Small lots, but big names in line for Westmont Pro Swim Series (PSYCHS)
2022 Pro Swim Series – Westmont
The first Pro Swim Series meet of 2022 kicks off next Wednesday in Westmont, Illinois at the FMC Aquatic Center.
The event replaces the previously scheduled Des Moines Pro Swim Series stop that was scheduled for the same weekend and follows January’s canceled stop in Knoxville which was also canceled.
The new FMC Aquatic Center at Westmont is a new addition to the series and will be bidding to be slotted into USA Swimming’s regular major meet rotation.
They will come in front of a very small field, perhaps even smaller than what we saw in last year’s Pro Swim Series meet.
Very few races have more than 16 entries, and some, like the women’s 1500 freestyle, have only two.
COVID Protocols: Masking rules will follow local regulations. In Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker will lift a mask mandate in most scenarios on Feb. 28 due to high vaccination rates and reduce case counts and severity. USA Swimming says entrants will still need to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the start of competition.
Big names appear
Although the courts are not deep, many of the biggest names in the United States will be present in search of prize money that has been reinstated for this encounter.
This includes University of Florida postgraduate training partners Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dresselwho led the United States’ medal tally at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Both swimmers raced in an Orlando section meet earlier this year as the first long course race of 2022.
Ledecky is signed up to swim a fairly standard schedule of 200 frees, 400 frees, 800 frees, 1500 frees and 400 IMs. In a new training ground since the Olympics, Ledecky is coming off a performance in Orlando where she was faster than her last Olympic times in the 200, 800 and 1,500 freestyles.
Dressel, meanwhile, enters the new season after taking time off at the end of 2021. He is entered in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and 100 fly. That’s about what you’d expect him to swim at a meet like this, even if it’s a change of pattern in one respect: none of the Florida swimmers dramatically over-entered the competition.
Dressel wasn’t as sharp as Ledecky in Orlando, but the times were still an improvement from when we last saw him in the ISL season and were more in line with expectations.
Other Olympians and national team members are also expected to make their long course debuts after the Olympics. Lilly King will swim the 100 and 200 breaststroke, including clashes with the Olympic gold medalist in the 100 Lydia Jacoby and fellow Olympian Annie Lazor.
The men’s backstroke races will feature ryan murphy in his first long course race of the season; among other things, he will face Shaine Casas during his first meeting since moving from Texas A&M to the University of Texas to join Eddie Reese’s post-grad band. Casas just completed his international breakthrough at the World Short Course Championships where he won gold in the 100 backstroke and silver in the 200 backstroke in December.
Nick Fink, Will Liconand Cody Miller will race in the men’s breaststroke, joined by swimmers like the Icelandic Anton McKee and former Michigan Wolverine Charlie Swansonwho now represents NOVA of Virginia. Melanie Margalis is continuing her swimming career after missing out on the U.S. Olympic team and in the long run will run names like Beata Nelson, Leah Smith, Hali Glitterfrom Canada Bailey Andisonand France Fantine Lesaffrewho is re-forming with the NC State pro group.
Michael Andre will look to continue to get back on track with his fifth meeting of 2022 already – a schedule more similar to what we are used to after being out for more than five months at the end of 2021. He is entered in the 50 free, 100 free , 100 breast, 100 fly and 200 IM. It’s a more typical schedule for him after seeing him experience more 200 and 400 meter races this year.
The women’s sprints will also have busy fields. This includes 17 years old Claire Curzan, who skips out of the high school season and an American record in the 100 yards returns to the long course. She will face people like Weitzeil Abbey, Linnea Mack, Erika Brown, Kelsi Dahlia, Nathalie Hinds, Mallory Comerfordand Katie McLaughlin in some of the deepest fields of encounter. Curzan will also race against Olivia Smoliga and Kathleen Boulanger in the 100 backstroke as she looks to turn her yard success into meter success.
A few, but not many, college swimmers are also expected to race before heading to the NCAAs. Including Emma Weyant, who won silver in the 400 individual medley at the Tokyo Olympics and is in her first season in Virginia. She is entered in the 200 free, 200 breaststroke and 400 IM. There was some school of thought that more collegiate swimmers might come to this meet, with the U.S. International Team tryouts coming soon after the NCAA season ends, but overall there was no there aren’t many.
Although the races are not deep and the preliminary sessions are very short, most of the big names will be there at Westmont. This should provide great value for money