Two showdowns between Stanford training partners Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky will be among the featured races this weekend as the TYR Pro Swim Series begins in Greensboro, N.C.
Manuel is a sprint specialist who won world titles in the 50m freestyle and 100m free this summer, adding to a resume that includes the 2017 world championship and 2016 Olympic gold in the 100m along with countless relay golds. Ledecky has been nearly unbeatable in longer races for much of the 2010s, dating back to her gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in the 800m free at age 15, until battling illness during this summer’s world championships.
Despite their different specialties, the two swimmers will overlap in the 200m freestyle, and Ledecky will make a further foray into sprinters’ territory in the 100m free. Manuel doesn’t usually contest the 200m free but has posted a time that could make Ledecky sweat. Ledecky is only the sixth seed in the 100, which also includes 2012 200m gold medalist Allison Schmitt.
Ledecky will not be swimming in the 1,500m. The top seed in that event is Ashley Twichell, who has already qualified for the Olympics in open water swimming and is trying to complete a rare double by qualifying in the pool as well.
The meet also includes two world champions from Canada — Kylie Masse (100m backstroke) and University of Michigan swimmer Maggie MacNeil (100m butterfly).
World championship silver medalist Hali Flickinger is the runaway favorite in the 200m fly and may compete with Ledecky, Schmitt and Twichell in the 200 and 400 free. Flickinger also is scheduled to swim in the 200m backstroke, where Kathleen Baker has the fastest seed time by more than two seconds as she continues her comeback from a rib injury.
Flickinger and Ledecky also are listed in the field for the 400m individual medley.
In the men’s races, world championship runner-up Jay Litherland is the favorite in the 400m medley. Andrew Wilson, who took silver in two world championship relays, leads the field for the 200m breaststroke.
Ryan Lochte, who returned from suspension to win the U.S. 200m medley title in August, is listed in the field for the 200m medley.
The series offers cash prizes for the top three in each event and a bonus for the men’s and women’s best performances, determined by FINA’s calculations of comparable times across all events, at each meet. The top men’s performance and top women’s performance across the five-meet series will be worth $10,000.
The rest of the series stops:
- Jan. 16-19: Knoxville, Tenn.
- March 4-7: Des Moines, Iowa
- April 16-19: Mission Viejo, Calif.
- May 6-9: Indianapolis
Coverage will air on the Olympic Channel at 6 p.m. ET Friday and on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET Saturday. Earlier rounds will air at usaswimming.org
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