What to watch for Friday at the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.
Schedule of Events:
Prelims – 10 a.m.
Men's 50m Free
Women's 800m Free
Men's 100m Fly
Women's 200m Back
Finals - 6:45 p.m.
Men's 50m Free - Semifinal
Women's 200m Breast - Final
Men's 200m Back - Final
Women's 200m Back - Semifinal
Men's 200m IM - Final
Women's 100m Free - Final
Men's 100m Fly - Semifinal
Recapping Thursday night
The Men’s 200m Breaststroke final started the evening off in blazing fast fashion, with winner Josh Prenot setting a new American record at 2:07.17, just .16 seconds off a world record, and the second fastest time in history. Runner up Kevin Cordes led the field at the final turn, and was over a second ahead of world record pace before fading late. It will be a record that should be in considerable danger of falling in Rio.
Cammile Adams was the winner in the Women’s 200m Fly at 2:06.80. She was fifth in this event at the 2012 London games. She’ll be joined in Rio by Hali Flickinger. An interesting side note - the third and fourth place finishers, Cassidy Bayer and Ruby Martin, are both just 16-years old. Bayer competes for the Nation’s Capital Swim Club, while Martin hails from Coralville, IA, and competes for the Iowa Flyers. They’ll be interesting names to follow in the future.
The Men’s 100m Freestyle final lived up to the billing, with defending Olympic gold-medalist Nathan Adrian out-touching the field to take the top spot. 35-year old Anthony Ervin, who won a gold medal in the 50m Freestyle at the 2000 Sydney games, led at the turn before fading to finish fourth, but still securing a spot in Rio. Ervin was all smiles as he left the pool deck.
One of the bigger developments, outside of finals action, was in the semis of the Men’s 200m IM. More on that in a moment.
A conversation with U.S.A. Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch
Busch was a guest Thursday on Omaha Sports Insider on AM 590 - ESPN Omaha, discussing a variety of topics ranging from concerns about the Zika virus in Rio, to doping in swimming.
Busch said with the Olympics being the pinnacle and goal of every athlete in the sport, he highly doubts any swimmers that qualify for Rio will withdraw due to concerns over Zika. He also mentioned U.S.A. Swimming is taking every precaution necessary to protect the athletes, from exploring different types of netting to the best repellants available. The federation will also pay for every athlete to be tested for Zika upon their return to the United States.
While there isn’t much of a concern about doping by U.S. team members, given the recent events in Russia following the Sochi games that led to the IOC and IAAF banning the Russian track and field team from competition in Rio, there is a concern that other nations may be circumventing doping protocols. Busch said he is simply hoping for a clean games, and clean sport across the board.
If you missed the interview, you can find the podcast audio HERE.
Phelps, Lochte, Franklin and Ledecky in action Friday
The biggest names in swimming will again be in action again Friday night. The Men’s 200m IM sets up to be one of the most compelling races of the week, with Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte going head to head in what should be a battle for the top two spots.
Lochte swam the fastest time in the prelims, and looked much better as he continues to recover from a groin injury. Phelps vs. Lochte was a big talking point leading up to and during the 2012 Olympic games, and fans could once again get a taste of that Friday night.
Phelps will also be in action in the Men's 100m Fly prelims and semis, one of his signature events. It'll be a quick turnaround in the night session, but it works out well the 200m IM final comes first in the program.
Missy Franklin will look to add to her Rio program in the 200m Backstroke prelims and semis, one of her strongest events. Franklin was shut out of the 100m Freestyle final after finishing fifth in her heat.
It’s been an up and down Olympic trials so far for Franklin. After the race Thursday night, she admitted that for some reason, her speed just wasn’t there for the 100m Freestyle. Franklin did say she feels her endurance is solid, which should set her up well for the 200m Backstroke.
Katie Ledecky will also be in action in Friday in the 100m Freestyle final, but is just the seventh fastest qualifier. 19-year old Abbey Wentzel, the American record holder in the 50m Freestyle, turned in the fastest time in the semis at 53.57. It’s a stacked field that includes 19-year old speedster Simone Manuel, American record holder Amanda Weir, four-time Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer, three-time gold medalist Allison Schmitt, and others. Who will take the top spot is anyone’s best guess.
Clary back in business in the 200m Backstroke
Defending Olympic champion Tyler Clary was among the top qualifiers for Friday’s 200m Backstroke final. Clary swam a 1:55.92, good enough for third fastest overall.
However, it won’t be a cakewalk for Clary to get back to the games - Ryan Murphy was the top qualifier (1:55.04) after already winning the 100m Backstroke earlier this week, and Jacob Pebley (1:55.18) was with him stroke for stroke in the semifinals.
Who can swim on a relay team in Rio?
Busch also addressed the U.S.A. relay situation in Rio Thursday on Omaha Sports Insider.
While anyone on the team is eligible to swim relays, athletes that qualify in relay events only (typically positions 3-6 in 100m and 200m Freestyle events) MUST swim on relay teams, either in preliminaries or finals. What that means is that even though athletes like Michael Phelps didn’t compete in either the 100m or 200m Freestyle events in Omaha, they’ll still be eligible to compete in Rio.
The reasoning is with a hard cap on the number of swimmers (and overall athletes) in the Olympic games, the governing body does’t want teams bringing extra athletes that don’t compete. Restrictions could be ramped up even further as more sports are added to the games in the future.