Ashley Twichell

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Ashley Twichell, Zane Grothe cruise to wins at TYR Pro Swim Series

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Former 5K open-water swimming world champion Ashley Twichell easily won the 1,500m freestyle Wednesday on the first night of action at the TYR Pro Swim Series opener in Greensboro, N.C.

Twichell, who has qualified for the 2020 Olympics in open water and will attempt to qualify in the pool as well, took the lead right away and extended the gap over the rest of the field to more than 20 seconds, winning in a time of 16:11.19. Hannah Moore took second in 16:32.84.

Zane Grothe won the men’s 1,500 in 15:18.71, with Chris Wieser second in 15:40.33.

Coverage will air on the Olympic Channel at 6 p.m. ET Friday and on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET Saturday. Earlier rounds, including Thursday morning prelims featuring Twichell, Grothe, Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Andrew Wilson, Hali Flickinger and Allison Schmitt will air at usaswimming.org

MORE: Ledecky, Manuel duel highlights TYR Pro opener

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Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel face off twice at TYR Pro Swim Series opener

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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.

READ: Manuel defends world title from Lane 1

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

READ: Simone Manuel’s Halloween costume: Simone Biles

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Haley Anderson, Ashley Twichell are first to qualify for 2020 U.S. Olympic team

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Swimmers Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell became the first of who will be more than 500 athletes to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.

Anderson, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, qualified for her third Olympics by earning another silver in the world championships open-water 10km in South Korea on Sunday morning.

Twichell was sixth to make her first Olympic team in her fourth try at age 30.

Top-10 finishers in the event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2008, qualified directly for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Anderson, a 27-year-old from California, is the lone American to earn an Olympic open-water medal. She also owns world titles in the open-water 5km, which is not an Olympic distance.

Twichell, who tried to make Olympic teams in 2008, 2012 and 2016, is in line to become the oldest U.S. Olympic rookie swimmer since James Greene in 1908, according to the OlyMADMen. And the third-oldest U.S. Olympic female swimmer after Dara Torres (33, 41) and Jenny Thompson (31), who each earned 12 medals.

Twichell in 2017 became the oldest American to win an open-water world title.

The men’s open-water 10km at worlds is Tuesday, where Rio Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky and David Heron can join Anderson and Twichell on the Olympic team with top-10 finishes.

The U.S. Olympic swim team in pool events will be determined at trials in Omaha in June.

MORE: World Diving Championships TV Schedule

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