5 Storylines To Watch At the 2019 Pro Swim Series – Greensboro


  • November 6th-9th, 2019
  • Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • 50m (LCM)
  • Prelims at 9:00AM Eastern Time/Finals at 6:00PM Eastern Time (4:00 Eastern for Wednesday timed finals)
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live Results

The 2019 Pro Swim Series begins this week in Greensboro – here are five storylines to follow:

1. Simone Manuel‘s Season Debut

World and Olympic champ Simone Manuel is easily the biggest-name American pro who passed on the inaugural International Swimming League season this fall. That means Manuel has yet to compete since the 2019 World Championships in July. She’ll make her 2019-2020 season debut after more than three months off, but will get plenty of opportunities to shake the rust off. The 23-year-old sprint star is entered in the 50, 100 and 200 frees, plus the 100 back and 100 fly.

2. A Busy Weekend For Luca Urlando

Manuel’s schedule, though, pales in comparison to that of 17-year-old Luca Urlandoanother key name who didn’t swim during the ISL season. Urlando, still a high school senior maintaining his high school and collegiate eligibility, is entered in a whopping 7 races over three days of competition. He may not swim the full slate, but for now, here’s what it looks like:

  • Thursday:
    • 200 FL
    • 400 FR
  • Friday:
    • 200 FR
    • 200 BK
    • 400 IM
  • Saturday:
    • 100 FL
    • 200 IM

Urlando is a strong Olympic hopeful in the 200 fly, and his remarkable improvement curve has him in the hunt for a 4×200 free relay spot, too.

3. Loaded Women’s Backstrokes

There doesn’t seem to be an event discipline quite as loaded as women’s backstrokes, and that’s even with world record-breaker Regan Smith and national teamer Olivia Smoliga not entered. Former world record-holder Kathleen Baker leads the 200 back field, though she won’t swim the 100. Behind her in the 200 are effectively the next two “generations” of top American backstrokers: Katharine Berkoff and Isabelle Stadden are at the end of their teen years, while Claire Curzan and Natalie Mannion – both 15 – represent the next class of backstrokers.

The 100 loses Baker but adds yet another former world record-holder: Canada’s Kylie Masse.

4. Clarity Coming in Men’s 100/200 Frees?

The American men’s freestyle relays are perhaps the hardest Olympic events to predict right now, in part because of how much top-end depth developed over the last summer. We may get a bit more clarity this week, as a few of the breakout performers in the 100 and 200 frees are competing. Dean Farris was a short course yards standout who blasted a huge 47.0 split at World University Games in long course. Farris – who is taking a redshirt season from Harvard and training in Texas – hasn’t competed since U.S. Nationals, but gets cracks at the 100 and 200 frees in Greensboro (not to mention the 100 back, where he’s a sneaky contender).

In the 100 free, he gets Texas training partner Tate Jackson (the World University Games silver medalist) and World Champs relay member Michael Chadwick (who won bronze at Pan Ams). In the 200 free, Farris faces the young standout Urlando, as well as fellow redshirt swimmer Grant House and rising star Carson Fosteramong others. House was on the World University Games gold medal-winning 4×200 free relay with Farris, while Foster had the dominant split on the World Junior Championships gold medal relay.

5. All Eyes On MacNeil

Canadian 19-year-old Maggie MacNeil probably had the upset of the meet last summer at Worlds, besting world record-holder Sarah Sjostrom in a 100 fly. MacNeil is in the midst of her sophomore season with the Michigan Wolverines, and just last month torched a 49.5 in short course yards. She rolls into Greensboro with just two entries: the 100 fly and 50 free. That could signal that MacNeil is loading up for a similarly-dominant swim in long course. The U.S. Open record (56.38 from Sjostrom in 2016) could be in jeopardy, and it’s not even entirely out of the question that MacNeil could challenge the 55.48 world record – she was only four tenths off that time last summer, and last month went a tenth faster than her career-best 100-yard fly.


Bonus Storylines:

  • Women’s 400 IM: this race should be a show, with Ally McHugh, Ella Eastin, Madisyn Cox, Hali Flickinger and Katie Ledecky all in the mix.
  • Claire Tuggle: the 15-year-old Californian has a shot to be the youngest U.S. Olympian in 2020. She’s entered in the 100/200/400/800/1500 frees and 200/400 IMs, trying to feel out where she’ll best fit come Olympic Trials.
  • Men’s breaststrokes: Andrew Wilson has been the American standout lately – he was 6th at Worlds, but cracked 59 in a big World Cup swim late in the summer. He draws one of last summer’s fan-favorite stories, 30-year-old Brandon Fischer, who rose to U.S. National Team status late in his career.
  • New training bases tested: a number of swimmers have made changes to their home training bases, a bit a gamble less than a year out from Olympic Trials. Former Georgia pro Hali Flickinger has resurfaced at Arizona State. Georgia collegian Olivia Carter took a redshirt and planned to return to her Enfinity Aquatic Club for training, but later announced a transfer to Michigan starting in January. IMer Abrahm DeVine left Stanford for Team Elite in what has turned into a public, acrimonious split, with DeVine accusing Stanford of denying him a spot in a professional training group based on his sexual orientation. Another former Stanford standout, distance man True Sweetser, is taking a redshirt gap year and appears to be training back in his home state of Florida with the Gator Swim Club. Distance swimmer and IMer Ally McHugh graduated from Penn State last spring, and immediately began representing Wisconsin Aquatics – it appears she’s followed coach Eric Posegay there from Penn State. We’ll get more info on how each of these swimmers are doing in their new environment as Greensboro results begin to pour in.

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1 year ago

Are these still on Olympic channel?

Reply to  Sccoach
1 year ago
Hawaiian Reeves
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

I think that’s the wrong link, Braden.

1 year ago

Lochte doesn’t warrant a mention?

1 year ago

The men’s free is going to be the race of the 2020 Olympic trials. Ten or more contenders for the individual and relay spots.

There are more swimmers in the 47s than ever, so the bar has been raised to be at the top level. Dean Farris is at 48.0, so he’s not a member of the 47 club yet.

1 year ago

As mentioned it will be interesting to see how re-located swimmers are adapting to new coaching, I think Eddie will get the best out of Dean

Who is Spring Man
1 year ago

Is no one going to mention that Zach Apple and Blake P are going to try to flip at the 100 of a 200 in 49?????

Swim Parent
Reply to  Who is Spring Man
1 year ago

In Bloomington, not Greensboro. Different thread mate.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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