(Photo: Alli Cline/WCSN)
The USA Swimming Grand Prix circuit makes its annual stop in Mesa, AZ this weekend, and a large number of high profile athletes are expected to swim. Olympians such as Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky and others headline the meet, but a large number of other athletes will be competing.
Now that the collegiate swim season is over, many of the swimmers on ASU are turning their attention to a much bigger swim meet – The Olympics. A few European swimmers like Tadas Duskinas and Richard Bohus, have either made the Olympics already, or will have a strong chance to compete again. Also, many ASU swimmers have made their qualifications for the USA Olympic trials this summer, although they may not be near the top the USA swim charts, they at least get a chance to qualify.
“It’s cool being at such a big meet, especially a prestigious meet,” Christian Lorenz said. “It is really good racing experience for the Olympic trials this summer. You’re going to be racing the same people same format in long course, which is good preparation.”
Lorenz is coming off a fantastic season for the Sun Devils. He was top five in the conference for both the 200-yard and 100-yard breastroke, which are events he broke the school records in.
“It’s a learning experience,” Lorenz said. “It’s about seeing the other competitors and looking at what they do. It’s about seeing what you’re up against.
However, with so many big names competing this weekend, many athletes might be intimidated, but since ASU sees Phelps and the pro team practice in Tempe every day, the overwhelming feelings go away.
“All season long we see them right after practice,” Patrick Park said. “Now we are going to be in the water racing together. It’s a great opportunity for us college guys to truly race the best in the world.
Park will look to make significant improvements this weekend. The butterflier from New Jersey had a remarkable collegiate season, and this weekend he ranks in the top 30 in a few of his events.
“This is a train through meet,” Park said. “We are all on the same boat. All the guys we saw at NCAAs are all in the same boat with their training.”
The team didn’t take a lot of rest in practice this week. The meet in Mesa this weekend is a bump in the road before the Olympic trials this summer. However this meet is important to see where the team is at right now.
“Lately we have been putting in the work,” Park said. “So it’s all about seeing how fast we are going to go in Mesa.”