After 15 Years, U.S. and Australia to Face off Again in the Duel in the Pool

Swimming Australia has been teasing an upcoming announcement, which is believed to be set for Wednesday, April 20th. Well, the Syndey Morning Herald is reporting that Swimming Australia is going to announce another installment of the Duel in the Pool, a high level meet between Team USA and Australia’s stars in the pool.

Shortly after we published this post, USA Swimming went live with an announcement confirming the Duel in the Pool is back on between the U.S. and Australia for the first time since 2007.

USA Swimming’s release included the dates for the meet, which is set for August 19-21, roughly two weeks after the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games. Additionally, we know the meet will be held in Sydney, Australia, at the Sydney Olympic Park aquatic Centre, which was the 2000 Sydney Olympics pool.

The original concept on the Duel in the Pool was for it to be a meet which took place every two years, always between the U.S. and Australia. That was the case in 2003, 2005, and 2007, however, after 2007, it became the U.S. versus a team of European all-stars. The Duel in the Pool featured Team USA vs Europe in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015, and hasn’t taken place since. The event is returning to its roots this summer, and the Americans and Aussies will be facing off yet again.

While it’s still unclear who the U.S. and Australia would send to the meet, it’s a thrilling prospect nonetheless. With many of Australia’s top swimmers skipping this summer’s World Championships in Budapest in favor of focusing on the Commonwealth Games, the Duel in the Pool could give us another Katie Ledecky versus Ariarne Titmus showdown. Other exciting potential races could include Caeleb Dressel  and Kyle Chalmers in the 100 free, Emma McKeon and the young Americans in the women’s 100 fly, and Kaylee McKeown against whoever the American backstrokers would be.

What we know from USA Swimming’s release on the meet is that each team will be sending 30 athletes, which will be made up of “Olympic, Paralympic, and National Team athletes.” There will also be an open water component to the competition, which will be held at Bondi beach.

In the initial iteration of the Duel in the Pool, which took place in Indianapolis in 2003, the Americans swarmed Australia, taking 21 of 26 events. In 2005, a meet which was held in Irvine, CA, the Americans won 18 of 28 events, beating Australia 190-102, however, the Australian women outscored the Americans 76-70. In the final Duel in the Pool featuring the U.S. and Australia, which took place at the Sydney Olympic pool in 2007, Australia tightened the gap, scoring 129.5 points to the United States’ 181.5. History was also made in that 2007 meet, as Australian Libby Lenton became the first woman in history to break 53 seconds in the LCM 100 free, leading off the mixed 4×100 free relay in 52.99. However, the swim was never officially ratified as a World Record by FINA because they don’t recognize women’s World Records when set in races against men.

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Jensen
3 months ago

So, the US Olympians and Paralympians will be competing together as one team? Whoa, what a concept! I hope Team USA learns a few things from Australia Swimming. After their very different trial meets, US Olympic swimmers went to Hawaii for two weeks of training in paradise. The US Paralympic swimmers went… HOME.

commonwombat
Reply to  Jensen
3 months ago

Under normal circumstances, able bodied and para Trials are held together in the one meet.

Since 2000, a certain number of para events have been fully integrated into CommGames (one of its actual plus points) and para swimmers are fully fledged team members of the respective national teams so an “integrated team” would be no surprise for both experienced able bodied and para AUS swimmers.

STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
3 months ago

There are more than enough international events. It is superfluous. Why resurrect it? No one remembers past events. There was no clamour for this “duel” to be revived. The USA and Australia are the world’s strongest swimming nations but there is still a big gulf between them. Past events were one-sided and it will be the same next time around. What’s the value of a duel when the outcome is already known?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
3 months ago

oh hey look it’s the fun police

SuperSwimmer 2000
Reply to  Steve Nolan
3 months ago

But he/she is 100 percent correct. The meets were dull and completely predictable from the outset. The Aussies never sent their absolute best line-ups. Some stars competed (Grant Hackett) while other stayed home (Ian Thorpe). No memorable performances — i think maybe Phelps set a world record in the first one? Maybe? They often took place on the heels of a bigger meet, so a lot of the athletes were just kind of going through the motions.They tried to mix it up by having a world team or European team or whatever, but pretty much the same dull results. There’s a reason this meet just kind of faded away. Should have just left it alone.

commonwombat
Reply to  STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
3 months ago

Would agree with you that THIS year’s calendar is already over-committed and the history of these meets do make cautionary reading.

Having said that, there is some case to be made for at least one further “hit out” (outside of Worlds) during every Olympic cycle against the sport’s one real super-power. It also need to be acknowledged that the future of Pan Pacs is not necessarily assured and given the immense difficulty in lining up willing hosts; Comm Games may be under a cloud post 2026. Therefore, I can see a potential opening for such a meet

Should it be held this year ? No.

Do they necessarily have the right match-up ? Open to debate

Aussie
3 months ago

As excited as I am for this being an Aussie swimmer, it makes no sense! Our swimmers are already skipping worlds, there’s comm games right before and potentially Uni games/ World Juniors that we might not be sending teams. Why would we hold this and not give our youth opportunities to race?

Verram
Reply to  Aussie
3 months ago

Not sure if you heard about junior pan pacs happening in hawaii ?

Troyy
Reply to  Aussie
3 months ago

The youth are going the Junior Pan Pacs.

Wethorn
3 months ago

Wasn’t the original version of this US be USSR in the 80s?

Admin
Reply to  Wethorn
3 months ago

There were definitely country v country dual meets prior to the more modern iteration, but I haven’t found any indication that it used the “Duel in the Pool” moniker.

https://swimswam.com/at-the-cold-war-peak-a-1982-dual-meet-for-peace-full-results/

They just referred to it as [Sponsor] USA-USSR Dual Swimming Meet (McDonald’s was the sponsor at least one year).

PFA
3 months ago

Never thought I’d see this again and I’m happy it’s finally coming back. Australia is at its most competitive it has been in around 20 years so it should be interesting to see now.

LaneLine
3 months ago

Open water component too! Sounds like a great opportunity for some of the younger/junior open water swimmers to get their chance at a big stage.

torchbearer
Reply to  LaneLine
3 months ago

Yes- just a note that the water is going too be cold and rough at Bondi at that time of year (late winter)….

Last edited 3 months ago by torchbearer
Swimfan
3 months ago

Is the meet gonna be SCM or LCM?

swimmer
Reply to  Swimfan
3 months ago

pretty sure lcm

torchbearer
Reply to  Swimfan
3 months ago

The Sydney Olympic Pool….LCM….about 3,000 spectators now I think.

Troyy
Reply to  torchbearer
3 months ago

The SOPAC pool can do do SCM as well but I hope it’s LCM

Scotty
3 months ago

Like the athletics world cup in 2018….which featured the top eight countries……can we have something like that

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Scotty
3 months ago

There aren’t any other countries that can hang with US and AUS in swimming.

Scotty
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
3 months ago

Britain Canada china Japan Italy Brazil

Scotty
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
3 months ago

They get to complete in all events.the first takes 8pts down to the last…at the end the country with the highest points would be crowned the winner