Former McAllen High standout and current Texas A&M rising senior, swimmer Shaine Casas finished fifth Friday in the finals of the 200-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Time Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, missing out on advancing to the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
Casas finished in a time of 1 minute, 56.76 seconds. As has been custom for him throughout the time trials, both in the 100- and 200-meter events, Casas started explosively. He trailed only Ryan Murphy after the first 50 meters, by .09 seconds.
Murphy, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, defended his title in 1:54.20, more than a half second ahead of Bryce Mefford in second place. Murphy advanced to the finals with a semifinals best time of 1:55.60. He also defended his title in the 100-meter back earlier in the week to advance to Tokyo.
The top two finishers in each event more than likely make the American Olympic team — it’s extremely rare for second place to not advance, with the top six likely to qualify in the 100- and 200-meter freestyles or to fill out relays.
The McAllen swimmer and rising senior for Texas A&M started strong to advance to the finals, as he has done during most of his swims at the trials, but also as in the past races, has been passed in the final 50 meters. He had the third-fastest time after the first 50 meters Thursday night.
Casas’ time in those semis was .16 seconds faster than the ninth-place overall finisher, Clark Beach. The top eight qualified for Friday’s finals. This was the second final for Casas, making his first Olympic trials, this week. He captured third, narrowly missing the second qualifying Olympic spot, in the 100-meter backstroke.
Thursday evening, the 21-year-old Casas earned eighth place overall in the 200-meter backstroke quarterfinals with a time of 1:59.52. In that race, he had the fastest overall time in the first 50 meters and third-fastest time after 100 meters.
Casas exploded onto the scene after joining Texas A&M, breaking several pool records. This year everything culminated into him winning three individual national titles at the NCAA Championships.
Casas is still listed as a competitor in the men’s 50-meter long course freestyle event. His seed time of 23.08 seeds him at No. 67 out of 71 still registered swimmers. The top-seeded swimmer in that event is Caeleb Fressel with a mark of 21.04.
The 50-meter freestyle will take place Saturday with the first heats in the morning, and the semifinal Saturday night. That event will be one of three finals Sunday, the final day of the time trials, along with the women’s 50 freestyle and the men’s 1,500 freestyle final.