For Spring Grove grad, road to Tokyo Olympics starts soon in Nebraska

ROB ROSE
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American Hali Flickinger, a Spring Grove High School graduate, swims in a women's 200-meter butterfly semifinal at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, on Wednesday. Flickinger earned the top seed for Thursday's final. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The road to Tokyo starts in Nebraska this weekend for Team USA Swimming, but not for Hali Flickinger.

The Spring Grove High School graduate will not have to compete in the first half of U.S. Swimming Olympic Team Trials this weekend but will be part of the final events later this month.

Team trials will begin on Friday and run through Sunday, but as a top seed Flickinger will wait until the final events start next week to race. U.S. Olympic Team Trials Finals will run from June 13 through June 20 and will also be held in Nebraska

Flickinger was a member of Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in the 200-meter butterfly and is expected to earn that spot again in 2021. Flickinger finished seventh in the race in Rio in 2016.

Last month, Flickinger won the event at the TYR Pro Series race with a time of 2:06.70.

While the butterfly is Flickinger's dominant event, she qualified for nine events at team trials — both butterflies, both backstrokes, both individual medleys and the 200, 400 and 600 freestyle races.

In addition to the 200 butterfly, Flickinger enters the event coming off an elite performance in the 400 IM. Two weeks ago she won the event at the TYR Pro Series with a time of 4:37.73 and was nearly three seconds ahead of 2018 national champion, Ally McHugh.

This weekend's final events will be broadcast on the Olympic Channel at 8 p.m. each night and the preliminary races can be streamed at www.usaswimming.org/watch.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Flickinger would be competing in the events being held this weekend. This story has been updated to correct that mistake. Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.