U.S. Olympic Trials, Day One Prelims: Nic Fink Clocks Top Time in 100 Breaststroke; Michael Andrew Qualifies Fifth

Nic Fink of United States of America reacts after competing in the 100m Breaststroke Men Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 23rd, 2023. Nic Fink placed fifth.
Nic Fink -- Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

U.S. Olympic Trials, Day One Prelims: Nic Fink Clocks Top Time in 100 Breaststroke; Michael Andrew Qualifies Fifth

Consistency has been a trademark of Nic Fink, with the Team USA veteran collecting international medals at a variety of stops during his career. As the New Jersey native opened his United States Olympic Trials on Saturday, it wasn’t surprising to see Fink pace the field into the semifinals of the 100-meter breaststroke.

Racing in the last of 11 heats, Fink clocked a time of 59.24 to earn the top seed for the evening’s semifinals, where he’ll be joined as the No. 2 seed by Josh Matheny. Out in 27.47, Fink immediately took the lead in his prelim swim and never relinquished control while taking the first step toward a second Olympic nod. Three years ago, Fink represented the United States at the Tokyo Games in the 200 breaststroke.

Fink entered the Olympic Trials as the favorite in the 100 breaststroke and as the reigning world champion in the event, thanks to a gold medal earlier this year in Doha. Since the Tokyo Games, he has emerged as the premier American over two laps of breaststroke, having medaled in the 100 breast at three straight editions of the World Championships (2022-24).

Matheny was victorious in his heat, clocking 59.34 to finish just ahead of Charlie Swanson, who charged down the second lap to record a swim of 59.44. Also cracking the one-minute barrier were Jake Foster (59.59) and Michael Andrew (59.72).

Andrew was one of the biggest question marks heading into Trials. Would we see the talented athlete who has excelled on numerous occasions before, including the last Olympic Trials in Omaha? Or, would we see the version of Andrew that has been less than impressive in several meets during the first half of the 2024 campaign. The answer is still uncertain.

Danny Kovac and Benjamin Cono posted matching times of 1:00.80 to tie for 16th place, necessitating a swimoff to determine the final qualifier for the semifinals. Kovac ended up edging Cono in the swim-off, 1:00.47 to 1:00.50, as both men eclipsed their times from earlier in the day.



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