World Champion Swimmers Make a Splash at MU
COLUMBIA - Swimming events for this year's Missouri Grand Prix kick off Friday at the Mizzou Aquatic Center starting at 9 a.m. About a dozen and a half members with the U.S. National Swim Team including Dara Torres and Jessica Hardy are set to compete this weekend. Other notable swimmers come from foreign countries like Ous Mellouli from Tunisia and Simon Burnett of Great Britain.
This year, USA Swimming narrowed its time qualifications for swimmers wanting to participate in a series of swim meets. Mizzou Aquatic Center officials say the change makes the event more competitive and showcases the fast swimmers. Some of the participants are world champions. Jessica Hardy holds three world records for the 50-meter breaststroke (short), 50-meter breaststroke (long) and the 100-meter breaststroke (long).
"This competition (Missouri Grand Prix) is kind of like an in-season meet where we're not really putting too much pressure on ourselves or really worrying about it too much, said Jessica Hardy. The best way that I am preparing for myself is to learn from it and go into it with an open mind."
Officials say swimmers in the Missouri Grand Prix are teens, college students and professional athletes. While, the event interests the public, the event also may attraact prospective students.
"We have probably 14, 15, 16-year olds swimming in this meet, and if they're going to continue on in college, this may be one of their choices for schools to swim," said Chris Seris, Mizzou Aquatic Center manager.
Friday's events include the 200-meter Freestyle, 100-meter Breaststroke, 100-meter Butterfly, 400-meter Individual Medley and 400-meter Freestyle Relay. Swimming events will wrap-up on Monday.