Last week, Utah native Rhyan White all but clinched a spot on the United States’ Olympic swimming team by finishing second in the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

On Saturday, she left no doubt, finishing first in the 200-meter backstroke.

The top two in each event are all widely expected to earn spots in Tokyo, but Saturday’s first-place finish sealed the deal for White, who grew up in Herriman and attended Cottonwood High before a standout career at the University of Alabama.

Utah natives finish 1-2 in their heat, advance to women’s 3,000 steeplechase final at U.S. Olympic trials

In the 200 back on Saturday, White beat out the favorite, world record holder and reigning world champion Regan Smith, who finished a disappointing third (Phoebe Bacon finished second).

View Comments

Smith narrowly led with 50 meters to go, but White pulled away in the next 25 meters and didn’t look back coming down the home stretch, finishing with a time of 2:05.73. Bacon finished in 2:06.46 and Smith in 2:06.79.

Last Tuesday, Smith won the 100-meter back with a time of 58.35, with White coming in at 58.60 and Olivia Smoliga in 58.72.

NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines said he expected Smoliga to come in second, but said, “How ’bout Rhyan White? I hadn’t even heard of Rhyan White a couple years ago.”

Now she’s headed to the Olympic Games.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.