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Swimming: Three former area stars to compete at Olympics

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The swimming events for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo start on Saturday. Three former area standouts — each representing a different country — are vying to place, even contend for a medal, in their individual events. Here is a look at the local trio. 

Bobby Finke

High school: Countryside

College: Florida

Country: United States

Events: 800 freestyle, 1500 freestyle

Outlook: A former state champion in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle, Finke has become the nation’s premier distance swimmer. He won both the 800-meter and 1,500-meter free at the U.S. Olympic Trials. The 1,500 is the best shot for Finke to finish among the top three. He has the fifth-best entry time (14 minutes, 46.06 seconds) in his signature event according to the most recent psych sheets. 

When to watch

Check out Bobby Finke’s preliminary Olympic schedule

EventDay/timePreliminary heat
800 freeTuesday, 7:40 a.m.No. 4
1500 freeFriday, 7:31 a.m.No. 4

Emir Muratovic

High School: Ridgewood

College: Florida State

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Events: 50 freestyle, 100 free

Outlook: One of the area’s top sprinters, Muratovic won state titles in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 free before becoming one of FSU’s top swimmers during his college career (2015-19). He is one of seven athletes from Bosnia and Herzegovina who qualified for the Olympics.  

When to watch

Check out Emir Muratovic’s preliminary Olympic schedule

EventDay/timePreliminary heat
100 freeTuesday, 6:11 a.m.No. 5
50 freeFriday, 6:07 a.m.No. 5

Sydney Pickrem

High school: East Lake

College: Texas A&M 

Country: Canada

Events: 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley, 200 breaststroke

Outlook: The two-time Pinellas County swimmer of the year who led East Lake to its only state team title in 2014 has been one of Canada’s best swimmers for years. She finished sixth in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2016 Rio Olympics, two spots behind former Countryside standout Melanie Margalis. Pickrem has perhaps the best chance of any former area athlete to medal. She has the second-fastest entry time (2 minutes, 08.61 seconds) in the 200 IM and the sixth-fastest in the 400 IM (4:35.15) according to the latest psych sheets. 

When to watch

Check out Sydney Pickrem’s preliminary Olympic schedule

EventDay/timePreliminary heat
400 IMToday, 7:12 a.m.No. 2
200 IMMonday, 6:42 a.m.No. 3
200 breastWednesday, 6:42 a.m.No. 3

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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Swimming

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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Swimming

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. 

Sara Bohacek, Tampa Prep: Won the 100 fly (1:03.87) and the 100 breast (1:10.94), as well as swam legs on the winning 400 free relay (3:58.48) and the second-place 200 medley relay (2:05.05) at a meet earlier this season. 

Grace Descent, Keswick Christian: Set schools in the 100 free (57.96 seconds) and 100 back (1:06.10) at a meet earlier this season. 

Sarah Holmes, Clearwater Central Catholic: Won the 50 frees and 100 breast and swam legs on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relay teams in a tri-meet with Calvary Christian and Northside Christian earlier this month. 

Sara Parksvold, St. Petersburg Catholic: The AAU All-American scored 214.75 to win a six-dive meet against Shorecrest and Northside Christian earlier this season. 

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