Atlanta Classic Swim Meet features stacked field

Potentially more than 20 Olympic swimmers, including U.S. standout Katie Ledecky, will compete in the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet at Georgia Tech this weekend.

The meet will run Friday-Sunday and feature numerous Olympic medalists as well as aspiring Summer Games swimmers from numerous colleges including Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas, in addition to Atlanta club teams, Southern Crescent Aquatic Team and SwimAtlanta, and more from the Southeast.

“I expect you will see half of the projected U.S. Olympic swim team at the meet,” said Jamey Myers, head coach of Southern Crescent Aquatic Team and co-founder of the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet.

Atlanta has numerous annual events in a variety of sports … except for swimming.

Myers and Chris Davis, coach of SwimAtlanta, the nation’s largest club, with more than 2,500 swimmers, thought it was sad that the city, home to one of the finest natatoriums in the country at Tech, didn’t have a meet worthy of its reputation. More than a year ago, they began to put together the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet to help fill a void left when a meet in Charlotte, N.C., was suspended for a year while its host site underwent renovations.

Myers and Davis wanted to keep the field elite and the meet small (no more than 500 swimmers) so that the prelims take less than three hours and the finals less than two hours. There will prelims each morning and finals at night.

“We hope to bring this meet together on an annual basis for not just the local good swimmers and regional good swimmers, but the best swimmers in the country and the best swimmers in the world,” Davis said.

The date was chosen for two reasons. It will give those who have posted times that qualify for the Olympic trials another opportunity to gauge how they are doing, and it will give those whose times haven’t hit the minimums one of their final chances to do well enough to earn an invitation to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials, which will be held June 26-July 3 in Omaha, Neb. The Summer Games will begin Aug. 5 in Rio de Janeiro.

The field is stacked, as Myers and Davis hoped.

Ledecky, a gold medalist in London and nine-time world champ, is scheduled to compete in six events. Other notable U.S. Olympians scheduled to compete include Nathan Adrian, a three-time gold medalist; Natalie Coughlin, a 12-time Olympic medalist; Elizabeth Beisel, a two-time Olympic medalist; and former Georgia standout Amanda Weir, a three-time Olympic medalist.

Other than anything Ledecky swims in, Davis said one of the best events at the meet will be the 50-meter freestyle featuring Adrian, the U.S. record holder in that event, taking on Caeleb Dressel, the U.S. record holder in the 50-yard freestyle.

“It will last 21 seconds, but it will be a great event,” Davis said.