By Emily Sampl//Contributor | Thursday, April 4, 2019
A handful of national teamers and Olympic medalists, headlined by Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Ryan Murphy and Caeleb Dressel, are scheduled to compete next week as the TYR Pro Swim Series moves to its third stop in Richmond, Virginia April 10-13. Here’s a look at the swimmers and races to watch when the meet gets underway at the Collegiate School Aquatics Center.
Olympic champion Katie Ledecky headlines the women’s field and will contest her best freestyle events – the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m free – as well as both the 200m IM and 400m IM next week. She’ll be challenged by Olympic medalist Leah Smith in the longer freestyle events, while Ella Eastin should be a front runner in the IMs as she enters the meet fresh off the women’s NCAA championships. Simone Manuel, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 100m free, will look to sweep the shorter freestyle events as she enters the meet as the top seed in the 50m free and 100m free and the third seed in the 200m free.
Olympic teammates Katie Meili and Molly Hannis should be major contenders in the women’s breaststroke events, and will face stiff competition from up and comers like Annie Lazor and Bethany Galat. Meanwhile, Olivia Smoliga will look for a pair of wins in the sprint backstroke events; she’s seeded first in both the 50m back and 100m back but could face a major challenge from Ali DeLoof and 18-year-old Katharine Berkoff. A contender in both the sprint free and fly events, look for veteran Kelsi Dahlia to challenge for multiple event wins in Richmond. Keep an eye on Hali Flickinger as well as she enters the meet with a number of high seeds in the 200m IM, 200m fly, 200m back, 400m free and 400m IM.
The men’s breaststroke events feature a stacked field with the likes of Kevin Cordes, Cody Miller, Andrew Wilson, Josh Prenot and Michael Andrew all slated to duke it out. Andrew also sits in the top five in a number of other strokes and events, including the 50m back, 100m back, 50m fly, 100m fly and 50m free. He’ll have to get past the likes of Caeleb Dressel in the free and fly events, and Ryan Murphy, Matt Grevers and Jacob Pebley in the backstrokes.
As for the longer freestyle events, Zane Grothe comes into the meet as the top seed in the 200m free, 400m free, 800m free and 1500m free. He’s seeded way ahead of the rest of the field – ten seconds plus – in both the 800m free and 1500m free, and four seconds ahead in the 400m free, so it could be a race against the clock for him next week.