5 Storylines to watch at US Nationals – plus links, schedules, selection procedures and more!

The big show in American swimming is set to kick off on Wednesday, with the nation’s best fighting for roster spots on the Pan Pacs, 2015 World Champs, World University Games and Pan American Games rosters, plus the glory of bringing home US National Titles.

We’ve got all the links you need below, including live results, live stream, TV schedules, international meet selection procedures and 5 major storylines to watch.

2014 U.S. National Championships

View our full coverage of the meet, including a whole truckload of event-by-event previews, by following this link to our 2014 US Nationals homepage.

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Start Times

  • Local time: Prelims 9AM/Finals 6PM
  • US Central: 11AM/8PM
  • US Eastern: 12noon/9PM
  • Rio, Brazil: 1PM/10PM
  • London, England: 5PM/2AM(next day)
  • Paris, France: 6PM/3AM(next day)
  • Kazan, Russia: 8PM/5AM(next day)
  • Sydney, Australia: 2AM(next day)/11AM(next day)

Selection Procedures

These U.S. Nationals are an extra-big deal, as they’re being used as selection trials for national teams for not only this year but next. Here are some brief, simplified looks at how many top finishers will probably qualify for the major meets of the next 12 months

Pan Pacific Championships (August 2014)

2015 World Championships

  • Based on each athlete’s best time from 2014 Nationals and 2014 Pan Pacs
  • Top 6 in 100/200 free
  • Top 2 in Olympic Events
  • Top 1 in non-Olympic Events (50 fly/back/breast, women’s 1500 free, men’s 800 free)
  • Full procedures explained here

2015 World University Games

  • Athlete must be enrolled in a college degree program (or have just graduated) to be eligible
  • 2015 World Champs qualifiers are excluded from this roster
  • Top 4 eligible athletes in 100/200 free
  • Top 2 eligible athletes in Olympic events
  • Full procedures explained here (bottom of page)

2015 Pan American Games

  • 2015 World Champs and 2015 World University Games team members are excluded from this roster
  • Top 2 eligible athletes in all Olympic event
  • Extra 100/200 free swimmers added at discretion of USA Swimming
  • Full procedures explained here (bottom of page)

Meet Schedule

  • Wednesday
    • 200 fly
    • 100 free
    • W 800 free
    • M 1500 free
    • 4×100 free relay
  • Thursday
    • 200 free
    • 200 breast
    • 200 back
    • 50 fly
    • M 4×200 free relay
  • Friday
    • 400 IM
    • 100 fly
    • 50 breast
    • 50 back
    • W 4×200 free relay
  • Saturday
    • 400 free
    • 100 breast
    • 100 back
    • 4×100 medley relay
  • Sunday
    • W 1500 free
    • 200 IM
    • M 800 free
    • 50 free

TV Schedule

Wednesday, August 6th: Live Broadcast on Universal Sports – 9pm-11pm Eastern
Saturday, August 9th: Tape-delayed broadcast on NBC – 4pm-6pm Eastern
Sunday, August 10th: Tape-delayed broadcast on NBC – 4pm-6pm Eastern
Sunday, August 10th: Tape-delayed broadcast on NBC Sports – 11pm-12pm Eastern

5 Storylines to Watch (plus 5 bonus stories)

Obviously, the returns of swimming icons Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte have been much-talked about focal points of this meet. Though they’re no doubt huge stories to watch this week (and we could probably fill 5 different storylines between the two of them alone), we’re giving you a deeper glimpse into what is a loaded meet from top to bottom, pulling 5 of the biggest non-Phlochte stories (well, mostly Phelps/Lochte-free) to keep an eye on this weekend:

1. Katie Ledecky and the continual World Record Watch: There might not be a swimmer in the world more on-fire right now than Nation’s Capital’s high school senior Katie Ledecky. It’s been an absurdly successful run for Ledecky over the past year or so, as the 4-time world champ has been dropping huge chunks of time as if she’s an age grouper (technically at 17, she’s still a junior swimmer, but you get the point). How’s this for impressive: Ledecky went down to Texas for a routine mid-season meet and came home with two World Records. There’s almost no limit to what Ledecky can do right now, and with a full taper and shave, she should presumably be able to lower those records (800 and 1500 free) even further. The only question is how much rest Ledecky is taking for this meet, as she’s so far ahead of the nation (and the world) in distance free right now she doesn’t need much to sew up spots on the Pan Pacs and World Championship rosters. Still, as she’s proven before, even an unrested Katie Ledecky is still a blisteringly fast one.

2. US depth thriving in men’s 100 back attack: If you can only watch one men’s race of the week, make it the 100 back. Perhaps the deepest event in American swimming right now, the 100 back somehow features nearly every major American swimming icon in a race that will be more star-studded than the cast of The Expendables movies if no one scratches. There’s defending Olympic champ Matt Grevers, defending national champ David Plummer, short course American record-holder Nick Thoman, Phelps, Lochte and NCAA stud Ryan Murphy (more on him later) plus so many more. Make no mistake, this race will be an heavyweight fight to remember, so stay tuned for it on Saturday night.

3. The forgotten ‘comeback kid’ – Katie Hoff: In all the Phelps/Lochte comeback hoopla, the return of former Olympian Katie Hoff has flown under the radar. That’s been Hoff’s preferred style so far, as she’s stayed close to her Miami, Florida training base for local meets, only making one major appearance at the Mesa Grand Prix. But Hoff’s return could be huge for American swimming, as she was once considered one of the brightest young stars in the world before burning out and taking a lengthy break from competition. Hoff is still just 25 years old, though, and how she performs will be one of the more intriguing storylines of these nationals.

4. Three-headed monster leads women’s 200 free: In the same vein as the men’s 100 back, make sure you don’t miss the women’s 200 freestyle on Thursday night, as three of the world’s best are set to collide. Missy Franklin might be the best all-around female swimmer in the world, and she’s spent all college season focusing on her freestyles, culminating in an American record at the NCAA Championships. There’s the aforementioned Ledecky chasing her. Ledecky seems to still be figuring out how to best use her immense talent in the shorter races, but has been breaking out in the 200 recently. Obscured in commentary about those first two, though, is defending Olympic champion Allison Schmitt, who’s been a half-second off the world record in her career and of the three of them, might have the skill set most perfectly suited for this specific race.

5. Three young college stars on the verge of Olympic-sized breakouts: Three of the best male swimmers in the NCAA seem primed for big-time breakout meets in the long course pool this summer. Arizona’s Kevin Cordes has taken the short course breaststroke races to ridiculous new heights. His long, powerful stroke seems even better-suited for long course racing, though, and he’ll try to insert himself into the ranks of the world’s most dangerous breaststrokers this summer. Chase Kalisz has been destroying college 400 IM records, and though he’s already had a bit of a breakout on the international stage, there’s a thought that he could soon rise to the heights of his former NBAC training partner Michael Phelps in the IM races. Finally, Cal’s Ryan Murphy has been crushing backstroke races and living up to the incredibly high expectations of fans after his outstanding high school career. Could this be the meet Murphy finally gets past Grevers & co. to become the nation’s best in the backstrokes?

Plus, a bonus from SwimSwam to you: five more mini-stories that merit mention.

1. Where will Darian Townsend fit? The former South African star just attained American citizenship. Where will he fit in within the ranks of his new country?

2. Nathan Adrian vs the Aussies: The reigning Olympic 100 free king has had a great season, while his Australian rival James Magnussen was somewhat lackluster at Commonwealth Games a few weeks ago. How will Adrian perform here leading up to the potential showdown between the two in Australia for Pan Pacs?

3. Missy’s back in Back: After a college season focused mostly on freestyle, Missy Franklin has yet to pop a really big backstroke race. Will she find her groove in Irvine?

4. An odd summer for Caeleb Dressel: the fastest high school sprinter ever had an odd summer, with a long swimming break followed by two races at Junior Nationals where he noticeably let up, playing with the field but ultimately winning. What kind of shape is he in? What’s he truly capable of? We’ll find out this week.

5. Beisel to distance free? Florida grad Elizabeth Beisel has had a fantastic summer in the 400 and 800 freestyles. Will the Olympic IMer/backstroker jump into some extra races at nationals, and can she challenge the fields there?

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Predictions : Ledecky WR 400 and 800 free, Adrian 47 low in 100 free and AR 50 free, Beisel 4:30.0 best time in 400 IM, Phelps wins 100 fly in 51.10, Lochte wins 2IM in 1:55.5, Grevers wins 100 bk battle, Ledecky over Schmitt in 200 free (Franklin 3rd), Franklin wins 200 back in 2:05.7

Lane Four

Swam, if I could, I’d give you 7 more thumbs-up to counter the idiots who gave you the thumbs down. Guess that makes me a target too! LOL

i have my doubts about Adrian double AR in 50 and 100free.I think Adrian is capable of BOTH, but to deliver AT THE SAME meeting, can be costly.
I think Phelps has everything to do a sub51 in 100fly.


Swim swam is probably the greatest website ever

Lane Four

I agree. It has something for every single one of us. I wish we could have had this years ago.


I’m so intrigued by Ledecky and glad she’ll have great competition from Franklin, Schmitty, et. al. though wish she had more in the 400/800. I’m wondering how much of her recent WR tear was from an impeccably timed return from altitude, vs. just the latest segment in a trajectory that I didn’t think was possible in my lifetime.

SWAM, your predictions sound roughly reasonable though I wonder if some of them will approach those targets more at Pan Pacs than at Nationals where they can afford to rest a bit less: Ledecky, Adrian 100, Beisel 4IM.

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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