Michael Phelps could swim up to four events at next week’s U.S. Championships, and he may face Ryan Lochte in all of them.
Here are the top U.S. swimmers’ listed events on psych sheets (entry lists) released Thursday:
Phelps — 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley
Lochte — 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley
Missy Franklin — 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke
Katie Ledecky — 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 1500m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 400m individual medley
The U.S. Championships serve as a qualifying meet for the year’s biggest international meet, the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, from Aug. 21-24. Both the U.S. Championships and Pan Pacs serve as qualifying meets for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Swimmers who make the team for Pan Pacs (essentially those who finish in the top two of an individual event at Nationals) are open to enter other events at Pan Pacs.
Therefore, it’s not a big deal for swimmers such as Phelps, Lochte, Franklin and Ledecky to swim a packed schedule at Nationals. The priority is making the team for Pan Pacs in one event, and they can add to their plates in Australia.
What’s more, swimmers (Lochte especially) tend to enter more events at Nationals than they plan to swim to be safe. Expect some or all of the big names to scratch out of events next week (Ledecky surely must).
So, with those caveats in mind, here are some takeaways:
The most interesting news is what Phelps isn’t entered in — the 200m freestyle. He’s the third-fastest American in the event this year (full U.S. rankings here) and finished second to French training partner Yannick Agnel in the 200m free at the Santa Clara Grand Prix on June 21.
It wouldn’t be surprising at all for Phelps to swim the 200m free at Pan Pacs, assuming he makes that team of course.
Lochte, coming back from an aggravation of his November knee injury, is entered in all of the events he’s been known to swim at major international meets, except the 400m IM, which he swore off after the London Olympics but swam in at least one domestic meet in 2013 (but not at Nationals or Worlds).
Franklin’s events are unsurprising as well. She won all four of those events at last year’s Nationals and won three of them at the World Championships.
Ledecky would have to be Superwoman to swim in all of her entered events (she might be, actually, if you’ve seen her times this year).
Watch to see if she swims the 200m free. She finished second to Franklin in it at last year’s Nationals but dropped it for Worlds because it jammed her schedule. Ledecky has been faster than the World champion Franklin and Olympic champion Allison Schmitt in the 200m free this year.
Ledecky has never raced the 50m free or 100m free at Nationals, nor the IMs. Expect her to scratch those and focus on, at most, the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyles.
Here’s the broadcast schedule for Nationals, from Irvine, Calif.:
Wednesday — 9-11 p.m. ET, Universal Sports
Saturday — 4-6, NBC
Sunday — 4-6, NBC
Sunday — 11-midnight, NBCSN
USA Swimming will also have a live webcast of the entire meet here. Daily prelims start at noon ET, with finals at 9 p.m. ET.