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Swim meet at Clovis North brings together U.S. Olympics, top local talent

Clovis North to host 2019 TYR Pro Series meet

USA Swimming, along with Clovis Unified and Clovis Swim Club, announced that the TYR Pro Series is headed to Clovis North in June 2019.
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USA Swimming, along with Clovis Unified and Clovis Swim Club, announced that the TYR Pro Series is headed to Clovis North in June 2019.

Big-time swimming returns to the central San Joaquin Valley this week with the TYR Pro Swim Series.

The event is Wednesday-Saturday at the Clovis North Aquatics Complex. It is the final leg of the five-event TYR series that earlier this year made stops in Knoxville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Richmond, Virginia; and Bloomington, Indiana.

The Fresno-area last hosted a major senior meet in 2001, the Phillips 66 National Championships held at Clovis West.

The TYR series brings together top talent (pro and amateur) including Olympic medalists, world champions and U.S. National team members – all of whom are threats to make a roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The U.S. National team will have 12 of its athletes competing at Clovis North including a familiar face to local fans, former Clovis West High star Justin Wright.

In 2018, Wright shocked the swimming world when he won the 200-meter butterfly at the Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine. He upset Olympians Jack Conger and Chase Kalisz.

Wright was on four Central Section team champions for juggernaut Clovis West and contributed to the Golden Eagles’ dominance with 10 individual section championships, including three as a senior.

Other national team members entered at Clovis North:

Kelsi Dahlia, who has had a successful TYR Pro Swim Series: third-most victories (five) of all female competitors and the most butterfly victories (five), male or female.

Dahlia helped the American 4x100 medley relay team to an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, swimming in a preliminary.

Matt Grevers, who is a two-time Olympian (2008 Beijing, 2012 London) and a five-time Olympic medalist (four gold and one silver).

Townley Haas, who will make his TYR Pro Swim Series debut after graduating from the University of Texas. At the 2016 Olympics, he was part of the gold-medal 4x200 freestyle relay team and fifth in the 200 freestyle.

Leah Smith, who won two medals in the 2016 Olympics, taking gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay and bronze in the 400 freestyle. In the TYR Pro Swim Series, she has finished top-three in 16 races.

Sacramento native Gianluca Urlando, who recently competed at the Mel Zajac International and broke the meet record in the 200 butterfly. The previous mark had stood since 2008.

Local swimmers to compete

Having the TYR Pro Swim Series in their backyard gives some local swimmers a convenient chance to shine.

Those swimmers include two high school sophomores-to-be, Claire Tuggle of Clovis North and Ian Belflower of Clovis West; senior-to-be Tyler Mansheim of Buchanan; and three recent graduates: Ben Forbes, Clovis North; Averee Preble, Clovis; and Abby Samansky, Clovis West.

All six competed at the CIF state championships at Clovis West and Tuggle became a state champion in the 500-yard freestyle as a freshman.

Watch as Clovis North's Claire Tuggle bounces back to win the Girls 500 Yard Freestyle at the 2019 CIF Swimming & Diving State Championships Saturday, May 11, 2019 in Fresno.

Four more swimmers this weekend have local ties, including two high schoolers who have been competing in pro series events representing Clovis Swim Club, 16-year-old Gabriel Jett and 17-year-old AJ Sheppard.

Former Clovis High star Graham Hauss, who just finished his freshman season at UC San Diego, is back. And Valley Children’s Hospital pharmacist Danielle Herrmann, a former University of Kansas swimmer who represents the Clovis Masters, is entered.

Another former Kansas swimmer, Yulduz Kuchkarova, is swimming unattached this weekend but out of Clovis. She represented Uzbekistan at the 2012 Olympics.

Prize money

Swimmers in the TYR Pro Swim Series may earn increased awards for top-three finishes in all individual Olympic events.

The top prize money is $1,500, followed by $1,000 and $500.

One athlete with the highest-scoring prelim swim in an individual Olympic event based on international power points will win $1,500 at each TYR event.

More information

More than 400 swimmers are expected to compete at Clovis North.

The 800-meter freestyle, a timed final (no preliminaries), will lead off the series at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Preliminaries will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, with finals taking place at 5 p.m. each day.

The meet is hosted by Clovis Swim Club Boosters and Clovis Unified School District.

The meet will be televised on NBC Sports Network on Thursday and Friday and also streamed at usaswimming.org.

TYR Pro Swim Series

At Clovis North

Schedule: Wednesday, 5 p.m. timed finals, 800 freestyle; Thursday-Saturday, 9 a.m. prelims and 5 p.m. finals

Tickets: $20 general, $10 children under-12, can be purchased at the door or at usaswimming.org

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.

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