Phelps being hounded for autographs by swimmers

Sunday night after the One Hour Swim I went to the Long Beach Grand Prix with my coaches Nancy and Ahelee. I’ve really never been to a meet as a just a spectator and it was cool to start with a meet that had so many big names in it! All kinds of swim stars were floating around… Phelps, Grevers, Katajima, Lezak, Hardy, Soni, Kukors, Vollmer, Hoff, Sutton, Pelton, and more! I’d also like to point out that a local Masters Swimmer who has been a bit of a regular since summer at SPMA meets was in the mix as well. Tamas Kerekjarto of FAST was in the A final of the 200 yard free and the 200 yard fly! Now I feel much better about losing the 100m fly to him by like 12 seconds at Santa Clarita back in November!

We got to Belmont (the same pool that I swam in last month for SPMA Championships) early to watch warm ups. The areas non-Athletes could access were pretty well protected, but I did get to hang out behind the scenes a bit with LiveSwim who was handling the live streaming for SwimNetwork. Chris and his guys were out in full force with cameras all over that pool and up on the diving towers! While I was back there I ran into one of my training buddies from Santa Maria who was there coaching which was cool.

Before the meet itself actually got started I worked my way back to the bleachers so I could watch the races. We sat in the good section… the bleachers down by the deep end… it was super crowded and they were turning people away from that area who didn’t already have seats w/in 30 min of the doors opening. Luckily Nancy grabbed us seats early.

I’m a little behind on the news in regards to this meet, there are plenty of recaps and results out there so I’m just going to give you a few of my observations and some pictures…

  • It’s not as cool being Micheal Phelps as you would think… the guy can’t move at meet without being coated in kids. Michael had a USA Swimming guy follow him around the whole time and hold his stuff so the kids wouldn’t attempt to run off with a surreptitiously acquired souvenir!
  • Phelps is a procrastinator… he doesn’t go ahead and destroy you until the last lap of a race. His last turn in the 400IM was otherworldly, he picked up a whole body length out of nowhere.
  • The elite kids seem to be all about deck changing which seems like a recipe for disaster to me… when Jessica Hardy is deck changing at least 80% of the dudes in attendance are completely unaware of the fact a swim meet is going on… I may have been part of this 80% :)
  • Katajima’s pull downs defy the laws of physics and are totally unreal to watch in person! I’m still trying to figure out how it works.
  • Grevers is about 11 feet tall in real life.
  • When it came to suits, the majority of the girls were in shortjohns… the guys were about 75/25 jammers to briefs.
  • My local college, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was out in full force and doing an awesome job! Way to go guys!

    behind the scenes with LiveSwim

    start of the men’s 200 yard freestyle

    Jessica Hardy up on the blocks

    Katie Hoff in the red suit talking to her coach

    Phelps in the 400IM

    After the meet we grabbed dinner in Long Beach. The restaurant was pretty empty but Matt Grevers and some of his friends were eating about 2 tables over from us. I wanted to be a geek fan boy and say hi, but after seeing how badly he was hounded by kids for autographs I figured it was best to let him have his evening to himself. We got out of Long Beach around 9 and I didn’t get home until after 1 in the morning! Normally I would have had this up on the blog sooner but between driving, sleep, and power outages I’ve been a little behind! Anyways, I should be back into a pool tonight!

  • 2 Responses to “Quick Visit to USA Swimming’s Long Beach Grand Prix”

    1. Ahelee says:

      "Coated in Kids"… love it!

      Excellent to see the crowds out to watch the swim action.
      I never get over the thrill of watching some of THE BEST SWIMMERS in the world right here on our home turf.

      Great racing all 4 days!
      Jessica Hardy 58.99
      Rebecca Soni 59.00

      Your cool new camera caught some excellent footage Rob – thanks for posting!

    2. Rob D says:

      Thanks for bringing me with you! It was fun!