USA Swimming announced sweeping changes to its Pro Swim Series today, including 50-meter sprint shootout events at half the series meets and a “mystery” 200 IM event with random stroke order.
The changes start with the series name, which switched its title sponsor from Arena to TYR this year. The 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series will have 6 stops, including one new stop in Columbus, Ohio. We reported on that addition when the meet appeared on the USA Swimming Quad Plan in August, though USA Swimming couldn’t officially confirm the addition at that point.
The 2018 tour will feature 6 stops:
- Austin: Jan 11-14
- Atlanta: March 1-4
- Mesa: April 12-15
- Indianapolis: May 17-20
- Santa Clara: June 14-17
- Columbus: July 6-8
Other new additions to the tour:
Odd Stops: Austin, Mesa, Santa Clara
- The odd-numbered stops (Austin, Mesa, Santa Clara) will feature 50-meter events for all four strokes, with a “shootout-style final” for each. USA Swimming has confirmed that these will be multi-round shootouts, with 8 swimmers competing in round 1, 4 in round 2 and two in the final round.
- Those stops will also include the men’s 800 free and women’s 1500 free. Those events were just added to the Olympic lineup for 2020.
- National Team members will swim a mixed 4×100 medley relay event with relays representing each team in the “SwimSquad” battle (more below)
- Only A & B finals
- A 200 meter “mystery” IM in which the order of the four strokes will be determined “immediately prior to the event.” USA Swimming says the order will be drawn out of a hat just before the event.
At the even stops (Atlanta, Indianapolis, Columbus), there will be A, B, C and D finals, with the A and B finals running first, then all C and D finals. These stops appear to be the more “traditional” Pro Swim Series format, though they will include the new additional Olympic events (men’s 800 free, women’s 1500 free) not previously included, and those races will yield points and prize money as Olympic events.
The series will also include team points, with teams drafted at the Golden Goggle Awards this fall. That competition is being dubbed the “SwimSquad Battle” and will keep a tally of team points throughout the season.
Prize money remains unchanged:
- 1st place: $1000 and 5 points
- 2nd place: $600 and 3 points
- 3rd place: $200 and 1 point
- Series winner: $10,000 & 1-year BMW lease
The full USA Swimming release is below:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Swimming today announced a six-meet schedule, exciting format changes and a new title sponsor for the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series, which will allow fans the chance to see some of the world’s most decorated athletes compete in the fastest race series in the world.
The meet dates and host sites for the six stops of the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series – all long-course meters competitions – include:
- Jan. 11-14, 2018: TYR Pro Swim Series at Austin (University of Texas)
- March 1-4, 2018: TYR Pro Swim Series at Atlanta (Georgia Tech)
- April 12-15, 2018: TYR Pro Swim Series at Mesa (Skyline Aquatic Center)
- May 17-20, 2018: TYR Pro Swim Series at Indianapolis (Indiana University Natatorium, IUPUI)
- June 14-17, 2017: TYR Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara (George F. Haines International Swim Center)
- July 6-8, 2018: TYR Pro Swim Series at Columbus (Ohio State University)
Within the 2018 series, the six meets will feature two different competitive formats. Exciting adjustments to the Austin, Mesa and Santa Clara stops include:
- Addition of 50-meter events for each of the strokes, culminating in a “shootout-style final,” as well as an 800-meter freestyle for men and 1500m free for women
- Mixed 400m medley relay featuring members of the National Team and a 200m “mystery” individual medley final in which stroke order will be determined immediately prior to the event
- Finals will feature A and B finals only
The Atlanta, Indianapolis and Columbus meets will feature C and D heats following the A and B finals.
Adding to the TYR Pro Swim Series excitement will be team scoring throughout the series, called SwimSquad Battles. At the 2017 Golden Goggle Awards, a draft will be held among National Team athletes to build teams for the 2018 series. A team winner be determined at each meet and for the entire series.
USA Swimming and TYR also will create a recognition program for 18-and-under swimmers as part of the TYR Pro Swim Series.
“We could not be more excited for the upcoming changes for next year’s TYR Pro Swim Series,” said Tim Hinchey, USA Swimming President and CEO. “The format adjustments will create thrilling competitions for fans and athletes alike, and the camaraderie within swimming will certainly be on display with the new team scoring. USA Swimming is looking forward to partnering with TYR on what is sure to be a world-class series of events.”
“At TYR Sport we pride ourselves on providing athletes with products that push the limits of performance,” began Chief Executive Officer Matt DiLorenzo. “In becoming the new title sponsor of the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series, we’re looking forward to not only energizing the swim community with gear they can believe in, but also having the opportunity to support athletes, coaches and fans in a new and exciting way.”
Domestic television coverage for all six stops will air exclusively on the NBC Sports Network and the Olympic Channel in the United States.
Swimmers may earn awards for top-three finishes in all individual Olympic events across the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be provided for a first-place finish, $600 for second and $200 for third. In addition to the single-event prize money, the overall male and female winners of the season-long series will earn a $10,000 bonus.
For the fifth consecutive season, longtime USA Swimming partner BMW will award the grand prize of a one-year lease of a BMW vehicle to the highest-scoring eligible male and female U.S. swimmers. Olympic medalists Chase Kalisz (Bel Air, Md./North Baltimore Aquatic Club) and Melanie Margalis (Clearwater, Fla./St. Petersburg Aquatics) earned one-year BMW leases as the top U.S. professional swimmers in the 2017 series standings. Kalisz and amateur Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md./Stanford Swimming) won the 2017 overall series titles.
Male and female overall TYR Pro Swim Series champions will be honored at the conclusion of the 2018 series based on the number of points accumulated throughout the six series meets. Participants will be awarded points in each individual Olympic event throughout the duration of the series (Five points for first, three for second, one point for third place).
Visit usaswimming.org for full series information.