Swimming: Three former area stars to compete at Olympics

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