Surging Torri Huske Shakes Up Indy and Paris Status Quo

Torri Huske
Torri Huske -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Surging Torri Huske Shakes Up Indy and Paris Status Quo

The 2023 World Championships did not go as planned for Torri Huske. Individually, she swam only the 50 and 100 butterfly, and she fell to bronze in the 100-meter race after swimming almost one second off her American record. After racing on four finals relays one year earlier at Worlds and winning six medals, she had just one finals relay in Fukuoka, Japan.

However, at every meet since, Huske has shined, reinforcing the notion that that the multi-event star of 2022 is the version we should expect in the Olympic summer. She has matched or surpassed her 2023 peak times at both the U.S. Open in December and again at the Pro Swim Series last month in Westmont, Ill., but San Antonio was the best we have seen of Huske yet.

The results: 53.08 in the 100 freestyle, 55.68 in the 100 butterfly and 2:08.47 in the 200 IM. The latter swim was a best time with the first two coming just shy of her top marks ever from that unforgettable 2022 season. Exactly two months from the start of U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, Huske has positioned herself perfectly for the key competitions to come.

Here are some takes on the newly-redefined status quo. Don’t call them hot takes, not anymore, not with the results Huske is firing off meet after meet.

1. Huske is the favorite for Olympic gold in the 100 fly.


Torri Huske — Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Yes, we know about Zhang Yufei, the world champion in the event last year and the only swimmer to break 56 in 2023, courtesy of her 55.86 gold-medal swim from the Asian Games. Of course, defending Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil can never be discounted. Germany’s Angelina Kohler was extremely impressive in winning the 100 fly world title in February.

And Huske still has to navigate an extremely competitive race at the U.S. Olympic Trials, with familiar rivals Claire CurzanKate DouglassRegan Smith and Gretchen Walsh all in the mix. Walsh is in the best position of any of them after she clocked a record-shattering 47.42 in the 100-yard fly at the NCAA Championships before going a long-course best time of 56.14 in San Antonio to move into the top-10 all-time.

But Huske nearly beat her own American record this weekend, coming up only two hundredths short. And significantly, she was two tenths quicker on the closing split than she was in the American-record-setting, world-title-winning performance two years earlier in Budapest. Huske is known for her fly-and-die strategy, so a more-well-rounded race plan puts her in position to better fend off the likes of Mac Neil and Zhang, both known as great finishers.

We’ll have more data after Olympic Trials, but Huske could definitely lower the world record, the 55.48 established eight years ago by Sarah Sjostrom, in Indianapolis.

2. Kate Douglass and Alex Walsh will be threatened in the 200 IM at Trials.

Douglass and Walsh are as good as they come in the four-lap medley race. Walsh won Olympic silver and Douglass bronze in 2021. A year later, Walsh cruised to a world title, and then Douglass took home global honors in both 2023 and 2024. But we have to consider Huske a true threat to this pair of Virginia Cavaliers given her recent results in the 2:08-range.

At the most recent Pro Series meet, Huske defeated Walsh in the 200 IM in a lifetime-best of 2:08.47. That time would have won Olympic gold three years ago, and it would have been quick enough to make the podium at every World Championships and Olympics except for the 2009 edition, when most swimmers donned full-body polyurethane suits.

Huske is best known for her butterfly, of course, and she was almost a full second ahead of Walsh in their Saturday evening dual. Walsh was slightly quicker on backstroke and much quicker on breaststroke, but a 37.80 split was more than adequate for Huske in her weakest leg. She then came home in 30.08 to pull back into the lead.

When she gets to Olympic Trials, a 2:07 is well within Huske’s potential. That means that three swimmers could go 2:07s, and one of them will miss out on qualifying for Paris.

3. The American women have an opening to challenge Australia in the 400 free relay.


Kate Douglass, Gretchen Walsh & Torri Huske (left to right) are among the key U.S. swimmers in the women’s 400 free relay — Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

In an event Australia dominated by almost four seconds at last year’s World Championships, the pieces for an American run at gold are beginning to assemble. The in-season times we are seeing in recent meets are enough to give American supporters a tiny shred of hope, although we should note that Olympic Trials results for both the U.S. and Australia will be much more enlightening than times from mid-April.

In San Antonio, the American women swam times of 52.98 (Douglass), 53.08 (Huske), 53.17 (Gretchen Walsh) and 53.25 (Simone Manuel). Add in Abbey Weitzeil, the top American 100 freestyler at the 2021 Olympics and a sub-53 performer in the 100 free last season. Huske and Walsh were both just off their best times at the Pro Series meet, while Manuel swam her quickest effort since returning to the sport from a year-long layoff. Douglass, meanwhile, already has a best time of 52.57 to her credit from last season.

What if four or five Americans swim under 53 at Trials, with two or more under 52.5? Manuel is already showing signs of the swimmer who won Olympic gold in the 100 free in 2016 and two world titles after that, and Walsh is carrying momentum from her tremendous collegiate performance. Huske has been sub-53 before while winning World Championships bronze in the 100 free two years ago and playing a central role on relays.

The Aussies will roll out two-time world champion Mollie O’Callaghan plus the improving Shayna Jack while veterans Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell are looking to make it back for another Olympics. Meg Harris is another sprint stud. This group should be favored — but the Americans, for the first time in years, have real hope.

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Jack Weger
Jack Weger
1 month ago

The US Swimming Trials in Indy will be a nail biter or biters. There could be shocking upsets, where long time Veterans will be victims of not going to the Paris Olympic Games

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