U.S. Olympic Trials Preview, Day Four: Bobby Finke, Regan Smith Favored to Secure Spots in Paris

Bobby Finke -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. Olympic Trials Preview, Day Four: Bobby Finke, Regan Smith Favored to Secure Spots in Paris

American swimmers, coaches, officials and hundreds of thousands of fans will make their way to Lucas Oil Stadium — home of the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts — for a unique U.S. Olympic Trials, complete with three temporary pools (two 50-meter and one 25-meter). The action takes place from June 15-23, with swimmers putting their hopes and dreams on the line for the opportunity to represent Team USA at the Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

These previews are part of a comprehensive Trials edition of Swimming World, which is set to be released next week.


Regan Smith

Regan Smith — Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

After finishing second behind Australia’s Kaylee McKeown in all three backstroke events at last year’s World Championships, Regan Smith will hope to secure her spot on a second Olympic team and post times that rival or surpass what McKeown achieves at Australia’s Olympic Trials, June 10-15.

In two years since she began training under Bob Bowman, Smith has consistently posted times in the 57-mid and 57-high range, and she will target her own American record (57.57) as well as McKeown’s world record (57.33) at Trials.

Katharine Berkoff and Claire Curzan, both World Championships medalists in this event, should battle for the second spot. Berkoff won global bronze last year and ranks fifth all-time in the race (58.01), while Curzan won bronze in 2022 before sweeping all three backstroke races at this February’s Worlds. It might take sub-58 just to qualify for the team.

Favorite: Regan Smith
Contenders: Katharine Berkoff, Claire Curzan
Wild Cards: Olivia Smoliga, Rhyan White, Isabelle Stadden, Phoebe Bacon, Kennedy Noble
Top 2 at 2021 Trials: Regan Smith 58.35, Rhyan White 58.60
World Record/Splits: 57.33 Kaylee McKeown, AUS (Budapest 10-21-23)
28.15                              57.33 (29.18)


Three years ago, Bobby Finke pulled off a Tokyo stunner in the inaugural Olympic final of the 800 free as he vaulted from fourth place to first on the final lap to take gold.

He has since lowered the American record twice while winning World Championships gold (2022) and bronze (2023), swimming as fast as 7:38.67. Now, Finke will enter the Olympic Trials as the top seed in the 800 free by more than nine seconds, with David Johnston and Ross Dant the only other swimmers in the field who have ever cracked 7:50.

Finke typically saves his best times for major international competitions, but he will surely do enough to earn his ticket back to the Olympic Games.

Johnston and Dant will be among the favorites for the second spot, but there is a chance for a young swimmer to emerge here and make the team.

Favorite: Bobby Finke
Contenders: David Johnston, Ross Dant, Charlie Clark, Will Gallant
Wild Cards: Luke Whitlock, Luke Ellis, Luka Mijatovic
Top 2 at 2021 Trials: Bobby Finke 7:48.22, Michael Brinegar 7:49.94
World Record/Splits: 7:32.12 Zhang Lin, CHN (Rome 7-29-09)
26.94                               55.20 (28.26)                1:24.04 (28.84)           1:52.55 (28.51)
2:21.16 (28.61)              2:49.87 (28.71)              3:18.58 (28.71)            3:46.79 (28.21)
4:15.02 (28.23)             4:43.28 (28.26)             5:11.79 (28.51)             5:40.36 (28.57)
6:09.26 (28.90)            6:38.03 (28.77)             7:06.13 (28.10)            7:32.12 (25.99)

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
19 days ago

I just hope all the backstroke places go to the right swimmers – not marred by lane rope mishaps caused by the lousy distant roof of the stadium!

17 days ago

I’ve worked online for $84, 8254 so far this year, and I attend school full-time. I’ve heard about an internet business opportunity that I’m employing, and I’ve made a ton of money. It’s quite easy to use, and I’m glad I learned about it. This is what I do.Please click this link for additional information. Thank you >>>>> joinwork7.blogspot.com

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x