Editorial Coverage Sponsored By FINIS
By Bri Groves, Swimming World College Intern
The 2016 Olympic Trials left commentators and spectators in shock, as we watched new names burst into the spotlight. On the women’s team, there will be eight Olympic veterans and 14 newcomers competing in Rio. We can’t wait to see what these ladies have in store.
Abbey Weitzeil (50 Free, 100 Free, 4×100 Free Relay, 4×100 Medley Relay)
Weitzeil charged through the pool in the sprint freestyle events, earning two top finishes for the 19-year-old going into her first Olympics. In the 100m freestyle, her time of 53.28 was the fastest ever recorded in the United States. Her recent success bodes well for her individual and relay swims in Rio.
Allison Schmitt (4×200 Free Relay, 4×100 Free Relay)
Schmitt is a six-time Olympic medalist and freestyle specialist. Rio will be her third Olympic appearance.
Amanda Weir (4×100 Free Relay)
Weir is an Olympic silver medalist, world champion, and former world record-holder. This will be her third Olympic Games.
Cammile Adams (200 Fly)
Adams won the 200m butterfly at trials, but came close to disqualification in the preliminaries. An official ruled that Adams had completed an illegal turn, which would disqualify her from the event. The ruling was later overturned in a video review citing that she had in fact pushed off on her side rather than her back. Adams responded well, winning the event for the second time in her career.
Cierra Runge (4×200 Free Relay)
At the 2012 Trials, Runge placed 25th in the 100m freestyle and 26th in the 50m freestyle. Four years later, she has steadily improved and made it on to her first Olympic team.
Dana Vollmer (100 Fly, 4×100 Free Relay)
Vollmer, now 28, is back in for her third Olympics to defend her gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly. In the London Olympics, she became the first woman to swim sub 56 seconds in the event. She finished second in the trials this past week.
Elizabeth Beisel (400 IM)
Beisel will be competing in her third straight Olympics. In London, she won silver in the 400-meter medley and bronze in the 200-meter backstroke. As a 15-year-old in the Beijing Games, she finished fourth in the 400 IM and fifth in the 200-meter backstroke.
Haley Anderson (10K Open Water Marathon)
Anderson placed second in the 10k open water event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Now 24, she’s a motivated veteran with the experience and strategy to medal in Rio.
Hali Flickinger (200 Fly)
Flicklinger finished 25th in the 200m butterfly at the Olympic trials four years ago. She came into trials as an underdog and surprisingly punched her ticket with a second place finish.
Kathleen Baker (100 Back, 4×100 Medley Relay)
Baker cut seven-tenths off her 100m backstroke time to qualify for the second position in the event. The first-time Olympian will have to drop more time to medal in Rio.
Katie Ledecky (200 Free, 400 Free, 800 Free, 4×200 Free Relay)
Ledecky holds world records in the 400, 800, and 1,500-meter freestyles. She’s won gold in 15 out of 15 international races in her career and she’s consistently dominant in the longer freestyle events. In 2012, she took home an unexpected gold medal in the 800m freestyle at just 15 years old. Now with four years of training and maturation, she’s posed to be a dominant competitor in Rio.
Katie Meili (100 Breast, 4×100 Medley Relay)
Meili finished second in the 100m breaststroke at trials, posting the sixth-best time in the world this year in the event. Meili looks forward to training alongside first place finisher, Lilly King, leading up to the Games.
Kelsi Worrell (100 Fly, 4×100 Medley Relay)
Worrell holds the American record in the 100-yard fly and has won back-to-back NCAA titles in the event for Louisville. She has a chance to medal in Rio, but it will be difficult for her to beat world record-holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden.
Leah Smith (400 Free, 800 Free, 4×200 Free Relay)
Smith was the runner-up to Ledecky in the 400m and 800m freestyles. Her performance in the 400 makes her a strong contender for a medal in Rio. She will also compete in the 4×200 freestyle relay which the US is expected to medal in.
Lia Neal (4×100 Free Relay)
In her Olympic debut at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Neal won a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Four years later, Neal looks to increase the US medal count for a second time in this event.
Lilly King (100 Breast, 200 Breast, 4×100 Medley Relay)
King was the top finisher in the 100m and 200m breaststrokes at the trails. Her 200m breaststroke time (1:05.2) is the top time in the world this year and makes her the favorite for this event going into Rio.
Maya Dirado (400 IM, 200 IM, 200 Back)
DiRado had an amazing Olympic Trials, finishing first in the 200-meter backstroke and sweeping both of the individual medleys to qualify for her first Olympics. The Stanford grad says this will be her last meet before she retires from swimming to start a career in business.
Melanie Margalis (200 IM, 4×200 Free Relay)
Margalis narrowly edged out 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Leverenz to finish second in the 200-meter IM at trials. This ecstatic first-timer can’t wait to see what’s next in her career.
Missy Franklin (200 Back, 200 Free, 4×200 Free Relay)
A four-time gold medalist in London, Franklin is an enthusiastic swimmer despite having a rough 2016 Olympic Trials meet. As she goes into Rio, she looks forward to leaving her nerves behind and enjoying the experience. The runner-up in the 200m backstroke and 200m freestyle has the potential to make some big splashes in Rio.
Molly Hannis (200 Breast)
In Omaha, Hannis placed second in the 200m breaststroke securing her spot on the Olympic team. She looks forward to her first Olympic Games.
Olivia Smoliga (100 Back, 4×100 Medley Relay)
Smoliga demonstrated some tremendous improvement in the 100m backstroke at trials this past week, placing first in the event compared to her previous fifth place finish at US Nationals. Who knows what the starry-eyed first timer will do at the Olympics.
Simone Manuel (50 Free, 100 Free, 4×100 Free Relay, 4×100 Medley Relay)
Manuel finished second in both the freestyle sprint events at trials. The 19-year-old is known for being the first junior swimmer to break 25 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2013 World Championships.
To determine the 2016 US Olympic Team, USA Swimming chose the first place finishers in each individual event and the top four finishers in the 100m and 200m freestyle. Second place finishers in individual events excluding the 100m and 200m freestyle were then invited. Finally, the fifth and sixth place finishers in the 100m and 200m freestyle, who did not already meet the above criteria, were invited to fulfill the remaining relay positions.