PHOENIX, Arizona, May 22. SEVERAL top postgraduate swimmers in Arizona and California will race in two meets this weekend that will offer cash prizes to the top three swimmers, giving them some spending cash for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
In Irvine, the Speedo Grand Challenge has attracted Trojan Swim Club’s elite squad from Los Angeles, as well as top swimmers from the San Francisco Bay Area. This meet offers a four-person championship final in each event (except for the women’s 800 free and men’s 1500 free) and an A final and B final for the next 16 qualifiers. The top three finishers in the championship final will receive cash prizes.
The third-place finisher will get $100, while second place earns $200. The amount of money the winner gets will be determined by the spin of the “Mystery Wheel” before the race. The winner could win anywhere from $300 to $1,000, or land on the special “Winner Takes All” space.
Jessica Hardy knows a lot about racing for money in the six years since becoming a professional swimmer, she’s been traveling the world winning money at the FINA World Cup and other top meets, including in the United States at the Arena Grand Prix. She’ll race in the 100 breast and 50 free, in addition to a surprise entry in the 200 free.
Other top Trojan Swim Club postgrad swimmers entered in the meet include Mike Alexandrov, Glenn Snyders, Jacob Toumarkin and Haley Anderson.
Several swimmers from Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics, as well as a couple of NCAA champions from Stanford are coming down to Los Angeles for the chance to earn some spending money. Karlee Bispo and B.J. Johnson will wear PASA caps in a few championship final races, while 2014 NCAA champions Maya DiRado and Felicia Lee will likely earn their first paychecks as postgrad swimmers in multiple events. Bobby Bollier, representing Stanford Swimming, is also one to watch in the championship heat, especially in the butterfly events.
Current college swimmers won’t be able to earn money, but they are likely to present a challenge to their older peers. Stanford and USC are the top schools at the meet, with Jasmine Tosky, Santo Condorelli, Michael Domagala and Kendyl Stewart will highlight the meet for USC. Lia Neal, Maddy Schaefer, Tom Kremer, Sarah Haase and Max Williamson will represent Stanford.
Also watch for newly-minted national high school record holder Abbey Weitzeil, racing in long course one week after setting the marks in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Further east in Mesa, Ariz., is the Speedo Invitational, where the star power will not be as bright, but will still provide fans with plenty of chances to see Olympians racing for cash. Mesa Aquatic Club, which just hosted the Arena Grand Prix last month, is offering cash prizes in “Super Finals” for four events only: 50 free, 100 back, 200 IM and 100 breast. Winners receive $200 per event, while second place gets $100 and third place receives $50.
Olympic champion Darian Townsend will be in all four Super Finals, and will have a tough time getting past fellow South African and training partner Roland Schoeman in the 50 free. Schoeman is ranked in the 14th-fastest swimmer in the world in the 50 free this year and will look to continue his preparation for his fourth Commonwealth Games.
Also racing for cash will be Japanese Olympian Noriko Inada, who will be swimming in just the 100 back. At 35 years old, Inada continues to be one of the fastest in the event for Japan, recently placing in the top 10 at the Japan Open.