The Arena Pro Swim Series (formerly known as the Grand Prix series) resumes its 2014-2015 season this weekend in Austin, Texas, with top national and international swimmers competing for nearly $50,000 in total prize money. In addition, the top athletes will continue earning series points in the hunt for the overall Pro Swim Series title, which awards $10,000 and a 1-year lease of a BMW to the top male and female finishers.
Note: the BMW lease is reserved for the top American citizen in each gender, but the $10,000 prize will go to the overall points champion in each gender, regardless of nationality.
In preparation, we’ve pulled out 5 major storylines to follow during this weekend’s action, as well as 5 “must-see” races based on psych sheets.
2015 Pro Swim Series at Austin
- Thursday, January 15 – Satuday, January 17
- Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, University of Texas
- Prelims 9AM/Finals 6PM (Central Time)
- Psych Sheets
- Live stream
- Live results
- 100 free
- 200 breast
- 400 free
- 100 fly
- 4×100 free relay
- 400 IM
- 200 free
- 200 back
- 50 free
- 4×200 free relay
- 200 fly
- 100 breast
- 100 back
- 200 IM
- Women’s 800 free
- Men’s 1500 free
- 4×100 medley relay
Each individual event gives out prize money and Pro Swim Series points to the top 3 finishers in the following amounts:
- 1st: $1000, 5 points
- 2nd: $600, 3 points
- 3rd: $200, 1 point
Current Point Standings
5 Storylines to Follow
1. What will Hosszu swim? There’s probably nothing more “Katinka Hosszu” than entering every single event in the meet lineup. Though Pro Swim Series rules only allow athletes to swim up to 7 events total, the versatile Hosszu will have the advantage of choosing her 7 events (and scratching the rest) after seeing what her competition looks like in each. Hosszu, though, has never been one to shy away from competition, so we can still hold out hope for some high-profile battles. Among the possibilities: the 400 IM against Elizabeth Beisel, the 200 free against Katie Ledecky, the 200 fly against Cammile Adams and the 200 back against Beisel and Canada’s Hilary Caldwell.
2. Can Beisel and Clary maintain points leads? The biggest challenger to Beisel has to be Hosszu, who dominated the series points in 2013-2014 despite only showing up to 2 of the circuit’s 6 stops. Hosszu averaged 28.5 points per meet, which means a good showing in Austin could put her right on Beisel’s tail. Clary, meanwhile, will have to stay on the watch for defending points champ Conor Dwyer. Nathan Adrian currently sits second, but as the series transitions to long course, Adrian loses the 200 free, an event he only swims short course, and is relegated to just a two-event threat. Dwyer and Clary will go head-to-head in the 200 IM in a race that could have a major impact on the early-series standings.
3. Comeback for Kirsty Coventry/Rivalry renewed: We noted just last week that swimming fans should expect several high-profile comebacks over the next year-and-a-half leading up to the Rio Olympics, and apparently the first wave has already started. Zimbabwe Olympian and former World Record-holder Kirsty Coventry will enter competition for the first time in over two years, swimming the 100 back, 200 back and 200 IM. Coventry is just 31 years old and owns 7 Olympic medals.
In 2008, Coventry broke the 100 back world record in semifinals of the Beijing Olympics, but lost out on the gold medal to the former record-holder, Natalie Couglin. Why do we tell you this story? Because Coughlin is making her own comeback, of sorts, swimming her first 100 backstroke since the 2012 Olympic Trials (according to the SWIMS database). That sets up a stellar rematch between the two, who went 1-2 at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics in the event.
4. Lochte goes long: Speaking of comebacks, how about the 30-year-old Ryan Lochte? The 11-time Olympic medalist is slated to swim his longest event since May of 2013 after entering the 400 IM in Austin. His entry brings up some intriguing questions: is Lochte testing the waters to potentially re-add the event to his lineup? Does he view it as a training swim, and perhaps a stronger test of his knee, now over a year removed from an ACL tear? Now training with a more sprint-oriented program at SwimMAC, how will Lochte fare in one of swimming’s longest and most grueling races? But the even bigger question should be “Will Lochte even swim the event?”. A late scratch certainly isn’t out of the question, especially if Lochte feels his knee isn’t up to the strain, or simply wants to focus on his other races, the 100 free, 200 free and 100 fly.
5. Can Jaeger/McBroom challenge Cochrane? The battle between the best male distance swimmers in North America should be a good one. Canada’s Ryan Cochrane won the silver medal at the last long course World Championships in the 1500, coming within a second of World Record-holder Sun Yang. But Jaeger has been on the rise lately, touching out Cochrane for gold at last summer’s Pan Pacific Championships. And don’t count out World Championships 800 free silver medalist Michael McBroom, swimming in front of a home crowd that should be their typically raucous, Longhorn-crazy selves.
5 Races to Watch
1. Men’s 200 free: You’ve got Ryan Lochte vs. Conor Dwyer, and that alone makes a compelling story. Former Florida teammates and professional training partners, now at rival pro hubs (SwimMAC and Club Trojan) and potentially battling for a Pro Swim Series points title. Throw in Frenchman Gregory Mallet and American Olympians Matt McLean and Connor Jaeger, and you’ve got yourself a “can’t-miss” event.
2. Women’s 400 IM: Katinka Hosszu has been internationally for Hungary in an absurd number of different events, but if the Americans have an answer to her, it’s Elizabeth Beisel, an IM specialist who’s also a force in the 200 back and can extend well into distance freestyle to boot. The two are slated to face off in the 400 IM, though that depends on which events Hosszu scratches. Count us among those who hope Hosszu sticks with the 400 IM, where she and Beisel could put together a beauty of a battle.
3. Men’s 100 and 200 fly: We’ll cheat and roll these together as one. In the 100 fly, you’re missing Michael Phelps and still have at least four legitimate international contenders in the hunt: Tom Shields, Ryan Lochte, Tim Phillips and Matt Ellis. Then in the 200, you have Shields trying to follow up his gutsy national title swim from last summer against series points leader Tyler Clary, former national champ Tom Luchsinger and young superstar Andrew Seliskar.
4. Men’s 200 back: This one pits the Clary, the reigning Olympic champ, against the elites of the next generation of American backstroking: Ryan Murphy, Jack Conger and Jacob Pebley. What adds intrigue is that Clary, 25, is really just starting to come into his own as a bona fide star after languishing in the shadow of Phelps and Lochte for years. Now finally into a spotlight of his own post-London, Clary already has to defend his throne from a horde of talented up-and-comers.
5. Men’s and Women’s 50 free: The splash-and-dash has long been the flashiest of races, crowning the title of “world’s fastest man and woman.” Fans won’t be disappointed with the fields in Austin. The men’s race features 33-year-old comeback kid Anthony Ervin as its top seed, one of the coolest characters in swimming. His training partner and fellow Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian is in the field, as well as Brazil’s Bruno Fratus and Marcelo Chierighini, and don’t sleep on Cullen Jones, who’s always liable to pull of a major upset.
Bonus swim: Anything that Katie Ledecky swims: Ledecky is the world’s most explosive swimmer right now, an odd title, given she’s a distance swimmer. But anytime Ledecky is in the water, you feel like anything could truly happen. The 17-year-old seemed to be saving a full rest as she swam through Winter Nationals, and though she’s probably more in short-course-mode right now, gearing up for her final high school championship season, Ledecky is no stranger to blowing up national record books – heck, even world record books – with almost no warning.