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Bobby Finke wins the 800 free at the U.S. Olympic Trials

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Bobby Finke waited through a year of uncertainty because of the coronavirus to secure his spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. 

Better still, the former Countryside standout did it as the first-ever American representative in the 800 meter freestyle, which makes its debut as an event at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Surging ahead out of blocks, Finke never relinquished his lead, winning the 800 free  in 7 minutes, 48.22 seconds at the U.S. Olympic Trials. 

When the pandemic closed pools last year, Finke made due by swimming open water practice sessions in Tampa Bay. 

He entered the Olympics Trials with the top seed in the 800 and finished second in the preliminaries. 

And to think the 800 is not Finke’s best event. 

His specialty is the 1,500 freestyle. The University of Florida junior has the top seed in his signature event, which caps off the final night of the Olympic Trials on Sunday. 

Swimming

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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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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