Stanford's Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel look to kickoff the countdown to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials with strong performances at USA Swimming's Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine, which get underway Wednesday at the William Woollett, Jr. Aquatic Center.
They will have plenty of company from Stanford-affiliated swimmers. There are a total of 19 women swimmers, including Palo Alto grad Grace Zhao, with ties to Stanford qualified for a combined 70 events, 20 with qualifying marks in the top 10 of their respective events.
On the men's side, 15 swimmers with ties to the Cardinal, including Paly grad Alex Liang, qualified in a combined 37 events, seven with qualifying marks in the top 10.
In addition to Zhao and Liang, Jeremy Babinet, swimming for Michigan, and Gunn grad Michael Lincoln, at Brown, have connections with PASA.
The spotlight will be on Ledecky, who turned pro with Manuel this summer. She holds the world record in three of the five events for which she qualified: the 800 free, the 400 free and 1,500 free.
Manuel holds the American record in the 100 free and 50 free. Manuel's time of 23.97 in the 50 free is .30 off the world record.
The meet serves as the qualifier for the U.S. team for the Pan Pacific Championships, which run from Aug. 9-12 in Tokyo. The winner of each Olympic event will claim an automatic spot on the roster. Others could added according to specific selection procedures.
The combined results of the Phillips 66 National Championships and the Pan Pacific Championships will determine the roster for the 2019 FINA World Championships.
Cardinal senior Ella Eastin has been a formidable competitor in the 200 fly, 200 individual medley and the 400 IM. She owns the second-best qualifying mark in the fly, is third in the 200 IM and fourth in the 400 IM.
Junior Katie Drabot has been swimming in the shadows of Ledecky and Manuel for two years. She's ready to help Stanford, with Eastin, challenge for a third-straight NCAA title.
It's not often a team will lose three Olympians in two years and still be considered title favorites but that's the case with Stanford.
Drabot's qualifying times has her ranked among the top 10 in four events: third in the 200 fly, seventh in the 200 free, fifth in the 400 free and ninth in the 200 IM.
Megan Byrnes, grad Lia Neal, Brooke Forde, Allie Szekeley and incoming freshman Zoe Bartel are ranked among the top 10.
Look for Leah Stevens, Erin Voss, incoming freshman Allie Raab, and/or Kim Williams to sneak into a championship final over the course of the meet, which runs through next Saturday.
Other swimmers include Hannah Kukuruaya, Lauren Green, Lauren Pitzer and Katie Glavinovich.
Several Cardinal men have a decent chance of finishing among the top three places, earning a berth in the Pan Pacific Championships. Abrahm Devine comes in with the second best qualifying time in the 200 IM and seventh in the 400 IM.
Grant Shoults qualified third in the 800 free and fourth in the 400 free. True Sweetser ranks fourth in the 1,500 free, fifth in the 800 free and 10th in the 400 free.
Incoming freshmen Jack LaVant and Alex Boratto could make an impact at the meet along with Matt Hirschberger, Matt Anderson, Hank Poppe, Brennan Pastorek, Benjamin Ho, Jack Walsh, Cole Cogswell and incoming freshmen Mason Gonzalez and David Madej.
NBC Sports will provide daily broadcast coverage of the Phillips 66 Nationals across NBC, NBC Sports Network and the Olympic Channel. Daily prelims will be streamed live via usaswimming.org.