By Sharon Robb
SARASOTA, November 9, 2020–South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented in the newly-restructured Toyota USA Open that begins Thursday at Selby Aquatic Center.
The Toyota USA Open is the first major U.S. meet since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down swimming in mid-March.
SOFLO’s Julio Horrego, Lance Lesage, Mallory Schleicher and Olivia Dinehart will compete. Dinehart will join her teammates on Saturday after competing in the FHSAA State 1A Meet on Friday in Stuart.
Horrego, 22, will swim the 200-meter individual medley; 100-meter breaststroke; and 200-meter breaststroke.
Lesage, 18, coming off last weekend’s state 3A runner-up finish, is entered in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke.
Schleicher, 17, will compete in the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter individual medley.
Olivia Dinehart, 15, will first compete in Friday’s FHSAA State 1A meet in Stuart and swim the 200-meter breaststroke Saturday at the USA Open.
Because of COVID-19 travelling and group size restrictions, the USA Open will be held at nine different sites across the United States. The USA Open was originally scheduled for Atlanta in December.
Each site will host a small group of swimmers and will follow the same format. There is one session Thursday night at 5 p.m., two sessions on Friday, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and one session on Saturday at 9 a.m. All races will be timed finals. Results will be combined from all nine sites.
In addition to Sarasota, other sites are Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton, Ore.; Wellmark YMCA of Des Moines, Iowa; Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina; Huntsville Aquatics Center in Alabama; Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis; William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif., Swim RVA in Richmond, Va.; and North East ISD Blossom Athletic Complex in San Antonio, Texas.
For COVID-19 safety reasons the venues will have limited capacity.
Forty-nine of 115 U.S. National Team members will compete. Most of the remaining swimmers are in Budapest, Hungary competing in the second-year International Swimming League for prize money. Other big names are in college.
One big name in swimming who is competing is 36-year-old Ryan Lochte training with Gregg Troy in Gainesville. The Olympian and father of two is training for a fifth Olympic team.
Lochte is the second-most decorated Olympic swimmer and has won 90 major international medals (54 gold, 22 silver, 14 bronze).
Lochte is the top seed and current world record holder in the 200-meter individual medley. He’s seeded third in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events, fifth in the 100-meter freestyle and sixth in the 200-meter freestyle.
University of Florida and SOFLO’s Miguel Cancel, 21, who represents Puerto Rico internationally, is also in the men’s field.
The U.S. Olympic Trials are June 13-20. The top two swimmers in each event qualify for the rescheduled 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
The USA Open will be aired on television. The schedule is Friday, 10 a.m. on NBCSN and 6 p.m., Olympic Channel; Saturday, 10 a.m., Olympic Channel and Sunday, 3 p.m., tape delay, NBC.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org