2018 Speedo Grand Challenge
After a whirlwind 2018 so far, that includes what seemed to be the end of her relationship with coach and husband Shane Tusup that seems to be on the path to reconciliation, and a Japanese media tour that included welding her own Iron Lady logo, it seems that we might finally see Hungarian superstar swimmer Katinka Hosszu race this weekend in California. Hosszu appears on the psych sheets for this weekend’s Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine, California, near where she went to college at USC.
Hosszu is a triple Olympic champion from 2016, having won the 100 back, 200 IM, and 400 IM at the Rio Olympic Games. For her encore last year in front of a home crowd in Budapest, she won gold in the 200 and 400 IM for the third consecutive World Championships.
This is a meet she’s raced many times before, though this year will be a bit different as she’s eschewed her previously unparalleled schedules and will instead only swim 6 races in the 3-day event. Her current schedule includes her specialties the 200 and 400 IM, and also the 100 and 200 backstroke. She’s also entered the 50 and 100 free, events that she’s swum less frequently than the others on her schedule (and rarely at global championships).
Hosszu’s last meet was at the Swim Cup Lausanne in Switzerland in December, a week after her 6 gold medal performance at the European Short Course Championships.
In spite of several ‘false-starts‘ and expected 2018 debuts that didn’t happen, Hosszu’s name still appears on the ‘revised’ edition of the psych sheets, so there’s hope.
Anthony Ervin is also expected to make his 2018 debut, having only raced at two stops of the FINA World Cup Series in the fall. The 2000 and 2016 Olympic Champion is entered in his specialty event, the 50 free, as well as the 100 free. In that 50 free, he’s scheduled to race Vlad Morozov, who was recently named to Russia’s team for the 2018 European Championships. He’s also scheduled to swim just the 50 and 100 frees.
Races at the meet will be split into age groups, with both races for swimmers aged 7-12, and open category age groups. US Masters Swimming also lists a sanction for the meet, meaning the USMS members are eligible to break National Records in Irvine.
Other noteworthy names:
- Most of the training group at Cal, both undergrad and post-grad, including Tom Shields, Ryan Murphy, Abbey Weitzeil, Amy Bilquist, Michael Jensen, Justin Lynch, Josh Prenot, Keaton Blovad, Matthew Josa, Katie McLaughlin, and Nick Norman.
- Most of the training group from Team Elite in San Diego (David Marsh’s group), including Katie Meili, Kendyl Stewart, Sarah Gibson, Ryosuke Irie from Japan, and Kathleen Baker (who is a Cal undergrad but trains with Marsh in the summers).
- U.S. National Teamer Will Licon, who will swim mthe 100 breast, 200 breast, 200 IM, and 400 IM
- A group from USC, including Anika Apostalon, Luca Spinazzola, Isabella Rongione, and Indonesian Olympian Siman Sudartawa
- Texas A&M All-American Brock Bonetti, a Bakersfield native and school record holder in the 100 and 200 backstrokes (and 4th in the 100 back at the 2017 U.S. Open)
- National Age Group Record holder Ronald Dalmacio, a 14-year old from Rose Bowl Aquatics
- Open Water National Champion Jordan Wilimovsky
- 13-year old Claire Tuggle, another National Age Group Record holder