By Sharon Robb

April 13, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club, after training in high altitude, will compete in the Arena Pro Series Grand Prix that begins Thursday at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa, Ariz.

The three-day meet is one of the last major tests before the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials and is serving as a FINA-approved competition where swimmers can achieve qualifying times for the Summer Olympics.

It is the fourth of seven stops on the Arena Pro Swim Series. A record prize purse of $350,000 is being offered during the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be awarded for first, $600 for second and $200 for third. Nathan Adrian leads the current men’s point standings with 30 and Katie Ledecky leads the women’s with 40.

SOFLO’s ProFlo group has been training in Mesa since Monday after training at the Ora Valley Aquatic Center and Anytime Fitness Gym and hiking in the mountains in Tucson.

ProFlo swimmers competing in Mesa are Monica Alvarez, Alia Atkinson, Kile Aukerman, Carolina Colorado, Claire Donahue and Megan Romano.

Atkinson, three-time Jamaican Olympian and national record holder, is entered in four events: 100- and 200-meter freestyle, 100 and 200-meter breaststroke. Atkinson is seeded second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.93 and seventh in the 200 breaststroke in 2:25.48.

Colorado, Colombian two-time Olympian and national record holder, will swim the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

Donahue, 2012 Olympic relay gold medalist, will swim the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and 50-meter freestyle. Donahue is seeded third in the 100 butterfly in 58.03.

Romano, a former world champion, is entered in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke.

Aukerman, a post-college grad, will swim the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley.

Alvarez is competing in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Thursday’s events are the 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 400 individual medley.

SOFLO’s pro swimmers are part of an impressive field that features eight U.S. individual gold medalists including Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps and Ledecky. Ledecky is also coming off altitude training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

In addition to SOFLO, other Florida Gold Coast teams competing are Azura Florida Aquatics led by Marcelo Acosta and Pine Crest Swimming led by Marta Ciesla.

The entire meet will be live streamed at usaswimming.org. Prelims are noon and finals at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

NBC Sports Network will air the meet on next-day delay (6:30 p.m. EST on Friday and midnight on Saturday) while NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the finals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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