What’s at Stake in the 2018 Pro Swim Series?

Jared Anderson contributed to this report

The 2018 Pro Swim Series starts up this weekend in Austin, and with the addition of a SwimSquad team battle-for-the-title, new shoot-out stroke 50 events, the mixed 400 medley relay, and a “mystery stroke order” 200 IM, 2018 is shaping up to be a particularly exciting year.

As always, prize money will go to the top finishers in every event, and a $10,000 bonus and a one-year lease of a BMW vehicle go to the high-point winners in the men’s and women’s categories at the end of the series. (Last year, Katie Ledecky accrued $5,300 in winnings before the high-point bonus***, while Chase Kalisz totaled a pre-bonus $5,400 on the men’s side.) The SwimSquad competition throws even more excitement into the mix, as the all-star captain of the winning team (Lenny Krayzelburg, Jason Lezak, Natalie Coughlinor Kaitlin Sandeno) will win $10,000 to donate to the charity of their choice.

***She didn’t accept the prize money or car lease (as many swimmers don’t and won’t) due to NCAA amateurism rules. If an NCAA-eligible athlete finishes first in the series standings, the bonus passes on to the next-highest eligible athlete.



Individual Olympic events will yield prize money for the top 3 finishers. (Olympic events now include the men’s 1500 and women’s 800 freestyles). They will also yield points to count toward the end-of-series high-point winners.

  • 1st: $1,000 (5 points)
  • 2nd: $600 (3 points)
  • 3rd: $200 (1 point)

The stroke 50 shootouts will yield prize money for each round achieved, but no series points:

  • Round 1 winners: $200
  • Round 2 winners: $400
  • Round 3 winner: $600

The money is earned cumulatively. So the overall winner will take home $1200. Second place will earn $600. Both semifinalists will make $200.

Points will be accrued over all 6 stops as well as U.S. Nationals (which counts for double points). The male and female winners will earn $10,000 and a one-year lease of a BMW.

  • Austin – Jan 11-14
  • Atlanta – March 1-4
  • Mesa – Apr 12-15
  • Indianapolis – May 17-20
  • Santa Clara – June 7-10
  • Columbus – July 6-8
  • U.S. Nationals – July 25-29 (double points)


Prior to each meet, the captain will select 6 swimmers from their overall roster to score. Each of the six athletes is designated for one specific category, and can score in up to two events from that category. The categories are:

  • Free (50 through 1500)
  • Back (50 through 200)
  • Breast (50 through 200)
  • Fly (50 through 200)
  • IM (200 and 400, not the mystery order 200 IM)
  • Flex (any two races)
  • An athlete must make the top 8 to score points:
    • 1st: 10
    • 2nd: 8
    • 3rd: 7
    • 4th: 5
    • 5th: 4
    • 6th: 3
    • 7th: 2
    • 8th: 1

The captain of the team with the most SwimSquad points at the end of the season will win $10,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice. You can see the full SwimSquad rosters here.

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About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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