MESA, Arizona, April 18. MICHAEL Phelps will race in three events next week at the Arena Grand Prix stop in Mesa, Ariz., marking his first competition since the 2012 Olympics.
Today’s release of the meet psych sheet confirms the report earlier this week by The Associated Press that Phelps is racing in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly. The 100 free and 100 fly take place on Thursday, with the 50 free set for next Friday.
Phelps is seeded eighth in the 100 free, first in the 100 fly and 26th in the 50 free. He has the potential to renew his friendly rivalry with Ryan Lochte in the 100 free and 100 fly. Lochte is ranked second in the 100 fly and fifth in the 100 free. Lochte is also entered in the 200 free, 200 back, 100 back and 200 IM. He’ll race breaststroke for the first time since injuring his knee last fall.
Plenty of other swimming stars will give the sold-out crowd at the Skyline Aquatic Center plenty to cheer about next week. Phelps’ teammates at North Baltimore Aquatic Club will race in Mesa, including 200 free Olympic champion Yannick Agnel fresh off competing at the French nationals. Also in the meet is Chase Kalisz, who just swam the fastest 400-yard individual medley at the NCAA championships three weeks ago.
On the women’s side, Breeja Larson will get a huge ovation as she returns to her hometown after setting the American record in the 100-yard breaststroke at the NCAA championships. She’s the second seed in the 200 breast behind fellow Olympian Micah Lawrence, and the top seed in the 100 breast ahead of fellow Texas A&M champion Alia Atkinson.
Another swimmer who could get a big ovation if she finds herself in the championship final is Katie Hoff. The multiple Olympic medalist has not raced at the senior level since the 2012 Olympic Trials, but will race in five events next week, including the 200 IM and 200 free.
Michael Andrew will race for the first time as a 15-year-old after demolishing nearly every national age group record in the 13-14 age group. Andrew is entered in the 100 free, 200 breast, 100 fly, 200 free, 200 back, 50 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 200 IM.
Kevin Cordes will race for the first time since lowering his short course yards American records in both breaststroke events at the NCAA championships. While possibly not on form to challenge world rankings in long course just yet, Cordes could find himself challenged by Olympian Scott Weltz in the 200, as well as world championship team member B.J. Johnson and former American record holder Mike Alexandrov.
At last year’s meet in Arizona, Katie Ledecky had an exciting showdown with Missy Franklin in the 200 freestyle. With Franklin and her teammates from UC-Berkeley not attending this year, Ledecky will look to reigning Olympic champion Allison Schmitt for competition in the 200 and 400 freestyles. Schmitt is looking to return to the international travel squad after missing out on world championship team selection last year.
Prelims for the meet begin at 9 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Finals will start each day at 5 p.m. USA Swimming will provide a webcast of the meet, and Universal Sports will offer coverage on their cable network.