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Kennedy thrilled to be swimming in Santa Clara this weekend

Madison Kennedy before the 50 freestyle final. (Courtesy U.S. Swimming)

Madison Kennedy (Courtesy U.S. Swimming)

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 18 – Swimmer Madison Kennedy is thrilled about this weekend’s Arena Pro Series swim meet in Santa Clara. She gets to visit California, reunite with many of her friends in the swimming community and hit the pool.

It’s been a challenging spring for the 27-year-old from Avon. In February, she dislocated her shoulder working out. It’s slowed down progress toward her goal of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team and swimming in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil in August 2016.

Kennedy will be competing in the 50 meter freestyle on Saturday and in the 100 freestyle on Sunday. She is the eighth seed in the 50 free with a time of 25.03 seconds and 28th in the 100 free with a seed time of 56.05 seconds.

“I’m excited to swim,” she said from her Charlotte, North Carolina home before flying across the country. “I’ve never really had an injury (as a swimmer). It wasn’t just the pain. The arm wasn’t working. It was annoying for a while. The nerves don’t play around. They just shut down.”

Kennedy had to wait. “It was weird to admit that you needed a little more time than I thought,” she said. “But now, I’m completely back to where I was before (getting hurt).”

She returned to racing in April and competed at the Arena Pro Series in Charlotte in May. She was ninth in the 50 free and 11th in the 100 freestyle. She also swam on two relays with her SwimMAC Carolina teammates.

In July, she join her U.S. teammates in Toronto in preparations for the 2015 Pan-American Games on July 14-18. It will be her second appearance in the Games and she is scheduled to swim the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle.

Kennedy hopes to be swimming well enough to grab a spot on some American relay teams, too. The U.S. coaching staff looks at the swimmers’ history and how they are swimming at the moment when putting together relay teams.

Kennedy, who graduated from Avon High in 2005 and California in 2010, did swim in the 2011 Pan-American Games and earned a bronze medal in the 50 freestyle. She lives in North Carolina and trains with SwimMAC Elite in Charlotte.

The Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara is the sixth and final stop of the 2014-15 Arena Pro Swim Series, which was formerly known as the Arena Grand Prix Series prior to a January 2015 rebranding announcement. The series provides the nation’s best swimmers the opportunity to face top-flight competition on U.S. soil with twice the prize money as last season on the line.

A year ago, Kennedy was second in the 50 free in Santa Clara with a time of 25.23 seconds. In the 100 meters, she was ninth with a time of 55.88 seconds.

A webcast of the complete meet will be available at usaswimming.org. It will also be broadcast on Universal Sports Network, which isn’t available on any Connecticut cable networks.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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