Top T&T swimmer George Bovell III will splash off his 2013 season when he competes at the Bolles High School-hosted Jax50 at the Bolles School Vible Pool, San Jose Boulevard, Jacksonville, Florida today.
The Jax50 is an event to celebrate the sport of swimming and to create more awareness about the sport and has two goals: Firstly, to help raise funds for The Planet Swim Foundation in order to teach underprivileged children how to be water safe and learn how to swim. Secondly, to help professional/post grad swimmers to keep working towards their goal of excellence in the sport that they have invested a lot of time, passion and money.
Yesterday saw the official start of the three-day event, but today, Bovell III, who holds the joint record of 19.16 seconds with Auburn University's Adam Brown, and a host of other top professional swimmers will compete in the Dual Challenge followed by the clinic with the professionals for the swimmers/coaches tomorrow.
In today's event, Bovell will do battle with American 2008 Olympic gold medallist Cullen Jones and 2012 gold and silver Olympic Games medal winner Ricky Berens as well as Josh Schneider, a 2010 FINA Short Course World Championship 50m freestyle bronze winner.
While he did not compete at the JAX50 last year due to his preparations for the London Olympic Games, Bovell III had by far his most productive season as an international swimmer when he captured 16 medals (seven gold and nine silver) on the eight-stop FINA/Arena Swimming World Championships Circuit to placed second overall in the esteemed international competition points table.
He was also seventh in the men's 50m freestyle final at the London Olympics, and improved to fourth in the December 14, 2012 event final in the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, before he earned a first ever medal–a bronze in the 100 metres individual medley–four days later to become the first T&T world championship swim medallist, adding to his Athens Olympics 200m IM bronze.
On his return home in December, Bovell III, a four-time and former NCAA swim champion as a member of Auburn University, described 2012 as his best year ever in the sport, not just based on his stellar performances in the pool.
The 29-year-old Bovell III, speaking on his return home on Christmas Eve, reflected on all his achievements which came following his near fatal accident on August 10 last year when he was knocked briefly unconscious after being involved in an early morning vehicular accident near the Manzanilla Secondary School and was sidelined for almost four months.
Following his recovery, Bovell III took the World Cup circuit by storm and among his 16 medals was a new national record in the 50m freestyle (20.82 in Stockholm, Sweden) on October 14 and in the 100m IM (51.20) in Berlin, Germany, six days later.