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

  41 Jared Anderson | August 04th, 2014 | Club, National, News, Previews & Recaps

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.

Enter our official Pick ‘Em Contest here to win great prizes from Nike Swim.

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?

In This Story


  1. Swam says:

    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 says:

      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

    • DDias says:

      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.

  2. SamH says:

    Swim swam is probably the greatest website ever

  3. liquidassets says:

    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.

  4. John says:

    There will be fantastic performances, maybe world records, but the women’s 200 fly will be won in 2:10 and breaststroke 2:25 🙁

    Good luck to Katie Hoff on your welcome comeback. Ditto Liz Pelton – you don’t deserve the bad luck you’ve had in recent years!
    My greatest wish is for all the amazing short course swimmers to replicate their talent in long course. I know (from personal experience) it’s not easy but I empathise.

    • hswimmer says:

      Nah, I think your predictions are way off…. I think Cammile will go around 2:08 and Breeja around 2:23 or Micah Lawrence whomever wins it.

    • KeithM says:

      Those may be relatively weak races for the US internationally but the winning times in those events will be much faster than your ultra-bleak predictions. Adams and Flickinger have already been sub 2:10 this year.

    • DDias says:

      i am with HSWIMMER: 2:08 and 2:23 looks doable.

      I think girl sprints will not be very strong(except girls 50 breast).Just to think to be third in world in 50 free you need a 24 flat…

      • Rafael says:

        Top Times from this trials(Medal times for Next Year Worlds)
        50 free doable.. but not a sure thing.
        100 free sure thing with Adrian.
        200 free we will see good times.. but no medal level I think, Dwyer will need to go into 1:44 realm to medal next year, can´t see medal time for 400 and 1500 free…
        100/200 back we will see medal level times.. maybe 2 on 200 back even..
        100 breast/200 breast.. unless cordes show improvement.. no medal level times.. especially after we saw at Commonwealth
        100 fly.. Medal time for Phelps.. but I think he is alone as a medal contender on world level.
        200 fly.. we may see something around top 5… but no medal time by now.
        200 IM/400 IM we will see medal-level times at both events..

        For the girls.. except Missy and Ledecky I won´t bet on any swimmer being a medal contestant for Worlds..

        No medal time on 50 free.. I will be honestly surprised if any swimmer swim faster than Sjostrom 50 fly..
        100 free a medal is doable.. but hard to think it will happen.
        200 free for sure US have medal material..
        400/800 is Ledecky´s part.

        100 Back/200 Back Is Missy game, But I am curious to see if after focusing on free if she is still the one to beat on back.

        No medal level on breast, maybe Hardy on 100 free,, but no gold contenders.

        100 fly unless Vollmer gets back, no medal material also.. same for 200 fly…

        200 IM/400 IM same.. can´t see a medal.

        US will probably dominate Pan Pacs, Worlds will probably be tougher story..

        • DDias says:

          I think Medal times for Next Year Worlds is very pretentious.The World is changing very fast…(Sjostrom proves that).
          Even if Adrian won 50free in 21.30 (AR and Textile Best), i think a time like that can win a gold or a fourth place next Worlds…Remember Florent went from 22.1 to 21.3 in a year…i will keep World Predictions till next year except when we have a huge dominance, like Missy200back and Ledecky 400 and over freestyle.

          I am with you about something:
          sprint events are a weak spot in US right now, but they have some great younsters(like Manuel) on the rising.

        • Hswimmer says:

          You have forgotten about Beisel, she has medaled in 4im since 2011… 200 I’m depends how fast her and leverenz go out

        • KeithM says:

          “200 IM/400 IM same.. can´t see a medal.”

          Wow! There is this swimmer named Elizabeth Beisel. She has a very good track record of coming through at the big meets to win medals. Moreover, she has just swam the best in season times of her career. Many people wrote her off last year for Worlds when like several other swimmers she seemed in a post Olympics funk but she still went a 4:31 last summer to medal. If she’s swimming 4:33 and 4:35s before her summer taper meets that should be a very good omen for her. As for the rest of your predictions, yes there are some definite weak events. But as we’ve seen the complexion can change very quickly. Often the US comes out of this meet looking better than they did entering it.

          • Rafael says:

            Forgot about her.. but a 4:31 won´t make the cut again I think..Ye seems to be back on track.. and I think she and Katinka will go under 4:30.. waiting to see who can go 4:30.. Milley, Beisel, Mireia Belmonte.. as for 200.. I would bet a 2:08 low might be locked out (Siobham, Katinka and Ye can break 2:08 probably)

          • KeithM says:

            Given the way Beisel has swam so far leading up to this summer it may seem a bit of a relative disappointment if she manages “only” a 4:31 again at Nats/Pan Pacs. If we’re raising the ceiling for Hosszu and others I don’t see why we can’t do the same for Beisel. Among the main contenders only Ye is younger.

          • KeithM says:

            Well actually also Wilmott is younger by about 6 months. But since Beisel first made the national team at 13 some might forget how relatively young she is.

    • John says:

      I wasn’t being serious with those times! (It has taught me to refrain from sarcasm / irony) It’s just that someone does a 2:12 and it’s described as a “strong swim” sometimes and it was only such about 40 years ago. Anyway, I hope Easop Lee does something remarkable and especially Cassidy Bayer – whom I’ve predicted to win in Rio!

      • bobo gigi says:

        Congrats John. Your time predictions were very funny and you made many people react! Huge congrats! 😆
        You talk about Easop Lee. She doesn’t swim at Nationals this week and I believe she represents South Korea internationally.
        And Cassidy Bayer to win the gold in Rio? Wow! That’s what I predicted 2 years ago. But I was perhaps a little too optimistic. Rio is in 2 years. It seems to come too early. I hope she will at least qualify for Rio with Katie McLaughlin. These 2 youngsters can save the US women’s 200 fly in the next years!

        • John says:

          Merci pour cette information, Bobo. Je ne savais pas qu’elle n’etait pas americaine. Comme vous, je regarderai les championnats a 0300!

          Yes, it’s exciting to look forward to, even if it’s the middle of the night for some of us. I know you are a track and field fan too…. How much better is it to have swimming races one after the other… With the Commonealth Games I had two computers running and in the same time we saw a 100m and an 800m and a 200m in the pool (20 minutes?) all we saw on the track were three 11 second heats of the women’s 100m (with nothing happening elsewhere). Crazy!

  5. caliswimgrl says:

    I’m curious how the taper will look for Ledecky – full taper for Nationals or just a bit of rest and then full taper for Pan Pacs. What will be the next race opportunity between Friis and Ledecky? Fun to watch the ladies raising the bar so much in the past two years in the distance events.

  6. KeithM says:

    Right now on paper, the weakest events look like:

    Very Weak:
    Women’s 50 free
    Women’s Fly, all distances

    Moderately weak:
    Women’s 200IM
    Women’s 200 Breast
    Men’s Breast, all distances
    Men’s distance free
    Men’s 200 fly

    Women’s 50 free is quite weak because most if not all of the best 100 swimmers move up better to the 200 than down to the 50, even arguably Manuel. Women’s fly I’ll be looking more for results that speak to 2016 than this summer or next. Unless one of the youngsters like Bayer really makes the grade sooner than expected. Obviously if Vollmer gets healthy she can make a big difference in Rio

    Only Cordes saves Men’s Breast from being in the very weak category. But I’m bullish on him and think he’s better than his 2:08 from last year suggested. Women’s 200IM is obviously weaker than the 400IM. Beisel could end up winning this if she’s doing a best time in the 400IM and because nobody looks in ominous form at the moment. DiRado can go sub 2:10 IF she’s at her very best. But there’s no obvious sub 2:10’s on recent form. Jaeger and McBroom medalled at world’s last year. But distance is getting better internationally and the US needs some younger swimmers in the distance free but it may already be too late for Rio. Men’s 200 fly doesn’t have much depth but there is Andrew Seliskar who is very promising if yet unproven.

    Of course the complexion changes in the blink of an eye with one meet like Nationals. I’ll be looking closely at the younger swimmers that qualify for Pan Ams next year and Jr Pan Pacs at the end of the month who might be very relevant on the senior team in two years.

  7. rafael says:

    This pan pacs jr looks like weak for me this year. It seems all major countries are sending The best they have for yog except united states. Even being dominant the us will fight against a very weak field on pan pacs jr.

  8. Rafael says:

    How old is Beisel????

  9. bobo gigi says:

    Updated predictions about winners.
    Of course if all the stars swim their best events.
    It’s much easier to predict the olympic trials where everyone has only one meet to qualify and where almost everyone is fully tapered.
    Hard to predict the level of taper and strategy this week for swimmers like Nathan Adrian or especially Katie Ledecky.

    50 free. Nathan Adrian
    100 free. Nathan Adrian
    200 free. Conor Dwyer
    400 free. Connor Jaeger
    800 free. Connor Jaeger
    1500 free. Connor Jaeger
    100 back. Matt Grevers
    200 back. Tyler Clary. Even if I hope Murphy wins.
    100 breast. Kevin Cordes
    200 breast. Kevin Cordes
    100 fly. Michael Phelps. Go MP! 🙂
    200 fly. Andrew Seliskar. He must save that historically strong event in USA!
    200 IM. Ryan Lochte
    400 IM. Chase Kalisz

    50 free. Madison Kennedy. Hopefully the girls will make that event more entertaining than it used to be in the last 10 years. The only competitive 50 free US girl internationally in the last 10 years has been the young hopeful Dara Torres! 🙄
    100 free. Simone Manuel
    200 free. Katie Ledecky
    400 free. Katie Ledecky
    800 free. Katie Ledecky
    1500 free. Katie Ledecky. Becca Mann if Katie doesn’t swim it.
    100 back. Missy Franklin. Hopefully Olivia Smoliga will qualify. 🙂
    200 back. Missy Franklin. Can she make successful tough doubles 200 back/200 free like before? We’ll have the answer on Thursday. If she can’t anymore, Miss Beisel will win that event.
    100 breast. Jessica Hardy
    200 breast. Micah Lawrence
    100 fly. Claire Donahue. Even if I hope Katie McLaughlin wins. And go Cassidy Bayer! 🙂
    200 fly. Cammile Adams. Even if I hope Katie McLaughlin wins. And go Cassidy Bayer! 🙂 These 2 youngsters are the saviors for USA in that event for the next years.
    200 IM. Caitlin Leverenz. And go Katie Hoff! 🙂
    400 IM. Elizabeth Beisel. And I expect a great battle with Maya DiRado.


      I also predict Manuel for the 100 free win ! it’s time to step up on the 100 free for her ; huge potential for her and Usa on the 50 & 100 free .

  10. msmsms says:

    BOBO youre comments always interesting. maybe you can put predictions time to each swim. it will be great


    i agree with most predictions here BOBO except men’s 200 IM and men’s 50 free ! I predicted Ervin to take away the 50 free and Kalisz for the 200 IM . I still wish Lochte to do very well but due to that knee injury , i beleive he will mostly shine on 100 fly and maybe 200 free . The IM will maybe put much more pressure on the knee due to the 4 different strokes . Let’s seee …. that’s the huge fun for the fans this week ; surprises , surprises .

    • TheTroubleWithX says:

      I was doubting Lochte’s IM, but then he popped off the best time in the US this season, so…it’s going to be interesting. I’m really hoping for an epic four-way race between Dwyer, Kalisz, Lochte, and Phelps.

  12. Pvdh says:

    I agree, I have Ervin winning the 50, adrian 2nd. And Kalisz winning the 200. He’s improved speed tremendously over the past year.

  13. TheTroubleWithX says:

    Anyone out there looking for an all-sessions pass? My friend bailed on me, so I have an extra one. Don’t think it’s sold out yet, but if you’re looking for a pass and want to help me avoid eating $60, let me know.


      If i was in California right now , i would buy your extra pass immediately ! But unfortunately , i am still in Belgium . It’s one of my dreams to be at Us Nationals or Trials one day . I am sure u will find easely …. Have great fun !


    Women’s 200 free : Big battle for the spots
    Men’s 100 back : Big battle for the spots
    Men’s 100 butterfly : Phelps , Shields , Lochte , Godsoe , Conger , …. amazing race to come .
    100 free : Phelps , Adrian , Ervin , Feigen , Dressel , Grevers …. amazing race as well
    Women’s 100 free : Manuel , Franklin , Schmitt , Hardy , Vreeland , Caughlin …great race
    few other races should be very exciting ; i just picked the ones that feel just amazing !
    Let’s have a great fun , thanks to an amazing work from SwimSwam .

  15. swimzlazy says:

    The person that is going to have the biggest breakthrough at this meet will be Connor Dwyer, mark my words. He has looked really good this season and now that he is rested I think we’ll see very impressive drops. It will be tough for Phelps to finish top 2 in the IM with Chase and Dwyer, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets 3rd or 4th

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career sixteen years and running wasn’t enough for this native Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every …

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