OMAHA, NE - Georgia's Allison Schmitt lowered the American record in the women's 200-meter freestyle and teammate Shannon Vreeland likely joined her on the United States Olympic team during the U.S. Trials on Thursday at CenturyLink Center.
Schmitt went 1:54.40 in the finals of the 200-meter freestyle to eclipse her own American record of 1:54.96 set in 2009 and her U.S. Open mark of 1:55.04 established earlier this month. Schmitt's 1:54.40 is the fastest time in the world this year. Schmitt, a rising senior from Canton, Mich., previously qualified for the London Games in the 400-meter freestyle.
"I knew I had to take it out fast to post a good time," Schmitt said. "That's what I tried to do. Then I had to try to hold on the last 100. I didn't feel like I was on my record pace, but I could hear the crowd. And when I touched and saw the flames go off, I was pretty excited before I even looked up and saw the time."
Vreeland, a rising junior from Overland Park, Kansas, stopped the clock in 1:57.90 to come in fifth. Only the top four swimmers are guaranteed a spot on the Olympic team for relays, but the United States typically takes two alternates in case of illness or issues with performance. Alternates may swim in earlier rounds to help a country advance. If Vreeland is named to the team later in the Trials as expected, it would be her first Olympic appointment.
"I'm just happy as heck for Schmitty and Shannon," Georgia coach Jack Bauerle said. "Allison works so hard and is such a tremendous competitor. She deserves everything she's gotten. She had a terrific race, and I think she can go even faster. And what can I say about Shannon? This is a night she'll never forget. Shannon has done everything we've ever asked her to do. When I talked to her after the race, she was absolutely elated."
Rising senior Megan Romano just missed a likely Olympic berth as she came in seventh in 1:58.56. Said Bauerle, "We have mixed emotions right now because we're so happy for Allison and Shannon but disappointed along with Megan. But she's not done yet. She's got a shot in the 100 free starting tomorrow."
Former Bulldog Mark Dylla placed fifth in the men's 200-meter butterfly, stopping the clock in 1:57.84. In the women's 200-meter individual medley, rising senior Jana Mangimelli came in eighth with a time of 2:15.19.
Signee Matt Ellis placed 12th in the semifinals of the men's 100-meter freestyle with a time of 49.44. During the prelims, former Bulldog Stephen Swan was 89th in 51.29, rising junior Doug Reynolds came in 93rd in 51.30, ex-Bulldog Kevin Frankenfeld took 105th in 51.45, former Bulldog Michael Arnold came in 128th in 51.75 and rising junior Jameson Hill placed 133rd in 51.80.
Signee Hali Flickinger led the Georgia contingent in the women's 200-meter butterfly during the prelims as she touched in 2:13.44 to come in 25th. Rising sophomore Lauren Harrington came in 35th in 2:14.43, rising sophomore Courtney Peters was 67th in 2:16.72 and ex-Lady Bulldog Adrienne Bicek was 126th in 2:23.17.
Rising sophomore Nic Fink narrowly missed advancing to the semifinals of the men's 200-meter breaststroke as he placed 17th with a time of 2:13.89. Signee Chase Kalisz came in 27th in 2:15.81, followed by ex-Bulldog Bill Cregar (38th, 2:17.01) and incoming freshman Zach Gunn (77th, 2:20.48).