Never underestimate the Texas Longhorns.

With California looking like a lock with an 18.5-point lead going into the third and final day, Texas came back behind nine top-eight finishes to win its tenth NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships Sunday at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

Texas overtook the Golden Bears and won with 500 points. California placed second with 469.5 points and Arizona placed third with 387 points.

The NCAA team title is the Longhorns’ first since 2002 and makes head coach Eddie Reese the first coach in NCAA Division I men’s swimming and diving history to win NCAA team titles in four separate decades.

Reese now has victories in 1981, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2010. The win also allowed Reese to break a tie with former Southern California head coach Peter Daland to move into sole possession of second-place in the career men’s title list behind Ohio State’s Mike Peppe., who won 11.
Texas took a 365-353.5 lead after collecting 19 points in the 200 backstroke. Freshman Austin Surhoff placed sixth overall in 1:41.13. Senior Hill Taylor took second in the 200 backstroke consolation final in 1:42.58. Freshman Cole Cragin took seventh in 1:42.74, and junior Bryan Collins placed eighth in 1:43.10.

Surhoff had Twittered on Saturday night that “for every single one of us the most important day of our swimming career is tomorrow; for me it is the most important day of my life.”

California’s Nathan Adrian captured the 100 freestyle in 41.50, but the Longhorns’ depth in the event enabled Cal to gain only 1 point in the event. Sophomore Jimmy Feigen took second for a second consecutive year in 41.91, and senior Dave Walters took eighth in 42.96. Junior Scott Jostes tied with Cal’s Josh Daniels in the consolation final at 42.82. Senior Ben Van Roekel took sixth in 43.25.

Texas stretched its lead over California to 433-408.5 after picking up 29 points in the 200 breaststroke. Junior Scott Spann, who broke Brendan Hansen’s school record in the event during the preliminary round, took a close second in 1:53.21. Arizona’s Clark Burckle won the event in 1:53.19. UT sophomore Eric Friedland nailed down his first individual All-America finish by taking seventh in 1:54.80.

Senior Ricky Berens added five points in the 200 butterfly consolation final where he took fourth in 1:43.89. Cal’s 200 butterfly performances sliced the Texas lead to 438-429.5, but UT divers Matt Cooper and Drew Livingston extended the lead considerably. Cooper placed third with 462.30 points, and Livingston took seventh with 382.80 points. The diving points pushed the Texas lead out to 466-429.5.

Texas wrapped up the meet by taking second in the 400 freestyle relay, as Walters, Feigen, Jostes and Berens finished in 2:49.90.

Other champions were Arizona’s Clark Burckle in the 200 breaststroke in 1:53.19; Stanford’s Chad La Tourette in the 1,650 in a pool record 14:42.87; and Arizona’s Cory Chitwood in the 200 backstroke in 1:39.29. 

The meet wasn’t without a few shockers.  

Florida’s Shaune Fraser, seeded second going into finals, defended his title in the 200 butterfly when initial winner Georgia’s Mark Dylla was disqualified for a one-handed touch at the wall. Dylla was clocked in 1:41.14. Fraser’s time was 1:41.45.

Auburn’s Christopher Fox false started in the 400 free relay, causing a disqualification for Auburn and a 10-minute break for the rest of the swimmers that all swam an all out 50.

After returning to the blocks, California’s Graeme Moore (43.31), Josh Daniels (42.01), Tom Shields (42.48) and Nathan Adrian (40.98) won with a 2:48.78. The performance broke the pool facility record of 2:50.85 set by Auburn during prelims. 

Texas’ Dave Walters (42.33), Jimmy Feigen (42.01), Scott Jostes (42.35) and Ricky Berens (43.21) took second in 2:49.90 after leading through the first three legs. Texas just had to have a clean race to hold on to the team title.

Another disappointment was during morning prelims when Cal suffered a huge setback when Sean Mahoney was disqualified for a Dolphin kick.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com






PLANTATION—Tiffany Oliver saved her best for the last night of the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships.

The Florida State-bound swimmer won the 17-and-over women’s high point award after winning two events and finishing fifth in another event.

Oliver, 17, won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.30 seconds and the 200-yard individual medley in 2:12.70. She was also fifth in the 50-yard butterfly in 27.24.

She topped an impressive women’s field to win high point with 138 points. Lindsey Meeder of Fort Lauderdale Aquatics was second with 127 and Ana Anaya of Metro Aquatics was third with 121.

Other Comets among the 17-and-over Top 20 high point finishers were Melissa Fernandez (13th with 74 points), Ashley Hicks (16th with 66 points) and Bianca Muniz (18th with 58 points).

Marc Rojas, 16, (fifth with 135 points ) Tyler Sell, 17, (ninth with 99 points) and Carlo Moranti, 17, (16th with 75 points) were among top high point boys finishers.

Sell, also bound for Florida State in the fall, was the Comets highest finisher among the boys field on the third and final night with a second place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 15:59.70.

Rojas was fourth in the men’s 15-16 100-yard breaststroke in 1:02.63 and was tenth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:08.08.

Rojas, a state high school breaststroke champion for Pembroke Pines Charter, was disappointed with his finish.

“I didn’t have as good a meet as I was expecting,” Rojas said. “Ultimately, I wasn’t doing what I expected but I did give it my hardest.’

Rojas, a natural team leader, started swimming at age 2 and competitively at age 7. He has grown up with the Comets’ program and is hoping to follow in Sell’s footsteps earning a college scholarship in two years.

“I just really like the water,” Rojas said. “I like swimming and I like to race. Swimming keeps me focused and builds character. I practice every day and I am always determined to do my best.

“I like to be a team leader and getting involved with what everybody is swimming and doing. It’s really important to give the whole team support and motivate them. We all want to do well.”

Rojas said his big turning point in the sport was at age 13 when he started making sectional cuts.

“I started getting faster and moving up and going to bigger meets,” he said.

As a sophomore at Pembroke Pines Charter, he won the 100 breaststroke state title in 1:07.

“It’s a big commitment, balancing school and swimming and waking up at 4:30 in the morning for practice,” Rojas said. “But it is definitely worth it.”

Other Top 20 Comets finishers were:

Women 15-16 100-yard backstroke: 17. Madeleine Fernandez, 15, 1:06.01; 20. Amy Lunak, 16, 1:07.68.

Men 15-16 100-yard backstroke: 14. Ivan Parada, 15, 56.92; 17. Paul Guarino, 15, 59.45.

Women 100-yard backstroke: 8. Melissa Fernandez, 17, 1:03.04; 20. Stephanie Freiria, 17, 1:10.60.

Men 100-yard backstroke: 8. Carlo Morante, 17, 57.12.

Women 15-16 50-yard butterfly: 15. Nicolle Garcia, 16, 28.58.

Men 15-16 50-yard butterfly: 17. Xavier Brown, 15, 26.00.

Men 50-yard butterfly: 13. Kevin Ganaim, 17, 25.41.

Men 15-16 100-yard breaststroke: 4. Marc Rojas, 16, 1:02.63.

Women 100-yard breaststroke: 9. Bianca Muniz, 18, 1:15.14.

Men 100-yard breaststroke: 10. James Schultz, 18, 1:05.97.

50-yard freestyle: 6. Melissa Fernandez, 17, 25.11; 16. Brittany Williford, 17, 26.41; 19. Bianca Muniz, 18, 26.67.

Women 1,650-yard freestyle: 7. Brittany Williford, 17, 18:02.7; 10. Katie Brennan, 16, 18:13.53.

Men 1,650-yard freestyle: 16. Gabriel Pena, 17, 17:50.78; 23. Julio Simon, 18, 18:35.04.

Women 15-16 200-yard individual medley: 16. Madeleine Fernandez, 15, 2:24.49.

Men 15-16 200-yard individual medley: 16. Ivan Parada, 15, 2:09.41.

Women 200-yard individual medley: 8. Bianca Muniz, 18, 2:24.57.

Fort Lauderdale won the seniors team title followed by Metro Aquatic Club of Miami and host Plantation Swim Team.

Coral Springs and the Comets swam unattached, waiting out the mandatory 120-day period until the teams merge into the South Florida Aquatic Club.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com






A day after Venezuela’s Arlene Semeco of the Coral Springs Swim Club won a gold medal in the 100 freestyle, Leo Andara added a silver medal for Venezuela at the South American Championships in Colombia.

Andara, 23, of Caracas, Venezuela who also trains at the Coral Springs Swim Club with six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg, finished second in the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 8.11 seconds.

Andara, 2005 NJCAA Men’s Swimmer of the Year for Indian River College in Fort Pierce, and former South Carolina swimmer now at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, is a national record holder in Venezuela.

Semeco competes in her specialty event, the 50 freestyle, today.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.






PLANTATION—Anne Kuczynski of the Coral Springs Swim Club raised the bar for herself on the final night of the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships.

On Sunday, the lanky 15-year-old freshman won the 15-16 200-yard individual medley in a lifetime best 2 minutes, 11.02 seconds at the Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex.

Her morning prelim time was 2:13.48, bettering her seed time of 2:13.80.

“She has never won a final in the Gold Coast before,” said Coral Springs Swim Club coach Michael Lohberg.

“In the past, it was just about her making the final. It was a breakthrough swim and breakthrough meet for her.”

Kuczynski, who was also fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:09.53 and sixth in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:01.73 on Sunday, said she was surprised at her IM swim. She finished among the Top 10 15-16 high point finishers, placing eighth with 112 points.

“I didn’t expect to win,” she said. “I wanted to make finals and do the best I could. I don’t like to have high expectations because if I don’t do well I would get down on myself. I was really happy after my swim.

“I was a little surprised because this meet was really fast,” Kuczynski said. “I was happy I got that time. My butterfly and backstroke have gotten a lot better.

“I think I turned a corner because I won’t be known just as a breaststroker now. This is going to help my confidence. Of all my races this week, that one I was the happiest with.” 

Lohberg told Kuczynski before the race to trust her instincts.

“Michael knows I swim on instinct,” Kuczynski said. “I just swim and race.

“I knew I needed to take it out fast. Usually, I am tired by the breaststroke, which is my best stroke. My fly was actually fast. It helped making the final in the backstroke so that gave me more confidence for the IM. In the freestyle, I just gave it everything I had.”

Lohberg has been pleased with Kuczynski’s progress.

“She is always solid,” Lohberg said. “When she steps up, she is a very good racer. She swam several best times in this meet and had a big four- second drop in her 100 freestyle. She has always delivered.

“I told her on Saturday not to worry about her swims. Sometimes swimmers think too much. She has a great feel for what to do. I told her to use her instinct and just swim. She is good at fighting her way through and not everyone can do that. Now all of a sudden she pops up and is in the spotlight.”

A week after an outstanding sectional meet in Fort Lauderdale, teammate Lindsey McKnight, 16, shared that spotlight going three-for-three on the final night of seniors. She moved into the Top 10 high point finishers, tying for sixth place with 120 points.

McKnight won the 15-16 100-yard backstroke in 57.08, 50-yard butterfly in 25.92 and 50-yard freestyle in 23.47.

“Last week gave me a big confidence boost,” McKnight said. “I never really changed my game plan of kicking back for this week, it just happened. I was happiest with my 100 back and 50 fly because I don’t usually swim those events. I was happy to do well in my off events.

“It was definitely another stepping stone,” McKnight said. “Little meets like this help you go fast even though you’re not trained for the meet. The quality was there but there weren’t a lot of people. It was weird splitting up JOs and senior champs. I just wanted to swim my races here and whatever happens happens. I was happy with the outcome.”

McKnight and 12 of her teammates will kick it up another notch this week when they leave for training camp in St. Croix on Monday. The March 29-April 5 camp during the holiday break will focus on heavy training for the upcoming summer meet schedule. McKnight is working toward her international debut in Europe with the U.S. junior national team this summer.

“The camp should be pretty hard,” McKnight said. “Michael said this is what training will be like at the next level. He called it an eye opener. It’s more than the usual mileage. Everyone will be in for something. It will be nice to get away and train somewhere else in a different atmosphere.”

Lohberg said after sectionals he left it up to McKnight what she wanted to do at seniors.

“It was fun for her, mostly short stuff,” Lohberg said. “She didn’t have to but she wanted to swim and once she is there, she wants to win.”

Lohberg is excited to return to St. Croix and work with his swimmers in a different atmosphere. The team’s early season training at their home pool was hampered by the cold and rainy weather.

“The camp is a mixture of hard training and having some fun which is important,” Lohberg said. “They need to learn to focus, to do things differently than at home. The hotel is not like their house. The food is not what mom puts on the table. And, the texting is distracting. I want to show them they can have fun hanging out in their room with their teammates and actually talking eye-to-eye with each other instead of all this texting.”

The campers will swim 2 ½ hours in the morning and another 2 ½ hours in the afternoon.

“We are going to have fun and do solid work,” Lohberg said. “Swimming is just part of the education. We want to take them totally out of their comfortable environment and do something different. It will help them grow and make decisions on their own. These are life lessons, not just swimming.”

Other Top 20 Coral Springs finishers were:

Women 15-16 100-yard backstroke: 2. Emily Greenwood, 15, 1:00.75; 8. Linea Cutter, 16, 1:02.27; 9. Brittany Hanson, 15, 1:02.75; 14. Kristen Garza, 15, 1:05.02.

Men 15-16 100-yard backstroke: 7. Brandon Goldman, 15, 56.59; 11. Luke Torres, 15, 56.26.

Men 100-yard backstroke: 3. Les Moore, 53.92.

Women 15-16 50-yard butterfly: 10. Linea Cutter, 16, 28.18.

Men 15-16 50-yard butterfly: 12. Mauricio Hidalgo, 16, 25.50.

Men 50-yard butterfly: 4. Les Moore, 18, 24.12.

Women 15-16 100-yard breaststroke: 6. Gina Gautieri, 16, 1:09.66; 9. Lucia Morris, 16, 1:10.07; 13. Allison Cowett, 16, 1:14.51; 14. Kristina Nork, 15, 1:14.62.

Women 100-yard breaststroke: 4. Philomena Fiorenzi, 14, 1:12.50; 7. Nicole Schein, 17, 1;13.05.

Men 100-yard breaststroke: 14. Bogdan Cioanta, 14, 1:08.45.

Women 15-16 50-yard freestyle: 5. Linea Cutter, 16, 24.74; 12. Emily Greenwood, 15, 25.91.

Women 15-16 200-yard individual medley: 11. Brittany Hanson, 15, 2:18.50; 14. Kristina Nork, 15, 2:22.41.

Men 15-16 200-yard individual medley: 7. Brandon Goldman, 15, 2:04.88; 9. Mauricio Hidalgo, 16, 2:05.97; 11. Luke Torres, 15, 2:01.31.

Women 200-yard individual medley: 4. Philomena Fiorenzi, 14, 2:17.57.

Men 200-yard individual medley: 2. Les Moore, 18, 1:56.90.

Fort Lauderdale Aquatics won the seniors combined team title followed by Metro Aquatic Club of Miami and host Plantation Swim Team.

Coral Springs and the Comets swam unattached, waiting out the mandatory 120-day period until the teams merge into the South Florida Aquatic Club.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com





After some outstanding morning swims, the California Golden Bears put themselves in position to win the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships tonight.

In a see-saw battle with Texas, the Golden Bears won three events on Saturday at Ohio State’s McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion and have an 18.5-point lead (348.5-330) over the Longhorns going into the third and final day.

Texas closed the gap with a win in the 800 freestyle relay but clearly has its work cut out for them. Arizona and Florida are separated by five points (269-264) and Stanford (221) and defending champion Auburn (215.5) are separated by 5.5 points.

In a thrilling finish to the night, the Longhorns broke the previous pool record of 6:15.80 (held by Michigan last month at the Big 10 Championships) with a 6:12.77 victory in the 800 freestyle relay.

Texas won its 11th 800 relay in the event’s history with outstanding splits from Scott Jostes (1:33.25), Dave Walters (1:32.76), Neil Caskey (1:33.86) and Ricky Berens (1:32.90).

Florida’s Shaune Fraser, Brett Fraser, Jeffrey Raymond, who grew up swimming in the Florida Gold Coast, and Conor Dwyer finished second in 6:14.72 in the 800 free relay.

California lost the chance to put the meet away finishing 10th in the 800 relay which may make Sunday morning’s prelims even more interesting than expected.

California, buoyed by its breaststroke leg, started off the night with a win in the 200 medley relay in a pool record 1:23.08 with Guy Barnea (21.30), Damir Dugonjic (23.10), Graeme Moore (20.01) and Joshua Daniels (18.67).

“The relay was unbelievable,” Daniels said. “We are just feeling great and having a blast.”

In the 400 individual medley, defending champion Tyler Clary of Michigan took it out fast and stayed ahead of the pack. By the third leg he was a full four seconds ahead and finished in 3:38.89. Clary was a true comeback story. He had the H1N1 virus and shoulder ailments earlier this season.

The Golden Bears picked up more points in the 100 butterfly with Tom Shields and Mathias Gydsen finishing 1-2. Shields went out fast to take the lead and win in 44.91 a full body length ahead of Gydsen, who came on late in his race to finish second in 45.83.

Florida’s Conor Dwyer won his second NCAA title in as many days in the 200 freestyle in 1:32.31, making him the seventh fastest performer of all time.

“It was a good swim,” said Dwyer, who won the 500 freestyle on Friday. “I really tried to push that third 50 to win the race and move us up in the team scores.”

The Golden Bears success in the breaststroke continued in the individual 100 breaststroke event. NCAA record holder and defending champion Damir Dugonjic won the event in 51.65.

The Bears finished 1-3-6 in the breaststroke. Martti Aljand took third and Sean Mahoney was sixth.

“I really felt I needed to have a good, fast first 50 to get myself in the lead and to have a chance to win,” Dugonjic said. “I just went out fast and I went out easy.”

Eugene Godsoe of Stanford won the 100 backstroke by a full second in 45.11, the only swimmer under 46 in the heat.

Purdue’s David Boudia won his second NCAA title in diving winning the 3-meter springboard title with 494.90 points. After winning the 1- and 3-meter titles, Boudia could become the first diver in NCAA history to sweep all three diving titles if he wins on platform today.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com





PLANTATION—Growing up around the Comets pool deck had its advantages for Tiffany Oliver.

“I remember when I was 12 I saw my older friends graduating high school and getting a college scholarship and I thought it would be great to get one, too,” Oliver said.

With friends and role models like Olympians Alia Atkinson of Texas A&M and Natasha Moodie of Michigan, Oliver knew she was on the right path if she stayed in swimming.

After five years of hard work and dedication, Oliver, 17, is headed to Florida State this fall on a swimming scholarship.

The outgoing West Broward High senior said she has only “scratched the surface” when it comes to swimming. She has gotten far with her natural ability and hopes to hone her technical skills even more at the college level.

On Saturday night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships, Oliver took another step in the right direction with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle against an impressive women’s field. She won in 1 minute, 52.27 seconds, finishing ahead of Ana Anaya of Metro Aquatics, Comet teammate Melissa Fernandez and Lindsey Meeder of Fort Lauderdale Aquatics.

Oliver had a busy night at the Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex. She was also second in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:40.40 and eighth in the 50-yard backstroke in 29.13. She swam a lifetime best 28.61 in morning prelims. Her previous best was 29.25.

“I never really pick and choose which events I want to do well in, I want to do well in all of them,” Oliver said. “I love to compete.”

Oliver, who is sixth among high point leaders going into the third and final day of the seniors meet on Sunday, is hoping to improve over the next four years.

Florida State coach Neil Harper is looking forward to working with Oliver, one of three Comets headed to FSU.

“Tiffany has amazing potential,” Harper said. “I am still amazed how fast she has swum to this point with so many small technique flaws and inexperience. She had instant chemistry with our staff and is excited about her future at Florida State.”

Oliver visited two other colleges but said “I just knew when I got to Florida State I was in the right place. The coach and swimmers were so nice. It was the right fit for me.”

The Hollywood-born Oliver, a former basketball player, started getting serious about swimming when she was 11.

“I could swim before I could walk because my mom wanted me water-safe,” Oliver said. “But I never thought that far ahead that I would one day swim competitively and go to college with swimming. I really love swimming. Sometimes I don’t want to go to practice but I know it’s worth it.”

Oliver said she has a tendency to overthink her races and gets into trouble with her strokes.

“My coach told me to finish my strokes and do good technique but I wasn’t thinking,” Oliver said. “Sometimes I don’t think, I just go. I overthink it and then I don’t do it right.

“Tonight I felt sloppy in the water and my technique was pretty bad. I know I was doing my turns wrong. I know I have to be more disciplined and practice more. I know I can be a lot cleaner in the water. I know when I improve all my mistakes I will drop seconds off my times.

“In my 200 tonight I wasn’t thinking. Instead of sprinting the whole thing, I paced off whoever was first and then caught them at the end.”

Oliver said she has sacrificed most of her “free time and hanging out” for swimming but she wouldn’t have it any other way, she said. Most of her friends are on the team and she enjoys the camaraderie.

“It’s all been worth the sacrifices,” Oliver said. “When I was 11 and 12 I wasn’t very good. My swimming friends encouraged me. I saw them every day and they kept me going. When I started winning, it was really fun.”

During the high school season at West Broward, Oliver was a top five finisher at the state meet and all-county first team selection. Her best events were the 50 freestyle (23.75, A-AA), 100 freestyle (51.69) and 200 freestyle (1:53.87).

Other top Comets finishers on Day Two were:

Men 15-16 200-yard freestyle: 9. Marc Rojas, 16, 1:48.99.

Men 200-yard freestyle: 7. Tyler Sell, 17, 1:46.40.

Men 15-16 50-yard backstroke: 11. Ivan Parada, 15, career-best 26.57, bettering 27.66.

Men 50-yard backstroke: 6. Carlo Morante, 17, 26.75; 7. Andrew Ling, 17, 26.86.

Men 15-16 200-yard breaststroke: 4. Marc Rojas, 16, 2:15.99.

Men 200-yard breaststroke: 6. James Shultz, 18, career-best 2:19.68, bettering 2:25.69.

Men 100-yard butterfly: 15. Tyler Sell, 17, 54.49.

Men 15-16 400-yard individual medley: 6. Marc Rojas, 16, 4:27.35; 7. Daniel Lee, 15, career-best 4:29.59, bettering 4:30.13.

Men 400-yard individual medley: 8. Tyler Sell, 17, 4:16.66.

Women 15-16 200-yard freestyle: 20. Amy Lunak, 16, career-best 2:01.33, bettering 2:08.69.

Women 200-yard freestyle: 3. Melissa Fernandez, 17, 1:53.96; 5. Ashley Hicks, 18, 1:55.39; 15. Leonie Davies, 13, 2:01.85; 17. Brittany Williford, 17, 2:02.78.

Women 15-16 50-yard backstroke: 10. Juana Vargas, 16, 30.02; 17. Nicolle Garcia, 16, 30.52; 19. Madeleine Fernandez, 15, 30.84.

Women 50-yard backstroke: 2. Ashley Hicks, 18, 27.17; 10. Melissa Fernandez, 17, 30.91.

Women 200-yard breaststroke: 12. Bianca Muniz, 18, 2:40.87.

Women 15-16 100-yard butterfly: 9. Juana Vargas, 16, 1:02.36; 19. Nicolle Garcia, 16, 1:03.65; 20. Linea Cutter, 16, 1:04.00.

Women 100-yard butterfly: 7. Amber Hunter, 14, career-best 1:02.33, bettering 1:02.65.

Women 15-16 400-yard individual medley: 11. Amy Lunak, 16, 4:50.50; 16. Melissa Fernandez, 15, career-best 5:03.53, bettering 5:04.07; 18. Belinda De La Torre, 15, 5:06.27.

Women 400-yard individual medley: 8. Stephanie Freiria, 17, 5:21.18.

Heading into the third and final day on Sunday, Fort Lauderdale Aquatics leads the combined team standings with 2,566.50 followed by Metro Aquatics (1,255.50), Plantation Swim Team (940) and AK Sharks (770).

The Comets and Coral Springs Swim Club are competing unattached during the 120-day mandatory period before the teams merge into the South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO).

After two days, the Comets have several swimmers in the high point individual rankings. They are:

*Marc Rojas, tied for second with 101 points among 15-16 men.

*Tiffany Oliver sixth with 72 points among open women.

*Ashley Hicks, seventh with 66 points among open women.

*Tyler Sell, second with 78 points among open men.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. Admission is $3 per session and $2 heat sheets. For information call 954-452-2526

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com





Venezuelan national record holder Arlene Semeco of the Coral Springs Swim Club wasted no time making her presence known Saturday at the South American Championships in Colombia.

Semeco, 26, making her fourth appearance at the championships, won the 100 freestyle in 56.11. It was the first time the high-tech swim suits were not allowed at the meet.

Semeco, a favorite in the 50 freestyle, had planned to use the 100 event as a tuneup for the sprint race on Monday. She was pleasantly surprised to win it and so was her coach.

“I felt great,” she texted Coach Michael Lohberg afterwards.

Said Lohberg: “I expected her to win the 50 but not necessarily the 100. There were some strong Brazilians in the field. She didn’t train as much as she wanted to train because of college and bad spring because of the weather. She stepped up and came through. This is wonderful. A gold medal is a gold medal.”

Semeco is funded by her swim federation which allows her to train full-time and work on her masters degree in nutrition at Florida International University.

Semeco, a University of Alabama graduate, represented her native country in two consecutive Summer Olympics in 2004 and 2008. She won two gold medals at the 2007 Pan American Games.

After the South American Championships, Semeco will compete in Europe and then follow up with the Central American Games in July and after that start preparing for the World Championships in December.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com