By Sharon Robb
February 11, 2014
South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented at this weekend’s Orlando Arena Grand Prix at the YMCA Aquatic Center.
Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson heads the six-swimmer contingent for the three-day meet that begins on Thursday.
Kathleen Golding will compete in her first Grand Prix after qualifying at the recent Florida Gold Coast SOFLO Open Invitational.
Joining Atkinson and Golding are Olivia Katcher, Maria Lopez, Melissa Marinheiro and Julien Pinon.
Atkinson, 25, is seeded first in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.79 and fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:28.77.
SOFLO is seeded eighth in the 800-meter freestyle relay in 8:32.93 and 11th in the 400-meter freestyle relay in 3:58.47.
Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue, 25, who has been training with SOFLO and Atkinson, is seeded second in the 100-meter butterfly in 57.42.
Other Florida Gold Coast teams competing at St. Andrew’s Swimming, Pine Crest, Miami Swimming, Azura, Metro Aquatics and Coral Springs.
Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach will return to the pool this week after a freak knee injury sidelined him. It will be the first time the 11-time Olympic medalist will compete since the World Championships late last year.
Lochte is entered in six races including the 200-meter individual medley but may not swim them all.
Lochte will be joined by a world-class field of U.S. national team members and international swimmers including Cesar Cielo, Bruno Fratus, Adam Brown, Darian Townsend, Felipe Lima, Katinka Hosszu, Joseph Schooling, Mike Alexandrov, Ryan Cochrane, Katarine Savard,Tyler Clary, Jimmy Feigen, Cullen Jones, Nick Thoman, Caitlin Leverenz and Megan Romano.
More than 500 swimmers will compete in the indoor meet. The Arena Grand Prix Series offers $150,000 in prize money over six meets. At each meet, $500 will be awarded to first place finishers, $300 for second and $100 for third.
Universal Sports Network will air live coverage of the meet on Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m.
USA Swimming will also have a live webcast of the entire meet online at usaswimming.org. Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com