of mens competitive swimming, with Nathan Adrian entering with the top seed time at 48.00. Not far behind are Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Anthony Ervin, Matt Grevers, and others. There’s gold medals aplenty in this race. 


Ryan Lochte told reporters Tuesday night that he plans to swim in the prelims Wednesday morning, and don’t be surprised if Phelps also competes. 


Its one of the strongest fields in the meet, and should make for a very entertaining race. 


Phelps, Franklin, and Ledecky in finals action


On top of likely competing in the 100m Free semifinal, Michael Phelps will look to secure his first spot in Rio in the 200m Fly final. He was dominant in the semifinal Tuesday night, and he’ll be hard to beat in the finals. 


Katie Ledecky will also be in action in the Women’s 200m Free final, as she looks to go two for two in Omaha. Missy Franklin will look to rebound from a poor performance on Tuesday night and punch her first ticket to the Rio games. 


This is getting confusing as to who qualifies for Rio, and who doesn’t…can you help? 


Sure thing. This handy page from the media guide should explain: 


How do swimmers qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Swimming? 


The USA Swimming Athlete Selection Procedures (pool) for the 2016 Olympic Games are posted on and outline the official qualifying procedures for athletes vying to make the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. 


Here is an explanation of how the roster is filled: 


1. Athletes must qualify for and compete at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Swimming, held June 26-July 3, in Omaha, Nebraska. If athletes don’t compete here, they cannot make the Olympic Team in the pool events. The open water athletes were selected based on top-10 finishes at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. 


2. Swimmers who finish in the top four of the 100- and 200-meter freestyle at Trials, along 

with the first-place finishers in all other events are named to the team first, provided they have achieved a FINA Olympic qualifying time standard. 


3. A maximum of 26 men and 26 women can be named to the Olympic Team, so the second-place finishers in each of the other events will be added to the team in a priority order based on an integrated world ranking from 2015 and 2016 until the cap of 26 is reached. 


4. If, after adding the second-place finishers from each of the other events there is still room on the team, the fifth-place finishers from the 100 and 200m free are added (using the same world ranking as listed in #3 above). 


5. If, after adding the fifth-place finishers from the 100m and 200m free there is still room on the team, the sixth place finishers from the 100m and 200m free are added. 


For your average spectator, that’s really all there is to know. Since the Olympic Trials have taken on this format, the top six swimmers in the 100m and 200m free, along with the top two swimmers in each of the other events, have made the U.S. Olympic Team for every Olympic Games. 


The terms and conditions of the official written selection procedures available online shall take priority over any verbal explanation, clarification or interpretation of the selection procedures.