Some of swimming’s biggest stars will be the busiest next week.
World-record holders Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Lochte, along with emerging star Michael Andrew, are entered in six events apiece in Wave II of the Swim Trials that begins Sunday at CHI Health Center.
Katie Ledecky, Leah Smith and 16-year-old Claire Curzan are among the busiest female swimmers in the eight-day competition with five events.
Ledecky is the world-record holder in the women’s 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle, one of the two new events this year. She’s also entered in the 100 and 200 freestyles and is the top seed in all but the 100 free.
Smith is the No. 2 seed behind Ledecky in the 400 and 800 freestyles. She’s also No. 5 in the 400 individual medley, seventh in the 200 freestyle and eighth in the 1,500.
American record-holder Allison Schmitt is aiming for her fourth Olympic berth in the 200 freestyle. She’s seeded second behind Ledecky.
Curzan is a rising star from Raleigh, North Carolina, and the owner of the No. 1 seed in the 100 butterfly. She set a U.S. Open record earlier this year of 56.20 and appears poised to challenge for a berth on the Olympic team in several events.
In addition to her top seed in the 100 fly, Curzan is seeded second in the 50 freestyle, sixth in the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle, and 12th in the 200 backstroke.
The women’s backstroke races will be two of the more competitive events. Curzan is joined in the 100 by, among others, world-record holder Regan Smith and 2016 Olympians Olivia Smoliga and Kathleen Baker.
Smith set world records in the 100 and 200 backstroke at the 2019 world championships. Smith also shot up the charts in the butterfly events. She’s seeded No. 2 in the 200 fly and No. 5 in the 100.
World-record holder Lilly King and Annie Lazor will continue their duals in the breaststroke. King, owner of the world and American record (1:04.13) in the 100 breaststroke, also is seeded second in the 200. Lazor is seeded first in the 200 breaststroke and second in the 100.
Dressel is poised to become the next face of the U.S. men’s team. He’s seeded first in three events and holds the world and American record in the 100 butterfly. He’s also the American record holder and top seed in the 50 and 100 freestyle and is entered in the 200 butterfly (ninth) and 200 freestyle (11th).
Lochte comes to Omaha for the fourth time in search of his fifth Olympic appearance. The 36-year-old is tied for the second most Olympic medals (12) by an American swimmer.
His best chances to qualify for the Tokyo team appear to be in the 200 individual medley and 200 backstroke. Lochte still owns the world and American records in the 200 IM and is seeded fifth. He’s seeded 13th in the 200 back and 15th in the 400 IM. Lochte also is entered in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle.
Andrew, meanwhile, turned pro in 2013 at 14, foregoing his high school and college eligibility. Within two years, Andrew had deals with companies like Mutual of Omaha and Adidas. At the 2016 Trials, Andrew finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke and made the finals of the 200 IM before scratching and focusing on the 50, where he finished outside of the top eight and failed to make the finals.
This year, Andrew is seeded between Nos. 2 and 5 in five of his six events. The Edina, Minnesota, native, is second in the 100 breaststroke, 200 IM and 50 free, No. 4 in the 100 fly and No. 5 in the 100 breaststroke, in which he set the U.S. Open record (58.67) earlier this year.
Andrew also is seeded No. 24 in the 100 fly. In all events, athletes are able to scratch before the prelims of that race.