PHOENIX, Arizona, October 12. OLYMPIC bronze medalist Lia Neal is going to Stanford next year. The Brooklyn native told Swimming World that the team, coaches and campus at Stanford felt right to her, making her choice a little bit easier. Most know that Neal is a great 100 freestyler, but she'll also contribute in the 50 and 200 frees, events in which she has ranked in the top 10 nationally.
The University of Alabama and Auburn University have had a long and prosperous in-state swimming rivalry, and that heats up later today as the two meet in Auburn. Brett Hawke's Tigers are working their way back to the top of the Southeastern Conference and national rankings, and the Crimson Tide at Alabama are beginning a new era under head coach Dennis Pursley, who is today's guest on “The Morning Swim Show.” We'll bring you results from the meet on swimmingworld.com.
Also starting today is the fourth-annual Rowdy Gaines Classic in Orlando, and the namesake is scheduled to compete in the short course meters Masters meet, and possibly break some world records. Gaines has invited several Olympians and national team members from the 1980s and 1990s to join him, including 200 back Olympic champ Martin Zubero, three-time Olympic champion Brooke Bennett and national champion Michelle Griglione. Alia Atkinson, who placed fourth in the 100 breast at the 2012 Olympics, is also scheduled to swim this weekend. Several Masters world record holders will also be there, so expect to see a few records fall this weekend.
The third meet in the FINA Swimming World Cup starts tomorrow in Stockholm, Sweden, where Katinka Hosszu and Kenneth To will look to extend their leads in the overall points totals. Hosszu is actually tied in the standings with Daryna Zevina, but Zevina is not swimming in Stockholm, giving Hosszu a little bit of an advantage. Jessica Hardy joins the World Cup this weekend and will be racing 100 breast Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte. Anthony Ervin will try to make it three in a row in terms of wins in the 50 freestyle, and he'll probably swim a little bit lighter this weekend, knowing his efforts to raise money to pay for his travel to all eight meets succeeded. Ervin has exceeded his goal of raising $10,000 in donations, and any extra money he raises will go to help underdeveloped nations get clean drinking water. Tom Shields will try to break out of consecutive third-place finishes to get to the top of the podium in the 100 butterfly, despite not being eligible for cash prizes, since he is still competing collegiately. We'll have complete finals recaps for you Saturday and Sunday on swimmingworld.com.