WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
February 25, 2013
Florida Gold Coast swimmers are in for a treat at the Area 3 Developmental Championships Saturday at Academic Village Swimming Pool in Pembroke Pines.
South Florida Aquatic Club will host a “Meet The Olympians” session with three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue.
Both swimmers will be available for autographs and photos on Saturday morning from 8-9:30 a.m.
Atkinson trains full-time with SOFLO and grew up in Pembroke Pines and started training at Academic Village Pool as a young teenager.
Donahue is a frequent visitor to South Florida for training with SOFLO and head coach Chris Anderson.
Atkinson is currently training for this summer’s FINA World Championships, July 19-Aug. 4 in Barcelona. She is coming off an outstanding 2012 season that featured a No. 1 world ranking, breaking her own national records and winning Jamaica’s first-ever medals at the World Short Course Championships where she also finaled in all four of her events. She just missed a medal at the 2012 London Olympics where she finished fourth.
Donahue, a Western Kentucky alum, was her college’s first swimmer ever to make the U.S. Olympic swim team and only third swimmer to compete at the Olympics.
Donahue earned a gold medal as a prelims member of the 4×100-meter medley relay she helped qualify for finals where the U.S. took gold. She also won two gold medals at the 2011 Pan American Games and was second at the 2011 National Championships in the 100-meter butterfly.
Donahue is back to full training after undergoing surgery in January to remove her appendix and an ovarian cyst. Her training has been going well and she plans to return to competing on March 15th at a sectional meet in Nashville, Tenn.
Atkinson and Donahue have been training together for the past two weeks in and out of the water including yoga which Atkinson has introduced Donahue to.
The Area 3 meet will be hosted by SOFLO Comets Swim Team and Comets Booster Club. Admission is $4 per session.
Academic Village Pool is located at 17189 Sheridan Street. For more information call 954-538-3721.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org