Rowdy Gaines previews Duel in the Pool

Getty Images
0 Comments

INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin will lead the U.S. contingent against European all-stars at Duel in the Pool in Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday.

The 2013 event came down to a tie breaking mixed 4 x 50m medley relay, won by the United States to claim the overall meet victory and preserve its undefeated 6-0 streak since Duel in the Pool started in 2003.

The Ryder Cup-style event is a 25m short course dual meet held over two days with no prelims or semis – only finals. There are 15 events for men and 15 for women, where athletes can score five points for first place, three points for second and one point for third place. Seven points are awarded to winning relays. The first team to reach 131.5 points wins.

Action begins Friday at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra. USASwimming.org will stream Friday night’s action and Saturday’s at 2 p.m. ET.

NBC will air coverage of the meet Dec. 19 from 4-6 p.m. ET.

NBC Olympics analyst and gold medalist Rowdy Gaines provided his thoughts about what makes this meet so special.

If the U.S. is beatable:

“It’s going to be really close. The Europeans are trying to win. They have some real fire power and they have great relay strength this time. That’s one of the reasons they got off to such a great start a couple of years ago, because they were able to win those relays. They’ll be a little hungrier.”

On the presence of big stars like Lochte and versatile Hungarian Olympian Katinka Hosszu:

“It always helps to have a big star or a couple big stars on the team because they can anchor that team when they do that. I know the Europeans had Short Course [Championships, last weekend] and some of them may keep resting after that.”

On the popularity of this swim meet:

“If it ends up even anything close to what it was two years ago – ha! – it’s going to be crazy. Even if you’re not a fan of swimming, it was so much fun two years ago because it was like this crescendo that just started building more and more, especially for the Europeans because they actually started believing they could win.”

On the storied venue, which hosted the first Duel in the Pool in 2003:

“We’re used to swimming in Indianapolis. It’s a real home-cooking type of pool. It’s the cathedral of swimming really. Not that we have a Wrigley Field or Fenway Park, but it’s sort of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. Everybody’s swum there, everybody’s had big meets there. They’re used to that pool. I think that will help a lot.”

Franklin was absent from the 2013 meet because she was prepping for finals during her first semester at the University of California. Lochte was out due to an injury from an accident invoving a fan encounter.

Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky are sitting this year’s meet out. Phelps won three events last weekend at Winter Nationals, and Ledecky most recently competed at a Pro Series meet in Minneapolis.

The European roster features 27 Olympians from 11 countries, including Hungarians Hosszu and Laszlo Cseh, the Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Great Britain’s Hannah Miley and Russia’s Vladimir Morozov and Yulia Efimova.

USA’s 6-0 Duel in the Pool record:

2003 vs. Australia, in Indianapolis: 196 to 74

2005 vs. Australia, in Irvine, Calif.: 190 to 102

2007 vs. Australia, in Sydney: 181.5 to 129.5

2009 vs. Europe, in Manchester: 185 to 78

2011 vs. Europe, in Atlanta: 181.5 to 80.5

2013 vs. Europe, in Glasgow: 132-131