U.S. Olympic Trials: Ryan Held Posts 48.07 to Lead 100 Free Prelims at Trials, Dressel Cruises to Fifth Seed

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. Olympic Trials: Ryan Held Posts 48.07 to Lead 100 Free Prelims at Trials, Dressel Cruises to Fifth Seed

Ryan Held, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist as part of the American men’s 400 free relay, posted the top prelims time in the men’s 100 free. The 25-year-old from Illinois went out fast in heat 7 of 8 and then held off Blake Pieroni to pick up first place. Held swam a time of 48.07, and Pieroni touched just behind in 48.14. Held previously swam a 1:47.57 in the 200 free prelims to qualify 11th for semifinals before scratching, while Pieroni finished a painfully close seventh place in the 200 free Tuesday night, finishing just 0.08 away from a likely spot on the Olympic team. However, looks strong for a bounceback in the 100 free.

In the final heat, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian was out first to the turn, but the heat turned into a four-way battle between Adrian, two-time world champion Caeleb Dressel, LSU’s Brooks Curry and Zach Apple, who likely earned himself a place in Tokyo by finishing fifth in the 200 free. Apple touched first in 48.21 to place third overall, and Curry (48.23), Dressel (48.25) and Adrian (48.37) took the next four spots overall.

NC State’s Coleman Stewart blasted a 48.45 out of the last non-circle-seeded heat, crushing his previous best time of 49.69 by almost a second, and that held up for the seventh seed in the semifinals. In the first seeded heat, Minnesota’s Bowe Becker took first in 48.61, ahead of 18-year-old Jack Alexy, who took down the 17-18 National Age Group record in the event. Drew Kibler, third in the 200 free, took 10th in 48.72, while the top two finishers in the 200 free, Kieran Smith and Townley Haas, both missed the semifinals. Fourth-place finisher Andrew Seliskar scratched the event.

It required a 49.0 to qualify for the semifinals, and a trio of big names occupied the last three spots: relay World Championship gold medalist Michael Chadwick (49.04), Maxime Rooney (49.05) and Dean Farris (49.07). Rooney swam as fast as 47.61 in 2019, and Farris has been 48.07. Chadwick was seeded at 49.57. All three will need to get back to that form to have any shot of qualifying for Tokyo in the 400 free relay.

Expect a much quicker race in the semifinals, likely with multiple 47-second performances. In a tight, deep field, expect almost all swimmers to need all-out efforts in order to qualify for the final.


  1. Ryan Held 48.07
  2. Blake Pieroni 48.14
  3. Zach Apple 48.21
  4. Brooks Curry 48.23
  5. Caeleb Dressel 48.25
  6. Nathan Adrian 48.37
  7. Coleman Stewart 48.45
  8. Bowe Becker 48.61
  9. Jack Alexy 48.69
  10. Drew Kibler 48.72
  11. Brett Pinfold 48.83
  12. Adam Chaney 48.95
  13. Arsenio Bustos 49.03
  14. Michael Chadwick 49.04
  15. Maxime Rooney 49.05
  16. Dean Farris 49.07