PHOENIX, Arizona, November 8. THE college season is in full force as we continue through the month of November. But some schools are just beginning their dual meet line-up.
Yesterday afternoon, several Division I universities held mid-week dual meets. Rival schools Southern Methodist and Texas Christian engaged their men's teams, with Southern Methodist taking a narrow win over Texas Christian in the Mustang's first dual meet of the season.
The number 3 ranked Stanford men hosted number five-ranked Cal in a unique triple-distance meet yesterday. The meet was arranged so that athletes divided into six specialty groups, with three events in each category. For example, the sprinters competed in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events while the IMers tackled the 100, 200 and 400 IM events. By arranging the meet in this way, the Stanford and California men came away knowing which team was more dominant in each specialty area. No overall team score was recorded, and the meet did not count towards either team's dual meet record.
In USA swimming news, tomorrow kicks off the first meet of the USA Swimming Grand Prix Circuit. Round 1 will be held at the University Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The meet marks the first time several US Olympians return to competition since the completion of the London Olympics. Missy Franklin has entered the meet with a full schedule of freestyle and backstroke, very reminiscent of her event schedule in London. Franklin previously won the Grand Prix circuit for the women, but turned down the prize money to maintain her collegiate eligibility. Other female Olympians racing in Minneapolis include Claire Donahue, who will be dominant in the butterfly events, and Chloe Sutton, racing mostly mid- and distance freestyle events.
On the men's side, Ryan Lochte is making his first competitive appearance since the Olympics. There doesn't seem to be much he isn't swimming in Minneapolis, entering in everything from the 50 freestyle to the 500. Conor Dwyer, a London Olympic gold medalist in the men's 800 freestyle relay, is heading to Minneapolis racing a similar schedule. The two will undoubtedly go head-to-head in a number of events. Several other London Olympians are racing this weekend, including Scott Weltz in his signature breaststroke events, and Jimmy Feigen in several sprint freestyle races. Another notable competitor is Garrett Weber-Gale, the 2008 gold medalist in the men's 400 freestyle and 400 medley relay. After failing to qualify for the London Olympics, he will make his first come back in Minneapolis.
Looking across the Globe, we head to Singapore our second weekend event. Singapore is the last stop of the exciting 2012 FINA World Cup Circuit. The Circuit started in the Middle East in early October, then transitioned to Europe, and finally ended with a third and final leg in Asia. Singapore competitors will be awarded triple points in every race, which will factor heavily into who is crowned the overall Circuit winner for both men and women.