The US Olympic swimming trials are almost as competitive as the Olympics itself. Top swimmers in the US vie for the top-two spots in every event, giving them a chance to represent the nation at the highest level in the glitzy quadrennial event.
The US Olympic swimming trials have been divided into two Waves – Wave 1 and Wave 2 – owing to the coronavirus pandemic. After the successful completion of Wave 1, where budding swimmers graduated to Wave 2, all eyes will now be on the best swimmers when Wave 2 begins in Omaha on June 13.
The likes of Caeleb Dressel, Nathan Adrian, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel could shine yet again at the US Olympic swimming trials and be among the best stateside swimmers to make it to the Olympic squad.
5 races at the US Olympic swimming trials 2021 that could be humdingers
5. Men’s 200m IM
Michael Andrew is one to watch out for but we could also see veteran Ryan Lochte going for a swansong at the Tokyo Olympics. However, his first hurdle will be the US Olympic swimming trials, where he'll face the best vying for the first two spots in the event. Lochte hasn’t been in his best form – his last win came in 2019 when he won the 200 IM at the US Championships – but the 12-time Olympic medalist will be hoping to make the cut for Tokyo and sign off on a high.
For Andrew, who has made a mark in 100m, the 200m IM could be a turning point. Coming off the back of an impressive performance in the TYR Pro Swim series a couple of months ago where he clocked 1:58.05, the 22-year-old is in good stead going into the 200 IM. The world record belongs, of course, to Michael Phelps at 1:54.98, but Andrew knows what it takes to get there.
4. Men’s 100m freestyle
Multi-event star Caeleb Dressel could own the event at the US Olympic swimming trials if not for stiff competition from Nathan Adrian. The two swimmers, who will partner in relay events, will be gunning for glory in the short races. Dressel, a 13-time world champion, will be competing in six events at the US Olympic Swimming trials, and more importantly at the Tokyo Olympics. He would love to have bragging rights over Adrian, an eight-time Olympic medalist, including five gold medals.
3. Women’s 100m butterfly
Claire Curzan and Torri Huske, the next generation of US swimming, are all set to dominate the race at the US Olympic swimming trials. The two young guns have taken the pools by storm, breaching the 57-second mark this year, and they could give Rio Olympic bronze medalist Dana Vollmer, Kelsi Dahlia and Katie McLaughlin a run for their money. The pressure will be on on Curzan and Huske to prove they are no pushovers.
2. Women’s 1500m freestyle
This is Katie Ledecky’s event. It debuted at the Tokyo Olympics, and will see stars doing the short distance and the long distance sprint in quick time, both in the US Olympic swimming trials and as well as at the Tokyo Olympics. Although Ledecky leads the charts with a time of 15:40.55, she will face stiff competition from Ashley Twichell, Ally McHugh and Emma Nordin. The edge, however, belongs to the five-time Olympic medalist who finished a whopping 26 seconds ahead of Twichell in the last competitive 1500m freestyle race.
1. Women’s 100m freestyle
It goes without saying that Simone Manuel will be the one to watch out for. The 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist is a favorite to defend her title. She emerged with flying colors in the 2016 Olympics, and the Worlds in 2017 and 2019, and knows exactly what it takes to surge ahead. However, Abbey Weitzeil, Huske, Curzon and Mallory Comerford won't want Manuel to have it too easy!