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SANTA CLARA, California, June 19. AFTER a strong day of non-Olympic distance racing, the Arena Grand Prix in Santa Clara kicks off Friday morning with more stars from around the world in many exciting races.
Friday’s prelims will see Michael Phelps in two races: 100 free and 100 fly. We’ve seen Phelps twice already in the 100 fly this season, and tomorrow marks his first 100 free race since swimming on the 400 free relay at the 2012 Olympics. Phelps will swim in the sixth of seven heats in the “A” flight of the 100 free, next to North Baltimore teammate Yannick Agnel. The two will likely face Nathan Adrian and Conor Dwyer in the final, along with a few international stars. Adam Brown and Marcelo Chierighini are better in the 50 free, but are likely to put together a strong prelim swim to get into the nine-lane final.
On the women’s side, look for Missy Franklin in the 100 free and 100 fly as well. Though the 100 fly is a decidedly off-event for the superstar, never count her out to do some damage to the rest of the field in anything she swims.
Also looking to pull off an impressive double will be Allison Schmitt in the 100 and 400 freestyles. Schmitt has been having a great year so far, and could showcase her range in the freestyle events with top finishes on Friday.
Laura Sogar and Micah Lawrence will face Canadian Tera Van Beilen in the women’s 200 breast, while Kevin Cordes might turn out to be the class of the field in the men’s 200 breast.
The “A” flight of prelims is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Pacific time, with the “B” flight heats likely to begin shortly after 11 a.m.