The Mesa Aquatics Club is hosting a short course meters Masters’ swimming meet this weekend at the Kino Aquatic Center, but this isn’t just another Masters meet.
This one is special for two reasons.
The first is that it is serving a greater cause. It will include a silent auction to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Arizona Aquatic Sports Foundation in memory of Mesa Masters swimmer Jamina Winston.
Winston passed away earlier this year at the age of 30 after complications related to a double lung transplant; she suffered from Cystic Fibrosis.
The other reason why it’s special is two swimmers who are showing up to support the cause: naturalized American and Arizonan Darian Townsend, who will swim on the United States’ Pan Ams team in 2015, and Brazil’s Cesar Cielo, the World Record holder in the 50 and 100 long course meter freestyles.
Both swimmers fall into a category where most of the world’s swimmers have moved to Masters’ swimming or none at all, but both are still competing with some of the best in the world. Townsend represented the United States officially for the first time at Summer Nationals this summer where he earned a spot on the Pan American Games team, and Cielo has split training time between Mesa and his native Brazil over the last year.
Between the two of them there are a total of four Olympic medals (two gold, two bronze) and a pile of World Record breaking swims.
For Cielo especially, this is an important preparation for him ahead of the 2014 World Short Course Championships, which he has set above all of Brazil’s long course meets as his focus for this year.
This will be a relatively easily digestible Masters meet, with only 16 events on one day and relatively few swimmers in each heat. Cielo, who was a relatively late entry to the meet, is swimming the 50 free and 100 free. Townsend is scheduled to swim those two races along with the 200 free, 100 IM, and the 100 fly.