U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

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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Maya DiRado swimming for last shot at 1st Olympics

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Maya DiRado is peaking at just the right time to make her first – and last – Olympic swimming team.

The late bloomer is swimming some of the fastest times of her career heading into her third U.S. trials, and yet at 23, she’s poised to call it quits no matter what happens starting Sunday in Omaha.

DiRado’s goal is to finish off her career in Rio de Janeiro. But if she doesn’t qualify, she’ll be equally content hanging up her suit and cap to start the business analyst job waiting for her this fall in Atlanta.

“It’s so much easier to be excited about all of this and give it everything I have when I know that this is my last go-through,” she said Saturday. “I think it’s a sign that my preparation this year has been really good and that I’m ready to move on to something new.”

Before she does, DiRado kicks off the trials in the 400-meter individual medley on Sunday. Her competition includes Katie Ledecky, who emerged as a star four years ago at trials, when DiRado finished fourth in the event. She also finished fourth in the 200 IM that year. Only the top two make the Olympic team.

“You can’t get into too much how everybody else swims that race,” she said. “I just have to make sure all my strokes are firing and put together the best 400 that I can have.”

DiRado’s other events at trials are the 200 IM, 200 backstroke and possibly 200 freestyle.

Having started swimming at age 6, DiRado made national teams and incrementally improved, but it wasn’t until the last two years that she stamped herself as a medal contender. She won a silver in the 400 IM at last year’s world championships in Russia, and gold and silver in the IM events at the Pan Pacific championships in 2014.

“It’s always been a little bit better, a little bit better,” she said. “There have been some years where it hasn’t gotten better but it’s just like steps forward. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to keep improving; I know that doesn’t happen for everybody.”

Unlike so many swimmers, the trials aren’t the be-all and end-all for DiRado. She’s already lined up the next phase of her life with her husband and new job. The couple plans to travel to London and Paris at the end of August, allowing DiRado to ponder future meals in Paris, including how many croissants she can devour without consequence.

“Obviously, I’m super focused on the meet right now, and I’m really excited to swim,” she said, “but it’s just so nice to have that break and knowing that life goes on after this eight days, and hopefully the next month or so.”

DiRado graduated from Stanford with a degree in management science and engineering, and she admits that spending the last two years as a professional swimmer hasn’t exactly taxed her brain. The daily routine of practice, napping and watching TV bored her.

“After a couple months of that you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can feel my brain atrophying,’ and it was really hard,” she said. “At one point, I was like, ‘Well, if I keep swimming, was Stanford the most stressed my brain was ever going to get?’ And that totally freaked me out.”

To combat the lack of intellectual stimulation, DiRado read a lot and did coding exercises provided by husband Rob Andrews, a software engineer she met when both were swimming in college. She also did online training to prepare for her future job with McKinsey & Company, a high-powered management consulting firm that once employed Chelsea Clinton.

“My fellow class of BAs that are coming in are really supportive and wished me good luck,” she said.

DiRado plans to leave the San Francisco Bay area, where she’s spent her entire life, and move to Atlanta with her husband after their European vacation.

“That’s part of the reason I’ve been able to stay relatively calm and sane this year is just knowing that I have Rob,” she said. “I have that support and that love, and it’s going to be fine.”

MORE: For Michael Phelps at Olympic Trials, nothing is a lock

Five men’s races to watch at U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte
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With 26 events over eight days, there will be plenty to watch at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, starting Sunday on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

Here are five men’s events to focus on:

Men’s 200m individual medley – July 1
Michael Phelps touched first in the 200 IM at the past three Olympics. Ryan Lochte owns two Olympic silvers and a bronze from this event. Lochte holds the world record (1:54.00), but Phelps was the world’s top-ranked swimmer in the event in 2015. Phelps has beaten Lochte at the past three U.S. Olympic Trials, yet Lochte has won the event at the past four World Championships (Phelps was present only in 2011, though). The top two Americans at Trials will earn berths in Rio; it’d be shocking to see anyone other than Phelps and Lochte take the spots.

TRIALS: Broadcast ScheduleEntry Lists
PREVIEWS: Men | Women
FIVE KEY RACES: Men | Women

Men’s 50m freestyle – July 2
The fastest event on the docket always brings excitement. Cullen Jones won the silver medal in London, but he’s 32 now and the fifth-best American in the 50 free. The top seed is Nathan Adrian, defending Olympic gold medalist in the 100; he placed third in the 50 at Trials four years ago. The second seed is 19-year-old Caeleb Dressel, who won the 2015 Nationals in 21.53 (which would have given him silver in London). NBC Olympics analyst Rowdy Gaines says Dressel is “just magical to watch in the water.” Hoping to crack the top two will be Anthony Ervin, the 35-year-old who won 50m Olympic gold all the way back in 2000, when Dressel was 4.

Men’s 100m backstroke – June 28
Matt Grevers is the reigning Olympic champion in the 100 backstroke, but he’s no lock to make it to Rio in the event. He’ll be the second seed with a top time of 52.54, behind David Plummer (52.51) and just in front of Ryan Murphy (52.57). Plummer finished runner-up to Grevers at the 2013 Worlds, and along with Murphy is looking to make his Olympic debut.

Men’s 100m butterfly – July 2
Phelps is the reigning national champion, world record holder, and has the fastest time since the beginning of 2015 (50.45), but he’ll be challenged by Tom Shields, the fourth-place finisher at the 2015 Worlds seeking his first Olympics. He’s the owner of the world’s fifth-fastest time since January 2015 (51.03). Jack Conger, a 21-year-old looking to make his Olympic debut, was Phelps’ runner-up at 2015 Nationals (51.33). Then there’s Lochte seeded fifth (51.55), always a guy to keep an eye on.

Men’s 200m breaststroke – June 30
Kevin Cordes, 22, is the fastest American right now, posting a 2:08.54 at the 2015 Worlds to take home silver. That’s the third-fastest time in the world since January 2015, but he went lower (2:07.86) at the 2014 Summer Nationals. Josh Prenot, also 22, clocked in at 2:08.58 earlier this year, good for eighth in the world. And another 22-year-old, Nic Fink, owns the 10th-fastest time at 2:08.89. All of these men are looking for their first trip to the Olympics.