U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials are taking place June 13-20 in Omaha, Nebraska. Wednesday's finals session can be seen live on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET, as well as streamed on NBCOlympics.com [HERE] and the NBC Sports App.
If Wednesday was “Ledecky Night” at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, Thursday is all about a pair of Gators.
Caeleb Dressel, swimming’s top male star, can ink his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in the men’s 100m freestyle on Night 5 in Omaha. In the same primetime session, Ryan Lochte aims to keep his hopes for a fifth Olympics alive in the semifinals of the men’s 200m individual medley.
Dressel and Lochte, both graduates of the University of Florida, train together in Gainesville under former Team USA head coach Gregg Troy.
Dressel, 24, already holds a pair of Olympic gold medals from Rio 2016 as a member of two U.S. relay teams. Since then, however, the Green Cove Springs, Florida native has ascended to the top of the sport as an individual competitor. He has amassed 13 world championships across the spectrum of freestyle and butterfly sprint events. The crown jewel, though, is the oldest Olympic swimming race of all, the 100 free.
Thursday’s final features a veteran group from which at least four – and potentially as many as six – will earn spots on the Olympic team in the 4x100m free relay. Ryan Held, Dressel’s teammate on the gold medal-winning relay at Rio 2016, is again in the hunt for an Olympic berth, as are 2019 World Championship team members Zach Apple and Blake Pieroni.
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian missed out on the final, ending his best chance to qualify for a fourth Olympics after recovering from a 2019 testicular cancer diagnosis. While disappointed, Adrian was at ease following Wednesday’s semifinals.
“This is such an all-in sport. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick two good swims together. I had a really good one this morning,” Adrian said.
“When I would have a bad practice before, it was a little bit of a dagger in the heart... now I sort of go home and I let it go immediately and I give my wife and my baby a big hug and a kiss.”
The second-most interesting race of the night is not one of the three other finals, but Heat 1 of the men’s 200m IM semifinal, which features Lochte. The 36-year-old posted an encouraging prelim time of 1:58.48, second-best in the field behind only Michael Andrew, who races in Heat 2.
Should Lochte place among the top eight times in the semis, he would advance to Friday’s final with a chance to qualify for a fifth Olympics. A Tokyo appearance would carry extra significance for Lochte, who has expressed determination to show, on the Olympic stage, that he is a changed man from the person who exited Rio de Janeiro in 2016 in disgrace.
Elsewhere, Bobby Finke, another Florida Gator, will attempt to become one of Team USA’s first two representatives in the men’s 800m freestyle, making its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Eighteen-year-old Matt Fallon aims to continue his meteoric rise in the men’s 200m breaststroke, potentially alongside fellow Pingry High School (Somerset County, New Jersey) grad Nic Fink. And in the women’s 200m butterfly, Regan Smith can add another event to her Tokyo calendar.
Thursday night will also see Simone Manuel's first primetime swim of Trials in the women's 100m freestyle. The defending Olympic co-champion will share a semifinal heat with her Rio teammate, Oliva Smoliga.
Follow along below for up-to-the-minute highlights and results as the action unfolds.
Men's 800m Freestyle - Final
Bobby Finke is the first Florida Gator headed to Tokyo on Night 5. The 21-year-old controlled the half-mile race from the start, finishing first in 7:48.22.
He becomes the first American man to qualify for the 800m freestyle at an Olympic Games; the event is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo.
The race for the (likely) second Olympic spot came down to the closing meters. Ross Dant held the position for the majority of the race, but Michael Brinegar closed more than a full body length in the final 50 meters to touch ahead of Dant.
1. Bobby Finke - 7:48.22
2. Michael Brinegar - 7:49.44
3. Ross Dant - 7:50.66
4. Jordan Wilimovsky - 7:53.07
5. Will Gallant - 7:57.97
6. Trey Freeman - 7:59.09
7. James Plage - 8:00.43
8. Andrew Abruzzo - 8:01.81
Men's 200m Breaststroke - Final
Finke in the 800 free to Fink in the 200 breast.
Nic Fink capitalized on his last, best chance to qualify for his first Olympics at 27 years old in the evening’s second final, winning in a time of 2:07.55.
Behind Fink was Andrew Wilson, who also finished second in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week. He will likely compete in both events at the Tokyo Olympics.
Will Licon finished third for the second straight time in the event at U.S. Trials. He has now missed out on two Olympic Games by a combined time of 0.32.
1. Nic Fink - 2:07.55
2. Andrew Wilson - 2:08.32
3. Will Licon - 2.08.50
4. Kevin Cordes - 2:10.06
5. Aj Pouch - 2:10.35
6. Jake Foster - 2:11.24
7. Daniel Roy - 2:11.87
8. Matt Fallon - 2:12.25
Women’s 100m Freestyle - Semifinals
Simone Manuel will not defend her Olympic gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle in Tokyo.
Manuel finished fourth in Heat 1 with a time of 54.17, which was only good enough for ninth overall. She missed the eight-woman final by 0.02 seconds.
It was revealed on the NBC broadcast that Manuel chose to take three weeks away from training in April for reasons unrelated to injury.
Mallory Comerford, another former American record holder in the event, also did not advance to the final.
2016 Olympian Olivia Smoliga advanced with the top time of 53.55, matched by Natalie Hinds.
ADVANCED TO FINAL:
1. Olivia Smoliga - 53.55
~ Natalie Hinds - 53.55
3. Abbey Weitzel - 53.66
4. Catie Deloof - 53.77
5. Linnea Mack - 54.03
6. Allison Schmitt - 54.08
7. Kate Douglass - 54.14
8. Erika Brown - 54.15
Men's 200m Backstroke - Semifinals
Ryan Murphy is on schedule to defend his Olympic title in the 200m backstroke. He won the second semifinal heat in a time of 1:55.60 to pace his competitors by over a second.
Texas Longhorn Austin Katz, winner of semifinal Heat 1 in 1:56.26, will swim beside Murphy in the middle lanes in Friday’s final.
ADVANCED TO FINAL:
1. Ryan Murphy - 1:55.60
2. Austin Katz - 1:56.26
3. Bryce Meeford - 1:56.57
4. Destin Lasco - 1:56.81
5. Jack Aikins - 1:57.50
6. Hunter Tapp - 1:57.55
7. Daniel Carr - 1:57.73
8. Shaine Casas - 1:58.48
Women's 200m Butterfly - Final
It was a two-woman race for the first 175 meters between two athletes already (virtually) qualified for Tokyo, Hali Flickinger and Regan Smith.
Flickinger held off Smith and the rest of the field to finish first in 2:05.85. Smith though, was put under pressure late by 17-year-old Charlotte Hook.
But in the end it was the longtime friends and rivals filling the Olympic positions. Smith said after the race that Flickinger elevates her own performance.
“We race each other all the time. She pushes me so hard and she brings it home so well and I know I’d have to fight really hard to hang there with her,” Smith said.
1. Hali Flickinger - 2:05.85
2. Regan Smith - 2:06.99
3. Charlotte Hook - 2:07.92
4. Lindsay Looney - 2:08.40
5. Kelly Pash - 2:08.58
6. Dakota Luther - 2:09.40
7. Olivia Carter - 2:09.79
8. Rachel Klinker - 2:11.09
Men's 100m Freestyle - Final
The United States has its men's 4x100m freestyle relay team. For the most part, it’s a familiar one.
Caeleb Dressel will lead it, and he will also compete as a gold medal favorite in the individual event in Tokyo after winning Thursday’s final in 47.39 – the fastest time ever swam on U.S. soil. After the race, he motioned for the crowd to make a little noise and Omaha obliged, saluting the best male swimmer in the world.
Dressel will be joined in Tokyo by former Auburn Tiger Zach Apple in both the 100 free and on the 4x100 free relay team. The pair won gold for the U.S. in the relay at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea.
Blake Pieroni, also a member of that team, will reunite with Dressel and Apple on the Tokyo relay team based on his third-place finish. LSU’s Brooks Curry is the newcomer of the group, a fact not lost on Dressel.
“It’s a great four. I gotta get to know this guy,” Dressel said patting Curry on the shoulder. “We got a newbie on the team, so I’m excited to work with these boys."
Fifth and sixth place finishers Bowe Becker and 2016 Olympian Ryan Held are also candidates to make the team as relay prelim swimmers.
1. Caeleb Dressel - 47.39
2. Zach Apple - 47.72
3. Blake Pieroni - 48.16
4. Brooks Curry - 48.19
5. Bowe Becker - 48.22
6. Ryan Held - 48.46
7. Brett Pinfold - 48.47
8. Coleman Stewart - 48.51
Women's 200m Breaststroke - Semifinals
ADVANCED TO FINAL:
1. Lilly King - 2:22.73
2. Annie Lazor - 2:22.80
3. Emily Escobedo - 2:23.87
4. Ella Nelson - 2:24.80
5. Bethany Galat - 2:24.80
6. Allie Raab - 2:26.68
7. Micah Sumrall - 2:27.22
8. Rachel Bernhardt - 2:27.36
Men's 200m Individual Medley - Semifinals
Michael Andrew leads the men’s 200m IM field going into Friday’s blockbuster final, winning Thursday’s second semifinal in 1:55.26. He gave Ryan Lochte’s 10-year-old world record a serious run, turning at the 150-meter mark over a second ahead of record pace.
He was unable to bring it home in the freestyle leg, but the 22-year-old said after the race that the world record was on his mind and will be again in the final.
Lochte will join Andrew in Friday’s final, finishing sixth overall across both semifinal heats in 1:58.65. He was not happy with his performance and was optimistic that a better swim could be in his near future.
Should Lochte finish in the top two in the final, he would become the oldest American male swimmer to make an Olympic team at 36 years old.
Rio Olympian and former world champion in the event, Chase Kalisz, won the first heat in 1:57.19, good enough for the second seed overall.
ADVANCED TO FINAL:
1. Michael Andrew - 1:55.26
2. Chase Kalisz - 1:57.19
3. Kieran Smith - 1:57.61
4. Carson Foster - 1:57.77
5. Sam Stewart - 1:58.37
6. Ryan Lochte - 1:58.65
7. Andrew Seliskar - 1:58.92
8. Trenton Julian - 1:59.21