PHOENIX, Arizona, February 13. WE are a little more than four months away from the world championship trials in Indianapolis. For any swimmer who is serious about competing in Barcelona, it's time to get down to business.
Not only does that mean more dedication to training, but devotion to honing race skills that will be needed to get on the worlds roster. That's what this week's stop on the Arena Grand Prix circuit in Orlando, Fla., will provide.
Getting in crucial racing is so important that Missy Franklin is coming to the Sunshine State less than a week after wrapping up her high school swimming career. And if you need further proof that it's time to get busy, look no further than Dana Vollmer.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist in London hasn't raced since she helped the Americans set a world record in the 400 medley relay on August 4. That's 195 days without a race under her belt. As good as Vollmer is, she needs to get a feel for racing again, and Orlando is the place to do it. Should we be concerned about the times she puts up in the three events she's scheduled to race? Not really. Just watch the fastest butterflyer in history find her groove again and be glad she's sticking around to likely defend her 2011 world title.
Vollmer will have some stiff competition in the 100 fly against Jeanette Ottesen, who was sixth in the London final. Ottesen has an aggressive strategy, taking her races out quick and trying to hold on to the finish. She had a good short course world championships, helping Denmark to its best world championships showing.
And watch out for a few swimmers from the Bolles School. Sergio Lopez's Sharks obliterated high school national records in November, and though this is an in-season meet, we should see some fast swims from Ryan Murphy and Joseph Schooling. For Murphy, he'll get an opportunity to strut his stuff in the 200 backstroke, against Olympic champion Tyler Clary and Olympic bronze medalist Ryan Lochte. Murphy's star took a big jump into the stratosphere last November, and this week could see him continuing to test his confidence against two of the world's best. Schooling has yet to prove himself in the long course pool, and racing Olympic finalist Tyler McGill in the 100 fly and world championship bronze medalist Wu Peng in the 200 fly could give him some confidence for the long course season.
Take a look at the psych sheet below and tell us which race or swimmers you're excited to follow starting Thursday. Be sure to stay with Swimming World through the meet for complete start-to-finish coverage of the Orlando stop of the Arena Grand Prix, including our Race Day recap shows on SwimmingWorld.TV!