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Another top 10 time as Kennedy finishes second in 50 free at Arena Pro Series

Avon's Madison Kennedy lives and trains in Charlotte, N.C. so she was a hometown favorite Saturday at the Arena Pro Series in Charlotte. She finished second in the 50 free. (Photo courtesy SwimMac Carolina)

Avon’s Madison Kennedy lives and trains in Charlotte, N.C. so she was a hometown favorite Saturday at the Arena Pro Series in Charlotte. She finished second in the 50 free. (Photo courtesy SwimMac Carolina)

CHARLOTTE, May 14 – Avon’s Madison Kennedy continues to drive strongly toward a berth on the U.S. Olympic team in swimming. The U.S. trials aren’t for another six weeks at the end of June in Omaha, Nebraska but Kennedy continues to swim well.

Kennedy was the top American in the 50 meter freestyle at Saturday’s Arena Pro Series in Charlotte, N.C., with a time of 24.53 seconds – one of the top 10 times in the world this year in the event. Kennedy finished in second place behind Canadian Chantal Van Landeghem, who eclipsed the time she swam in April to win the Canadian Olympic Trials in the 50 free.

Kennedy, 28, started out strong and led the way at the halfway point but Van Landeghem caught Kennedy at the end to win with a time of 24.43 seconds – 0.20 better than her time at the Canadian trials and 0.10 faster than Kennedy.

Canadian Chantel Van Landeghem, right, and Avon's Madison Kennedy were first and second, respectively in the 50 free. (Photo courtesy Arena Pro Series)

Canadian Chantel Van Landeghem, right, and Avon’s Madison Kennedy were first and second, respectively in the 50 free. (Photo courtesy Arena Pro Series)

Fifteen swimmers from the Canadian Olympic team are in Charlotte this weekend to prepare for the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil this August. The Canadians will be swimming in the relays but they are also swimming in their individual events.

Kennedy’s time of 24.53 is still the ninth fastest time in the world this year in the 50 free. Her career-best time of 24.45 at the Arena Pro Series in Mesa, Arizona in April is the No. 7 best time in the world at this time.

Egypt’s Farida Osman was third with a time of 25.00 seconds with Canadian Michelle Williams fourth in 25.10. American Dana Wollmer was fifth in 25.13 seconds followed by American Kelsi Worrell in 25.30. Kennedy was second in qualifying with a time of 24.96 seconds, just behind Van Langeghem in 24.93 seconds.

The Arena Pro Series is a series of seven meets where swimmers can be challenged by international caliber swimmers. Athletes can earn awards for top three finishes in all individual Olympic events in the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be provided for a first-place finish, $600 for second and $200 for third.

Kennedy has been outstanding in the Arena Pro Series. In the 50 free, she was second in Austin, Texas and won in Orlando and Mesa. In the 100 free, she has finished ninth (Orlando) and tenth (Austin, Mesa).

Kennedy is scheduled to swim in the 100 freestyle on Sunday on the final day of the Arena Pro Series in Charlotte. Kennedy lives in Charlotte and trains with SwimMac Carolina, the host club for the meet.

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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