PHOENIX, Arizona, January 21. THE past weekend gave swimming fans a lot to follow around the world, as meets in North America, Australia and Europe featured some of the world's best athletes.
We'll start with a quick recap of the Arena Grand Prix, which took place in Austin, Texas. This was the first official Grand Prix meet in which prize money was offered to the top three finishers in each event, though money was retroactively given to competitors at the Grand Prix meet in Minneapolis from last November. Last weekend, Missy Franklin was the top swimmer on the women's side, taking four events. Because she's set to become a collegiate student-athlete next fall, Franklin will not be able to claim the $2,300 in prize money for her four wins and second place finish in the 200 IM.
Tyler Clary returned to competition for the first time since winning gold in the 200 back at the Olympic Games, and he earned $1,400 for winning the 400 IM and finishing second in three other events. Ryan Lochte struggled a little to get to the top of the podium, but managed a win in his final event of the meet, the 200 IM.
Chloe Sutton, Matt Grevers and Nathan Adrian were the other swimmers to win more than one event. Sutton won the 400 and 800 freestyles, Grevers won both backstroke events and Adrian was the fastest man in the pool, winning the 50 and 100 freestyles. We have complete race recaps on swimmingworld.com, including our Race Day video highlight episodes on swimmingworld.tv. The next stop on the Arena Grand Prix circuit is February 14 in Orlando, Florida.
Down Under in Perth, Australia, a few Olympic medalists were putting up impressive times as well at the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series, where cash prizes were also on the line. Christian Sprenger and Cate Campbell each won 15,000 Australian dollars as the top male and female swimmers. We mentioned on Friday's Streamlined News about Sprenger's 100 breast and Campbell's 100 free, and those swims lasted through the meet as the top performances. Other great swims included a 4:37.04 from Ye Shiwen in the 400 IM and a 2:11.27 by Sprenger in the 200 breast, despite his claims that he was no longer swimming the event. You can read recaps from both days of the event at swimmingworld.com.
Over in Europe, Katinka Hosszu had one of the best meets of her life, winning 11 of 16 events at the Europ Meet in Luxembourg. The only events she could not win were the 50 breast, 100 breast, 50 free, 100 free and 200 back. Ruta Meilutyte was responsible for three of the wins Hosszu couldn't get, winning both of the breaststroke events and the 100 free.
Also competing in Europe was 200 breast Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta, who swam a 2:10.50 in the 200 breast at a meet in Belgium. Gyurta won that Olympic title after years of being in the shadow of Kosuke Kitajima, but is going into the world championships in the shadow of Akihiro Yamaguchi, who broke Gyurta's world record last August.
College swimming was highlighted this weekend by the Classic at SMU, where Vlad Morozov continued to swim fast in his return to collegiate competition. The USC junior swam an incredible 19.28 in the 50 free and 41.70 in the 100 free. As the leadoff leg of the Trojan's 200 free relay, he put up an even faster 50 free time with a 19.21 and won the 100 breast with a 52.73, taking down Brendan Hansen's meet record. Sebastien Rousseau did his part for Florida, winning the 400 IM, 500 free and 200 fly, but USC's star stable helped them win the meet by just three points over Michigan, with Florida another nine points back.
Moving on to water polo news. Stanford University is ranked number one in the preseason coaches collegiate water polo poll. The Cardinal is looking to win a third-straight national title on the strength of Olympic superstar Maggie Steffens and a host of others that could help them steamroll through this season. Crosstown rivals Southern Cal and UCLA could be fighting for second place in the poll throughout the season.