Katie Ledecky Wins Historic Double; Alex Evdokimov Top FGC Finisher On Day Four Of Olympic Trials

By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 16, 2021—The bell lap never sounded so good to Katie Ledecky who made history Wednesday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials at CHI Health Center.

In front of a standing ovation, Ledecky, 24, of Nation’s Capital Swim Club, completed a grueling double, first winning the 200-meter freestyle against a stacked field in 1:55.11 and finishing the night with another win, this time in the newest Olympic women’s event 1,500-meter freestyle in a pool record 15:40.50, bettering her previous pool record of 15:43.10 set in prelims.

Twenty nine minutes after winning the 200, she was on the podium getting her medal and 67 minutes later she was on the blocks for the 1,500.

“It went well,” Ledecky said. “It was good I had the morning off to rest up and take care of business tonight. I told our heat in there we were making history tonight. I think we were all just so fired up that we finally got this chance.”

Three-time Olympic champion and former four-time world record holder Debbie Meyer texted Ledecky the night before her races. Meyer was the first woman to win the 800-meter freestyle when it became an Olympic event at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

“She was saying how cool it was for her when she was the first one to win the 800,” Ledecky said. “She said it was so cool to look back at the event to see she was the first. I just tried to cherish the moment. The 1,500 has been a long time coming. I’m so glad we are finally here.”

Erica Sullivan, 21, of Sandpipers of Nevada held off clubmate Katie Grimes to finish second in 15:51.18 to make her first Olympic team.

Ledecky won the first final of the night, the 200-meter freestyle in 1:55.11. Allison Schmitt, 31, of Sun Devil Swimming made her fourth Olympic team with a second place in 1:56.79. After her swim, Schmitt got a big hug on the pool deck from good friend and former teammate Michael Phelps.

After the first 50 and 100 Ledecky was second behind Schmitt. After the 150, Ledecky put it another gear to lead by almost a second. Schmitt finished 1/100ths of a second ahead of University of Virginia’s Paige Madden.

In her 1500 race, Ledecky went out in 59.22 for the first 100 and by 150 meters she had a full body length lead and went through the 400 at 4:07.77.

The only negative was NBC cutting away for commercials after the 400. Come on NBC, seriously? The coverage resumed at 650-meters and she had extended her lead by three body lengths. She went through 1,000 at 10:25. She was seven seconds and four body lengths ahead with 300 meters to go.

“She is a true competitor, she is so tough,” said U.S. Olympic women’s and Stanford coach Greg Meehan. “She embraces training. She just loves the sport. She loves to swim. She loves being in the water. She loves being with her teammates. Every day she wants to be better.”

In the women’s 200-meter individual medley, a pair of teenagers will be going to Tokyo. Alex Walsh, 19, of Nashville Aquatic Club won by 2/100ths of a second in 2:09.32 and Kate Douglass of University of Virginia was second in 2:09.32. Favorite Madisyn Cox finished 2/100ths of a second out of second.

“I just wanted it so badly,” Walsh said. “I just put my head down. That was the hardest 15 meters. I kept thinking about all my teammates and the hard work I put in this season. I couldn’t believe I touched first. I was so happy and so excited to represent the U.S.”

Zach Harting of the Louisville Cardinals won the men’s 200-meter butterfly in hopes of filling Michael Phelps’ shoes in the event. “Those are pretty big shoes,” Harting said with a smile.

Harting won in 1:55.06 and Gunnar Bentz of Dynamo Swim Club was second in 1:55.34. Harting broke open a tight race and surged in the final meters in a lifetime-best. Harting was emotional after the race and took four bows to the crowd. Bentz threw a kiss to the scoreboard.

“A lot of people work their whole lives. They get told they can have a dream when they’re children and then they’re told that’s not the way it works when they grow up,” Harting said. “For me, ever since I was 7 and started swimming my dream was to represent the U.S. at the Olympics. Not all of us get to turn their dreams into reality. I’m really grateful for that. I worked my butt off every day for that. You can do it. This is dreams coming true.”

Reigning world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel made his Trials debut and had no problem making tonight’s 100-meter freestyle final as the top seed in 47.77. Nathan Adrian, 32, going for his fourth Olympic team came up short placing 13th in 48.92. It was the first time since 2008 he didn’t make the 100. Adrian was coming back from two bouts of testicular cancer. He still has a shot in the 50 freestyle.

Alex Evdokimov, 25, of Pinnacle Racing (VA) and formerly Coral Springs Swim Club, was ninth in the 200-meter breaststroke prelims in a lifetime-best 2:11.54 (previous best was 2:12.10) to advance into the semifinals where he finished fifth in another best time of 2:11.39 swimming in Lane 2. He was second off the blocks in 0.67.

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers remaining each have one final race.

Josh Zuchowski, 17, of FAST swims Thursday in the 200 backstroke.

Julia Podkoscielny, 16, of Pine Crest Swimming swims Friday in the 200 backstroke.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics swims Saturday in the 50 freestyle.

The top two finishers of most events will most likely become 2021 US Olympians. Relay only spots go to places 3-6 (though not completely guaranteed for 6th place) of 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. The maximum roster size for Team USA is 26 men and 26 women.

All races 200 meters or shorter will have three stages at Trials: a prelim in the morning, followed by a semifinal that evening. The final of the top-8 qualifier will take place on the following night.

Thursday’s events are: (Morning Prelims Session), women’s 100 freestyle prelims, men’s 200 backstroke prelims, women’s 200 breaststroke prelims, men’s 200 individual medley prelims; (Evening Session), men’s 800 freestyle final, men’s 200 breaststroke final, women’s 100 freestyle semifinal, men’s 200 backstroke semifinal, women’s 200 butterfly final, men’s 100 freestyle final, women’s 200 breaststroke semifinal, men’s 200 individual medley semifinal.

Daily finals coverage will be broadcast across NBC channels. Along with live finals coverage, 24 hours of preliminaries will be available on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports App.

For prelims, today through June 19, 11 a.m. on NBC Stream and 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. For finals, today through June 16 on NBC at 8 p.m., June 17 NBC at 10 p.m. and NBCSN at 8 p.m., June 18-19 NBC at 9 p.m. and June 20 NBC at 8:15 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time for South Florida.


200-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, NCAP 1:55.11, 2. Allison Schmitt, SUN 1:56.79, 3. Paige Madden, UVA 1:56.80.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Alex Walsh, NAC 2:09.30, 2. Kate Douglass, UVA 2:09.32, 3. Madisyn Cox, TXLA 2:09.34.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, NCAP 15:40.50, 2. Erica Sullivan, SAND 15:51.18, 3. Katie Grimes, SAND 15:52.12.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Zach Harting, CARD 1:55.06, 2. Gunnar Bentz, DYNA 1:55.34, 3. Luca Orlando, DART 1:55.43.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Olympian Allison Schmitt Returns In Winning Form; SOFLO’s Smutny Races Second Event

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif.—After nearly a two-year hiatus, three-time Olympian Allison Schmitt is back in the water and looking good.

The eight-time Olympic medalist won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:56.97 at the Phillips 66 National Championships Thursday at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatic Center.

It was 1.3 seconds faster than she swam at world championships where she placed a disappointing 14th. Thursday’s swim was her fastest since August 2018.

Ever since I decided I was going to get back into the pool, eyes were set on 2020,” said Schmitt. “It’s definitely still a day-by-day process, has its ups and downs. But, as a whole, it’s been a good journey, and like I said, I’m really looking forward to this upcoming year.”

Schmitt, at 29, is the only woman left from the 2008 U.S. Olympic swim team who is going for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Her American record from winning the 200-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games remains one of the few marks that Katie Ledecky hasn’t crushed.

Also in the women’s 200-meter freestyle, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mary Smutny, 18, went 2:03.92.

In other Thursday events:

Madisyn Cox won the women’s 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.84, a personal best by 1.78 seconds.

Cal sophomore Reece Whitley, at 6-foot-9 one of the sport’s tallest swimmers, won his first national 200-meter breaststroke title in a personal-best 2:09.69.

Texas junior Austin Katz won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:55.72, which would have earned a bronze medal at worlds.

Asia Seidt won the women’s 200-meter backstroke in 2:08.90. Regan Smith, the 17-year-old who broke the world record at worlds, did not to race this event at nationals.

Aussie teenager Elijah Winnington won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.19.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Third Time A Charm For Georgia Bulldogs At NCAAs

Third Time A Charm For Georgia Bulldogs At NCAAs

Written by Sharon Robb

March 23, 2013

Megan Romano was leaving nothing to chance on the last leg of the final event at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday night at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

The University of Georgia senior split a 46.25 on the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay to clinch the team title for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs won the relay in style in 3:09.40 to break the NCAA and U.S. Open record.

After two runner-up finishes, the Bulldogs put an exclamation point on their long-awaited team title victory for veteran coach Jack Bauerle and first team title since 2005. It was the sixth team title in the program’s history. Only Stanford has won more with nine.

Romano was joined on the winning relay by Shannon Vreeland, Canadian Chantal Van Landeghem and Olympian Allison Schmitt, who sat out last year to train and make the 2012 London Olympics.

Arizona took the American record in the 400 free relay in 3:10.63 with Megan Lafferty, Margo Geer, Kait Flederback and Monica Drake.

The Bulldogs totaled 477 points to dethrone two-time defending champion California, second with 393 and counting the days until Olympian Missy Franklin starts classes in the fall.

Tennessee was third with 325.5, Texas A&M fourth with 323.5, Arizona, 311 and University of Florida with 305 points. University of Miami was 20th with 40 points thanks to its diving program and Florida State finished a disappointing 32nd with 12 points.

The Georgia Bulldogs were in great shape headed into Saturday’s finals. The Bulldogs advanced nine swimmers into the third and final night of competition. It was two more “A” finalists than the seeds had them at.

California’s 15-point deficit was just too much to make up. The Bears were trying to win their fourth title in the program’s history.

California freshman Elizabeth Pelton won the 200-yard backstroke in an American, U.S. Open and NCAA record 1:47.84. Pelton was out in 25.93 followed by splits of 27.12, 27.41 and 27.38.

In the 100-yard freestyle, Arizona’s Margo Geer won in 47.19. Romano was second in 47.37. University of Florida’s Natalie Hinds set a school record in 47.73 for third place.

Texas senior Laura Sogar won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:05.41 taking down American record holder Breeja Larson. Minnesota senior Haley Spencer was second in 2:06.15. Texas A&M’s Larson was third in 2:06.24.

In the 1,650-yard freestyle, Haley Anderson of Southern California took it out fast and held on for the win in 15:45.98. Top seed Sarah Henry of Texas A&M was second in 15:46.41. Indiana’s Lindsey Vrooman was third in 15:50.73.

Tennessee junior Tori Lamp won the platform diving title with 335.35 points. University of Miami sophomore Kara McCormack was fifth with 284.95.

Florida Gulf Coast sophomore Emma Svensson of Sweden was the recipient of the Elite 89 Award for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Svensson, an Economics major, carries a 4.0 GPA. She was presented the award during Saturday’s meet. The award embraces the true essence of a student-athlete.


TEAM TOTALS: 1. Georgia 477, 2. California 393, 3. Tennessee 325.5, 4. Texas A&M 323.5, 5. Arizona 311, 6. Florida 305, 7. Southern Cal 291, 8. Stanford 246, 9. Texas 186, 10. Minnesota 141, 20. Miami, 40, 32. Florida State 12.

1,650-yard freestyle:

1.Haley Anderson, Southern California 15:45.98, 2. Sarah Henry, Texas A&M 15:46.41, 3. Lindsey Vrooman, Indiana 15:50.73.

200-yard backstroke:

1.Elizabeth Pelton, California 1:47.84, 2. Dominique Bouchard, Missouri 1:50.06, 3. Elizabeth Beisel, Florida 1:51.17, 41. Johanna Gustafsdottir, Florida International 1:56.74, 49. Sonia Perez Arau, Florida International 1:58.58.

100-yard freestyle:

1.Margo Geer, Arizona 47.19, 2. Megan Romano, Georgia 47.37, 3. Natalie Hinds, Florida 47.73, 17. Tiffany Oliver, Florida State 48.63, 44. Harper Bruens, Tennessee 49.63

200-yard breaststroke:

1.Laura Sogar, Texas 2:05.41, 2. Haley Spencer, Minnesota 2:06.15, 3. Breeja Larson, Texas A&M 2:06.24, 50. Eszter Bucz, Florida Atlantic 2:15.89.

200-yard butterfly:

1.Cammile Adams, Texas A&M 1:52.61, 2. Lauren Harrington, Georgia 1:54.39, 3. Carolyn Blalock 1:54.65, 15. Caroline Kuczynski, Arizona State 1:57.71.

Platform diving:

1.Haley Ishimatsu, Southern Cal 396.75, 2.Victoria Lamp, Tennessee 328.60, 3. Amy Cozad, Indiana 325.20, 6. Kara McCormack, Miami 286.20.

400-yard freestyle relay:

1.Georgia 3:09.40 (Shannon Vreeland, Chantal Van Landeghem, Allison Schmitt, Megan Romano), 2. Arizona 3:10.63, 3. California 3:11.58; Florida State, DQ (Kaitlyn Dressel, Tiffany Oliver, Grace Hoffman, Kelsey Buckley).

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Schmitt, Phelps Win On Day Four Of U.S. Olympic Trials; SOFLO’s Alcaide, Oliver Compete Friday

Schmitt, Phelps Win On Day Four Of U.S. Olympic Trials; SOFLO’s Alcaide, Oliver Compete Friday


January 28, 2012

North Baltimore Aquatic Club teammates Allison Schmitt broke her own American record and Michael Phelps stayed on course to swim eight events at the London Olympics to highlight action Thursday night in front of 11,849 at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha.

Schmitt, the top seed in the 200-meter freestyle and two seconds faster than anyone in the final, showed why with an impressive swim.

Schmitt took it out fast in 27.01 and settled into American record pace the rest of the way. Schmitt had a full body-length lead by the third 50 meters.

Schmitt, now a double Olympic gold medal threat, won in 1:54.40, fastest time in the world this year. She broke her previous record of 1:54.96.

Teenager Missy Franklin moved from fifth to second off the final wall to finish second in 1:56.79. The remaining four swimmers, Dana Vollmer, Lauren Perdue, Shannon Vreeland and Alyssa Anderson qualified for the relay.

“I knew I had to take it out in order to get a good time,” Schmitt said. “That’s what I tried to do. I just tried to hold on.”

Said Franklin: “I am happy all three of us (Franklin, Schmitt, Vollmer) were next to each other. I knew it would be an incredible race. I knew I had to come back in the end and get my hand on the wall.”

Phelps, 26, has owned the 200-meter butterfly event for ten years. It was his first event he qualified for in his first Olympics and continues to be a sentimental race for the 14-time Olympic gold medalist.

Phelps controlled the men’s final to win in 1:53.65, fastest time in the world this year. Phelps made his surge on the third leg and was a full body-length ahead of the field when he touched.

Phelps is the first swimmer to threepeat two events in trials history. It was also his 11th win at trials.

“The biggest thing is that this is my fourth Olympics in this race,” Phelps said. “It’s been a pretty special race for me. I was able to put together an all right time tonight. It is decent but it’s going to take better than that to win a gold medal.”

Tyler Clary, who just missed making it in the 400-meter individual medley by finishing third, took second in 1:55.12 and qualified for his first Olympics. He just edged Bobby Bouiller in third in 1:55.79. Davis Tarwater was fourth in 1:56.83.

Early leader Tarwater tried to hold on but Clary turned it on and made up a full body- length in the last 15 meters.

“It hasn’t even settled in,” said Clary, who battled a fever all last weekend. “I am trying to go over everything that happened in that race. The last 100 meters I didn’t think any way I could come back. It’s like the biggest endorphin rush and biggest explosion of serotonin in your head.”

Phelps scratched from the 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter backstroke heats.

Ryan Lochte talked with NBC’s Bob Costas during a break in the races.

“We’re going to light it up in London,” Lochte said.

“The one good thing about Olympic trials is this is the only meet where second is just as good as first. I’m not going to London for the silver or bronze, I am going for the gold. Win or lose Michael and I are still going to be friends no matter what, that’s what separates us from everyone else.”

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jessie Alcaide and Tiffany Oliver will compete in the 100-meter preliminaries on Friday morning.

In other races Thursday night:

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Caitlin Leverenz came on during the breaststroke leg to win in 2:10.22. Ariana Kukors, who has been training at Bolles, put on a late surge to take second in 2:11.30 and make her first Olympic team. “This is the most emotional moment for me,” Kukors said. “The last 50 I just closed my eyes and prayed.” Liz Pelton of Naples was the early leader but was overtaken during the breaststroke and faltered to third in 2:11.55.  The IM was Pelton’s best chance at making the team.

Men’s 100-meter freestyle semifinals: As expected, Nathan Adrian is the top seed in 48.33. Matt Grevers, Ricky Berens, and Ryan Lochte  were also among top qualifiers. Grevers and Lochte both scratched from the finals moving Jason Lezak and Dave Walters into the finals.

Women’s 200-meter butterfly semifinals: On the heels of Breeja Larson’s breaststroke win, Texas A&M Aggies teammate Cammile Adams, 20, is the top seed in 2:08.07 followed by Kathleen Hersey in 2:08.61 and Teresa Crippen in 2:09.59. 

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinals: In a great second semifinal, Clark Burckle (2:10.01), Eric Shanteau (2:10.14) and Brendan Hansen (2:10.45) were stroke for stroke down the final stretch and finished as top qualifiers. Scott Weltz was top finisher in the first semifinal in 2:10.99.


Women’s 200-meter butterfly: 129. Julie Stupp, PAQ 2:25.26

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: 125. Nick Manousos, Davie Nadadores 2:25.52


After Dana Vollmer qualified in the 100-meter butterfly, her husband and Olympic trials swimmer Andy Grant gave her a gold charm with the Olympic rings on it….According to USA Swimming’s database, Bolles’ Ryan Murphy’s 53.76 is the fastest ever by a 16-and-under….Six teenagers qualified for the women’s 200-meter semifinals including 14-year-old Becca Mann of Clearwater. Before her race Mann kneeled on the pool deck and said a prayer…Coral Springs Swim Club’s five-time Olympian Dara Torres and her coach Bruno Darzi arrived in Omaha on Thursday. Torres will compete Saturday in the 50-meter freestyle and try to make a record six Olympic teams.


“Olympic Dream time of death—10:34 a.m.”—Dax Hill

“Just saw a man fill 2 water bottles with pool water and conspicuously put them in his cargo pants. Wonder if we’ll see these on ebay.”—The Nation


Morning session: Women’s 100 Free H, Men’s 200 backstroke H, Women’s 200 Breaststroke H, Men’s 200 IM H

Evening session: Men’s 200 Breaststroke F, Women’s 100 Free SF, Men’s 200 Backstroke SF, Women’s 200 Butterfly F, Men’s 100 Freestyle F, Women’s 200 Breaststroke SF, Men’s 200 IM SF


Prelims, 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN Sports

Finals, 8-9 p.m. ET, NBC

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com