SANTA CLARA, Calif., USA, June 22. THE past few weeks have featured some high-quality swimming, thanks to the Mare Nostrum Series and TYR Swim Meet of Champions, among other events. This weekend, though, the bar should be raised to another level when the Santa Clara Invitational gets started on the left coast.
Serving as one of the final tuneups for next month’s World Championships in Montreal, the Santa Clara Invitational has attracted 32 members of the United States squad bound for Canada. The meet begins at the George F. Haines International Swim Center on Thursday and runs through Sunday. The competition is a stop on the U.S. Grand Prix Circuit.
Michael Phelps will headline the male participants and has enjoyed tremendous success in Santa Clara during the past. Two years ago, Phelps established his first world record in the 200 individual medley, when he clocked 1:57.94. That swim erased Jani Sievinen’s name from the record book. The Finland star had held the record at 1:58.16.
Aaron Peirsol and Brendan Hansen will also be present and looking to make statements prior to the World Champs. At the United States Trials in April, Peirsol lowered his own world record in the 100 backstroke to 53.17. As for Hansen, the world-record holder in the 100 and 200 breast events won three medals at last summer’s Olympics in Athens.
Natalie Coughlin, a five-time medalist in Athens, will highlight the female competition as she prepares to contest the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle at the World Championships. She’ll be joined by Mary DeScenza, who will swim the 200 freestyle and both butterfly events in Montreal.
Some of the athletes competing are: Natalie Coughlin, Nate Dusing, Mark Gangloff, Brendan Hansen, Kara Lynn Joyce, Klete Keller, Tara Kirk, Jason Lezak, Ryan Lochte, Aaron Peirsol, Michael Phelps, Chris Thompson, Peter Vanderkaay, Neil Walker, Nick Brunelli, Caroline Burckle, Laura Conway, Jayme Cramer, Mary DeScenza, Kelsey Ditto, Jessica Hardy, Margaret Hoelzer, Robert Margalis, Emily Mason, Matt McGinnis, Whitney Myers, Lacey Nymeyer, Emily Silver, Davis Tarwater, Scott Usher, Garrett Weber-Gale and Kate Ziegler.