USA Swimming Announces Heavily-Stacked Lineup For Duel In the Pool

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The United States’ streak of team victories at the Duel in the Pool was threatened in 2013, but a narrow victory in the tie-breaking mixed medley relay gave the Americans the win over the European All-Stars.

The rivalry resumes in December with the seventh edition of the Duel in the Pool at the famed IUPUI Natatorium. USA Swimming released its roster of athletes today, and it includes superstars Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte among the 36 Americans on the list. Jack Bauerle will serve as the head coach. With the exception of the inaugural 2003 meet, the roster has possibly the most stacked lineup of Americans in the meet’s history with 11 Olympic medalists set to race. Though the meet won’t feature Katie Ledecky or Michael Phelps, the team has plenty of talent to win a seventh team title.

Swimmers can compete in a maximum of six events (individual and relays), and each team may enter up to four swimmers per individual event and one relay. A running score will be kept combining the points earned by both women and men to determine the winning team.

The meet will be comprised of 15 events per gender (13 individual and two relays) with more than $120,000 in prize money on the line. The winning team will take home a portion of the winnings, while prize money will be awarded to the winner of each race. A bonus will also be awarded for any world-record swim at the event.

The meet will be run in short course meters, which is not a very familiar racing format for Americans. But that hasn’t stopped Team USA from rolling over its competition since the Duel in the Pool started in 2003.

The United States and Australia participated in the first three editions of the Duel In the Pool. The 2003 meet featured a world record in the 400 IM by Michael Phelps in Indianapolis. Grant Hackett set a couple of U.S. Open records in freestyle, with relay races also featuring U.S. Open marks.

The 2005 meet, held in California immediately after the world championships, didn’t feature any world records, but not for lack of trying. Australian Leisel Jones, coming off her first world title in the 100 breast, tried to get Jessica Hardy’s fresh world record in the event but came up .01 short. Brendan Hansen, the men’s 100 breast world champion, came within .21 of the 100 breast world mark.

Major controversy erupted at the 2007 Duel In the Pool, held in April in Australia. This was the first meet to feature mixed relays for elite swimmers, and it was a doozy. Libby Lenton (now Libby Trickett) swam faster than the world record in the women’s 100 free leading off the mixed free relay for Australia, but it was later revoked by FINA because the mixed relay was not yet an official event. (FINA later created a rule saying records of any kind could not be set in leadoff legs for mixed relays.) Lenton’s record overshadowed anything else from the meet in the ensuing months, including hints that the U.S. vs. Australia version of the meet might be at an end.

That was confirmed shortly after the 2007 meet with the announcement that the 2009 version of the Duel In the Pool with the U.S. would consist of a team made of swimmers from European countries. Australia went its own way in 2009, scheduling a dual meet against Japan. The 2009 U.S. vs. Europe All-Stars meet was set in short course meters, the first time it wasn’t held in long course. It featured many records set in the polyurethane suits, one of the final meets where they were allowed. USA Swimming did not allow any American records to be set at the meet in the techsuits, which meant the 100 back world record by Nick Thoman and the 400 IM world record from Julia Smit would not be ratified as American records.

The 2011 meet in Atlanta, held a week after U.S. nationals, didn’t feature world records, but it had plenty of star power for the fans to see in the months before the 2012 Olympics. The 2013 edition, however, was possibly the most exciting yet.

The point spread was tight throughout the two-day meet in Scotland as the European All-Stars brought some of its best talent to race the Americans. After the first day, the Europeans led 68-54, the first time the U.S. hadn’t led after the first day. The Americans fought back throughout the second day to keep it interesting, tying the score 131-131 after the men’s 400 free relay.

An exciting mixed medley relay decided the meet. The Americans took the lead early with backstroker Eugene Godsoe, and kept it with Kevin Cordes on breaststroke. Claire Donahue lost some ground on butterfly against Jeanette Ottesen, which made the freestyle leg between American Simone Manuel and Brit Fran Halsall a dogfight. Manuel got to the wall two tenths ahead to give the Americans the team victory.

How will this year’s event turn out? The Duel In the Pool takes place December 11-12.

USA Swimming Duel In the Pool roster

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1 comment

  1. Dave Nicholson

    Based on the results from the World Championships as well as the absence of Phelps and Ledecky, they are likely going to be beaten.