|Roger Gu was pleased with his performance in Omaha tonight.|
OMAHA - Capping an outstanding day at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, Tufts University alumnus Roger Gu won the "B" final in the 50-meter freestyle on Monday evening with a time of 22.68 seconds.
In the preliminaries of the 50-meter freestyle (long-course meters) on Monday morning, Gu had been one of 16 swimmers to advance to the evening finals with a time of 22.94 seconds which tied for 10th place. That put him in tonight's "B" final, where his 22.68 time edged Cam Peel (22.71) at the finish line.
Gu earns ninth place in the event overall, behind each of the eight swimmers who made the "A" final. However, his 22.68 mark was better than four of the contestants in the "A" final and stands as the fifth-fastest finish in the event this evening.
Coordinating the meet under the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Olympic Trials is being swum in two "Waves." Gu's original qualifying mark (23.12) earned him an invitation to compete in Wave I. Only the top two qualifiers from tonight's Wave I "A" final - Jack Armstrong (22.55) and Eric Anderson (22.57) - move on to Wave II June 13-17 in Omaha, from which the Olympic Team will be selected.
A national champion at Tufts who graduated in 2020, Gu was one of 96 swimmers originally registered to compete in the event. He was seeded 69th with his 23.12 qualifying time from April 2019. After improving both his time and his finish dramatically in the preliminaries this morning, he did so again tonight in the finals. His 22.68 time was just 0.13 slower than the 22.55 finish recorded by Wave I winner Jack Armstrong. In the preliminaries Gu's 22.94 had been just 0.18 behind Armstrong's top time of 22.76 seconds.
The first Jumbo to ever swim an Olympic Trials cut, Gu recorded his time during a club meet held at Brown University on April 13, 2019. His time of 23.12 seconds beat the qualifying requirement of 23.19 seconds. He was originally scheduled to compete at the 2020 Olympic Trials, but the event was canceled due to COVID. He remained eligible and capitalized on the opportunity today.
Gu's appearance at the U.S. Trials was a unique achievement for a swimmer from a Division III collegiate program. An estimated 15 Division III competitors are in Omaha for the Trials.
At the 2019 NCAA Division III Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, Gu won the 50 freestyle in a Tufts and NESCAC record time of 19.49 seconds. NCAA's is timed over short-course yards, while all international meets are competed in long-course meters.
Tufts swimming head coach Adam Hoyt is with Gu in Omaha.
Today's competition was the last for Gu, at least for a while. As for what's next, medical school is a good possibility, but he's also seeking new challenges.
"I'm really happy with how it went, but more so just happy to be able to finish my swim career in such a fun way," Gu said. "Going into this meet with such little training during the past year was definitely a cause for concern, but in the end, seeing all of the support from the Jumbo community really pushed me to perform and try my best. I definitely couldn't have done it without my coaches and teammates and am forever grateful for them.
"I have no idea what's next, but I'm definitely going to take some time off from swimming," he said. "I'm looking to trying something new and get into that."
Results from the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Trials are available at: https://www.omegatiming.com/2021/us-olympic-team-trials-wave-i-live-results.
Watch Roger Gu Win the 50-freestyle "B" Final at the U.S. Olympic Trials Tonight (lane 5 from top) ...