US Olympic Trials: Matt Fallon Turns On After Burners to Snag Top Seed in 200 Breast Semis Ahead of Fink, Cordes, Licon

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

US Olympic Trials: Matt Fallon Turns On After Burners to Snag Top Seed in 200 Breast Semis Ahead of Fink, Cordes, Licon

The men’s 200 breast was billed as one of the most wide open races of Olympic Trials, with any number of five to six guys capable of making a statement and getting on the Olympic team to Tokyo. On Wednesday night in the semi finals of the 200 breast, four of those aforementioned contenders advanced to tomorrow night’s final, but none of them are the top seed.

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Matt Fallon. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

That distinction belongs to 18-year-old Matt Fallon of Greater Somerset County YMCA, who broke the national age group record tonight with a 2:08.91. Fallon swam a very similar race to that of world record holder Anton Chupkov of Russia, and 2012 Olympic champ Daniel Gyurta, staying long and strong on the front half and seemingly being out of the race, turning at 1:03.67 at the halfway point, some two seconds behind the rest of the field. But Fallon split 32.6/32.5 on his last two 50s, breaking Daniel Roy’s national age group record of 2:09.7 from the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis.

“Honestly, I wanted to try to keep up with everyone as much as possible,” Matt Fallon said. “It was very surreal to see myself first at the finish because I was last at the 100. I wanted to try to beat as many people as possible.”

“For me, it’s just all about feeling good,” Fallon continued. “I really felt like I was going for it on the last 100. To feel like that on the last 10, that’s the goal. I would be very happy if I’m able to replicate that.”

Fallon came into the meet seeded 12th with a lifetime best of 2:11.33 and dropped to a 2:10.13 in the heats, and a 2:08.91 in the semi finals.

Fallon will be in lane four for tomorrow’s final as the Penn commit is ahead of 100 breast third place finisher Nic Fink (2:09.13), 2016 Rio finalist Kevin Cordes (2:09.31) and the third place finisher from 2016 Trials Will Licon (2:09.39). All three of those guys, along with Fallon, have yet to make the team for Tokyo so it will be a hotly contested final on Thursday night.

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Nic Fink. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

“It’s not easy (to bounce back from getting third in 100) to be honest,” Fink said. “But having a great supporting cast, great friends, great teammates makes it a lot easier. UGA has four third places in the past four nights, so we’re all kind of in this together, and we can all kind of lean on each other, and I think that’s really important.”

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Kevin Cordes. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

“I’m trying to chip away, every race get a little bit faster,” Cordes said. “That was better than this morning. My dive was a little bit better, so I was happy with that.

“I think the 200, just trying to get on my stroke, use my glide and my length to my advantage,” Cordes continued. “I think as the week progresses, I’m getting stronger and stronger. Tomorrow, I’ll just try to put it all together.”

100 breast runner-up Andrew Wilson also cruised through the semis with a 2:09.48 to grab fifth seed as he is on his first Olympic team and will have a little less pressure on him tomorrow.

Daniel Roy, whose national age group record Matt Fallon broke, swam a 2:09.57 for sixth seed. Roy, who was the world juniors champ in 2017, still has the fastest 200 breast in the nation this season with a 2:08.8. With so much attention around the middle lanes, Roy may just sneak up to grab a spot in the top two.

Jake Foster, who finished fifth in the 400 IM and is quietly having a great meet, i seventh seed at 2:10.13 ahead of 2018 national junior team member AJ Pouch (2:10.76). Both Foster and Pouch swam best times.

Notably, 2019 US national champ Reece Whitley finished out of finals in 11th at 2:11.12, while 2016 Olympian Cody Miller (2:12.71) will not be on his second Olympic team.

Results (Top 8 to final)

  1. Matt Fallon, 2:08.91
  2. Nic Fink, 2:09.13
  3. Kevin Cordes, 2:09.31
  4. Will Licon, 2:09.39
  5. Andrew Wilson, 2:09.48
  6. Daniel Roy, 2;09.57
  7. Jake Foster, 2:10.13
  8. AJ Pouch, 2:10.76
  9. Charlie Swanson, 2:11.10
  10. Reece Whitley, 2:11.12
  11. Ilya Evdokimov, 2:11.39
  12. Tommy Cope, 2:11.69
  13. AJ Bornstein, 2:12.69
  14. Cody Miller, 2:12.71
  15. Brandon Fischer, 2:13.44
  16. Jonathan Tybur, 2:15.65