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Olympic Swimming Trials
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U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials set new dates in 2021 in Omaha

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The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, originally scheduled for June 21-28 in Omaha, will now be June 13-20, 2021 at the same venue.

The Olympic Trials event schedule will remain the same across the 15-session, eight-day meet.

The top two finishers per individual event are in line to qualify for the Tokyo Games. Usually, the top six finishers in the 100m and 200m freestyles also qualify for relays.

Trials will be one week earlier in relation to the Olympics, which moved from July 24-Aug. 9, 2020 to July 23-Aug. 8, 2021.

As of Friday, 1,213 athletes have achieved the 2020 qualifying times to swim at trials. USA Swimming anticipates those swimmers will remain qualified for 2021. Updated trials qualifying standards will be released before swimming competition resumes.

Around 1,800 swimmers qualified to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Omaha, announced as host in May 2017, will hold the trials for a record fourth straight time.

The trials were first held at the CHI Health Center Center (then the Qwest Center) in 2008, after they were in Long Beach, Calif., in 2004 and Indianapolis in 1992, 1996 and 2000.

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When Michael Phelps raced Libby Trickett at Duel in the Pool

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At the peak of his career, Michael Phelps was upstaged in a race by a swimmer who went four seconds slower.

Australian Libby Trickett did more than hold her own against Phelps to lead off the opening event of the 2007 Duel in the Pool, a mixed-gender 4x100m freestyle relay.

Trickett, then known as Libby Lenton shortly before she got married, became the first woman to break 53 seconds, while Phelps went 48.72 in a head-to-head at the Sydney 2000 Olympic swimming venue.

“I was trash-talking … asking what he has got and telling him if he is going to bring it tonight. I think deep down he was really scared of me,” Trickett said, joking, according to The Associated Press. “Before the race he said good luck. He is a good competitor to race against, and I will remember that for the rest of my life — that I raced against Michael Phelps.”

Australia went on to win the relay by 2.49 seconds, in large part because Trickett swam .31 faster than the women’s 100m free world record. Normally, relay leadoff swims are eligible to break individual world records.

But FINA later ruled that Trickett’s time was not record eligible because the mixed 4x100m free was not an approved event. (Mixed-gender relays debuted at the world championships in 2015 and will debut at the Olympics in Tokyo next year.)

“I am a little disappointed because I know in my heart what time I swam and that time is faster than the existing world record,” Trickett said in 2007, according to Swimming Australia. “However, having said that, the disappointment can take nothing away from the fact I now know I am capable of swimming under 53 seconds and I will continue to strive to improve every aspect of my swimming.”

Trickett broke the world record officially at the 2008 Australian Olympic Trials, clocking 52.88 to take .42 off German Britta Steffen‘s mark. The world record has since been lowered all the way to 51.71 by Swede Sarah Sjöström at the 2017 World Championships.

Phelps’ time was impressive, his second-fastest 100m free at the point in his career. He raced tired, two days after that year’s world championships finished in Melbourne. Phelps earned seven golds at those worlds, and he has said 2007 was his peak, rather than 2008.

He raced strategically against Trickett, not allowing her to draft off him in the adjacent lane.

“I remember going down the first lap, and she was kind of right at my shins,” Phelps said with a laugh, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is not good.’ I knew she would jump up on the lane line and kind of drag, the smart way to do it. I remember I was going right into the 50 [meter] wall, and I turned and went completely on the other side of the lane.”

Trickett won five golds at the 2007 Worlds and another four medals at the 2008 Olympics, though Steffen edged her for 100m free gold by .04.

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‘It’s our life’: Michael Phelps offers perspective on Olympic postponement

Michael Phelps
TODAY
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Michael Phelps tried to put himself in the position of Tokyo Olympic hopefuls, who must wait another year for the start of the Games.

“It’s our life,” Phelps said on TODAY on Monday. “I’ve tried to replay what I would be going through emotionally at this very time if I was still competing. It’s hard to really kind of comprehend it.”

Phelps, who retired after the Rio Games with a record 28 Olympic medals and 23 golds, urged athletes to find the positive in the postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“You go through something for four years. We kind of know exactly when it’s going to to come, and our bodies are ready for it, and then we have to wait,” he said. “The biggest thing now is everybody to look at this as an opportunity, an opportunity for another year, fine-tuning some small things that are going to help you make a big difference.”

In interviews two weeks ago, reacting to the postponement announcement, Phelps stressed focus on the mental health of athletes.

“I really, really hope we don’t see an increase in athlete suicide rates because of this,” Phelps told NBCSports.com’s Tim Layden. “Because the mental health component is by far the biggest thing here. This postponement is uncharted waters. We’ve never seen this before. It was the right decision, but it breaks my heart for the athletes.”

Phelps, so open about his battle leading into Rio, said he still struggles with depression and anxiety and has a therapist. A day or two in the last three weeks has been difficult for Phelps, who at the same time is cherishing his extra time at home with his wife and three young boys.

“If you are in a spot where you need help, to reach out and ask for help,” Phelps said when asked the advice he is giving people. “It was something that was very difficult for me to do.”

MORE: Most decorated U.S. female Olympian on front line of coronavirus fight

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