By Emily Sampl
BOULDER, Colorado, June 12. A bevy of big-time national and international events are on the slate for the coming days, including USA Swimmingâ€™s Open Water National Championships, the Canet and Barcelona stops of the Mare Nostrum tour and the Sette Colli meet in Italy. Here are this weekendâ€™s five storylines in the pool and open water.
1. USA Open Water National Championships: Women
A lot of big names in US open water swimming dot the start lists for the 5K and 10K swims at the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships this weekend at Castaic Lake in California. Fridayâ€™s 10K event will serve as the qualifying swim for the United Statesâ€™ Pan Pacific Championships open water squad, with the top four men and women eligible to qualify for Pan Pacs. The 5K swim will be held on Sunday.
On the womenâ€™s side, seasoned open water veterans Emily Brunemann, Eva Fabian, Christine Jennings, Ashley Twichell and Haley Anderson make up the list of usual suspects in the 10K; theyâ€™ll be challenged by youngsters Becca Mann and Gillian Ryan, as well as Tristin Baxter. Jennings won the 10K at the last Pan Pac meet in 2010, while Fabian and Brunemann also competed in 2010. Mann and Ryan will only swim the 10K, while the others will race in both events. With only four spots on the team and at least half a dozen major contenders, a few very good swimmers will be left at home.
2. USA Open Water National Championships: Men
For the men, three of the four 2010 Pan Pacs participants return for another shot in Alex Meyer, Sean Ryan and Andrew Gemmell. Meyer won the 10K event at last summerâ€™s national championships and will look to defend his title and punch his second consecutive ticket to Pan Pacs. Arthur Frayler, whoâ€™s on the current open water national team, will definitely challenge for one of the four spots, along with Jordan Wilimovsky and Joey Pedraza. The menâ€™s 10K field seems a bit more open than the womenâ€™s, which could potentially give a few up-and-comers a chance to qualify for a major international competition.
3. Mare Nostrum â€“ Canet
After a couple of days off, the Mare Nostrum tour rolled into Canet yesterday, and will move to Barcelona on Saturday and Sunday for what should be two more fast meets. A lot of the swimmers who competed in Monaco last weekend are racing again in Canet, including a handful of Americans â€“ Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian, Cammile Adams, Anthony Ervin, Emma Reaney, Cullen Jones, Melanie Margalis and others. Great Britain has a strong squad in Canet as well, including Francesca Halsall, Jaz Carlin, Caitlin McClatchey, Liam Tancock and Ross Murdoch. France will have several swimmers with a shot to win multiple events with Camille Muffat, Fabien Gilot, Florent Manaudou, Jeremy Stravius and Camille Lacourt all competing. One swimmer not competing in Canet is Hungaryâ€™s Katinka Hosszu, who won three events last weekend in Monaco.
4. Mare Nostrum â€“ Barcelona
Most of the same swimmers competing in Canet will continue on to Barcelona for the third and final meet of the three-meet circuit. With three two-day, prelim/final meets in the span of a week, it will be interesting to see how fatigue factors in for the swimmers who have competed in all three meets. In a meet traditionally dominated by Europeans, Japan will bring several of its best swimmers to Barcelona, including Ryosuke Irie, Junya Koga, Shinri Shioura, Daiya Seto and Kanako Watanabe. Host Spain will have a great chance at earning some hardware by way of Melanie Costa Schmid, Mireia Belmonte, Marina Garcia, Rafael Munoz and Mercedes Peris Minguet. A couple of other standouts will make the trek from overseas as well, including Canadian Noemie Thomas and Brazilâ€™s Thiago Pereira.
5. Sette Colli Trophy
The Stadio del Nuoto in Rome will host the 51st Sette Colli Trophy this Friday through Sunday, with a ton of top talent on the psych sheet. Host Italy will field a strong team that features Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini, as well as standouts Filippo Magnini, Ilaria Bianchi, Fabio Scozzoli and Marco Orsi. Hungary will also bring a top-notch contingent to Rome, headlined by Katinka Hosszu, who will swim at Sette Colli instead of the third Mare Nostrum stop in Barcelona. Daniel Gyurta, Laszlo Cseh and Gergo Kis will also compete for Hungary. The Netherlands will bring a strong group as well that includes Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk, Inge Dekker and Sebastiaan Verschuren. South African Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh is also scheduled to compete, along with Spainâ€™s Mireia Belmonte and a handful of others. It could be a mini preview of the European Championships later to come this summer with so many top European swimmers attending.