By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 6, 2021—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mary Smutny was the top Florida Gold Coast finisher Sunday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials Wave I at CHI Health Center.
Smutny, 20, finished fourth in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:18.04, off her entry time of 4:16.77. Swimming in Lane 6, she qualified fifth, winning her heat in 4:18.35. She was trailing for most of the prelim race but came on strong in the final 50 meters.
Another FGC swimmer, Heidi Smithwick, 17, of Jupiter Dragons, finished second in the “B” final of the 100-meter butterfly in 1:00.56, off her entry time of 1:00.48. She was the top seed going into the “B” final in 1:00.64 after just missing the A final by 2/100ths of a second.
In Sunday’s finals:
Sally Tafuto of Ohio State took the lead in the final 100 to win the 400-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 4:13.98, bettering her previous best of 4:16.05. Malla Rausch of Austin Swim Club made her second Wave II event, placing second in 4:15.04. Rausch pulled ahead of Sarasota Sharks 15-year-old Addie Sauickie in the final 100. Rausch won the 200 freestyle on Saturday.
Top-seed Ivan Kurakin, 17, of TAC Titans won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:56.17. Sandpipers’ Brice Barrieault was second in 3:56.61. For the first time at the Wave I meet, the “B” final winner, Louisville commit Eli Shoyat of Northern Kentucky Clippers had the fastest time of the event in 3:55.75, the only swimmer to break 3:56.
Nikki Venema of Tide (Va.) Swimming won the 100-meter butterfly in a best time 59.24, the only swimmer in the field to break 1 minute. University of Virginia’s Lexi Cuomo an NCAA finalist, was second by just 0.03 seconds in 1:00.06.
In a close race, Micah Slaton of Team Triumph won the men’s 100-meter butterfly in 53.02 just ahead of Aaron Sequeira of Cincinnati Marlins second in 53.08. In the “B” final, Sebastian High School sophomore Mitchell Ledford, 16, of Treasure Coast Swimming won in a best time 53.58, a Top 10 national 15-16 age group time.
Dynamo’s Sophie Brison overtook top seed Bayley Stewart after the first 50 meters to win the 200-meter backstroke in a best time 2:13.08. Stewart was second in 2:13.35, also a best time.
Colby Mefford of Sierra Marlins Swim Team won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:59.85, the only swimmer to crack 2 minutes. Blake Hanna of Bearcats Aquatics was second in 2:00.11.
The top two finishers in each event advance to the June 13-20 Wave II Trials.
SOFLO has one final swimmer competing on Monday. Liza Whitmire, 19, seeded sixth in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:16.49 will swim. Whitmire is a member of the Princeton swim team and has been training along with three other teammates with South Florida Aquatic Club for the Trials.
SOFLO’s Hector Acevedo and Kathy Fish, well-respected officials in the Florida Gold Coast, are working their first U.S. Olympic Trials.
FGC swimmers still to swim on Monday:
Aspen Gersper, 15, St. Andrew’s Swimming, 50-meter freestyle, 25.95.
Max Zum-Tobel, 17, St. Andrew’s Swimming, 50-meter freestyle, 23.16.
Reese Branzell, 18, St. Andrew’s Swimming, 50-meter freestyle, 23.10.
Heidi Smithwick, 17, Jupiter Dragons, 50-meter freestyle, 25.90.
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 11 a.m. EST and finals 8 p.m.
Monday’s events are 200-meter individual medley, 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter breaststroke and 1500-meter freestyle.
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.
400-meter freestyle: 1. Sally Tafuto, OSU 4:13.98, 2. Malla Rausch, ASC 4:15.04, 3. Addie Sauickie, SYS 4:16.19.
100-meter butterfly: 1. Nikki Venema, TIDE 59.24, 2. Lexi Cuomo, UVA 1:00.06, 3. Gigi Johnson, SA 1:00.09.
200-meter backstroke: 1. Sophie Brison, Dynamo 2:13.08, 2. Bayley Stewart, Unattached-CO 2:13.35, 3. Margaret Guanci, WA 2:14.51.
400-meter freestyle: 1. Ivan Kurakin, TAC 3:56.17, 2. Brice Barrieault, SAND 3:56.61, 3. Curtis Wiltsey, NCS 3:56.72.
100-meter butterfly: 1. Micah Slaton, TRI 53.02, 2. Aaron Sequeira, CM 53.08, 3. Carl Bloebaum, RAYS 53.36.
200-meter backstroke: 1. Colby Mefford, SMST 1:59.85, 2. Blake Hanna, CATS 2:00.11, 3. Bradley Dunham, SA-GA 2:00.96.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com