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Olympic Trials dive into aquatic center tomorrow

Mirror staff

The 2003 U.S. Olympic Trials to select the synchronized swimming duet team starts with a splash at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center Thursday. The duet will be the first two U.S. athletes selected for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

“The Olympic Trials is one of the few chances Seattle area residents have to see Olympic-caliber athletes competing for the right to represent their country,” said Mike Dunwiddie, aquatic cneter director.

Of local interest, Seattle’s Sally Winchester and Lacey Brooten won their petition and will compete in the event.

“Sally and Lacey are a good, up-and-coming duet that represents the Seattle area very well,” said coach Khadija Strong. “They have come a long way together in the past few seasons despite balancing their collegiate course load and jobs. I think they’ll compete very well.”

Winchester, 20, of Everett, is a junior at the University of Washington and is in her third season competing for the UW Husky Synchro Club. Her partner is UW freshman Lacey Brooten, 18, of Kent.

Winchester finished the 2002 season on a strong note, taking seventh in solo, and joining Brooten for third in team at the United Airlines Open. Brooten also earned her best placement to date in ‘02 at the Esynchro Age Group Championships in Seattle, taking second in 18-19 duet.

Together the Seattle Synchro pair hopes to revive the legacy of the sport’s most prominent duet — Seattle natives Tracie Ruiz-Conforto and Candy Costie, who won duet gold at the 1984 Olympic Games.

The Trials are exactly 573 days before the Opening Ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games. The early date is necessary to prepare the team to compete in three major international events prior to the Games - the 2003 FINA World Championships, 2003 Pan American Games, and 2004 Olympic Qualifying Open. Trials tickets are on sale now for $10 for adults, $7.50 for children and seniors at (800) 325-6165, ext. 4444.

Following the Olympic Trials, the aquatic center hosts the 2003 World Championships and Pan American Games Team Trials Jan. 19-20.

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