The Irvine Novaquatics Speedo Grand Challenge meet will kick off in Irvine, California on Friday, with some national and international stars on the psych sheets.
Most of Stanford’s big names will be there, including young sprint sensation Simone Manuel, graduating national IM champion David Nolan and post-grad Maya DiRado.
Their Pac-12 rivals from USC will also be fielding a strong team, including rangy freestyler Cristian Quintero and Russian sprint star Vlad Morozov.
And to make things even more interesting, the Cal Golden Bears have sent a strong delegation, led by Olympic backstroker Rachel Bootsma and NCAA champion backstroker Ryan Murphy.
The notable absence out of those college programs is Cal’s Missy Franklin, who has yet to make her official professional debut after wrapping up her collegiate career in March.
In addition, Brazil’s Thiago Pereira is entered, but only in the 200 IM. Still, that would set up a showdown with Cal’s rising star Josh Prenot along with Nolan, who broke the American record in the event during short course season.
The sprint freestyles look elite in both genders, too. Morozov is the obvious star, but also in the running are Cal standout Seth Stubblefield, Utah’s Nick Soedel and former Minnesota All-American Derek Toomey.
Meanwhile, the women are led by Manuel, coming off a stellar freshman season at Stanford. She’ll face California’s Egyptian national Farida Osman, plus her teammate Felicia Lee and Club Trojan Olympian Jessica Hardy.
You can view the full psych sheets here. The meet will run Friday through Sunday.