Kieran Smith Doubles Up With 200 Free Win, Leads Haas, Kibler, Seliskar in 4×200 Free Relay

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

21-year-old Kieran Smith added his second event for the 2021 Olympic Games with a win in the 200 freestyle on Tuesday night at the US Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska as he swam a 1:45.29 to put himself sixth in the world for 2021. Townley Haas will join him in the individual 200 free after finishing fifth in Rio. Haas is officially on his second Olympic team after swimming on the gold medal winning 4×200 free relay team in Tokyo

Texas’ Drew Kibler (1:45.92) and Cal’s Andrew Seliskar (1:46.34) finished in third and fourth as they picked up automatic spots for the 4×200 freestyle relay. Kibler and Seliskar are first-time Olympians as both of them come from prestigious clubs – Kibler becoming the first Olympic swimmer from Indiana’s Carmel Swim Club, and Seliskar becoming the third member of Nation’s Capital Swim Club to make this Tokyo team after Andrew Wilson and Katie Ledecky.

Zach Apple (1:46.45) and Patrick Callan (1:46.49) finished in fifth and sixth as they will make their first Olympic team in all likelihood as relay alternates.


Townley Haas. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Smith set the pace early with a 51.14 opening 100, with Haas (51.16) and Apple (51.25) following him in second and third. The pace was hot as only two men in the pool would likely be left off the team for the 4×200 free relay. With six spots up for grabs, it was a tense race and at the 150, only a 1.09 seconds separated first from eighth with Smith (1:18.17) leading Haas (1:18.25) and Seliskar (1:18.59) in third.

On the final 50, the eight men were scrambling for spots on the plane to Tokyo as only Haas was returning from the 2016 team, and Smith was the only one already on the team after his win in the 400 free on Sunday. Smith is now sixth in the world for 2021 with Haas now in tenth.

“It is incredible,” Kieran Smith said. “It means a lot to me to be able to represent the USA in a relay. Those races are exciting with extra guys trying to make the team.”

“Diving in, I felt great, I was ready to go, I was excited to race everyone,” Haas said. “That’s an insane group of eight guys that’s in that heat. The last 50 hurt like nothing I’ve ever felt before, so it was great.

The 200 free is still up for grabs when it comes to Tokyo as it could be anyone’s race, and like this meet, the race could be settled in the semi finals.

Relay Duty


Kieran Smith, Townley Haas, Drew Kibler and Andrew Seliskar. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

As for the 4×200 free relay, the United States will have its hands full if it wants to win its fourth straight Olympic title in the event. With no Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte to swim this relay at the Games, the teams from Great Britain, Russia and Australia look to be the teams to beat come Tokyo, and the United States has never been left off the podium in a relay event at the Olympics.

“It means a lot to be able to represent the USA,” Seliskar said. “I’m going to do everything I can between now and Tokyo to prep to be the best I can do.

 “It’s exciting to see what everyone in the world is doing right now,” Kibler said. “We’re going to do everything we can to be there in Tokyo.”

All four of these men have had strong careers in short course yards, with Haas sitting second, Smith third, Seliskar fifth, and Kibler seventh on the all-time list for the 200 freestyle. Now they will join forces for the 4×200 free relay in Japan. Add in Caeleb Dressel, who is not on the team yet, but is likely to make it individually in the 50 and 100 free and 100 fly later in the week, and this relay could be in the mix for the gold medal.

“I think Olympic Trials is a pretty challenging meet to put up some fast times,” Kibler said. “I think it definitely gives us some experience and some direction on how we can handle those pressures moving forward and only get better in the next coming weeks.”

“I’m confident,” Seliskar said. “I think we’ve all got a little bit more left in the tank for Tokyo and excited to see what we can put together.”

“That was a big final three,” Kieran Smith said. “Three of us being 1:45 (tonight) with Andrew being 45 before. As far as the relay goes, Townley has been 1:43 on relays. I think we’ll be all set.”


  1. Kieran Smith, 1:45.29
  2. Townley Haas, 1:45.66
  3. Drew Kibler, 1:45.92
  4. Andrew Seliskar, 1:46.34
  5. Zach Apple, 1:46.45
  6. Patrick Callan, 1:46.49
  7. Blake Pieroni, 1:46.57
  8. Carson Foster, 1:46.67

World Rankings:

  1. 1:44.47, Duncan Scott, GBR
  2. 1:44.58, Tom Dean, GBR
  3. 1:44.65, Katsuhiro Matsumoto, JPN
  4. 1:44.79, Martin Malyutin, RUS
  5. 1:44.96, Hwang Sunwoo, KOR
  6. 1:45.29, Kieran Smith, USA
  7. 1:45.48, Kyle Chalmers, AUS
  8. 1:45.49, Ivan Girev, RUS
  9. 1:45.55, Elijah Winnington, AUS
  10. 1:45.66, Townley Haas, USA
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