The 14-year-old duo of Kimiko "Koko" Urata and Sarah Felix combined to take 15th place in the duet preliminaries Saturday at the 2004 Speedo Junior Synchronized Swimming Championships in Clermont, Fla.
Urata and Felix, who are both eighth-graders at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School and compete for the Juneau Aurora Knights synchronized swim team, posted a score of 83.750 points for their free routine. They were .500 points shy of tying for 11th place.
Synchro Elite Quebec, an exhibition team from Canada that featured Elise Marcotte and Sarah Eve Pelletier, posted the highest score in the duet preliminaries with an 88.167 but didn't figure in the official team standings. The top U.S. team after the preliminaries was the Riverside (Calif.) Aquettes duo of Brooke Abel and Caitlin Stewart with an 87.667.
But in the eight-team finals Saturday night, the Santa Clara (Calif.) Aquamaids duo of Christina Jones and Jessica McMahon won the duet title with a score of 91.667 - not counting Thursday's figures scores. Synchro Elite Quebec took second place with a score of 88.833, and the Riverside Aquettes duo was third overall and second among U.S. teams at 88.667.
When Thursday's figures scores were included in the totals (on a 50-50 split), the Santa Clara pair still claimed the title with a score of 83.732. The Synchro Elite Quebec pair again took second at 81.122, with the Riverside Aquettes duo third overall and second among U.S. teams at 81.523.
In Thursday's figures round, where competitors had to complete four specified routines from a list of 10 possibilities, Jones of Santa Clara posted the top score with a 77.471. Anabelle Orme of Walnut Creek Aquanauts took second place with a 76.078, followed by Marcotte of Synchro Elite Quebec with a 74.957.
Felix was the top Juneau competitor with a score of 68.807 to tie for 69th place overall and 41st among U.S. competitors who will be age 14-18 in 2005. Urata was 75th overall and 46th among U.S. competitors with a score of 68.529. There were 330 competitors, including the Canadians and others who didn't score.
The top 40 U.S. competitors who will be age 14-18 in 2005 after Thursday's figures round will advance to Phase II of the two-year, four-phase competition that selects the U.S. Junior National Team.
Felix, who missed making the cut by 0.004 points, will be the first alternate and Urata, who missed by 0.282 points, will be the sixth alternate in case someone drops out of the competition before January 2005.
Haines swimmer qualifies for nationals
Genny Szymanski, a 15-year-old sophomore who competed briefly for Haines High School last fall and is a member of the Haines Dolphins Swim Team, earned a spot at the U.S. National Championships with her performance at the Eastern Zone - Section II of the Speedo Champions Series meet held March 25-28 in College Park, Md.
Szymanski, who splits her year between Haines and Pennsylvania, was competing for the Greater Pittsburgh Aquatic Club when she was at the Eastern Zone meet. Her family has since returned to Haines for the spring, summer and fall seasons.
In the 100-meter backstroke held on March 27, Szymanski finished fourth overall with a time of 1 minute, 5.15 seconds. Kristin Schikora of a Maryland club team (PAAC) won the race in the time of 1:04.42, which was fast enough to make the U.S. Olympic Trials.
On March 28, Szymanski finished second in the 200 back with a time of 2:18.93. Teresa Crippin of a Maryland club team (GAAC) won the race in 2:18.73.
Both times eclipsed Alaska State Long Course records held by Sara Fallico that had been on the books since 1992, her 100 back is the fourth-fastest in the nation this year for a 15-year-old girl, and her 200 back time is the fifth-fastest for her age group.
She joins Sarah Rockwell of Northern Lights Swim Club (and Service High School) as the only Alaska high school swimmers to have qualified for the 2004 Conoco-Phillips National Championships which take place Aug. 3-7 in Palo Alto, Calif.