The waterway for U.S. swimmers to reach the Olympics in Tokyo this summer runs through Omaha, Nebraska. Long Island will have several representatives at those Olympic Team Trials.
The Trials are being held at CHI Health Center Omaha. Wave I runs Friday through Monday, and Wave II is June 13-20.
There were new qualifying time standards established to automatically make Wave II. Those in Wave I have hit the original qualifying time standards and can advance to Wave II by finishing first or second in the finals of an event. Those who qualified for events in both Wave I and II can compete in all of them in Wave II.
In the Wave II 100- and 200-meter freestyle finals, the top four to six finishers will make Team USA when the roster is completed. In the other Wave II individual events, the top two probably will be in Tokyo.
Among Long Island’s participants in the trials are eight from the Long Island Aquatic Club, swimmers who also have competed for local high schools. LIAC has a Garden City address and a history of producing many qualifiers over the last 25 years.
Northport’s Chloe Stepanek qualified in five events in Wave II — the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and 400 free as well as the 100 backstroke.
She just finished her freshman year at Texas A&M. The highlight was a fourth-place showing in the 200 free at the NCAA Championships.
Stepanek was named Newsday’s Long Island Swimmer of the Year for the third straight time as a Northport High senior in 2019. She also three-peated as Most Outstanding Swimmer at the state meet after claiming state and Federation titles in the 100 free and the 200 free, eclipsing her own state record in the latter event.
Shoreham’s Jason Louser, a 6-7 swimmer fresh off his sophomore year at Cal, also qualified in five events in Wave II — the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, 200 individual medley, 400 IM and 200 butterfly.
Louser finished his run at Shoreham-Wading River in 2019 as Newsday’s Boys Swimmer of the Year after winning a third state title in the 100 breaststroke and a second in the 200 IM. Both senior-season crowns came with All-American automatic times. His 100 breaststroke also came with a state-record time as did his 200 IM preliminary race.
There are also three LIAC qualifiers with ties to Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead.
Rockville Centre’s Lauryn Johnson will compete in the 200 butterfly in Wave I.
She just finished her sophomore year at UCLA after becoming an All-American at Sacred Heart. The four-time Newsday All-Long Island pick was on the 2017 state champion 400 free relay and set CHSAA records in the 100 butterfly and 500 free.
Wantagh’s Cavan Gormsen qualified in four freestyle events in Wave II — the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500.
The Sacred Heart sophomore made All-Long Island as a freshman after winning a Federation title, claiming the 500 free in state-record time. She also helped the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay take state titles. Then she was Newsday’s Girls Swimmer of the Year last fall after winning CHSAA championships in the 200 free and 500 free. She also helped the 200 and 400 free relays finish first in the CHSAA.
Tess Howley, a Queens resident who’s also a sophomore at Sacred Heart, qualified in the Wave II 200 butterfly, so she can also compete in the Wave II 100 butterfly and 200 free despite qualifying in Wave I in those events.
Her 2020 high school season came with CHSAA titles in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke. She was also on the winning 400 free relay and the first-place 200 medley relay.
Herricks’ Sophia Karras qualified in the Wave II 1,500 free.
The Notre Dame-bound senior earned the Nassau 500 free title as a Herricks High School junior before placing third in the state meet in an All-American automatic time, and she repeated at this year’s county championships in another All-American automatic time. She also took the 200 free there. Karras had the state’s top times this past season in both events.
Garden City’s Ryan Brown, from Cornell’s Class of 2020, qualified in the 100 breaststroke in Wave II.
Brown was Newsday’s Nassau Boys Swimmer of the Year in 2016 after claiming county crowns in the 100 breaststroke and the 500 free as a Garden City High senior. He was a two-time All-Long Island competitor. As a Cornell senior, he came in fourth in the 100 breaststroke at the Ivy League Championships.
Amityville’s Billy Swartwout will take part in the 200 backstroke in Wave I.
He deferred on attending Princeton until this fall after helping St. Anthony’s three-peat at the Federation championships, from 2018-2020. Swartwout was Newsday’s Suffolk Boys Swimmer of the Year in 2020 after winning the state title in the 100 backstroke and anchoring two state-champion freestyle relays.
There also are three Olympic hopefuls who have been involved with the Dix Hills-based Team Suffolk Swim Club.
Commack’s Denise Phelan made Wave I in the 200 breaststroke.
The Commack High junior and Kentucky commit qualified with Team Suffolk this spring at the TYR 18-and-under Spring Cup in Virginia, where her time of 2:33 cut 3.4 seconds off her previous best. She also swims for Northport-Commack’s high school team and was named Newsday’s Girls Swimmer of the Year last month.
She swam an All-American automatic time and set the county record in the 100 breaststroke at the Suffolk Championships. She also finished first in the 200 IM and contributed to the first-place 200 medley relay. Her best times for the season in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM ranked No. 1 in the state. She also won county and state titles in the 100 breaststroke the year prior.
Smithtown native Ben Cono, a Team Suffolk alum and a 2016 Trials qualifier, will compete in the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke in Wave II.
Cono set a state mark in winning the 100 breaststroke at the state championships as a Smithtown East senior in 2014, when he was an All-American. He moved on to North Carolina State and then Loyola of Maryland. He made First Team All-Patriot League for three straight seasons with Loyola, closing by winning the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the 2018 Patriot League Championships, where he was Male Swimmer of the Meet, and reaching the NCAA Championships in both events.
Dix Hills’ Ethan Tack is another Team Suffolk alum who qualified. He will compete in the 200 IM in Wave II.
Tack, who just completed his junior year at Navy, won the 100 butterfly and the 200 free and was named Most Outstanding Swimmer at the 2018 Suffolk Championships with the combined Half Hollow Hills team. He made all-state as a junior and senior, then took First Team All-Patriot League honors his first two years with Navy.
Hauppauge’s Drew Modrov is about to take his third shot at the Olympics, at age 31, after also participating in the 2012 and 2016 Trials. The unattached swimmer will be racing in the 50 free and the 100 free in Wave I.
He was an All-American in the 50 free and a two-time team MVP for Hauppauge High before graduating in 2007 and becoming a four-time All-American and two-time First Team All-SEC selection at Auburn. He set one world record and four national records in FINA Masters swimming and placed 20th in the 50 free at the 2016 Trials.
Port Jefferson’s Kyra Sommerstad qualified in the 100 backstroke in Wave I. She will represent East Setauket-based Three Village Swim Club and Ohio State at these Trials.
Sommerstad was an All-Long Island pick as a Port Jefferson High senior in 2019 after repeating as state champ in the 200 IM and as state runner-up in the 100 backstroke. She also repeated as Suffolk champ in both events. Then she placed an impressive 12th as a freshman in both the 200 backstroke and 400 IM to help Ohio State win this year’s Big Ten title.
Oceanside’s Catherine Stanford, who swam for Long Beach Aquatics, which has since become a part of LIAC, will also be in the pool in Wave I, competing in the 50 free.
The former Oceanside High All-American, who just finished her freshman year at Penn State, was Newsday’s Nassau Girls Swimmer of the Year as a senior in 2019. Stanford closed with her second straight state title in the 50 free and took the Federation crown, breaking her county record. She was the county champ in the 50 free and 100 free for four years in a row.
Morgan Rinn, another former Oceanside swimmer who just finished her freshman year at Penn State, qualified for the 200 butterfly in Wave I. Rinn, who’s with Hofstra-based Long Island Express Swimming, qualified at the Senior Metropolitan Championships in 2020.
She claimed two Nassau titles with Oceanside High in both the 100 butterfly and the 200 IM, and she made all-county from her eighth-grade season through her senior season. Her Penn State season was highlighted by winning the 200 butterfly, finishing second in the 100 butterfly and placing third in the 50 butterfly in a meet against Michigan State.
Garden City’s Jake Newmark, who set numerous records with Garden City High and Long Island Express Swimming, will compete in the Wave II 100 backstroke and 200 free.
Newmark, coming off his freshman year at Wisconsin, recently cut nearly four seconds off his previous top time in qualifying for the 200 free, placing first in 1:49.38 at the Wisconsin Time Trial Qualifier.
He was Newsday’s Swimmer of the Year in 2020 after repeating as the winner in the 200 free and 500 free at the state championships, where he was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer. He set a state record in the 200 free and established a county record in the 500 free in the process. Both were All-American automatic times. Indeed, he was a seven-time All-American in high school.
Romano wants in, too
Long Beach’s Kristen Romano isn’t in the U.S. Trials, but she owns records for Puerto Rico in five events and is hoping to qualify for its Olympic team. The Ohio State All-American, who used to compete for LIAC, will try to reach the "A" standard qualifying times in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 backstroke at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships June 23-27 in San Juan.
If she doesn’t hit the times, there’s a chance she still could be chosen by the Puerto Rican Swimming Federation. She swam for Puerto Rico in the 200 IM at the 2019 World Championships.
She also swam for Long Beach High for two years after moving from the Buffalo area at age 15. As a senior in 2016, she repeated in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke and set state records in the process at the state championships, and she contributed to two winning relays. She was named Newsday’s Long Island Swimmer of the Year, then the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. This February, the senior became the Big Ten champ in the 200 IM and the 400 IM.
Capobianco a diving hopeful
Andrew Capobianco broke the Nassau diving record with 518.35 points while competing for Wantagh in 2012, when he became the first seventh-grader to win the event at the county championships.
Now he’s a seven-time Indiana All-American and a North Carolina resident who’s about to dive in Indianapolis at those Olympic Team Trials, which begin Sunday and run through June 13 at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Capobianco was a redshirt junior in 2020-21 and claimed his second NCAA 3-meter title. He was named Big Ten Diver of the Year for the second time. He’s also a three-time senior national champ. So he could make a strong bid to go to the Olympics. He’s scheduled to participate in the 3-meter springboard and synchronized 3-meter springboard.