2019 Plantation Sectionals (Florida)
- March 7th-10th, 2019
- Plantation Aquatic Complex, Plantation, Florida
- LCM (50m) course
- Psych Sheets
The 2019 Plantation Sectional Championships begin on Wednesday evening in Plantation, Florida. Last season, this meet played host to a number of professional swimmers, mostly from the Gator Swim Club in Gainesville. This year, most of that group has gone to the overlapping Pro Swim Series meet in Des Moines, Iowa, instead, but one big name will still be in attendance: Jamaican Olympian and 4-time Short Course World Champion Alia Atkinson.
Atkinson skipped the 2017 World Championships in long course, which for many swimmers of her caliber might indicate the winding down of an international career. Not for Atkinson, however: since that meet, she’s won 19 of the 26 World Cup races offered in the 50 and 100 breaststroke, and in 2018 she won double gold, sweeping the 50 and 100 meter breaststrokes at the World Short Course Championships. She’s now the 3-time defending World Champion in the 100 breaststroke.
This weekend, she’ll swim the 50 fly, 100 fly, 50 breast, and 100 breast at the meet.
Also entered in the meet is 29-year old Brazilian sprinter Bruno Fratus in the 50 and 100 free. Based out of south Florida, Fratus is on the mend after undergoing shoulder surgery in the fall.
Last year, the podiums were dominated by swimmers who were either college-aged-or-older at the time, or who have since matriculated to college swimming. There were a few notable exceptions, though, and this year the meet will have a distinctly-more junior feel.
Here’s some of the swims and swimmers to watch in the 18 & under ranks this year:
- Talia Bates of the Gator Swim Club (and a University of Florida commit) had a solid meet last year. Even though she didn’t go many lifetime bests, she still broke through with a win in the women’s 100 fly in 1:01.10. This year, she’s on a new level, and she’s seeded in the top 5 of all 6 of her entries: 50/100/200 free, 50/100 fly, and 200 back.
- That 100 free should be one of the best races of the meet. The defending champion Kathleen Golding returns, as do the rest of the top 4 finishers from last year: Mary Smutny, Micayla Cronk, and Chloe Grimme. They’ll be joined by some international-caliber talent as well, including France’s Marie Wattel, who qualified for their World SC Championship team in December (though ultimately declined her spot).
- National Age Group Record holder Josh Zuchowski is entered in 6 races at the meet: the 50/100/200 back, the 200 breast, the 200 IM, and the 400 IM. Last year, when he was only 13 years old, Zuchowski took 3rd in the 50 back behind 23-year old Corey Main and 26-year old Daniel Torres. He was the youngest entrant in the race, and still managed to finish in the top 3.
- Last year, Swim Florida’s Ryan Staunch dropped 14 seconds to win the 1500 free. This year, he’ll face a big challenge from Boca Raton’s Cameron Taddonio, who was 13th in 17:12.09 at last year’s meet, but has since improved his time all the way down to a 16:17 to take the top seed in the race.
- Falfins Swimming from Colorado has returned a small contingent to this meet for the 2nd-straight year, which includes Claire Timson. She won the 100 back at last year’s meet in 1:04.52 when she was only 14. Since, she’s been more than a second faster, but is only the 5th seed: facing up against a much-more-experienced field in the race that includes Charlotte Evans, Caitlin Brooks, and Carolina Colorado.