Walsh’s Time To Shine In Girls’s 50 Free

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2023 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

WOMEN’S 50 FREE – BY THE NUMBERS:

  • World Document: 23.67, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) – 2017 World Championships
  • American Document: 23.97, Simone Manuel – 2017 World Championships
  • U.S. Open Document: 24.10, Simone Manuel – 2018 U.S. Nationals
  • 2022 U.S. Worldwide Workforce Trials Winner: Torri Huske, 24.50
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Lower: 25.04

The ladies’s 50 freestyle noticed a real shootout on the 2022 U.S. Worldwide Workforce Trials. The highest 4 finishers have been separated by simply 5 one-hundredths of a second, and the highest six have been inside .25.

We’re trending in direction of an identical situation this 12 months, with no clear favorites and various elite swimmers within the combine for a berth in Fukuoka.

Final 12 months, Torri Huske positioned first at Trials in a time of 24.50. However for the reason that begin of 2022, 5 different Individuals have been faster than that. So who will come out on prime?

U.S. Rankings, Girls’s 50 Freestyle (LCM)

Since Jan. 1, 2022

  1. Erika Brown, 24.38 – 2022 World Championships
  2. Abbey Weitzeil / Kate Douglass, 24.40 – 2023 PSS Fort Lauderdale / 2023 Atlanta Basic
  3. Claire Curzan, 24.43 – 2022 PSS Santa Clara
  4. Gretchen Walsh, 24.47 – 2022 U.S. Summer time Nationals
  5. Torri Huske, 24.50 – 2022 Worldwide Workforce Trials
  6. Maxine Parker, 24.83 – 2023 NCAP Elite Qualifier
  7. Gabi Albiero, 24.89 – 2022 U.S. Summer time Nationals
  8. Anna Moesch, 24.92 – 2022 YMCA Nationals
  9. Natalie Hinds, 24.97 – 2022 Worldwide Workforce Trials

There’s one thing to be stated about coming into such a high-stakes competitors with momentum and confidence, and one swimmer who has rediscovered that this 12 months is Abbey Weitzeil.

WEITZEIL WILLS HER WAY BACK INTO CONTENTION

Weitzeil had been a mainstay within the 50 free on the worldwide stage for six years when she positioned sixth finally 12 months’s Trials, leaving her off the World Championship/Olympic crew for the primary time since 2013.

Weitzeil repped the U.S. within the 50 free on the 2016 and 2021 Olympics, together with the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, however fell wanting qualifying final 12 months, after which had coach Teri McKeever placed on depart and in the end fired at Cal, forcing her to hit the reset button.

Regardless of being older than all 5 ladies who completed forward of her at Trials (and 4 of the 5 at the very least 5 years youthful), Weitzeil got here again with a aggressive vengeance in 2023. It might be straightforward to view the 2022 end result as a altering of the guard, however Weitzeil has rebounded exceptionally effectively this 12 months.

The 26-year-old swept the 50 free on the Professional Swim Sequence, exhibiting spectacular consistency from January by means of late Might.

  • Knoxville – 24.70 (Jan. 13)
  • Fort Lauderdale – 24.40 (March 4)
  • Westmont – 24.50 (April 14)
  • Mission Viejo – 24.49 (Might 20)

Since clocking 24.75 on the 2022 Trials, Weitzeil has both matched or been sooner than that in eight straight swims, and seems poised to enterprise again into 24-low territory in Indianapolis.

Her greatest time sits at 24.19, set on the Tokyo Olympics, and he or she was additionally 24.27 and 24.30 on the Olympic Trials in 2021.

THE COLLEGE CREW

4 of the 5 swimmers that completed forward of Weitzeil on the 2022 Trials raced within the NCAA this previous season, two Virginia Cavaliers and two Stanford Cardinal.

The 2023 NCAA title went to Canadian Maggie MacNeil, however a detailed second was UVA’s Gretchen Walsh, who not solely would be the solely one of many aforementioned 4 to race within the NCAA subsequent season, however was additionally the one one who truly raced the 50 free on the 2023 NCAA Championships.

Walsh swam 4 of the seven-fastest occasions ever recorded within the SCY 50 free final season, which got here on the heels of lacking a spot on the 2022 World Championship crew by .01 in Greensboro (24.53) after which successful the occasion at Summer time Nationals in a lifetime better of 24.47.

This season, Walsh almost reset her private greatest time on the NCAP Elite Qualifier in early June, blasting her solution to a time of 24.52 to rank third this season amongst Individuals. The one two sooner in 2022-23 are Weitzeil and her former College of Virginia teammate, Kate Douglass.

Douglass is a little bit of a wildcard on this race—she swam a private better of 24.40 on the Atlanta Basic in Might, and was within the hunt for a spot final 12 months, putting fifth at Trials in 24.67.

Nevertheless, after she opted for the 50 free over the 200 IM on the NCAA Championships in 2021 and 2022, Douglass raced the medley occasion this previous season. The 2 occasions additionally coincide at Nationals, and the expectation has been that Douglass will choose to deal with the 200 IM, the place she’s the reigning Olympic bronze medalist.

If that doesn’t change into the case, Douglass will certainly be an element, as not solely is she tied for Weitzeil as the highest American this 12 months, however she additionally owns two of the 5 swims sub-20.9 in historical past within the SCY occasion.

After which there’s the Stanford duo of Torri Huske and Claire Curzan.

Huske positioned first on the 2022 Trials in 24.50, which got here after she had a trio of 24.4 swims in 2021, putting third on the Olympic Trials behind Simone Manuel (24.29) and Weitzeil (24.30) in 24.46.

Curzan’s lifetime greatest additionally stems from 2021, having rocketed to a World Junior Document of 24.17 in-season on the TAC Titans Spring Invitational.

Huske and Curzan have had near-identical leads to the occasion of late, with Huske five-one hundredths faster than Curzan on the 2022 Trials (24.55), and this season the 2 are solely separated by .03: Huske was 25.26 on the Mission Viejo Professional Swim in Might, and Curzan was 25.29.

Between the 2 of them, the slight edge might need to go to Huske, if solely as a result of Curzan figures to have a busier schedule on the meet and the 50 free is the final occasion, however they’ll each be proper there with a shot at a top-two spot.

THE WORLD MEDALISTS

Solely two American ladies have received a medal on the World Championships within the 50 free during the last 25 years: Simone Manuel and Erika Brown.

After setting a greatest time of 24.57 in January 2020, after which matching that on the 2021 Olympic Trials, Brown produced the 2 quickest swims of her profession on the 2022 Trials, first clocking 24.48 within the prelims earlier than touching second behind Huske within the last at 24.52.

On the World Championships, Brown re-lowered her PB in 24.38 to tie for bronze with Australia’s Meg Harris, and is coming off of incomes a visit to the 50 free last at SC Worlds in December.

As certainly one of simply 5 Individuals underneath 25 seconds this season, Brown will as soon as once more be a risk to characterize the U.S. within the 50 free.

For Manuel, her standing as a real contender for a Fukuoka slot is up within the air. She’s now been coaching at Arizona State for the higher a part of 10 months, and whereas this system’s swimmers have skilled a ton of success as of late, we’ve but to see that come to fruition for Manuel in competitors.

Nevertheless, this will probably be her first taper meet since transferring to Tempe, and he or she certainly can’t be counted out, particularly after she discovered a solution to win the 50 free on the 2021 Olympic Trials after an prolonged layoff because of overtraining syndrome (and having missed the Olympic crew earlier within the meet within the 100 free).

The 26-year-old was the 2019 world champion within the occasion, and in 2017, received the silver medal en path to changing into the one American underneath 24 seconds.

This season, Manuel has been as quick as 25.18, finished in March on the Fort Lauderdale Professional Swim. In 2021, previous to successful the Olympic Trials in 24.29, she was 24.70 in March. We should always count on her to be effectively underneath 25 seconds at Trials, however she’ll seemingly have to get underneath 24.5 to make the crew, one thing she’s solely finished as soon as since 2019.

OTHER CONTENDERS

One swimmer who might shake up the established names within the occasion is Maxine Parker, the rising College of Virginia senior who went three full calendar years between sub-25 swims within the 50 free.

Parker received silver (behind future UVA teammate Gretchen Walsh, no much less) on the 2019 World Junior Championships in a time of 24.75, and didn’t get again underneath 25 till final month. Parker clocked 24.94 on the Atlanta Basic, after which put up her second-fastest swim ever on the NCAP Elite Qualifier in early June at 24.83, rating her fourth amongst Individuals this season.

The opposite swimmers who’ve been sub-25 for the reason that starting of 2022 are Gabi Albiero (24.89), Anna Moesch (24.92) and Natalie Hinds (24.97), whereas Amy FulmerCatie Deloof and Mallory Comerford have all been within the 25.0 vary.

Hinds and Albiero completed seventh and eighth, respectively, in final 12 months’s Trials last, whereas Moesch dropped almost four-tenths off her lifetime greatest (25.29 to 24.92) at YMCA Nationals final summer season on the age of 16. Moesch missed a portion of the 2022-23 quick course season with damage, however was 25.46 in Might, so she might simply be again difficult for one more sub-25 swim.

SWIMSWAM’S PICKS

Finally the battle between the highest 5 or 6 goes to be extraordinarily tight, and we’re betting on Douglass dropping the 50 free in favor of the 200 IM.

Darkish Horse: Erika Pelaez – Pelaez touched first within the junior last finally 12 months’s Trials in a greatest time of 25.38, lowered it to 25.31 at Summer time Nationals in July, after which set one other greatest time on the U.S. Open in December in 25.29. The 16-year-old just lately broke 22 seconds for the primary time in SCY, and an identical drop in LCM might see her within the ‘A’ last.



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