This weekend at the Frank Brown Aquatic Center, the Panama City Swim Team held their annual Long Course Invitational. The meet gets bigger every year, and this weekend, over 450 athletes from as far away as Boston made the trip to Bay County to swim. The invitational is the start of the long course season for the swimmers, which runs until August.
PCST has built quite the reputation over the past few years, with several athletes going on to compete at the college level. Michael Duderstadt was a three time State Champion at Mosley High School, and at Auburn this year, he won an SEC Championship in the 400 Medlay Relay in his Freshman season.
Duder and current PCST member Jonathan Ratliff swam at the U.S. Open last summer, where times are equivalent to Olympic Trial times, and building that winning tradition in Panama City has only helped PCST grow.
"It's great to see them move on and go the really big things like Olympic trials and swim in college," said PCST head coach Brian Haddad. "Beyond that, I think it gives the kids who are still developing a lot of confidence that they can see somebody they've trained with every day make it at a high level and I think it gives them the confidence that hey, I might be able to do that too. It just kind of grows on and on and on, and more people keep reaching a high level."
Ratliff will sign a scholarship to swim at Florida State University on Wednesday at Mosley.