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Swimming: Local team sends five to nationals

Canyons Aquatic Club members will compete beginning today

Posted: August 2, 2010 10:27 p.m.
Updated: August 3, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Five representatives from locally based Canyons Aquatic Club are headed to Irvine to compete against the nation's top swimmers.

Golden Valley graduate Michelle Duraj, Hart graduates Konrad Antoniuk and Chelsea Griffiths, Canyon grad Kearsten Livingstone and West Ranch senior Riley Mita will compete in the 2010 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships beginning today.

The five swimmers are the most Canyons has sent to the event in the club's 33-year history.

"This is where every great swimmer is going to be," said Canyons Aquatic Club head coach Jeff Conwell. "Just being here is quite a feat. But we are trying to teach them that just being here is not the ultimate goal."

The meet will feature over 30 U.S. Olympians, including Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Aaron Peirsol, Natalie Coughlin and Rebecca Soni.

Duraj, who will attend the University of Denver this year, will swim the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, while Cal freshman Livingstone will compete in the 100 and 200 butterfly.

Griffiths, who is entering her second year at Louisiana State University, is scheduled to swim the 100 backstroke.

On the men's side, Cal Poly freshman Antoniuk and Mita are slated to compete in the 1,500 freestyle.

This year's meet marks the first national championship for Antoniuk, Duraj and Mita. Griffiths and Livingstone have made prior appearances.

The meet concludes Saturday. The final day's events are scheduled to be televised nationally on NBC at 1 p.m.

"We are getting these kids ready for that next level," Conwell said. "Part of getting them ready for the Olympic Trials or Olympic Games is to compete against national-level athletes and we are doing it."

Additionally, Duraj, Livingstone, Antoniuk and Mita will join Saugus sophomore Caitlin Baker, Valencia senior Bob Hwang and Hart senior Alex Ngan Aug. 9-13 at the 2010 Speedo Junior National Championships. The meet will also be held in Irvine.

"I think they are a little more focused on junior nationals because they are swimming against their peers instead of competing against Lochte, Peirsol and Coughlin," Conwell said. "It's going to be easier to fire them up for that meet."




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