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WFLA Open this weekend in Clearwater

Mike Stewart has conveniently scheduled a meet that seems to coincide with many swimmers' objectives.

Stewart, a coach for West Florida Lightning Aquatics, once again is running the show as WFLA hosts its summer meet this weekend at the Long Center in Clearwater.

"It's perfect timing for everyone," said Stewart, whose club is hosting the meet for the ninth consecutive year. "It's nice timing because most of the kids are five weeks away from state championships and this is one of the better meets at this time of the season in the state."

There are several reasons why the WFLA Open attracts so much interest: The facility (Long Center) is an excellent venue, and the meet provides the first "championship format" since the state championships in March.

"This is a great meet because it gives swimmers an incentive to perform at a top level and the competition is fast," Stewart said.

More than 460 swimmers from Florida as well as such states as Texas, California and Kentucky will compete over the three days starting Friday.

Some of the WFLA swimmers to watch are Scott Tucker, who is training right through this weekend's meet in preparation for the Olympic Festival July 24-26, Rob Healy, Richie King, Adam Gerger, Katie Scott and Heather Maynard.

St. Petersburg Aquatics: Heather Weil and David Schlesinger got personal bests at last weekend's Trinity Invitational Swim Meet at the Orlando Aquatic Center.

Weil, 12, placed first in three events for girls 11-12: 100-meter freestyle (1:04.50), 400 freestyle (4:40.31) and 200 individual medley (2:36.22). She also placed fifth with a time of 18:22.96 in the 1,500-meter freestyle for seniors.

Schlesinger placed first in four events for senior boys: 200 backstroke (2:12.27), 200 free (1:58.37), 200 IM (2:13.55) and 400 IM (4:45.61).

Other firsts came from Leslie Newton in the 200 free (2:19.37) for girls 11-12; Lindsay Link in the senior girls 100 backstroke (1:10.67); Dustin Bengston in the 50 and 100 free (.25.08 and 54.26), and Lloyd Hamilton in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.51). Jason Eaddy and Schlesinger achieved Junior National qualifying times.

Robert Margalis had three first-place finishes in the boys 11-12 division, and Teddy Bradley placed first in the 50 and 100 backstroke events in the 10-under group.

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