Matt McLean, a former University of Virginia standout and native of Sterling won the first heat of the men’s 200-meter freestyle semifinal Tuesday night at the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials in Omaha, earning himself a shot at London in Wednesday night’s final.
McLean will enter seeded fourth and must finish in the top six to secure a spot on the Olympic 4–x–200 freestyle relay team. After entering the meet as the reigning national champion in the 400 freestyle, McLean found himself in a familiar spot on Monday, finishing ninth overall in the event — the same place he finished in the 2008 trials.
Also advancing out of the semifinals was University of Arizona swimmer Ellyn Baumgardner of Fairfax, Va., who moved on to the final after touching fourth in her heat behind world-record holder Rebecca Soni and Jessica Hardy. She will swim in an outside lane in Wednesday’s final as the seventh seed. In the same heat as Baumgardner, 2011 All-Met Swimmer of the Year, Sarah Haase of the Rockville-Montgomery Swim Club, finished eighth — 13th overall — and did not advance.
Concluding the night’s events was Haase’s Rockville-Montgomery teammate, Jack Conger, who entered the night as the 14th seed in the men’s 100 backstroke, but dropped .82 seconds to finish eighth overall, earning himself his first finals appearance at trials. The 17-year-old, two-time All-Met Swimmer of the Year finished three spots behind age group rival, Ryan Murphy, 16, of Jacksonville, Fla. The two are widely regarded as the best all-around high school swimmers in the country. In March, Murphy broke Conger’s 15-16 national age group record in this event. The two were the youngest competitors to advance out of the backstroke heats on Tuesday.
In the morning heats, Michael Flach of Annandale, Jenny Wilson of Bethesda, Ashley Danner of Fairfax, and Meredith Cavalier of Stafford finished in the top 50 in their events.
They were joined by 2012 high school standouts Janet Hu, Hellen Moffitt, Catherine Mulquine, and Jenna Van Camp, for a total of 17 area swimmers, who competed on Day 2, but did not advance past the heats.
Read Amy Shipley’s complete write-up: “Katie Ledecky breaks Janet Evans’s 400 freestyle age group record”