IRVINE, Calif. — The four superstars of American swimming are competing in the same pool for the first time since the London Olympics this week.
Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky are the headliners at the U.S. Championships.
They’re swimming this week for spots at the biggest international meet of 2014, the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, from Aug. 21-24. There, the U.S. and longtime rival Australia are expected to duel along with other non-European nations.
NBC will have coverage from the week’s top finals on Saturday.
The headlining U.S. quartet are among nearly 1,000 swimmers at Nationals, including several more Olympic and World champions.
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, is at his fifth meet since a 20-month retirement from competition following the London Games.
Lochte, the longtime rival of Phelps, is at his second meet since retearing his left MCL that he originally injured when an overzealous fan ran into him in November.
Franklin, who became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single World Championships in 2013, is coming off her freshman season up the road at California.
Ledecky, who won Olympic 800m freestyle gold at age 15 in London, has already broken 800m and 1500m free world records this year.