2021 U.S. Olympic Trials Previews: Flickinger And Friends In The 200 Fly


See all of our U.S. Olympic Trials previews & picks right here.


Girls’s 200 fly

  • World Report: Liu Zige (CHN) – 2:01.81 (2009)
  • American Report: Mary Descenza – 2:04.14 (2009)
  • US Open Report: Hali Flickinger (USA) – 2:05.87 (2018)
  • World Junior Report: Suzuka Hasegawa (JPN) – 2:06.29 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP) – 2:04.85
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Cammile Adams – 2:06.80
  • Wave I Reduce: 2:14.59
  • Wave II Reduce: 2:12.56

It’s onerous to wager towards Hali Flickinger within the girls’s 200 butterfly on the U.S. Olympic Trials. Over the previous 5 years, she has been one of the constant members of the American delegations to large worldwide meets.

Her first large break was on the 2016 Olympics when she raced her manner into the Olympic ultimate and positioned seventh, alongside Camille Adams, who completed 4th.

Upon Adams’ retirement, Flickinger lead the American girls within the occasion to the 2017 World Championships, the 2018 Pan Pacific Video games, and the 2019 World Championships. After simply lacking out on the ultimate in 2017, she got here again in 2018 to win gold at Pac Pacs after which gained silver within the 200 fly at 2019 Worlds.

Along with her high rankings amongst American girls over the previous few years and her historic means to carry out on the world stage, Flickinger is our high choose for the 200 fly at 2021 US Olympic Trials.

American Girls’s 200 Butterfly Rankings (Nov 28, 2018 – Might 28, 2021)

  1. Hali Flickinger – 2:05.96 (2019)
  2. Regan Smith – 2:06.39 (2020)
  3. Katie Drabot – 2:06.59 (2019)
  4. Lillie Nordmann – 2:07.43 (2019)
  5. Dakota Luther – 2:07.76 (2019)
  6. Charlotte Hook – 2:07.87 (2019)
  7. Olivia Carter – 2:08.22 (2019)
  8. Megan Kingsley – 2:08.26 (2019)
  9. Kelly Pash – 2:08.79 (2021)
  10. Kelsi Dhalia – 2:09.09 (2019)

American Girls’s 200 Butterfly Rankings (Sept 1, 2020 – Might 28, 2021)

  1. Hali Flickinger – 2:06.68
  2. Regan Smith – 2:07.59
  3. Charlotte Hook – 2:07.99
  4. Kelly Pash – 2:08.79
  5. Olivia Carter – 2:09.05
  6. Katie Drabot – 2:09.24
  7. Dakota Luther – 2:09.33
  8. Leah Gingrich – 2:09.41
  9. Taylor Pike – 2:09.85
  10. Torri Huske – 2:09.97

The ladies’s 200 fly subject, globally, continues to really feel as if it’s in a lull. Maybe the affect of the untouchable World Data that no person is close to, the races really feel broad open.

One other think about that feeling is, frankly, the shortage of a dominant 200 butterflier from the US. No American girl has gained a medal within the girls’s 200 fly on the Olympics since Misty Hyman’s gold medal upset in 2000.

Flickinger feels poised to interrupt that streak, however there’s nonetheless an enormous unknown for her. She has moved throughout the nation from her collegiate house in Athens to coach in Arizona since profitable a silver medal at Worlds. That change of coaching brings added uncertainty to how she’ll carry out at Trials, although maybe an extended leadup to the meet due to the delay will give her extra time to good the plan.

That coach occurs to be Bob Bowman, who was the coach of essentially the most profitable male 200 butterflier in historical past, Michael Phelps, however his outcomes with different worldwide athletes has been combined – some highlights (like Flickinger’s fellow Georgia Bulldog Allison Schmitt), and different conditions that didn’t work out (like Frenchman Yannick Agnel.

Regardless, she looks like a powerful wager to at the very least make the staff. There’s just one different swimmer who’s performing in an analogous sphere as her proper now in the US, and that’s the backstroke World Report holder Regan Smith.

Smith holds a 2:06.39 from March of 2020 as her greatest time and has a 2:07.59 season-best which she swam in Might 2020 on the Professional Swim Collection in Indianapolis. Smith is actually extra well-known for her talents within the 100 and 200 backstroke contemplating the truth that she holds each lengthy course world information in these occasions. The 200 butterfly, nevertheless, is a constantly strong third occasion for Smith and contemplating that it falls proper in between the 100 and 200 backstroke at Trials, Smith ought to have the ability to designate sufficient of a spotlight to the occasion to have a strong likelihood.

She has not dedicated to that, nevertheless, and if she doesn’t race, the opposite spot for the U.S. on the meet turns into broad open.

Whereas Flickinger might outpace Smith on this occasion in Tokyo, there’s an argument for the reverse outcome at Trials. That’s as a result of Smith will want to be on a full taper if she needs to qualify for the staff within the 100 backstroke, particularly, the place she faces a loaded subject of at the very least 3 swimmers who may conceivably win gold on the Olympics.

Flickinger, alternatively, could possibly be simply wanting a full taper and nonetheless really feel assured of constructing the staff in her major occasions.

The ladies’s 200 butterfly is likely one of the occasions that would see a relatively-large variety of A finalists from the 2021 NCAA Championships make their manner into the A ultimate at Trials. Amongst those that finsihed within the high 8 at NCAAs and are additionally within the high 10 within the lengthy course rankings this season are Olivia Carter, Dakota Luther, Taylor Pike, and Kelly Pash.

NCAA runner-up Olivia Bray is on the outskirts of the lengthy course rankings and has solely been as quick as a 2:11.48 which she posted in Might 2021. However she swam a number of lifetime-bests within the 200 fly throughout the NCAA season, totaling a 1.7 second drop, and that would result in a protracted course pop as nicely.

Carter goes to be a reputation to look at at Trials this yr and is about to enhance considerably upon her 2:16.66 swim at 2016 US Olympic Trials which left her with a sixtieth place end. Since 2016, Carter has seen nice enchancment within the occasion and in addition raced her method to a silver medal for the USA on the World College Video games in 2019 with a 2:09.05.

Carter took silver at that meet to fellow 2021 NCAA finalist Dakota Luther who was golden at 2019 WUGS with a 2:07.92. Luther’s PB is even faster than that, sitting at a 2:07.76 from US Nationals in 2019. Two years earlier than that, Luther was chosen to swim at World Championships in Budapest and posted a 2:08.86 within the prelims and a 2:09.55 for fifteenth within the ultimate. Luther was a 1:53.01 for bronze at this yr’s NCAAs however was even sooner at SECs a month earlier with a 1:52.04. Her NCAA success this yr mixed along with her worldwide expertise will permit Luther to return into Trials with confidence and talent and he or she actually can’t be counted out but.

Olivia Bray, Taylor Pike, and Kelly Pash will all be in attendance as nicely, holding PBs of two:09.60, 2:09.85, and a couple of:08.79, respectively. Essentially the most intriguing title of these 3 for these Trials shall be College of Texas swimmer Kelly Pash. After tying with Talyor Pike for 4th at NCAAs, Pash transitioned properly into the lengthy course season and posted that 2:08.79 PB at Indianapolis cease of the 2021 TYR Professional Swim Collection. That was a close to 2 second drop from Pash, enhancing upon her 2019 swim of two:10.61. Assuming she wasn’t tapered in Indianapolis, Pash will doubtless attempt to make the most of that PB-producing momentum at Trials in an try transfer up the 200 fly ranks.

One other title that can not be disregarded of the 200 butterfly dialog is Katie Drabot. At the latest World Championships in 2019, Drabot joined Flickinger on the rostrum of the occasion with a 2:07.04 for the bronze medal. She was really a bit quick within the semi-final although by which she swam a 2:06.59 which might have been quick sufficient to win gold had she swum that point within the ultimate. Drabot hasn’t been extraordinarily lively this yr, holding a PB of two:09.24 however her 2019 performances hold her within the working as one of the doubtless candidates to interrupt into the highest 2 at Trials.

Like a few of her Stanford post-grad teammates, although, extra-stringent pandemic restrictions within the Bay Space and restricted racing alternatives means she hasn’t been as quick as a whole lot of her rivals this season. That leaves a little bit of a haze on the crystal ball as to the place they’re at and the way their preparations are progressing.

In the identical yr that Drabot gained bronze at World Championships, Lillie Nordmann and Charlotte Hook represented the US at World Junior Championships. That duo pulled off a gold and bronze medal efficiency, respectively with Nordmann posting a 2:08.24 for the win and Hook a 2:09.00 for third. Whereas Nordmann, like Drabot has been pretty quiet this yr, Hook managed to swim a 2:07.99 again in April 2021, almost getting inside a second of Flickinger’s main time of two:06.68.

Hook is a coaching associate of 100 butterfly wunderkind Claire Curzan on the TAC Titans. The Titans have a extremely popular hand proper now, and Hook has performed extra of the nationwide tour over the past 7 months than has Curzan. Given her age, and the general momentum of her staff, she’s one other sturdy candidate to quickly rise within the rankings.

SwimSwam’s Picks:

Darkish Horse: Lucy Bell (PB – 2:11.18) Lucy Bell is likely one of the youngest qualifiers for Wave II within the 200 fly at age 16 and holds a greatest time of two:11.18 within the occasion which she swam again in 2019 to take second place on the Speedo Junior Nationwide Championships. Bell just lately swam a 2:12.06 this April, marking her season-best. Whereas she will certainly must shave a second or two off her greatest time in an effort to qualify for the A, ought to Bell hit her taper proper she could possibly be probably be an instance of a junior displaying up when she wants it most and upsetting the sphere.


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