By Sharon Robb
June 18, 2014
South Florida Aquatic Club will have three of its most promising young swimmers in the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara that begins on Thursday.
Melissa Marinheiro, Jessica Rodriguez and Olivia Katcher will compete in the four-day meet that begins on Thursday.
Marinheiro and Katcher will be the first to swim in the 1500-meter freestyle on opening day. Marinheiro is seeded 18th.
Marinheiro, 17, is also entered in six other events: the 400- and 800-meter freestyles, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter backstroke.
Katcher, 18, is entered in seven other events.
Rodriguez will start competing on Friday in the 200-meter breaststroke and 100-meter butterfly. She is entered in four other events.
“They have all been working hard in training and they look good,” said SOFLO coach Chris Anderson.
SOFLO’s three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, originally scheduled to compete, will remain home recovering from an upper respiratory ailment.
With the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland right around the corner (July 27-August 3), Anderson said Atkinson would remain home as a precautionary measure.
“The long flight, the time change and meet may have taken their toll on her since she is still recovering,” said Anderson, who will coach Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games. “We are just holding her out as a precaution.
“A week ago she was in great shape before she got sick. I don’t want her losing any more training time once she gets 100 percent healthy.”
Atkinson is one of six swimmers who will represent Jamaica in the Commonwealth Games. Atkinson, who had been dominating the Arena Grand Prix circuit in the breaststroke, was entered in five events including the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke for Santa Clara.
The Santa Clara meet will be well-publicized this week with both Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin competing along with a nice mix of Olympians, NCAA swimmers, post-grads, high school and age group swimmers.
Franklin will compete in six events and Phelps is entered in four events.
Phelps, who last competed in the USA Swimming Grand Prix Series in Charlotte, is entered in the 100- and 200-meter freestyles, 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley.
The 100 freestyle and 200 IM races will be his first in a meet since coming out of retirement in Mesa two months ago.
It is also the first time since Phelps’ return that he is swimming more than two days or three sessions of a meet.
Franklin, coming off a successful college freshman season at Cal, is entered in the 100 and 200 freestyles, 100 and 200 backstrokes, 200 IM and 100 butterfly.
Floridian Ryan Lochte of SwimMAC, still rehabbing a bad knee, scratched from the meet.
Florida Gold Coast and Florida Swimming will be well-represented at the meet.
Megan Moroney, 17, of St. Andrew’s Swimming is seeded third in the 1500 freestyle on opening day, her club’s highest seed.
The St. Andrew’s contingent and recent ISHOF Paragon Award winner and coach Sid Cassidy will be reunited with former SAS swimmer Tasija Karosas, 18, who just finished her freshman season at Texas. She is competing unattached for TXLA.
Swimmers from Azura Florida Aquatics, Bolles and Gator Swim Club are also entered. Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 18, representing California Aquatics is also among the headliners.
U.S. Olympian and former FGC swimmer Rhi Jeffrey, 27, in the midst of a comeback and swimming with Bernal’s Gators, is also entered.
Going into the meet, the top grand prix point leaders are: MEN, Conor Dwyer, 46; Arkady Vyatchanin, 42; Michael McBroom, 33; Yannick Agnel, 31; and Tyler Clary, 27; WOMEN, Katinka Hosszu, 57; Megan Romano, 34.5; Caitlin Leverenz, 29; Allison Schmitt, 29; and Katie Ledecky, 28. In addition to prize money, the men’s and women’s winner will get a one-year lease on a BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Series.
The meet, the final stop on the grand prix six-meet circuit, will serve as a final dress rehearsal for this summer’s National Championships, Aug. 6-10 in Irvine, Calif.
USA Swimming.org will live stream both the prelims and finals. Universal Sports will also televise the meet on June 21-22 starting at 8 p.m.
In South Florida, the Swim Fort Lauderdale International Classic with an impressive field is at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex; FLA International Invitational is at Florida Atlantic University Aquatic Complex and Michael Lohberg Invitational in Coral Springs are all scheduled for June 19-22.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org