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Outdoor Laps: A pair of swim meets offer unique experiences

For the top swimmers in the state, summertime is the best time to get in a pool and swim with the best.

Austin will be host many of those top swimmers when it hosts the Regional Championships on July 19-21, but before that Austin Municipal Pool will serve as the host sight for a regular swim meet this weekend.

While Regionals are expected to draw nearly 500 swimmers, this weekend’s meet will likely have about 100 competitors. Competition will begin at 6:15 p.m Saturday night and will resume around 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Mark Vininski, the head coach of the Atlantis Swimming Federation, helped bring summer swimming to Austin and he’s excited about the meets ahead in town.

“This first meet is giving kids a chance to swim and it will help us knock the cobwebs off and get everything set up for July,” Viniski said. “Summer swimming is key because kids get a chance to swim in the olympic platform. After going back to yards in the winter, it feels shorter.”

Austin swimmer Rafe Dolan Peterson had a breakout season last year when he took fourth at Minnesota Class A State Meet in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly. He said that meet helped propel him to put in at least two months of hard work this summer.

“It motivates me to want to push better. I want to be the best I possibly can and I want to be the best there is,” Dolan Peterson said. “It helps to work on our endurance so we can push its even farther next year.”

Dolan Peterson said there is a good feeling about swimming outside as opposed to competing in an indoor pool.

“You get a fresh air feeling every time you jump in and get out. It’s relaxing,” Dolan Peterson said. “The first meet (this weekend) is going to be a fun meet. It’s difficult, but once people realize how much fun it is and they’ll want to come out and try it.”