Dressel Officially Added, Fink(e) Qualifies

Caeleb Dressel‘s event selections made fans wait until day 5 – but Dressel is officially returning to the U.S. Olympic team in 2021.

The 13-time World Championships gold medalist won the 100 free tonight, booking his trip to Tokyo in both the individual 100 free and as a member of the 4×100 free relay. His swim should also give him a spot on the U.S. men’s 4×100 medley relay, though he may wind up swimming butterfly instead of freestyle. The 24-year-old Dressel is the world record-holder in the 100 fly and will swim heats of that event tomorrow.

On the women’s side, there was just one final and no ‘new’ Olympians. That’s because the top two 200 fly spots went to Hali Flickinger and Regan Smithboth of whom were already locked into likely Olympic berths. Flickinger won the event and made her Olympic return official – she was second in the 400 IM on day 1 and will make the team there, but would have needed the U.S. to stay under the 26-woman roster cap to officially join the team. Smith won the 100 back and is now locked into two events.

The men, meanwhile, added five new names as Olympic locks, and three more as very likely Olympians. Zach Apple was already in line for an Olympic spot, but is now locked in as an individual 100 freestyler. Previously, he was a relay-only 200 freestyler counting on the U.S. men getting under the roster cap to secure a berth.

800 free winner Bobby Finke is in as a first-time Olympian. So is 200 breast winner Nic FinkBlake Pieroni and Brooks Curry will join the official Olympic team as relay-only 100 freestylers.

Andrew Wilson was already a likely qualifier, and he added a second event in the 200 breast. Michael Brinegar is now a likely Olympian after taking second in the 800 free. Bowe Becker and Ryan Held were 5th and 6th in the 100 free – they’ll join Patrick Callan as the three lowest qualifiers in Olympic priority, but we’d still expect them to officially make the team.


Tonight’s new qualifiers are noted in bold.

Tentative qualifiers (who need a certain number of multi-event qualifiers to be officially added) are listed in italics.


  • Emma Weyant: 400 IM
  • Torri Huske: 100 fly
  • Katie Ledecky: 200 free, 400 free, 1500 free, 4×200 free relay
  • Regan Smith: 100 back, 200 fly
  • Lilly King: 100 breast
  • Allison Schmitt: 200 free, 4×200 free relay
  • Katie McLaughlin: 4×200 free relay
  • Paige Madden: 400 free, 4×200 free relay
  • Alex Walsh: 200 IM
  • Hali Flickinger: 400 IM, 200 fly
  • Claire Curzan: 100 fly
  • Rhyan White: 100 back
  • Lydia Jacoby: 100 breast
  • Kate Douglass: 200 IM
  • Erica Sullivan: 1500 free
  • Bella Sims: 4×200 free relay
  • Brooke Forde: 4×200 free relay


  • Chase Kalisz: 400 IM
  • Kieran Smith: 400 free, 200 free, 4×200 free relay
  • Michael Andrew: 100 breast
  • Townley Haas: 200 free, 4×200 free relay
  • Drew Kibler: 4×200 free relay
  • Andrew Seliskar: 4×200 free relay
  • Ryan Murphy: 100 back
  • Zach Harting: 200 fly
  • Bobby Finke, 800 free
  • Nic Fink, 200 breast
  • Caeleb Dressel, 100 free, 4×100 free relay, 4×100 medley relay
  • Zach Apple: 4×200 free relay, 100 free, 4×100 free relay
  • Blake Pieroni: 4×100 free relay
  • Brooks Curry: 4×100 free relay
  • Jay Litherland: 400 IM
  • Jake Mitchell: 400 free
  • Andrew Wilson: 100 breast
  • Hunter Armstrong: 100 back
  • Gunnar Bentz: 200 fly
  • Michael Brinegar: 800 free
  • Bowe Becker, 4×100 free relay
  • Patrick Callan: 4×200 free relay
  • Ryan Held: 4×100 free relay


Here’s an overly-simplified version of the U.S. Olympic selection process: the team can have a maximum of 26 men and 26 women. Swimmers are added to the roster in these priorities until the roster cap is hit:

  1. Top 4 in 100/200 frees, Winner of all other events
  2. 2nd-place finisher in all events (besides 100/200 free)
  3. 5th-place finisher in 100/200 free
  4. 6th-place finisher in 100/200 free

We track ‘doubles’ as a way of knowing when the next priority of swimmers can be officially added to the team. A ‘double’ is effectively a swimmer qualifying in more than one event. One swimmer qualifying in three events counts as two ‘doubles’ for our purposes.

The Magic Numbers:

  • 6 doubles on either the men’s or women’s side means all priority 2 athletes (2nd-place finishers) can be added for that gender
  • 8 doubles on either the men’s or women’s side means all priority 3 athletes (5th-place in 100/200 free) can be added for that gender
  • 10 doubles on either the men’s or women’s side means all priority 4 athletes (6th-place in 100/200 free) can be added for that gender

After Day 3:

  • Women – 5 doubles:
    • Katie Ledecky: 200/400/1500 free
    • Regan Smith: 100 back, 200 fly
    • Hali Flickinger: 200 fly, 400 IM
    • Paige Madden: 400 free/4×200 free relay
  • Men – 3 doubles:

Tomorrow could officially lock in all of the second-place finishers on the women’s side. If either Kate Douglass or Allison Schmitt places in the top 6 in the 100 free final tomorrow night or if Lilly King places in the top two of the 200 breast, the women will hit 6 doubles and all second-placers can breathe a sigh of relief as their Olympic spots become guaranteed.

If none of those things happen, the women will have to wait for Saturday night, when Regan Smith and Rhyan White are among the favorites in the 200 back and where Ledecky should win the 800 free, potentially locking in event the 5th- and 6th-place relay-only athletes.

For the men, tomorrow night has fewer spots up for grabs, but plenty of potential doubles. That includes Ryan Murphy in the 200 back and Michael Andrew, Chase Kalisz and Andrew Seliskar in the 200 IM. If current seeds hold and Murphy, Andrew and Kalisz are all top two tomorrow, the men will hit six doubles and all second-placers will be officially added to the team.