OMAHA, Neb. | Clark Smith of the Denver Swim Academy vaulted 42 spots in the 200 meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Tuesday.
Smith, 17, came into competition with the 95th-best time among the 127 men’s qualifiers for the event — at 1 minute, 52.34 seconds — but the Regis Jesuit High School senior-to-be dropped nearly a second in his preliminary heat with a 1:51.66 at the CenturyLink Center.
While Smith wasn’t among the 16 swimmers to qualify for the event semifinals, he has several more swims left at the Trials, including his biggest on Wednesday morning when he competes in the prelims of the 200 butterfly. Smith — who is coached by Nick Frasersmith — is seeded 12th in the event and has a chance to make at least the evening semifinals. He is also in the 100 freestyle on Thursday morning and the 100 butterfly on Saturday morning.
Colorado Stars’ Hennessey Stuart, Smith’s teammate during the high school season at Regis Jesuit, got into the water in the 100 backstroke, tying for 97th among 127 competitors with a time of 58.06 seconds.
Stuart was nearly a second behind the 57.13 that had him 74th coming in. He will swim in the 200 backstroke prelims on Friday morning.
John Martens of Mission Aurora Colorado Swimming opened with two of his four events on Monday, when he competed in the 400 individual medley and 400 freestyle. The Grandview graduate was 47th in the 400 IM and 77th in the 400 freestyle with two more events left on his Trials schedule.
Smoky Hill graduate and Cal Berkeley standout Caroline Piehl makes her Trials debuts Wednesday in the 200 freestyle. Piehl is part of coach Todd Schmitz’ contingent of Stars swimmers that includes Stuart, phenom Missy Franklin — who won her heat of the women’s backstroke to make Tuesday evening semifinals — plus Jordan Mattern and Christine Wixted.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555