U.S., Australia bring back Duel in the Pool swim meet

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The Duel in the Pool, a swim meet pitting the U.S. against rival Australia, is being revived this year.

It will be held in Sydney from Aug. 19-21.

The U.S. and Australia, whose rivalry two decades ago at the dawn of the Michael Phelps era led to the Duel’s creation, will face off in the team event for the first time since 2007.

The Duel in the Pool was held in odd years from 2003 through 2015. The first three editions were the U.S. vs. Australia. The last four were the U.S. vs. Europe in a Ryder Cup-style, multi-day event.

The U.S. won every edition, all by wide margins except in 2013, when the Americans edged the Europeans in a tiebreaking relay.

If both nations’ best swimmers take part, this year’s Duel could see Olympic rematches between Katie Ledecky and Ariarne TitmusCaeleb Dressel and Kyle Chalmers and Regan Smith and Kaylee McKeown.

The new Duel format will include Paralympic and open-water swimmers on each nation’s roster of 30.

Australia challenged the U.S. for swim supremacy at the Olympics in the 2000s, but dropped off in 2012 and 2016 with four total gold medals between those two Games. The Aussies re-emerged in Tokyo, winning nine gold medals to the U.S.’ leading 11 and earning more relay medals than the Americans.

The highlight of past U.S.-Australia Duels came in 2007, when Australian Libby Trickett swam the then-fastest women’s 100m freestyle in history, which didn’t count for record purposes because it came in a mixed-gender relay with Phelps in the adjacent lane.

U.S. swimmers are training to peak for next week’s world championships trials in Greensboro, N.C., and the world championships in Budapest in June.

Some Australian stars, including Titmus, Chalmers and seven-time Tokyo medalist Emma McKeon, are skipping worlds to focus on the Commonwealth Games later this summer in Great Britain.

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