By Sharon Robb
July 22, 2015—Claire Donahue finished her final training session in Kentucky earlier this week before leaving for the first portion of the U.S. team training camp in Croatia.
For Donahue, it was bittersweet.
Donahue wrapped up her final training session in “the place I call home” for the last eight years with longtime coach Bruce Marchionda.
“Headed to race against the best in the world but leaving the place I call home,” Donahue tweeted. “My apartment is full of boxes.”
Donahue, 26, a Western Kentucky alum, has been a post-grad swimmer in Bowling Green since qualifying for the 2012 Olympic team in the 100-meter butterfly. She earned a gold medal as a member of the 400-meter medley relay team and became WKU’s first Olympian to win a gold medal.
Donahue, now a member of the South Florida Aquatic Club, will join Marchionda at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines after she competes at worlds and World Cups in Moscow and Paris.
Donahue will train full-time for the 2016 Olympic trials and hopefully her second Olympic team with SOFLO. Marchionda will serve as performance consultant and head camp director at SOFLO.
The 16th FINA World Championships begin Friday in Kazan, Russia with the Opening Ceremonies.
The championships feature six aquatic sports including diving, swimming, synchronized swimming, water polo, open water swimming and high diving.
The pool swimming begins on the ninth day of the championships (Aug. 2-9). The open water swimming events are July 25, July 27, July 28, July 30 and August 1.
Donahue, 26, a U.S. national team member, will compete in the butterfly. She will be coached by SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson at the world championships and first two legs of the FINA World Cup, Aug. 11-12 in Moscow and Aug. 15-16 in Paris.
Anderson will also coach other SOFLO pros Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Carolina Colorado and Jorge Murillo-Valdes of Colombia.
Donahue will be joined at training camp by several other swimmers with Florida ties including Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach/Florida; Elizabeth Beisel, Gator Swim Club; Becca Mann, Clearwater; Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg; Conor Dwyer, Florida; Ryan Murphy, Bolles and Sid Cassidy (Coach, open water).
The U.S. worlds team is training in Croatia and then will get acclimated in Kazan next week.
Marchionda will join Donahue at SOFLO in late August and continue coaching her.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org