5 Storylines to Follow at the 2018 Columbus PSS


  • Thursday, July 5 – Sunday, July 8, 2018
  • McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, Columbus, OH
  • Thursday: Timed Finals 5 PM (US Eastern Time)
  • Friday-Sunday: Prelims 10 AM / Finals 6:30 PM (US Eastern Time)
  • Meet site
  • Meet info
  • Psych sheet

With the 2018 U.S. Nationals coming up at the end of July, and tons of international meet roster spots up for grabs, things are starting to get serious. This is the penultimate stop of the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series, with Nationals serving as the last chance to vie for the individual series crown as well as for SwimSquad glory.

Below are five interesting stories/predictions/expectations for this weekend’s meet. Note that these storylines are not meant to be exhaustive as there are plenty of great races and stories to follow this week; these are just a few of the most compelling.


Perhaps the most heated rivalry in a sport that is seriously lacking in heated rivalries will burn on this weekend. Lilly King has a pretty tough mark to eclipse this week in Columbus in the 100 breast. Her target? Yulia Efimova‘s top world ranking of 1:04.98.

King swam a 1:05.90 at the Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis in May, tying her for first in the world with Japanese swimmer Reona Aoki. Then, Efimova touched at 1:05.78 in Canet-en-Roussillon at the Mare Nostrum Tour, edging King for the #1 spot. Just hours later, King swam the same event in Santa Clara at the Pro Swim Series, registering a 1:05.61 to take back her place atop the world. A week ago at the Sette Colli Trophy in Italy, Efimova laid down the most recent hammer, a 1:04.98 to get within a second of King’s WR.

We all remember the finger-wagging, the drug test fails, the drama, and the conflama of the King v. Efimova 100 breast race in Rio which set the internet ablaze. King’s been 1:05.61 this year, and she’ll have to drop over six tenths off of that to knock off Efimova again. And, if she’s able to do that, we can sit back and appreciate how impressive it is that not one, but TWO women have been sub-1:05 in the 100 breast in season.


Chase Kalisz leads the world this year in the 400 IM (4:08.92), while he sits 7th in the 200 IM (1:57.50). He hasn’t been faster than those times, though, since the winter. His 400 IM season best came in early March, while he went his 200 IM season best back in January.

Kalisz is the favorite for both IM’s going into the 2018 Pan Pac Championships, as he’s the reigning world champion in both races. Of course, his ability to produce season bests at these PSS meets may be hindered by the fact that he also races grueling events like the 200 breast and 200 fly. He is entered in those two events, plus his IMs, for Columbus, as well as the 100 breast and 100 fly. Always better at longer stroke and IM races, we may see some lifetime bests from him in the 100s. He’s entered at 54.20 in the 100 fly and 1:02.46 in the 100 breast.


For both the 100 and 200 breast, there are a good handful of swimmers on the men’s side who all have pretty sizeable chances at snagging a spot for Pan Pacs. Of that handful, several are racing in Columbus this weekend.

In the 100, Cody Miller will make an appearance, as he’ll try to hold off upstart teens Michael Andrew and Reece Whitley. Keep an eye on Ian Finnerty, too. He erupted to sweep the breaststrokes at NCAAs, which included a 49.69 100y breast as he became the first person to crack 50 seconds in this race in yards.

Andrew isn’t racing the 200, but Miller and Whitley will be there. Kalisz, with his 2:09.90, is the top seed, and don’t be surprised if Michigan’s Jacob Montague and Charlie Swanson make some noise there, too.


Sometimes referred to as BackstrokeU, the Kentucky women are looking due for a sweep in the 200 back.

Asia Seidt leads the way at 2:08.99, with Bridgette Alexander (2:09.44) and Ali Galyer (2:11.77) in tow. Seidt and Alexander were both very close to making the Worlds team last year at 3rd and 4th in this event at 2017 US Trials. Seidt, in particular, was painfully close– her 2:08.99 was just short of 2nd place Regan Smith‘s 2:08.55.

Alexander is the 3rd seed in the 100, with Seidt 4th and Galyer 6th.


Honestly, give her a round of applause. Leah Smith is essentially doing Chase Kalisz‘s lineup, only doing it in a much harder way by adding 1500 meters of freestyle. And no, she’s not doing the 1500 free, she’s doing 1500 meters worth of freestyle, spread out across four events.

Smith is entered in the 100, 200, 400, and 800 free, in addition to the 200 fly and 400 IM. She started taking the 400 IM more seriously in the last year or two and, what do you know, she won the race at the 2017 US Nationals and swam it at Worlds. Meanwhile, she posted a 2:11.27 lifetime best in the 200 fly a month ago in Santa Clara. She’s really doing whatever she wants and doing it well, so moment of appreciation for Smith and her insane lineups. And let’s pay close attention to how she does in the IM and fly, because she may well be racing those events again at Pan Pacs.

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Gordon Wheeler Superfan
4 years ago

I believe you’re forgetting the 6th story line. Gordon Wheeler, Mason Manta Ray legend is competing in the 200 free unshaven, unsuited, unrested. Expect him to be a threat for a podium position!

Reply to  Gordon Wheeler Superfan
4 years ago

Because if you can’t win unshaven, unsuited, and unrested, did you really even win?

DIstance Swimmer
4 years ago

The piano comment!!! Savage

Reply to  DIstance Swimmer
4 years ago

Haha I was gonna say the same thing. New rivalry: Shields vs Swimswam??

4 years ago

I really only remember the failed drug tests

phelps swims 200 breast rio
4 years ago

Very cool- I’m looking forward to this meet. Leah Smith is amazing.

4 years ago

“Andrew isn’t racing the 200″….. didn’t need to print the obvious…

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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