Flickinger to swim for berth in Olympics Thursday night

STAFF REPORT, York Dispatch
  • Spring Grove's Hali Flickinger had the second-fastest qualifying time in the 200 butterfly on Wednesday.
  • With a top-two finish in Thursday's final, Flickinger will qualify for the U.S. Olympic team.
  • Thursday's final will be telecast live on NBC.

If there was ever a chance for Spring Grove High School graduate Hali Flickinger to punch her ticket to the 2016 Summer Olympics, it will come Thursday night.

Hali Flickinger

After entering the U.S. Olympic Team Trials with the fourth-fastest seeded time in the 200-meter butterfly, she continued to excel in the event on Wednesday.

She won her heat and finished with the second-fastest preliminary time in the event on Wednesday afternoon, which qualified her for Wednesday night's semifinals, Flickinger then swam her way into Thursday night's final by winning the first semifinal of the night in 2 minutes, 7.79 seconds. That ended up being the second-fastest semifinal time, advancing her to the final. She finished .48 seconds behind Cammile Adams, who won the second semifinal.

The top two swimmers in Thursday's final will qualify for the Rio Olympics.

For the former York YMCA and University of Georgia standout, Thursday will be her second chance to qualify for the Olympic team after she finished eighth in Monday night's 100-meter fly.

Flickinger's quest to seal a berth on the Olympic team can be seen on NBC on Thursday beginning at 8 p.m.

Small misses out on Olympics: Also swimming on Wednesday night was York YMCA's Meghan Small, competing in the 200-meter individual medley final.

The Lineboro, Maryland, native, who will swim for the University of Tennessee next year, qualified seventh on Tuesday night with a time of 2:13.00. However, she was just a tad slower in Wednesday night's final, finishing in 2:13.31, staying put in seventh place and failing to qualify for the Olympic team.

The 200 IM was Small's best chance at qualifying for the Olympic team coming into Omaha, Nebraska. She had the sixth-seeded time coming in. However, the 200 IM event may have been the most loaded event at the Team Trials, with five of the world's top 10 swimmers in the event competing for the United States.

Other results: West York senior and York YMCA member Courtney Harnish also swam in the 200 butterfly Wednesday afternoon, but failed to qualify after finishing 55th overall with a time of 2:16.46.

Phelps, Franklin headed to Olympics: Michael Phelps is heading back to the Olympics.

So is Missy Franklin.

Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, held off a stiff challenge from Tom Shields to win the 200-meter butterfly at the U.S. swimming trials Wednesday night. Phelps whipped around to look at his time — a bit slower than he probably would've liked — and held up all five fingers on his right hand. Yep, it's Olympics No. 5, making him the first male swimmer to compete in that many Summer Games.

Franklin, meanwhile, turned in one of the gutsiest performances of her career to earn a spot for Rio in the 200 freestyle. One night after she struggled to seventh in the 100 backstroke — an event she won four years ago in London — there was plenty of speculation that she'd be hard-pressed to qualify for any individual events at these games. While Katie Ledecky romped to victory in the 200 free, earning a second individual event at the Olympics, Franklin rallied over the second half of the race to claim the runner-up spot. Ledecky touched in 1:54.88, following up her easy victory in the 400 free.