8 Matchups To Watch, All Links For 2016 Austin Pro Swim Series

2016 Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin

  • Friday, January 15 – Sunday, January 17
  • Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, University of Texas
  • Austin, Texas
  • Psych sheets
  • Meet website
  • Live Stream (link forthcoming)
  • Live Results (link forthcoming)

Prize Money/Scoring System

Every individual, Olympic-distance event gives out prize money and series points to the top three finishers:

  • 1st place: $1000, 5 points
  • 2nd place: $600, 3 points
  • 3rd place: $200, 1 points

At the end of the series, the male and female points leaders will win $10,000 each, plus a 1-year lease of a BMW (though the BMW is only available to U.S. citizens).

Current Points Standings

Men:

1. Conor Dwyer – 13
2. Chase Kalisz – 10
2. Nathan Adrian – 10
4. Michael Phelps – 9
4. Santo Condorelli – 9

Women:

1. Katie Ledecky – 16
2. Missy Franklin – 13
3. Becca Mann – 9
4. Caitlin Leverenz – 8
4. Melanie Margalis – 8
4. Simone Manuel – 8

You can find the full points lists here.

8 Matchups To Watch

The Austin psych sheets are absolutely loaded with big-league talent. So instead of singling out swimmers to watch in our meet preview, we’ll double (and sometimes triple) up, giving you the best and most intriguing head-to-head matchups to watch this weekend.

1. Sarah Sjostrom vs. Dana Vollmer, 100 fly 

The new world record-holder against the old. The 2012 Olympic champ against the odds-on favorite for the 2016 Olympic crown. This one might not project to be the closest matchup right now (it would be a pretty big surprise if a post-retirement Vollmer could challenge the red-hot Sjostrom mid-season, though this race certainly could turn close by Rio), but the intrigue of a dominant Olympic champ coming out of retirement to face the young swimmer who has risen to world dominance in her absence is just too good to pass up.

Outsiders to watch: American teenager Katie McLaughlin is an insane talent with great closing speed. Canada has its own bright young star in Noemie Thomas, a college teammate to McLaughlin at Cal. 2012 U.S. Olympian Claire Donahue is also in the mix.

2. Nathan Adrian vs. Santo Condorelli, 100 free

Maybe the best race of the Arena Pro Swim Series at Minneapolis last fall was the men’s 100 free, where Olympic champ Adrian came back from a first-turn deficit to touch out Condorelli, the rising star who blew up for Canada internationally over the summer. The two rematch in the 100 free in Austin with a star-studded field behind them.

Outsiders to watch: Where to start? Russian Vlad Morozov joins the hunt in Austin; like Condorelli, he’s a swimmer who progressed through the American age group system before finding international acclaim for another nation. France’s Jeremy Stravius and Brazil’s Bruno Fratus make this an extremely diverse field, and domestically, we’ll likely get to see American icon Michael Phelps try his hand in search of a possible relay slot in Rio.

3. Tyler Clary vs. Chase Kalisz, 400 IM

Both Clary and Kalisz know the feeling of languishing in the shadow of Phelps and Ryan LochteWith those two Olympic champs holding down the two American IM spots for what feels like the past decade or more, Clary and Kalisz often found themselves on the outside looking in. But both are proving their own world-class status with Phelps and Lochte moving to shorter races. Added drama: Kalisz famously broke Clary’s short course American 400 IM record in college, and the two have always been entertaining to watch head-to-head.

Outsiders to watch: The main intrigue here is Lochte, returning to the long course version of the event for just his fourth time since 2013. Lochte did swim the 400 IM in Austin last year, and then again in Charlotte. Smart money would suggest he doesn’t attempt the event at U.S. Olympic Trials, but then again, Lochte is the reigning Olympic champ and it feels odd to completely factor him out of the discussion, even at age 30.

4. David Plummer vs. Matt Grevers vs. Ryan Murphy, 100 back

There’s no event in American swimming quite as loaded up at the moment as men’s backstroke, and almost everyone who’s anyone will be showing up in Austin. The top seed is David Plummerwho crushed this race at the Minneapolis Pro Swim stop and is coming off an outstanding World Cup run in the fall that had the 30-year-old hitting lifetime-bests. There’s Olympic champ Matt Grevers (all 6-foot-8 of him) in the mix, along with the youngster Ryan Murphydominating the college realm at a full decade younger than Plummer and Grevers.

Outsiders to watch: Japan’s Junya Koga has some of the best sheer speed in the pool, and Serbia’s Arkady Vyatchanin (a Russian ex-pat) has a history of outstanding Arena Pro Swim Series racing.

5. Women’s 100 Free Field vs. Women’s 200 Free Field

There are too many big names in both of these events to come up with a concise headline, so let’s shake things up and pit the two fields against each other. Which event will turn out to be more impressive in Austin? The 100 kicks off the meet, featuring Sweden’s Sjostrom ahead of a field that includes every type of swimmer under the sun. There are established world swimming stars (Missy Franklin, Katinka Hosszu), wily veterans (Natalie Coughlin), fast-rising juniors (Canada’s Taylor Ruck, American Katie Ledecky) and more. In the 200, sprinters like Coughlin drop out but are replaced by the Allison Schmitts of the world while distance swimmers like world champ Ledecky become more dangerous. Olympic champ Schmitt is joined by Shannon Vreeland and Leah Smith in that longer race.

Outsiders to watch: the 15-year-old Ruck should be fun to watch in both races. Abbey Weitzeil is an up-and-coming American who trains alongside Condorelli at the Canyons Aquatic Club. And keep an eye on 18-year-olds McLaughlin (USA) and Emily Overholt (Canada) in the 200.

6. Michael Phelps vs. Tom Shields, 100 fly

Phelps has had plenty of rivals over his lengthy career, but he and Shields have put up some of the most entertaining head-to-head 100 fly matchups of the past few years. From their tie at the 2014 Santa Clara Pro Swim Series event (then known as the Grand Prix) to Shields’ 51.29 to 51.30 win at the National Championships that summer, to Phelps’ win at the Pan Pacific Championships a month later, the duo clashed multiple times in electric fashion in 2014 only to swim at different end-of-year meets in 2015 – Phelps at U.S. Nationals and Shields at Worlds. They return to the same pool this weekend, though, and if history is any indicator, there should be plenty of fireworks.

Outsiders to watch: The host University of Texas enters a pair of elite flyers of its own, Singaporean Joseph Schooling (fresh off a World Champs bronze) and American Jack Conger. SwimMAC’s Tim Phillips, who replaced Phelps on the Worlds team last year, will compete, along with his teammates Lochte and Division II NCAA sensation Matt Josa. Plus, don’t count out Minneapolis winner and Pan Ams champ Giles Smith.

7. American Breaststrokers vs. Each Other

One pair of events still very unsettled heading into U.S. Olympic Trials is the men’s breaststrokes. Most of the big names will be in attendance in Austin: Kevin Cordes returns from his training home in Singapore. Cody Miller is fresh off great performances at Dual in the Pool. Last summer’s breakout star Andrew Wilson competes in his new training home in Austin. Georgia grad Nic Fink should be in the hunt for two titles, along with Minneapolis 100 breast winner Sam Tierney. Then there’s Cal’s Josh Prenotwho could be a major factor in the 200 breast.

Outsiders to watch: Texas Longhorn Will Licon has become a name of interest after upsetting Cordes for the NCAA 200 breast title last spring and becoming the second man ever under 1:50 in the short course yards race. And 16-year-old Reece Whitley is a popular pick to break out, due to his huge frame and age group record-setting career in the breaststrokes.

8. Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte, 200 IM

We save the battle of the two biggest names for last. A pair of giants who have dominated the swimming landscape for years should enter direct battle in Austin after dueling from across the world last summer for the world’s top time. Lochte won his fourth consecutive world title in the event in Kazan, but it was Phelps who nabbed the world-leading time from U.S. Nationals. Phelps won this event in Minneapolis with Lochte absent, but with both showing up in Austin, there really can’t be a direct showdown of bigger swimming names.

Outsiders to watch: U.S. Olympian Conor Dwyer was the top challenger to Phelps in Minneapolis, and finished just outside the medals at last year’s World Championships. A whole host of international names are also following Phelps and Lochte in Austin: Sweden’s Simon Sjodin, Australia’s Daniel Tranter and Scotland’s Dan Wallace.

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Phil jackson

I know Joe is coming off of being sick but shouldn’t it be Phelps vs Schooling considering he beat Shields at Worlds and medaled? I’m actually looking forward to Phelps vs Schooling vs Shields vs Conger.

Kari K

So excited to get to see some of these races on Saturday night. Making the 3 hour drive to Austin just for one evening. Should be some amazing swims that night!

KP

I’m really looking forward to seeing what Clark Smith (I think we may be calling him Clark Kent someday) can do in LC at this point, and also what Ryan Hoffer can do after that spectacular SCY 100FR.

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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