World Champ Trials Day 1 – Wednesday, July 25, 2018
100 Free Women
Simone Manuel is the greatest 100 Freestyle competitor of our lifetime. Olympic Champion. World Champion. NCAA Champion. She is one of the few swimmers in the world staring down 51. Probably not here but possibly in Japan.
Mallory Comerford is the clear #2 favorite as the only other woman that has ever been under 53 before. Two excellent relay pillars for Team USA.
The fight for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th should be epic, per usual.
Margo Geer is a veteran. She’s been training with Indiana for the last year. Since then she’s gone best times in both the 50 and 100 LCM Free. This event is her #1 main focus. She’s a pro.
Speaking of professional swimmers, Lia Neal continues the grind. She’s actually one of the few Americans that jumped on the World Cup circuit this past fall, which I think is great for deliberate practice, even though it is SCM. She continues to improve little by little — she went her best time at this meet last summer and was .4 tenths off just last month. She should be all over it again.
Is Abbey Weitzeil going to make a return to form? Is she the last person to beat Simone Manuel head-to-head in the 100 Free? At the 2016 Olympic Trials Weitzeil won both the 50 (24.2) and the 100 (53.2).
Everyone is talking about Erika Brown from Tennessee but don’t forget Caroline Baldwin who has been training with Dave Marsh after a successful career at UNC. We will also be keeping track of 15 year old sprint phenom Gretchen Walsh from Nashville Aquatic Club. She’s seeded with a 55.5 but can flat start a sub 22 50 SCY Free. So, we like her speed.
Having Katie Ledecky as your #4, #5, or #6 swimmer is great value.
100 Free Men
Will two swimmers not named Nathan Adrian come away as America’s 100 Free hopefuls? Possibly but most people probably still see Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian as the clear cut favorites to go 1-2.
Captain Consistent has basically been able to go between 47.5 and 48.5 dozens of times for over a decade. It truly is remarkable. Not to mention he is a fabulous relay swimmer, leader, and all around nice guy.
Even better than the women’s side of things, we have hefty depth. Zach Apple was already moving up the food chain before he transferred to Indiana. Now he’s been learning from some of the hottest minds in swimming and training with people like Blake Pieroni. Switching coaches, getting a fresh perspective, and getting your ass kicked by elite competition every day in practice might be just the thing he needs to upend Capt. Consistent.
Townley Haas continues to step up every time the bars goes a little higher. Just ask Blake Pieroni. He will never have elite sprint speed but he can bring it back with the best of them. Townley’s Texas teammate, Tate Jackson, has consistently been popping 49.6/49.7 throughout the long course season.
NC State set the NCAA 4×100 Free Relay record this spring. Ryan Held, Justin Ress, and Jacob Molacek were all on it. Ress has really been on fire — as long as he doesn’t stay up all night playing Fortnite he should be good to go.
This is Michael Andrew’s first event at arguably the biggest meet of his still very young career. He’s been under 22 in the 50 LCM Free a whopping 11 times this year (can you say deliberate practice?). Controlling his speed over 100 meters is still a work in progress, though. He barely broke :50 seconds for the first time last year. Nevertheless, this event is still a work in progress — a goal for Tokyo 2020. We should still see great improvement out of him here in Prelims. Haters will hate because he doesn’t make the Top 8 but that’s okay, he’s got a big meet in front of him.