USA Swimming has released the psych sheets for next week’s 2016 Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin, and they feature some huge international names – most notable is Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom.
Sjostrom, who set the world record while winning World Champs gold in the 100 fly last summer, will make a rare appearance in the United States, and by the looks of it, Sjostrom will look to make the most of it. The 22-year-old is entered in 5 events over the three-day meet, including a marquee matchup with 2012 Olympic gold medalist (and the former holder of that world record) Dana Vollmer in the 100 fly.
Vollmer has come out of retirement at age 28 and is among the top American butterflyers. That race should be packed with speed and exciting storylines, with 18-year-old Olympic hopeful Katie McLaughlin also competing along with 2012 Olympian Claire Donahue.
Sjostrom will also swim the 50 free, 100 free, 100 back and 200 free, where she’ll battle world champ Katie Ledecky, Olympic champ Allison Schmitt and Olympic icon Missy Franklin. Sjostom has historically maintained a reluctant relationship with that swim, considering herself a sprinter first and foremost, but regularly dropping world-class times in the 200 free when she does elect to swim it.
There are other huge names in attendance, but most of them are more expected. Ledecky and Franklin are huge draws, as are veteran Olympians Michael Phelps (100 free, 100 fly, 200 free, 200 fly, 200 IM) and Ryan Lochte (100 free, 100 fly, 400 IM, 100 breast, 200 IM). Though several of those events could wind up being scratched, it’s intriguing to see Lochte eyeing a 400 IM swim and an appearance in the 100 breast, which Lochte occasionally swam earlier in his career as a training swim for his IM races.
Ledecky tops them all, though, with 7 entries, including a 400 IM of her own. Ledecky has mostly stuck to freestyles in her international career, but is the kind of insane talent who could perhaps turn into an international contender in the longer IM race. Ledecky is also entered in the 100 free, 200 free, 400 free, 800 free, 100 back and 200 IM.
Franklin will swim the 100 free, 200 free, 100 back and 200 back as she comes down from altitude. Franklin has been training in Colorado with her childhood club, the Colorado Stars, since turning pro last year.
A few of the many more notable names in the mix: defending series champ Katinka Hosszu, multi-time Olympian Natalie Coughlin, Vlad Morozov, Santo Condorelli, Nathan Adrian, French sprinter Jeremy Stravius, Bruno Fratus, Anthony Ervin, Micah Lawrence, Yulia Efimova, Kevin Cordes (back in the States from his training home in Singapore), Longhorn swimmers Joseph Schooling, Jack Conger & Clark Smith (plus a number of their University of Texas teammates), Tom Shields, Cierra Runge, Leah Smith, Lotte Friis, Elizabeth Beisel, Connor Jaeger, Canadian youngster Emily Overholt, Caitlin Leverenz, Tyler Clary, Chase Kalisz, Conor Dwyer, Maxime Rooney (ranked as our top high school senior in the nation), reigning NCAA Swimmer of the Year Ryan Murphy, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Cammile Adams, Maya DiRado, David Plummer, Matt Grevers, Melanie Margalis and Michael McBroom.