Category Archives: Arena Grand Prix

Playing catch up on the blog with this and that

I’ve been a bit busy covering high school sports this week as we head to the playoffs, but I wanted to take a moment to post some links on the Arena Pro Swim in Charlotte last weekend.

Coming off his third-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle, Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian won the 100 free in 48.85 seconds.

“That’s a good starting point,” the 2012 Olympic champion said. “I came here trying to shake a little rust loose, and I think I did a solid job of it. Anytime you dip under 49, you can’t be displeased with it.”

It looks like Nathan’s next meet will be at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara June 18-21.

Now on to the national scene.

Associated Press columnist Paul Newberry (one of my favorites) wrote this story on USA Swimming and Michael Phelps. In other words, let Phelps swim at Worlds. They won’t regret it…

Column: Phelps should be at world championships this summer
PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — When the world’s top swimmers head to Russia this summer for the biggest meet outside the Olympics, one important name will be missing from the U.S. team.

Michael Phelps has been relegated to a backup meet in Texas.

“Is it frustrating? Of course,” Phelps said Friday night after swimming at the Arena Pro Series meet.

He brought this on himself, of course. The most decorated athlete in Olympic history received a six-month suspension following his drunken-driving arrest last September, an appropriate punishment given it was Phelps’ second DUI and he could’ve killed someone with his reckless actions.

USA Swimming tacked on an additional punishment, barring him from the FINA world championships in Kazan, the most important competition leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

That’s where the governing body went too far.

It’s not too late to change course, but USA Swimming has given no indication it will grant Phelps a reprieve, even though he owned up to his actions, went through a treatment program and has, from all indications, maintained his sobriety since the arrest.

So, he’ll settle for San Antonio in early August, competing at the U.S. national championships against swimmers who didn’t qualify for worlds.

“He’d love to have one more world championships,” said his coach, Bob Bowman. “I think that’s hurt him a little bit, hurt his motivation a little bit.”

FINA wants Phelps in Kazan so bad it would be willing to bend the rule book to get him there.

Executive director Cornel Marculescu, who essentially runs the organization as a one-man fiefdom, went so far as to say he would create an extra spot for Phelps, so the U.S. wouldn’t have to kick another swimmer off its team to make room for him.

“It’s important for us to have Phelps there in any way because he’s our pope,” Marculescu told The Associated Press on Friday, while traveling to Kazan for meetings with local organizers.

But he said USA Swimming is sticking to its guns, refusing to scale back the sanctions against Phelps.

“We contacted them,” Marculescu said. “There has been correspondence but no feedback. We told them it’s very important to have Michael Phelps. But they have their own rules.”

Chuck Wielgus, the executive director of USA Swimming, has acknowledged holding some preliminary discussions with Phelps’ representatives about allowing him to compete at worlds.

But those discussions apparently fizzled, and both Bowman and officials from USA Swimming say they’ve passed the point of no return.

“I can tell you we’re going to San Antonio, and that’s where he’s going to swim,” Bowman said. “And that’s it.”

It doesn’t have to be. It’s not too late to make this right.

According to FINA rules, there’s a June 15 deadline for each country to submit its entry list — still a full month away. There’s another potential stumbling block — a preliminary deadline of March 2, in which countries submitted the total number of swimmers they would take to Russia — but Marculescu could waive that rule with the stroke of a pen.

“I’m pretty Cornel would let me swim for any country I wanted to,” Phelps said, chuckling loudly. “But I’m going to respect the decision that was made.”

Jessica Hardy, who missed the 2008 Olympics while serving a one-year suspension for a doping violation, said USA Swimming is sending an important message by sticking to its original penalties: No one is bigger than the sport.

Not even Phelps.

“Consistency is important,” she told the AP. “Having gone through a suspension myself, I think it’s important to be fair across the board.”

For those who only pay attention to swimming at the Olympics, Phelps has turned in some of his greatest performances at the world championships.

€” In 2003 at Barcelona, Phelps set world records in two different events about an hour apart.

€” In 2007 at Melbourne, Australia, he matched Mark Spitz’s performance at the 1972 Munich Olympics by winning seven gold medals, a tantalizing preview of the record eight golds he would claim a year later at the Beijing Olympics.

€” In 2009 at Rome, during the height of the rubberized suit era, rival Milorad Cavic taunted Phelps for sticking with a supposedly inferior model, only to be edged at the wall in an epic 100-meter butterfly that set off perhaps the most raucous celebration of Phelps’ career.

While Phelps is best known for the 18 golds and 22 medals overall that he’s won at the Olympics, his world championship haul is even greater: 26 golds, six silvers and one bronze.

“As a fan, I’d love to see him try it again,” Bowman said. “But that’s just not in the cards.”

While we admire Wielgus for taking a tough stand against DUI, and we’re not in any way justifying Phelps’ conduct that September night, the initial six-month suspension was sufficient.

Now, it’s time for common sense to prevail.

The world’s best swimmers will be in Russia this summer.

The greatest of them all should be there, too.

AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report.

Paul Newberry is a national writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at or on Twitter at

Also, if you weren’t aware, Bob Bowman is leaving NBAC to coach in the Pac-12, which is great news for the conference and I hope will somehow have a trickle down effect as universities add swimming programs (ahem, Washington?).

Of course, that also meant that Phelps will continue to train with Bowman and will make the move to Tempe, Arizona. You can read more about that here.

Adrian edged by Fratus in 50 free finals in Austin

Brazil’s Bruno Fratus edged Nathan Adrian of Bremerton in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle Friday at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin, Texas.
Fratus won in a time of 21.91 seconds, to set a world junior record. Adrian touched the wall in 22.17 while Kristian Gkolam of the University of Alabama was third in 22.31.
Adrian had already won the 100 freestyle on Thursday and was looking to make it a clean sweep of the sprint freestyles.

Adrian wins 100 free at Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian won the 100-meter freestyle at the Arena Pro Swim Series meet at Austin, Texas, Thursday.

Adrian touched the wall a half a bodylength ahead of Conor Dwyer in 49.11 seconds. Dwyer finished in 49.60 and Ryan Murphy was third in 49.88.

It was Adrian’s first race of the calendar year. He was in second place in the APS series’ overall standings behind Tyler Clary heading into Thursday’s event.

Adrian is in training for the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, July 24-August 9. The worlds are a pre-curser to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Adrian back in water at Austin Pro Series

Bremerton Olympic champion Nathan Adrian is one of several headliners that is scheduled to compete in the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin, Jan 15-17. The series was formally known as the Arena Grand Prix. Also scheduled to swim are Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte, Tyler Clarey, Ntalie Coughlin, Anthony Ervin and Matt Grevers.

The three-day meet will take place at the University of Texas’ swimming center. Prelims are at 7 a.m. with finals at 4 p.m. Pacific time.

Universal Sports Network will air TV coverage of the meet Jan. 16 and 17 (check local listings for time). Also, USA Swimming will webcast the complete meet.

Adrian, Ledecky highlight winter nationals

Gold medalists Nathan Adrian and Katie Ledecky will compete at USA Swimming’s winter nationals at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina next week.

More than 800 swimmers are expected to participate in the meet, Dec. 3-6. Prelims are at 6 a.m. Pacific with finals at 2 p.m. Also expected to join Adrian and Ledecky are Andrew Gemmell, Connor Jaeger, Cullen Jones and Micah Lawrence.

Adrian holds the American record in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events. He is coming off a Golden Goggles appearance where he was nominated along with his teammates for relay performance of the year in the 400 medley relay from the Pan Pacific Championships.
Ledecky won three Golden Goggles Monday in New York.

A live webcast of the meet can be found at

Also, here’s extra footage from Nathan at the Arena Grand Prix in Minneapolis where he talks about his 200 free race strategy. And, how he felt about his 50 free time.

Bremerton’s Adrian completes freestyle sweep at Arena GP

Nathan Adrian of Bremerton swept the freestyles at the Arena Grand Prix in Minneapolis Saturday.

Adrian, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, won the 100-yard freestyle in 41.49 seconds. He won the 50 free on Friday. Spain’s Miguel Ortiz-Canavate was second in 42.65 and Great Britain’s James Disney-May was third in 42.81.

Winners earn $1,000 while $600 is awarded to second place and $200 for third.

Nathan Adrian wins 50 free at Arena GP

Here’s the story from the Associated Press on Nathan’s win in the 50 freestyle at the Arena Grand Prix in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nathan Adrian won the 50-yard freestyle in under 19 seconds in the Arena Grand Prix on Friday night in Minneapolis.

Adrian was a half-second ahead of the rest of the field. Bruno Frautus of Brazil was second in 19.33, and Miguel Ortiz Canavate of Spain took third in 19.42.

“Anytime I get under 19, I’m pretty happy about it,” Adrian said. “There are a couple details I can shore up in there and find a couple hundredths here or there, and hopefully I get 18.7, maybe even 18.6 by the end of the year.”

Elizabeth Beisel and Tyler Clary each earned a second win in the meet, while fellow Olympians Caitlin Leverenz and Connor Jaeger won their events.

Beisel led all the way in the 500 free, touching in 4 minutes, 37 seconds. Clary won the 200 butterfly in 1:44.73.

Leverenz won the women’s 200 fly in 1:54.34. Maya DiRado was second in 1:54.97, while Beisel and Katie McLaughlin tied for third in 1:55.15.

Jaeger won the 500 free in 4:15.05, while Clary was second in 4:18.45.

Other winners were: Margo Geer in the 50 free; Beata Nelson in the 100 backstroke; BJ Johnson in the men’s 200 breaststroke; Junya Koga of Japan in the 100 back; Kierra Smith of Canada in the 200 breast.

The three-day, short-course yards meet ends Saturday at the University of Minnesota.

I also found a link to watch the race here and here’s the link for the 200 free final from Thursday where Nathan finished second

Adrian second in 200 free at Arena GP in Minneapolis

Nathan Adrian
Nathan Adrian

Bremerton’s Olympic champion Nathan Adrian finished second in the 200-yard freestyle at the Arena Grand Prix in Minneapolis Thursday.

Adrian, who races for California Aquatics, finished behind North Baltimore’s Conor Dwyer, who led from start to finish in the short-course race, in 1 minute, 34.87 seconds. Dwyer won in 1:33:69 and Tyler Clary of SwimMAC was third in 1:34.97.

Adrian still holds the Washington state high school record in the event, set Feb. 18, 2006 in 1:37.17.

Adrian is slated to swim in the 50 free Friday and 100 free on Saturday.

Also, Adrian’s coach Dave Durden of California-Berkeley, was named the head coach for the men’s team for the world championships in Russia next year. Mike Bottom coached Adrian in his first year at Cal and at The Race Club prior to Adrian qualifying for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Here’s the story from the Associated Press;

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Swimming has chosen its coaching staffs for three major international meets next year, with Dave Durden of California and Dave Salo of Southern California leading the teams for the world championships in Russia.

Durden will coach the U.S. men at the world meet in Kazan, while Salo will oversee the women’s team during the Aug. 2-9 competition.

Jason Turcotte of Dynamo Swim Club will coach the U.S. men at the Pan American Games in Toronto, while Matt Kredich of Tennessee will guide the women during the July 14-18 meet.

Mike Bottom of Michigan will coach the men’s team and Ray Looze of Indiana will oversee the women at the World University Games in South Korea from July 4-11.

Adrian, Dwyer, Clary to headline Arena GP in Minnesota

Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian is one of several Olympians who will swim at the first Arena Grand Prix meet of the year, Nov. 20-22, in Minneapolis.

Also swimming at the short-course meet is Tyler Clary, Conor Dwyer, Caitlin Leverenz, Elizabeth Beisel and more.

Arena just upped the prize money for this season, which you can read about here, with winners snagging $1,000, $600 for second and $200 for third place.

Arena doubles Grand Prix prize money

The Arena Grand Prix Series will have twice the amount of prize money available to winners this season.

The series, which kicks off Nov. 20-22 at the GP at Minneapolis, will feature $300,000 in overall prize money. Swimmers earn awards for top-three finishes in all individual Olympic events in the series and $1,000 will be given to first place, $600 for second and $200 for third. The overall male and female winners of the series will earn a $10,000 bonus.

Here’s the schedule;

Nov. 20-22 at Minneapolis, Jan. 15-17 at Austin, Feb. 12-14 at Orlando, April 15-18 at Mesa, Arizona, May 14-17 at Charlotte, June 18-21 at Santa Clara.