PASCO -- The Tri-City Channel Cats will play host to the Inland Empire Long Course Championships today through Sunday at Memorial Pool in Pasco.
The USA Swimming event is the last chance for swimmers to earn Western Zone and Junior National qualifying times.
"We have a number of Channel Cats trying to make senior sectionals," said TCCC coach Todd Stafek, who noted the event will pull draw 428 swimmers from 15 teams -- 102 athletes from the Channel Cats squad.
Stafek said local standouts Natilee Ruiz and Joe Wertz will not be competing in order to rest up for USA Swimming Nationals, scheduled Aug. 2-6 in Palo Alto, Calif., and Lisa Bratton will "be doing an abbreviated number of events" in anticipation of Junior Nationals on Aug. 8-12 at Stanford University.
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"Lisa dropped a ton of time last week," Stafek said, referring to last week's Western Section Long Course Championships in Gresham, Ore.
"She is less than a second away in the 200 backstroke from making Olympic trials. That's her goal for the next couple of weeks both here and down at Junior Nationals."
Inland Empire warm-ups start at 7:15 a.m. and races begin 9 a.m.