By Sharon Robb

October 8, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club will add star power to the seventh annual Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic that gets under way Friday at the YMCA Aquatic Center.

U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue and Bermuda national record holder Lisa Blackburn head the five-swimmer contingent.

Donahue, 26, and Blackburn, 44, will get a little racing in the 25-meter timed finals in their specialty events.

Donahue is entered in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter butterfly and 50-meter freestyle. Blackburn will swim the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 100- and 200-meter individual medleys.

Catalina Mendieta, 26, of Colombia one of the newest members of SOFLO’s PRO FLO’s group. The former PAQ swimmer graduated from James Madison University. She is among Colombia’s top-ranked swimmers in the 50 and 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle.

Also competing are Kile Aukerman, 22, and Alejandro Zambrano, 21. Aukerman, a Wright State alum, is training for the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials. Aukerman is a school record holder in the 100-yard breaststroke. The former Male Athlete of the Year also competes in the 200- and 400-yard individual medleys.

Zambrano swims the freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke.

The team is scheduled to depart after Friday’s morning workout at Academic Village Pool.

Fifty-three clubs are competing in the three-day meet. Other South Florida clubs competing include Swim Fort Lauderdale, recently awarded U.S. Masters Club of the Year and Coach of the Year (Marty Hendrick); Gold Coast Masters; Wahoos of Wellington, Palm Beach Masters and T2 Aquatics.

The meet is also serving as the Dixie Zone Short Course Meters Championships.

IF YOU GO

What: Seventh annual Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic

When: Friday-Sunday, 25-meter timed finals; Friday, 3 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

Where: YMCA Aquatic Center, 8422 International Drive, Orlando

Admission: $5. For information go to http://www.rowdygainesmastersclassic.com

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

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