NASHVILLE, Tenn, December 4. TOP swimmers from around the United States are once again descending upon Nashville for a chance to showcase their skills and prepare for the 2004 USA Olympic Team Trials.
Athletes from at least ten states ranging from Florida to California will be participating in the 2nd Annual Nashville Aquatic Club Music City Invitational December 5-7 at Centennial Sportsplex. Currently, nine swimmers entered in the meet have achieved Olympic Trials Qualifying Times, while more than two dozen have competed at the USA Swimming National Championships. In addition, some of the nation’s fastest age group swimmers will be in attendance, including several National Age Group Record Holders.
Two members of the USA’s 2000 Olympic Team will highlight the women’s competition as Gabrielle Rose of Memphis Thunder Aquatic Club and Julia Stowers of Pilot Aquatic Club-Knoxville will compete in the three day meet. Stowers won a gold medal in Sydney as part of Team USA’s 800 meter Freestyle Relay. Rose finished 7th in the 200 IM at the Sydney Games for the United States and represented Brazil in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The women’s side is further strengthened due to the additions of two University of Georgia signees, Amanda Weir of Swim Atlanta and Anna Miller of Pilot-Knoxville. Weir is coming off an amazing summer in which she earned two gold medals at the Pan American Games and became the fourth fastest American ever in the 100 meter Freestyle. Miller, a Farragut High School senior, was a finalist at this summer’s National Championships and is the defending Tennessee State Champion in the 200 Freestyle.
Other women entered in the meet include Olympic Trials Qualifiers Macie Garrett of Nashville Aquatic Club, Caroline Burckle of Lakeside Seahawks (Louisville, KY), Elaine Breeden of Wildcat Aquatics (Lexington, KY), and Margo McCawley of Memphis Thunder, as well as Nashville’s Sarah Peterson who is a member of the 2003-2004 USA Swimming National Junior Team, and Gulf Coast Swim Team’s (Ft. Myers, FL) Chelsea Franklin who holds four National Age Group Records.
On the men’s side, Nashville’s own Gilliam brothers, Craig and Michael, look to continue their road to the Olympic Trials fresh from competing at the FINA World Cup Meet in Melbourne, Australia last week. Michael, a two-time NCAA Champion at the University of Tennessee, is currently ranked as having the 11th fastest time in the 100 meter Backstroke heading into the Olympic Trials, while Craig is attempting to qualify for the Trials in the sprint Backstroke and Freestyle events. Competition for the brothers comes from Kevin Nead of Anderson Barracudas/M.E. Lyons YMCA (Cincinnati, OH). Nead is a multi-time YMCA National Champion and was a member of the 2002-2003 USA-Swimming National Junior Team. Adding more depth to the men's draw is Pilot’s Brett Koerten who attended the 2003 USA-Swimming National Championships and will attend the University of Wisconsin next year.
Many of the USA's finest competitive swimming programs will be represented in Nashville this weekend. Four clubs, Swim Atlanta (Atlanta, GA), Pilot Aquatic Club (Knoxville, TN), Anderson Barracudas (Cincinnati, OH), and Nashville Aquatic Club were awarded as 2003 USA Swimming Gold Medal Clubs, an honor bestowed upon only twenty-six clubs across the country. The meet will be held at the Tracy Caulkins Competition Pool at Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville, with competition beginning this Friday at 9:00 a.m.