USA Swimming is placing significant emphasis on raising the importance, profile and showmanship of its Tyr Pro Swim Series, starting with the first leg this week in a new venue, the Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center at the University of Tennessee.
The fields are excellent, especially for a meet in January and especially on the women’s side. Among the top stars and their events entered:
● Michael Andrew ~ 50 m Free, 50-100 m Breast, 50-100 m Back, 50-100 m Fly, 200 m Medley
● Chase Kalisz ~ 200 m Free, 100-200 m Breast, 200 m Fly, 200 m Medley
● Ryan Murphy ~ 100-200 m Free, 50-100-200 m Back
● Kathleen Baker ~ 50-100-200 m Back, 200 m Medley
● Kelsi Dahlia ~ 50-100 m Free, 50-100-200 m Fly
● Katie Ledecky ~ 200-400-1,500 m Free, 400 m Medley
● Simone Manuel ~ 50-100-200 m Free, 50-100 m Back, 50-100 m Fly
● Olivia Smoliga ~ 50-100 m Free, 50-200 m Back
● Melanie Margalis ~ 200-400 m Free, 50-100-200 m Breast, 200 m Medley
● Hali Flickinger ~ 200-400 m Free, 200 m Back, 100-200 m Fly, 400 m Medley
Canada’s Penny Oleksiak – co-Olympic champion in Rio with Manuel in the 100 m Free – is also entered, expected to compete in the 100 m Free and the 50-100-200 m Fly.
Worth noting: the meet has a limit of seven events for any individual swimmer, but Andrew has entered eight; also, what is Manuel doing swimming the Backstroke and Butterflys? Is she planning on become a Medley swimmer?
Of course, Ledecky, now a professional, will draw a lot of attention. She’s especially worth watching because she has – unbelievably – set a world record in January! On 17 January 2016, she broke her own world mark in the 800 m Free in the Arena Pro Swim Series opener in Austin, Texas (8:06.68). She’s already set six world marks in the 1,500 m Free, so could her mark of 15:20.48 from last year’s Tyr Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis (16 May) be in danger?
The venue seats 1,284 and the meet will be conducted in long-course format (50 m).
Prize money for this meet is $1,500-1,000-500 for the top three places. Points will be scored for the season (five-meet) series as well.