2017 USA COLLEGE CHALLENGE
- Saturday, October 21 – Sunday, October 22, 2017
- Uytengsu Aquatics Center, USC, Los Angeles, CA
- Start times: Saturday: 6 PM Pacific, Sunday: 10:30 AM Pacific
- Meet site
- Watch live on the Pac-12 network
- Tickets available here
- Live results (when available)
The second-ever USA College Challenge kicks off Saturday night at USC, and SwimSwam will be there getting all the on-deck coverage you could want. Here’s everything you need to know to get caught up in the meantime:
This year’s meet pits 29 USA National Team-ers against all-stars from the Pac-12 Conference (last year’s meet was USA vs. Big Ten all-stars), like a college dual meet. The course will be short course yards, so slight advantage to the Pac-12 team, in that regard. A few of Team USA’s members are pulled from the Junior National Team.
Click here to see both team’s rosters (note that team Pac-12 will be minus Simone Manuel, who is out with a mild injury).
Each gender will swim 13 individual races and four relays, and there will be an additional mixed-gender relay. The order will be as follows:
- Saturday – 6 p.m. start time
- 400 Medley Relay
- 500 Freestyle
- 100 Butterfly
- 200 Backstroke
- 200 Breaststroke
- 100 Freestyle
- 400 Individual Medley
- 800 Freestyle Relay
- Sunday – 10:30 a.m. start time
- 1000 Freestyle
- 200 Medley Relay (mixed-gender)
- 200 Freestyle
- 100 Backstroke
- 100 Breaststroke
- 200 Butterfly
- 50 Freestyle
- 200 Individual Medley
- 400 Freestyle Relay
It’ll be scored like a standard college dual meet, with 613 points up for grabs. That scoring works out as follows:
- 1st Place (9 points)
- 2nd Place (4 points)
- 3rd Place (3 points)
- 4th Place (2 points)
- 5th Place (1 point)
Each team can only designate 3 scorers per event.
For relays, scoring will be:
- 1st Place (11 points)
- 2nd Place (4 points)
- 3rd Place (2 points)
Each team can designate 2 scoring relays per event.
Each swimmer can race up to 6 events in the meet, which can be any combination of individual events and relays. Men’s and women’s scores will be combined into a single tally, and the team that comes away with the most points is the winner.
Non-collegiate National Team members who get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place will earn $500, $300, and $100, respectively, and relays will split the prize money four-ways.
Storylines to Watch
Coaches are not required to submit lineups for Saturday until the conclusion of the coaches’ meeting (beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday), and lineups for Sunday are due at 9 p.m. Saturday night. Each team will not see the other’s lineup until two hours before each day begins. Given that rule, psych sheets aren’t out, but we’ve still got some storylines to watch:
- Can the best women in a single conference beat out the best in the United States? In short, probably. Though last year’s National Team took the commanding win, many of the US’s best happen to swim in the Pac-12. Hard to imagine that any team can beat the combination of Ledecky, Eastin, Weitzel, Baker, and the likes.
- Rare SCY appearance for Michael Andrew — As an 18-year-old professional swimmer, Michael Andrew won’t have an NCAA career. Thus, he rarely gets the chance to show off his SCY skills against other swimmers of his caliber (though he did do some SCY racing last week in Lawrence, Kansas). Noting that he’s now officially college-aged, can he repeat last year’s success against the college kids?
- Brooke Forde‘s first collegiate races — Forde is unique in her position as a repeat College Challenge competitor, as she competed for Team USA last year as a member of the National Junior Team. At last year’s meet, she threw down a 4:02.67 400 IM, which would have placed her 5th at NCAAs. In her first meet since joining the Stanford squad, the question is less “will she be good?” than “how good will she be?”
- Men’s distance — On the women’s side, Katie Ledecky should easily dominate the distance events, assuming she’s entered, but we’re in for quite the showdown on the men’s side. More than likely, Clark Smith, Zane Grothe and Mitch D’Arrigo will represent USA distance while Stanford teammates Grant Shoults and True Sweetser, along with Cal’s Sean Grieshop, should turn out for the Pac-12. The men all finish their best 500s in the 4:08-4:15 range, so it’ll be a real test of the collegiate swimmers’ state this early in the year.
- Does conference pride exist? College swimmers want their team to be the best in the conference, and there’s no two ways about it. As many of the Pac-12 swimmers double in the summer as USA teammates, it’ll be interesting to see if the conference bands together or keeps a professional distance.