2019 ATLANTA CLASSIC
- May 17th-19th, 2019
- Georgia Tech McAuley Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
- LCM (50m pool)
- Meet Information
- Psych Sheets
In the midst of FINA Champions stops, Pro Swim Series stops, and more, there is still plenty to be excited about at the upcoming Atlanta Classic. Below, we’ve identified five storylines to follow in Atlanta. This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but a select few key races and swimmers to watch for.
#1 CAELEB IS SWIMMING WHAT!?
Caeleb Dressel kept things fun in college — when he raced a non-primary-event 200 IM at the 2018 SEC Championships, for example, he blew out the NCAA and American records. Truly a legendary American sprinter, Dressel has one event scheduled this weekend that is a bit different from his usual slate: the 200 fly.
Dressel’s butterfly has become right on par with his freestyle, cemented by his sub-50 long course showing in 2017 and then his inconceivable 42.8 in yards in 2018 at NCAAs. The only 200 that Dressel has shown much interest in in long course has been the freestyle, and any swimmer knows that a long course 200 (of any stroke) is more like a marathon than a sprint. Dressel has found a way to save a strong final 50 in his 200 free in the big pool, so perhaps his pacing might work out in a 200 fly.
Who knows if he’ll actually end up swimming the 200 fly in Atlanta. USA Swimming’s database has his best at 2:18.33 from a Bolles-hosted time trial meet in July of 2012, when he was 15 years old. In yards, he has been 1:47.63 from a January 2018 dual meet while at UF. He has swum it in yards five times, ever, and in long course meters, three times, ever. Something in the 1:59-2:02 range seems doable in-season for him.
#2 A SUMMER OF DEAN COMMENCES
Memes and comment section stans aside, Dean Farris really does carry a lot of intrigue. He’s slated to race this summer at the 2019 World University Games, but looking ahead and speculating about Tokyo, Farris seems to have the chops to be, at the least, on both TEAM USA free relays. At most? Individual entries in the 100 and 200 free, and dare we say the 100 back?
Right now, though, there is no Tokyo selection to worry about. As swim fans, it’s our God-given job to make predictions and have set expectations for every swimmer. Everyone must progress every season! But, for real, Farris has continued to progress and probably will see some drops in long course this summer. He was fantastic at NCAAs this past season, building off his Ivy Leagues performance that left people thinking he didn’t have much more taper left in him for NCAAs. But, he did. And, having yet to have a huge break-through in meters, the signs are pointing to something big this summer, which would set him up very well going into the Olympic year. It would also set the comment section ablaze.
Farris is entered in the 50/100/200 free, 100/200 back, and 100 fly. His backstroke saw a huge leap this past NCAA season, and he has a very exciting foe in Caeleb Dressel waiting in the 100 free this weekend.
#3 OLIVIA SMOLIGA IN HER RICHMOND FOLLOW-UP
Olivia Smoliga is hitting her stride in her pro career. That much was apparent at the last Pro Swim Series stop in Richmond, where she dropped season bests as well as, oh wow, a lifetime best? Absolutely. And in her best event, no less. Smoliga was 58.73 in the 100 back, which currently holds at #3 in the world, largely against the world’s top backstrokers from their respective national trial meets.
Smoliga was also sub-25 and sub-55 in the sprint free races. She’s seeded first in the 50/100 free and 100/200 back this weekend, and based on the form she’s shown this season, we could be treated to more bests. Smoliga has had international success, but hasn’t really claimed the spot as the United States’ *top* backstroker — maybe this summer will belong to her.
#4 ALWAYS SOMEONE ON THE COME-UP
The American swimming pipeline is never dry. Always a new swimmer rising in the ranks, there are, naturally, a few young swimmers at this meet who are a time drop or two away from making an international team of some sort.
Two 14-year-olds are poised for at least one A final appearance on the women’s side. NCAP’s Erin Gemmell, a freestyler, is one of them. The younger sister of 2012 Olympian Andrew Gemmell and daughter of renowned coach Bruce Gemmell, she is entered in seven events. Right now, she looks to have the most potential in sprint/mid-distance freestyle. She’s seeded seventh in the 200 free, her best event, 11th in the 100 free, and 15th in the 50 free.
The other 14-year-old seeded highly is Rye Ulett of Dynamo. Ulett, whose older sister Tristen is a former NAG-record holder, is emerging as a backstroker. She is seeded 10th in the 100 back and an astounding fifth in the 200 back. Right behind Ulett in the 200 back is Natalie Mannion, a 15-year-old from Commonwealth Current.
#5 FLORIDA’S FRESHMEN
The University of Florida had a seriously explosive freshman class on the men’s side last season. With NCAA experience under their belt, and now rising sophomores, they will descend upon Atlanta.
Kieran Smith is entered in the 100/200/400 free, 100 back, and 200/400 IM. He’s the fourth seed in the 400 IM, and he comes into long course season after scoring in NCAA A-finals in both IM races. Smith also dropped a 1:31.64 split on Florida’s 800 free relay at NCAAs and swam fly on their 200 medley relay. He’s incredibly versatile with a smooth, powerful presence in the pool that makes him perfect for long course.
2019 SEC mile champion Robert Finke had a huge swim in that race, where he went the 5th-best time in history (14:23.01) and erased more than 14 seconds from his old best. He’s seeded first in the mile this weekend, and is also the #2 seed in the 400 IM, where he has been 4:15 in long course.
Trey Freeman is seeded top 8 in the 100 free, 200 free, 400 free, and mile this weekend, while Will Davis is seeded 5th in the 100 fly and 9th in the 50 free.