CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 10 – More than 50 members of the U.S. national team – including Avon’s Madison Kennedy — and nearly 20 Olympic medalists are expected to be competing this weekend at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte.
American gold medalists Nathan Adrian, Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps are expected to compete in the four-day meet, that serves as the fifth of six stops on the 2014-15 Arena Pro Swim Series – formerly known as the Arena Grand Prix Series.
Kennedy is signed up to compete in the 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter freestyle and 100 meter backstroke. She’ll be competing in the 50 free and 100 back on Saturday and the 100 free on Sunday.
Kennedy is the top American seed and third overall in the 50 free with a time of 24.78 seconds. In the 100 free, she is seeded 12th overall with a time of 54.72 seconds and is the seventh ranked American.
A year ago, Kennedy turned in her best time ever in the 50 free (24.78) here in Charlotte at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Kennedy’s finished second behind Swim MAC Carolina teammate Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas in the race.
At last year’s Charlotte event, Kennedy also finished second in the 100 freestyle in 54.93 seconds behind six-time Olympic medalists Allison Schmidt and swam on SwimMac’s winning 400-meter freestyle relay team and finished 10th in the 100 backstroke.
Universal Sports Network will have exclusive live television coverage on Saturday and Sunday evening, beginning at 6 p.m. Universal Sports is not available in Connecticut. However, a webcast of the complete meet will be available at USAswimming.org.
Additional Olympic gold medalists excepted to swim in Charlotte include Jessica Hardy and Allison Schmitt, as well as current Arena Pro Swim Series leaders and Olympic medalists Elizabeth Beisel and Conor Dwyer. The series provides the nation’s best swimmers the opportunity to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil with twice the prize money as last season on the line.
Beisel currently leads the women’s Arena Pro Swim Series standings with 38.5 points, while Dwyer tops the men’s standings with 53 points.
“Using the Arena Pro Swim Series name makes it immediately recognizable to fans and media that our sport’s absolute best athletes are racing in the hometowns of swimmers and sports fans,” said USA Swimming national team director Frank Busch. “At the same time, anyone who posts a qualifying time is eligible, just as it has been, so it creates a unique opportunity for high school and collegiate swimmers to challenge themselves against top competition. In many ways, it’s like playing in the same game as LeBron James or a Tour event with Tiger Woods.”