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Americans turn focus to Paris pool clash with Aussies

Katie Ledecky and a powerhouse American swim team will turn their attention to another Summer Games showdown with arch-rivals Australia after the US Olympic trials concluded in Indianapolis.

After nine days of intense competition, the final tickets to Paris were handed out with Simone Manuel winning the women's 50m freestyle and Bobby Finke the men's 1500m on Sunday night.

Coming back from overtraining syndrome which affected her Tokyo Games, Manuel, the first Black woman to win an individual Olympic swimming gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games, won the 'splash and dash' in 24.13 seconds, just .02 head of Gretchen Walsh.

Finke, gold medallist in the 800m and 1500m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics, will defend both titles in Paris after touching first in the final event of the meeting in 14:40.28.

With the US and Australian Olympic trials wrapped up the stage is now set for what is set to be an explosive competition in the Paris pool.

Ledecky
US great Katie Ledecky is set to battle it out with Ariarne Titmus again. (AP PHOTO)

Team USA will once again be targeting top spot in the pool after winning 11 gold medals and 30 overall.

But Australian swimmers are heading to France on a mission to end the American reign after coming close in Japan three years ago with nine golds among their 21 total.

"This has been a legendary rivalry in our sport and it is shaping up again to be a really exciting one, both sides of the pool, men and women," US swimming great Michael Phelps told NBC Sports.

Competing in her fourth Olympics, Ledecky will be counted on to make a major contribution to the US medal haul after winning four individual events (200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle) at the trials.

A seven-time Olympic champion and one of the all-time greats of the sport, Ledecky's battles with Australian Ariarne Titmus and Canada's teenage wunderkind Summer McIntosh are expected to be one of the highlights of the Paris Olympics.

With Ledecky and another seven-time gold medallist Caeleb Dressel leading the way, the US will not lack for experience in a squad packed with Olympic and world champions and world record holders.

But the roster also includes some fresh faces, like 17-year-old Thomas Heilman, who will contest the 100m and 200m butterfly and becomes the youngest male to make the US swim squad since Phelps at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Dressel, winner of five golds in Tokyo, did not qualify to defend his 100m freestyle crown but will be kept busy in the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly as well as potentially being involved in three relay teams.

Regan Smith is also set for a heavy workload after winning the women's 200m butterfly and 100m and 200m backstroke.

The 22-year-old added some spice to the US and Australia rivalry when she regained the 100m backstroke world record from Kaylee McKeown.

Smith
Regan Smith broke Kaylee McKeown's world record at the US trials. (AP PHOTO)

Walsh opened the trials by setting a world record in the women's 100m butterfly on the opening day and will travel to Paris with her older sister Alex, who earned her spot on the team after finishing second in the 200m individual medley.

They will not be the only siblings on the US squad - Alex Shackell qualified in the women's 200m butterfly and her brother Aaron won the 400m freestyle.