A little late posting this entry, but with all of the swimming going on this week, it is easy to get distracted.
As a brief recap, we have done okay with a few of our picks, but there have been some great surprises over the past couple of nights.
Our favorite surprises have been-
1) David Plummer's 100 Backstroke-you can't help but pull for a guy who was 3rd in the event at the 2012 trials, trains for 4 years, only to come back and make the team. Its also worth mentioning David ONLY raced the 100 back in Omaha, making this race all or nothing for his trip to Rio. This race was a ton of fun to watch, and the US is once again set up beautifully in the 100 Backstroke for the men.
**It is also worth mentioning that David swam at the St. Rose pool a few years back, and took the time to meet with the head coach and some of the athletes to talk about swim training and what it takes to reach the elite level. Not only an excellent swimmer, but a good guy too, which makes his Olympic berth of more well deserved...
2) Leah Smith's 400 Fr-With Katie Ledecky getting most of the publicity for the Women's events, Leah Smith threw down a blistering 4:00 in the women's 400 LCM Freestyle to make it to Rio, when she entered the event in a 4:03. She split the race beautifully, and as a first time Olympian, we are very excited for her.
3) Men's 200 Fr final-Talk about a race. Townley Haas touched out Conor Dwyer by .01, and Jack Conger closing speed to secure the 3rd place spot .1 behind Dwyer made for a phenomenal race....this is what high level swimming and trials is all about, and we had a blast watching that race.
Now onto our predictions for tonight...
Women's 200 Fr
1) Katie Ledecky
2) Simone Manuel
Ledecky is the obvious choice, so we will jump right to our 2nd place pick. It is a bit more of a hunch than anything that is calculated....Simone took a year off from swimming collegiality to focus on training in LCM to get ready for trials, and has commented on her not only preparing for the 50 and 100, but also the 200. With great front end speed, she may be able to make a run at the 2nd place spot, and certainly should be in the mix for a relay slot.
Men's 200 Fly
1) Michael Phelps
2) Jack Conger
Once again, with Phelps being the obvious choice, we will jump right to the 2nd....Conger's best time of 1:54 from last summer should be fast enough to qualify, assuming he can repeat. Last night he made finals after swimming the 200 Fr, so he should be a bit more fresh for the fly. Also, its worth mentioning that in yards, Conger is the former NCAA and national record holder for this event. Other swimmers in the field (Tom Shields) will be out fast, but we think Conger will be able to finish stronger, securing his spot for Rio for his first individual event.
Women's 200 IM
1) Maya Dirado
2) Melanie Margalis
We believe this will most likely once again be a race for 2nd, with Maya Dirado swimming so well thus far at trials. Caitlin Leverenz should be the favorite, but based on her 400 IM performance and how the Cal women are swimming, she may have some trouble finishing top 2. Melanie Margalis will surely be in the mix going right off of her best time in Semi-finals, and seeing how she has a very strong breaststroke, we think she will be the one to bring it home the 2nd half of the race and finish with a ticket to Rio.