Five Storylines to Follow at 2017 Mesa Pro Swim Series (Psych Sheets)

2017 Arena Pro Swim Series – Mesa

With lots of fast swimming happening all over the world as various nations hold their 2017 Worlds trials, it’s time for some speed on American soil. This week in Mesa, Arizona, the next stop of the Arena Pro Swim Series will draw some of the world’s best for lots of great racing and competition.


 Daiya Seto 32  Melanie Margalis 25
 Josh Prenot 24  Hali Flickinger 19
 Jacob Pebley 14  Ashley Twichell 16
 Anton Ipsen 13  Mary-Sophie Harvey 14
 Shinri Shioura/Xu Jiayu/Nathan Adrian/Li Zhuhao 10  Hilary Caldwell 10

Japan’s Daiya Seto and USA’s Melanie Margalis are the leaders thus far in the series. While Seto won’t be swimming in Mesa, Margalis is entered in five events, and is the top seed in the 200 IM.

Below, check out five storylines to follow this week in Mesa.

#1: Ledecky and Manuel Back to LCM Focus

After a banner year for the Stanford women, team leaders Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel set records in short course. But, with the 2017 World Championships fast-approaching, these stalwarts of the American team will turn to the big pool full-time.

Ledecky’s entered in her usual events– 100 through the 800 free, though the 100 free is a more recent addition to her typical lineup. She’s also set to swim the 200 IM and 400 IM, foreshadowing possible, serious ventures into the IMs. In the 200, her 2:14.36 has her seeded 8th, while her 4:37.93 seeds her 3rd in the 400 IM. That 400 IM is looking like more and more of a potential race in which she might challenge for an international podium, especially considering her SCY American record at Pac-12s in that event (which teammate Ella Eastin later broke at NCAAs).

Meanwhile, she’ll go head-to-head with Manuel in the 100 free and 200 free. The 100 is definitely Manuel’s game, as she can’t quite hang on in LCM in the 200 like she can in SCY. Manuel, who is coming off a stellar summer in Rio capped by a tie for gold in the 100, is also entered in the 50 free, 100 fly, 100 back, and 200 IM.

The latter three events for Manuel look to be just for fun, but in the 50 and 100, she will be racing with a fierce sprint group that will attend this meet. Some big names in women’s sprint free set to swim in Mesa include Madison Kennedy, Brazil’s Etiene MedeirosMallory ComerfordAmanda WeirOlivia SmoligaKatrina Konopka, and Lia Neal.

#2: Age is Just a Number– Veterans Are Aplenty

As American youth has surged, signifying the departure of some of the past Olympic heroes, there are still many names sticking around. Without young sprinters present such as Caeleb DresselRyan Held, or Blake Pieroni, we’ll see some great racing from some of the veterans in contention with only each other.

35-year-old Anthony Ervin and 28-year-old Nathan Adrian, in particular, will be looking for titles in the 50 and 100 free. Adrian is the top seed in both races, with Ervin right in at #2 behind him. Also trying to make it back to a national roster appearance is 33-year-old Cullen Jones, who holds the #3 seed in the 50 free. Add names like 29-year-old Josh Schneider, 28-year-old Conor Dwyer, 27-year-old Brazilian Joao De Lucca, 28-year-old Finnish sprinter Ari-Pekka Liukkonen, and 32-year-old Matt Grevers, and you’ve got a whole lot of #OldManStrength in the sprint free on the men’s side.

For the women, 29-year-old Madison Kennedy and 31-year-old Amanda Weir are two of the American veterans who continue to drop times that keep them relevant on the American sprint scene. Butterflier Claire Donahue, who is 28, and Brazilian sprinter Daynara de Paula (27), are also some older women who are seeded very high on the Mesa psych sheets.

#3: Denmark’s Mie Nielsen to Challenge U.S. Backstroke Contingent

The U.S. women are on the verge of multiple break-outs to follow Kathleen Baker‘s big summer in Rio (and big NCAA season this spring). While neither she nor the group of 16 & unders who are itching for a spot at a senior international competition are going to race in Mesa, Olympian Olivia Smoliga, former world junior record holder Claire Adams, and University of Michigan alum Ali DeLoof are all set to compete in the 100 back. All three of these women have broken a minute in their careers, though Smoliga and DeLoof have looked the strongest of late in long course.

The American contingent will be pitted against Denmark’s Mie Nielsen, who we have rarely (if ever) seen race in the States. She’s one of Europe’s best in sprint backstroke, and finished 5th in the Rio final this past summer. In addition to Nielsen, Brazil’s Medeiros is another strong competitor who will come to American soil to race.

#4: U.S. Butterfly Regrouping After Phelps Departure

Michael Phelps has finally closed the book on his epic career, which leaves room as American men are scrambling to establish their prominence in his primo 100 and 200 fly events. Tom Shields looks to be the key successor in the 100 fly, though he’s not alone in the competitive sub-52 terrain. He’s the top seed in the 100 fly in Mesa (51.03), but he has two American men hot on his heels. Seth Stubblefield, who also swam at Cal like Shields, is the 2nd seed (51.24), followed closely by SwimMAC’s Tim Phillips (51.28).

Shields’ 1:55.75 has him seeded first in the 200 fly as well. Singaporean Zheng Wen Quah is seeded 2nd at 1:56.01. Quah had a huge 1:38.83 in the 200y fly to finish 2nd at NCAAs, and he’ll battle with Shields as this is his bread-and-butter event. Chase Kalisz is also right there at 1:56.48.

#5: Another Go for Grevers

Matt Grevers, who dealt with a tough third place finish in the 100 back at the 2016 Olympic Trials, denying him a spot on the American Olympic team, continues to train and race. He is the top seed in the 100 back (52.54), his marquee event, seeded a few tenths ahead of Jacob Pebley (52.95). Pebley, though more of a 200 backstroker, has shown lots of improvement in the 100 and should prove to be a worthy challenge for Grevers.

With David Plummer retired, though, Grevers certainly has the potential to team up with Ryan Murphy and have another go at an international medal. Grevers won’t be concerned with Budapest qualification quite just yet, though, and other than Pebley, only Arkady Vyatchanin (53.69) is seeded under 54.

#6 (BONUS): Will the Canadian Youngsters Show Up in Mesa?

Two big names in the ever-changing and fast-growing landscape of Canadian women’s swimming are present on the Mesa psych sheets. Mary-Sophie Harvey (17) and Taylor Ruck (16) are both seeded highly in multiple events. Harvey is entered in the 200 free, 200 IM, 200 fly, 400 IM, and 400 free, while Ruck is entered in the 100, 200, and 400 free, 100 back, and 200 IM.

Harvey qualified for the Canadian Worlds team last week at the Canadian Trials, but Ruck had a disappointing week, missing the team altogether. Canada’s young stars reportedly were stricken with an illness midway through the meet that hampered their performances, but Harvey, at least, has confirmed that she’s recovering and en route to Mesa.

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Cody Bybee commits to ASU today. Something tells me he is going to show up at this meet.


Maybe Katie wants to known for more than freestyle.

I’ll be curious what her freestyle split will be. Can she break a minute coming home?

I think Ye Shewin is the only one in history to do that in her notorious London 2012 swim.


Final 100 meters splits in 400 IMs last night:

Katie Ledecky: 59.59
Ryan Lochte: 1:00.74
Elizabeth Beisel: 1:02.26

8:13 AM – 14 May 2016

A meet during last May?

phelps swims 200 breast rio

Does anyone remember roughly what Lochte split in the final 100 of the 400 IM in London? Was he under 59?

bobo gigi

Lochte’s last 100 in London: 58.65
He logically died a little bit after going out so fast.

bobo gigi

Off topic but I don’t like much the new version of the USA swimming website. Its slower to connect, at least for me. I was so used to the website that I’m a little bit lost now. My age group top 20 performers per age and per event in a simple PDF and updated each week have disappeared. And the list of individual NAG records in PDF has disappeared too. It’s a so-called mobile friendly version but it’s not friendly for everybody. Please at least add what I mentioned above. Thanks. I think I’m gonna send a mail to someone of USA swimming to complain a little bit. 🙂 Back to the Mesa meet, it’s so good to see long… Read more »


BOBO I totally agree with you! I absolutely hate the new USA Swimming web design. There is so much wasted space and the age groups times in web form are not user friendly. I can no longer see things in one page but the times are still there.


Absolutely agree on the new USA Swimming site. I looked around and could not find any place to give feedback so I tweeted to them, but no reply. The supposed mobile-friendly site is most definitely not. The new site is a big step down.

Swim mom

Agreed. HATE the new USA Swimming site.


There is a great impressive line -up like if it was the first real Solid LC meet of the year . Its gonna rock ….
What has Anthony in the Tank at nearly 36 ? curious to see the Us young sprinters in action battling it out in the 100 free .
Cool to see Simone finally back in LC too …what can she do in the 200 free ( she is potentially a leg for the 4 by 200 relay in my opinion with Comerford ) . Exciting races !! Jeahhhh


I concern more about Abbey Weitzeil conditions, because all other American Olympian who are still swimming competitively are more or less well. But she isn’t swimming this week. Mesa competition isn’t to see how good it is but to get confirmed that nothing bad happened to lead swimmers.


She will be fine ……

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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