WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 17, 2011
Training in Gainesville seems to agree with two-time Olympian Peter Vanderkaay.
Vanderkaay, 27, swimming unattached after moving out of the Michigan cold, won the 800-meter freestyle on opening day of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championship Thursday at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.
Vanderkaay topped a field of 62 swimmers to win in 8 minutes, 15.62 seconds ahead of William Silva, 18, of Gator Swim Club (8:16.12) and Alexander Hamilton, 15, of New York Athletic Club (8:23.13).
The three-time Olympic medalist in Athens and Beijing and U.S. national team member moved from Michigan, where he swam for the Wolverines and trained with post-grads for nine years, to Gainesville to train with Ryan Lochte and U.S. Olympic and Florida coach Gregg Troy at the University of Florida’s Gator Swim Club.
“I needed to shake things up,” Vanderkaay said. “I felt like I needed to get out of my comfort zone. There’s something to be said for a change of scenery, especially nearing the Olympic year.”
The top local finisher was Pine Crest Swimming’s Thomas Veale, 17, fourth in 8:23.84, well under the Junior National cut time (8:35.59).
Most of South Florida Aquatic Club’s 30-swimmer contingent competes in Friday’s prelims including Olympian Vlad Polyakov and Olympic hopeful Julie Stupp.
Other Day One winners were:
Miyam Castaneda, 21, of Jalisco topped a field of 59 swimmers to win the 1500-meter freestyle in 16:36.37. The top local finisher was FLA’s Damaris Iriondo, 17, sixth in 17:17.66.
ANV-ZZ “A” relay of Sharon Rodriguez Rivera, Eva Castello Bello, Daniela Gomez Barrientos and Martha Aleja Beltran Sanchez won the women’s 200-meter medley relay in a season-best 2:02.56 ahead of Fort Lauderdale Aquatics in 2:02.90.
Davie Nadadores “A” relay of Vinicus Kleinert, Genaro Prono, Ismael Ortiz and Daniele Tirabassi won the men’s 200-meter medley relay in 1:45.57.
Davie Nadadores “A” won the women’s 200-meter freestyle relay in 1:48.76.
Davie Nadadores “A” won the men’s 200-meter freestyle relay in 1:35.57 and its “B” relay finished second in 1:38.43.
After six events on Day One, Davie Nadadores lead the men’s team standings with 138 points followed by Fort Lauderdale with 127 and Pine Crest with 126.
Davie also leads the women’s team standings with 123 ahead of Bluefish Swim Club with 114.
IF YOU GO
What: Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championship
Schedule: Friday, 9 a.m. prelims, 5 p.m. finals; Saturday, 9 a.m. prelims, 5 p.m. finals; Sunday, 9 a.m. prelims, 5 p.m. finals.
Where: Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, 501 Seabreeze Blvd.
Admission: $6 per session including heat sheet. For information call 954-468-5590.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com