With a mix of returning Olympians and fresh faces, the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team is sure to make waves at the Tokyo Games. In total, 53 swimmers have been named to represent Team USA, including an astonishing 11 teenagers making their Olympic debut in Tokyo.
Below are some of the names to know from the Olympic roster.
24-year-old Caeleb Dressel will return for his second Olympics this summer. Dressel will compete in the 50m free, 100m free, 100m butterfly, and up to four relay events. In the semifinals for the 100m butterfly, His time was 49.76, cutting it close to the world record (49.50). Dressel, who has won 13 world championships since his last Olympics appearance, is in a position to not only win gold but potentially break his own world record at the Tokyo Olympics. He’s already won two gold medals from the 4x100m freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley relay from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
25-year-old Abbey Weitzeil qualified for three events in the Tokyo Games: the 50m free, 100m free and 4×100m free relay. In 2016, she won silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay and gold in the 4x100m medley relay. Weitzeil, who finished 12th in the 50m free in Rio, was only 0.01 seconds behind Simone Manuel in that event at Trials, securing a spot in the Olympics.
At 31, Allison Schmitt is one of the oldest swimmers to represent Team USA in Tokyo and one of the most experienced Olympians. Schmitt competed in the last three Olympics and accumulated a total of eight medals, four of which are gold. With this being her fourth Olympics, she is one short of the record for most Olympic appearances in women’s swimming. Given her experience and skill level, Schmitt is expected to be a major factor in her events: the 200m free, 4×200m free relay, and 4×100m free relay.
Simone Manuel already has four medals — two silver and two gold — from the 2016 Rio Olympics. With her 100m gold medal, Manuel became the first African American woman to win gold in an individual swimming event, but she will not defend that title in Tokyo after missing the cut at Trials. Despite battling overtraining syndrome in the buildup to the competition, Manuel bounced back to win the 50m free by 0.01 seconds on the final night of Trials to secure a spot in her second Olympic Games.
Ryan Murphy is returning to the Olympics, competing in two of the same events that earned him gold in the 2016 Rio Games: the 100m and 200m backstroke. He also won gold from the 4x100m medley swimming with Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian and Cody Miller. Murphy’s 100m backstroke broke a world record in 2016, making him a strong candidate for another gold medal this summer.
27-year-old Chase Kalisz will compete in the 200m and 400m individual in Tokyo. He previously won silver in the 2016 Games for the 400m IM, and after winning that event at Trials with a time of 4:09.09, he will be a gold-medal threat this summer. As for the 200m IM, Kalisz was in fifth at the 100m mark at Trials but moved up to second with 50m to go. “I certainly think I have a lot more to give in that,” he suggested afterward.
Specializing in breaststroke, Lilly King hopes for another Olympic gold to add to her collection this year. She qualified for the 100m and 200m breast, two events that she also competed in during the 2016 Rio Games. That year, King won gold in the 100m breast and the 4x100m medley. While she came in 12th in the 200m breast in the 2016 Games, her performance in the Trials (2:21.75) shows promise for the Tokyo Games.
Of all the returning Olympians, Katie Ledecky will swim the most individual events in Tokyo after qualifying for the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle races. She’ll also compete in the 4×200m freestyle relay. Ledecky has been breaking world records since she was 16 and her momentum has only increased throughout her 20s. This will be her third Olympics – the 24-year-old already has five gold medals and one silver medal – making her already one of the most decorated female swimmers of all time. She’s is expected to win plenty more this summer and could become the first American woman to reach 10 career gold medals.
New to the Games
At 26 years old, Annie Lazor is already an experienced and accomplished swimmer. She will compete in Tokyo in the 200m breast, one of three events she won at the 2019 Pan American Games. Lazor narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 100m breast after finishing third at Trials, but she bounced back to win the 200m breast with a time of 2:21.07. It was a difficult year for Lazor, who endured the sudden death of her father, but despite adversity, she is ready to compete in Tokyo alongside her training partner and close friend Lilly King.
In his Olympic debut, Michael Andrew will represent Team USA in the 100m breast, 200m IM and 50m free. At 17, he was just seconds away from joining the US team in the 2016 Olympic Trials, placing fourth in the 100m backstroke. In this year’s Trials, however, Andrew dominated with impressive times in all three events. His performance also made history, as Andrew will be the first US swimmer to compete in the Games for both breaststroke and an event other than a medley.
At 21 years old, Rhyan White will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo, competing in the 100m and 200m back. With her specialty in backstroke, White consistently did well in her events. She touched second in the 100m back finals, posting a time of 58.60. In the 200m back, White not only won the final but came out with a personal best of 2:05.73. In one of the week’s biggest upsets, that swim helped deny Regan Smith, who holds the world-record time in the 200m back, a spot in that event. White, who grew up in Utah, currently swims at the University of Alabama.
Bobby Finke will take on the distance double in Tokyo after qualifying for both the 800m free and 1500m free for his debut Olympics. He finished first in both events, with a time of 14:46.06 in the 1500m final and a time of 7:48.22 in the 800m final. Finke has seen success in these events in the past, finishing second in the 1500m and third in the 800m free at the 2018 U.S. National Championships. In 2016, he competed at Olympic Trials but finished well outside the qualifying spots for Rio.
For his first Olympics, Kieran Smith qualified for three events: the 200m free, 400m free, and 4×200m free relay. The University of Florida swimmer qualified for his first Olympic event, the
400m free, with a time of 3:44.86 that was well under his personal best — in fact, he had yet to meet the Olympic standard time until that swim. He added his second event, the 200m free, two nights later and became the first member of this year’s team to qualify in multiple events. The Connecticut resident stands at a towering 6’5” at 21 years old.
After an impressive performance during the Trials, Torri Huske will compete in her first Olympics at 18 years old. She touched first in the 100m butterfly with a time of 55.66 to earn herself a spot in the Tokyo Games. Prior to that race, she had broken the American record during her semifinal heat. In doing so, she became the second American to record a time of under 56 seconds in this event, making her a clear contender in Tokyo.
16-year-old Claire Curzan will compete in the 100m butterfly in Tokyo this summer. During the final at Trials, Curzan battled against Kate Douglass and Kelsi Dahlia, and managed to get runner-up with a time of 56.43. Curzan has seen success in both national championships, where she placed second for 100m back and fifth for 100m fly in 2019, and world junior championships, where she earned a gold, a silver, and two bronze medals that same year.
Regan Smith dominated the Olympic Trials in the 100m back and 200m fly to represent the U.S. in both events, though she missed out on the 200m back, an event where she holds the world-record time. At 19, Smith is already an accomplished swimmer, having won two world titles in 2019, a bronze at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, and two golds and a silver at the 2017 World Junior Championships. Clearly she’s no stranger to success. Smith is set to swim at Stanford this coming fall.
Qualifying for the 200m back, Phoebe Bacon will represent the U.S. in her first Olympics at 18 years old. She touched second during the final with a time of 2:06.46, narrowly beating out world-record holder Regan Smith. Although Bacon is acclaimed in the 100m back, she placed sixth at Trials and will miss out on that event. Bacon has gold medals in both the 100m back and 400m medley from the 2019 Pan American Championships.
With a time of 4:33.81, Emma Weyant touched first for the 400m individual medley to earn herself a spot on the Olympic swim team. At 19 years old, Weyant is a strong force in this event, which she won at the 2019 Summer Nationals and the 2018 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. She’s committed to the University of Virginia swim team.
Kate Douglass competed in several events this Olympic Trials, but it was the 200m IM that earned her a ticket to Tokyo. With a time of 2:09.32, Douglass touched second in the finals, just 0.02 behind her University of Virginia Teammate Alex Walsh. The 19-year-old was already turning heads as a freshman at UVA, where she hit personal bests at the Tennessee Invite in six events. With a wide set of skills, Douglass is an athlete to look out for in this Olympic cycle and in future Games.
Coming in first during the Olympic Trials, Alex Walsh will compete in the 200m individual medley in Tokyo. Walsh snatched the first-place spot by 0.02 seconds, with her teammate at the University of Virginia, Kate Douglass, touching second. Walsh, who will turn 20 during the Olympics, has been in the spotlight since she was 12, when she recorded a 200m free with a time of 1:55. In the 2019 Pan American Games, Walsh won gold in all three of her events.
At just 15 years old, Katie Grimes is the youngest member of the 2021 Olympic Swim Team after qualifying for the 800m free with a time of 8:20.36, 11 seconds under her previous personal best. Upon hearing the results, Grimes said that she was “speechless.” She finished second behind swimming legend Katie Ledecky, who was the same age as Grimes when she won her first gold in that same event during the 2012 London Games. Afterward, Ledecky said that she knew Grimes “had something up her sleeve,” and now both Katies will represent Team USA in this event in Tokyo.
Ranking second in the 400m free, 19-year-old Jake Mitchell qualified for a spot on the Olympic swim team. In order to do so, he had to swim in a pool by himself in an attempt to meet the Olympic standard. Mitchell was part of the team that won gold in the 4x200m free relay at the 2018 Junior World Championships. The Indiana-born swimmer also placed fourth in the 400m free at that meet.
17-year-old Lydia Jacoby will make her Olympic debut with the 100m breast. Specializing in breaststroke, Jacoby touched second after Lilly King in the final, recording a time of 1:05.28, which was also a personal best. Jacoby also makes history as the first swimmer from Alaska to compete in the Olympics. She is also the second Alaska native to compete in the Summer Olympics in any event.
Bella Sims qualified for the Olympic Team at the age of 16. The Nevada-born athlete earned a spot in the 4x200m free relay with a time of 1:57.53. During the prelims, semifinals, and finals, Sims swam a personal best each time, beating her entry time by 2.40 seconds. Sims now ranks third all-time for the 200m free among U.S. swimmers, only bested by Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin.