Moscow World Cup Preview: Phelps, Franklin, Schmitt Join the Fun (LIVE VIDEO LINK)

Thus far at the 2011 edition of the FINA/Arena World Cup, the Americans have been buoyed by participants few-and-far betwen. In Dubai, it was breaststroker Nelson Westby. In Stockholm, it was butterflier Tyler McGill.

And now, in the 3rd stop, the cavalry arrives. Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, and Allison Schmitt, who are three of the United States’ most elite swimmers, will lead a group of young talent who look to one day join them on the Olympic stage. Besides those three and McGill, the following swimmers will all be in attendance for the USA:

American Men:

  • Michael Phelps
  • Tyler McGill
  • Chase Kalisz
  • Jacob Pebley
  • Josh Prenot

American Women:

  • Missy Franklin
  • Allison Schmitt
  • Lia Neal
  • Chelsea Chenault
  • Hali Flickinger
  • Andrea Kropp

There is a heavy Georgia Bulldog connection on this team, led by Schmitt (who’s redshirted and training with NBAC this year), and with Georgia commits Chase Kalisz and Hali Flickinger also in attendance. Don’t be surprised if there’s a little bit of subtle recruiting going on here that will give Georgia an advantage in the recruiting of the four youngest swimmers (Pebley and Prenot, and especially Neal and Chenault).

Click here to check out the forum thread about the Americans who will be swimming in Moscow.

Michael Phelps will swim 6 events: the 100 free, the 200 free, the 200 back, the 100 fly, the 200 fly, and the 100 IM. If we dig too deeply into that event lineup (which you know we will!), it has to be a positive sign. He wouldn’t undertake such a strenuous lineup if the reports of his amped-up training weren’t true.

The best race for Phelps will probably be the 200 free, where he will show down with German arch-nemesis Paul Biedermann. He should also get a great push in the 200 fly from Japan’s Hidemasa Sano and South Africa’s Chad le Clos, who is the series points and money leader thus far. Poland’s Pawel Korzeniowski will also be very relevant in that race.

In the 100 IM, an event that he doesn’t swim all that often, Phelps will actually be a big underdog to Russia’s Sergei Fesikov and Australia’s Kenneth To, who have the youth mentality that usually does so well in the 100 IM.

Franklin’s event schedule will be much more compact, which is a deviation from her typical overloading at big meets. She will swim the 100/200 frees and the 100/200 backs. This appears to be her really honing in on the events that she will probably be swimming at the Olympic Trials. In the 200 free, she will have to battle her countrymate Schmitt, as well as Russian star Veronika Popova, who is due for a big short course season. The youngsters Neal and Chenault will also be in this race.

The men’s 100 free should be a great race. Including Phelps, the top seed, that race goes about 9-deep with bona fide stars, including Russians Nikita Lobintsev, Evgeny Lagunov, Sergei Fesikov, and Andrey Grechin. Canada’s Brent Hayden and Australia’s Matthew Abood will also be in the mix, as will the versatile Aussie To.

To has the most loaded schedule, with 10 entered individual events. I would be impressed if he ended up swimming all 10.

The men’s 100 fly should also be a very good field. Besides the two Americans at the top, Russian Record holder Evgeny Korotyshkin, Serbian Record holder Milorad Cavic (another Phelps Phoe), and Geoff Huegill will all be contending for the big cash prizes.

As we mentioned, South Africa’s Le Clos is leading the overall points standing in the series on the men’s side (in contention for $100,000), and has ratcheted back his schedule for this third meet. Whereas in the first two, he swam three events on each of the two days, it was clear that he faded by the end of the Stockholm meet where he had a similar level of competition. Now, he has dropped the 200 back and 100 IM (which were probably only on his schedule for the easy checks they earned him) to focus on his four primary races: the 100 fly, the 200 fly, the 200 IM, and the 400 IM. This is a wise decision, given that only a swimmers single best event from each meet counts towards the series standings.

Full psych sheets available here.

The meet can be watched, both live and on-demand, through FINA TV at this link. Finals start each day at 5PM Moscow time, which is 9AM New York time and midnight Australia time.


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12 years ago

Some people said that it would be better if Michael won’t come. So many people want to see him that Russian Swim Federation gave main tribune to numerous VIP guests and all ticket to the rest zones were bought by speculators before several days of the meet. And now some tickets for finals to closest to the water places cost up to $250!!!

12 years ago

I am sure Missy and a majority of swimming fans will be happy to just see her ‘try’ but the juggernaut that is US media would not, i fully believe the expectation they put on Hoff in 2008 put-pay to her, and she has never been the same. But that aside more of the point behind my opinion is burn-out! not everyone can swim 5-8 events at every big meet and do it at a sustainable level (girls tend to suffer more than boys) and that is something that could hurt Missy long term, she should NOT over compete at her age just because she can. Pefect example is Coughlin, she could qualify for the US on many events but… Read more »

12 years ago

gosharks wrote: “but I think she should swim what she wants to swim and not what anyone else wants her to. … Maybe she doesn’t care if she finishes 1st or 8th, as long as she goes her best time in an Olympic final.”

bobo gigi wrote: “She has a great coach so I hope he will take the good decision for her swimmer and not for the media.”

i couldn’t have said it any better, gosharks! and agree w/bobo too!

to be sure Missy’s no longer our “secret weapon” after her incredible performances @ Worlds heh, and the US media will now jump on her as the next big superstar to promote on the road to London…

but i’m… Read more »

bobo gigi
12 years ago

If Missy works underwater she’s absolutely unbeatable in the backstroke events, between the 2 walls she’s a beast, so these 2 gold medals are for her.

12 years ago

I don’t really have strong feelings about what particular events Franklin chooses to swim at Trials (or the Olympics) next summer, but I think she should swim what she wants to swim and not what anyone else wants her to.

Maybe she would want to swim the 100 free because she wants to race the 100 free. Maybe she doesn’t care if she finishes 1st or 8th, as long as she goes her best time in an Olympic final.

Assuming she makes the team in such an event, wouldn’t the USA fan base rather have Franklin win a bronze in the 100 free instead of the next best swimmer finishing out of the medals in that race?

Just sayin…

12 years ago

I agree with Bobo re Franklin.

Would not like to see her go to London with the individual Freestyles on her mind, there is no doubt she COULD medal in both but with a schedule so Hoff-esque (The hype in the US would certainly match) i imagine it all going quite horribly wrong for the most talented young female swimmer i can remember.

The way i see it is Pellegrini with a good year (2011 was not all easy for her) will storm a 1.54 200FR in London (Especially if she has the guts to get out hard), Franklin has the speed but will Pellegrini’s 800m experience & strenght get her home? I think so. Heemskerk or Muffat could take… Read more »

bobo gigi
12 years ago

It’s always a pleasure to watch Michael Phelps. He will retire next year and we must appreciate his races. I’m not sure he’s in good shape to swim fast in these events but he loves the competition so he can win some races. He was last week in promotion for his video game so there’s better preparation for a swimming competion. But he’s so talented. For Missy Franklin it’s different, she must continue her momentum like you say in USA, she must show to her opponents that she is unbeatable. I know she made a break after world championships so she will not be at her best. But she’s so talented. For next olympic games I hope she will swim… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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