Trials Throwback: Men’s 100 Back in 2012

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Less than a week to go until Olympic Trials get underway in Omaha, Neb. But before the meet, we wanted to look back at some of the great moments from past editions of the meet held inside the CenturyLink Center. Welcome to #TrialsThrowback!

It was a dark time for American backstroking—in relative terms, of course.

Team USA had been shut out of the medals in the 100 back at the last two World Championships—after winning gold at the previous three and also winning the four straight Olympic titles. Aaron Peirsol, the greatest backstroker in history, had retired two years earlier.

Entering the 2012 Olympic Trials, there were three contenders for the two Olympic spots: Matt Grevers, Nick Thoman and David Plummer. Thoman and Plummer had finished fourth and fifth, respectively, at Worlds the year before, and Grevers was the silver medalist behind Peirsol in Beijing in 2008.

But Grevers had not done much internationally in the years since. He finished seventh in the 100 back final at the 2009 World Championships and then was shut off the top American national teams the next two years after a disappointing performance at Summer Nationals in 2010.

But Grevers had a history of stepping up his game at Olympic Trials—just like he did in 2008 when he shocked Ryan Lochte and Randall Bal to claim the second spot behind Peirsol in the 100 back.

At the 2012 Trials, Grevers took control of the 100 back from the beginning. His preliminary time of 52.94 was a lifetime best, and he remained the top seed through the semifinals. In the final, he led by five one-hundredths at the 50 before turning on the jets and demolishing the field on the way home.

Grevers touched in 52.08, the second-fastest time ever.

Thoman finished second in 52.86, just ahead of Plummer (52.98) and Ben Hesen (53.03). Plummer’s time would have earned him fourth place in London, but once again, the two-per-country rule stung badly.

Grevers went on to win the Olympic gold medal a month later, and Thoman edged Ryosuke Irie and Camille Lacourt for silver.

Men's 100 back 12

Photo Courtesy: OMEGA Timing

Check out our previous #TrialsThrowbacks:
Men’s 400 IM in 2008
Women’s 400 IM in 2008
Women’s 100 Back in 2008
Men’s 200 Breast in 2008
Men’s 200 Back in 2008