Talent will be aplenty, however, when the meet gets under way Friday and continues through Sunday. The preliminary events will take place at 8 a.m. all three days and go through the afternoon, with the finals each night beginning at 6 p.m.
The Stingrays Swimming program is playing host to the event that will accommodate an estimated 700 swimmers. The Marietta Marlins, Chattahoochee Gold and Kennesaw Tidal Wave are among the other local club teams that will be competing alongside Dynamo, SwimAtlanta and Lanier Aquatics.
Experienced swimmers in four different age groups — ranging from 6-18 — will look to make junior national times and raise their seeding for the bigger summer meets coming up, such as July’s Senior State Championships in Athens and the Senior Nationals.
In August will come the Southern Zone Championships in Dallas, Texas, and the USA Junior Nationals in Indianapolis.
“We still have kids coming up with a great opportunity to showcase themselves,” Stingrays coach Ian Goss said. “This is kind of a midseason point with (senior states) being several weeks away. We swam well during the first part and are now looking forward to the championship part.”
The Stingrays will have a group of swimmers missing because of the Olympic trials — most notably former Lassiter standouts Shannon O’Malley and Sammie Bosma, Etowah product Alec Cohen, current Lassiter swimmer Jimmy Yoder and Kennesaw Mountain sisters Melissa and Rebecca Postol.
However, the Stingrays are still expecting big things from rising Etowah junior Taylor Weiss in the individual medley and butterfly, as well as Lassiter’s Jordan Drake (breaststroke, freestyle, IM), Marietta’s Michael Dugan (freestyle), Hilgrove’s Christopher Lohff (breaststroke, IM) and Etowah’s Jarrod Blanton (breaststroke, IM).
The Marlins will also be well-represented this weekend behind Harrison’s Connor Olsin (butterfly, IM) and Kennesaw Mountain’s Thomas Locke (freestyle, butterfly). They’re also expecting low times from Britheny Joassaint (backstroke, IM) and Maggie Pokorny (butterfly) in the girls 11-12 division.
“This is a prep meet for state cuts, and some are trying to improve their position at swimming,” Marlins assistant coach Anthony Byrne said. “We have not slowed down for this meet and expect to kids to swim fast. They all should do best times.”
Kira de Bruyn, who is coming off a state title for Walton in the 200 IM, will represent the Gold, as will Walton boys teammate Nathan Hufnagel (butterfly, breaststroke). Other Gold swimmers include Woodstock’s Erika Staskevicius (freestyle), Etowah’s Megan Young (freestyle, backstroke) and Sequoyah’s Jack Syers (freestyle and backstroke).
Chattahoochee Gold will be missing Lassiter’s Zach Bunner, who will competing in Omaha.