This weekend, at two meets halfway accross the globe from one another, the stars of the swimming world, including two thirds of the Australian team, will race in preparation for this summer's World Championships. The Mare Nostrum series kicks off in Barcelona, while a group of stars convene in Tucson, Arizona, for Southwest Classic. Those competing include:
Gold Medalists: Libby Trickett, Jessicah Schipper, Bronte Barratt, Felicity Galvez (AUS); Cesar Cielo (BRA); Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend (RSA)
Other Stars: Fred Bousquet, Amaury Leveaux (FRA); Milorad Cavic (SRB); Eamon Sullivan, Andrew Lauterstein, Geoff Huegill, Marieke Guehrer, Christian Sprenger (AUS - click here for full lists); Cameron van der Burgh (RSA); Rafael Munoz Perez (ESP); and possibly more
Gold Medalists: Stephanie Rice, Leisel Jones (AUS); Matt Grevers (USA)
Other Stars: Lacey Nymeyer, Whitney Myers (USA); Jean Basson (RSA); Joel Greenshields (CAN); Ashley Delaney, Brenton Rickard, Hayden Stoeckel, Meagan Nay, Patrick Murphy, Nick Ffrost, Kendrick Monk, Sarah Katsoulis (AUS - click here for full lists)
This will be Grevers' first Long Course meet since Beijing (he swam in Short Course Nationals and the Long Beach Grand Prix), where he won three medals. Look for him to post a 48 or 49 100 Free and 53 or 54 100 Back to enter the World rankings, likely somewhere near the top. One of the biggest match races of the meet will be between Grevers, Ashley Delaney, and possibly Hayden Stoeckel in the 100 Back.
With all the stars in the pool, fast swimming is inevitable. Don't be surprised if there are some DQ's with certain swimmers not accepting FINA's swimsuit regulations and wearing unapproved suits. Note that both USA Swimming and the Mare Nostrum tour have banned unapproved suits from all meets. (For example, Mr. Munoz and Mr. Bousquer, no Jaked.)