Michael Phelps (probably) coming to the Aquatic Center this weekend

by Lindsay Guentzel

Michael Phelps is coming to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Probably. Just days away from the much-anticipated Minnesota Grand Prix, USA Swimming released a statement on its website headlining Olympian Michael Phelps as one of this weekendâÄôs top competitors. But the University has yet to confirm Phelps as a participant, even though he is already registered to compete in three Grand Prix events: the 100-yard freestyle, the 100-yard backstroke, and the 100-yard butterfly. Phelps became an icon in the swimming world after winning a record-breaking eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and if he does compete this weekend, it will be his first event since last AugustâÄôs Pan Pacific Championships. While Phelps is still unconfirmed, there are other Olympic athletes competing this weekend that will attract attention from spectators. Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens, Chloe Sutton and Christina Magnuson will all compete, as well as University alumnae David Plummer and Christine Jennings âÄî both reigning U.S. champions. Members of the GophersâÄô menâÄôs and womenâÄôs swimming and diving teams will also participate in the three-day event that allows collegiate swimmers to compete against some of the worldâÄôs top talent. âÄúItâÄôs open to USA Swimming members as well as swimmers from around the world that want to compete,âÄù womenâÄôs co-head coach Kelly Kremer said. âÄúItâÄôs a really nice collection of elite swimmers that will be here.âÄù The Gophers will have one Olympian sporting maroon and gold this weekend: senior Jillian Tyler who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics for Canada. She will compete in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley, along with teammates Ashley and Kristen Steenvoorden, who competed in the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials. âÄúThis is probably one of the most balance and mature teams weâÄôve had, particularly to start a year,âÄù Kremer said. âÄúThey are really committed to staying together and supporting each other.âÄù Bringing in an undefeated breaststroke record, senior Ivan Gutesa will also compete in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststoke and the 200-yard individual medley. âÄúBy performance in our practices, a lot of sprinters are doing way better than last year,âÄù said Gutesa, who was named last weekâÄôs Big Ten Swimmer of the Week. âÄúMy times are pretty good right now.âÄù