Longhorn Elite Classic: Daniel Roy Out-Duels Licon in 200 Breast; Casas Puts Up 1:56 200 Back

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Photo Courtesy: Luke Jamroz Photography

Longhorn Elite Classic: Daniel Roy Out-Duels Licon in 200 Breast; Casas Puts Up 1:56 200 Back

When mentioning the top 200 breaststrokers in the United States ahead of next month’s Olympic Trials, many may forget about Stanford junior Daniel Roy, but he has the fastest time in the nation this season with a 2:08 last fall. And on Friday evening in Austin, Roy won a battle of heavyweights with a 2:09.48 to take down Will Licon (2:09.78) in his home pool. Roy’s time is the fastest for any American in 2021 as Licon’s time puts him third nationally this season.

Roy was the 2017 World Junior champ in the 200 breaststroke and was fifth at this year’s NCAAs. In long course, he has shined, with a runner-up finish at the 2019 Nationals and a bronze at the 2019 World University Games. Roy may not have the top seed on the psych sheet come Trials but will definitely be a factor come Omaha along with Licon, who was third at the 2016 Trials in an event he could have potentially finaled in in Rio had he been in the top two.

Texas A&M junior Shaine Casas, who was the NCAA champ this year in the 200 back, won tonight with a 1:56.81, which puts him as the second fastest American for 2021, improving on his own season best of 1:58.04 from January. He has been a rising star since winning the 100 back at the 2019 Nationals and answered that hype at NCAAs this year, winning all three of his individual titles. He won tonight ahead of 2019 World University Games champ Austin Katz (1:58.78), who improved his own season best and is now fifth nationally ahead of Trials. Stanford’s Johannes Calloni was third at 1:59.00.

After swimming a lifetime best and nation leading 400 IM last night, 19-year-old Texas freshman Carson Foster got within a tenth of his lifetime best in the 200 free with a 1:47.59 on Friday night at the Longhorn Elite Classic in Austin. The time for Foster is just off his 1:47.4 from the 2019 Junior Worlds as he is now seventh nationally with 23 days until the Olympic Trials in Omaha.

Foster has long been a rising star in the sport of swimming, having set national age group records at age 10 and also qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials at age 14. He is looking like a contender for the six spots in the 200 freestyle as he finished ahead of NCAA All-Americans Drew Kibler (1:48.04) and Townley Haas (1:48.49) who also set new season bests in their lead-up to Olympic Trials.

Haas, who was the three-time NCAA champ at Texas from 2016 – 2018 and the silver medalist at the 2017 Worlds, has traditionally been known to be a big rest swimmer a he will need to drop a lot of time in order to even get to the final of the 200 free at Trials, an event he won in 2016. His season best was a 1:48.8 while Kibler was a 1:48.5 and Foster was a 1:48.1.

Texas A&M junior Koko Bratanov, who represents Bulgaria internationally, won the 50 free at 22.24, just off the FINA A standard of 22.01 as he was using this meet as a qualifying meet for the Olympic Games in Japan. Bratanov improved on his lifetime best of 22.25 from the Indy Pro Swim Series last week as he finished ahead of Texas’ Drew Kibler (22.45)