Michael Phelps heads the list of top American swimmers who will compete at the Summer Nationals Championships starting today at the University of Maryland Campus Recreation Center in College Park.
The five-day event is perhaps the premier national swimming competition of the year. A total of 34 events will be contested.
Plenty of marquee swimmers will participate, including Phelps, of Towson and the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, and Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson.
Phelps, 18, is coming off one of the most impressive World Championships performances in history. At last month's meet in Barcelona, Spain, he won three gold medals and set world records in the 200-meter butterfly (1:53.93), 100 fly (51.47), 200 individual medley (1:57.52, 1:56.04) and the 400 IM (4:09.09). The first swimmer to break records in five events in one meet, he is expected to compete tomorrow.
Thompson, 30, won two gold medals in Spain, with winning performances in the 400 freestyle relay and the 100 butterfly, two silvers (50 fly, 400 medley relay) and a bronze (100 freestyle). She owns a record 26 U.S. national titles and has eight Olympic gold medals, the most of any American female swimmer.
Several of the elite American swimmers are either taking breaks from competition or currently racing around the world and will miss the event in College Park. Several U.S. national team members are coming off the World Championships, which were held in Barcelona from July 20-27, and even more swimmers are competing in the World University Games and Pan American Games this week.
"Just because of the timing of the event, some of the swimmers have to miss the championships," said USA Swimming communications director Mary Wagner.
"It's right in between a lot of swimming [competitions], but should still be great."
Among distinguished swimmers expected to compete are World Championships team members Larsen Jensen, who holds an American record in the 800 freestyle, and Rachel Komisarz, an American record-holder in the 800-meter freestyle relay.
Competition begins today, with the men's and women's 800-meter freestyles at 4 p.m.
At a glance
What: U.S. Summer Nationals
Site: College Park
Times: Preliminaries, 9 a.m.; finals, 6 p.m., each day
Tickets: Available at the door 90 minutes before each session
Information: 301-226-5383; www.usa-swimming.org