Anthony Ervin, Slew of Other Pros, Back in Action in Elite Pro-Am

From the perspective of someone who has both participated in, and followed as a fan, the Elite Pro-Am meet in Oklahoma City, now in it’s 20th year of competition, is one of the best meets in the country, period. While most eyes will be fixed on the Duel in Atlanta, don’t forget to keep an eye on this meet and it’s slew of pros this weekend. The meet is now sponsored by Chesepeake Energy, and if anyone hasn’t been to Oklahoma City lately, the profound impact that Chespeake has had on every part of that community is unbelievable. It’s great to see them pick up this meet after the prior sponsor, Kerr-McGee, left Oklahoma.

The biggest story will be Anthony Ervin, the 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the 50 free, swimming his first official USA Swimming meet in roughly 4 years. In the past few months, he’s dipped his toes in the pool at a few masters meets, and re-entered the drug testing pool, but at this even the level of competition will be relatively monumental. He will be swimming the 50 and 100 freestyles (the meet is being held in yards), where he will have some huge competition, including Josh Schneider, Jason Dunford, Simon Burnett, and Bennett Clark, among others. Ervin likely won’t win either event, but don’t be surprised if he dips close to a 19-low in that 50 free.

There will also be big stars in the breaststrokes in the form of another comeback kid, Ed Moses, and on the women’s side former NCAA Champion Jillian Tyler.

Aside from the men’s sprints, the show-stopping race will be the women’s mile where three of the country’s biggest open water stars will face off: Emily Brunemann, Christine Jennings, and Ashley Twichell. It’s rumored that had Chloe Sutton not been called up for the Duel in the Pool that she was also planning to be at this meet, which would’ve made the race even more spectacular.

It’s no surprise that this meet has attracted such a huge amount of pro talent. Check out the prize values below, and notice the huge sums being paid out for the winners of the 50 free shootout and the 1650, and it will become clear why so many big names are coming to this meet:

Individual Events: Women and Men
First Place $600.00
Second Place $300.00
Third Place $100.00

1650 Freestyle: Women and Men
1st Place $1200.00
2nd Place $300.00
3rd Place $100.00

50 Free Shootout
1st Place $1200.00
2nd Place $300.00
3rd Place $100.00

Further, if an athlete goes under the meet record, they receive a bonus equal to double the above-listed prize money. If you add that up, over $30,000 in prize money will be handed out at this meet. That’s a huge chunk of change for an American meet. Amateur athletes who place in the top three will earn “credits” that they can use towards merchandise, within the NCAA rules.

But it’s not only the prizes and the pro swimming that makes this a great event. Every year, the night before the meet starts, the Pro swimmers participate in a community service project, with this year’s project being a trip to a local Children’s Hospital.

And the stories coming out of this meet from the Amateur perspective are incredible too. It’s a chance for young swimmers to compete against their idols and heroes without having to be ultra high-level young swimmers. Former Minnesota swimmer Krista Kezbers, who is one of the lead organizers of this meet, relayed a story of a 9-year old who stays in regulat contact with Rex Tullius, sends him pictures from awards stands, etc. This swimmer has made a habit of saying in practice “Watch this, I’m gonna swim like Rex!!”

Those are the kind of priceless stories and experiences that really make this such an awesome meet without losing the flair of the professional competition. The pros who come to the meet come knowing that yards meets won’t advance their training all that much, but that this meet is such a huge community event, that it’s worth the annual pilgrimage.

Among the more notable age-group teams that are making a nationwide trek for this meet are the Mission Viejo Nadadores from California, the Kansas City Blazers, the Dallas Mustangs, the Topeka Swim Club, The Screaming Viking’s Jasper County Killer Whales, and Dad’s Club in Houston. The 11-12 sprinting sensation Michael Andrew will also be at this meet, looking to break more National Age Group Records (look out for the 100 breast to go down).

From personal experience, the whole atmosphere arond this meet leads to a lot of really fast swims from the younger generation, so be on the lookout for some breakout yards swims.

Important Links

Meet Information.
Psych Sheets.
List of Professional Athletes.
Live Results.



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9 years ago

19.0 for Ervin?! His 22.39 is scm, converting to around a 19 point scy, so he’d probably have to fully taper to go under 19.5. If he goes a 19.0 with nothing more than a couple days rest at this stage, he’ll be a contender for gold in London.

9 years ago

Chris, remember yards doesn’t not equal long course meters..

It can be closer more so in the 50, but translating to gold in London? I would be ecstatic, but he’ll have to go through Adrian, Jones, GWG, Schneider, Lezak…then Cielo, Bousquet, Bernard, Sullivan. Nothing would be more exciting, I got to watch him first hand his freshmen year at Cal on deck at NCs, true born sprinter talent. It’s going to take 21 really low to have a chance in London.

9 years ago

I’m aware of Ervin’s scy vs. lcm course potential. His best time was a 21.80 at 19, when he was between 19.4 and 19.1 in the scy pool. If he can go 19.0 scy (probably equivalent to a sub 22 lcm swim) this weekend, without a full taper and at this stage of his comeback (I say 19.7 for him), then I’d say he’d be able to get in the low 21 range to be a contender for gold. The only other guys who can get that low are Cielo, Bousquet, and maybe Adrian or Fratus, and I definitely wouldn’t count on them going that fast in the Olympic final, which has a good chance of being slower than the… Read more »

bobo gigi
9 years ago

I’m interested in swimming since 2000 and I don’t remember why Anthony Ervin retired so young. Now if his come back can wake up american sprint on the men’s side it can be interesting. I’m sure Brendan Hansen’s come back wakes up other american breaststrokers so perhaps the same thing will happen with sprinters. But for that he must be competitive and after so many years it won’t be easy. And long course is another sport. But he has the natural talent and with that anything can happen. Now for trials I’d pick Nathan Adrian and Jimmy Feigen for the 50 and 100 free. Nathan Adrian is your best sprinter. And it’s time for Jimmy Feigen to swim at another… Read more »

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Michael Andrew is everywhere in USA. He swims every week. Is he never tired? But perhaps against older swimmers he will beat his records.

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Ok, it’s not come back, it’s comeback. I learn english every day.

9 years ago

Braden, let me know if you are looking for any specific content from the meet. I will have my good camera with me and since no one is doing a coverage this year, I think they are gonna give me permission to do interviews and race footage. Anyone you want to hear from, shoot them a message to track me down. I won’t have time to do much since I have 13 athletes there, but I am hoping to get something to post somewhere.

9 years ago

Chris, how do you know all of this stuff about all of these guys?

Lezak told old? What does having a family have to do with it? He’s training for the 50 and the 100, not the mile. The average American can fit training in before or after work, but he is not the average American. He trains for a living right now..

GWG not focused? Whether or not he has the raw speed for the 50 at this point we don’t know, but how can you say he’s not focused? You see him on a daily basis?

I’ll be first in line for a double serving of crow if Ervin does what we all know he is capable of,… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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