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SANTA CLARA, California, June 21. MICHAEL Phelps will race the 200 individual medley for the first time since winning gold in the event at the 2012 Olympics, stepping up against a talented field at the Arena Grand Prix in Santa Clara.
Phelps is the top seed in the men’s 200 IM, and will race 2010 NCAA champion Austin Surhoff, rising star Gunnar Bentz and Olympian Tyler Clary among others in the fifth heat of the event. Among the others expected to make the top nine for the championship final include Conor Dwyer, Chase Kalisz, Sebastien Rousseau and Josh Prenot.
Last year, Justin Wright stunned the crowd by winning the 200 butterfly over Clary, and the competition will be tough for Wright to repeat that feat this year. Justin Lynch, another swimmer making big moves up the ranks in butterfly, is in the event, as are a horde of prominent talents. Tom Shields, Rousseau, Bobby Bollier, Dan Wallace and current short course yards U.S. Open record holder Dylan Bosch are entered in the event.
With top American Cammile Adams not swimming in Santa Clara, Maya DiRado could be the top swimmer in the women’s 200 fly. DiRado surprised even herself by making the world championship team in the event last year, and has continued to make big strides in butterfly.
Kevin Cordes will likely have some tough challengers in the 100 breast tomorrow, including fellow world championship team member Nic Fink and Mike Alexandrov. Brazilian Felipe Lima and Canadian Richard Funk should not be counted out, though the field of nine in the championship final will be so tight that some of the top swimmers might get left out.