Nearly 20 U.S. Olympians, including champions of 2012 and 2016 Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers, Ryan Murphy and Dana Vollmer as well as double world medley champions of 2017 Chase Kalisz and his teammate and relay gold medallist Mallory Comerford are set to get their 2018 race seasons underway.
The Pro Swim Series on January 11 to 14 unfolds at the University of Texas’ Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Beyond the headline acts, the entry lists are stacked with speedsters from the senior and junior ranks, including Jack Conger, Madisyn Cox, Will Licon, Dakota Luther , Clark Smith and Andrew Wilson.
The meet is the first of six stops in a series with some new features highlighted any USA swimming, including:
- Addition of 50-meter events for each of the strokes, culminating in a “shootout-style final,” as well as an 800m freestyle for men and 1500m free for women
- Mixed 400m medley relay featuring members of the National Team and a 200m “mystery” individual
- medley final in which stroke order will be determined immediately prior to the event
- Finals will feature A and B finals only
- The start of USA Swim Squads, a new feature for 2018 that allows USA Swimming National Team members to compete for team points and a grand prize throughout this year’s events. Four teams, captained by Olympic legends Natalie Coughlin, Lenny Krayzelburg, Jason Lezak and Kaitlin Sandeno, will feature six active athletes designated across six event categories (one athlete per team per category) who are eligible to score points in a maximum of two events from that category – free, back, breast, fly, IM or flex.
Swimmers earn awards for top-three finishes in all individual Olympic events. At each meet, $1,000 will be provided for a first-place finish, $600 for second and $200 for third. Then, at 2018 U.S. Nationals, the point totals “will double to 10 points for first place, six for second and two points for third place,” says USA Swimming.
The final series tally will be computed after nationals on July 25-29 in Irvine, California, top of the heap of award-takers the “top eligible male and female overall point total winners in the series will earn a one-year lease of a BMW vehicle, as well as a $10,000 series bonus”.