Five Men’s Storylines (& Some Bonuses) to Watch for at the Pro Swim Series – San Antonio


  • April 10-13, 2024
  • Northside Swim Center, San Antonio, TX
  • LCM (50m)
  • Start Times
    • Wednesday Distance: 5pm (Central Time)
    • All Prelims: 9am (Central Time)
    • Thurs-Sat Finals: 6pm (Central Time)
  • Meet Central
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live Results

For those of you who think that yard swimming isn’t real swimming and that the affectionately called “bathtub” is way too small, it’s your time to celebrate as everyone’s attention (including my long-course disliking eyes) turns towards the “big pool’. With this being the first Olympics since the pandemic, everyone’s tune-up meets will be heavily scrutinized as much of the swimming world’s attention shifts toward Texas.

San Antonio hosts the third and final leg in what has been a truncated Pro Swim Series. The first two stops in Knoxville, TN, and Westmont, IL,  saw a strong pro group of swimmers, including Caeleb Dressel, winning the 50 free in a bizarre timing and block malfunction and Regan Smith breaking Summer McIntosh’s PSs record in the 200 fly.

While there had been a smattering of college swimmers at the previous two stops, the Walsh sisters swam in Knoxville, and Cal sent swimmers to both stops; this stop will see multiple NCAA winners, which stands as a great segue into the first of our storylines.

Marching on

We have firmly entered April now, and the NCAA basketball season is over so the MARCHand Madness should be put to rest, but that doesn’t mean he is going to continue to throw down some impressive times.

Leon Marchand left the NCAA championships with three individual titles, two individual NCAA records, and the fastest 100 breast split ever. In San Antonio, the Frenchman will tackle four events: the 200 IM, 200 Butterfly, 200 Breaststroke, and 400 IM, the latter two of which he swam at NCAAs.

He is the top seed in all of the events and, based upon his success at NCAAs, is favored to win all the events, but he has to shift focus from short course to long course while his competitors, Carson Foster, Chase Kalisz, and Nic Fink have been focusing solely upon long course training. With the change in the Olympic schedule as detailed here, Marchand should be able to tackle all four events at the Olympics but will still have a 200 fly 200 breast double, albeit they are separated by an hour and a half now.

Based upon his lack of entry in the 400 free, it appears that we won’t see Marchand’s record-breaking 500 freestyle carryover, but that may have been wishful thinking as the 400 free is on the same day as the 4×100 free relay in Paris, and as it is the first day of competition, he may not want to load his schedule too much.

2024 Worlds Impact

The USA’s team in Doha was small but still walked away with a nice collection of hardware. Leading the charge and earning individual gold medals were Nic Fink and Hunter Armstrong. Fink, who claimed gold in the 100 breast in 58.57, is the top entrant (entered with 58.36) and is joined with sub-59.00 entries by Michael Andrew and Cody Miller.

The 100 breast is one to watch both here and at Trials because last year, the men ran into a potential issue of only sending one swimmer to Fukuoka as only one swimmer in the A-final had achieved the FINA A-cut (at that time). The Olympic Qualifying Time stands at 59.49, so while Fink has been under that time often, the US needs to find a consistent second entrant.

Both Michael Andrew and Cody Miller have been faster than that time and are entered well below that, but they both struggled at the 2023 World Trials, with Miller finishing in 4th at 59.85 and Andrew not making the A or B final.

Ten months later, the event is in a better position. Josh Matheny, who qualified to swim at Worlds, and Noah Nichols are both under that cut time and are entered in the event this weekend as the fourth and fifth seeds.

Fink wasn’t alone in earning an individual gold; Hunter Armstrong claimed victory in the 100 back. If the breaststroke has been the weakness of the US men, the backstrokes have been the strength. The US men held the world record from 1988 to 2022 (with a seven-day break in 2009), have won the past two world championships, and have had at least one Olympic medalist in the event dating back to 1980 when the US team boycotted the entire games.

Armstrong is the top seed but will face pressure from talents both domestic and international. Shaine Casas and Justin Ress are both seeded with a second of Armstrong. Poland’s Kacper Stokowski (who won bronze in the 50 back at short course Worlds) and Hungary’s Hubert Kos (the 2023 200 back gold medalist) are also both entered and will likely compete with the Americans for a berth in the A-final. Both Stokowski and Kos are coming off of a successful 2024 NCAA, where the former won silver in the 100 backstroke and the latter earned the same but in the 200.

Foster headed into the 2024 Worlds as a favorite for an individual title but was upset in the 200 IM and placed 4th in the 400 IM. Foster is set to swim a tough schedule of six events: the 200 fly, the 400 free, the 200 free, the 200 backstroke, the 400 IM, and the 200 IM. He finds himself seeded 2nd in the 200 fly and both IMs behind only Marchand.

Cal(l) you later

While this meet is loaded, just read all the storylines above (and below), and some strong contingents of swimmers are not present. We reported on the withdrawal of the Florida Gator group, which included 2021 Olympian Jake Mitchell and NCAA champions Adam Chaney and Maguire McDuff.

Contrary to some beliefs, the strong Cal group of swimmers* that includes NCAA Champions Destin Lasco, Liam Bell, and Jack Alexy will not be present in San Antonio, so we will not see how the new NCAA record holders in the 200 back (Lasco) and 100 breast (Bell) fare in the big pool. While we did see a number of them swim in Knoxville, and some eschewed the last-ever Pac-12 Championships for the Westmont PSS, we will have to wait a little longer to see them in the big pool post-NCAAs.

There is an asterisk, however, as it appears that many of the international Cal swimmers will be making the trip to Texas. Bjorn Seeliger and Robin Hanson both appear on the psych sheet, and Lucas Henveaux does, too, but he is a part of the Cal Pro group. Seeliger and Hanson, both of whom are Swedish, are likely using this meet as a tune-up for their attempts to represent  Sweden in Paris.

Showdown at the Freestyle Corral

While Jack Alexy won’t be at the meet, it doesn’t mean that there is no competitive field in the sprints. Caeleb Dressel, the American Record holder in the 50 and 100, is scheduled to make an appearance in 50/100/200 free as well as in the 50 fly. Dressel, who didn’t swim in Knoxville due to the impending birth of his first child, won the 100 fly and 50 free in Westmont. He placed second to Alexy in the 100, and while the Cal Bear won’t be present, Dressel still, on paper, is #2 as Ryan Held is the top seed in the 100.

While Dressel is looking to make his first international team since 2022, Held is looking to make the Olympics again after having been left off the team in 2021 due to relay-only roster constraints. Held will contest the 50 and 100 free with the aforementioned Dressel and Seeliger as well as competing against Andrew, David Curtiss, Matt King and Chris Guiliano.

As the distances get longer there is a changing of the guard at the front of the pack. Dressel ranks first in the 50, 2nd in the 100, and 99th in the 200 free (however, he is entered in with a yards time. Also creeping up the rankings are a pair of Texas Longhorns. Luke Hobson, the newly minted NCAA record holder in the 200, is the 25th seed in the 100 free but takes the top spot in the 200. His former teammate, Drew Kibler, is the 12th seed in the 100 and the 2nd in the 200. Hobson and Kibler will be under pressure from fellow World Champion medalists Kieran Smith and Carson Foster.

The quartet or whoever appears atop the rankings in the 200 free should be motivated as the USA will be hard-pressed to try to compete with the Brits in the 200 free and 4×200 relay as they just lit up the world at their Olympic Trials.

Blake is Back

You often hear people say that retirement suits them well. But Blake Pieroni would disagree. After dealing with a knee injury and stepping away from the sport, he felt the need to return. Speaking about his break, he said,

“As time went on, I just really wanted to get back and train again,” “I don’t really miss waking up at 4:45 in the morning for practice, but I miss racing and I miss the day in and day out of training.”

Pieroni, a three-Olympic gold medalist, will swim in three events in San Antonio: the 50, 100, and 200 free. At the Westmont stop, he placed 12th in the 50 free (22.76), 6th in the 100 free (48.80), and 10th in the 200 free (1:48.69), but is entered in San Antonio much higher. In the 100 free, he enters as the 3rd seed (47.87) and is the #7 seed in the 200 (1:45.93).

Pieroni will have to deal with a stronger field than in Westmont as many college stars make their transition to long course meters, but if he can return to form, he could provide a needed veteran presence on the team as the top four qualifiers last summer in the 100 free were rookies to Senior International teams. That being said, this is a big meet for the former Indiana Hoosier as competition in the 100 among Americans is starting to re-saturate with the return of Dressel and Held, the strong corps of young swimmers, and the added pressure of it being the Olympics.


  • Will we see Bob Bowman on deck in Texas Orange? More tellingly, will we be able to discern how many of his ASU swimmers, some of whom have already entered the transfer portal, go to him for post-race advice?
  • Michael Andrew? I feel like just a question mark is enough, but seeing where he is in his training and what his event line-up for Trials will be illuminating. He is entered in five events: the 100 breast (#2), 100 fly (#3), 100 back (#10), 200 IM (#12), and 50 free (#2).

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Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Did Jake foster retire?

Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

No but his time at Texas at least with college swimming is over. His last meet is trials/Olympics (if he makes it)

Digital Trackers
Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

He has the chance to make the Olympics team this year, which is unrelated to his retirement.

1 month ago

I wish we could get a race with both Marchand and Dressel but apart from the 200im there’s too little overlap in their LCM schedules….

Reply to  CasualSwimmer
1 month ago

Exhibition 150 fly

1 month ago

Does Cal not need long course reps all of a sudden?

Reply to  Xwing
1 month ago

Lots of them are entered at the Tera Senior open in concord instead. Prob didn’t want to miss more school

Reply to  The_Turmanator
1 month ago

Think some will be at Mission Viejo as well.

James Beam
1 month ago

How current are those entry times for Blake?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Mark Wild
1 month ago

It’s sorta weird it’s different at different Pro Swim stops, right? Or am I missing a compelling reason.

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve Nolan