May 18, 2005
Stanford, Calif. - Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin are the most decorated swimmers from the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. Phelps won eight Olympic medals, six of them gold. Coughlin won five medals, two of them gold.
While Olympic memories for both are still very vivid, they are already moving on and preparing for this summer's FINA World Swimming Championships in Montreal, Canada.
Phelps and Coughlin will take another step forward in that preparation by competing in the inaugural Stanford University Invitational Grand Prix meet this Friday through Sunday at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.
Phelps will compete in six events while Coughlin will swim two events. The 23-year-old Coughlin will only be swimming on Saturday since she will be busy graduating from Cal.
This weekend's meet, hosted by Stanford Men's and Women's Swimming and Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (PASA), is part of a four-event U.S. Grand Prix circuit and comes on the heels of a successful U.S. National Championships staged last summer at Stanford.
"USA Swimming is excited to return to the Avery Aquatic Center and Stanford University for 2005 Stanford Grand Prix event," said Dean Ekeren, National Events Director for USA Swimming. "After a tremendously successful National Championships last summer, we are thrilled to be back at such an outstanding venue and we know that the PASA organization runs exceptional events. We look forward to returning many times in the future."
While Phelps and Coughlin are the most honored Olympians competing this weekend, the field is filled with fellow Olympians and 2005 World Championship Team teammates.
Stanford graduate Tara Kirk, a 2004 Olympian in the 100-meter breaststroke, won both breaststroke events at the World Championship Trials in March and heads those fields this weekend. Along with Kirk, Stanford 2005 World Team members Kristen Caverly, Randall Bal, Jayme Cramer and Ben Wildman-Tobriner will be competing in their home pool.
Cal grad Duje Draganja, who won an Olympic silver for his native country Croatia in the 50 free, will challenge Phelps in the 100 free on Friday.
iPod Minis will be awarded to all individual event winners.
Prelims each day begin at 9 a.m., with finals at 5 p.m. Tickets for adults and students are $5 and $3 for prelims and $8 and $6 for finals, respectively. All-session passes are $25 and $20. Tickets are available at the meet and at 1.800.STANFORD.
Meet information can be found at stanfordinvite.org