2018 Indianapolis Pro Swim Series: SwimSquad Starter Projections

2018 TYR Pro Swim Series – Indianapolis

As a quick refresher, four retired Olympians drafted the entire U.S. National swim team (as well as a couple of 2016 Olympians) into four SwimSquads, and each captain gets to select 6 swimmers to start for each of the Pro Swim Series stops. Athletes earn points for their teams with a winning squad crowned at the end of the season. The captain of the winning team gets $10,000 to donate to a charity of their choice. The athletes can earn sponsor prizes (though NCAA athletes are restricted in prize acceptance under NCAA amateurism rules).

We covered the captains and rosters as they were announced. You can read more here, or check them out below:

CURRENT POINTS:

Total Austin Atlanta Mesa
KrayzelburgSquad 267 107 71 89
CoughlinSquad 242 88 72 82
SandenoSquad 226 76 79 71
LezakSquad 184 67 52 65

 

FULL ROSTERS

SCORING FORMAT

  • Prior to each meet, the captain will select 6 swimmers from their overall roster to score.
  • Each of the six athletes is designated for one specific category, and can score in up to two events from that category. The categories are:
    • Free (50 through 1500)
    • Back (50 through 200)
    • Breast (50 through 200)
    • Fly (50 through 200)
    • IM (200 and 400, not the mystery order 200 IM)
    • Flex (any two races)
  • An athlete must make the top 8 to score points:
    • 1st: 10
    • 2nd: 8
    • 3rd: 7
    • 4th: 5
    • 5th: 4
    • 6th: 3
    • 7th: 2
    • 8th: 1

Indianapolis OUTLOOK

With college season now fully wrapped up, we’re seeing a lot of new faces making their PSS debuts for the season after a short course yards focus during the school year. On the other hand, the competing meet in Atlanta has pulled a lot of the top names, making for a pretty unique mix of athletes in Indy.

This month is the biggest disparity in active roster sizes so far. Team Lezak, currently sitting fourth, will have plenty of lineup options to try to run down the field. His team leads with 17 active swimmers, compared to 14 for Coughlin, 12 for Krayzelburg and 10 for Sandeno. Lezak has spent most of this year in desperate need of a backstroker, but he’ll have a couple of good options there in Indy.

Sandeno is the one in trouble, with three of her top five picks out and no great butterflyer left on the roster. (All three of those absent high-round picks regularly compete in butterfly). Krayzelburg has a relatively small active roster, but plenty of top-tier options to fill all six starting slots. Coughlin may have to get creative to fill her fly and back slots, but is loaded elsewhere.

In terms of specific events, moving the 1500 free to a separate day of competition leaves some concern that top names will not contest the event. With the meet order changing and the 1500 day moving from Sunday morning to Wednesday night, it’s also possible some athletes had travel plans already in motion. With that in mind, we’re steering away from starting milers and instead using the 400 and 800 for most distance types in starting lineups.

TEAM KRAYZELBURG

Swimming for: Never Ever Give Up: Jessie Rees Foundation

Krayzelburg once again returns top series scorer Chase Kalisz to lock down his IM spot, and the rich get richer as the series points leader gets Katie Ledecky on his active roster for the first time this series. Kelsi Dahlia is the top-scoring flyer on the tour this year, and Oliva Smoliga the second-scoring backstroker behind only Ryan Murphy.

Nic Fink is the obvious breaststroke choice. The flex play has some intrigue, though. Ryan Held scored 15 points in Austin, but hasn’t attended the last two stops. Matt Grevers scored 20 in Austin and 18 in Mesa, but both of those were aided by the 50 back, which isn’t in the Indy schedule. Another good option could be Amanda Kendall.

Team Krayzelburg
Free
Katie Ledecky
400/800
Back
Olivia Smoliga
100/200
Breast
Nic Fink
100/200
Fly
Kelsi Dahlia
100/200
IM
Chase Kalisz
200/400
Flex
Ryan Held
50/100FR

TEAM COUGHLIN

Swimming for: DAM-Cancer Foundation

Coughlin’s team has been marked by versatility, and we went a bit creative with our projections here. There are a couple of locks. Simone Manuel will make her PSS debut and has to crack the starting lineup as a freestyler. Same goes for Lilly King in the breaststrokes. Then Coughlin has a handful of versatile women – Melanie Margalis, Bethany Galat, Hali Flickinger – who are big point scorers with some options as to where they start.

Coughlin’s problem spot is backstroke, where first-round pick Ryan Murphy is not competing. Her best options are Bridgette Alexander (seeded 5th in the 100 and 6th in the 200) and Ali Deloof (seeded 3rd in the 100 but not swimming the 200). We’re taking Deloof, the 100 back runner-up in Mesa, hoping that 8 points in the 100 will outdo what Alexander could do with low A final finishes in both (she’s currently seeded to score 7).

After that, it’s about working in the three all-arounders. Margalis is a huge play in the IMs, especially with Madisyn Cox not competing. That allows Coughlin to add Galat as a flex play in the breaststrokes, essentially starting the top two women’s breaststrokers for potentially 36 points between the two of them. Starting Flickinger over Tom Shields in the fly spot is similar to the Alexander-Deloof dilemma. Flickinger isn’t too likely to score in the 100, but could theoretically win the 200. Shields had two low A final finishes in Atlanta, but probably doesn’t have the ceiling to outscore Flickinger against some pretty tough fly fields.

Team Coughlin
Free
Simone Manuel
50/100
Back
Ali Deloof
100
Breast
Lilly King
100/200
Fly
Hali Flickinger
200
IM
Melanie Margalis
200/400
Flex
Bethany Galat
100/200BR

TEAM SANDENO

Swimming for: Never Ever Give Up: Jessie Rees Foundation

This month, it’s Sandeno struggling to fill out her lineup. She’s got three elite freestylers competing, but is stuck with only two slots to start them. It’s almost impossible not to start Leah Smith and Zane Grothe at this point, so Blake Pieroni may end up riding the bench.

Jacob Pebley is the natural starter in the backstroke slot, and with training partner Murphy not competing, things are opening up for Pebley to score big. Sandeno has two great Stanford IMers in Ella Eastin and Brooke FordeIt’d be more ideal to start Eastin in the IM slot, but Sandeno has a shortage of flyers with Caeleb Dressel, Michael Andrew and Jack Conger all inactive. Eastin is the only two-event flyer on the roster, and the only other fly entries come from Smith and Grothe (200 flys) and Escobedo (100 fly).

Eastin is a very good 200 flyer, so we’ll start her there hoping for 5-10 points, with Forde then holding down the IM slot. Escobedo is easily the best breaststroker on the active roster, so she starts there.

Team Sandeno
Free
Leah Smith
400/800
Back
Jacob Pebley
100/200
Breast
Emily Escobedo
100/200
Fly
Ella Eastin
100/200
IM
Brooke Forde
200/400
Flex
Zane Grothe
400/800

TEAM LEZAK

Swimming for: USA Swimming Foundation

Lezak is also deep in freestyle, and it probably makes sense to start the ever-reliable Nathan Adrian at freestyle and Mallory Comerford in the flex role, or vice versa. Comerford won the 50 and 100 frees in Mesa, though she now has to contend with Manuel in both.

Lezak again has a tough breaststroke choice between Kevin Cordes and Cody Miller. Cordes has outperformed Miller so far this tour, but the margins have been thin and the sample size small. Flip a coin for that spot.

After months of pining for a starting backstroker, Lezak finally has options. Lisa Bratton is a two-event backstroker but racing a crowded field, Justin Ress a 100-only backstroker with potential to finish top-3. Bratton finished 6th and 8th in Austin, but her times would have placed significantly higher in Atlanta and Mesa. She does have to contend with Canadian Taylor Ruck and a red-hot Olivia Smoliga in both. Ress focused more on freestyle in NCAA season, but doesn’t have to battle the absent Ryan Murphy. We’ll take Bratton, if only because Lezak is far enough behind to need some home runs to catch up, and Bratton’s potential 20 points are a bigger swing than Ress’s 10.

The fly spot comes down to Pace Clark (who’s been very productive so far, scoring third-most among flyers), Cassidy Bayer, Zach Harting and Gunnar Bentz. Clark has been the best option so far, so it just depends on whether Lezak goes into Hail Mary mode, throwing lots of major changes at the wall and hoping to catch a big break. Bentz is also in the mix for the IM spot with teammate Jay LitherlandNeither has swum long course yet this season and both were off their short course bests at NCAAs. We’ll take Litherland, who is seeded 2nd in the 400 IM and 3rd in the 200, but it’d be easy to pick Bentz, seeded 3rd in the 400 IM and 2nd in the 200.

Team Lezak
Free
Nathan Adrian
50/100
Back
Lisa Bratton
100/200
Breast
Kevin Cordes
100/200
Fly
Pace Clark
100/200
IM
Jay Litherland
200/400
Flex
Mallory Comerford
50/100FR

Full Projected Rosters

Team Krayzelburg Team Coughlin Team Sandeno Team Lezak
Free
Katie Ledecky Simone Manuel Leah Smith Nathan Adrian
400/800 50/100 400/800 50/100
Back
Olivia Smoliga Ali Deloof Jacob Pebley Lisa Bratton
100/200 100 100/200 100/200
Breast
Nic Fink Lilly King Emily Escobedo Kevin Cordes
100/200 100/200 100/200 100/200
Fly
Kelsi Dahlia Hali Flickinger Ella Eastin Pace Clark
100/200 200 100/200 100/200
IM
Chase Kalisz Melanie Margalis Brooke Forde Jay Litherland
200/400 200/400 200/400 200/400
Flex
Ryan Held Bethany Galat Zane Grothe Mallory Comerford
50/100FR 100/200BR 400/800 50/100FR

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this 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. He’s an …

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