2019 TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet: Fratus, Geer Favored for 2019 Titles

TYR DERBY PRO SWIM MEET

  • April 26, 2019
  • 6:30pm ET
  • Louisville, KY
  • 50 free shoot-out style
  • LCM
  • Meet page

The annual TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet and accompanying events will run this weekend in Louisville. In addition to the meet on Friday night, there will be a drowning prevention clinic this Thursday afternoon, while world record holder and 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte will host his own clinic on Saturday afternoon. The meet and clinics are put on by the University of Louisville swim & dive program and is held to raise money to benefit Sigma Gamma Rho. Sigma Gamma Rho is committed to diversity, inclusion, and to the increase the swim participation and decrease drowning rates in our community. The meet also aims to bring world-class sprinters together for an exciting sprint meet, shoot-out style.

This is the fourth annual TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet. Last year, Margo Geer won the women’s final round and Michael Andrew the men’s.

HOW IT WORKS

Eight women and eight men will square off in a 50 free long course. The field will get smaller through three rounds until a winner is crowned. Here’s a full breakdown of the rounds:

  1. PRELIMS – eight men and eight women will race a 50 free, with the slowest two getting eliminated.
  2. SEMIFINALS – six men and six women will race a 50 free, with the slowest two getting eliminated.
  3. FINALS – four men and four women will race a 50 free for the TYR Derby titles on the men’s and women’s sides.

PRIZE MONEY

  • The top four will win a cash prize after the conclusion of the final round
  • 1st place: $4,000
  • 2nd place: $3,000
  • 3rd place: $2,000
  • 4th place: $1,000

THE COMPETITORS

WOMEN

MEN

PREDICTIONS – WOMEN

On the women’s side, defending TYR Derby champion Margo Geer is slightly favored here, though the field includes veteran sprinter Madison Kennedy and several Olympians. Kennedy was 24.88 at this meet last year in an early round, but fell in the final to Geer’s 24.91. In that final round last year, Lia Neal was third and Farida Osman fourth, so the top four all return. The biggest challenger is Mallory Comerford — she’s back from racing at the Brazil Trophy last week, where she went 24.89, just .09 off of her lifetime best from the 2018 Pan Pac Championships.

Geer’s best is 24.72 from 2018, but Kennedy’s 24.39 from 2016 puts her well ahead of the field. In terms of the 2018-19 season, Kennedy (24.87) and Comerford (24.89) rank 17th and 18th, respectively, in the world. There are three rounds in just an hour or so, so the winner needs to be quick all three rounds, and Geer, Kennedy, and Comerford look like the favorites.

The dark horse here is Amy Bilquist, who just wrapped up her NCAA career with Cal. Battling through injuries this past season that kept her from racing most of the first semester, Bilquist went 21.52 in the 50 and 47.42 in the 100 in yards at NCAAs to set a personal best in the 50 and take 6th in both events overall. She was also 47.01 in the 100 at Pac-12s. She hasn’t made much noise in LCM since 2015, when she hit a 25.03 at age 17, and her best from 2018 came at the Santa Clara PSS (25.46), while she went a tick slower at Nationals. This is her post-college debut, and we could see something big if she’s in the same form as she was at NCAAs.

PREDICTIONS – MEN

Bruno Fratus has to be the favorite here. Michael Andrew, the defending champion, isn’t here this weekend, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered even if he was. Fratus had shoulder surgery in September of 2018, the second shoulder surgery of his career after having his first procedure in 2013. In just his second meet post-surgery at the Brazil Trophy, though, Fratus thundered to a world-leading 21.47 in the event last week, just two-tenths shy of his lifetime best 21.27. He was 2nd to Andrew, 21.87 to 21.84, last year, in this meet.

The field doesn’t include Caeleb Dressel or Andrew, the top two Americans in the event this season, but there is a strong group of recent college graduates who are still among the best of the American sprinters. Ryan Held, who is now training with the Indiana University pro group, had a great meet at the Richmond PSS, including a win in the 100 free (48.70). Team Elite’s Michael Chadwick had a strong meet in Richmond, too, and he’s the fourth-ranked American in the world this season with his 21.96 from that meet. Zach Apple is the third American sprinter here, and while he’s stronger in the 100 like Held, he could be a factor here, too. Held and Apple have both been 22-low in their careers, and both are teammates at IU right now.

The top challenger to Fratus is not an American, though. Japan’s Shinri Shioura ranks ahead of any American (including Dressel) in this race in the world rankings with his 21.67 from the Japan Swim 2019 meet earlier in April. Last year, Shioura made the final round of this meet but ran out of fuel with a 22.62 after going 21.88 in the preliminary round and a 22.24 in the semifinals.

2004 Olympic gold medalist and four-time Olympian Roland Schoeman of South Africa will also be racing on Friday night.

LIVE STREAM

There will be a livestream for this event, with details to be announced tonight.

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(almost) National teamer

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Will be interesting to see what Schoeman will do!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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