By Sharon Robb
June 27, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Claire Donahue gave it all she had but fell short in her first attempt at making her second Olympic team Monday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.
Swimming in Lane One, Donahue went out fast with the field in the opening 50 meters but was unable to maintain her sprinter speed in the back half of the race.
Donahue, 27, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist making her third Trials appearance, finished fifth in 58.81 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. Her prelim time was 59.61 and semifinal time was 58.76.
Donahue has another shot when she competes in the opening round of the 200-meter butterfly on Wednesday morning.
Former University of Miami swimmer Kelsi Worrell, who transferred to University of Louisville, won the 100 butterfly and became the Cardinals’ first American Olympian in the program’s history.
Worrell, the American short course record holder, won in a lifetime-best 56.48, bettering her previous best by 4/10ths of a second. It was the second fastest time in the world this year and fifth-fastest all-time.
Vollmer, 28, defending Olympic gold medalist, American record holder, and new mother, was second in 57.21.
Vollmer and Worrell were one-two at the turn, but Worrell had a great turn off the wall and blew past Vollmer down the stretch. Even more amazing is Worrell, the oldest of six siblings, was 37th in 2012.
“This is a dream come true,” Worrell said. “I am in shock for sure. I was not expecting that to happen.”
WOMEN’S 400-METER FREESTYLE:
With the crowd on its’ feet, Katie Ledecky, 19, on world record pace for most of the race, fell short of breaking her own record but won the race and trip to Rio. Ledecky finished in 3:58.98 and Leah Smith was second in a best time 4:00.65, dropping two seconds.
“My coach just told me to go, just race, get up there and go,” Ledecky said. “I couldn’t be happier, I am so happy for Leah. We are going to crush it in Rio.”
Among Ledecky’s incredible credentials is the fact she is 15-for-15 in races for gold medals.
MEN’S 100-METER BREASTSTROKE:
The lights flickered and dimmed as the swimmers took off, but it didn’t seem to bother Kevin Cordes and Cody Miller, two more first-time Olympians. Cordes, who has been working with legendary coach Sergio Lopez in Singapore and training trip at South Florida Aquatic Club, won in 59.18. Miller was second in 59.26.
“I can’t believe it happened, I am so thankful,” Cordes said. “This is a dream come true. I have been working at it for a long time.”
Also in the breaststroke final, teenager Michael Andrew again lowered his national age group and world junior record with a fourth place finish in 59.82.
In the 200-meter freestyle semifinals, Ryan Lochte was third behind Connor Dwyer and Clark Smith in his heat and earned the fifth seed overall in 1:47.58.
Lochte, who missed a berth in the 400 IM on Sunday, had some incredible underwaters to compensate for a pulled groin which he had a pain shot for before he raced.
Dwyer, who is already on the team in the 400 freestyle, earned the top seed in 1:46.96. Jack Conger is the second seed in 1:47.15.
American short course record holder Lilly King earned the top seed for tonight’s 100-meter breaststroke final in 1:05.94. 2012 Olympian Breeja Larson was ninth in 1:07.62 and missed the final.
In the men’s 100-meter backstroke, David Plummer is the top seed for tonight’s final in 52.12, the fastest time in the world this year. Lochte won his semifinal race in 52.28 and is seeded second.
Olivia Smoglia is the No. 1 seed in the 100-meter backstroke in a best time 59.16. Michigan’s Clara Smiddy, longtime Florida Gold Coast swimmer for AquaKids Sharks, is fifth seed in 1:00.11 ahead of Olympic backstroke gold medalist Missy Franklin, seventh in 1:00.45 and 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin in 1:00.46. Former St. Andrew’s swimmer Tasija Karosas missed making finals, placing tenth in 1:00.79. “I didn’t expect to make semis let alone finals,” Smiddy said. “I just wanted to come in and go best times, enjoy the moment and have fun.”
SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding will compete in the 200-meter individual medley prelims on Tuesday, her second event of the Trials.
Tuesday’s events are women’s 200-meter freestyle prelim and semifinal; men’s 200-meter butterfly prelim and semifinal; women’s 200-meter individual medley prelims and semifinal; men’s 200-meter freestyle final; men’s 100-meter backstroke final; and women’s 100-meter breaststroke final.
NBC is broadcasting finals every night at 8 p.m. EST. USA swimming is live streaming prelims and finals at usaswimming.org.
MONDAY FINAL RESULTS
100-meter butterfly: 1. Kelsi Worrell, Louisville 56.48, 2. Dana Vollmer, Cal Aquatics 57.21, 3. Kendyl Stewart, NCA 58.22; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 6. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 58.81, 35. Harper Bruens, Tenn/BRSC 1:00.28; 54. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 1:00.78, 78. Angela Algee, Hurricanes Swimming 1:01.22
400-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital 3:58.98, 2. Leah Smith, Cavaliers 4:00.65, 3. Cierra Runge, North Baltimore 4:07.04; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 47. Megan Moroney, CAV/St. Andrew’s 4:16.91, 95. Niki Urquidi, Gulliver 4:24.57, 98. Casey Francis, PSU/Pine Crest 4:26.20.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Kevin Cordes, Foxcatcher 59.18, 2. Cody Miller, Badger 59.26, 3. Josh Prenot, Cal Aquatics 59.81; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 10. Alex Evdokimov, CSSC 1:01.14/12. 1:01.14; 61. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 1:03.00, best time.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com