Spring has just arrived, but swimmers are already looking to summer and the FINA World Championships to be held in just 99 days in Barcelona, Spain.
The Grand Prix in Mesa, Arizona, this week is another checkpoint for swimmers to gauge not only their own training, but that of their competition as well.
While many medal-winning athletes at the London Olympics took training time off to make the rounds of late-night shows, interviews and photoshoots, they are back in the pool now, getting their bodies back to the shape they were pre-Olympic Games.
Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Nathan Adrian and Kathleen Ledecky are among the winners in London who will be competing April 11-13, 2013.
We can expect lowered times in the sprints as the loaded field boasts the likes of Anthony Ervin, Garrett Weber-Gale, Olympic champion Nathan Adrian and newlywed Matt Grevers. While Grevers has been training hard, he took time off last weekend for his wedding in Texas. About a year after his proposal to fellow national team member Annie Chandler at the Missouri Grand Prix went viral, the two married surrounded by many of the Grand Prix participants.
Ryan Lochte is also looking to expand his event list with a qualifying time in the 100 Free as well as his usual specialties of backstroke, medleys and middle-distance swims. Perhaps his performance will give viewers a look at what training goes on behind the scenes of his new show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?,” which premieres the following weekend.
Young phenoms such as Franklin and Ledecky are further solidifying themselves as the new faces of swimming, perhaps setting a new standard for female swimmers as athletes capable of mastering multiple strokes and distances.
While the swimming world is still growing accustomed to the absence of Michael Phelps in the psych sheets, there will be no shortage of action this weekend with the headliners and storylines that follow.
Also expected at the meet are collegiate swimmers, including a few London participants and winners, now that the NCAA swimming season has concluded and athletes can focus on their individual competitions.