Pro Swimmers Set to Earn Big Paydays at Popular Pro-Am Swim Meet in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA City, Oklahoma, December 18. The Chesapeake Pro-Am Elite meet will feature more than a dozen professional swimmers vying for large cash prizes that will no doubt help complete their holiday shopping lists.

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South African Olympian Darian Townsend could go home with the biggest paycheck, as he could place in the top three of all four events he’s entered in this weekend. Townsend, who recently had an outstanding meet at U.S. nationals where he set a few new lifetime bests, will swim both individual medley races, as well as the 200 and 400 freestyles.

Townsend could find a challenge in the 200 free from Dax Hill, who recently relocated to the Team Elite squad at SwimMAC-Carolina. Hill won the 200 free at the 2012 NCAA championships for the University of Texas.

Hill will be joined by at least three others from the SwimMAC team, including fellow NCAA champion sprinters Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Josh Schneider. Both of these swimmers will be looking to win the special 50 freestyle elimination-style competition, in which the two fastest swimmers will compete head-to-head for a $1,200 cash prize. Second place in the 50 free for each gender wins $600, while the third-place athlete gets $200.

The 50 free cash awards are double the normal prizes given out, and the money offered annually at this meet makes it a big draw for many pro swimmers across the country. Many of the swimmers who have previously raked in huge amounts of money at this meet, including Eugene Godsoe and Chloe Sutton, will be in Scotland instead, racing at the Duel in the Pool.

One person who seems destined for easy wins is Minnesota’s Ashley Steenvorden. In the 1650 freestyle, for example, her entry time is 31 seconds faster than the next-fastest swimmer. Steenvorden is also seeded first in the 500 and 1000 freestyles.

Steenvorden’s teammate at Minnesota, Haley Spencer, will do battle with SwimMAC’s Katie Meili in the breaststroke events, while Mike Alexandrov will carry the flag for Trojan Swim Club in the men’s breaststroke. He’ll have a familiar face challenging him, as PASA’s B.J. Johnson will vie for the first-place bounty. Alexandrov and Johnson featured heavily on the Grand Prix circuit in the 2012-2013 running.

Four more swimmers from Stanford’s postgrad team are scheduled to compete in Oklahoma with Johnson. Bobby Bollier, Alex Coville, Aaron Wayne and Andi Murez could each figure prominently in the top three in various events.

In addition to a strong group of professional swimmers, the Mission Viejo Nadadores annually makes a big statement at the meet with a large number of younger swimmers gaining racing experience before holiday training.

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