2019 PHILLIPS 66 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Worlds is over. Take a breath. Did you take a breath? OK, good. Now it’s time for the 2019 U.S. Nationals.
We’ve picked out some of the top storylines for you to follow for another week of pool action. This isn’t an exhaustive list of swimmers, clubs, or teams to watch for. Feel free to let us know in the comments what you’re most excited for at this meet.
#1 RYAN LOCHTE BEGINS HIS ROAD TO TOKYO
Technically, Ryan Lochte‘s road to what would be his fifth-straight Olympics could’ve already started awhile ago. Instead, he will start racing this week at Nationals. In May of 2018, Lochte posted a curious photo on social media that led to an investigation and subsequent 14-month ban for performing an intravenous infusion without a Therapy-Use Exemption (TUE). His ban lifted last week, and after USA Swimming offered Lochte an exemption to include some of his spring 2018 times to qualify for Nationals, he will race in Palo Alto.
Lochte will compete in the 100 back, 100 fly, 200 free, 200 IM, and 400 IM.
OLYMPIC TRIALS CUTS – 2020
- 100 back – 56.59
- 100 fly – 54.19
- 200 free – 1:50.79
- 200 IM – 2:04.09
- 400 IM – 4:25.99
The times above are what Lochte will need to go (at some point before qualifying ends in 2020) to punch his ticket to Omaha. They’re pedestrian for someone like Lochte, who has the second-most Olympic medals of any swimmer, ever, behind Michael Phelps, and is also the 200 IM World Record-holder. Then again, it’s unclear what kind of shape he’s in, and we haven’t seen him swim official times in over a year. What do you predict Lochte will go this week in his five events?
#2 THE YOUTHS WERE DOMINANT AT WORLDS; WHAT SAYS URLANDO?
American Regan Smith was incredible at Worlds, becoming the fastest backstroker in history in the 100 and 200 back and helping Team USA to another WR in the 4×100 medley relay. Meanwhile, Hungarian Kristof Milak set fire to Michael Phelps’s legendary 200 fly WR.
Before Worlds, though, Luca Urlando made headlines with his 1:53.84 200 fly at the Clovis PSS meet, breaking Phelps’s 17-18 NAG record. Many of us might still be in WR fever after Worlds, but Urlando’s performance earlier in the summer was astounding. It’s more compelling when you realize Urlando wasn’t peaking for a PSS stop, and that he likely has more to go at Nationals and/or World Juniors. Speaking of World Juniors, here’s a reminder on how Team USA will pick their roster for that meet from Nationals results.
Smith, meanwhile, is entered in the backstrokes as well as the 100/200 fly and the 200 free. For more of a dive into Smith’s other events (and her 2020 potential), click here.
#3 NATIONAL TEAM SPOTS ARE ON THE LINE
Many swimmers rely on professional sponsorships and/or funding from being on the U.S. National team for a given season. With selection for the 2019-20 team happening in early September, there will be a mad dash for making it into the top 6 rankings to secure funding for the next season, as this is one of the last big meets with good competition for those to make their mark.
Even those who made an international roster this summer are not safe; this is an opportunity for those who stayed home this summer to peak here and steal away a spot (though some may already have spots in the top six that they are trying to hold onto). Meanwhile, plenty of Worlds roster members are on this roster, and they may be looking to fight through another jet lag transition and improve upon their rankings.
Full top six rankings for every event, as well as full details on National Team benefits, are available here.
#4 THE AMERICAN SPRINT MACHINE CHURNS AGAIN
With Caeleb Dressel notching new American records at Worlds, and with there being splits in the 47-low/46-high range from several men this summer (Hi, Zach Apple), it’s clear that the American men will bring a lethal group of sprinters for the 4×100 free relay in the next couple of years at least.
Dressel is on the psych sheets here, as well as WUGs roster members Dean Farris (one of the 47.0 splits), Tate Jackson, Robert Howard, and Justin Ress. Jackson raced the 100 free at WUGs, and Ress the 50 and 100 back, but Ress didn’t do any individual freestyle racing and neither did Farris and Howard.
#5 THE NON-AMERICANS
Not every swimmer at this meet will be American, and there are a few contingents of foreign-born swimmers (mostly from Australia, Great Britain, and France) on these psych sheets.
For Australia, there’s young freestylers Elijah Winnington and Louis Townsend, along with butterfliers Matthew Temple and Bowen Gough and breaststroker Daniel Cave. Rising Northwestern University junior Calypso Sheridan will also represent the Aussies in the 100 back, 100 breast, and 200 IM, and Jenna Strauch is the top seed in the 200 breast.
GBR will have Anna Hopkin, who raced at Worlds and registered big time PRs in the 50 (24.34) and 100 free (53.21), along with 400 IMer Hannah Miley, who’s coming back after ankle surgery this past winter, and breaststroker Chloe Tutton. On the men’s side, there’s IM’er Mark Szaranek, Worlds roster member Scott McLay, and freestyler Stephen Milne, among others.
Finally, France will have Worlds member Jordan Pothain along with sprinter Anna Santamans in addition to several others.