Championship Season Brings Championship Form

Spring means different things in different sports.

In baseball, spring training brings the Major League’s best and brightest to Florida and Arizona in preparation for the summer. In college football, spring is a time to run through a few weeks of workouts before breaking for the summer and pounding pads come fall. For club swimmers like those who zip through the water in TBAY Westchase red and black, spring is “championship season,” a time to rise up and compete against the best.

Suffice it to say the TBAY Westchase athletes swam like champions this championship season.

Hunter Long, Victor Perez, Sam Prabhakaran, Kate Rideout and Lexie Steinberg represented the club at the Florida Age Group Championships (FLAGs) March 10-13 in Sarasota. Long and Perez were part of second-place teams in the 200 medley and 200 free relays, and a 10th-place performance in the 400 medley relay.

Individually, Long swam a 26.89-second 50 freestyle, dropping nearly a half-second off his best time. Perez qualified in three individual events. He finished 12th in the 100 breaststroke with a 2.27-second drop and also swam the 100 IM and 1,000 free, the latter of which he qualified for just two weeks before FLAGs.

Prabhakaran also swam the 1,000 free in addition to competing in the 800 free relay. Rideout cut 1.24 seconds in the 100 breaststroke, and Steinberg swam the 200 free and 400 medley relays.

Perez’s 1,000 qualifier came on the last weekend of February at the SPA Spring Last Chance meet. It was a chilly one in St. Petersburg, but some of the TBAY Westchase performances were red hot. Chris Quach earned a FGC Senior Championships “cut” (qualifying time) with a fourth-place finish in 200 backstroke. He also finished sixth in the 200 free and ninth in the 100 butterfly.

Seven-year-old Gracie Chung was second in 25 butterfly, fourth in 50 back and sixth in 25 breast; Rideout was second in 50 breast and 10th in 100 free; Savannah Trezza placed third in 100 breast; Tito Borromeo was fifth in 50 breast, ninth in 50 fly and 10th in 100 IM; Perez was second in 100 IM and 200 IM and fourth in 50 free and 100 free; Long was sixth in 100 fly; and Prabhakaran was fifth in the 1,000.

On the same weekend those swimmers were trying to keep warm, University of Vermont-bound Maddie Strasen was cozy indoors at the Florida Swimming Senior Championships in Orlando. Despite going into this meet unrested while she trained for the recent NASA national meet in Clearwater, Strasen swam lifetime bests in the 200 IM and 100 free while making finals in three of her four events (200 IM, 500 free and 100 breast).

“Championship season is in full effect,” TBAY Westchase coach Alex Richardson said. “We have our biggest championship team in nearly four years – five senior qualifiers and five age group qualifiers who are representing our team at state competitions.”

NASA and FGC Senior Championships took place since this issue of WOW hit the presses. Coming up April 1-3 are the GTSA Championships.

Swim Across America, an open-water swimming event on Clearwater Beach that raises money to fight cancer, is scheduled for May 21. Please support your local swimmers as they battle the waves for a great cause.

Additionally, there are still openings for summer swim lessons at Westchase. Please contact the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center for more information or to get your young swimmer signed up!

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