2017 Santa Clara PSS Analysis: Darkhorses Emerge Ahead of U.S. Trials


The 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series stop is in the books, as competition concluded with Sunday night’s finals at the George F. Haines Aquatic Center. Several swimmers used this meet as a tuneup for the upcoming U.S. Nationals, which will also serve as the 2017 World Championship Trials. Throughout the meet, a few swimmers made the case that they could surprise us in Indianapolis.

One up-and-comer to watch is Cal’s Michael Jensen, who just finished his freshman season with the Golden Bears. In the men’s 100 free, Jensen demolished his lifetime best, breaking the 50-second barrier for the first time. He brought it down from a 50.08 all the way to a 49.35, finishing 3rd behind only U.S. Olympians Nathan Adrian and Caeleb Dressel.

The women’s 400 free spots will likely be occupied by Katie Ledecky and Leah Smith, but Stanford’s Katie Drabot has emerged as a darkhorse in that race. At the beginning of the season, Drabot’s best time in the event was a 4:13.29. She’s been dropping time throughout the season, bringing it to a 4:11.39 before last weekend. In Santa Clara, she made a huge drop, knocking 3 seconds off her lifetime best to win the event with a 4:08.07.

Fellow Stanford freshman Allie Szekely made huge strides in the 400 IM, and is now shaing up to be a potential finalist at World Champs Trials. Szekely’s best time before Santa Clara was a 4:46.73 from 2012, and the fastest she’d been since that summer was a 4:50.54 in 2015. She obliterated that, clocking a 4:41.10 to place 3rd in the final.

Texas’ Madisyn Cox isn’t really a darkhorse, since she’s one of the fastest swimmers in the nation in this event, but she’s become a major threat in the 200 breast after placing 34th in the event at Olympic Trials last summer. Cox is now in the conversation for a Worlds spot. She’s lowered her time from the 2:27-range down to a 2:25.62 this season. If she hits her taper, she could be battling for a roster spot in that race. In addition, she’s a likely candidate to represent the U.S. in both IM races, so we could see her make the team in 3 events.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

5 Comment threads
14 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
bobo gigi

2nd version of my world trials’ predictions. With a high level of confidence close to 30 or 40% 🙂 Sorry for the 50s of stroke but MEN 50 free. Caeleb Dressel/Nathan Adrian 100 free. Nathan Adrian/Caeleb Dressel plus Michael Chadwick/Blake Pieroni/Ryan Held/Dean Farris! for the relay 200 free. Townley Haas/Blake Pieroni plus Jack Conger/Gunnar Bentz/Conor Dwyer/Zane Grothe for the relay 400 free. Clark Smith/Townley Haas 800 free. Clark Smith/Zane Grothe 1500 free. Jordan Wilimovsky/ 100 back. Ryan Murphy/Justin Ress 200 back. Ryan Murphy/Jacob Pebley 100 breast. Kevin Cordes/Andrew Wilson 200 breast. Josh Prenot/Kevin Cordes 100 fly. Caeleb Dressel/Tom Shields if Dressel swims that event. Tom Shields/Jack Conger if Dressel doesn’t swim that event. 200 fly. Chase Kalisz/Jack Conger 200 IM.… Read more »

bobo gigi

Sorry for the 50s of stroke but I’m not a fan.


Not a fan of the 50’s either. Heard a rumor that Jordan wasn’t swimming doing the pool this summer. Agree with most of your picks but in most of the events, there are 3 people for 2 slots. Some events, like men’s 4im, are pretty much locked up by Chase and Jay.


Jordan hasn’t swum any long course events this year according to the STARS database

Fritz Peterson

Building the drama for your women’s breaststroke picks??

Ledecky is now a sprinter

No smoliga bobo?


Worrell had a great 50 free this weekend. I think she can challenge the second spot if she chooses to swim it. Also the 4×100


Men’s 200 Breast will be Prenot & Licon.


I just can’t see Farris making it.


Yeah, why is Farris even in the contention of the 100 free?


Why no Cody Miller ? DQed?


Where’s Townley Haas these days? Anyone know for sure if he’s racing this summer? Ditto Seliskar…

Kal goldin berrors



Time for SwimSwam to do an event-by-event analysis for Trials?


I missed that! Thanks!

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

Read More »