By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 4, 2021—The long-awaited first finals session of the U.S. Olympic Trials Wave I got under way Friday with some exciting swims at CHI Health Center.
Three of South Florida’s five swimmers competed in opening day prelims.
Margaux McDonald, 19, seeded eighth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:02.17, swimming in Lane 3 and Heat 5, finished third in 1:03.35 and 19th overall. Also in the race, Miami Hurricanes’ Alaina Skellett, 22, was seventh in 1:04.93 and 39th overall.
Luke Smutny, 22, seeded 11th in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:00.54, swimming in Lane 6 in the final heat, was seventh in 2:05.97 and 24th overall.
Maddie Smutny, 16, swimming in Lane One in Heat 2 of the 200-meter butterfly (2:14.37), was fifth in 2:18.68 and 27th overall. Only 2/10ths of a second separated the entry times in the heat.
St. Andrew’s Swimming’s Aspen Gersper, 15, was the Florida Gold Coast’s top finisher on opening night. She was tenth in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.43 to advance into the “B” final. Gersper went on to finish fourth in the “B” final in 56.62. She was also 35th in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:04.27.
In Friday’s finals:
Sixteen-year-old Camille Spinke of Nation’s Capital won the 100-meter freestyle in 55.25, No. 13 all-time among 15-16 year olds. She went out in 26.29.
Patrick Sammon, 17, of AquaSol Swim Team won the 100-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 49.94, the only swimmer to crack 50 seconds.
Seventh-seed Katie Trace of Ohio State won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:12.57. The top three finishers all touched within 0.04 seconds of each other.
Carl Bloebaum of Mason Manta Rays won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:58.90. He swam back-to-back best times in prelims and finals.
Nebraska’s Autumn Haebig won the 100-meter backstroke in a lifetime-best 1:01.23.
Indiana’s Jacob Steele won the 100-meter backstroke in 55.23 just ahead of Spartan Aquatics’ Nathaniel Stoffle in 55.28.
University of Florida-commit Hayden Miller, 16, of Cypress Fairbanks Swim Club won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:39.81.
Navy finished 1-2 in the 800-meter freestyle with Garrett McGovern in 8:11.25 and Luke Johnson in 8:12.13.
The top two finishers in each event advance to the June 13-20 Wave II Trials.
The two remaining SOFLO swimmers compete Sunday and Monday. Mary Smutny, 20, competes Sunday in the 400-meter freestyle (4:16.77) and Liza Whitmire, 19, seeded sixth in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:16.49, competes Monday.
Three SOFLO swimmers, the Smutny sisters and Whitmire will swim time trials on Saturday. Maddie Smutny will swim the 400 freestyle; Mary Smutny will swim the 200 freestyle; and Whitmire will time trial the 100 butterfly.
Whitmire and McDonald are members of the Princeton swim team and have been training with South Florida Aquatic Club for the Trials.
SOFLO’s Hector Acevedo made his U.S. Olympic trials official debut along with Kathy Fish, both top and well-respected officials in the Florida Gold Coast.
In other Florida Gold Coast swimmer results:
Reese Branzell, St. Andrew’s Swimming, 19th, 100-meter freestyle, 51.02. He has the 50-meter freestyle remaining.
Lance Lesage, Pine Crest Swimming, 41st, 100-meter backstroke, 57.35.
Other FGC swimmers still to swim:
Max Zum-Tobel, 17, St. Andrew’s Swimming, 50-meter freestyle, 23.16.
Heidi Smithwick, 17, Jupiter Dragons, 50-meter freestyle, 25.90 and 100-meter butterfly, 1:00.48.
UCLA commit Paige MacEachern, 18, Pine Crest Swimming, 400-meter individual medley, 4:48.09.
St. Andrew’s Swimming’s Megan Moroney, 24, was entered in the meet a few months ago but scratched in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events.
A total of 1,565 swimmers qualified for the trials. In Wave I there were 907 swimmers that qualified with 675 competing (232 swimmers declined to compete). In Wave II, 658 swimmers qualified.
The qualified swimmers are competing in Wave I of the Trials in a wildcard bid to reach Wave II of the event and get a chance to make the U.S. Olympic Team.
The Wave I meet is a shorter, four-day meet using a modified version of the Pan Pacs meet order with a prelims/finals format and no semifinals. Prelims are 10 a.m. CST and finals 7 p.m. CST.
Saturday’s events are men’s and women’s 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke and 400-meter individual medley.
Cable network NBC Sports is televising the finals of the Wave 1 Trials on Olympic Channel at 8 p.m. EST each night. The prelims are live streaming on usaswimming.org. All TV coverage is also live streaming on NBCSports.com and NBC Sports app. Two-time Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel are serving as analyst for the live coverage along with Patrick Kinas.
100-meter freestyle: 1. Camille Spink, NCAP 55.25, 2. Kristina Paegle, ISC 55.91, 3. Trude Rothrock, TENN 56.01.
200-meter butterfly: 1. Katie Trace, OSU 2:12.57, 2. Emma Sticklen, KATY 2:12.58, 3. Martina Peroni, NAAC 2:12.61.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Autumn Haebig, HUSK 1:01.23, 2. Koble Melton, UARK 1:01.89, 3. Casey Chung, CW 1:01.93.
800-meter freestyle: 1. Hayden Miller, CFSC 8:39.81, 2. Abigail McCulloh, SA 8:42.17, 3. Elle Braun, WA 8:43.53.
100-meter freestyle: 1. Patrick Sammon, AQUA 49.94, 2. Luke Miller, EA 50.05, 3. Michael Eastman, UFL 50.14.
200-meter butterfly: 1. Carl Bloebaum, Mason Manta Rays 1:58.90, 2. Colby Medford, SMST 1:59.63, 3. tie, Sebastien Sergile, SA and Micah Slaton, TRI 2:00.17.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Jacob Steele, ISC 55.23, 2. Nathaniel Stoffle, SPAC 55.28, 3. RJ Kondalski, OSU 55.40.
800-meter freestyle: 1. Garrett McGovern, NAVY 8:11.25, 2. Luke Johnson, NAVY 8:12.13, 3. Joshua Brown, HIGH 8:15.07.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com