U.S. Olympic Trials: Bryce Mefford Cracks 53 Seconds in Congested 100 Back Prelims

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. Olympic Trials: Bryce Mefford Cracks 53 Seconds in Congested 100 Back Prelims

With depth aplenty, it’s going to take every meter of three swims to separate the field in the men’s 100 back at U.S. Olympic Trials. And with nine-hundredths of a second separating the top four qualifiers, Monday’s prelims provided only the faintest hints.

Bryce Mefford is the pace-setter after prelims, the Cal swimmer going 52.99 to win the next-to-last heat and grab the top seed in Monday night’s semifinals. But the competitors are amassing behind him among the top 16 of a loaded American event that the men have dominated at every Olympics taking back to the 1990s.

The second seed goes to Justin Ress, who took the final heat out fast and held on in 53.07. Second in that heat was Ryan Murphy, the reigning Olympic champion, in 53.08, the same time as Shaine Casas.

Beyond the competitiveness, the field presents a clash of styles. Ress was out in 25.35, back in 27.72; Murphy was out in 26.30, back in 26.78. Murphy had just the 20th fastest first 50, but came back in the only sub-27 final 50. (Only 10 final 50s were sub 28.)

As for the other big names: Matt Grevers is in the final, having won the first circle-seeded heat in 53.65. Michael Andrew is seventh after prelims in 53.66, but we’ll see if he’ll remain in that event with the men’s 100 breaststroke final tonight. (He’s the top seed there after back-to-back American records. The 100 breast goes off before the backstroke semis.)

Hunter Tapp is eighth, with colleges stars Daniel Carr (12th) and Nicholas Albiero (13th) also in the mix, although Albiero scratched. Coleman Stewart was 15th, a spot behind Dean Farris.

Destin Lasco was elevated to 16th after Albiero’s scratch.

Men’s 100 backstroke results

  1. Bryce Mefford, 52.99
  2. Justin Ress, 53.07
  3. Shaine Casas, 53.08
  4. Ryan Murphy, 53.08
  5. Hunter Armstrong, 53.28
  6. Matt Grevers, 53.65
  7. Michael Andrew, 53.66
  8. Hunter Tapp, 53.77
  9. Will Grant, 53.96
  10. Adam Chaney, 53.96
  11. Jack Aikins, 54.16
  12. Daniel Carr, 54.18
  13. Nicholas Albiero, 54.21 scratched
  14. Dean Farris, 54.27
  15. Coleman Stewart, 54.45
  16. Nick Simons, 54.52
  17. Destin Lasco, 54.53
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