Michael Phelps will compete in his fourth swim meet since coming out of a twenty-month retirement in April. According to psych sheets released for the Georgia Bulldog Slam, to be held July 10th-13th in Athens, Ga., Phelps will race the 100 fly, 100 backstroke and 100 free.
This smaller swim meet will be most swimmers’ final stop before August’s U.S. Championships, a selection meet for the U.S.A. National Team and the Pan Pac Championships in Australia.
Ryan Lochte has entered seven events for his first meet since scratching out of the final day of the Mesa Grand Prix. He was still recovering from a torn MCL and ACL, suffered in a fan run-in last November, at that meet; his performances next week should indicate if his knee is back to full health.
Two of Lochte’s entered events, the 100 free and 100 fly, overlap with Phelps’ schedule.
Phelps and Lochte last face-off was the 100 fly in Mesa, where Phelps came in second to Lochte by two-tenths of a second.
The 100 free will also be one of the weekend’s biggest races, with fellow Olympians Conor Dwyer, Cullen Jones and France’s Yannick Agnel also entered.
Lochte’s full program is the 100 free, 200 free, 400 free, 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly and 200 IM. It’s likely he’ll withdraw from several of these events closer to the meet.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.