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Williamsville's Neeley represents U.S. at junior artistic swimming worlds

Williamsville native Cassandra Neeley got her chance to swim on the world stage this past week.

Neeley, 18, was part of the U.S. team that competed at the FINA World Junior Artistic Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary. The competition began July 20 with the team tech final, where Team USA finished eighth with a score of 82.9434.

"They had a very good swim, full of energy," U.S. National Team Coach Lolli Montico said in a press release. "We have improved our ranking from the last World Championships."

Team USA followed up that performance with a ninth-place finish in the free final. They scored 83.4667, the same score they achieved in the preliminaries earlier that day.

Neeley and her teammates had their best finish of the championships in the free combo final to wrap up the championships Sunday. They came in seventh with a score of 83.7.

The team has a few weeks off before they return to competition Aug. 6 at the UANA Pan American Artistic Swimming Championships in Riverside, Calif.

Williamsville native making splash on world synchronized swimming stage

Neeley qualified for the junior national team in December 2016 and moved to Walnut Creek, Calif., to train with the team about a year ago. She began synchro when she was 11 after trying it a camp at her local pool. Neeley trained with the Buffalo Swimkins before making the junior national team.

She graduated high school a year early, meaning she was able to commit all her energy to training this year. Her training sessions typically last for nine hours a day, beginning in the gym with strength training and cardio before moving to the pool.

The senior national team trials are in August, and that competition will determine who will be on the 2020 Olympic team. She is committed to swim for Ohio State University, the reigning national champions, but has yet to decide when she will start college.

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