This weekend is all about next year for Palo Alto High senior swim standout Jasmine Tosky. What Tosky does at the annual Santa Clara International Grand Prix could go a long way in determining what she does at next summer's U.S. Olympic Trials.
For Tosky, nothing is more important than the Olympic Trials, the final step before the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
"I'm in between groups right now," Tosky said in a newspaper article this week. "I'm still trying to catch up to the top swimmers."
At Santa Clara, Tosky will get a feel of what the Olympic Trials is all about as she competes in the same pool with more than 15 U.S. Olympians -- including gold medalists Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte, Rebecca Soni and Brendan Hansen.
The high-powered meet, which runs Thursday through Sunday at the George F. Haines International Swim Center, is the final stop of the seven-meet 2010-2011 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series.
Tosky will swim an aggressive schedule that could include eight races. If she made one of the three evening races in each event, Tosky could swim 16 times -- not including any relays for her Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics team.
On Friday, she'll have the 100 free, 200 breast and 100 fly. She's seeded the highest in the 100 fly (11th) with a best of 59.43. Christine Magnuson, a 2008 Olympian, leads the field in 57.32.
On Saturday, Tosky has the 400 IM and 200 free, where she is seeded ninth (4:43.90) and eighth (1:58.54), respectively. Elizabeth Beisel is No. 1 in the IM (4:34.04) while Allison Schmidt tops the 200 free (1:56.10.
On Sunday, Tosky is scheduled for the 200 fly, 100 breast and 200 IM. She's seeded No. 6 in the fly (2:09.28), 36th in the breast (1:12.44) and 12th in the 200 IM (2:13.02). NCAA champ Katinka Hosszu (2:06.71) heads the fly, Soni tops the 100 breast (1:04.93) and Australian Emily Seebohm is the No. 1 seed in the IM (2:09.93).
The meet marks the return to competition for two-time Olympian Hansen, who will compete in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes. The field also features U.S. Olympic medalists Amanda Beard, Eric Shanteau, Dana Vollmer plus Stanford grads and '08 Olympians Julia Smit and Elaine Breeden.
Current Stanford swimmers like Miya DiRado, Samantha Woodward, Felicia Lee, Andi Murez, Elizabeth Webb, Andi Taylor, Alex Coville, Matt Thompson, and Bobby Bollier will be joined by Cardinal grads Phillip Morrison, Elizabeth Smith, Kate Dwelley and Eugene Godsoe, among others.
Incoming Stanford freshman Maddy Schaefer from PASA and Gunn senior Rachael Acker will test America's best in the sprints along with Cal standouts Liv Jensen and Colleen Fotsch from Palo Alto. Sacred Heart Prep standouts Tom Kremer and Ally Howe, the swimmers of the year in the West Bay Athletic League this past spring, also will be busy.
The field also includes a strong field of international talent, including Korea's Park Taehwan, Canada's Ryan Cochrane, Brazil's Thiago Pereira, and Australia's Nicholas D'Arcy and Seebohm.
The top medal-winner at the conclusion of the Grand Prix Series will be awarded $20,000, courtesy of USA Swimming. Swimmers are awarded five points for a gold medal, three points for a silver medal and one point for a bronze medal. Missy Franklin is the current leader with 91 points -- well ahead of second-place Ous Mellouli (66 points).
Franklin, most likely, will be the overall winner of the $20,000 prize money. However, to keep her amateur status and swim in college, Franklin probably will donate the money.
The women's 100 back and 100 breast will provide great matchups that include world recordholders. In the back, Olympic gold medalist Coughlin will face rising teenagers Seebohm and Franklin plus and current world recordholder Gemma Spofforth of England.
In the 100 breast, world recordholder Jessica Hardy (1:04.45) will face Soni, who holds the American record in the 200 breast.
For those Phelps' followers, he'll swim the 100 free and 100 fly on Friday, the 200 back on Saturday and the 200 fly on Sunday. Ryan Lochte, the world recordholder in the 200 IM, also will help close the meet on Sunday.
Prelims from Friday through Sunday will start at 9 a.m. Finals those days begin at 5 p.m. The women's 1,500 free and men's 800 free will start on Thursday at 4 p.m.