Published: May 25, 2012 11:05:11 AM Updated: Jul 3, 2012 09:19:12 AM
Ashley Delaney, Sarah Katsoulis and Travis Mahoney will join seventeen members of the Australian Olympic Swim Team to compete at the 2012 Santa Clara International Grand Prix in California starting on Thursday 31 May, following warm-up meets in the US and Canada this weekend.
A regular meet on the international circuit, swimmers including triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice, breaststroke champion Leisel Jones and Beijing medallists Hayden Stoeckel, Libby Trickett and Jessicah Schipper will all represent their states at the four-day meet in Santa Clara.
Renowned for its strong competition from US swimmers, as they prepare for their own Olympic Trials, Swimming Australia Head Coach Leigh Nugent sees the Santa Clara meet as the ideal opportunity for athletes to gain valuable racing preparation with the Olympic Games just 63 days away.
“This meet has always been well attended by Australian swimmers and with Queensland sending some 20 swimmers alone, 16 of whom will be heading to London, this is a very important part of the preparation,” said Nugent.
“To be able to race the top US swimmers as they finalise their own preparations is important, and our coaches will have pencilled this meet into their plans from a long way back.”
“Many of the athletes competing will be coming off training camps and still be working extremely hard, having not tapered for these meets, but this race prep is still very important at this stage.”
Among the match-ups expected in California, Beijing Olympic 100m breaststroke champion Leisel Jones is likely to come up against Jessica Hardy and possibly Rebecca Soni, while Nick D’Arcy could also get the chance to race Michael Phelps again over the 200m butterfly.
Fresh from her strong performances at the 2012 EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships in Adelaide in March, Stephanie Rice will also use the meet as another benchmark in her preparation for London, swimming the 200 and 400m IM and 100m butterfly.
South Australia will have dual medallist from the Beijing Olympics Hayden Stoeckel and eight-time Paralympic gold medallist Matthew Cowdrey as state representatives, each competing in three events over the course of the meet.
Olympic debutant Ryan Napoleon and Beijing Olympian Ky Hurst will open the meet for Queensland when they race the 800m freestyle on the first day of competition.
With the Santa Clara International a main drawcard for Australian athletes, swimmers will also compete this weekend at the Canada Cup Mal Zajac International in Vancouver, as well the Speedo Nova meet in Irvine, California.
The 2012 Santa Clara International Grand Prix will be held from May 31 to June 3 with heats from 0900 local time (0200+1 AEST) and finals from 1700 local time (1000+1 AEST). For more info go to www.usaswimming.org
Australian athletes competing in the meet are as follows:
Queensland: Bronte Barratt*, Braiden Camm, Nick D’Arcy*, Brittany Elmslie*, Ellen Fullerton, Jared Gilliland, Ky Hurst*, Leisel Jones*, Yolane Kukla*, Mitch Larkin*, Ned McKendry*, Kenrick Monk*, Ryan Napoleon*, Meagen Nay*, Kylie Palmer*, Stephanie Rice*, Emily Seebohm*, Jessicah Schipper*, Buster Sykes, Libby Trickett*
Victoria: Ashley Delaney, Sarah Katsoulis, Travis Mahoney
South Australia: Matthew Cowdrey, Hayden Stoeckel*
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