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Clearwater’s Bobby Finke gets second Olympic swimming spot

The Florida Gator easily wins the 1,500-meter freestyle on the final day of the U.S. trials.
Bobby Finke gets a hug from his mother, Jenny Finke, after winning the men's 1,500-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Sunday in Omaha, Neb.
Bobby Finke gets a hug from his mother, Jenny Finke, after winning the men's 1,500-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Sunday in Omaha, Neb. [ JEFF ROBERSON | AP ]
Published Jun. 21
Updated Jun. 21

OMAHA, Neb. — Clearwater’s Bobby Finke earned a second spot in the Tokyo Olympics, romping to victory in the 1,500 freestyle in 14 minutes, 46.06 seconds at the U.S. swimming trials Sunday night.

He was about a half-pool length ahead of runnerup Michael Brinegar, who touched in 15:00.87.

Finke, who swims for the Florida Gators, doubled up his schedule in Tokyo after previously winning the 800 free at the trials, which ended Sunday.

Finke posted a career best in the 1,500 final and the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.

”That time means a lot,” he said. “I’ve been waiting to drop in that race for a couple of years now. I’m going to go to Tokyo and try to improve my time.”

Related: Clearwater’s Bobby Finke makes U.S. Olympic swimming team

The Games begin July 23.

In other events, Simone Manuel won the women’s 50 freestyle after the defending Olympic champion in the 100 free missed out on a trials final spot in that race, saying later she has been diagnosed with overtraining syndrome in March, and former Gator Caeleb Dressel won the men’s 50 free, tying his American record.

Manuel, the first Black woman to capture an individual gold medal in swimming, covered the length of the pool in 24.29 seconds to edge Abbey Weitzeil, who already had locked up her spot on the team with a victory in the 100 free, by one-hundredth of a second.

“More than anything, I’m relieved,” Manuel said. “Today may have been the longest day of my life and the longest 50 of my life.

“Even though I didn’t make it in the 100, my goal was to make to the team. I’ll have to regroup and hopefully swim faster so I can win a medal for Team USA. I’m glad I can walk away with my head held high.”

Dressel will have three individual races at these games, and he’ll also be swimming at least three relays.

Michael Andrew finished second to earn his third individual event at the Olympics.

Third in the men’s 50 free was Nathan Adrian, whose bid for a fourth appearance at the Games came up just short.

The 32-year-old Adrian beat testicular cancer and arrived at Omaha as a new father. He hoped to cap the journey with a fourth Olympics, but the eight-time medalist failed to qualify for the final of the 100 free and wasn’t quite fast enough over one lap in the 50.

That’s okay, he said.

He was eager to see his 4-month-old daughter, Parker.

“My heart kind of explodes just thinking about it,” Adrian said. “I’m so excited go hang out with her and hold her. I’ve got a lot to look forward to when I get home.”

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