A Guide To The 10 US Olympians At This Week’s Swimming Short-Course World Championships

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 11, 2016 in Rat News | Subscribe

This week’s FINA World Swimming Championships in short-course distances have a definite Olympic feel.

Of the 35 U.S. swimmers who qualified for the championships, 10 are 2016 Olympians. And four of them won individual Olympic medals in Rio, while another four won medals in relay events.

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The world championships begin Tuesday and go through Sunday at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.

Of the Olympians, Kelsi Worrell is planning to swim in six events. Lilly King, an Olympic gold medalist, will swim in four individual events.

Here’s a closer look at the 10 Olympians in this week’s event, plus 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Clara Smiddy:

Molly Hannis

Hannis made her Olympic debut in Rio, finishing 16th in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. She followed that up by winning a bronze medal in the Hong Kong world cup in October, finishing third in the 200-meter breaststroke. She is entered in the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Hannis’ past medals in short-course distances include winning the gold medal in the 100-yard breaststroke and silver medal in the 200-yard breaststroke in the 2014 ATT Winter National Championships.

Lilly King

Just one year out of high school, King had a memorable Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. She won a gold medal in Olympic-record time in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke and another gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley. In her third event, King finished 12th in the 200 breaststroke. A silver medalist at the 2015 World University Games, she is a top medal contender in the breaststroke events. In Windsor, she’s scheduled to compete in a team-high four individual events: 50-meter, 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke, and 100-meter individual medley.

Quick Fact: Lilly’s mom, Ginny, swam at Eastern Kentucky and Illinois State.

Cody Miller

Miller, a top men’s breaststroker, already had a career moment in 2016. He was one of the relay swimmers in Michael Phelps’ last Olympic race in Rio. Miller helped the United States and Phelps win a gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley. It was the ninth consecutive U.S. win in the event. Miller also won a bronze medal in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke in his Olympic debut. He is entered in the 50 and 100 breaststroke in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Miller began swimming at age 8 to monitor his heart and breathing. He has a medical condition called pectus excavatum, or a sunken chest.

Jacob Pebley

Also making his Olympic debut in Rio, Pebley narrowly missed a podium finish in his first individual event. He was fifth in the men’s 200-meter backstroke, an event that was won by his Cal teammate Ryan Murphy. Pebley had won the 200 backstroke at both the 2015 World University Games and national championships. He is entered in the 50, 100 and 200 backstroke in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Pebley named his two pet rats Fifel and Lasagna.

Blake Pieroni

Pieroni’s Olympic debut in Rio was a golden one. After earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team by finishing sixth in the men’s 100-meter freestyle at the Olympic Team Trials, he won an Olympic gold medal with the 4×100-meter freestyle team. He is racing the 100 freestyle in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Pieroni’s hobbies away from the pool include snowboarding and shooting paintballs.

Josh Prenot

Another one of Team USA’s top breaststrokers, Prenot won a silver medal in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke in his Olympic debut in Rio. He followed that up with a strong showing in the world cup circuit, winning a bronze medal in the 200-meter individual medley in Tokyo, and three individual medals, including a silver in the 200 IM, in Hong Kong. In Windsor, he is competing in the 200 breaststroke, and 100 and 200 IMs.

Quick Fact: When Prenot qualified for his first U.S. Olympic Team in 2016, he did so by setting an American record in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Olympic Trials.

Tom Shields

Shields is coming off his Olympic debut in Rio, where he won an Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter medley relay and finished seventh in the 100-meter fly. More recently, Shields won the 100-yard butterfly in American-record fashion (43.84 seconds) at the ATT Winter National Championships last week. He is racing the 50, 100 and 200 butterfly in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Shields’ training includes swimming 7,000 meters per day.

Leah Smith

Smith, a first-time Olympian in 2016, won medals in two of her three events in Rio. She won a bronze medal in the women’s 400-meter freestyle and helped the United States win a gold medal in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle. She finished fourth in the 800-meter freestyle. Smith also won a gold medal on the 4×200 freestyle relay team at the 2015 world championships. She will race the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Leah’s grandfather, Jimmy Smith, was a World Series champion with the Cincinnati Reds in 1919.

Amanda Weir

A three-time Olympian, Weir won her fourth Olympic medal in Rio as a part of the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle team that finished second. It marked the third Olympic medal on that relay team for Weir. She also won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games and a silver medal at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, along with another silver medal in the 4×100-meter medley in Athens. She is entered in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Weir’s late great uncle, Burl Ives, was a well-known singer and actor whose credits included the 1964 TV special, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Kelsi Worrell

Worrell made her Olympic debut in Rio and won a gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter medley. She also finished ninth in the 100-meter butterfly. Since the Games, Worrell won her first world cup medal, a gold, in the 100-meter fly in Tokyo. And then she won gold again in the same event in the Hong Kong world cup, beating out three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu of Hungary. She will race the 50, 100 and 200 fly in Windsor.

Quick Fact: In November 2015, Worrell and University of Louisville teammates created a viral video shot on a moving sidewalk, which received over 32 million views.

Bonus: Clara Smiddy

A gold medalist in the women’s 100-meter backstroke at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, Smiddy is no stranger to the world stage. She won three bronze medals at the 2013 junior world championships and added two more bronze medals at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Smiddy will race the 50 and 100 backstroke in Windsor.

Quick Fact: Smiddy, a student at the University of Michigan, won a Big Ten Conference championship in the 200-yard individual medley in 2015.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1990. He is Olympics editor and Assistant Sports Editor at the Cape Cod Times in Massachusetts. Bowker has written for TeamUSA.org since 2010 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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