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May 18, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Phelps heads meet at Stanford Phelps heads meet at Stanford (May 18, 2005)

by Keith Peters

Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin were 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, both realize it's time to move on. That's why both already are 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 Friday through Sunday at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.

Phelps will compete in six events while Coughlin will swim two, only on Saturday. The 23-year-old will be busy Friday, graduating from Cal.

This weekend's meet is part of a four-event U.S. tour 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 this 2005 Grand Prix event," said Dean Ekeren, National Events Director for USA Swimming. "After a tremendously successful National Championships last summer, we know the venue and the people at Stanford can run an exceptional event, and 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 in her 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.

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. Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics (PASA) once is hosting the invitational.


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