The University of Georgia will host a showdown this weekend with some of the nation’s top pro talent as well as the vaunted Athens Bulldog Swim Club’s top names. In a throwback to the good old days of American swimming, both Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte are entered and could go head-to-head as many as three times over the course of the weekend.
Athens Bulldog Grand Slam
- Thursday, July 10-Sunday, July 13
- Gabrielsen Natatorium, University of Georgia, Athens Georgia
- Thursday finals 4PM, Friday-Sunday Prelims 9AM/Finals 6PM
- Psych Sheets
- Meet Website
- Results only available on Meet Mobile
Thursday (timed finals)
Women’s 1500 free
Men’s 800 free
Women’s 800 free (timed final)
Men’s 1500 free (timed final)
6 Storylines to Watch
1. Jeah or No on Lochte’s knee: SwimMAC superstar Ryan Lochte will finally be back into competition after a season that has been full of setbacks. Now almost a year removed from his dominating World Champs performance, Lochte was first injured last fall, then re-aggravated the injury in his return to competition towards the end of winter and hasn’t seemed to fully heal in the months since. We’re now within a month of U.S. Nationals, and so it’s getting down to crunch time for Lochte to return to form. Continued knee pain could force him to qualify in a lighter event slate for Pan Pacs and 2015 Worlds, or even cause him to miss the national team completely. As of now, Lochte is entered in the 200 IM, 100 fly, 100 and 200 back and 100, 200 and 400 frees, though he’ll probably drop several of those events.
2. SwimMAC vs NBAC? There has been much fan chatter about how exciting a dual meet would be between David Marsh‘s SwimMAC Carolina and Bob Bowman‘s North Baltimore Aquatic Club, two of the biggest and best-known pro swimming hubs in the nation. It won’t be a proper dual, but this weekend is one of the few meets both teams are attending in full force. Lochte vs former training partner Conor Dwyer plus French NBAC-er Yannick Agnel in the 200? You got it. Tyler Clary vs. Chase Kalisz in the 200 IM? It’s on. Cullen Jones vs. Agnel in the 100? Michael Phelps-Lochte 100 fly? Nick Thoman-Lochte-Phelps in 100 back? The exciting matchups just go on and on.
3. Clash of Titans in women’s 200 free: The biggest story at the top of the 200 free is former Georgia Bulldog Allison Schmitt returning to her college stomping grounds as a member of North Baltimore. She’ll take on former teammates and rising stars Megan Romano and Shannon Vreeland, plus her own young NBAC teammates Becca Mann, Lotte Friis, Gillian Ryan and Cierra Runge. Meanwhile SwimMAC enters 17-year-old Kathleen Baker, and Amanda Weir makes the trip from SwimAtlanta.
4. Don’t sleep on men’s 200 free: Not to be outdone, the men will come back one event later with their own loaded 200 free field. NBAC enters a lineup led by the Olympic champ Agnel, plus Dwyer, Matt McLean and Ous Mellouli. Lochte heads the SwimMAC delegation, and Club Wolverine arrives with a group of contenders like Connor Jaeger, Michael Klueh, Justin Glanda and Michael Wynalda. On top of that, Charlie Houchin will be competing for SEAL Aquatics out of North Carolina in what should be an outstanding battle.
5. That Phelps guy: How did we make it this far without mentioning the Phelps comeback? The most decorated Olympian of all-time coming out of retirement has gotten plenty of media attention thus far, and the Bulldog Grand Slam will offer him a chance to add a potential event to his nationals lineup. Phelps is entered in the 100 fly and 100 free, events he’s swum at Grand Prix meets already this year, but also added the 100 back. American backstroke is perhaps the deepest and toughest stroke discipline out there right now, but there’s still a chance Phelps will look to add the 100 to his new, more sprint-oriented lineup. It would utilize his great underwaters, and give him a chance to even further showcase his extreme versatility. He’ll have a trial by fire, though, as both Lochte and Olympic silver medalist Nick Thoman are the top two seeds.
6. A rare Caeleb Dressel sighting: high school superstar and Florida commit Caeleb Dressel has had a light summer, taking some time off and competing only sporadically, to very mixed results. Dressel is entered in the 50/100/200 frees and the 100 back and fly, and his performance here should help answer some questions about his potential this summer, especially in the sprints, where at one point this year, he looked like a potential national team candidate.