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Simone Manuel, rising teens headline Tyr Pro Swim Series Knoxville

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Simone Manuel, who could go for up to six gold medals in Tokyo, headlines the entries for the first Tyr Pro Swim Series meet of the Olympic year in Knoxville, Tenn., next week, live on NBC Sports.

NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app air finals coverage Friday and Saturday next week at 6:30 p.m. ET. USASwimming.org streams that Sunday’s finals session at 6:30.

Manuel, who swept the 50m and 100m freestyles among seven total medals at last summer’s world championships, was a preliminary entry into the 50m, 100m and 200m frees in Knoxville.

While Stanford training partner Katie Ledecky is absent, Manuel could be tested in the 50m and 100m frees by 16-year-old Gretchen Walsh and University of Tennessee senior Erika Brown, both bidding for Olympic debuts in Tokyo. And in the 200m free by 2012 Olympic champion Allison Schmitt.

Regan Smith, the 17-year-old who lowered both backstroke world records at world champs, is entered in those two primary events plus 100m and 200m butterflies and freestyles in Knoxville.

Chase Kalisz, who swept the individual medleys at the 2017 Worlds, was slated to face rising 18-year-old Carson Foster in both IMs next week, plus 17-year-old phenom Luca Urlando in that teen’s patented 200m butterfly. But Kalisz is not on the most updated psych sheets as of Friday.

Swimmers are preparing for the Olympic trials in June in Omaha, where the top two per individual event qualify for the Tokyo Games.

MORE: Australian swim star issues plea after hometown hit by fires

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Dan Hicks, Rowdy Gaines call backyard pool swim race

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Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines covered swimming together at the last six Olympics, including every one of Michael Phelps‘ finals, but they’ve never called a “race” quite like this.

“We heard you were looking for something to commentate during the down time….might this short short short course 100 IM help?” tweeted Cathleen Pruden, posting a video of younger sister Mary Pruden, a sophomore swimmer at Columbia University, taking individual medley strokes in what appeared to be an inflatable backyard pool.

“Hang on,” Gaines replied. “This race of the century deserves the right call. @DanHicksNBC and I are working some magic!”

Later, Hicks posted a revised video dubbed with commentary from he and Gaines.

They became the latest commentators to go beyond the booth to post calls on social media while sports are halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC Sports hockey voice Doc Emrick (who has also called Olympic hockey and water polo) did play-by-play of a windshield wiper installation.

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MORE: Ledecky, Manuel welcome Olympic decision after training in backyard pool

Which athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic team?

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Soon after Tokyo Olympic qualifying events began getting postponed, the International Olympic Committee announced that all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes.

The IOC repeated that position over the last week, after the Tokyo Games were postponed (now to open July 23, 2021). What does that mean for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee?

Well, 76 athletes qualified for the U.S. Olympic team before the Olympic postponement was announced. That full list is here.

Those 76 athletes can be separated into two categories.

  • Athletes who earned Olympic spots BY NAME via International Federation (i.e. International Surfing Association or International Aquatics Federation) selection procedures.
  • Athletes named to the U.S. Olympic team by their national governing body (i.e. USA Swimming or USA Track and Field) and confirmed by the USOPC using NGB selection procedures after the NGB earned a quota spot.

When the IOC says “all quota places already allocated to National Olympic Committees and athletes will remain with those NOCs and athletes,” it means just that. USA Softball still has 15 athlete quota spots from qualifying a full team via international results. Surfer Kolohe Andino still has his Olympic spot from qualifying BY NAME via the International Surfing Association selection procedures route.

USA Softball named its 15-player Olympic roster last fall. Those 15 athletes did not earn Olympic quota spots for themselves. Unlike Andino (and 13 other American qualifiers across all sports), the 15 softball players had to be nominated by USA Softball and confirmed by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Unless and until the USOPC confirms that any of those other 62 athletes remain qualified, for now the list of U.S. Olympic qualifiers is these 14 who qualified BY NAME:

Karate (1)
Sakura Kokumai

Modern Pentathlon (2)
Samantha Achterberg
Amro Elgeziry

Swimming (3)
Haley Anderson
Ashley Twichell
Jordan Wilimovsky

Sport Climbing (4)
Kyra Condie
Brooke Raboutou
Nathaniel Coleman
Colin Duffy

Surfing (4)
Caroline Marks
Carissa Moore
Kolohe Andino
John John Florence

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MORE: Qualified athletes go into limbo with Tokyo postponement