Olivia Harper and James Wells, swimming for the Long Reach Swim Club in Bath, did not advance to the 100-meter backstroke finals of Friday’s U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Racing in Lane 2 in the eighth and final heat, Wells turned 28.08 seconds at the 50-meter mark and 30.28 for the closing length to finish at 58.34.

“James’ swim was disappointing. He had terrific preparation, a good warmup and he was primed to swim fast enough to earn a finals swim. Unfortunately, his backstroke ledge failed at the start and he slipped and was not able to catch the field,” Long Reach coach Jay Morrissette said.

Wells had qualified for his third Trials with a 56.03 performance.

“It was frustrating because it was one of those times something one cannot control has a major impact on the outcome. He plans to “time trial” [Saturday] and prove to himself that he is capable of swimming the time he has trained for,” Morrissette said.

Harper finished her prelim swim in 1:03.53 with a 31.04 first half and a 32.49 finish. The University of Tennessee All-American was off her 2019 qualifying time of 1:02.66.

“Even with a lot of discussion about staying relaxed and focused, I think the reality of the moment did have an effect on her result,” Morrissette said. “Like most swimmers in the prelims, she did not improve her seed but she moved up in the rankings. She mentioned that the experience gained was going to help her as she already is talking about 2024.”

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...