At the 2013 Arizona Invitational, co-hosted this coming weekend by Sun Devil Aquatics and the Mesa Aquatic Club, has a decent run of competition for its three age group separations: 10 & under, 11-12, and 13 & up. It’s attracted a few NCAA-level college swimmers from surrounding programs like Alana Pazevic and Michael Sheppard from Arizona, or Melanie Busch and Alex Coci from Arizona State.
South African Darian Townsend, who sat out his country’s World Championship Trials this year, will be at the meet as well, and will have some good middle-distance races against Arizona All-American undergrad Matt Barber.
Most of the big names from the area (Grevers, Smith, Magnuson) are taking a pass on the meet this season.
The exception should give a big, and very tense, showdown in the men’s 50 free, where South African Roland Schoeman and Brazilian Cesar Cielo will go head-to-head. The two have both qualified to swim the race for their respective countries at Worlds.
The 50 free will be Cielo’s only entry, and Schoeman will also race the 100 free and the 100 fly (he trains in Phoenix, so the meet is a little closer to home for him.)
The dynamic here is kind of interesting, because after Cielo tested positive for a banned substance in 2011, and was given just a warning by the Brazilian federation, Schoeman penned a critical editorial for The Swimmers Circle (our predecessor site) about the dangerous precedent it set.
Both men are professionals, however, so one wouldn’t imagine any visible issues on deck.
Schoeman (21.88) and Cielo (21.57) rank 7th and 3rd in the world thus far in 2013, respectively; Cielo is coming off of a minor knee surgery after the Olympics, but expects to be ready in time for Barcelona.