2018 TYR PRO SWIM SERIES – INDIANAPOLIS
The next stop of the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series will be in Indianapolis, with the first events kicking off on Wednesday, running through Sunday’s distance events. Here are five storylines to follow as some of the best pros, collegians, and age group stars battle it out this weekend.
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 five things that stuck out to us — feel free to discuss other intrigues in the comments!
#1: LEDECKY’S PRO DEBUT
She announced her decision to forego her remaining two years of NCAA eligibility in March, and now Katie Ledecky will have her first races as a pro in Indy.
Ledecky will contest the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 frees along with the 200 and 400 IM this week. Winning a race at a Pro Swim Series snags you $1,000, while 2nd receives $600 and 3rd $200– she’ll likely win at least three or four races, and she has a good shot at being top 3 in the 400 IM, so Ledecky will probably walk away from this meet with several thousand dollars that she can now collect as a pro.
#2: AMANDA KENDALL BACK AFTER DOPING SUSPENSION
Yesterday, Amanda Kendall finished up a three-month doping suspension for inhaler use that was done without a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exception). Kendall actually tested negative for banned substances, but declared her fault; her self-report led to the sanction by USADA.
Kendall has raced once since February 7th, which is when USADA claims was her first inhaler use (though it was actually the last day she used the inhaler, as athletes are only required to declare 1 day of usage, and she declared February 7th), at the Atlanta Pro Swim Series. Her times were retroactively forfeited due to the suspension, but she finished as high as 5th in the 100 fly (58.82).
Kendall is entered in three events: the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly.
#3: STACKED SPRINT FREE LINEUP
On the men’s and women’s sides, we’ll get to see some early jockeying for summer international championship relay spots in the 100 free.
Simone Manuel (52.27) and Mallory Comerford (52.59) lead the way, with the steadily-improving Margo Geer (53.74), the returned Allison Schmitt (53.87), the butterfly specialist Kelsi Dahlia (53.87), the almighty Katie Ledecky (53.99), and the backstroke specialist Olivia Smoliga (54.21) all in tow. The Americans won’t be alone, though, as Canadian Taylor Ruck is seeded third (52.96) and Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey is fifth (53.83).
Meanwhile, veteran Nathan Adrian sits atop the men’s entries (47.72), with young guns Zachary Apple (48.14), Blake Pieroni (48.23), and Ryan Held (48.26) bunched up behind him. Held’s NC State teammate Justin Ress sits fifth (49.15), with household names Cullen Jones (49.16) and Matt Grevers (49.18) right there, too. The highest seeded high schooler is Drew Kibler, who is seeded 12th with a 49.94.
#4: LEAH SMITH KEEPS SHAKING IT UP WITH THE 400 IM
In a dramatic turn of events at the 2017 U.S. Nationals last summer, Leah Smith surprised the field with a 4:33.86 to qualify for the 2017 World Championships in an event that was not her main focus. At that meet, Ella Eastin also faced a crushing disqualification for the infamous Lochte Rule, stripping her of a chance to compete at the 2017 World Champs after finishing 2nd to Smith and hitting a best time for the first time in four years.
While Eastin unleashed a monster 3:54 400 IM in yards at the 2018 NCAA Championships, Smith is nonetheless the top American 400 IM’er right now in long course. Smith doesn’t really need to develop all that much more in this event to be an international medal threat — 4:32’s claimed silver and bronze in Budapest last summer. As a distance freestyler, though, Smith has to be careful not to spread herself too thin among grueling races, so it remains to be seen if she will go for a Pan Pacs roster spot in this event.
Meanwhile, this week will be the kickoff of Eastin’s redemption tour as she looks to make waves in the big pool in her best event.
#5: CARSON FOSTER KICKING OFF LONG COURSE SEASON WITH SIX EVENT LINEUP
One of the most exciting age groupers in the country right now is Carson Foster of the Mason Manta Rays, and he’ll be competing (sans siblings Hannah and Jake) in six different events this week in Indy.
Foster is very good at many events, but his backstroke has been the most impressive so far in his young career. He’s the #2 seed in the 200 back (1:57.87) behind 2016 Olympian Jacob Pebley, #7 in the 400 IM (4:21.10), #11 in the 100 fly (54.34), #19 in the 100 free (50.76), #20 in the 400 free (3:58.14), and #21 in the 200 free (1:50.44).
Foster has had a fantastic yards season this year, having notched personal bests in essentially every event, highlighted by a 1:41.66 in the 200 back, a 1:33.76 in the 200 free, and a 1:43.79 in the 200 IM. Now, we’ll get a good sense of where he’s at with his long course progression as he sets up for the summer.