The 2014 Arena Grand Prix at Charlotte, presented by SwimMAC, brought together some of swimming’s fastest and most promising. And most of them dipped into our Endless Pool Elite to challenge our swim current, warm up, and just have a little fun.
One of USA Swimming’s six showcases for world-class competition, the four-day event boasted “NCAA stand-outs, USA National Team members, and some of the most talented teenage athletes from across the nation for fierce competition as they prepare for National and World Championships and work toward the 2016 Olympic Games.”
The Endless Pool Elite was positioned squarely in the Athletes’ Zone, and almost all of them took advantage of it. Among those who took on our fastest, biggest, and smoothest swim current were Olympian Connor Jaegar; Wolverines Peter Brumm, Michael Wynalda, and Matt Zimmerman; Madison Kennedy from SwimMAC Carolina Team Elite; and members of the Hoosiers, Tar Heels, and Team Canada.
Tyler Clary used the Endless Pool Elite to warm up immediately before his meets, including the Men’s 200m Backstroke, the event for which he earned the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal.
The coaches’ response to the Endless Pool Elite was overwhelmingly positive. SwimMAC’s own championship coach, David Marsh, heartily welcomed us back to the Grand Prix. Most encouraging was the response from those new to the Elite; coaches from Islanders Aquatics, McMaster University, Tampa Bay Aquatics, and University of North Carolina easily saw the unparalleled training opportunities of the Elite’s industry-best swim current.
The Charlotte event’s storied 29-year history includes more than 130 Olympians, more than 50 Olympic Gold Medalists, and one World Record (Tom Malchow’s 1:55:18 200m Butterfly in 2000). The tremendous attendance increases of recent years are partly due to the participation of swimming's handful of marquee names. Among this year’s other competitors: Olympic Gold Medalists Anthony Ervin, Cullen Jones, Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps, and Allison Schmitt; Olympians Elizabeth Beisel, Conor Dwyer, Lotte Friis, Jessica Hardy, and Micah Lawrence; and a huge number of up-and-comers.
In total, the series awards $150,000 in prize money for individual Olympic-distance events as well as one-year leases on BMW ActiveHybrid 3 sedans for the series’ top male and female. We look forward to visiting Charlotte again in 2015 to celebrate the Grand Prix’s 30th anniversary and share the excitement as the 2016 Olympic games in Rio draw ever closer.