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Sunday, June 6, 2021

Haebig, Sammon and Trace Thrive on Second Night of Trials Wave I

Haebig, Sammon and Trace Thrive on Second Night of Trials Wave I

After qualifying for events on the first night of competition of Wave I of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming, Autumn Haebig, Patrick Sammon and Katie Trace added second events Saturday in Omaha. 

Haebig opened the night’s action with a runner-up finish to Malia Rausch in the 200 freestyle by the smallest of margins. Rausch won in a time of 2:00.93, edging Haebig by a single hundredth.

“I just told myself you’ve got to finish this,” said Rausch, who held off Haebig’s late charge from eighth to second over the final 50 meters. “I just hit the wall as fast as I could.”

Rausch, who also qualified for the 400 individual medley B final, decided to forego that event and concentrate on the 200 freestyle A final – and it paid off. 

“I thought it was amazing,” said Roric Fink, Rausch’s coach at Austin Swim Club. “She’s a racer, and so you put her on a big stage and she gets up and does the best that she can. She loves to get her hand on the wall in front of people. And that’s exactly what we saw – just someone that went up, has confidence in the training and her ability and what she thinks she can do out there. When you race with confidence and hate losing, good things happen.” 

Sammon, who won the 100 free Friday night, qualified for the 200 free at Wave II with a second-place finish. He was a close second to Liam Bresette, who won 1:49.22 to Sammon's 1:49.30. The two will be teammates this fall at Arizona State University. 

“I knew this guy (Sammon) was going to take it out fast, and I had to hold on as best as I could,” Bresette said. “He definitely made me own it. This year was a grind, and I had my ups and downs just like everyone else. I’m very happy and excited to have a best time.”

In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Heather MacCausland dropped more than two seconds from her previous personal best to win in 1:08.27. Zoe Skirboll also swam a personal-best 1:09.32 to finish second and qualify for next week’s competition. 

“It was unbelievable,” said Jim Skirboll, Zoe’s coach and father. “Just unbelievable. She’s been through a lot of adversity to get here – like everyone did. She’s dropped like two seconds in the past three weeks.”

Two teenagers ruled the men’s 100 breaststroke as Zhier Fan, 17, nipped 19-year-old Reid Mikuta 1:01.74-1:01.88 to both move on to next week’s meet. 

“I wanted to keep it close for the first 50 and then bring it back hard over the final 50,” Fan said. “I love the experience (of Trials). I was pretty nervous going in, but I’ve gotten some great experience.”
In the final events of the night, Kate McCarville and Tyler Kopp made charges during the breaststroke legs to beat their competition and win respective 400 individual medley races. 

McCarville won the women’s race by a strong margin in 4:47.15, which is 1.6 seconds faster than her previous best time. Katie Trace, who won Friday night’s 200 butterfly, was second in 4:48.76. 

“I just wanted to have a better swim than this morning,” McCarville said. “I really just had to reset and not think of anything negative from this morning. This (Trials) is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and tonight I used that in a very positive way.”

Kopp won the men’s race in 4:21.20, beating runner-up Kyle Ponsler by more than a second (4:22.23). 

“This morning, I didn’t execute like I wanted, so tonight, I came out strong especially over the last 150 meters,” Kopp said. “I really wanted to attack my underwaters over the first 200 and then bring it in breast and up my tempo.”

Sunday’s third day of Wave I Trials features morning preliminaries in the 400 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 200 backstroke with finals in the evening. 

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