2016 LONGHORN ELITE INVITE
- June 3rd-5th, 2016
- Austin, Texas (University of Texas Jamail Swim Center)
- Prelims start at 9:30 AM, Finals start at 6:30 PM, except Sunday, 5:30 PM (U.S. Central Time)
- Psych Sheets
- Meet Central
- Live Results (when available)
5 Events To Watch
Men’s 100 Free
In the hunt for the men’s 4×100 free relay spots on the U.S. Olympic team, there are the sprint freestylers and there are the versatile stars who are talented enough to fight for a relay spot in an event that isn’t their primary focus. While most of the former category are competing elsewhere this week (Nathan Adrian and Anthony Ervin are in Santa Clara, Caeleb Dressel in Tennessee and Josh Schneider in Indianapolis), the bulk of the latter group will be in Austin. That starts, as this sport so often does, with Michael Phelps, who could boost the American relay and add to his 18 career Olympic gold medals. Then there’s Texas Longhorn Jack Conger, a swimmer whose biggest challenge is also his biggest strength: Conger is so versatile that choosing a broad but manageable Olympic Trials event lineup might be the difference between an Olympic berth and a bunch of narrow misses. Also keep an eye on Olympic backstroke champ Matt Grevers, who is sneaky good in sprint freestyle.
Women’s 400 Free
Outside of Katie Ledecky, a number of Olympic contenders are in Austin in the women’s 400 free. Cierra Runge took the year off of college swimming, and her swims in Austin should give us a better idea of where she’s at on her way into Trials. Her training partner Allison Schmitt seems to be gearing more towards the 200 at this point in her career, but has the range to be a dynamic multi-distance threat. Danish swimmer Lotte Friis is the field’s veteran threat, and 18-year-old Sierra Schmidt is one of the youngest U.S. Olympic contenders in the event. Add in Korean star Easop Lee and you’ve got a packed heat. The twist? All 5 – despite not all sharing a training group or even a home city – compete under the same North Baltimore Aquatic Club banner for the time being.
Men’s 100 breast & 200 breast
Longhorn training partners Will Licon and Andrew Wilson are major Olympic contenders in both breaststroke events, which are wide open for the American men. They’ll do battle in both distances – Licon seems a better fit for the 200 (after shattering the American record in short course yards this spring), while Wilson is the better sprinter (after winning the U.S. National title last summer in San Antonio).
Women’s 200 free
The women’s 200 free features the 2012 Olympic champ (Allison Schmitt) along with the 2013 World Champ (Missy Franklin), but both have plenty to prove. Since 2013, they’ve been replaced by Katie Ledecky as the top American, but all three swimmers have Olympic gold medal potential. Franklin in particular will be under much scrutiny this weekend after the last few seasons, while reasonably successful, haven’t lived up to her astronomical 2012 and 2013 production in the minds of many fans. But a fast Franklin/Schmitt race in Austin would send a message to the world that the U.S. 4×200 free relay is an unstoppable juggernaut heading into Rio.
Men’s 100 fly & 200 fly
As is tradition, any race featuring Michael Phelps will be among the meet’s most newsworthy points. But what makes these butterfly races special is the Texas duo of Joseph Schooling and Jack Conger, who have battled it out for NCAA titles the past two seasons. Schooling was Singapore’s first-ever World Champs medalist last summer, taking bronze in Phelps’ absence in Kazan. How Conger swims in both the 100 and 200 butterfly races here might shed some light on his projected Olympic Trials lineup, which at this point could include any combination of sprint freestyle, mid-distance freestyle, backstroke and butterfly races. Phelps will tangle with both Longhorns in the 100, and Schooling and Conger will duel in the 200.