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Swimming: Margalis, Finke come up short in 400 IM at U.S. Trials

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Five years ago, Melanie Margalis became the first area swimmer, male or female, to make the U.S. Olympic team since 2004. 

The former Countryside standout continued to shine on the sport’s biggest stage, winning a gold medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay and placing fourth in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.. 

On Sunday, Margalis narrowly missed out on another trip in the first of her three events at the U.S. Olympic Trials. 

The versatile swimmer took third in the 400 IM in 4 minutes, 34.08 seconds, finishing behind Emma Weyant (4:33.81), who earned the top qualifying spot, and Hali Flickinger (4:33.96). 

Margalis entered the trials with the top seed in the 400 IM and placed third in the event in Sunday’s preliminaries. In the final, she was in fifth place before surging into the lead after making up ground in the breaststroke. 

Heading into the homestretch, Margalis still was ahead but fell behind the final 25 meters of the freestyle, the final stroke. 

Margalis still is within range of making the team in the 200 IM. She is seeded third in the event, which takes place later this week. 

Another former Countryside star came awfully close to making the team in the 400 IM. 

Bobby Finke, currently the nation’s premier distance swimmer, finished fourth in 4 minutes, 11.44 seconds.

This was not Finke’s signature event. He entered the trials as the fifth seed in the 400 IM and took fourth in the preliminaries on Sunday.

Finke, though, is far from finished.   

He has solid shots to make the Olympics in two other events with top seeds in the 800 free (7:47.58) and the 1500 free (14:51.15), which take place later this week. 

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Boys Swimmer of the Week

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Here are the nominees for the boys swimmer of the week. Voting lasts until 9 a.m. Wednesday. 

Drew Johnson, Clearwater: Took home titles in the 100 fly (51.16) and 50 free (21.31) at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference Meet.  

Matthew McLean, Bloomingdale: Ended up the champion in the 200 free (1:46.90) and the 500 free (4:45.08) at the American Division Western Conference Meet. 

Gavin Peck, Steinbrenner: Took first in the 100 free (48.69) and the 100 fly (53.85) at the American Division Western Conference Meet. 

Andrew Taylor, Countryside: Dominated the 500 free at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference Meet, winning in 4:24.84, more than 10 seconds ahead of the field. 

Sean Thatavakorn, Freedom: Won the 50 free (23.41) and the 100 free (50.52) at the National Division Western Conference Meet. 

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Swimming

Girls Swimmer of the Week

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Here are the nominees for the girls swimmer of the week. Voting lasts until 9 a.m. Tuesday. 

Brooke Beede, So., Robinson: Ended up the champion in the 50 free (24.66) and 100 free (53.90) at American Division Western Conference Meet. 

Summer Cardwell, Jr., Countryside: Took first in the 500 free (4:58.61) and finished second in the 100 back (56.42). 

Emma Hamilton, Jr., Strawberry Crest: Won the 50 free (26.24) and 100 free (57.04) at the National Division Western Conference meet. 

Alexa Paredes, So., Newsome: Took first in the 100 breast (1:11.53) and the 500 free (2:23.05) at the Federal Division Western Conference meet. 

Carissa Rinard, Jr., Seminole: Won the 100 back (56.06) and took second in the 500 free at the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet. 

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The girls swimmer/diver of the week

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Sara Parksvold, Sr., St. Petersburg Catholic

Standing on the edge of a springboard, Sara Parksvold twists and turns before hitting the chlorinated water with little splash, if any. 

The St. Petersburg Catholic diver has made significant gains in her sport, earning All-American honors at the club level and winning just about every meet she enters in high school 

Earlier this season, Parksvold scored 214.75 points to win a six-dive meet against Shorecrest and Northside Christian. She followed that up by winning another title at the Tampa Bay Classic. 

Fans took notice. Parksvold received more than 62 percent of the votes (748) in the swimmer/diver of the week poll to beat out Sara Bohacek, who had 34 percent (418 votes).

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