Ryan Murphy, Lia Neal, Jacob Pebley Join Energy For Swim Lineup

Ryan Murphy, Lia Neal and Jacob Pebley are the latest three U.S. Olympians to sign on for the Energy for Swim 2018 meet, which is scheduled to take place in Torino, Italy next month, though FINA has made clear the meet is not authorized.

A rule interpretation by FINA has classified the event as an international competition that needs FINA approval, something the event doesn’t have and doesn’t have time to obtain. FINA rules say that athletes could face bans between one and two years for competing in an unauthorized competition.

Meet organizers say contracted athletes will still be paid 50% of their promised appearance money if the meet is cancelled.

A number of high-profile athletes have publicly signed on to compete at the meet even after FINA’s warning, though it’s still unclear if the meet will proceed (or if all contracted athletes will compete) if the meet remains outside of FINA authorization.

The signing of Murphy (a triple Olympic gold medalist in 2016), Neal (a two-time Olympian) and Pebley (2016 Olympian and 2017 World Champs bronze medalist) now brings the list of contracted swimmers to an even 40. Murphy, Neal and Pebley are all listed on Team USA’s roster for Short Course Worlds as well, making for a busy month of December with four days between competitions in China (Short Course Worlds) and Italy (Energy for Swim).

You can see the full list below:


Athlete Nation
1 Adam Peaty GBR
2 Alexandr Krasnykh RUS
3 Anastasia Fesikova RUS
4 Andrew Minakov RUS
5 Bethany Galat USA
6 Cameron van der Burgh RSA
7 Chad Le Clos RSA
8 Chase Kalisz USA
9 Danas Rapsys LTU
10 David Verraszto HUN
11 Duncan Scott GBR
12 Emily Seebohm AUS
13 Femke Heermskerk NED
14 Georgia Davies GBR
15 Gunnar Bentz USA
16 Jacob Pebley USA
17 Katie Meili USA
18 Katinka Hosszu HUN
19 Kendyl Stewart USA
20 Kliment Kolesnikov RUS
21 Kristian Gkolomeev GRE
22 Laszlo Cseh HUN
23 Lia Neal USA
24 Lisa Bratton USA
25 Maria Ugolkova RUS
26 Mark Szaranek GBR
27 Max Litchfield GBR
28 Mehdy Metella FRA
29 Michael Andrew USA
30 Michelle Coleman SWE
31 Mikhail Romanchuk UKR
32 Pieter Timmers BEL
33 Ranomi Kromowidjojo NED
34 Ryan Murphy USA
35 Sarah Sjostrom SWE
36 Sergey Fesikov RUS
37 Sergii Shevtsov UKR
38 Siobhan O’Connor GBR
39 Tom Shields USA
40 Veronika Andrusenko RUS

SwimSwam is an Energy Standard Group partner. 

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Murph a massive win for the meet politically. USA Swimming will now be incentivised to put the boot into FINA for any bans, as a star swimmer and relay essential would be caught up in it.

If I had to put money on it, when push came to shove, I would guess that Murphy won’t race if there’s a suspension on the table. I think there are swimmers in a position to do this and become sort of flag-bearers for the fair professionalism of swimming, to stand up to FINA and really torch them once-and-for-all in a court of law. There are others who stand to lose a lot more (Murphy) if the ban goes in place and an injunction can’t be reached quickly enough to allow them to swim at the World Championships. Everyone involved (including FINA) that no bans will be upheld if they go to court, and if they go to court, that… Read more »


Three interesting names! I believe Cody Miller is in the perfect position to do that. If he does that, he would be a hero for many swimmers around the world.


I’m not sure Murphy needs to compete at a World Champs to prove himself, I agree he’d be hurting his legacy a lot to miss Tokyo.

I think the best chance to topple the rule is Ledecky if she wants to sign up. Already secure as an all time great and able to mobilise the might of K&E to fight her corner at the Commission and/or ECJ. Even Phelps might balk at our headline rates, but I reckon the partners would agree a discount for her as the daughter of a former attorney.


We need Manuel and Ledecky….come through Stanford

E Gamble

Nope. Finals


I thought Simone graduated in spring?


I agree that this is an extremely likely option, however, it is clear that this is a massive bluff by FINA. While in the end the organizers and/or the swimmers might call it quits, it is quite clear that if all 40 athletes show up, FINA cannot ban all of them. While USA swimming has said they have to comply with FINA, I have a hard time believing every national federation will stand around and let a gross misuse of power get some of their star swimmers banned.


All I keep thinking is gogogo! I want the big names to ask step up. Yes they have more to lose but they r the ones with the power to create that second level that make a solid living but need a real pro organization to make it happen. How long has track had that?
I feel this is the closest it has come

PS. Could we consolidate the articles and comments about this?


This might be the tipping point


It IS a tipping point, because it makes difficult now for some swimmers to change their decision. I don’t think that they will be banned from Olympic Games, but it is very possible that there will be some punishment for the 2019 season. For swimmers like Sjostrom and Hosszu it may mean the lost of serious prize money at World Cup.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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