Nathan Adrian of Bremerton won the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, easing the disappointment of failing to qualify in the event four years ago. Adrian swept the sprint events at this year’s trials, as he also won the 100 free.
OMAHA, Neb. – Nathan Adrian of Bremerton won the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Saturday night, easing the disappointment of failing to qualify in the event four years ago.
Adrian, 27, swept the sprint events at this year’s trials, as he triumphed in the 100 free final Thursday.
In a furious charge from one end of the pool to the other in the 50 free, Adrian touched ahead of Anthony Ervin in 21.51 seconds. Ervin claimed the second spot for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics — one-hundredth of a second behind the winner.
“Happy we timed that wall properly,” Adrian said. “It comes from a lot of practice and that’s all there is to it.”
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Adrian surprisingly didn’t qualify for the U.S. team in the 50 free at the 2012 trials, though he did go on to capture Olympic gold in the 100 free in London.
Looking ahead to his Rio sprint double, Adrian said, “It’s not going to be easy.”
Two-time Olympian Cullen Jones won’t be heading to Brazil. The silver medalist from the London Games finished third at 21.75, missing a spot on the U.S. team.
At age 32, it might have been Jones’ last realistic shot at the Olympics. He was the final man to climb out of the pool, soaking up the moment for as long as possible.
Then again, age hasn’t been a hindrance to Ervin. According to USA Swimming officials, the 35-year-old is the oldest American to qualify for an individual Olympic event since 1904.
“I’m enjoying it more than 2000,” said Ervin, remembering his first Olympics as a 19-year-old. “That seems so long ago.”
Meanwhile, Michael Phelps — winner of a record 18 Olympic gold medals — wasn’t about to lose his last race in the United States.
Phelps won the 100 butterfly in 51.00.
In what was billed as the farewell race in his home country, Phelps saw the “1” beside his name, pounded the water and pointed toward his family — including 7-week-old son Boomer — up in the stands. He has a chance to win his fourth straight gold in the 100 fly at Rio.
“A 51.0 is OK,” Phelps said, “but it’s going to take more than that to win a gold medal.”
When his coach, Bob Bowman, asked for a game plan before the race, the 31-year-old Phelps kept it simple.
“I don’t want to lose my last race on American soil,” he said.
Katie Ledecky and Maya DiRado also won their third individual events on the next-to-last night of trials.
Ledecky dominated the 800 free, winning in 8:10.32. Earlier in the competition, the 19-year-old won the 200 and 400 free finals.
DiRado followed her victories in the 200 and 400 individual medley by knocking off defending Olympic champion Missy Franklin in the 200 backstroke. DiRado’s time was 2:06.90.
Franklin finished second to at least ensure she will get a chance to go for another gold in Rio. “I got a spot and that’s all that I needed to do,” she said.
Lisa Bratton of Richland finished third.
Franklin will compete in two individual events and one relay in Rio, a far cry from her grueling seven-event program in London four years ago.
“One of the things I’ve been trying to do this whole year is not compare myself to where I was in 2012,” she said. “I’m here to be the best of who I am right now.”