2015 At&T U.S. Winter Nationals
- Thursday, December 3rd – Friday, December 5th, 2015
- Federal Way, WA
- Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center
- Prelims 9:00 AM / Finals 6:00 PM (U.S. Pacific Time)
- Psych Sheets
- Meet page
- Live results
The 2015 U.S. Winter Nationals kick off this week in Federal Way, Washington, and the meet’s move to a long course meters format has drawn in a huge crew of big names.
Here are 10 storylines to keep an eye on this weekend – 5 of them big-name swimmers with some added intrigue, and the other 5 some impactful head-to-head matchups based on the psych sheets.
1. Michael Phelps: There’s no better place to start this list than with Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time. Phelps doesn’t typically compete at Winter Nationals when it’s swum in short course yards, but will be in attendance this season. After what Phelps did to the world rankings at summer nationals, there’s reason to believe Phelps could be in line for some statement swims at its winter counterpart.
2. Emily Overholt: The 17-year-old was a revelation for Canada at the summer Pan American Games and even won a bronze medal at the World Championships while smashing the Canadian record in the 400 IM. Now 18, Overholt gets to take on some top American competitors in the 400 IM, 400 free, 200 free and 200 fly.
3. Vlad Morozov: One of the world’s best pure speedsters, Morozov can light it up in almost any stroke. He’ll swim the 100 breast and 100 back in Federal Way, though his biggest tests come in the 50 and 100 frees, where he faces Olympic champ Nathan Adrian and Canadian sensation Santo Condorelli.
4. Grant Hackett: The Australian distance legend has come out of retirement and is now training with Phelps & co. at Arizona State, at least temporarily. Hackett is coming down in distance in his second career, and will swim the 100, 200 and 400 frees.
5. Maya DiRado: Probably the toughest challenge for Overholt will be American Maya DiRado. The top seeds in the 200 and 400 IMs, DiRado will have plenty of chances at national titles, with other entries in the 100 back, 200 back and 200 fly. Those latter two events would make for a brutal day 3 double, so keep an eye on the scratch lists to find out if DiRado will ultimately take the chance really show off her stamina late in the meet, or shift her focus to one stroke or the other.
6. Ryan Cochrane vs Michael McBroom: The men’s distance freestyle races should be as entertaining as they can get, with two of the best distance men in North America set to do battle. Canada’s Cochrane crosses the border to take on the American McBroom – keep a special eye on their 1500 free showdown, which also features Olympic champ Ous Mellouli.
7. Matt Grevers vs Nick Thoman: American David Plummer has been tearing it up in the backstrokes between the World Cup and the Minneapolis Pro Swim Series, and rising backstroker Ryan Murphy is blowing up the college ranks. Now, the 2012 U.S. Olympic duo that swept gold and silver get to fire back as the top two 100 back seeds in Federal Way.
8. Missy Franklin vs Simone Manuel vs Natalie Coughlin: Three of the best sprinters in U.S. history, each with West Coast ties, will compete for the 100 free title. Franklin is the new pro after a record-setting career at Cal. Manuel is the rising youngster, redshirting her sophomore season at Stanford to train for the Olympics. And Coughlin is the wily vet, a multi-time Olympian out of Cal. She’s a bit of a less-established name, but throw Margo Geer in the mix too – the Arizona grad is an Olympic contender for the U.S. and has been under 54 in the 100. And that’s just one of the many outsiders who could knock off one of those big three.
9. Yulia Efimova vs Kierra Smith: A battle of 200 breaststrokers with something to prove after the World Championships. Efimova shockingly missed semifinals of the 200 in Kazan after falling to 17th on a lackluster prelims swim. Smith had a great summer, but narrowly missed the three-way tie for bronze in Russia. They’ll lead a tough 200 breast field and could do damage to the world ranks if the race really gets heated up.
10. Missy Franklin vs Natalie Coughlin vs Rachel Bootsma: A trio (well, more than that, actually) of Cal backstrokers lead the women’s 100. Coughlin has focused more on sprint free in her late career, but started popping some huge 100 back times last summer. Franklin, too, saw a shift in focus to freestyle during her college years, but is working to regain her backstroke mojo with longtime coach Todd Schmitz. Bootsma is a 2012 Olympian and two-time NCAA champ in her senior season. More Cal contenders: freshman Kathleen Baker and senior star Liz Pelton. Plus there’s Junior World Record-holder Claire Adams, a 17-year-old Texas commit.