Press Democrat article re: Santa Clara International


Empire report: Santa Clara Grand Prix draws Sims, Phelps

Published: Monday, June 8, 2009 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 8, 2009 at 9:38 p.m.

More than a dozen Sonoma County high school athletes and recent graduates are expected to compete at the 42nd Santa Clara International Grand Prix swimming event Thursday through Sunday at the Santa Clara/George Haines International Swim Center.

More than 20 Olympians from the Beijing Games are expected to race, including Michael Phelps, making just his second appearance since serving a three-month suspension for being photographed with a marijuana pipe.

Other American Olympic medalists expected to compete include Aaron Peirsol, Ryan Lochte and Katie Hoff. Australian world record holders and Olympic medalists Stephanie Rice and Liesel Jones will also be competing.

The meet, the final leg of the U.S. Grand Prix circuit, serves as the last major competition before the U.S. championships in July.

Many current and former Santa Rosa Neptunes will also be taking part, including Amanda Sims of Montgomery and the University of California. Sims won the NCAA Division I title in the 100 fly this year and will be using this meet as a tuneup for the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia in July.

Maria Carrillo’s Maya DiRado will be among the top seeds in the women’s individual medley events. DiRado, who just finished her junior year, is coming off a silver medal performance in the 200IM at the Mel Zajac International Meet in Vancouver, Canada, in May. Her performance there moved her up to 20th all-time among U.S. women in that event.

Other area high school swimmers competing include Molly Hannis (Santa Rosa High), Jessica Ampuero and Allie Davis (Windsor), Sophia Yamauchi (Montgomery), Lauren Matevish and Matt Stuhr (Maria Carrillo) and Ben Whitenack of Healdsburg. College swimmers from the area include Reid Hartz (Montgomery/UC Davis), Penelope Yamauchi (Montgomery, Arizona State), Allie Stuhr (Maria Carrillo, SRJC, San Diego State) and Heather Cramer (Rancho Cotate, SRJC, San Diego State).