PHOENIX, Arizona, November 9. WE have a lot to look forward to this weekend, with meets taking place in college swimming, USA Swimming and those internationally sanctioned through FINA.
Let's start with our college teams. There are a number of match-ups to watch out for this weekend, starting with USC hosting the Arizona Wildcats early this afternoon in California. USC's women's team is currently ranked first in a weekly poll conducted by the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA). They are led by Olympic silver medalist and team captain Haley Anderson. On Saturday, Arizona will also battle against UCLA.
This afternoon, the Georgia men and women will race against Missouri for the first time in a dual meet format. Missouri joined the Southeastern Conference this season, and both sides are going into today's dual with a winning record. Georgia will be a tough foe to beat, with the women undefeated and ranked second in the CSCAA polls.
In USA Swimming news, the first session of the Minnesota Grand Prix kicked off at the University of Minnesota this morning, and we can already expect an exciting finals session tonight. In the 200 freestyle, Missy Franklin, Dagny Knutson and Chloe Sutton are seeded top amongst the women while Trojan Swim Club's Mads Glaesner out-touched Ryan Lochte for lane four tonight on the men's side. Claire Donahue will also be racing from lane four in the finals of the women's 100 butterfly, joining Knutson who snagged another finals spot. Lochte, unsurprisingly, has top billing amongst the men in that event.
But the biggest race of the morning came from 14-year-old Rebecca Mann of Clearwater Aquatics, earning the top seed by nearly ten seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, Isabella Rongione, of The Fish. It should be noted that Rongione is 13-years-old herself. Lots of fast swimming from our young US swimmers at the Minneapolis Grand Prix. Look for event re-caps from Swimming World after each finals session.
Although those of us in the United States are still eagerly anticipating the weekend, it is already tomorrow in Singapore, which means that prelims of the final 2012 FINA World Cup meet will begin in a few hours' time. The competition is worth double points in FINA scoring. At this time, Katinka Hosszu has a comfortable lead on the women's side and is pretty much a cinch for the $100,000 grand prize that will be awarded at the conclusion of this weekend's meet. The men's race is a bit closer, and will be dependent on the outcome of several key races over the weekend. At present, Australia's Kenneth To is leading Trinidad and Tobago's George Bovell by 20 points, and Japan's Daiya Seto by 48. We'll keep you updated on the finals of the Singapore World Cup through our Twitter account.