U.S. Olympic Trials: Leah Smith Edges Katie Ledecky For Top Seed in Women’s 200 Free Prelims

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The 200 free is a unique event in that has a cross section of the top women’s swimmers in the country and the prelims at the Olympic Trials produced some surprises.

Leah Smith took the top seed in 1:57.52, ahead of Katie Ledecky (1:57.58), somewhat surprising, though there are still semifinals and finals to go in the event.

Smith narrowly missed spots on the Olympic team in the 400 IM and 400 free. Ledecky won the 400 free on night two.

Strong swims from Allison Schmitt, Paige Madden, Gabby DeLoof and Katie McLaughlin also highlighted the event as the top 16 advanced to tonight’s semifinals.

There were some other surprises, including who didn’t swim the event.

Simone Manuel, Olivia Smoliga and Catie DeLoof were late scratches the event, and Melanie Margalis earlier scratched, a little surprising considering the relay spots in the event, but the 200 free is not the top event for any of these contenders in other races.

In the three circle-seeded events, very few of the contenders consider the 200 free their best event, perhaps just Allison Schmitt, Gabby DeLoof, Erin Gemmell, Claire Rasmus and perhaps Justina Kozan.

Katie Ledecky (distance), Torri Huske (butterfly), Paige Madden (distance), Abbey Weitzeil (sprints), Olivia Smoliga (backstroke), Leah Smith (distance), Erika Brown (sprints), Kaersten Meitz (distance), Brooke Forde (400 IM), Emma Weyant (400 IM), Isabel Ivey (backstroke/butterfly) and Hali Flickinger (butterfly/400 IM).

Kelly Pash (1:59.73) won the final heat before the circle seeds and was the first competitor to break 2 minutes.

Smith led off the circle-seeded heats with a 1:57.52, ahead of Forde (1:58.72) and Flickinger (1:59.13).

Schmitt won the second circle-seeded head in 1:57.84, ahead of Gabby DeLoof (1:58.39) and Ivey (1:59.60).

The final heat saw Ledecky win in 1:57.58 ahead of Madden (1:58.08) and McLaughlin (1:58.63).

Olympic Trials Women’s 200 Free Top 16 Results:

1. Leah Smith, 1:57.52
2. Katie Ledecky, 1:57.58
3. Allison Schmitt, 1:5784
4. Paige Madden, 1:58.08
5. Gabby DeLoof, 1:58.39
6. Katie McLaughlin, 1:58.63
7. Brooke Forde, 1:58.72
8. Erin Gemmell, 1:58.96
9. Hali Flickinger, 1:59.13
10. Bella Sims, 1:59.16
11. Claire Tuggle, 1:59.37
12. Torri Huske, 1:59.48
13. Abbey Weitzeil, 1:59.53
14. Isabel Ivey, 1:59.60
15. Kelly Pash, 1:59.73
16. Kayla Wilson, 2:00.03

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