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The pool at the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center will be rocking all weekend long.

Well, that's the plan at least.

That's where Santa Maria Swim Club is hosting the Coastal Championships, which started Friday with distance races and relays.

"Admission is free," Santa Maria Swim Club director Mike Ashmore said, adding that the smoke from the Alamo Fire didn't affect the meet on Friday. Ashmore is hoping that it won't affect the event on Saturday and Sunday, either.

"We can feel the air getting a little heavy, but we're pushing through it," Ashmore added. 

The event is expected to bring in a few hundred swimmers to the area. The Santa Maria Swim Club has hosted the meet for the last several years.

The SMSC has consistently sent swimmers to the national championships and this weekend's event serves as a qualifier for the Junior Olympics, which will be held later this month in Fullerton. 

This year the Santa Maria Swim Club is sending seven swimmers to the National Club Swimming Association (NCSA) Junior National Summer Championships.

On Saturday and Sunday, swimmers from throughout the Coastal Region, which spans north up to Paso Robles down to the San Fernando Valley, will be trying to qualify for the Junior Olympics which run July 21-23 at Costa Mesa High School.

"This is the last chance for kids trying to make the Junior Olympics," Ashmore said. "We already have quite a few qualified."

This is the fourth year in a row the Santa Maria Swim Club has hosted the meet, which will wrap up Sunday evening.

Swim fans are invited to check out the action throughout the weekend.

Air-quality withstanding, the swimmers will warm up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday with the competition beginning at 9 a.m. each day, with swimmers occupying the eight-lane, 50-meter-by-25-yard pool.

The competition featured the 200-, 400- and 1,500-meter swims on Friday. The meet is for swimmers aged 7 through 18. 

The top eight swimmers in each event will advance to the finals. There are 38 races scheduled for Saturday, starting with the boys and girls 100-meter freestyles and wrapping up with the 800-meter freestyle. Thirty-eight more events are scheduled for Sunday.

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Sports Editor

Alumni Fresno State