The Sports Examiner

SWIMMING Preview: Sjostrom looking for second straight five-sprint sweep in final FINA Champions Swim Series, in Indianapolis

The third and final leg of the inaugural FINA Champions Swim Series comes to the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Indiana on Friday and Saturday with – at last – a parade of American swimmers ready to participate. USA Swimming tweeted that this week’s meet will have 50 athletes from 15 countries who together have won 54 Olympic medals (by 26 athletes)!

But the star of the first two stages of this three-event series has been Sweden’s sprint star, Sarah Sjostrom. What has she done so far?

I/Guangzhou: 1) 100-200 m Freestyles; 50-100 m Butterflys; 2) 50 m Free

II/Budapest: 1) 50-100-200 m Freestyles; 50-100 m Butterflys

That’s nine wins and a second (to Australia’s Cate Campbell) in 10 races and she has a full program planned once again: 50-100-200 m Freestyles; 50-100 m Butterflys.

The other series workhorses have been American sprinter Michael Andrew and Hungary’s triple Olympic champ Katinka Hosszu – who swam at USC in 2009-10-11-12 – and they will both be busy this weekend, as they have been in the first two meets:

Michael Andrew:

I/Guangzhou: 2) 50 m Fly; 3) 50 m Free, 50 m Back, 50 m Breast; 4) 100 m Breast, 100 m Fly, 200 m Medley.

II/Budapest: 3) 50 m Breast and 50 m Fly.

In Indianapolis, he’s entered in five events: the 50 m Free, 50 m Breaststroke, 50-100 m Fly and 200 m Medley.

Katinka Hosszu:

I/Guangzhou: 1) 400 m Free, 200 m Back, 200 m Medley;; 3) 200 m Fly; 4) 200 m Free, 100 m Back,

II/Budapest: 1) 100 m Back, 200 m Fly, 200 m Medley; 2) 200 m Back.

Her program in Indy also includes five events: the 400 m Freestyle; 100-200 m Backstrokes, 200 m Butterfly and 200 m Medley.

(It’s worth noting that both Andrew and Hosszu are plaintiffs in an attempted class-action suit against FINA for alleged restraint of trade, but they have both been exceptional beneficiaries of the new series nonetheless.)

The heavy American presence is in contrast to the light attendance in Guangzhou and some swimmers in Budapest. This time, the U.S. stars are out in force (and this is not a complete list):

● Jack Conger: 100-200 m Flys
● Kevin Cordes: 100-200 m Breaststrokes
● Matt Grevers: 50-100 m Backs
● Townley Haas: 100-200 m Frees
● Chase Kalisz: 200 m Fly, 200 m Medley
● Ryan Murphy: 50-100-200 m Backs
● Josh Prenot: 200 m Breast, 200 m Medley

● Kathleen Baker: 100-200 m Backs, 200 m Medley
● Kelsi Dahlia: 50-100-200 m Flys
● Hali Flickinger: 400 m Free, 200 m Fly
● Bethany Galat: 50-200 m Flys
● Molly Hannis: 50-100 m Breaststrokes
● Lilly King: 50-100-200 m Breaststrokes
● Melanie Margalis: 200-400 m Free, 200 m Medley
● Leah Smith: 200-400 m Frees, 200 m Fly
● Micah Sumrall: 100-200 m Breast

Sjostrom, Andrew, Hosszu and these swimmers represent 53 of the 112 (47%) of the total individual entries in the meet!

There are eight events in which could result in Champion Series sweeps across all three events:

Men/100 m Free: Pieter Timmers (BEL)
Men/200 m Breast: Anton Chupkov (RUS)
Men/50 m Fly: Nicholas Santos (BRA)

Women/100 m Free: Sarah Sjostrom (SWE)
Women/200 m Free: Sjostrom
Women/50 m Fly: Sjostrom
Women/100 m Fly: Sjostrom
Women/200 m Medley: Katinka Hosszu (HUN)

In the men’s 100 m Breast, Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli won the first two meets, but has opted for the 50 m Breast in Indianapolis; he should get into the 100 and try for the sweep!

Russia’s Yuliya Efimova swept the 50-100-200 m Breast events in Budapest; she will be matched against three American swimmers, including Olympic and World Champion Lilly King in all three events this weekend. Of course, Efimova is hardly a stranger to the U.S., since she has trained for years at USC in Los Angeles.

As usual, the prize money is $10,000-8,000-6,000-5,000 for the four place winners and $16,000-12,000-8,000 for the relay races. That’s $812,000 for the individual events and $72,000 for the relays for a prize total of $884,000 for the meet.

NBCSN has coverage from Indianapolis beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Friday; NBC’s Olympic Channel has coverage on Saturday, also at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Look for results here.

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