Six Storylines to Follow at the 2018 Atlanta Classic


While the Pro Swim Series is running in Indianapolis, some of swimming’s biggest stars will be racing down in Georgia at the 2018 Atlanta Classic. Here are six storylines to follow throughout the meet.

Remember, these are not the ONLY storylines to follow at this meet. There are, surely, plenty more interesting things to delve into. These are just six things that stuck out to us — feel free to discuss other intrigues in the comments!


Just like we saw at the 2018 SEC Championships, the world’s #1 sprinter Caeleb Dressel is taking on some events that some may say are his ‘off’ events, but we all know that they’re more like his ‘slightly less good’ events. Besides his expected 50/100 free, Dressel will race the 100 breast, 100 back, 200 IM, and 200 free.

At SECs this past season, Dressel unleashed what was then the American Record in the 100 breast (50.03) and what still stands as the AR in the 200 IM (1:38.13). While the 50/100 free and 100 fly are his primary events in long course, it remains to be seen what he can do in some of his other events in the big pool.

Speculation has always been made about him jumping on Florida’s 800 free relay at NCAAs, but swim fans were never treated to that performance– he could certainly make a run for the 800 free relay on the Pan Pacs team, and his 1:47.45 from last summer in LCM shows that he’s in range for a spot on that relay.

His best 100 breast (1:02.25) is from 2015 Summer Nationals, while his best in the 200 IM, a 2:04.60, is from a Florida sectional meet from July 2015. He’s also been 55.80 in the 100 back, from last year’s ATL Classic.

The 200 free is the event he’s shown the most promise in in long course besides his main events, but his PRs in the 100 breast and 200 IM are, of course, from years ago. While he won’t be fully gunning it or rested at this meet, it’ll be exciting to see what he can do now that he’s done with his collegiate career.


We haven’t seen a big comeback from Ryan Lochte since the aftermath of Rio and the gas station incident, and he was forced to miss the 2017 World Championships, among other things, because of that. Here’s a quick refresher on that story.

Lochte has only raced at one long course meet since last summer, that being the FG Southern Zone Champs, where he went 50.9/1:50.5/3:59.2 free, 56.3/2:08.0 back, and 53.7 fly.

This week, Lochte is only entered in three events, the 200 free, 100 fly, and 400 IM. The 200 free and 200 IM would probably be his best bets at a 2018 international roster berth, but it is intriguing to see him entered in the 400 IM, an event he hasn’t swam since the 2016 Olympic Trials (he was 4:12.02 in finals, 4:11.98 in prelims).


Penny Oleksiak has been fairly quiet since storming to Olympic gold (in a tie with Simone Manuel) in the 100 free in 2016, just missing the podium in individual events at the 2017 Budapest World Championships. Last month at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Oleksiak again missed the podium in individuals, though she helped Canada to silver medals in the 400 medley, 400 free, and 800 free relays, albeit splitting off of her 2016 form.

In Atlanta, Oleksiak will contest the 50/100/200 free as well as the 100/200 fly, with the 200 fly being a newer event for the sprinter. She’s shown good form in the 200 free, though, so it would seem the 200 fly could be a viable option for a main event for her.

Oleksiak is the top seed in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly.


We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk a bit about every SwimSwam commenter’s favorite name, Dean Farris.

A rising Harvard junior, Farris appeared out of seemingly thin air as a freshman, making himself a dangerous presence in the 200 free, his best event. Farris has yet to break out in long course, though, as the 1:31.1 yards swimmers was unable to crack 1:50 in the big pool last summer (though he did throw down a 49.84 in the 100).

Farris is entered in the 50/100/200 free, 100 fly, and 100/200 back. In addition to his 200 free prowess, he has turned in lifetime bests of 19.16 in the 50 and 44.81/1:38.99 in the backstrokes this year already.


This NCAA season, Tennessee sophomore Erika Brown had a huge season, dropping gigantic amounts of time in the 100 fly and becoming the third woman to ever break 50 seconds in that event, as well as notching a sub-21 freestyle relay split. Brown finished the 2018 season a triple SEC individual champion and an NCAA runner-up in both the 50 free and 100 fly.

Amazing NCAA athletes constantly have to face the big pool as they look to make their mark on international competition, and many have not been able to produce similar results in LCM as they had previously done in SCY. Brown will be set on starting her summer off right– she is entered in the 50/100/200 free and 100 fly.


For every Coughlin, there’s a Franklin, and then there’s a Pelton and a Beisel, and a Bootsma, and a Baker and a Smoliga, and a Smith. Phoebe Bacon, age 15, is one member of a U.S. backstroke army, and she’s already shown this spring that she’s working towards something big this summer.

Bacon, at the 2018 Irish Open, has already been 1:00.0/2:12.2 in the 100/200 back in long course this spring. It’d be no surprise if she’s aiming to crack a minute in the 100, and she’s just nine hundredths off right now. She’s the top seed in the 100 by two seconds and in the 200 by a second, and she’ll also contest the 100 fly, 50 free, 400 IM, and 100 free at this meet.

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3 years ago

Javier Acevedo swims all the Dean Farris events… but can do them in long course as well. Excited to see them race

3 years ago

1. Dean Farris
2. Caeleb
3. Dean Farris
4. Lochte
5.Dean Farris.

In seriousness, I had no idea Phoebe Bacon was already that fast in the backstrokes. 59/2:09-2:10 I think are realistic goals for her this summer.

Farris I think just needs time to adjust and prep for LCM. Hes clearly been focused on Ivy’s and NCAA’s the last couple of years. Once he gets long course experience and peaks for it, he’s going to be a force. He’s got the perfect swim style for it.

Reply to  Pvdh
3 years ago

Farris long stroke and Tall frame could do damages in LC 200 free , u are so right . Team Usa is maybe going to get a 4th new member for that 800 free relay . Yippee

Bon Jovi
3 years ago

You’ve got to be kidding me #4! this is ridiculous we deserve #1

Ole 99
Reply to  Bon Jovi
3 years ago

To be fair, most would have stopped reading after the Farris section if he was #1… and rightfully so.

3 years ago

#7 Missy Franklin MIA and RIP

Reply to  taa
3 years ago

Not MIA. Just MA. 😀

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

I don’t get it?

3 years ago

Interesting that CRD entered with some rando times in his events.

Reply to  horninco
3 years ago

It’s not really like he’s swam 100 breast that much, and he’s still top 10. Won’t matter anyways.

3 years ago

If I were Dressel I’d choose the Indy Pro Swim and start cashing out on prize money

Stan Crump
Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

Who knows? He might just win the ones he entered. 🙂

Reply to  Stan Crump
3 years ago

I think his point is there is prize money in Indy and I don’t think there is prize money in Atlanta. I just don’t think prize money is a motivating factor for superstars. They make plenty of money! Plus Caleb isn’t unbelievably fast in season.

Becky D
Reply to  Superfan
3 years ago

Other than that 200 IM AR from December — yeah, he’s not very good in season.

Reply to  Mike
3 years ago

He probably cares more about going to Atlanta with the Florida squad than making minor coin at a pro swim series

just keep swimming
3 years ago

I thought Missy was making her comeback! Oh well, I can wait.

3 years ago

Very interesting meet to see some guys coming back , some in season training before Trials , and some on the rise .

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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