By Emily Mason
PHOENIX, Arizona, November 30. WHAT awaits this weekend is traditionally one of the fastest college invitationals of the year. The Texas Invite boasts top times from many years past with swimmers from various programs earning NCAA "A" times and breaking records. Remember Simon Burnett's 200 free from last year, breaking Matt Biondi's NCAA record in the consolation final? No less should be expected this year with the likes of World Championship team members like Kaitlin Sandeno, Ian Crocker, Whitney Myers, Brendan Hansen, Lacey Nymeyer and Aaron Peirsol in the mix.
Top teams from both men's and women's programs are showing up to compete in this strong field. Arizona State is sending both teams, so is USC, Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri, Pacific, TCU, UCSB and Hawaii. Also along for the ride are the Cal and Michigan men.
The women's events to watch are the 200 free with a matchup of Myers (UA), Sandeno (Trojan), and Nymeyer (UA) and the 200 fly with the top seven women all entered at 2:01s. The 200 breast could be a good one, too, with Elizabeth Tinnon (Texas), Rebecca Soni (USC), Amalia Sarnecki (Wisconsin), Alexi Spann (Texas), Jaquelin Craft (UA), Erin Sieper (UA), and Jessica Embick (UA) rounding out the top seven times.
On the men's side, the 500 free could be the top race with Ous Mellouli(USC), Peter Vanderkaay (Michigan), Tyler DeBerry (UA) and Michael Klueh(Texas) entered. Watch out for Peirsol who is entered in the top 16 in the event.
The 50 free should be a thriller with a battle brewing between Burnett(UA), Jonas Tilly (Cal), Crocker(Longhorn), Rolandas Gimbutis (Cal), Mike Cavic (Cal), Neil Walker (Longhorn) and Lyndon Ferns(UA). The 200 free should also be swift with returning two-time NCAA champion Burnett competing with Matt McGinnis (Texas) and Vanderkaay for the win.