U.S. Olympic Trials: Abbey Weitzeil Claims 50 Freestyle (24.28), Puts Bow On Sprint Double

Abbey Weitzeil by Patrick B. Kraemer

Abbey Weitzeil completed the sprint double, clocking 24.28 to edge Simone Manuel (24.33) in the 50 freestyle.

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Peter Lee

I am so so so disappointed Kennedy didn’t make the team. One of my favourite swimmers.


What an interesting women freestyle team is heading to Rio. Five swimmers fit ten individual spots. It is the youngest but already bright team where the oldest and the worst member is Missy Franklin.


Missy is not the worst member, she will fire in Rio!


I can see USA will have a greaaat team for 2020 Olympics.But I think is premature to talk about individual medals like some people are telling.Weitzel still is near 0.3s behind the medal zone in 50free(a huge leap).


Note:I am talking about women’s sprinting, of course!


@gheco. Missy Franklin was mentioned not because she is bad, but because other four girls are better.
Ledecky – all time best
Smith – second all-time best at 400
Weitzeil and Manual – all time best among Americans at 50 and 100.
Franklin – 1:56 at 200.
P.S. I don’t count 2008-2009 results.


My initial read on US women’s prospects.

50free: finalists. whilst they may improve another 0.10 – 0.15. it would need to be a slow race like Kazan for them to be in medal contention and we are already seeing much faster times.

100FR: finalists at best, maybe only one

200FR: Ledecky a potential gold but maybe not as assured as previously thought. Franklin v outside medal chance

400FR: barring illness/injury Ledecky Gold. Smith likely minor medal

800FR: as per 400 re Ledecky. Smith outside medal chance

100BACK: Smoliga outside medal chance. Baker no cert to final

200BACK: A non-vintage year in this event. Both DiRado & Franklin medal chances but not sure bets

100BRS: King Gold favourite

200BRS: Would need major PBs + slow race to factor in medals. Neither look certain finalists

100FLY: Worrell strong minor medal chance. Vollmer some minor medal chance

200FLY: Adams minor medal chance

200IM: DiRado good minor medal chance not a certain one. Margalis maybe needing PB to final

400IM: See 200IM. Beisel injury makes her doubtful

4×100: likely minor medal. Would require major advances/AUS break or hit by illness injury to win

4×200: strong Gold favourites

4xMED: likely medal, colour uncertain. Could win but not favourites


Is it worse or better than at last OG. Where does this team stand compare to other teams? Where was a progress and where is decline. Is it generational issue or just some swimmers improved/declined. Such analysis will be interesting to know. The above reading by itself is prety much obvious.


Yozhik. These were the US female medallists from London and as best I can recall how they were perceived before the meet.

Schmitt 200free GOLD – went in favourite
Schmitt 400free SILVER – race a bit of a lottery going in, Schmitt seen as medal chance
Ledecky 800free GOLD – not the favourite (Adlington ?) but seen as medal chance
Franklin 100back GOLD – US pundits saw her as favourite maybe less so internationally
Franklin 200back GOLD – went in favourite
Soni 100brs SILVER – went in a favourite or near favourite. Ruta was a “bolter”
Soni 200brs GOLD – favourite
Vollmer 100fly GOLD – favourite
Leverenz 200IM BRONZE – seen as a medal chance but not a front line one
Beisel 400IM SILVER – went in as a favourite upset by Ye
4×100 BRONZE – seen as a medal chance US pundits may have “pumped up” for gold but most intl money was on NED
4×200 GOLD – favourites
4xMED GOLD – favourites

Hope this is of some assistance



Craig Lord

A touch more on relative strength and weakness (more analysis later in the week):
The 2012-2016 pre-Games runes from the rankings – going into battle:

2012: 5 No1 Ranks; 2 swimmers ranked in top 3 in 7 events; 23 selected swimmers in top 10 across all solo events
2016: 2 No1 Ranks; 2 swimmers ranked in top 3 in 4 events; 24 selected swimmers in top 10 across all solo events

2012: 7 No1 Ranks; 2 swimmers ranked in top 3 in 3 events; 23 selected swimmers in top 10 across all solo events
2016: 4 No1 Ranks; 2 swimmers ranked in top 3 in 2 events; 22 selected swimmers in top 10 across all solo events

kevin roose

Commonwombat you come up with 5 strong potential gold medalists womens American team ….
I came up with 5 also in the Australian team
Campbell 50 free
Campbell 100 free
Seebohm 100 back
4 x 100 free
4 x 100 medley …….
Its a dual in the pool for the womens USA V AUSTRALIA


I’d put it at 3 overwhelming favourites (4×100, C1 50/100free).

Classify Seebohm as favourite but not nearly as secure a bet as those above. W4XMED favourites but only narrow ones.

Seebohm could double up in 200back but that event resembles a lottery.

I see Sjostrom as overwhelming favourite (same bracket as Ledecky/C1) in 100fly. Hosszu strong favourite in both medleys (nearly in same bracket as prev mentioned).

200BRS & 200FLY harder to call but would not surprise to see at least one of these go to a Japanese competitor with Belmonte a major factor in the latter. I only see Groves as an outside chance due to her poor intl record.


Soni’s 100 breast in London was as strong favorite as Jones’ 200 breast in Beijing. She strongest gold favorite in women events, the WR holder and had fastest time going in.


By the way I also agree with CW assessment of USA women medal chances in Rio. I think overall, this 2016 edition is as strong as 2012. In 2012 there was Missy, here you have Ledecky. Sprint is definitely much stronger. Breast probably less medal but may still end up with the same 1 gold. Fly is not really weaker (Worrell), but the event is just much more competitive (hi Sarah), IM is probably a bit less strong.

kevin roose

I think you will find Australia will go with Elmslie, Wilson , Coutts and Mckeon in the heat of the womens 4 x 100 free …….
Coutts went 44.09 at trials Wilson went under 44 seconds in the Grand Prix……
Keeping the two Campbell sisters fresh for a real crack at the world record in the final….
I suspect that Mckeon will lead to off in the final ensuring clear water to Elmslie then to Bronte to Cate …..


I will most certainly buckle up if Coutts and Wilson go 44.0!


The state of their women’s sprinting looks dire. Federica Pellegrini swam a faster 100 (53.18”) than their fastest Trials qualifier. Granted, she was not at a pressure-packed meet like the Trials but in a very comfortable pre-Olympic meet in Rome, but still, she does not train for the 100.

kevin roose

i was referring to the final aswimfan not the heat ,and the times they have done this year not what they will do in Rio please do me the courtesy of reading what i say ……..

kevin roose

Certainly the first day in the pool at Rio is a welcome schedule for Australia …..having the opportunity to flex there immense power in womens sprinting .
Show casing three swimmers all under 53 seconds this year in the womens 4 x 100 relay ……
Mckeon look out for her this will be a break out meet, early look at her in the 100 butterfly heats and then semi ………
Horton is the key though if he can live up to his number ranking in the 400 and take the gold gives team Australia real momentum for the the next 7 days to come ….
Can Australia walk away from night one with two gold medals ?????
Is it feasible America walk away with none ??

kevin roose

Aplogies for the typo i meant to say Coutts 54.09 Wilson under 54 ………too many dealines to meet ….tired


How a swimmer can swim 53.18 without being trained for that. Was it a miracle?

Eugene Chc

Federica must confirm that this is not a random result


Olympics first day is traditionally not USA strong day, so they’ve rarely won more than 1 gold in the first day.
As the opposite, Australia’s strongest day has always been the first day since 2000.
But, as London has proven, first day me not be good indicator how the rest of the week unfolds.

As for 53.18, I hope that Federica’s newly improved speed does not come at the expense of her endurance.
I’m more excited for 200 in Rio than I did for it in Kazan. And I hope it will be a better race. Kazan was too nervy.


I did not say she does not train for speed, Yozhik. Obviously she does . I said she does not train specifically for the 100 free, unlike Manuel and Weitzeil, ’cause she has the 200 as her main focus. Fede declared that she has not decided yet whether she will swim the 100 (individual race) in Rio. I find it significant that an Italian 200 free swimmer is faster than the fastest American.

and Aswimfan, since Fede swam 1.54 for the first time in her life (textile) I would answer no, her endurance was not compromised. It’s an act of delicate balance though.


Luigi, if not to count two Campbell siblings who are the extreme of the same magnitude as Ledecky on the other side of racing spectrum only a few penetrated under 53sec and it was done very recently. 53 low was (and probably still is) the club of elite sprinters. 53.18 isn’t just fast swimming. It is very fast. You are telling that this dormant speed was sitting inside Pellegrini for ( how many?) ten – twelve years and suddenly erupted without no help of dedicated sprint focusing training. If it is so then it is also a scary extreme. I think that Pellegrini’s case isn’t an appropriate measuring gauge. That is the case that deserves the study/ investigation by itself because of its uniqueness.


Luigi my last comment was submitted before I read your last one.


What were splits of Pellegrini’s 53.18? Thanks


Yozhik, let’s put things in perspective. First of all, it’s not unusual for a 200-400 free specialist to also be a very good 100 freestyler, countless examples there. In fact, you need the base speed to swim the 200 successfully, it’s a prolonged sprint.

Besides, Fede was a 100 free specialist in her early years, plus she swims the 100 for relay duty at any major competition and she always swims it at Nationals (where she is virtually unchallenged). So she is definitively familiar with the two-lapper!

What I was saying is that her training is not focused towards the 100, like the American sprinters I mentioned. The 100 is a side dish in her menu, so to speak. I guess that in her training she does more yardage than they do (or distributed differently) and has less emphasis on the dive and the turn, for example. But she still went faster. To me, this is significant both of her progresses and of the relatively low state of American female sprint. Then of course maybe one of these girls will go 52 in Rio and we will know they were only half tapered or were paralyzed by race stress in Omaha.

Craig Lord

‘In 25.56 to 25.90, the Olympic 100m champion was out ahead of the Olympic 200m champion of 2008. Then came the catch up: 27.58 and 27.28.’
As stated here, Yozhik:


Luigi, I know that you are proud of Federica and I do not know who isn’t. The reason that I got engaged in this discussion is very simple. Just because Sarah Sjostrom can swim 400 at 4:06 (and for sure faster if she wants to), can swim 200 at 1.54.3 (and can be faster if she wants to) her 52.6 in no way can be used to measure slowness of some sprinters. Pellegrini is the great sprinter who can go beyond 100 distace. There is no reason to highlight her greatness by comparing her with another sprinters who are about her 100 speed but are nothing at longer distances. If Pellegrini is capablele to keep this high altitude training effect for one month longer something very intriguing awaits us in Rio at 200 FR race.


🙂 so saying in simple English it is 53.18 (25.9-27.28). Thank you Craig.
What can I say? The 50m super specialist Cate Campbell does the second half much better than 200m medal contender, Federica Pellegrini. Still a lot of things to work on for Federica 🙂


In this regards (backend speed) it is interesting to see where tech suite helps more
Campbell’s splits – 24.89/52.06 (27.17)
Steffen’s splits – 25.46/52.07 (26.61)

Craig Lord

Indeed, Yozhik: as I stated in various ways from 2008 through 2009 – swimmers did not feel the knock of fatigue at the backend of races as they do under their own steam. They were propped and buoyed. Anyone who has ever done a set wearing flippers (fins) and then done the same set without has an idea of the difference in ‘feel’, particularly for those whose natural angle of buoyancy required them to do a lot of core work to get it to a place benevolent to speed in water.


Pellegrini already swam 54 something at the age of 15.
So it seems the speed was always there, it’s just the focus of her training that masked her 100 speed.
There are other similar swimmers: Yannick Agnel. In 2008-2011 he was mainly training for 200-400 with occasional 100 or 800 races with unremarkable 100 results. But when he changed his focus after unsuccessful 2011 Shanghai, he found his speed and in London he swam 47 which was quite shocking as he was known as 200-400 before.

Again, this highlights the notion that to be equally successful in more than 2 freestyle distances at the same time is extremely difficult.

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