USA Swimming officially released the psych sheet for the 2014 Mesa Grand Prix. Mesa is a very popular Grand Prix stop that features a large number of world-class swimmers every year. This year the meet has received international media attention surrounding Michael Phelps’ return to competition. This will be Phelps’ first swim meet since the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The meet features several stars in addition to Phelps including Ryan Lochte, Nathan Adrian, Simone Manuel, Anthony Ervin, Conor Dwyer, Yannick Agnel, Natalie Coughlin, Tom Shields, Micah Lawrence, Breeja Larson, Allison Schmidt, Darian Townsend, Roland Schoeman, Kevin Cordes, Lotte Friis, Katie Ledecky, Tyler Clary, Eugene Godsoe, Matt Grevers, Megan Romano, Elizabeth Beisel, and many more.
Phelps’ line up is light compared to his typical meet line-up and is entered into only three events. He is seeded 8th in the 100 freestyle (49.05), 26th in the 50 freestyle (23.10), and 1st in the 100 butterfly (50.86). Those 100 free and fly times are both from 2012, though he hasn’t swum a 50 meter free since 2010. He will be facing off against Ryan Lochte in the 100 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.
Phelps will also be welcomed back racing side-by-side in the men’s 50 free against Michael Andrew, who will be 15 by the time the two match up. Barring any scratches, Andrew is the 25th seed and Phelps is the 26th seed. That puts them outside of the circle-seeded heats, which means that the two will be side-by-side in prelims. That should give the opportunity for some really interesting comparisons between the two.
Lochte is entered in 6 events; 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 backstroke, and the 200 IM. That’s a similar lineup to what we saw him entered in for the last Grand Prix in Orlando, though weather caused him to be scratched down to the 200 back and the 100 free. The 200 IM continues to be the big question mark in this lineup. We haven’t seen him test his knee since the injury in the fall that kept him out of Winter Nationals and Duel in the Pool, at least not in a full three-day schedule or in any breaststroke races.
Phelps isn’t the only one making a comeback, of sorts, at this meet. Katie Hoff has been swimming some local meets in south Florida, however this will be her first meet back to major national-level competition since the 2012 Olympic Trials.
On the women’s side it will be fun to watch Lotte Friis and Katie Ledecky compete in the distance freestyle events. Both swimmers were very fast when they raced less than a year ago in Barcelona and went 1-2 in both the 800 and 1500 freestyles.
A full preview, including races to watch and links, will be out early next week.