Diving In: Why Now Is the Time to Pay Attention to Swimming

Competitor Swim Diving In.

Amidst the hype of this year’s NBA drafts, Masters tournament, and the start of baseball season, the swimming world has been making waves of its own. With fresh, powerhouse talents breaking onto the scene, jaw-dropping NCAA performances, and the upcoming Olympic trials and games, 2024 is gearing up to be a monumental year for the sport.

As excitement builds and records are set to tumble, swim fans are at the edge of their seats. For those new to the swimming scene and those needing to be caught up to speed, let’s dive into what’s unfolded and what’s on the horizon:

2024 to Date

Eddie Reese’s Retirement

Shortly following the conclusion of the 2024 NCAA Championships last month, swim enthusiasts received the bittersweet news that legendary University of Texas, Coach Eddie Reese had announced his retirement, concluding his near 50-year career with the program.

With an impressive tally of 15 NCAA national titles and numerous coaching accolades, Reese’s impact on the swimming landscape won’t be soon forgotten. As he bids farewell to coaching, Reese leaves behind a legacy of excellence and inspiration that will endure for generations to come.

Record-Breaking Talent

Just as basketball has its Caitlin Clark, swimming boasts its own rising star in Gretchen Walsh, three-time NCAA champion. At just 13 years old, Walsh made history as the youngest competitor at the 2016 Olympic trials, marking the beginning of her remarkable career.

Now, a Junior at the University of Virginia, Walsh recently led her collegiate team to its fourth straight NCAA victory. Her performance during the March meet was nothing short of sensational, breaking three American short-course records and solidifying her status among the swimming elite. According to Swimswam.com, every swimmer this century to achieve three individual NCAA titles in record times during one meet has also seen success on the international stage. This list includes Natalie Coughlin (2002), Ryan Lochte (2006), Caeleb Dressel (2018), Kate Douglass (2023), and Léon Marchand (2023).

What’s Coming

Olympic Trials

We’re less than two months away from the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials, set to take place in Indianapolis from June 15th to 23rd. This historic event will make waves as it’s the first time it will be held on a football field, with Lucas Oil Stadium selected as the venue to host the Olympic- qualifying meet. Over nine days, hundreds of thousands of families, friends, and fans are expected to gather to witness incredible talent in action, including Gretchen Walsh, who is laser-focused on making the USA team for the first time.

Olympic Games

In less than 100 days, the world’s most elite athletes will gather in Paris to compete in the 2024 Olympic games. Among them will be Katie Ledecky, the most decorated Olympic female swimmer of all time. Boasting seven gold medals and 21 world championship gold medals, Ledecky will face fierce competition this year. The swimming events start on Saturday, July 27, and end on Saturday, August 4. Preliminary races begin at 5 a.m. ET every day, but if you want to watch the medal races live, tune in at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Stay Tuned

There’s something to be said about watching top-tier athletes compete at the highest level, and whether you’re a seasoned swim enthusiast or a newcomer to the sport, this year’s swimming trials and games are your chance to witness history in the making. With record-breaking performances, incredible displays of athleticism, and nail-biting finishes on the horizon, 2024 is poised to be an unforgettable year in swimming—one you won’t want to miss.

As the official lane line for USA Swimming and the NCAA, Competitor has been a part of ten of the past fourteen Olympics. Molded and assembled in the U.S., using U.S.-made components, Competitor products are durable, easy-to-set-up and store, and are sold through distributors, licensees, and dealers worldwide. The Competitor line also includes our new EZ-Tensioner, store lane reels, pace clocks, and backstroke flags.

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