Atlanta Classic: Rhyan White and Olivia Smoliga Set For Duel in 100 Backstroke

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Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Atlanta Classic: Rhyan White and Olivia Smoliga Set For Duel in 100 Backstroke

One of the surprise developments from Friday night’s action at the Atlanta Classic was Olivia Smoliga’s impressive victory in the 200-meter freestyle. By clocking 1:57.04, the Team USA veteran confirmed her status as a top contender for an 800 freestyle relay slot at next month’s United States Olympic Trials in Omaha.

On Saturday afternoon, Smoliga returned to territory in which she is more familiar, as she and Rhyan White broke the minute barrier in the prelims of the 100 backstroke. White was the quickest qualifier, going 58.98, with Smoliga cruising to a mark of 59.93. The evening should bring an exciting finish from the pair. The women’s 100 backstroke is expected to be one of the deepest events at Trials.

A day after tying for the Atlanta Classic title in the 100 butterfly, Natalie Hinds and Gretchen Walsh tied again, this time in the prelims of the 50 freestyle. Hinds and Walsh each posted times of 25.35. Meanwhile, Dakota Luther claimed the top seed in the women’s 200 butterfly, her time of 2:10.73 comfortably ahead of the 2:12.22 posted by Izzy Gati.

Gillian Davey was the top qualifier in the 200 breaststroke, behind a time of 2:30.12, and Hayden Miller hit the wall in 4:14.58.

While the men and women competed separately during prelims, due to COVID-19 safety precautions, they will come together for the finals session, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.