There has been no full announcement about which Americans will be swimming at this year’s World Cup Series, held in 25 meter pools in different cities around Europe and Asia, but we know at least one megastar will swim: Ryan Lochte.
The Russian Swimming Federation has announced that the 5-time Olympic Champion is committed to participate in at least the Moscow stop of the series on October 17th and 18th; usually when Americans have traveled to the European legs of this event, they make multiple stops on the continent, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
This will be Lochte’s first trip into the high-money, high excitement world of the FINA World Cup. That’s not to say he can’t pull off short course swimming – with his amazing underwaters he’s arguably better than long course. At the 2010 Short Course World Championships, he took 6 golds and a relay silver: the most ever won by a single swimmer at the event. He also broke the Short Course World Records in the 200 and 400 IM on back-to-back days, which really pulled swimming out of the World Record depths of despair following the banishment of full-body polyurethane suits earlier that year.
With a change of training locale to Southern California all-but-confirmed for Lochte, these World Cup meets could become one of the more interesting stories for the rest of 2012. Typically under Gregg Troy, Lochte has been just dreadful in-season. With his seeming desire to move more toward sprint-based events and training, though, keep an eye on how much better he goes during the year.
Update: Lochte’s agent Erica Wright says he is staying put in Florida.
Anthony Ervin is another American who has confirmed participation in the World Cup Series, though there will surely be more.