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Avon’s Kennedy preparing for 50 free at Pan-Am Games in Toronto

From left, Americans' Chip Peterson, Katie Meili, Madison Kennedy of Avon, and Amanda Weir before the start of Friday's Opening Ceremonies for the Pan-Am Games in Toronto. (Photo courtesy Madison Kennedy via Instagram)

From left, Americans’ Chip Peterson, Katie Meili, Madison Kennedy of Avon, and Amanda Weir before the start of Friday’s Opening Ceremonies for the Pan-Am Games in Toronto. (Photo courtesy Madison Kennedy via Instagram)

TORONTO – Avon’s Madison Kennedy will be competing in her second Pan-American Games championship meet next week in Toronto. Kennedy, 27, was named to the American team in the 50-meter freestyle although she could get selected by the team coaches to swim on the U.S. 4×100 relay team on Tuesday.

Kennedy earned her spot in the American team after finishing fourth in the 50 freestyle at last summer’s U.S. national championship meet in 24.83 seconds – the second fastest time of her career.

On Thursday, she will swim with 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin in the 50 free, representing the United States. Countries can enter two swimmers in each event. Up to six can participate on the relay teams.

Kennedy and her U.S. teammates marched in the Opening Ceremonies Friday night in Toronto. Athletes from 41 nations are competing in 39 sports. Over 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials are living in an 80-acre village. The Pan-Am Games aim to mirror the format of the Olympics – just two years away in Rio, Brazil.

The American team of 40 swimmers is led by Coughlin and six-time Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt. Much of the swimming coverage will be on ESPN3.

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

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