Juneau-Douglas High School freshman swimmers Sarah Felix and Kimiko "Koko" Urata won't be able to compete in this weekend's Southeast Region Swimming and Diving Championships.
Instead, Felix and Urata will be in Santa Clara, Calif., this weekend for Phase 2 of the Junior National Synchronized Swimming Team Trials. The two swimmers, who compete for the Juneau Aurora Knights Synchronized Swimming Club, will participate in both the duet and singles team trials.
This is the first time synchronized swimmers from Alaska have been invited to participate in the four-part Junior National Team Trials. It will feature 55 of the top 14- to 18-year-old synchronized swimmers in the nation. Both Felix and Urata are 14 now, but both will turn 15 before the end of 2004.
In order to earn a spot at the team trials, they had to qualify as individuals. Felix qualified at the Junior Nationals in Florida, while Urata qualified at the U.S. Open in New Orleans.
During the Esynchro Age Group Synchronized Swimming Championships in Indianapolis in late June, Urata and Felix posted the top duet routine in their age group. The Juneau pair wound up taking the silver medal after a duo from Riverside, Calif., posted a better score in the individual figures competition. In April, the Juneau pair finished 15th in the duet for ages 14-18 at the 2004 Speedo Junior Synchronized Swimming Championships in Clermont, Fla.
The team trials takes place today through Sunday at the Santa Clara International Aquatic Center. Tonight and Saturday there will be competition in figures. Then there will be clinics on various elements of synchronized swimming before the top 20 swimmers are invited to Phase 3 of the Junior National Team Trials on Nov. 19-21.
The top 14 swimmers after Phase 3 will advance to Phase 4, the 2005 Junior Nationals. The final selection of the Junior National Synchronized Swimming Team will take place in April at the 2005 Junior National Championships.
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