Sports

DiRado, Manuel expected to swim in Santa Clara meet

 

Olympic gold medalists and world recordholders Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps are expected to lead a group of more than 50 members of the USA Swimming National Team headlining the field for the Arena Pro Swim Series in Santa Clara, which gets underway Thursday.

Additional local standouts expected to compete include current and former Stanford swimmers Maya DiRado, Simone Manuel and Lia Neal, as well as several members of the 2015 Cal women's NCAA title-winning team, including Franklin, Rachel Bootsma and Elizabeth Pelton.

Additional individual Olympic gold medalists expected to swim at the George F. Haines International Swim Center include Nathan Adrian, Natalie Coughlin and Anthony Ervin of California Aquatics, as well as Tyler Clary, Matt Grevers and Allison Schmitt.

The action opens with a timed-final distance session (4 p.m.) on Thursday. The meet continues June 19-21 with prelims at 9 a.m., followed by finals at 5 p.m.

The four-day meet serves as the sixth and final stop of the 2014-15 Arena Pro Swim Series formerly known as the Arena Grand Prix Series. Defending series champions Conor Dwyer and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary enter the 2014-15 finale as the series leaders with 61 and 63 points, respectively. Just a half-point separates the top American women, as Caitlin Leverenz holds a 39-38.5 edge over Elizabeth Beisel.

A number of current Cal men's swimmers are slated to swim in Santa Clara, including the likes of National Team members Ryan Murphy, Jacob Pebley and Josh Prenot.

The Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara is the sixth and final stop of the 2014-15 Arena Pro Swim Series. The series provides the nation's best swimmers the opportunity to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil with twice the prize money as last season on the line.

"Using the Arena Pro Swim Series name makes it immediately recognizable to fans and media that our sport's absolute best athletes are racing in the hometowns of swimmers and sports fans," said USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch. "At the same time, anyone who posts a qualifying time is eligible, just as it has been, so it creates a unique opportunity for high school and collegiate swimmers to challenge themselves against top competition. In many ways, it's like playing in the same game as LeBron James or a Tour event with Tiger Woods."

As part of USA Swimming's partnership with swimwear leader Arena, the Arena Pro Swim Series features $300,000 in overall prize money. Eligible swimmers may earn awards for top-three finishes in all individual Olympic events across the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be provided for a first-place finish, $600 for second and $200 for third. In addition to the single-event prize money, the overall male and female winners of the season-long Series will earn a $10,000 bonus.

For the second consecutive season, USA Swimming partner BMW will award the grand prize of a one-year lease of a BMW ActiveHybrid 3 to the highest-scoring eligible male and female U.S. swimmers.

Male and female overall Arena Pro Swim Series champions will be honored at the conclusion of the 2014-15 series based on the number of points accumulated throughout the six meets. Participants will be awarded points in each individual Olympic event throughout the duration of the Series (Five points for first, three for second, one point for third place).

Universal Sports Network will air exclusive live television coverage of the meet on June 19 and 20 at 5 p.m., with play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson and analyst Rowdy Gaines calling the action from Santa Clara. Additionally, a webcast of the complete meet will be available at usaswimming.org.

Tickets are required for each session, and all- and single-session passes are on sale now. Full meet information can be found at usaswimming.org.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Swimming

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