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Cal Swimmers at the 2017 USA Phillips 66 National Championships

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Team USA berths for the FINA World Championship in Budapest next Month are at stake.

Arena Pro Swim Series Mesa - Day 2
Nathan Adrian will be one of many past, current, and future Golden Bears who will be racing at the U.S. Nationals next week.
Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

In a non-Olympic year, the biannual FINA World Championship is the next biggest event. Like the USA Olympic Swimming Trials last year, the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championship (Tuesday June 27th thru Saturday July 1st) from Indianapolis, IN will determine who gets to represent the United States at the world stage next month.

The 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championship will take place from Budapest, Hungary from July 14th-30th. Only the top two finishers from each event and the 3rd through 6th finisher in the 100m and 200m Free at the U.S. Nationals will make that squad. Berths to the 2017 World University Games (August 20th-27th from Taoyuan City, Taiwan) will also be at stake.

Of course, plenty of California Golden Bears will be racing for these Team USA spots. They range from perennial Calympians (Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin), recent Calympians (Tom Shields, Ryan Murphy, Josh Prenot, Jacob Pebley, Kathleen Baker, Abbey Weitzeil), to future Calympians (Amy Bilquist, Katie McLaughlin, Andrew Seliskar). Past, present, and future Cal Bears (Ryan Hoffer - top ranked recruit of the 2017 class, Sean Grieshop - 2nd ranked recruit of the 2017 class, Reece Whitley - top ranked recruit of the 2018 class) galore in Indianapolis as the IU Natorium (yep, same site as the NCAA championships for both women’s and men’s swimming as well as women’s water polo this year) serves as host for the Phillips 66 National Championships in this upcoming week.

Here is the schedule of events:

Tuesday - June 27th

200 Fly

100 Free

Women’s 800 Free

Men’s 1500 Free

Wednesday - June 28th

200 Free

200 Breast

200 Back

50 Fly

Thursday - June 29th

400 IM

100 Fly

50 Breast

50 Back

Friday - June 30th

400 Free

100 Breast

100 Back

Saturday - July 1st

Women’s 1500 Free

200 IM

Men’s 800 Free

50 Free

Note that the 50m races (other than the freestyle) are NOT a part of the Olympics. Tokyo 2020 will be adding the Women’s 1500 Free and the Men’s 800 Free for the first time. There will also be a new event of the mixed gender medley in the Tokyo 2020 games (this one should mean more Cal medals).

Unlike the Olympics but similar to the NCAA, the U.S. Nationals will just have two rounds - prelim in the morning and the finals in the evening. This means that swimmers will have to place in the top 8 in the morning to have a shot at making Team USA.

The 100 Free and 200 Free events will also qualify swimmers for spots on Team USA for the 4x100 Free and 4x200 Free relays. Consequently, both of those events will also take the 3rd through 6th finishers.


Cal Bears to watch (yes, there are a lot of them)

While there will be some familiar Cal Bears missing this year in Natalie Coughlin (not sure she has officially retired, but she has not compete since withdrawing from the Olympic Trials an year ago), Missy Franklin (only got back into the pool since late March after double shoulder surgery), and Dana Vollmer (the due date for her 2nd child is merely 4 weeks away), there will be no shortage of Cal Bears in every single day of competitions.

Superstar swimmer Ryan Murphy, who has just exhausted his 4 year of eligibility, has recently joined “Team Speedo”. He will likely be seen in more and more commercials leading to the 2020 Tokyo games.

Incredibly excited to be joining the Speedo family #teamspeedo

A post shared by Ryan Murphy (@ryan_f_murphy) on

One of the newest (future) Cal Bear is 17 year old Reece Whitley, the top ranked recruit of the 2018 class. He just recently verbally committed to Cal.

Coming to campus sooner than Whitley is Ryan Hoffer - a part of the Cal men’s swimming 2017 class that may be historically great. Hoffer is already one of the top sprinter in the country and should be able to develop his fly ability under Dave Durden.

Cal alum Tom Shields is apparently entered in 6 events - 100 Fly and 200 Fly where he’s the favorite as well as 50 Fly (based on the 100 Fly qualifying time), 100 Free, 200 Free, and 100 Back. The 2016 Rio Gold Medalist (from the 4x100 medley relay) may scratched a few of those events, however.

For some unknown reason, Cal rising junior Andrew Seliskar will not be racing in this meet - he would have been a strong contender for the 200 Fly and 200 IM along with a bunch of other events. Seliskar has not been in any competition since the 2017 NCAAs. Cal spokesperson has confirmed Seliskar’s absence to swim news outlets without giving any explanations. I have been touting Seliskar as a future Calympian given the retirement of Michael Phelps.

Tuesday - June 27th

200 Fly -

For the women, Cal rising junior Katie McLaughlin is one of the favorite to win a spot in this event.

For the men, Cal alum and 2016 Rio Calympian Tom Shields is the top seed. Cal sophomore Mike Thomas is the 10th seed. Incoming Cal Bears, Sean Grieshop (26th seed) and Trenton Julian will also swim this event.

100 Free -

For the women, Cal sophomore and 2016 Rio Calympian Abbey Weitzeil will battle Stanford’s Simone Manuel (who still have not announced that she’s turning pro...which probably means that she will compete for Stanford in 2017) for the top spot. Fellow current Cal Bears in Amy Bilquist, Katie McLaughlin, Maddie Murphy will also be in the mix (and one may surprise with a relay spot).

For the men, Nathan Adrian will look to protect his title as the fastest US men. Recent Cal alum Seth Stubblefield and current Cal Bear in Michael Jensen have top 11 seed time. Ryan Murphy, Justin Lynch, Jacob Pebley, and Matthew Josa will also race in this. Don’t be surprised if superstar backstroker Ryan Murphy, who just graduated from Cal, can find his way into the top 6. Incoming Cal Bear, Ryan Hoffer could also surprise from his 19th seed time. Fellow incoming Bear, Nate Biondi - son of Matt, and Bryce Mefford are also in this event.

Women’s 800 Free -

Cal Bears lack a legit distance threat since the transfer of Cierra Runge to Wisconsin (she is the 4th seed). Stanford’s Katie Ledecky (who also has not announced a plan to turn pro...which means that she’s likely back for her sophomore campaign) is a lock to win this. Cal sophomore Chenoa Devine will race in this event.

Men’s 1500 Free -

No Cal Bear is in the mix here.

Wednesday - June 28th

200 Free -

For the women, Katie McLaughlin has the 6th best seed time in this event that will qualify 6 swimmers to Budapest. Amy Bilquist, Abbey Weitzeil, Maddie Murph, and one-year Cal Bear Cierra Runge (3rd seed) are also listed in the psych sheet.

For the men, Tom Shields is the 21st seed but could easily finish much higher than this. Mike Thomas, Jacob Pebley, Michael Jensen, and Matthew Josa are also listed in the psych sheet. Incoming Bears, Sean Grieshop, Bryce Mefford, and Trenton Julian are also in this one.

200 Breast -

For the women, Cal has not have a good USA breaststroker in awhile. The recently graduate Marina Garcia is a Spanish Calympian. I don’t recognize any names on the psych sheet with Cal affiliation.

For the men, Olympic silver medalist Josh Prenot is the top seed. The No.1 swimmer of the 2018 class and a recent Cal verbal commit, Reese Whitley (17 years old) will also be in the mix for this event as he is already the 7th seed. Also listed for this event is incoming Bear, Sean Grieshop.

200 Back -

For the women, Cal junior and Indianapolis hometown star Amy Bilquist is the 2nd seed. Courtney Mykkanen is also listed for this event.

For the men, it is essentially a lock that Ryan Murphy will win this event. The only guy who may challenge him is fellow Cal alum in Jacob Pebley. I would be shocked and greatly disappointed if it is not a Murphy - Pebley 1-2 finish in this one. Incoming Cal Bear, Bryce Mefford, is already the 15th seed for this event.

50 Fly -

For the women, Katie McLaughlin will get another chance to make the Team USA in this event. Cal rising sophomore Maddie Murphy is also in the mix.

For the men, a pair of recent Cal alum are at the top two seeds - Tom Shields and Seth Stubblefield. Cal rising senior Matthew Josa is the 4th seed and Justin Lynch is the 9th seed. Incoming freshman, Ryan Hoffer has the 22nd best time; his new classmate, Trenton Julian, has the 43rd best time. Current Cal Bear, Michael Jensen is also in this event.

Thursday - June 29th

400 IM -

For the women, Cal sophomore Chenoa Devine is listed in the psych sheet. Cal does lack a real contender in the IM, although there is probably an incoming Cal Bear to fill this hole that I just have not learned the name.

For the men, incoming Cal freshman Sean Greishop is already the 4th seed for this event as an 18 year old; he has a better seed time than Josh Prenot, who is the 5th seed. Another incoming freshman, Trenton Julian, is the 38th seed.

100 Fly -

For the women, Katie McLaughlin will get another chance to make the Team USA in this event. Cal rising sophomore Maddie Murphy is also in the mix.

For the men, a pair of recent Cal alum are at the top two seeds - Tom Shields and Seth Stubblefield. Cal rising senior Matthew Josa is the 4th seed and Justin Lynch is the 9th seed. Incoming freshman, Ryan Hoffer has the 22nd best time; his new classmate, Trenton Julian, has the 43rd best time. Current Cal Bear, Michael Jensen is also in this event as well as another incoming freshman in Bryce Mefford.

If this looks familiar, the 100 time/seed determined the 50 seed (with few exceptions of guys already scratching one of these events).

50 Breast -

For the women, I really hope that one of the unknown to me youngster is a future Cal Bears (somehow Teri McKeever missed out on all of the top 20 ranked 2017 recruits listed by SwimSwam).

For the men, Connor Hoppe is the 7th seed. Future Bear Reece Whitley is the 8th seed.

50 Back -

For the women, NCAA 100 yard winner Kathleen Baker is the top overall seed. Her good friend and fellow Cal rising junior Amy Bilquist is the 3rd seed. Keaton Blovad is the 25th seed.

For the men, Ryan Murphy is the favorite. Jacob Pebley will likely have to battle the veteran Matt Grevers for the 2nd spot. Incoming freshman Bryce Mefford is the 18th seed; Cal Bears will be counting on him to continue the great backstroke tradition now that Murphy has graduated.

Friday - June 30th

400 Free -

For the women, Bears lack a true contender in this event (another one of the Katie Ledecky show). Former Cal Bear (and now Wisconsin Badger) Cierra Runge is the 3rd seed.

For the men, distance swimming remains a weak spot for the Golden Bears that I only see a bunch of Texas Longhorns in this event.

100 Breast -

For the women, there is no Cal Bears in this one.

For the men, Connor Hoppe is the 7th seed. Future Bear Reece Whitley is the 8th seed.

100 Back -

For the women, NCAA 100 yard winner Kathleen Baker is the top overall seed. Her good friend and fellow Cal rising junior Amy Bilquist is the 3rd seed. Keaton Blovad is the 25th seed.

For the men, Ryan Murphy is the favorite. Jacob Pebley will likely have to battle the veteran Matt Grevers for the 2nd spot. Incoming freshman Bryce Mefford is the 18th seed. Tom Shields is also listed in the psych sheet for this event. Also in this event is Nate Biondi, an incoming Cal Bear who is the son of former Calympian and all-time Olympic great Matt Biondi.

Saturday - July 1st

Women’s 1500 Free -

Stanford’s Katie Ledecky has been lobbying for this event to be added to the Olympics. Her path to another medal (most likely) was approved by the IOC. Cal sophomore Chenoa Devine will race in this event as well.

200 IM -

For the women, NCAA 200 yard IM champ Kathleen Baker is a contender despite a mediocre seed time. Also racing in this one is Cal sophomore Keaton Blovad.

For the men, recent Cal alum Josh Prenot, who is still training at Cal as well as working on his degree in physics, is the 2nd seed. Incoming freshmen Sean Grieshop and Trenton Julian are the 12th and 36th seed, respectively. Had Cal rising junior Andrew Seliskar been in this meet, he would have been a strong contender as well.

Men’s 800 Free -

For the competitiveness sake of Cal Men’s Swimming, I hope that one or more of these high school kids in this event are future Golden Bears.

50 Free -

For the women, Cal alum Madison Kennedy, the 3rd seed, will look to overtake Stanford’s Simone Manuel and/or current Cal Bear Abbey Weitzeil. This is the lone event for Kennedy at this meet.

For the men, Cal alum and Calympian Anthony Ervin is the top seed in his only event, where he won a Gold in Rio. He will battle fellow Cal alum Nathan Adrian (2nd seed), current Cal Bear Michael Jensen (19th seed), and future Cal Bear Ryan Hoffer (23rd seed) in the final event of the meet. Fellow incoming Bear, Nate Biondi - son of Matt, is also in this event.


How to watch

NBC Sports will have another Cal informercial for the week of the U.S. Nationals. All the finals will take place from 3-5 pm PT.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, USASwimming.org will have the live final coverage. NBCSN will have the finals on one hour delays.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Universal HD will have live coverage on TV but fans can also watch it online via NBC Sports.

Saturday and Sunday on NBC from 1-3 pm ET (probably the same time on the West Coast), tape delayed coverage of the U.S. Nationals will be broadcasted. I will have a recap of the full meet from the Cal point of view on the weekend (likely July 2nd). I will do my best to provide nightly (if not live) Cal updates via the CGB Twitter account (@GoldenBlogs).

GO BEARS!