2019 Richmond Pro Swim Series: SwimSquad Projections

2019 PRO SWIM SERIES – RICHMOND

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

Current Points

Total Knoxville Des Moines
Adams Family 194 101 93
Jaeg-Train 148 88 60
Beisel Bunch 145 71 74
DiRadSquad 127 91 36

Richmond Outlook

Most of the top threats are participating in Richmond, though it’s very hard to project who should be primed to be fast. At this time of year, you sometimes see pro groups embedded with a college team take some rest, perhaps making training schedules easier with the college teams’ rest for NCAAs. On the other hand, only three or so months out from this summer’s major meets, it’s likely we see a lot of the top USA Swimming national teamers swimming pretty worn down in April.

At the very least, though, we won’t get a repeat of Des Moines, where most of the teams were scraping just to find starters at every discipline. Every team has the ability to fill all six starting spots this time around, and in most cases, has several different options at each spot.

This meet also marks the mid-point of the Pro Swim Series and the third of six SwimSquad scoring events (Open Water Nationals next month scores SwimSquad points in addition to the five PSS stops). That means teams trailing should be starting to make some more aggressive plays to try to claw back into the race, while the leading Adams Family may be more inclined to go for safe points.

DiRadSquad

Swimming for: USO

DiRado’s crew is down almost 70 points, so this month, we’re looking for a Hail Mary. Luckily, DiRado has a good active roster in Richmond, including four of her top five draft picks.

Chase Kalisz is finally back in the 400 IM – that means he should return to his dominant, 20-point, IM-sweeping self, barring a late scratch. He’s the obvious IM play, even with Eastin and Forde around. Adrian remains inactive, but Simone Manuel is as good an insurance policy as you can get at freestyle. Ryan Murphy is back in action in the backstrokes – we’ll start him in the 100 and 200, given that Michael Andrew beat him in the 50 in Knoxville.

The choices come at the other three spots. And given DiRado’s 67-point trailing margin, we’re going to go with the highest-upside choices at each spot, rather than the safer bets. Eastin could swim fly, but it’d be a surprise to see her beat a red-hot Hali Flickinger in the 200, or a dominant Kelsi Dahlia in the 100. Jack Conger was OK in Des Moines, but we’ll take a flyer on him swimming close to home and perhaps catching some of the speed the Virginia college team had a few weeks ago.

Breaststroke is mostly between Nic FinkCody Miller and Bethany Galat. Fink has had a nice tour so far, and the men’s breaststrokes look a little more open than the women’s, where Galat has to reckon with an on-fire Annie Lazor (undefeated in 100/200 breaststrokes on the series so far). Hear us out on Fink’s events: he’s somehow been better so far this tour in the 50 (1st in Knoxville, 3rd in Des Moines) and 200 breasts (2nd Knoxville, 2nd Des Moines) than in the 100 (2nd Knoxville, 5th Des Moines), so we’ll take the shorter and longer distances.

The flex is a good spot for Eastin, who last year came off of college season to go 4:38 in the 400 IM in her first long course meet. Granted, that was in early May and this is a month earlier, but the women’s IMs have not really been deep on the PSS this year.

DiRadSquad
Free
Simone Manuel
50/100 FR
Back
Ryan Murphy
100/200 BK
Breast
Nic Fink
50/200 BR
Fly
Jack Conger
50/100 FL
IM
Chase Kalisz
200/400 IM
Flex
Ella Eastin
200 IM/400 IM

Jaeg-Train

Swimming for: Covenant House

Not gonna lie, a team headed by Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel looks awfully intimidating. Jaeger has an odd mix here: he’s got more breaststrokers than a Jozsef Nagy training group (shameless plug: check out our latest magazine for a Q&A with the breaststroke guru himself) but very few options at IM and butterfly.

First, when you have Ledecky, you start Ledecky. She won the 400 IM in Knoxville and could solve Jaeger’s IM problem… but do you trade an almost-guaranteed 20 points in freestyle for 10 in IM? We’ll take Ledecky’s 200 and 400, just because the 800 seems like a marginally higher scratch likelihood. Dressel is a natural fit at fly for a few reasons: first, he seems to be better at butterfly in-season (he won the 100 fly in Des Moines while his freestyles seemed to struggle). Second, Jaeger has no other flyers. Third, while fans would certainly love to see Dressel “clap back” at “#KingKyle” (who is apparently being unironically referred to by a hashtag now… I don’t understand 2019), he’s never been a great in-season swimmer and seems to be even more broken down as a pro than he was as a college swimmer.

Backstroke is between Matt Grevers and Lisa Bratton. Bratton was OK in Knoxville (6th in the 100, 9th in the 200), while Grevers hasn’t swum since Short Course Worlds in December. Grevers seems like the higher-upside pick, though, and he’s only entered in two events, so should be less fatigued.

Jaeger has four active breaststrokers, but Annie Lazor makes the choice easy. She’s been untouchable on the series so far, 4-for-4 in 100/200 breast wins, and most of them by wide margins. Without Lilly King in the mix, Lazor is a must-start.

Jaeger can pull from the rest of that breaststroke pool to fill his last two spots. Andrew Wilson is the only other IM option beyond Ledecky/Dressel. Jaeger can also hedge his bets with Molly Hannis in the flex role: she beat Lazor in the 50 breast in Knoxville and is probably the top threat to Lazor in the 100 as well. (While I’m on the topic of not understanding millennial internet jargon, first person to reply to this post with a “weird flex but OK” gets both a crisp high five and perma-banned).

Jaeg-Train
Free
Katie Ledecky
200/400 FR
Back
Matt Grevers
50/100 BK
Breast
Annie Lazor
100/200 BR
Fly
Caeleb Dressel
50/100 FL
IM
Andrew Wilson
200 IM
Flex
Molly Hannis
50/100 BR

Beisel Bunch

Swimming for: USA Swimming Foundation

Beisel’s toughest call is what to do with Hali FlickingerShe’s been one of the most productive swimmers on the Pro Swim Series so far this year, but just doesn’t conform well to the stroke discipline format. She’s won the 200 fly at both stops, put up a 400 IM win and two runner-up 200 backs, but hasn’t really swum the other events in those disciplines. So if Beisel wants max points from her top swimmer, she’s going to need to slide Flickinger into the flex. 200 fly is the sure-thing entry, and the choice is between 200 back (not Flickinger’s best event, but a relatively weak field with no Baker, Regan Smith or Stadden) and 400 IM (fast becoming Flickinger’s second-best event, but a lot more crowded with Eastin/Forde joining from the college ranks and Ledecky and Leah Smith set to swim).

Beisel has a lot of 200-and-up specialists. Zane Grothe isn’t quite as red-hot as he was at this point last year, but is still a must-start at freestyle. That crowds out top talent Leah Smithbut she and Flickinger are the only available IMers for Beisel. Smith was 4th in the 200 IM in Des Moines and has winner potential in the 400 IM, so we’ll use her to get some points out of the IM slot.

Kevin Cordes is the only breaststroke option. He had a pretty good Knoxville showing but missed all A finals in Des Moines, so you don’t really know what you’re going to get. Cordes has scratched the 200 breast in both PSS meets so far, so we’ll make sure he starts in 50/100 breaststroke.

Beisel is loaded with butterflyers. Using Flickinger in the flex means it’s between Justin Wright (a likely 200 fly scorer but unlikely in the 100), Jack Saunderson (a potential 50/100 scorer) and Katie Drabot (a potential 100/200 scorer). Drabot went backwards in freestyle a little this college season, but her 200 fly did improve. We’ll go with her as the high-ceiling pick.

Backstroke is a choice between NC State Wolves (Wolfpack-ites? Packies?) Elise Haan and Justin Ress. We’ll take Haan, who is entered in all three backstrokes compared to just the 50 for Ress. The women’s backstrokes are also less crowded in Richmond this week.

Beisel Bunch
Free
Zane Grothe
400/800 FR
Back
Elise Haan
50/100 BK
Breast
Kevin Cordes
50/100 BR
Fly
Katie Drabot
100/200 FL
IM
Leah Smith
200/400 IM
Flex
Hali Flickinger
200 FL/400 IM

Adams Family

Swimming for: NEGU Jessie Rees Foundation

The rich get richer: the only team to have all of its top five draft picks active is your current points leader the Adams Family. That includes butterfly standout Kelsi Dahlia, who has won the 100 fly at both stops so far. She’s the obvious fly choice.

Much of the rest of the strategy here revolves around using top pick Michael Andrew for maximum points. He could start at free, breast or back (he’s been on something of a backstroke tear this year), but probably fits best in the flex role as his best events are the 50s. We’ll start him in the two races he’s won on both PSS stops so far. Think you can guess them? The 50 free you might. The 50 back is the surprise. He’s undefeated there, even beating Ryan Murphy there in Knoxville.

That means we need a freestyler: enter Margo Geerwho was second in the 50 and 100 in Knoxville and won the 100 (plus second in the 50) in Des Moines.

Gunnar Bentz is the best IM play – he won the 200 and was third in the 400 in Des Moines. That frees up Josh Prenot to take over breaststroke duties. The backstroke is a somewhat-tough call between Jacob Pebley and Olivia SmoligaBut Smoliga is a great in-season swimmer and, as we’ve mentioned before, takes advantage of a backstroke field that is missing Regan Smith, Kathleen Baker and Isabelle Stadden, among others. Pebley has to go through Murphy, Matt Grevers and Andrew in his events.

Adams Family
Free
Margo Geer
50/100 FR
Back
Olivia Smoliga
50/100 BK
Breast
Josh Prenot
100/200 BR
Fly
Kelsi Dahlia
50/100 FL
IM
Gunnar Bentz
200/400 IM
Flex
Michael Andrew
50FR/50BK

Full Projected Rosters

By our projections, the DiradSquad should roar back this month with a big showing – they’re going to get huge points out of at least Kalisz, Murphy and Manuel. It might not be enough to catch the Adams Family (which is also going to get big scores from Smoliga, Dahlia and Andrew), but could start to make up the gap on the middle two teams.

Beisel looks to be in the most trouble, unless swimmers like Cordes, Haan and Drabot can push towards 15 points apiece. Jaeger should extend his lead over Beisel, provided that Lazor stays hot and Dressel has a good meet. He’ll struggle in the IM slot, but should be very strong in the other five, while Beisel is good in free and flex, but has question marks everywhere else.

Our call: after Richmond, Adams will maintain her strong lead, perhaps even increasing it over Jaeger, who will sit second. DiRado will make a run past Beisel for third place.

DiRadSquad Jaeg-Train Beisel Bunch Adams Family
Free
Simone Manuel Katie Ledecky Zane Grothe Margo Geer
50/100 FR 200/400 FR 400/800 FR 50/100 FR
Back
Ryan Murphy Matt Grevers Elise Haan Olivia Smoliga
100/200 BK 50/100 BK 50/100 BK 50/100 BK
Breast
Nic Fink Annie Lazor Kevin Cordes Josh Prenot
50/200 BR 100/200 BR 50/100 BR 100/200 BR
Fly
Jack Conger Caeleb Dressel Katie Drabot Kelsi Dahlia
50/100 FL 50/100 FL 100/200 FL 50/100 FL
IM
Chase Kalisz Andrew Wilson Leah Smith Gunnar Bentz
200/400 IM 200 IM 200/400 IM 200/400 IM
Flex
Ella Eastin Molly Hannis Hali Flickinger Michael Andrew
200 IM/400 IM 50/100 BR 200 FL/400 IM 50FR/50BK

 

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Superfan

Typo. It should read breastrokers (not butterflyers). Under Dirado team

Not MVN

With whom does she train?

Hoosier Eli

Lazor trains with the IU pro group, but her club affiliation is with Mission Viejo. This is no different than Cody Miller being affiliated with Sandpiper, but training with the IU pro group, or the many pro swimmers that are/were affiliated with Badger Swim Club but training somewhere else.

Not MVN

Actually it’s much different. Cody was an age grouper at Sandpiper and came up through that program. Lazor is just a hired gun to wear the Mission cap

Random Swimmer/ Swim Fan

Plenty of talent in this field, but also some uncertainty. I agree with SwimSwam’s prediction of the standings.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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