Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Janet Evans Invite/LA Grand Prix

The final stop on the USA Swimming Grand Prix circuit kicks off tomorrow in Los Angeles. Also known as the Janet Evans Invite, the LA Grand Prix features a bunch of swimming's big names. A psych sheet is available here, while live results can be found at According to USA Swimming:
Olympic gold medalists Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.), Jason Lezak (Irvine, Calif.) and Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J), along with 12 other U.S. Olympians, will compete at the Los Angeles Grand Prix, which is the final stop of the 2009-2010 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series. The meet, taking place on the campus of the University of Southern California, begins Thursday, July 8 and runs through Sunday, July 11.

The meet in Los Angeles is the last major U.S. meet before the 2010 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships, which will be held in Irvine, August 3-7. That meet is the biggest domestic event of the year for U.S swimmers, as it will select the teams for the 2010 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships, the 2010 FINA Short Course Championships in Dubai, UAE, The World University Games and the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China.

Other top U.S. swimmers expected to compete at the Los Angeles Grand Prix include Olympians Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.), Dana Vollmer (Granbury, Texas), Margaret Hoelzer (Huntsville, Ala.), Nathan Adrian (Bremerton, Wash.) Kara Lynn Joyce (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.), Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.), Chloe Sutton (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Kate Ziegler (Fairfax, Va.), Julia Smit (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.), Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) and Elaine Breeden (Lexington, Ky.).

The top medal-winner at the Grand Prix Series will be awarded $20,000 at the end of the meet, courtesy of USA Swimming. Swimmers are awarded five points for a gold medal, three points for a silver medal and one point for a bronze medal. National Teamer and current Grand Prix Series leader Sutton will look to take the prize home in Los Angeles. The leaderboard can be found online at

The star-studded field will also include U.S. National Teamers Ariana Kukors (Auburn, Wash.), Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.) and Mary DeScenza Mohler (Naperville, Ill.).

In addition to the U.S. Olympians expected to compete, a strong international field is slated to be on deck, including Canada’s Brent Hayden and Ryan Cochrane, Tunisia's Ous Mellouli, Austria’s Marcus Rogan, Switzerland’s Dominik Meichtry, England’s Simon Burnett and Brazil’s Thiago Pereira.

The competition will follow the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims and evening finals. The full competition schedule can be found online. Finals begin at 5 p.m. PT, Thursday through Sunday. Prelims begin at 8:30 a.m. PT, Friday through Sunday.

Competition footage from the meet the will be webcast on LIVE footage from prelims and finals will be available Thursday, July 8 through Sunday, July 11.
One of the major storylines of the meet is the return of Mary DeScenza Mohler to American waters. Mohler moved to Japan in January with her husband Charlie, who she married shortly after the World Championships. Descenza, a five-time World Champs team member, had her strongest ever individual showing at a major meet in Rome, breaking the world record in the prelims of the 200 fly before ending up fourth in the final. Mohler has only raced at one meet since Rome, the Duel in the Pool in December. Now, Mohler is representing FAST, the new Center of Excellence in Fullerton under the direction of Sean Hutchinson and Jon Urbanchek, although she is still living oversees. The third-fastest performer in history in the 200 fly, Mohler needs to post a strong race in order to make a run at one of the top two spots in the event at the Nationals in Irvine. With strong swims already this year from Elaine Breeden, Kim Vandenberg, Dagny Knutson, Lyndsay DePaul, and others in the event, as well as Olympian Kathleen Hersey as a challenger, the race is shaping up to be one of the closest in Irvine.

Another surprising swimmer on the psych sheet is Mateusz Sawrymowicz. Sawrymowicz is a Polish distance star who broke onto the scene in 2005 as the European Junior Champion in the 1,500 free and ended up making the final at the World Championships in the event, where he finished fifth and broke 15:00 for the first time in his career. Two years later at the Worlds in Melbourne, Sawrymowicz beat the 11 year unbeaten mile streak of the off-form Grant Hackett, winning the world title in a still-personal best of 14:45.94. At the Olympics in Beijing, Sawrymowicz came in as a medal contender, but he faced a deep field in prelims; swimmers had to get under 14:50 to make the final. In the end, Sawrymowicz finished ninth in 14:50.30. In 2009, he did not show up to the Worlds in Rome, but he returned to swim at Polish Nationals last month. Now, Sawrymowicz is training at USC under Dave Salo, alongside current 1,500 world champion Ous Mellouli of Tunisia. Sawrymowicz has a strong chance to be European champion this year, in a fairly weak field, both in Budapest and worldwide, as I think any swimmer will struggle to break 14:50 this year in the 1,500.

Meanwhile, event-by-event predictions:

Thursday, July 8:
Women's 800 Free
1 - Chloe Sutton, Mission Viejo
2 - Kate Ziegler, FAST
3 - Haley Anderson, Sierra Marlins
*Note: Finals for this event will be held at the beginning of the evening session on Friday.

Men's 1,500 Free
1 - Ryan Cochrane, Island
2 - Ous Mellouli, Trojan
3 - Chad LaTourette, Mission Viejo
*Note: Finals for this event will be held at the beginning of the evening session on Saturday.

Friday, July 9:
Women's 100 Free
1 - Dana Vollmer, Cal
2 - Natalie Coughlin, Cal
3 - Kara Lynn Joyce, FAST

Men's 100 Free
1 - Nathan Adrian, Cal
2 - Brent Hayden, UCB Dolphins
3 - Jason Lezak, Rose Bowl

Women's 200 Fly
1 - Elaine Breeden, Stanford
2 - Katinka Hosszu, Trojan
3 - Mary DeScenza Mohler, FAST

Men's 200 Fly
1 - Tyler Clary, FAST
2 - Bobby Bollier, FAST
3 - Hidemasa Sano, Trojan

Women's 200 Back
1 - Madison White, Crow Canyon
2 - Margaret Hoelzer, FAST
3 - Mary DeScenza Mohler, FAST

Men's 200 Back
1 - Markus Rogan, Trojan
2 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford
3 - Cory Chitwood, Tucson Ford

Women's 400 IM
1 - Katinka Hosszu, Trojan
2 - Ariana Kukors, FAST
3 - Julia Smit, Stanford

Men's 400 Free
1 - Ous Mellouli, Trojan
2 - Charlie Houchin, FAST
3 - Ryan Cochrane, Island

Saturday, July 10:
Women's 200 IM
1 - Ariana Kukors, FAST
2 - Julia Smit, Stanford
3 - Katinka Hosszu, Trojan

Men's 200 Free
1 - Brent Hayden, UCB Dolphins
2 - Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or, Tucson Ford
3 - Dominik Meichtry, Trojan

Women's 200 Breast
1 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan
2 - Keri Hehn, Trojan
3 - Katy Freeman, Santa Barbara

Men's 200 Breast
1 - Kosuke Kitajima, Trojan
2 - Curtis Lovelace, Nashville
3 - Scott Dickens, UCB Dolphins

Women's 50 Free
1 - Jessica Hardy, Trojan
2 - Lara Jackson, Tucson Ford
3 - Kara Lynn Joyce, FAST

Men's 50 Free
1 - Nathan Adrian, Cal
2 - Brent Hayden, UBC Dolphins
3 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford

Women's 400 Free
1 - Katie Hoff, FAST
2 - Alexa Komarnycky, Island
3 - Alyssa Anderson, Tucson Ford

Men's 400 IM
1 - Thiago Pereira, Trojan
2 - Tyler Clary, FAST
3 - Ous Mellouli, Trojan

Women's 100 Fly
1 - Dana Vollmer, Cal
2 - Natalie Coughlin, Cal
3 - Christine Magnuson, Tucson Ford

Men's 100 Fly
1 - Masayuki Kishida, Tucson Ford
2 - David Russell, Cal
3 - Gabriel Mangabeira, Pinheiros

Women's 100 Back
1 - Natalie Coughlin, Cal
2 - Presley Bard, Terrapins
3 - Julia Wilkinson, Island

Men's 100 Back
1 - Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford
2 - David Russell, Cal
3 - Markus Rogan, Trojan

Women's 100 Breast
1 - Rebecca Soni, Trojan
2 - Jessica Hardy, Trojan
3 - Kasey Carlson, Walnut Creek

Men's 100 Breast
1 - Kosuke Kitajima, Trojan
2 - Mike Alexandrov, Tucson Ford
3 - Marcus Titus, Tucson For

Women's 200 Free
1 - Dana Vollmer, Cal
2 - Katie Hoff, FAST
3 - Leone Vorster, Tucson Ford

Men's 200 IM
1 - Thiago Pereira, Trojan
2 - Markus Rogan, Trojan
3 - Tyler Clary, FAST

Women's 1,500 Free
1 - Lynette Lim, Piranha
2 - Bonnie Brandon, Mission Aurora
3 - Savannah King, UCB Dolphins

Men's 800 Free
1 - Mateusz Sawrymowicz, Trojan
2 - Adam DeJong, Club Wolverine
3 - Michael Klueh, Longhorn


  1. Nice predictions. Only a couple of differences of opinion...

    I like Hidemasa Sano on the 200m Fly.

    What was the rationale for picking Charlie Houchin on the 400m Free and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or on the 200m Free ahead of the likes of Basson, Klueh, Clary, Meichtry & Rogan?

    I think Meichtry will do well here. He's swimming in California and has European's coming up soon so should be in pretty good shape at this point.

    Also looking forward to see whether Rebecca Soni improves on her 2:21.4 200m Breast ahead of US Nationals and seeing Vladimir Morozov go at it LC.

    One final point - I can't quite figure out why Jessica Hardy doesn't try her hand at 200m IM at these Grand Prix's. She's down to swim the 200 Free so the distance can't be the reason. She is world class at 50 Breast and 50 Free. Her 50 Fly is close to world class. No idea about her backstroke but I would have thought it was average at the very least. Granted a 200 IM is not the sum of 4 x 50m sprints but its not like she is too shabby at the 100m versions of the events mentioned above either. Any insight/thoughts into why she doesn't attempt the 200 IM?

  2. Sano's a short course swimmer. Long course, he's never been sub-1:56, and he didn't make the Japanese National Team. Bollier (1:55) and Clary (1:53) have been much faster. Both of them, though, are swimming with Jon Urbanchek, and he does not like to rest his swimmers in-season. Both struggled to go very fast at Mission Viejo. We'll see.

    Houchin was 3:48 last summer in the B-final at Nationals, which was the third-fastest time of the meet, and he swam well in Mission Viejo. He ended up as fourth-fastest American in the world last year, behind Vanderkaay, Madwed, and LaTourette. Really, it's a toss-up behind Mellouli, but I picked the guys who have swum the best so far this year.

    200 free to Shapira Bar-Or because he swam great in Santa Clara: 1:49-mid and 49.4, while most of the Arizona guys were not too competitive, very beaten down. That got him second in both, behind Monk in the 200 (and ahead of Berens, Lochte, P. Murphy) and behind Adrian in the 100 (ahead of Oliviera and Walters).

    Agree about Soni. Morozov swam pretty well in a local meet a few weeks ago, 22.47 in the 50 (5th in the U.S.) and 50-something in the 100. Should probably have him second to Adrian, but...

    No clue with Hardy; she swam the 100 IM once at World Cup, but she didn't stick with it since she had other events to do. Probably the same reason as 200 breast (though, no, her backstroke isn't great).