By Sharon Robb
May 17, 2016—Five South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers, led by Bermuda national record holder Lisa Blackburn, will compete in the Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association Validus National Long Course Championships Thursday through Sunday at the National Aquatic Centre.
The meet has been sanctioned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, as one of the last few qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will also serve as a final qualifier for the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.
Blackburn, 44, one of the oldest swimmers in the meet, is trying to reach the Olympic B standard in the breaststroke events for Bermuda. She is also a masters world age group record holder.
Blackburn is second seed in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:12.11. She is seeded third in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:26.90 and eighth in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:00.12.
Blackburn is coming off the Mayaguez International Swimming Open in Puerto Rico, where she swam a best time 58.95 in the 100-meter freestyle and finished third. She also won the 100-meter breaststroke in a season-best 1:13.19, the first time she has been under 1:14 in a year.
“I am really encouraged by my results,” Blackburn said. “Anything is possible regardless of age. It’s always special to represent Bermuda and I take a lot of pride in being able to do so.”
Joining Blackburn are 2012 U.S. Olympic relay gold medalist Claire Donahue, Kile Aukerman, Alina Schulhofer and Timothy Wynter.
Wynter, 20, of Jamaica, is top seed in the 50-meter backstroke in 26.89 and 100-meter backstroke in 57.66. He is second seed in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:07.60. He is 11th seed in the 50-meter freestyle in 24.98.
Donahue, 27, is top seed in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.31, 100-meter butterfly in 58.86 and 200-meter butterfly in 2:14.28. She is fifth seed in the 50-meter freestyle in 27.03.
Schulhofer, 21, of Austria, is second seed in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:05.73, third in the 100-meter freestyle in 58.16 and fifth in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:05.40.
Aukerman, 23, trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, is seeded third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.75, third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:18.95 and fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.54.
Countries expected to compete are Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, Guam, Syria, Jamaica, Austria and Venezuela.
The competition begins Thursday night at 6 p.m.
U.S. Olympic hopeful and American record holder Kelsi Worrell has turned pro and signed with TYR, sponsor of South Florida Aquatic Club and leading manufacturer of competitive swim and triathlon gear. Worrell is the nation’s top butterflyer. At Louisville, she won three NCAA career titles in the butterfly and set American and NCAA records.
“We are incredibly excited to welcome Kelsi to the TYR family,” said Matt DiLorenzo, TYR CEO. “She has proven to be a rising star in the sport, and we have complete confidence that her already extraordinary career has only just begun.”
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com