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PHOENIX, Arizona, November 7. IAN long-awaited return to competition didn’t go as most people may have expected. The Australian Olympic legend swam in the finals of the 100 IM at the Singapore stop of the FINA World Cup, placing seventh with a 56.33. Thorpe has elected to swim off events at this meet, though he left it open to swim the 100 free at an upcoming World Cup meet.

Though most of the media was there to point their cameras and microphones at Thorpe, Chad Le Clos was increasing his lead in the men’s overall world cup points. He picked up three wins and $1,500 more with victories in the 400 IM, 200 fly and 100 IM. All the times he swam were slower than previous World Cup races, but it was enough to get him the wins. On the women’s side, Therese Alshammar won two the 100 fly and 50 free, further securing her eventual overall points victory. Other top swims included a French 1-2 in the men’s 100 back from Jeremy Stravius and Benjamin Stasiulis and an Australian 1-2 in the men’s 100 free, with Cameron McEvoy winning in 47.33 and Kyle Richardson swimming a 47.46.

We’ve got a complete recap of prelims and finals from the first day on

Natalie Coughlin, Tyler McGill and several members of the SwimMAC-Carolina Elite team are gearing up to race in Bolzano, Italy, this weekend, in a short course meters meet that only features 50s and 100s of the strokes, and a 100 IM. Coughlin could be going after her American record in the 100 back, which is 56.08. In Genoa earlier this week, Coughlin swam a 56.47, and tweeted afterward that she ran into the lane rope at the finish. McGill will be the one to watch in the men’s 100 fly, while Josh Schneider and Cullen Jones will battle it out in the 50 free and Nick Thoman should be at the top of the podium in the men’s 100 back.

Back here in the States, a few college meets could bring us some fast swimming. The Texas men will race against Indiana and Michigan today in Ann Arbor, with some of the Longhorns’ top swimmers racing for the first time this weekend, including reigning NCAA champion Eric Friedland. Indiana will be without junior Eric Ress, who is not competing collegiately this year as he prepares to train for the French Olympic Trials, which falls on the same week as the men’s NCAAs.

Michigan, Florida and Stanford’s women’s teams will also race in Ann Arbor this weekend, and the races to watch will come between Florida and Stanford, two teams that could be in the top four nationally at the NCAAs next spring.

After winning four gold medals at the Pan American Games, Amanda Kendall is getting back into collegiate competition this weekend for Louisiana State at their dual meet against Alabama. Kendall should give much-needed assistance on relays, as well as the sprint freestyles.

After a two-week break, the California Golden Bears women’s team will race against Washington State. Cal is the reigning women’s NCAA team champion and features on the roster reigning 100 back NCAA champion Cindy Tran and world championship competitor Caitlin Leverenz.

With Texas A&M moving to the Southeastern conference next year, this weekend’s meet against the University of Texas will be the last time the two teams compete in a dual meet as conference rivals. The rivalry dates back more than three decades to the Southwest Conference and continued through to the Big 12. A&M’s Breeja Larson is showing lots of promise this season, swimming top times in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes last week against Missouri. Larson battled health problems last summer and was unable to compete at nationals, but is looking to be a contender in the breaststrokes at NCAAs. She’ll face off against Texas’ Laura Sogar, who is also a title contender in the breaststrokes.

Lots more college meets are on the schedule this weekend, and we’ll bring you recaps from most of them at

Swimming World will be at the Arizona high school state swimming championships in Mesa tomorrow, streaming the event live in partnership with the Arizona Interscholastic Association. You can see the live streams of Division I and Division II on

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