U.S. Olympic Swim Trial Day 4: Katie McLaughlin is Tokyo bound
Trenton Julian fell short in 200 Fly; Nathan Adrian eliminated in 100 Free semi
Day 3 was a good day overall for the Cal Bears.
Two Cal Bears clinched spots on Team USA and two more Cal Bears posted promising times to advance to Wednesday night’s finals.
Ryan Murphy clinched a Team USA spot and the chance to medal in 3 events?
Ryan Murphy earned a return trip to the Olympic Games on Tuesday night. By winning the 100m Back, Murphy clinched not just the opportunity to defend his 100m Back Gold but also a place on Team USA’s Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay as well as a strong possibility to race in the brand-new Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay. With Cal head coach Dave Durden deciding those relay lineups, one would believe that Durden will allow Murphy to maximize his chances at Olympic glories, not to mention just inherently trust Murph to get the job done.
Murphy will get the chance to also make the team for 200 Back later this week, another event where he won Gold in Rio back in 2016.
Andrew Seliskar became a 1st-time Olympian
The “Calympian” honor is forever, and Cal alum Andrew Seliskar has just joined that exclusive club on Tuesday night. Seliskar’s 4th place finish in the 200m Free means that he has earned a spot on the 4x200m Free Relay.
Seliskar came close at a 2nd place finish, which would have allowed him to swim in the 200m Free event in the Olympics but was just slightly behind Texas alum Townley Haas for 2nd place.
Seliskar will be back in the pool today for 100m Free (which also has 6 spots available). It would not be shocking to see Seliskar earn another Olympic berth in this event. Later this week, Seliskar will race in 200m IM and 100m Fly.
Will we get two more 1st-time “Calympian” on Wednesday night?
Katie McLaughlin had a strong semifinal swim to placed 3rd in Women’s 200m Free behind Katie Ledecky (no introduction needed) and Paige Madden (who dominated at the NCAA a few months ago with Virginia). With the extra Olympic berths available due to the relay, McLaughlin has got a Golden Opportunity to go to Tokyo. She could surprise the field and qualify for two events with a top-2 finish on Wednesday night.
With Michael Phelps in the booth saying that Trenton Julian might have gone too fast, Julian faded just enough to drop from posting the best Men’s 200m Fly time to the 3rd best. Nonetheless, the recent Cal graduate (who technically can still come back to Cal and swim for another year due to the extra eligibility for everyone) showed that he’s a real threat to possibly win this event on Wednesday.
Nathan Adrian, Ryan Hoffer, etc. part of a deep field in Men’s 100 Free
While former Florida Gator star (and he also swam on the same high school team as Ryan Murphy) Caebel Dressel will almost guarantee to earn the top-seed in 100m Free, a lot of guys including several Cal Bears will be vying for the other spot, as well as the 4 relay-only berths. As a former 100m Free Gold Medalist, Nathan Adrian will look to make his 4th Olympic Games. This would also be a very special Olympic berth after he overcame testicular cancer and started a family.
Despite his success at the Pac-12 and the NCAA this year in 100y Free, Ryan Hoffer does not have a great seed time coming in. Nonetheless, do not be surprised if Hoffer is in the mix to make the final (top-8) on Thursday night.
Josh Prenot and Reece Whitley’s best chances to get to Tokyo are in 200 Breast
While both 2016 “Calympian” Josh Prenot and rising senior Reece Whitley had disappointing semifinal swims in the 100m Breast on Monday, both of them are stronger in 200m Breast. The prelim and semifinals for that event are today.
Prenot won the Silver in this event at the 2016 Rio Games. Whitley had faced the pressure of being the next face of USA Swimming since high school; this is his moment to shine. Whitley finished as the runner-up in both breaststroke events at the NCAA this year but his NBA-player height of 6’ 6” makes him more suitable for these long courses.
Cal youths who could surprise
In every US Olympic Swim Trials, some previously unknown swimmers do manage to take the huge leap to become Team USA stars. Kathleen Baker sort of did that back in 2016. Could a Rachel Klinker in 200m Fly or an incoming Cal Bear like a Gabriel Jett in 800m Free make that leap? Klinker made a sizeable leap between last year and this year on the collegiate scene. Rising sophomore Destin Lasco and another incoming freshman Jack Alexy will also be swimming today in the 100m Free prelims.
Day 4 Schedule and Cal Bears to watch
Morning session, 8 AM PT, LIVESTREAM
Men’s 100 freestyle preliminaries
Destin Lasco (heat 5), Jack Alexy (heat 6), Ryan Hoffer (heat 6), Andrew Seliskar (heat 7), Nathan Adrian (heat 8)
6: Nathan Adrian (48.37) Q - 3rd in heat 8
9: Jack Alexy (48.69) Q - 2nd in heat 6
26: Ryan Hoffer (49.77) - first out of the block but finished last in heat 6
Andrew Seliskar - Scratch (DNS)
Destin Lasco - Scratch (DNS)
Women’s 200 butterfly preliminaries
Rachel Klinker (heat 4)
11: Rachel Klinker (2:11.11) Q - had the lead at the 100m mark but faded in the back half
Men’s 200 breaststroke preliminaries
Jason Louser, Reece Whitley (heat 6), Josh Prenot (heat 7)
10: Reece Whitley (2:11.79) Q - 3rd in Heat 6
17: Josh Prenot (2:13.42) Alternate
26: J. Louser (2:14.90)
Men’s 800 freestyle preliminaries
Gabriel Jett (heat 2)
39: Gabriel Jett (8:13.95)
Evening session, 5 PM PT, LIVESTREAM
Men’s 100 freestyle semifinal
Nathan Adrian and Jack Alexy (top-8 will advance to Thursday’s final)
10: Jack Alexy (48.82) - 6th in the second semifinal
13: Nathan Adrian (48.92) - 6th in the first semifinal
Women’s 200 freestyle final
Katie McLaughlin (top-6 likely will become 2021 Tokyo Olympians)
4: Katie McLaughlin (1:57.16) will be a 1st time Olympian!!
Men’s 200 butterfly final
Trenton Julian (top-2 will become 2021 Tokyo Olympians)
5: Trenton Julian (1:56.35)
Julian had the lead through the first 150m but could not hold on after the final turn. It has been a very tough and frustrating day for Cal Men’s Swimming.
Women’s 200 butterfly semifinal
Rachel Klinker (top-8 will advance to Thursday’s final)
7: Rachel Klinker (2:09.18) Q - she will get to race for a trip to Tokyo but would need to finish in the top-2
Men’s 200 breaststroke semifinal
Reece Whitley (top-8 will advance to Thursday’s final)
10: Reece Whitley (2:11.12) - 6th in the 1st semifinal
Women’s 200 individual medley final
Women’s 1,500 freestyle final
Great work as always on reporting on less popular sports, as has been done for a few years now. Much appreciated.
When the U.S. swim team is selected, it would be interesting to see how many events Cal grads and current students will be competing in the Olympics in swimming, men and women totals being kept separate, compared to the same breakout for the other schools in country. However, I recognize it might be difficult to know the grads of other schools who are now competing in the trials. Just a thought. I know I am somewhat well known for asking things that are a lot of work to determine.