Kopp Wins 400 IM At U.S. Trials Wave I
OMAHA, Neb. – California freshman Tyler Kopp punched his ticket to Wave II of the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials with a win in the Wave I 400-meter individual medley A final on Saturday at the CHI Health Center.
Kopp touched in 4:21.20 to finish more than a second faster than runner-up Kyle Ponsler (4:22.23). The Golden Bear pushed into the front of the field on the first lap of the breaststroke and held onto the lead the rest of the way. As one of the top-two finishers in the event, Kopp will advance to the Wave II Trials on June 13-20. Kopp joins teammate Colby Mefford as Bears who have advanced from Wave I to Wave II so far this weekend; Mefford earned his spot in Wave II with a second-place finish in the 200m butterfly on Friday.
"I didn't have a great 100 (freestyle leg) this morning (in prelims), so my plan was really attacking the under waters on that first 200 (meters)," Kopp said in a mixed zone interview following his win. "I've been working on that a lot with the guys at Cal. I tried to execute that 200 and then bring it into the breaststroke, stay with the field, and race those guys in the freestyle with everything I have left. I really tried to up my tempo and I felt like I executed that today.
"I was really nervous this morning, being that it was my first Olympic Trials. I don't have that experience of getting out there at such a big stage. Tonight I had a bit more sense of calm and excitement to get out there, show what I've been training so hard for, and I think that went a lot better than this morning."
Kopp was the fourth seed in the 400m IM A final after swimming 4:26.02 in prelims.
California was represented by another A finalist Saturday, as sophomore Michael Petrides shaved nearly 2.5 seconds off of his seed time to take fourth place in the 200m freestyle with a 1:50.68 finish. Petrides entered the A final as the eighth seed following a 1:53.09 time in prelims.
Forrest Frazier also swam Saturday morning, but was disqualified from the 100m breaststroke prelims after a 1:03.00 finish.
Sunday's slate at Wave I of the U.S. Olympic Trials will feature three Bears – Petrides (400m free), Matthew Jensen (100m fly) and Mefford (200m back) – across all three events in action. Petrides and Jensen, who have both competed in one event so far in Omaha, will get another chance to join Mefford in Wave II. Prelims will begin at 8 a.m. (PDT) and be streamed by USA Swimming, while Olympic Channel will broadcast the finals at 5 p.m. (PDT).
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