After a disappointing performance in the 100 freestyle–the event in which she won gold in Rio in 2016–there was no stopping Simone Manuel from earning her spot on the U.S. Olympic team Sunday on the final night of Olympic Trials-Swimming.
Neck-and-neck from the dive with top seed Abbey Weitzeil, Manuel outstretched and out-touched Weitzeil, the 2016 Trials champion in this event, 24.29-24.30. Manuel’s time is the 10th-best in 2021.
“That 50 may have been the longest of my life,” Manuel said. “More than anything, I’m relieved. My goal coming in was to win the 100 and 50 free, but it’s great to have another opportunity to swim for the USA.”
Already on the team in two events – the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle – Caeleb Dressel made it three-for-three in his event finals.
He tied his own American record to win the 50 freestyle in 21.04–just .13 behind Cesar Cielo Filho’s 11-year-old world record–Sunday night in Omaha.
Michael Andrew, also on this year’s Olympic team in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, finished second in 21.48 – his best time in 2021 and the fourth-fastest this year.
Three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016) Nathan Adrian finished third in 21.73 – missing making his fourth Olympic team.
“My warm-up felt terrible, but I told myself it’s up to me whether or not I’m going to have a good race,” Dressel said. “I knew I had a chance to be 21-low, and I held my stroke through a choppy middle to begin and end as good as can be.”
Three days after going 7:48.22 to win the 800 freestyle, Bobby Finke dropped a personal-best 14:46.06 to win the 1500 freestyle – the fourth-fastest time in 2021.
Michael Brinegar, the runner-up to Finke in the 800, once again finished second, this time in 15:00.87. That time is the 10th-fastest this year.
“I’ve been waiting for a drop in that race for a couple years now,” Finke said.
At the end of the evening, both the men’s and women’s full Olympic teams were introduced to the crowd, and U.S. women’s Olympic coach Greg Meehan said despite the extra year due to the pandemic, he is looking forward to working with this group.
“Our focus as coaches and team USA is what’s before us (rather than who didn’t make the team,” said Meehan, the head coach at Stanford, which is well-represented on this year’s women’s team. “You can look back, but the reality is, this is the group. These are the athletes who made it through this meatgrinder of a competition. They’ve proven themselves this week.”
The complete U.S. Olympic Team Roster can be found here