WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 2, 2011
One of the most fun and friendliest rivalries in men’s swimming today will be renewed when the Indianapolis Grand Prix begins Thursday at the Indiana University Natatorium.
Floridian Ryan Lochte, the most dominant swimmer who stole Michael Phelps’ thunder in 2010, will compete against Phelps in four events.
Lochte is coming off some “killer” training in Gainesville. Phelps, 14-time Olympic gold medalist, is coming out of three weeks of altitude training in Colorado Springs.
On Thursday the two will mix it up in the 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly and on Saturday the 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter freestyle.
Phelps will compete in a fifth event, the 200 butterfly, on Friday.
The 200 IM will be the best showdown between the two. Phelps held the world record in the event for six years until Lochte lowered his mark at the 2009 World Championships. Since then Lochte has owned the event including a big win over Phelps at the 2010 Nationals, the first time he had ever beaten Phelps in an IM final at a major meet.
Both will use the meet to gauge where they are in training for this summer’s world championships.
Phelps would like to redeem himself after his last Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. Lochte topped Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley at the January meet in 1:59.26. Phelps finished third in his worst swim of a disappointing meet.
“Hopefully, I will be able to swim a little faster than I did in Texas,” Phelps said.
“I feel like I’m making steps forward, I feel like I am heading in the right direction over the last couple months.”
Phelps is still fine tuning some technical aspects of his racing that were missing last year.
“I have some times that I want to hit in mind,” Phelps said. “This is a chance to see where I stand for worlds. That’s the biggest thing.”
Phelps and Lochte won’t be the only swimmers in town.
More than 30 members of the U.S. National Team are expected to compete including Olympians Jason Lezak, Matt Grevers, Katie Hoff, Cullen Jones, Dana Vollmer, Peter Vanderkaay and Kate Ziegler as well as 2012 Olympic hopeful teenager Missy Franklin, who currently leads the series point standings.
The field will also have international swimmers including Japanese Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima, Austrian Olympic silver medalist Markus Rogan, South African Olympian Darian Townsend and Swiss Olympian Dominick Meichtry.
The meet, the fourth stop in the seven-meet series, will be broadcast on Universal Sports on Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and Friday 9-11 p.m. A live webcast of both prelims and finals will be shown on usaswimming.org.
The USA Swimming Grand Prix Series is a chance for swimmers to race in preparation for the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China as well as the 2011 Conoco Phillips National Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. as well as other Grand Prix stops in Ann Arbor, Mich., Charlotte, N.C. and Santa Clara, Calif.
Stanford Men Pac-10 Favorites
Stanford coach Skip Kenney will go for his 30th consecutive conference men’s titles this weekend at the Belmont Olympic Plaza Pool in Long Beach, Calif. It is the longest streak in Pac-10 history.
Stanford, ranked second in the nation, have the momentum after knocking off No. 1 ranked California in the Big Splash last week.
It will be tough to beat the Cardinals with swimmers who scored in 44 individual swims in that meet, returns the bulk of their relay swimmers and already had four divers score in nine places. Diving was held last week during the women’s meet in Federal Way, Wash.
Since taking over the program Kenney has been selected Pac-10 Coach of the Year 21 times.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com