By Emily Sampl
Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick
Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick
BOULDER, Colorado, June 4. THE first stop of the Mare Nostrum tour in Monaco headlines this weekend's meet lineup. With a star-studded field set to race, the meet could easily produce some world-leading times. Elsewhere in the world, countries are gearing up for the Commonwealth Games and European Championships with final tuneup meets. Here are five of the top meets to watch this weekend.
1. Mare Nostrum - Monaco
The Mare Nostrum tour gets underway in Monaco with the first of three stops. This is shaping up to be one of the most competitive meets of 2014 thus far, with a ton of international talent on both the men's and women's sides. The list of competitors reads like an all-star team, with the likes of Natalie Coughlin, Camille Muffat, Katinka Hosszu, Rikke Moller Pedersen, Therese Alshammar, Jeannette Ottesen and Mireia Belmonte all swimming. And that's just the women's meet. On the men's side, Americans Anthony Ervin, Nathan Adrian and Cullen Jones are among a talented group headed overseas to face off against the likes of Chad Le Clos, Ryosuke Irie, Laszlo Cseh, Daiya Seto and Jeremy Stravius. Unfortunately, Ryan Lochte will not be among those competing after he announced recently that he's not ready after reinjuring his knee. Look for some world-leading times to be posted in Monaco, and plenty of top five swims as well. The swimming world will have to wait until next summer for the FINA World Championships, but this meet looks almost like an in-season world championships.
2. Brisbane Grand Prix
The second of Australia's three Grand Prix meets is scheduled for today and tomorrow at the Brisbane Aquatic Center and will serve as a tune-up meet for the Australian squad heading to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland and Pan Pacific Championships in Australia this summer. The first Grand Prix meet was set up as a three-team dual meet competition, and this one will also feature an interesting format. The top three swimmers in 100- and 200-meter events will qualify for the championship final, while the next eight will swim in the B final. Distance races will also be swum a bit differently, in an interval format. It should be an interesting meet to see where Australia's top swimmers are at training-wise with the Commonwealth Games less than two months away.
3. Austrian International
The 42nd International Speedo meet is this weekend in Austria and will feature hundreds of swimmers from the home country. One of the top swimmers to watch will be Austrian breaststroker Johannes Dietrich. Dietrich has personal bests of 29.41 in the 50 breast, 1:02.92 in the 100 breast and 2:15.38 in the 200 breast. He swam at the Eindhoven Cup in April and wasn't far off those times.
4. 31st International Meeting of Porto
After a one-year hiatus, the 31st International Meeting of Porto resumes this Saturday and Sunday at the Municipal Pool Campanha in Porto, Portugal. One of the premier meets in Portugal for almost three decades, the meet will serve as the final opportunity for Portuguese swimmers to obtain the minimum qualifying standards for the European Championships and European Junior Championships later this summer. Brazil will also bring a large contingent to the meet, including Etiene Medeiros, who has been under 1:00 in the 100 back before. Portgual's Victoria Kaminskaya, who recently lowered her 400 IM national record at the Coimbra Invitational last weekend, will also compete.
5. Kranj Grand Prix
Kranj, Slovenia will host the Kranj Grand Prix this Saturday and Sunday, with 37 different countries represented. The long course meet will feature both age group and senior level swimmers.