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Henrico's Townley Haas qualifies for Tokyo Olympics with second-place finish at U.S. swim trials
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Henrico's Townley Haas qualifies for Tokyo Olympics with second-place finish at U.S. swim trials

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Japan Pan Pacific Swimming

United States’ Townley Haas reacts after winning the men’s 200m freestyle final during the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama)

Townley Haas was the newcomer amid greats the last time he represented the United States on swimming’s biggest stage. This time, he’s the veteran.

Haas, 24, representing NOVA of Virginia Aquatics, placed second in men’s 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday, solidifying his spot on the U.S. team for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Haas, who was the All-Metro swimmer of the year three times while starring at Benedictine and with NOVA, clocked in at 1:45.66 behind Kieran Smith, a swimmer from the University of Florida.

Smith won the race in 1:45.29. He’d previously qualified for the U.S. team in the 400 freestyle.

Haas’ placement will slot him in the 200 freestyle in the Olympics with Smith, as well as the 4x200 relay team. Haas won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in that relay, providing the fastest split in the entire race in a team that included Michael Phelps, Conor Dwyer and Ryan Lochte.

Haas and Smith will be joined by Drew Kibler and Andrew Seliskar on this year’s relay team, making him the only expected returner for the relay.

“I’m extremely happy that these are the guys going with me,” Haas said to NBC’s Lisa Salters after the race. “Just watching all the other races, it’s going to be a very different team, but I think that’s awesome. It’s always cool to see some new faces and some new people come on.”

Haas graduated from the University of Texas in 2019 after winning 10 individual NCAA titles and three team titles with the Longhorns. He has since participated in the International Swimming League, which founded in 2019.

The Olympics are scheduled to begin July 23. They were postponed last year because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

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