Analyzing Past Lowest Seeds on Olympic Trials Psych Sheet to Advance to Final

cody miller - Olympic Trials
Cody Miller; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

With USA Swimming making an announcement that the 2021 Olympic Trials will be split into two waves with Wave II serving as the official qualifying meet for the Olympic Games, the question is being asked: Will that hurt some swimmer’s chances of making the Olympic team? As much as we love the “if you have a lane, you have a chance” saying, the Olympic Trials finalists generally come from the last three circle seeded heats.

We at Swimming World have gone through the past three Olympic Trials in Omaha (2016, 2012, 2008) to give a sense of who was the lowest seed on the psych sheet in each event to advance to the final. Very rarely does the last seeded swimmer that advances to the final come from outside the top 24, and even more rarely do they come from outside the top 40. The last time that happened was in 2012 when 87th seed Cody Miller made the final of the 200 IM.  The lowest seed to actually make the final and place in the top two in the last three Trials was Cullen Jones in the 100 freestyle in 2012 when he was 13th on the psych sheet.

USA Swimming analyzed data from the last three Olympic Trials in determining where the cut-off should be for the Wave II Olympic Trials, using the 41st seeded time as a gauge to create the new standards. Based on the data, it is highly unlikely that one of the two qualifiers in each event from the Wave I meet will make an impact at the Wave II competition.

Here is a look at that past three Trials and the lowest seed to make the final.

2016 Men

  • 50 free: Dillon Virva, 24th
  • 100 free: Blake Pieroni, 23rd (made the Olympic team)
  • 200 free: Jonathan Roberts, 38th (lowest seed to make final)
  • 400 free: True Sweetser, 8th
  • 1500 free: Bobby Finke, 35th
  • 100 back: John Shebat, 18th
  • 200 back: Hennessey Stuart, 15th
  • 100 breast: Will Licon, 22nd
  • 200 breast: Brendan McHugh, 14th
  • 100 fly: Will Glass, 24th
  • 200 fly: Zach Harting, 17th
  • 200 IM: Abrahm DeVine, 32nd
  • 400 IM: Charlie Swanson, 17th

2016 Women

  • 50 free: Lia Neal, 16th
  • 100 free: Kelsi Worrell, 12th
  • 200 free: Cierra Runge, 10th (made the Olympic team)
  • 400 free: Hannah Moore, 17th
  • 800 free: Hannah Moore, 14th
  • 100 back: Clara Smiddy, 11th
  • 200 back: Amy Bilquist, 31st
  • 100 breast: Miranda Tucker, 14th
  • 200 breast: Bethany Galat, 26th
  • 100 fly: Hali Flickinger, 17th
  • 200 fly: Ruby Martin, 33rd (lowest seed to make final)
  • 200 IM: Emily Cameron, 11th
  • 400 IM: Bethany Galat, 19th

2012 Men

  • 50 free: Jason Schnur, 25th
  • 100 free: Cullen Jones, 13th (made the Olympic team)
  • 200 free: Davis Tarwater, 22nd (made the Olympic team as relay member)
  • 400 free: Conor Dwyer, 12th (made the Olympic team)
  • 1500 free: Arthur Frayler, 9th
  • 100 back: Jack Conger, 15th
  • 200 back: David Russell, 11th
  • 100 breast: Scott Weltz, 13th
  • 200 breast: Trevor Hoyt, 12th
  • 100 fly: Tom Shields, 9th
  • 200 fly: Michael Flach, 11th
  • 200 IM: Cody Miller, 87th (lowest seed to make final)
  • 400 IM: Michael Weiss, 17th

2012 Women

  • 50 free: Kait Flederbach, 17th
  • 100 free: Madison Kennedy, 13th
  • 200 free: Alyssa Anderson, 19th (made the Olympic team as relay member)
  • 400 free: Becca Mann, 21st
  • 800 free: Danielle Valley, 26th
  • 100 back: Kylie Stewart, 23rd
  • 200 back: Jillian Vitarius, 15th
  • 100 breast: Emily McClellan, 10th
  • 200 breast: Breeja Larson, 17th
  • 100 fly: Caroline McElhany, 22nd
  • 200 fly: Shannon Draves, 40th (lowest seed to make final)
  • 200 IM: Celina Li, 21st
  • 400 IM: Meghan Hawthorne, 18th

2008 Men

  • 50 free: Bryan Lundquist, 12th
  • 100 free: Gabe Woodward, 16th
  • 200 free: Larsen Jensen, 24th (lowest seed to make final)
  • 400 free: Chad La Tourette, 10th
  • 1500 free: Josef Kinderwater, 17th
  • 100 back: Patrick Schirk, 11th
  • 200 back: Rex Tullius, 14th
  • 100 breast: Chris Ash, 14th
  • 200 breast: John Christe, 12th
  • 100 fly: Tyler McGill, 12th
  • 200 fly: Matt Patton, 13th
  • 200 IM: Dan Madwed, 20th
  • 400 IM: Jack Brown, 14th

2008 Women

  • 50 free: Christine Magnuson, 23rd
  • 100 free: Julia Smit, 11th (made the Olympic team as relay member)
  • 200 free: Caroline Burckle, 14th (made the Olympic team as relay member)
  • 400 free: Maggie Bird, 24th
  • 800 free: Laurabeth Guenthner, 30th
  • 100 back: Katie Riefenstahl, 11th
  • 200 back: Morgan Scroggy, 41st (lowest seed to make final)
  • 100 breast: Amanda Beard, 12th
  • 200 breast: Laura Sogar, 12th
  • 100 fly: Brooke Bishop, 15th
  • 200 fly: Leah Gingrich, 28th
  • 200 IM: Dagny Knutson, 13th
  • 400 IM: Julie Stupp, 18th

1 comment

  1. avatar

    If I recall, 1980 Trial Cuts were originally the 16th place time from prelims of the 1978 LC Summer Nats. The ‘78 meet was also the selection meet for 1978 Worlds in Berlin. Looking back that was a pretty quick meet. Not sure how many would have qualified for that Trials, but I’m sure it was nowhere near 1300 or even the 750 anticipated for the Wave II meet.

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