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Dressel secures position in 100 free; Manuel out

by The Associated. Press | June 18, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.
Caeleb Dressel reacts after winning the men's 100 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Caeleb Dressel locked up his spot for Tokyo, where he's expected to be one of the biggest stars in the Olympic pool.

Simone Manuel got left behind.

In the biggest surprise yet at the U.S. swimming trials, the defending Olympic women's champion in the 100-meter freestyle failed to advance from the semifinals Thursday night.

Manuel, who tied for the gold at the Rio Olympics to become the first Black woman ever to win an individual swimming event, finished fourth in the first semifinal heat at 54.17 seconds.

She just missed a spot in tonight's final when five swimmers went faster in the second semifinal heat, with Erika Brown taking the eighth spot in 54.15 -- two-hundredths faster than Manuel.

There were no such concerns for Dressel, who romped to victory in the men's 100 free in 47.39.

He finally got a chance to shine on Day 5 of the trials after a long week of waiting. When Dressel saw a "1" beside his name, he hopped on the lane rope, splashed the water and pumped his arms to whip up the crowd.

"It's a huge weight off my shoulders," Dressel said. "I'm excited to get the job done and move forward."

After winning two golds medals at the 2016 Rio Games, he really shined at the last two world championships.

In 2017, Dressel captured seven gold medals in Budapest -- joining Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz as the only swimmers to win that many races at a major international meet.

Dressel followed up with six golds and two silvers at the 2019 championships in Gwangju, becoming only the second swimmer to take as many as eight medals after Phelps.

While Dressel isn't expected to swim enough events in Tokyo to challenge Phelps' record of eight golds from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he could be in the mix for as many seven medals if he's included on all the relays.

Dressel isn't thinking that far ahead. He's still got two more individual events at the trials, and he's heavily favored in both.

"You can't win five, six or seven medals if you don't qualify for the events," he said. "I'm focused on qualifying right now."

Thirty-six-year-old Ryan Lochte advanced to the final of the 200 individual medley, his only realistic chance to qualify for his fifth Olympics.

But Lochte has his work cut out for him. Michael Andrew dominated the semifinals with a time of 1:55.26 -- fastest in the world this year. Lochte was the sixth-fastest qualifier at 1:58.65, nearly 3 1/2 seconds behind Andrew.

Only the top two will make the Olympic team today.

In the men's 200 breaststroke, Nic Fink made the Olympics for the first time at age 27, winning with a time of 2:07.55 in a 1-2 finish with club teammate Andrew Wilson.

Fink failed to finish in the top two at either the 2012 or 2016 trials, and he had another heartbreak with a third-place showing in the 100 breast this year.

Now, finally, he's got his long-sought spot on the Olympic team.

"It's something I can't really describe," Fink said. "Relief is only the beginning of what I'm feeling right now. It's a long journey to come here. I've had so much support and help. I'm so grateful for this opportunity and to come back after getting third in the 100."

Hali Flickinger won the 200 butterfly to expand her program for Tokyo. She already had a runner-up finish in the 400 individual medley.

Flickinger finished seventh in the 200 fly at the Rio Olympics. She's hoping to contend for a medal after moving to Arizona to swim for Bob Bowman,

"It's helped tremendously, and my swimming is really showing that," Flickinger said. "I love the group that I train with every single day, along with Bob. I'm really grateful."

The U.S. team added another first-time Olympian when Bobby Finke of Clearwater, Fla., won the men's 800 freestyle, an event that will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

He covered 16 laps in 7:48.22, holding off runner-up Michael Brinegar (7:49.94). Ross Dant just missed an Olympic spot, finishing a mere 72-hundredths behind Brinegar in a thrilling finish.

Caeleb Dressel reacts after winning the men's 100 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Caeleb Dressel reacts after winning the men's 100 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - In this July 27, 2019, file photo, United States' Simone Manuel starts a heat of the women's 50-meter freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
FILE - In this July 27, 2019, file photo, United States' Simone Manuel starts a heat of the women's 50-meter freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
Ryan Lochte kisses his daughter after his heat in the men's 200 Individual Medley during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Ryan Lochte kisses his daughter after his heat in the men's 200 Individual Medley during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Caeleb Dressel reacts after winning the men's 100 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Caeleb Dressel reacts after winning the men's 100 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Caeleb Dressel hugs Zach Apple after winning the men's 100 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Caeleb Dressel hugs Zach Apple after winning the men's 100 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Ryan Lochte participates in the men's 200 Individual Medley during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Ryan Lochte participates in the men's 200 Individual Medley during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Nic Fink reacts after winning the men's 200 breaststroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Nic Fink reacts after winning the men's 200 breaststroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Nic Fink participates in the men's 200 breaststroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Nic Fink participates in the men's 200 breaststroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Nic Fink participates in the men's 200 breaststroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Nic Fink participates in the men's 200 breaststroke during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Print Headline: Dressel secures position in 100 free; Manuel out

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