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Henrico-native Townley Haas earns spot in 2021 Olympics

Posted at 10:55 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 18:31:20-04

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Kieran Smith, who has never even been on the national team, secured his second race at the Tokyo Games with a victory in the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic trials on Tuesday night.

The 21-year-old native of Ridgefield, Connecticut, who attends the University of Florida, added to his victory in the 400 free with a winning time of 1 minute, 45.29 seconds.

Townley Haas, who finished fifth in the 200 free at the Rio Games, earned a sure spot in the 4x200 free relay and a likely individual race as the second American by taking the runner-up spot in 1:45.66.

Drew Kibler and Andrew Seliskar finished third and fourth, respectively, to also earn Olympic berths as relay swimmers.

Three other finals were on the schedule for Day 3.

- Former world record-holder Regan Smith, a 19-year-old from Lakeville, Minnesota, was favored to claim her first Olympic berth in the 100 backstroke.

- Ryan Murphy of Jacksonville, Florida, defending Olympic champion in the 100 backstroke, was looking up a chance to defend his title in Tokyo. He won both backstroke events in Rio, extending U.S. dominance in the men's back events; they haven't lost one of those events since the 1992 Barcelona Games - three years before the 25-year-old Murphy was born.

- Outspoken Lilly King of Evansville, Indiana, was favored in the 100 breaststroke. In addition to her well-documented complaints about doping within the sport, she has boldly predicted the American women are capable of winning every individual event in Tokyo - a comment that will surely stir passions in the expected rivalry with the Australians.

Coming off a relatively slow winning time in the 400 freestyle, Katie Ledecky took on her busiest day of the meet with the preliminaries of the 1,500 free and the prelims and semifinals of the 200 free.

Ledecky was top qualifier in the metric mile in the morning, and came back to post the fastest time in the 200 semis in the evening (1:55.83). She will try to lock up two more races for Tokyo in the finals Wednesday, which are about an hour apart.

“It was a good day,” she said. “Of course, my biggest day of racing from top to bottom. A long day at the office. It was good to get some rest in between.”

Ledecky said she's still adjusting to racing before fans after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the sport and forced the trials and the Olympics to be delayed a year.

“I was a lot more nervous than I expected to be,” she said. “I felt like we went from zero to 100 when it comes to fans. Being in that environment, it just takes some time for me to get used to.”