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Rhyan White the First Crimson Tide Woman to Win Event at U.S. Swimming Olympic Team Trials

Alabama senior beats world-record holder in 200-meter backstroke, qualifies in second event for Tokyo Olympics

Rhyan White placed first in the 200-meter backstroke finals on Saturday, making her the first female swimmer from the University of Alabama to win an event at the U.S. Swimming Olympic Team Trials.

White won in 2 minutes, 5.73 seconds, which not only beat the field that included world record holder Regan Smith by a half second, but in the process she topped her own school record and personal best in the event by more than a second. 

Having placed second in the 100-meter backstroke during the trials being held in Omaha, Neb., White was already heading to Tokyo to compete in the Summer Games. 

She's the first member of the women’s Crimson Tide swimming and diving program to earn a spot on the American team for the Olympics, and the third overall to earn an Olympic berth for Team USA, joining Ellen McGrath Owen (diving/1992) and Susan Bartholomew Williams (triathlon/2004).

The 21-year-old, originally out of Utah, had just wrapped up an amazing junior season. 

In April, she was the first Crimson Tide woman to be voted Southeastern Conference Swimmer of the Year. That was on top of being named the Female Swimmer of the Meet at the SEC Championships and winning the SEC Commissioner’s Trophy.

White was also the highest individual-point scorer from the SEC at the women’s NCAA Championships with 48 points. 

She finished in the top five in all three individual events she competed in at the NCAA Championships, including taking the silver medal in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes and finishing fifth in the 100 butterfly. White was also part of the Crimson Tide's 200 and 400 medley relays.

Meanwhile, Tyler Sesvold finished seventh in the final of the men’s 100-meter butterfly (52.60), while Cora Dupre was 12th in the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle with a school-record 25.28.

Saturday's competition concluded the Crimson Tide's events at the 2021 U.S. Swimming Olympic Team Trials.

Alabama Swimmers Competing at the USA Swimming Olympic Team Trials

  • Cora Dupre, 100m backstroke, 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle
  • Matt King, 50m and 100m freestyle
  • Morgan Liberto, 100m and 200m backstroke
  • Derek Maas, 100m and 200m breaststroke and 100m butterfly
  • Kensey McMahon, 400m, 800m, 1500m freestyle, 400m individual medley
  • Matt Menke, 100m backstroke
  • Christopher O’Connor, 100m and 200m backstroke
  • Nicholas Perera, 200m and 400m individual medley
  • Morgan Scott, 50, 100m and 200m freestyle, 100m backstroke
  • Tyler Sesvold, 100m butterfly
  • Eric Stelmar, 100m and 200m backstroke
  • Rhyan White, 100m and 200m backstroke, 100m butterfly
  • Cat Wright, 100m breaststroke, 200m individual medley