The 2014 Speedo Grand Challenge is underway in Irvine, California, and it’s been swimmers with Stanford ties making the big splashes early on the senior stage.
The Grand Challenge features a unique event format: in the senior events, the top 4 out of prelims in each qualify for the main event of the night. At finals, those four go head to head, with the top three winning prize money. Third place earns $100, second place $200 and the winner spins a “mystery prize wheel” to determine their winnings, which can range from $300 to $1000.
Recent Cardinal grad Maya DiRado is the top seed in the first event, the 200 IM. She was second in this event last year, and is in line to move up to the top spot this year after going 2:15.02 in prelims. Palo Alto’s Karlee Bispo is a close second at 2:15. They’ll be joined in the final by DiRado’s Stanford teammate Felicia Lee and USC’s Jasmine Tosky.
In the 200 free, it’s Stanford pro Jason Dunford with the lead time. His 1:52.38 tops USC star Cristian Quintero‘s 1:52.79. Stanford alum Bobby Bollier is also in the final, as is current Cardinal Tom Kremer.
More Stanford domination of the women’s 100 breast: Sarah Haase is the top seed at 1:10.77, but she’ll have to fight off Olympian Jessica Hardy, who sits second for Club Trojan in 1:11.18.
For the men, Trojan Azad al-Barazi just nipped New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders 1:02.83 to 1:02.85. Also into the final are Louisville alum Carlos Almeida and al-Barazi’s Trojan teammate Mike Alexandrov.
Fresh off her national high school record in the 50 yard free, Abby Weitzeil is jumping into the long-course pool and finding more success: she’s the top seed in the women’s 50 free, going 25.86 to sit just ahead of Cheyenne Coffman and her 25.91. Jessica Hardy and Stanford rising sophomore Lia Neal are also into the championship heat.
The men also swam the 200 IM, with Stanford’s Max Williamson going 2:05.43. Second is Aquazot swimmer and Princeton commit Corey Okubo in 2:05.69. Those two are about two seconds up on breaststrokers Carlos Almeida and Mike Alexandrov, who also made the top 4.
Finally, Lynette Lim will lead the final 4-person championship heat tonight. She went 4:21.37 for top billing in the 400 free with 15-year-old Valerie Slowing just behind in 4:22.59. This is a young final, with Remedy Rule (17) and Shae Nicolaisen (13) joining the top 4.
The men also swam the 1500, which is swum with the normal top 8 making it back for finals. 17-year-old Brendan Casey is the top seed with a 15:54.46, but Simon Lamar, 14, is nipping at his heels with a 15:55.46. The final will be swum on Sunday.
The meet also features events for age groups swimmers, though results have not yet come in on all events.
You can find live results here. Finals begin at 5 PM Pacific Time.