U.S. swimming’s biggest stars gather at a Pro Series meet in Des Moines, igniting the run-up to June’s Olympic Trials live on NBC Sports and Olympic Channel this week.
Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Lilly King, Regan Smith, Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Murphy and Ryan Lochte headline the strongest domestic field outside of a national championships since at least 2018, if not the entire Olympic cycle.
Live finals coverage airs at 7:30 ET on Olympic Channel (Thursday) and NBCSN (Friday), streaming on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. USASwimming.org live streams the rest of the finals sessions, including the 1500m freestyles on Wednesday and the last night of competition Saturday.
Some key potential Olympic Trials previews via early entry lists that could change:
Men’s 100m Freestyle (Thursday): Dressel, Nathan Adrian, Ryan Held
Women’s 200m Freestyle (Friday): Ledecky, Manuel, Allison Schmitt
Men’s 100m Backstroke (Saturday): Murphy, Matt Grevers, Jacob Pebley
Women’s 100m Backstroke (Saturday): Smith, Kathleen Baker, Olivia Smoliga
It marks Ledecky’s first meet of 2020. She’s expected to go for four individual events at an Olympics for the first time — the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees, with the women’s 1500m debuting at the Olympics in Tokyo.
It will take a top-two finish to make the Olympic team in each one at trials. That shouldn’t be a problem given Ledecky hasn’t lost to an American in those events in six years.
Manuel, reigning world champion at 50m and 100m free, has recently been tested, even defeated by University of Tennessee senior Erika Brown. Brown and the rest of the NCAA stars aren’t in Des Moines as they’re preparing for national championships. Manuel’s top competition in the sprints should come from fellow world team members Mallory Comerford and Margo Geer.
Dressel, who won 13 golds between the last two world championships, has yet to race on the top domestic level in 2020. He’s entered in every stroke, plus the individual medley, but should focus on the sprint freestyles and 100m butterfly. Most of his top U.S. rivals in the 50m and 100m frees — including Adrian, Held and Michael Andrew — are entered in Des Moines.
Loche, a 12-time Olympic medalist eyeing a fifth Olympics at age 35, is also slated to race on the top domestic level for the first time this year. He’s been focusing on the individual medleys. Lochte is entered in the 200m IM with 2017 World champion Chase Kalisz and in the 400m IM with 2019 World silver medalist Jay Litherland.
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