By Emily Sampl
BOULDER, Colorado, July 8. FOR being somewhat of a “filler” meet between the last stop of the Arena Grand Prix series and the summer national championships, this week’s Bulldog Grand Slam at the University of Georgia had no trouble attracting some huge names. High-profile swimmers from North Baltimore, SwimMAC, Club Wolverine, Athens Bulldogs, Dynamo, Bolles Sharks and others will head to Georgia for what should be a very competitive meet. Here are a few of the top names to watch at the event, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.
The men’s field will be highlighted by superstars Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, who will go head-to-head in the 100 free, 100 fly and 100 back. Lochte is entered in the 200 free, 100 fly, 100 back, 400 free, 200 IM, 200 back and 100 free, while Phelps will swim just three events – the 100 free, 100 back and 100 fly. Lochte will compete in his first meet since leaving the Mesa Grand Prix early as a result of his knee injury and will swim only one 50 of breaststroke this weekend, in the 200 IM.
Several notable swimmers will join Phelps and Lochte in Georgia, including Cullen Jones, Nick Thoman, Conor Dwyer, Yannick Agnel, Matt McLean, Tyler Clary, Chase Kalisz and others. The 200 free could be one of the most exciting events of the meet for men or women, with Agnel, Dwyer, Lochte, McLean, Charlie Houchin and Ous Mellouli making up the top six seeds. It’s shaping up to be a clash between the heavyweights from North Baltimore and the heavyweights from Club Wolverine in that event and the 400 free, as Club Wolverine’s Michael Wynalda, Connor Jaeger and Michael Klueh will all be racing.
The 100 fly should also be interesting, with Lochte and Phelps taking on Tim Phillips, Albert Subirats, and youngsters Matt Josa and Caeleb Dressel. In the 100 back, Thoman, Lochte, Phelps, Clary, Subirats and Josa top the psych sheet.
The women’s meet will be equally loaded as North Baltimore brings a very strong contingent including Olympic champion Allison Schmitt, Lotte Friis, Becca Mann, Cierra Runge and Gillian Ryan. Those five swimmers should provide several great races in the mid-distance and distance freestyle events. All five will swim the 200 free and 400 free, while Ryan, Friis and Mann will swim the 800 as well. Athens Bulldogs Megan Romano and Shannon Vreeland will provide plenty of competition in the shorter distances, and in the 100 free.
SwimMAC Carolina’s Micah Lawrence, Katie Meili and Maija Roses will look to sweep the breaststroke events as the three are seeded 1-2-3 in the 100 and 1-4-5 in the 200. Cammile Adams, who is now training at SwimMAC, could factor in for a couple of individual wins as well and will have her hands full with Becca Mann in the 400 IM and 200 fly. Madison Kennedy and Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace will definitely challenge in the sprint free events and will be up against SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir and Athens Bulldogs Megan Romano and Olivia Smoliga.
The meet starts Thursday afternoon with timed finals in the women’s 1500 free and men’s 800 free; be sure to follow Swimming World for the latest results and updates!