Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - First spot on US swim team for Tokyo games seized by Chase Kalisz



First spot on US swim team for Tokyo games seized by Chase Kalisz

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
USA's Chase Kalisz competes in a heat for the men's 400m individual medley event during the swimming competition at the 2019 World Championships at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center in Gwangju, South Korea, on July 28, 2019. AFP

First spot on US swim team for Tokyo games seized by Chase Kalisz

Chase Kalisz punched his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics on June 13, winning the men’s 400m individual medley at the US swimming trials in a sizzling 4min 09.09sec with retired superstar Michael Phelps cheering him on all the way.

Kalisz, silver medallist in the event at the 2016 Rio Games, edged ahead of 19-year-old challenger Carson Foster on the breaststroke leg and held on through a furious closing freestyle leg that saw Jay Litherland overtake Foster on the final lap to finish second in 4:10.33 and secure a chance to improve on his fifth place finish in Rio.

It was a devastating outcome for Foster, who pushed hard through the opening butterfly and backstroke and at the halfway stage had a two-second lead on the field.

“I knew my race plan. I knew Carson was going to take it out fast [but] I know where I need to be to make my move off the breaststroke,” said Kalisz, who became the second-fastest performer in the world this year behind Japan’s Daiya Seto – who clocked a 4:09.02 at the Japanese championships in April.

After he and Litherland exchanged a hug, the veterans consoled Foster.

And as Kalisz gave an on-deck TV interview he got a hug from former training partner Phelps, who was in the stands for the opening night of the eight-day meeting.

He said Phelps, whose world record of 4:03.84 set in 2008 still stands, had long been a source of advice and support in tackling the daunting 400 IM.

“Apart from Jay Litherland he’s the man training partner in my career,” Kalisz said of Phelps, adding it was “awesome he’s at trials.”

Kalisz’s time was his fastest since 2018. He didn’t qualify for the 400m final at the 2019 world championships, when he was battling a shoulder injury.

“I don’t want to say I wasn’t prepared last year, because I was,” Kalisz said. “But I’m 27 now. My body needs rest a lot more than it ever has.”

The first night of competition also produced a first-time Olympian in 19-year-old Emma Weyant, who rallied from third at the 300m mark to win the women’s 400m medley in a world-leading 4:33.81.

Weyant powered past Hali Flickinger and Melanie Margalis, Flickinger earning a spot on a second Olympic team with a runner-up finish in the second-fastest time in the world this season: 4:33.96.

Just race

“This morning, I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous so I tried to get that out of my system,” Weyant said. “The plan tonight was just to race.

“That’s something I really had to learn, stick to my race plan and not worry about everyone around me – stick to my strengths and always take it home on freestyle.”

Keiran Smith smashed his previous personal best to earn a first Olympic berth with a victory in the men’s 400m freestyle in 3:44.86.

He finished more than three seconds ahead of the field.

“It’s a pretty good feeling!” Smith said. “I’m really excited with that swim and I’m looking forward to improving upon that against the rest of the world.”

Michael Andrew, gunning for a first Olympic team, opened the trials with a bang, setting an American record in the 100m breaststroke heats and lowering it in the semi-finals with a time of 58.14sec.

“There’s a lot left in the tank,” Andrew said as he looked ahead to the final on June 14.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro