Nov. 10, 2011
The 2011-12 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series kicks off with the Minnesota Grand Prix, Nov. 11-13 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Top American swimmers, including multiple Olympians and USA Swimming national champions are scheduled to compete.
Prelims will begin each day at 9 a.m. Finals will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 per session or $50 for an all-session pass.
Michael Phelps is entered in the event, but has yet to announce if he will be attending the Grand Prix this weekend!
Some big names are scheduled to complete this weekend including, Missy Franklin, Allison Schmitt, Katie Hoff, Chloe Sutton, Dagny Knutson, Kate Ziegler, Whitney Myers, Kara Lynn Joyce, Rebecca Soni, Jessica Hardy, Christine Magnuson, Ariana Kukors, Amanda Weir, and Dara Torres on the women's side. Some of the big names scheduled to compete for the men are Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps, Peter VanderKay, Brendan Hansen, Mark Gangloff, Ricky Berens, Garett Weber-Gale and Davis Tarwat.
Some of the high seeds that will race for the Gophers include, alumni Jillian Tyler, Ashley Steenvoorden, Haley Spencer, Kyler Van Swol, Derek Toomey and alumni David Plummer.
"The Gophers are looking forward to competing with the best and could not be prouder to have such a prestigious event in our Aquatic Center," said head women's swimming and diving coach Terry Nieszner said. "Right now we have eleven men and eleven women qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trails and hope to come out of this meet with more athletes qualified. This is an awesome experience for our team to compete with the very best and to do so in our home pool."
Grand Prix Day-by-Day Preview
Friday, Nov. 12
Events: 200 free, 100 breast, 100 fly, 400 IM, 400 free relay
The event to watch will be the 200 free. The top 16 seeded time this weekend are faster than the 200 free semifinal qualifying times at the 2008 Olympic Trials.
From a Gopher point of view, the 200 free is the top event of the day. Minnesota All-Americans Haley Spencer, seeded third, and Jillian Tyler, seeded sixth, will battle in the event.
Saturday, Nov. 13
Events: 200 fly, 50 free, 100 back, 400 free, 200 breast, 800 free relay
The 400 free will be an exciting event to watch with many foreign superstars set to compete. Zhang Lin, a Chinese world champion and Olympic silver medalist will compete in this event. He is not the only foreign contender, Yannick Agnel, a French teenager many are projecting to be the next great freestyle superstar will also be competing.
Minnesota's Ashley Steenvoorden, who is seeded fourth will be competing in the 400 free. Steenvoorden competed in the Pan American games in Guadalajara, just a few weeks ago, so she is used to the atmosphere she will be swimming in at the Grand Prix.
Sunday, Nov. 14
Events: 800 free, 200 IM, 200 back, 100 free, 1500 free,400 medley relay
The 800 free will be a intense event to watch with Olympian Chloe Sutton who is seeded second and Gopher Ashley Steenvoorden who is seeded fifth.
Gophers Derek Toomey and Kyler Van Swol will also be exciting to watch compete in the men's 100 free.