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Who To Watch For At The TYR JAX 50

Who To Watch For At The TYR JAX 50
Photo: © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The TYR JAX 50 Sprint Dual Challenge gets started Friday evening at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL. Here's a look at eight of the top swimmers to watch in the professional competition this weekend.

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Madison Kennedy
United States
2016 SCM World Championship Bronze Medalist - 50m Freestyle
Best 50 SCY Free: 21.68

Why Madison can win​ -- She has the fastest entry time. Enough said. ​Madison Kennedy ​certainly has to be the favorite to earn the title "JAX 50 Champion" this weekend. Kennedy has been on the verge of an Olympic berth at the U.S. Trials the last two quads (fifth, 50m free, 2012; and third, 50m free, 2016), but it does not look like the 29-year-old is making her exit from the sport anytime soon.

Cullen Jones
United States
Four-time Olympic Medalist (2008, 2012) & WR Holder (4x100m Freestyle Relay)
Best 50 SCY Free: 19.07

Why Cullen can win​ -- ​Cullen Jones ​is no stranger to success in the sprint freestyle events. With a silver medal in 50m freestyle from the 2012 Olympics in his trophy case, Jones knows when to step up and race. Not to mention, he is now training with ​Ryan Held​ and ​Simonas Bilis​ at NC State. After the success they have had in the short course pool, we will see if it has elevated his game as well. Also, Jones predicted an 18-second performance on our show, Outside Smoke, on Thursday. Stay tuned.

Daiane Becker
Brazil
2015 Pan-American Games Bronze Medalist - 400m Freestyle Relay
Best 50 SCY Free: NT

Why Daiane can win​ -- ​Like Nicolas Nilo, Daiane Becker has experience on the international stage for Brazil. Becker holds three South American records as a member of Brazilian relays in the short course meters pool, so if she can translate that to the short course yards pool she will be dangerous.

Josh Schneider
United States
2015 Pan American Games Gold Medalist - 50m Freestyle
Best 50 SCY Free: 18.93

Why Josh can win​ --Josh Schneider was born to swim the 50 freestyle. With the body of an NFL linebacker, Schneider is a dominating force in the sprint freestyle events. He was an NCAA champion in this event for the University of Cincinnati back in 2010 and has been on the cusp of two Olympic berths (2012, 2016). This guy cannot be counted out. 

Kira Toussaint
Netherlands
2016 Olympic Games Qualifiers
​Best 50 SCY Free: 22.00

Why Kira can win -- Underwaters. Primarily a backstroke specialist, ​Kira Toussaint​ has some ridiculous underwater skill. Look for her to kick to 15m off both walls, primarily on her side similar to many of her former University of Tennessee teammates. Never underestimate powerful underwaters in a 50 freestyle -- just ask ​Caeleb Dressel​ and ​Ryan Held.

Simonas Bilis
Lithuania
2016 SCM World Champion - 100m Freestyle
Best 50 SCY Free: 18.79

Why Simonas can win​ -- He has the fastest entry time among the pros in the field. Plain and simple. ​Simonas Bilis​ was Mr. Reliable in the sprint freestyle events during his reign at NC State. The Lithuanian extended that success on the international level as well, swimming in the final of the 50m freestyle at the Rio Olympics and winning a gold medal in the 100m freestyle at the 2016 Short Course World Championships.

Nicolas Nilo Oliveira
Brazil
2015 Pan American Games Gold Medalist - 4x200m Freestyle Relay
Best 50 SCY Free: 19.61

Why Nicolas can win​ -- Experience, experience, experience. Nicolas Nilo Oliveira has been around the block. A native of Brazil, Nilo swam at an elite level on the international scene from 2006-16. While he technically retired from swimming after Rio, the three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016) is a serious gamer and can throw down with the best of them.

Wild Card: Caeleb Dressel
United States
Fastest 50 SCY Freestyler in History
Best 50 SCY Free: 18.20

Why Caeleb can win -- ​Half man. Half gator. We have it on good authority that ​Caeleb Dressel​ will be swimming the prelims on Saturday morning in Jacksonville. If Dressel decides to stick around for the finals, he will certainly be the favorite. After all, he is the fastest man in history. That has to stand for something, right?​

​*DISCLAIMER: ​Since Dressel is still competing for the University of Florida, under NCAA rules, he CANNOT accept any prize money associated with this event. He can, however, still compete.


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