U.S. National Team to Compete Against Big Ten All-Stars in Indianapolis in November

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The U.S. National Team will go up against a group of Big Ten All-Stars at the IUPUI Natatorium Nov. 12-13. The group representing USA Swimming will consist of many of those who swam in the Olympic Games in Rio last month, while the Big Ten team will include the conference’s top three returning swimmers in each event from last season’s Big Ten and NCAA Championships.

According to a release from Purdue University, at least two male and two female swimmers from each Big Ten team will be included, as well as additional selections at the discretion of the coaches.

The team figures to be highlighted by Olympic gold medalist Lilly King, who will actually compete for the Big Ten since she is a current student-athlete (a sophomore at Indiana). Cody Miller (Indiana) and Connor Jaeger (Michigan) both competed in the Big Ten, and both won Olympic medals in Rio, but if they compete in this event, they would be representing the U.S. National team since they have graduated.

This event has been listed on USA Swimming’s Quad Plan in the past, but currently, the document only says “Nov TBD” in between the recently-completed Junior Pan Pacs and Winter Nationals, to be held Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in Atlanta. This event presumably is the “TBD.”

The meet is expected to be aired live on the Big Ten Network. No word on what format will be used, although short course yards seems most logical.

It will be the first of many major meets to be held at the Natatorium in the next 12 months. The annual Arena Pro Swim Series event in Indianapolis is scheduled for March 2-4, 2017, and both the women’s and men’s NCAA championships will be held in the same venue later that month. And then the Phillips 66 National Championships (and World Championship Trials) will be held in the pool June 27 through July 1.

Updated: On September 12 USA Swimming officially announced the event.

Read the press release below:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Members of the USA Swimming National Team will square off against collegiate swimming stars from the Big Ten Conference in the inaugural USA College Challenge, Presented by arena, USA Swimming announced today.

The short-course yards dual meet is slated for Nov. 12-13 at the Indiana University Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis.

“The USA College Challenge, Presented by arena, will be an exciting competition for swimmers and fans alike,” said USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch. “As you saw this summer, collegiate swimming is a key pipeline for our National Team, and this event will showcase college and Olympic-caliber swimming at its best.”

“We are excited for the opportunity for our students to compete with world-class athletes and to continue the momentum from Rio,” said Big Ten Associate Commissioner for Sports Administration Wendy Fallen. “We embrace the important collaboration between USA Swimming and the Big Ten Conference as we prepare our students for leadership roles in and out of the pool.”

Ticket and television broadcast information will be available in the near future. Tickets can be purchased online beginning Oct. 1.

In a similar format to the successful Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool, a running score will be kept throughout the dual meet competition combining the points earned by both women and men. With 262 points available in 30 total events, the first team to 131.5 points will be the winner.

For individual events, each team will be permitted to enter up to four athletes. The top three athletes in each individual event will be permitted to score points for their team – 5 points for first place, 3 points for second and 1 point for third. Relay scoring is 7 points for a first-place finish and 0 points for second.

Each athlete may be entered in up to six events during the meet, including individual events and relays.

The Big Ten Conference produced a number of standouts for Team USA at this year’s Olympic Games, including Lilly King and Cody Miller of Indiana, Connor Jaeger of Michigan and David Plummer of Minnesota.

Current student-athletes at Big Ten institutions who are members of the USA Swimming National Team would represent the Big Ten Conference at the meet. Big Ten alumni would represent the National Team. Rosters for the USA College Challenge, Presented by arena, will be announced later this fall.

Michigan swept the men’s and women’s 2016 Big Ten Conference Championships. At the NCAA Championships, Indiana led the conference with a ninth-place finish on the men’s side and seventh-place finish for the women.

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Author: David Rieder

David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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