US Olympic Trials: Kieran Smith Shows No Ill Effects from 400 Free Olympic Berth, Leads Dressel in Tense 200 Free Heats

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

After making his first Olympic team Sunday night in the 400 freestyle, Florida’s Kieran Smith showed no signs of a euphoric hangover as he leads the 200 freestyle heats Monday with a 1:46.54 in a very easy 200 free heat for him.

Smith is the third-fastest man in the 200 freestyle in short course yards and looks to be the anchor as a gold-medal favorite for the 800 free relay team that has won the Olympic gold medal at the last four Games.

Smith is leading the 200 free semifinalists ahead of fellow Florida Gator Caeleb Dressel, who showed the rest of the field his speed as the second seed in 1:46.63. Dressel has had his name circling around the potential swimmers in the 800 free relay team. He reinforced that by putting up a solid swim to put himself in contention in Tokyo, assuming he makes the meet in his pet events – the 100 fly, and 50 and 100 free. Dressel has confirmed he will scratch the semifinals of the 200 free.

The top four in Tuesday night’s final will automatically make the Olympic team, with fifth and sixth place serving as alternates for the Games. The semifinals will be a huge battle to try and get into the final.

Michigan’s Patrick Callan, who hails from Oklahoma, is seeded third at 1:46.96 ahead of 2016 Trials champ Townley Haas (1:47.06) and 2018 national champ Andrew Seliskar (1:47.07).

Teenagers Luca Urlando (1:47.20) and Carson Foster (1:47.33), who were Swimming World’s co-high school swimmers of the year in 2019, finished sixth and eighth in the heats, respectively, with Texas’ Drew Kibler (1:47.31) in seventh.

In spots nine though 16, 2016 Olympians in the 400 free relay, Blake Pieroni (1:47.35) and Ryan Held (1:47.57), emerged as contenders for the 800 free relay, though Held scratched the semifinals along with Dressel. Members of the 2019 Worlds squad, Zach Apple (1:47.35) and Zane Grothe (1:47.93), advanced in ninth and 13th place, respectively.

Georgia’s Jake Magahey, who missed the final in yesterday’s 400 free, advanced in 13th at 1:47.93, as did Trenton Julian (1:47.63), Jack Dahlgren (1:48.15) and Jeff Newkirk (1:48.15).

2019 Pan Ams member Grant House (1:48.18) and fellow Arizona State Sun Devil Julian Hill (1:48.58) were elevated to spots in semifinals after Dressel and Held scratched.

Elsewhere in the heats, 36-year-old Ryan Lochte swam a 1:49.23 to win his heat, much to the crowd’s delight. Michael Phelps, who swam with Lochte on four Olympic teams, was seen in the stands pointing out Lochte to his five-year-old son Boomer as the 2011 World champ finished 25th overall.

Results:

  1. Kieran Smith, 1:46.54
  2. Caeleb Dressel, 1:46.63(scratched)
  3. Patrick Callan, 1:46.96
  4. Townley Haas, 1:47.06
  5. Andrew Seliskar, 1:47.07
  6. Luca Urlando, 1:47.20
  7. Drew Kibler, 1:47.31
  8. Carson Foster, 1:47.33
  9. Zach Apple, 1:47.35
  10. Blake Pieroni, 1:47.35
  11. Ryan Held, 1:47.57 (scratched)
  12. Trenton Julian, 1:47.63
  13. Jake Magahey, 1:47.93
  14. Zane Grothe, 1:47.93
  15. Jack Dahlgren, 1:48.15
  16. Jeff Newkirk, 1:48.15
  17. Grant House, 1:48.18
  18. Julian Hill, 1:48.56