The first top-level swim meet of the Olympic year is this week, featuring Olympic gold medalists and world-record holders.
Ryan Murphy, Lilly King and Regan Smith headline a Pro Series stop in San Antonio, Texas, live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.
All Olympic Channel coverage also streams for subscribers on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. NBCSN airs replays Friday (11 p.m.) and Monday (2 a.m.).
The first Pro Series meet in 10 months is two-pronged: swimmers are racing in San Antonio and in Richmond, Va.
The Olympic Channel broadcast features the San Antonio finals. USASwimming.org will also live stream Richmond at 7 each night.
For Americans, it’s a checkpoint five months before the Olympic Trials, where the top two per individual event qualify for the Tokyo Games.
Murphy, King and Smith are among the top candidates to make the Olympic team.
Murphy, who swept the backstrokes in Rio, continued to be the top American in the discipline throughout this Olympic cycle. But internationally, he took silver and bronze medals at the world championships behind Russian Yevgeny Rylov and Chinese Xu Jiayu.
Rylov and Xu won’t be in San Antonio, but the now 25-year-old Murphy gets a good look at the next crop of American backstrokers.
Namely 21-year-olds Shaine Casas and Austin Katz. Casas ranks second to Murphy among Americans in the 100m backstroke since the start of 2019. Katz is second to Murphy in the 200m back in that span.
King, the Olympic and world champion and world-record holder in the 100m breast, faces tougher tests in her complementary 200m breast in San Antonio. King is ranked second in the U.S. in that event since the start of 2019 behind Annie Lazor.
While Lazor is absent this week, the entries include Bethany Galat (No. 3 American since the start of 2019), Madisyn Cox (No. 5) and Micah Sumrall (No. 6) in what could be an early preview of an Olympic Trials battle.
Smith broke both backstroke world records at the 2019 Worlds at age 17. In San Antonio, she is slated to face the second-, third- and fourth-fastest U.S. women in each of the 100m and 200m backs since the start of 2019.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!