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2014 Athens Bulldog Grand Slam Preview: Phelps and Lochte head SwimMAC vs NBAC battle

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

Meet Schedule

Thursday (timed finals)

Women’s 1500 free
Men’s 800 free

Friday

200 free
100 breast
100 fly
400 IM

Saturday

200 fly
50 free
100 back
200 breast
400 free

Sunday

Women’s 800 free (timed final)
200 IM
Men’s 1500 free (timed final)
200 back
100 free

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.

Comments

  1. 5
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    This is one meet that should be streamed live on the internet. It should be a good time

  2. bobo gigi says:
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    1

    Wow! So many big names!

    1. The greatest is there.
    2. Jeah is there. And while I’m taking about him, it’s time someone explains to me the official meaning of that word. It seems so crucial for my swimming knowledges! :)
    3. Miss swimming America is there. She has done only one long course meet so far this year.
    4. Lady relay is there. Time for her to show some improvements.
    5. The Nascar driver is there.
    6. The French intellectual of the sport is there.
    7. The little distance machine is there.
    8. The Danish distance machine is there.
    9. The next US big thing in the 200 free/400 free on the women’s side is there.
    10. The next 400 IM olympic champion is there.
    11. The new 200 breast American record holder in yards is there. Can’t wait to see her in LC.
    12. The new 100 back American record holder in yards is there. Can’t wait to see him in LC.
    13. The young girl star from SwimMAC is there.
    14. The biggest US young male sprint hope is there.
    15. The women’s 200 free reigning olympic champion is there.
    16. The 2007 men’s 50 free world silver medalist is there.
    17. The 2013 men’s 200 free world silver medalist is there.
    18. The current women’s 100 free American record holder is there.
    19. The 2013 women’s 200 breast world bronze medalist is there.
    20. The 2011 women’s 800 free US champion is there.

    Great idea of meet.

    • 1
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      I had to think about some of these but some I recognized right away. I need to brush up on my swimming knowledge.

    • SoCalAdvRacer says:
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      I pretty much have them all but want to be sure about #3.. must be Olivia Smoliga as I know she is your favorite..but I will admit I had to double check pysch sheet to make sure Missy Franklin wasn’t entered at last minute but she has done 2 LCM meets so far this year.

      • bobo gigi says:
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        1. MP
        2. Ryan Lochte
        3. Olivia Smoliga
        4. Megan Romano
        5. Tyler Clary
        6. Yannick Agnel
        7. Becca Mann
        8. Lotte Friis
        9. Cierra Runge
        10. Chase Kalisz
        11. Emma Reaney
        12. Nick Thoman
        13. Kathleen Baker
        14. Caeleb Dressel
        15. Allison Schmitt
        16. Cullen Jones
        17. Conor Dwyer
        18. Amanda Weir
        19. Micah Lawrence
        20. Gillian Ryan
        :)

        • luigi says:
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          It’s curious that you characterize Cullen Jones by referring to his 2007 silver medal at the WC and not his 2012 silver medal at the Summer Olympics, though

    • iLikePsych says:
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      Jeah is Lochte’s way of saying Yeah

  3. david says:
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    2

    Is someone gonna video it?
    Or is this meet gonna be behind closed doors

  4. weirdo says:
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    The 200 and 100 frees will be interesting this summer, since the 5th and 6th place spots aren’t selected for Pan Pacs! Those who annually rely on those spots might be watching from home but get to go to Worlds next year!

  5. Flyin' says:
    0
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    Finally!! It’s about time Caeleb got back to a serious meet

  6. ERVINFORTHEWIN says:
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    The 200 free is fully loaded ! wowwwwwwwwwwwwww what a race it will be . Let’s see how Caeleb is doing so far …. he might do very well .
    I hope Lochte had a better knee strenght . It’s gonna be fun

  7. swimzlazy says:
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    Does anyone here think that Phelps will swim the 100 Back at Nationals? I know the event has the lowest percentage of votes, however he is swimming it this weekend at the Georgia meet AND it fits well with the meet schedule. If he adds that event, that would mean he could swim 1 event each of the 5 days (100 free, 200 free, 200 IM, 100 fly, 100 back).

    I’m sure he’ll at least enter it. My guess is he’ll swim 4 of those 5 above, selectively scratching one of them to have a day off in between.

  8. SwimNerd says:
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    Little do we forget that the #2 recruits on both the women and the men’s side will be in attendance for this meet, Junior World Champion Gunnar Bentz and possibly the next great 200 backstroker for America Kylie Stewart. Watch for them to make some noise

    • bobo gigi says:
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      You’re right. I forgot to mention these 2 great young talents in my list above. :oops:

      Kylie Stewart had a great yards season. She’s just behind the big 3 (Missy and both Elizabeth). I’d put her in the same category as Clara Smiddy. If one of both Elizabeth fails, one of these youngsters could qualify for Pan Pacs.

      Mr Bentz is the real deal, as you say in USA.
      I write that for a long time.
      He’s a long course swimmer and has a bright international future ahead of him.
      Already 2 junior world titles in his pocket.
      A long body built for swimming.
      The day he will take a few more pounds of muscle, he will be a monster.
      He still has a huge margin for improvement in my opinion in terms of power, underwaters, turns and especially with his backstroke.
      His butterfly has improved a lot in the last year. Very smooth and efficient now.
      His breaststroke is very strong.
      His freestyle is very solid and Mr Bentz always has a monster finish.
      Only his backstroke is weak right now. But he can only improve it in the next months.
      It’s funny to notice that Chase Kalisz, his future training partner at Georgia, has exactly the same profile of IM swimmer. At least, they know what to work together.

  9. Rafael says:
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    If dressel does not qualify for pan pacs, will he go to jr pan pacs?

  10. Kevin T. says:
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    Where the heck is Michael Andrew?

  11. Local Fan says:
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    SwimAtlanta Brother / Sister Duo Amanda & Caleb Weir in the Sprint frees. They were both Top 4 in last years Summer Nats. Good Luck!

  12. Diana says:
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    FABULOUS discussion, guys! Good work tossing around names & interest!

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About Jared Anderson

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Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career sixteen years and running wasn’t enough for this native Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. Read More »