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The usual suspects will be in the water for the next week. The 18-time gold medalist in Michael Phelps, a phenom on the rise in Katie Ledecky, a breakout star from the last cycle in Missy Franklin. Toss in gold medalist Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin, too.
But the Beehive State will be well-represented among the 1,500 swimmers at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Neb., for the next week. A total of 15 current, former and future collegiate swimmers from BYU (eight) and Utah (seven) descend on the Team Trials for the Rio de Janeiro, which start Sunday and end July 3.
BYU All-Americans Jake Taylor (100-meter backstroke) and Payton Sorenson (50- and 100-meter freestyle) headline the Cougar swimmers set to compete at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. Taylor and teammate Preston Jenkins swam Olympic Trial qualifying times in the 200-meter backstroke.
"Some of our swimmers have better chances of making the Olympic team, but each of them hope to improve and grain from the experience," BYU swim coach John Brooks said in a team release.
On Sunday's opening day of the trials, Hayden Palmer (400-meter individual medley) and Ellie Thornbrue (100-meter fly) and Steven Richards (100-meter breaststroke) are set to compete. Fifty-meter freestyle swimmer Connor Stirling will compete in the trials before entering the Missionary Training Center two days after the trials end. Future Cougar Mariah Lindsay has also qualified for the 100-meter breaststroke.
Utah's Jordan Anderson will compete with Palmer in Sunday's 400-meter medley. Joining him are fellow Utes Daniel McArthur (100-meter backstroke), Chris Taber (200-meter fly), Brandon Shreeve (200-meter backstroke) and Gillian St. John (50-meter freestyle).
Former Utes Nick Soedel (50- and 100-meter freestyle) and Liam O'Haimhirgin (100-meter freestyle) are also scheduled to compete at the trials.
"The U.S. Olympic Trials is not only the premier meet in this country, it rivals the Olympics and World Championships as the fastest on earth," said Utah head coach Joe Dykstra in a team release. "I am so proud and excited for all of our swimmers that will be racing. It is a truly remarkable experience to be able to race in front of more than 10,000 fans under the lights and on national television."
The top 16 swimmers in each event advance to the semifinals. From there, the next eight move on to the finals of each event. The top-two finishers in each event make the 40-person Olympic team.