SOFLO’S Loai Tashkandi Wins Two Gold Medals, Breaks Two Gulf Records At GCC Championships

SOFLO’S Loai Tashkandi Wins Two Gold Medals, Breaks Two Gulf Records At GCC Championships


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

August 8, 2010

National record holder Loai Tashkandi is following in the footsteps of swimming great Ahmed Al-Kudmani.

Kudmani retired in November 2007 after bringing home a 50-meter breaststroke silver medal in the 11th Pan-Arab Games. He left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia swimming

Kudmani had trained with six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg and Olympic breaststroker Vlad Polyakov for a summer honing his skills at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. It was Kudmani who suggested that Tashkandi follow suit and train with Lohberg.

The hard work paid off.

Tashkandi, 19, won gold medals in the 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter freestyle and broke two Gulf records at the 17th GCC Aquatic Championships which are currently being held at the Hamad Aquatic Complex in Kuwait.

It is the most impressive performance by a Saudi Arabian swimmer since Kudmani made a name for himself in the sport.

Tashkandi won the 200 IM in a record 2:08.46. His splits were 27.6 (butterfly), 33.4 (backstroke), 37.5 (breaststroke) and 29.2 (freestyle).

Tashkandi also won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:55.83, another Gulf record. His splits were 26.9, 29.5, 29.8 and 29.4.

“It is an awesome feeling to win,” Tashkandi said. “I am happy that Michael is coaching me.”

Tashkandi’s passion for swimming started at age 6 when his father took him to the local Ali-Ahli Swim Club. The coach was impressed with his work ethic and skills. At 9, Tashkandi started competing with the national team.

Since then Tashkandi has represented his country well in several national and international competitions. During the summer he competed at the Mare Nostrum Tour in Europe with SOFLO.

Tashkandi has looked at Al-Kudmani as “an inspiring role model” and saw how training while studying in the United States benefitted him. Each time Al-Kudmani represented Saudi Arabia in international meets his times improved.

“I am more than honored to represent my country,” Tashkandi said. “The 2012 Olympics are my goal. I look forward to working on this goal during the next two years and hopefully bring honor to my country.”

Another SOFLO swimmer, Zain Qali, 22, of Kuwait, was second in the 50-meter butterfly and third in the 100-meter butterfly.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.csscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

Ryan Lochte Shines Again On Final Day Of National Championships, U.S. National Team Finalized

Ryan Lochte Shines Again On Final Day Of National Championships, U.S. National Team Finalized


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

August 7, 2010

At the halfway mark of the 2012 Olympic cycle, Ryan Lochte gave notice at the ConocoPhillips Long Course National Championships in Irvine, Calif.

On the fifth and final day at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center, Lochte, 25, of the Gator Swim Club, won the 200-meter backstroke in front of a packed house.

Lochte led the race from start to finish to top a star-studded field that included world record holder and champion, Aaron Peirsol, Tyler Clary and 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.

Before this week, Lochte had never beaten Phelps in a major long course meet. He left the meet Saturday with two wins over Phelps.

It was Lochte’s third individual title of the meet. He also won the 400-meter individual medley and handed Phelps his first national defeat in a long course 200 IM race since 2001.

Lochte, who debuted his new, custom-made shiny lime green sequined high top kicks that he designed with Speedo, walked off the podium in style knowing he is on the right track leading up to the 2012 London Games.

“It’s the shoes,” Lochte said with a smile when asked what made the difference. “Every time I get on the blocks I think I can win.”

Whether Phelps was in shape or not was secondary to the fact that Lochte made his way back from a serious knee injury last fall, added some serious weight and strongman training and will end the year as the best male swimmer in the world, a role Phelps has had a monopoly on the past four years.

Lochte was also competing throughout the week with a groin injury that had hampered his breaststroke training.

Lochte won the 200 backstroke in 1:55.58, just off the top time in the world this year of 1:55.52 by Japan’s Ryosuke Irie. Peirsol followed in 1:56.28.  Clary, the top morning qualifier, was third in 1:56.36 and Phelps finished in 1:56.98.

Despite some impressive feats of his own in the past ten years, Lochte has been in Phelps’ shadow most of the time.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist and 12-time Olympic and world medalist won an Olympic gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2004 Games.

Four years later in Beijing, he took gold in the 200-meter backstroke and 4×200 free relay and bronze medals in the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys.

It wasn’t until this week that Lochte  overshadowed Phelps.

Despite a long, exhausting, pressure-packed U.S. national team qualifying week, Lochte put on another show against a star-studded backstroke field.

Staying down longer than the field and breaking the water’s surface with big, powerful strokes, Lochte was first to the wall at the 50 in 27.09 and the 100 at 56.2. He led by a body length down the final stretch despite brushing against the lane line that cost him a few tenths.

“I knew I had to go out fast and just hold on for dear life,” Lochte said. “It’s been a long meet, but good this week. I am glad it’s over now.”

Lochte said he has two weeks “to correct hitting the lane line toward the finish” before the Pan Pacific Championships, also in Irvine, Aug. 18-22.

“I know I can go a lot faster,” Lochte said. “Pan Pacs should be faster, it should be fun.”

Fifty-nine swimmers were named to the Pan Pacs team for the U.S. The full roster is listed at usaswimming.org.

Lauren Driscoll, 16, of Fort Lauderdale Aquatics swimming in Lane 1 and the second youngest in the field, finished seventh in the 800-meter freestyle in a career-best 8:40.49, her best showing on a national stage. She bettered her previous best of 8:44.42 in the prelims in 8:40.87.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: 66. Lindsey McKnight, Unattached, 57.72.

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: 49. Nick Manousos, 19, Davie Nadadores, 2:21.39.

In a pair of exciting team title races, Longhorn Aquatics edged Tucson Ford Dealers Aquatics, 290.5-288.5 for the men’s team title. SwimMAC Carolina was third with 250.5. Fast Swim Team won the women’s team title with 286. California Aquatics was second with 279.5 and Colorado Stars edged Tucson Ford, 196-190 for third.

In Saturday night’s other final events:

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Open water swimmer Chloe Sutton, 18, of Mission Viejo, won in a career-best 8:24.77, fifth fastest time in the world this year and more than a body length ahead of Kate Ziegler, 22, of FAST, in 8:28.14. Sutton’s previous best was 8:27.60. “It’s going to be really hard but my goal is to make London in both open water and the 800,” Sutton said. Earlier this summer, she qualified to represent the U.S. in the open water 10K.

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: With five Olympians in the field, Dana Vollmer, 22, of California Aquatics, turned it on to win in a sub-54 in 53.94, second fastest time in the world this year. Early leader Jessica Hardy, 23, of Trojan Swim Club, was second in 54.14 and Natalie Coughlin, 27, of California Aquatics, was third in 54.34. “I kept telling myself to get a hand on the wall as quick as I could,” Vollmer said. “I have been out-touched twice at this meet. It is definitely an amazing feeling to win.”
Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: Rebecca Soni, 23, of the Trojan Swim Club won her fourth straight national title in 2:21.60. Olympian Amanda Beard, 28, of Tucson Ford finished second in 2:26.50 with her baby son and husband watching from the stands. Beard, who gave birth to son Blaise in September, 2009 did not expect to finish second. “I had some fun,” Beard said. “Every mother knows when you have a child nothing is about you anymore.” Beard said she may not except the Pan Pac invitation because of her son. “I just kept listening to the crowd say ‘Go.’ I wasn’t really nervous because I already made the team. This was more of a trial run for Pan Pacs.”

Men 200-meter breaststroke: Eric Shanteau, 26, of Longhorn Aquatics, in his last chance to qualify for the Pan Pacs, took control of the race at the midway point and won by more than a body length in 2:01.09. “Considering how the rest of the week has gone, this was a good race,” Shanteau said. “These qualifying meets are always stressful. It was in the back of my mind that I hadn’t made team yet.” 

Men 1500-meter freestyle: Chad LaTourette, 21, of Mission Viejo surprised favorite Peter Vanderkaay, 26, of Club Wolverine to win in an impressive 14:55.39, the fastest time in the world this year. “It always hurts,” LaTourette said. “You feel like you have fire in your abs.”

In the 4×100-meter medley relays, Tuscon Ford won the women’s race in 4:08.17 and SwimMAC Carolina won the men’s race in 3:39.68.

In the continuing Josh Schneider saga, the sprinter elected to waive his appeal and medal over his second place tie with Cullen Jones in the men’s 50-meter freestyle. He did retain the right to file another appeal in the future to get his national team credit for his times, according to USA Swimming officials.

The final day of competition will be broadcast by NBC on Sunday at 4:30-6 p.m. EST.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.csscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

Lochte Pulls Off Impressive Win Against Phelps On Day 4 Of National Championships

Lochte Pulls Off Impressive Win Against Phelps On Day 4 Of National Championships


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

August 6, 2010

In what was expected to be the race of the meet turned out to be just that Friday night at the ConocoPhillips Long Course National Championships in Irvine, Calif.

With the crowd on its feet five minutes before the swimmers even marched out to the blocks at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center, world record holder and world champion Ryan Lochte knocked off Olympic teammate Michael Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley for the first time in his career in a major meet.

Lochte, 26, of Daytona Beach, pulled off an amazing double, finishing second in the opening event, the 100-meter freestyle in 48.83 and minutes later beating Phelps, whose world record he broke at the World Championships in Rome.

Lochte, who won the 400 IM on Tuesday in 4:09.98,  won the 200 IM 1:54.84. Phelps, 25, was second in 1:55.94.

Going head-to-head against the greatest swimmer of all time in the first meet since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lochte, the third fastest qualifier after morning prelims, was masterful with his race strategy. Phelps was the top morning qualifier (1:59.13).

With Lochte swimming in Lane 3 and Phelps in Lane 4, the pair stayed down at the same time before surfacing after the start. Phelps surged slightly ahead with his smooth butterfly stroke to the wall in 24.76 with Lochte just 3/10ths of a second off.

Lochte made a big move off the wall and stayed below the surface longer on the backstroke leg for a slight lead when he surfaced.

Lochte had a 53.54 advantage going into the breaststroke. The two were head-to-head on the breaststroke leg briefly before Lochte surged and moved a half-stroke ahead of Phelps at 1:27.33 at the wall. Considering Lochte hadn’t swum the breaststroke for five months because of knee surgery, his breaststroke surge was a gutsy move.

Lochte took off on the final freestyle leg to extend his lead with Phelps trailing at his knees to clinch the win. Lochte’s time was the fastest in the world this year, fifth fastest IM in the history of the event and fastest in a fabric suit.

Lochte and Phelps are 1-2 on the world right now.

“This feels great,” Lochte said when asked how it felt to beat Phelps for the first time.

“We have been racing this for so long and finally to get a win, it feels good,” Lochte said.

Said Phelps, “I felt like I was standing still 10 meters left in the breaststroke, when he blew past me I know it wasn’t good. Ryan and I are going to go back and forth. We have great races like this when we get in the pool. It’s important for us to bring out the best in each other.

“I felt good the first 100,” Phelps said with a smile. “After that it went downhill. It’s a lack of being in shape. I know what I have to do to get back to where I was.”

For Lochte, who has been coming on strong since knee surgery and training in Gainesville, the victory was another confidence-builder going into the Pan Pacific Championships later this month.

“You never know, anyone can win at any given time, it’s the luck of the draw,” Lochte said. “Like Michael said, we are going to go back and try to improve and get ourselves ready for 2012.”

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tyler Sell, 18, scratched from the men’s 1500-meter prelims, his fourth and final event of senior nationals. He is scheduled to compete in next week’s Speedo Junior Nationals, also in Irvine, along with teammates Melissa Cooper and Tiffany Oliver.

Chad LaTourette, 21, of Mission Viejo, was the top qualifier in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle prelims in 15:03.75 for Saturday’s final.

In the women’s 800-meter freestyle prelims, Chloe Sutton, 18, of Mission Viejo turned in the fastest qualifying time of 8:30.79 (8:29.25 seed time) for Saturday’s championship finals. Lauren Driscoll, 16, of Fort Lauderdale Aquatics was the seventh fastest qualifier in a career-best 8:40.87. Her previous best was 8:44.42.

Former FGC swimmer Alison Templin, 20, a graduate of Riviera Beach Suncoast now at Arizona, finished 24th in the 800 in a career-best 8:49.60. Her previous best was 8:52.04.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Men’s 100-meter freestyle: 47. Jeffrey Raymond, 20, Pine Crest Swimming, 51.33; 116. Michael Saco, 18, Miami Swimming, 53.09.

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: 53. Damaris Iriondo, 17, FLA, 8:57.64.

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle prelims: 16. Joey Pedraza, 23, Davie Nadadores, 15:32.30.

In Friday night’s other final events:

Men’s 100-meter freestyle: California’s Nathan Adrian may be the new sprint king of the U.S. After winning the 50 freestyle, he came back to win the 100 in 48.41 and moved into second in the world. Lochte came on strong in the second half of the race to finish second in 48.83 and Jason Lezak, 34, the top morning qualifier, and Garrett Weber-Gale tied for third in 48.96.

Women 200-meter butterfly: Kathleen Hersey of Longhorn Aquatics held off top morning qualifier Teresa Crippen to defend her title and win in 2:07.00, second fastest time in the world this year. Crippen was second in 2:07.89. “I just wanted to be more aggressive than this morning,” Hersey said. “I was pretty happy with the results.”
Women 200-meter backstroke: In her final shot at making the Pan Pac team, Elizabeth Beisel, 17, of Bluefish Swim Club, the morning top seed (2:10.25), defended her title by more than a second in 2:08.50.

The national championships is following the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims (12 noon EST) and evening finals (9 p.m. EST). The competition will be broadcast by NBC in two shows on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s show will air from 4-6 p.m. EST and the show on Sunday is 4:30-6 p.m. EST.

The meet is being webcast live by Swimnetwork.com for the entire meet.

The only swimmers guaranteed spots on the Pan Pacs team are the winners in each event and top four in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Second place finishers and then third place finishers will be added until the roster of 26 swimmers is complete.

In addition to Pan Pacs later this month in Irvine, the national championships will decide the U.S. roster for several international meets including Junior Pan Pacs, 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships, 2011 FINA World Championships and 2011 World University Games. Team rosters will be posted at www.usaswimming.org.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Greece won the 5-kilometer open water team event at the European Swimming Championships Friday in Hungary.

The Greek team of Spyridon Gianniotis, Antonios Fokaidis and Kalliopi Araouzou posted a time of 59 minutes and 3 seconds. Simone Ercoli, Simone Ruffini and Rachele Bruni of Italy were second at 59:55.6. Russia’s Sergey Bolshakov, Daniil Serebrennikov and Anna Guseva were third, 3.9 seconds behind Italy.

Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland and Ukraine completed the order of finish.

The event was held at Lake Balaton, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Budapest. The 25K men’s event and synchronized swimming solo and team finals will be held Saturday.

Pool events at the 30th edition of the championships in begin Monday.

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

http://www.csscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

Phelps Wins Third Event, Makes History At National Championships; SOFLO’s Cooper Makes Seniors Debut

Phelps Wins Third Event, Makes History At National Championships; SOFLO’s Cooper Makes Seniors Debut


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

August 5, 2010

Michael Phelps is still making history.

The Olympic champion and most successful U.S. swimmer in history, now holds more national titles than any other swimmer.

Phelps, 25, broke the record of 48 titles held by swimming legend Tracy Caulkins with two victories on Wednesday night. He extended his own record to 50 on Thursday night when he won his third event of the meet in the 100-meter butterfly at the ConocoPhillips Long Course National Championships in Irvine, Calif.

Phelps, the fastest morning qualifier (in 52.54), dominated the field in convincing fashion in 50.65. Phelps led the field the entire way. His career-best is 49.82.

Phelps came close to his U.S. Open record of 50.22 and cut more than a second off the previous world best of 51.70 set by Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia at his country’s nationals in May.

“I am fairly pleased with that swim,” said Phelps, who has made no secret of his disappointment this week after an inconsistent year of training.

Tyler McGill, 22, of Auburn was a distant second in 52.20.

Caulkins’ record for most career national championships by an American swimmer stood for 26 years.

It took Phelps, a 14-time Olympic gold medalist, 14 national meets spread over 9 ½ years of competition to surpass Caulkins.

Phelps most impressive accomplishment in winning 50 individual titles is that he did it in nine different events. He could add two more titles before the five-day meet ends on Saturday. He has the 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley left to swim.

Phelps has now won 11 200-meter freestyle titles, 11 100-meter butterfly titles, seven 200-meter individual medley titles, seven 200-meter butterfly titles, four 100-meter freestyle titles, four 200-meter backstroke titles, three 400-meter individual medley titles, two 400-meter freestyle titles and one 100-meter backstroke.

Despite adding another page in the history books, Phelps is less than pleased with his efforts in the water.

“I’m just not in the best shape right now,” Phelps said. “The bottom line right now is that I’m not in shape and it shows. I am still slower than I want to be.”

On Thursday morning, Melissa Cooper, 18, of the South Florida Aquatic Club made her senior national debut. She finished the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:14.06. Her career-best is 1:11.74.

SOFLO teammate Tyler Sell, 18, will swim is fourth and final event on Friday in the 1500-meter freestyle. Sell is seeded 34th in 15:46.56.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Men’s 100-meter butterfly: 36. Jeffrey Raymond, Pine Crest Swimming, 55.14, career-best, 55.58 previous best.

In Thursday night’s other final events:

Women’s 100-meter breaststroke: World champion Rebecca Soni, 23, of the Trojan Swim Club, the fastest morning qualifier (1:06.53) topped a fast women’s field to win in 1:05.73, the world’s fastest time this year. Ann Chandler, 22, of Tucson Ford was a distant second in 1:08.07. Olympian Amanda Beard, 28, of Tucson Ford was sixth in 1:09.12. Soni dominated the field including world record holder Jessica Hardy, who led at the turn before fading to seventh. Hardy’s splits were 30.92 and 38.32.

Women 50-meter freestyle: Kara Lynn Joyce, 24, of FAST dipped below 25 seconds to win the sprint event. She won in 24.86, the fourth fastest time in the world. Only Therese Alshammar (24.27), Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.40) and Fran Halsall (24.77) have gone faster. Waiting in the wings is five-time Olympian and American record holder Dara Torres (24.07) who just returned to the pool on Monday at the Coral Springs Swim Club after a year away because of knee and shoulder surgeries.

Women 400-meter individual medley: Caitlin Leverenz, 19, of California Aquatics, the top morning qualifier (4:36.76) was a convincing winner in 4:35.60. Early leader Ariana Kukors, 21, of FAST was second in 4:37.03. American record holder and defending national champion Katie Hoff, 21, of FAST was third in 4:37.51.

Women 4×100-meter freestyle relay: The California Aquatics relay team of Madison Kennedy, 22, Erica Dagg, 21, Katherine Raatz, 21, and Liv Jensen, 20, won in 3:44.87, slower than its 3:42.84 seed.

Men 50-meter freestyle: California’s Nathan Adrian, the fastest seed, won the sprint event in 21.70, second fastest time in the world this year. Cullen Jones and Josh Schneider tied for second with matching times of 21.97. Schneider swam the 50 under protest after he no-showed in the men’s 100 butterfly earlier in the day. After a hearing, Schneider was ruled to be in violation and his 50 free was disqualified.

The national championships is following the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims (12 noon EST) and evening finals (9 p.m. EST). The competition will be broadcast by NBC in two shows at Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, 8. The Aug. 7 show will air from 4-6 p.m. EST and the show on Aug. 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST.

The meet is being webcast live by Swimnetwork.com for the entire meet.

The only swimmers guaranteed spots on the Pan Pacs team are the winners in each event and top four in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Second place finishers and then third place finishers will be added until the roster of 26 swimmers is complete.

In addition to Pan Pacs later this month in Irvine, the national championships will decide the U.S. roster for several international meets including Junior Pan Pacs, 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships, 2011 FINA World Championships and 2011 World University Games. Team rosters will be posted at www.usaswimming.org.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Viva Italia.

On the second day of the open water swimming competition, Luca Ferretti of Italy won the 5K men’s open water title at the European Swimming Championships in Hungary. Ferretti won in 58 minutes, 43.4 seconds, just 17.1 seconds ahead of Italian teammate Simone Ercoli in 59:00.5. Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece and Simone Ruffini of Italy tied for third in 59:15.9.

Linsy Heister of the Netherlands won the women’s 10K in 2:01:06.7. Giorgia Consiglio of Italy was second in 2:01:07.6. Germany’s Angela Maurer was third in 2:01:08.2. Pool events begin Monday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

Familiar Faces Win On Day Two Of ConocoPhillips National Championships; SOFLO’s Melissa Cooper Competes On Thursday

Familiar Faces Win On Day Two Of ConocoPhillips National Championships; SOFLO’s Melissa Cooper Competes On Thursday


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

August 4, 2010

Making his first appearance in the meet, Michael Phelps had the crowd on its feet Wednesday night at the ConocoPhillips Long Course National Championships in Irvine, Calif.

Even when he’s not at his best, Phelps is still good enough to win.

The Olympic hero, paying the price for inconsistent training since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had to dig deep in the final meters to win the men’s 200-meter freestyle.

A day after Phelps said he would rather see tight races than a world record obliterated by five seconds, he got his wish. The 25-year-old American record holder won in 1:45.61 just beating Ryan Lochte, 26, of Daytona Beach to the wall. Lochte, nursing a groin pull, finished in 1:45.78. Lochte was coming off his 400 IM win on Tuesday night.

Phelps was the fifth-fastest seed after morning prelims in 1:48.40. His best is 1:43.22. Phelps put out just enough effort to qualify and then dug deep mentally in finals.

Phelps and Lochte’s times moved the U.S. into first and second place in the world rankings ahead of Paul Biedermann of Germany, the only other swimmer in the world to break into 1:45.

Phelps then came back with enough in the tank to win the 200-meter butterfly in 1:56.00. Mark Dylla, 21, of Athens Bulldogs was second in 1:57.08. Phelps is the World and American record holder in the event in 1:51.51.

Phelps coach, Bob Bowman, said Phelps is only half ready for this week’s meet. “If we wanted him to swim into London, we had to have this year,” Bowman said. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t have made it.”

Another familiar face secured her top spot in her marquis event despite several young swimmers nipping at her heels.

American record holder and 11-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, 27, of California Aquatics, won the 100-meter backstroke in 1:00.14, her fastest time since Beijing. The victory was Coughlin’s fifth long course national title.

Coughlin was pushed by a trio of youngsters in the race. Missy Franklin, 15, of Colorado Stars, the fifth-fastest morning seed was second in a career-best 1:00.39. Rachel Bootsma, 16, of Aquajets was third in 1:00.40 and Elizabeth Pelton, 16, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club was fourth in 1:00.48.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tyler Sell competed in two more events on Wednesday.

The Florida State-bound 18-year-old finished the 200-meter butterfly in 2:13.30. His seed time was 2:07.85. He also finished the 200-meter freestyle in 1:59.48. His seed time was 1:53.86. On Tuesday Sell finished the 400-meter freestyle in 4:08.66. His seed time was 3:58.03.

On Thursday, SOFLO teammate Melissa Cooper, 18, will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke. She is seeded 55th out of 129 swimmers with a career-best 1:11.74 time. She also plans to swim a few time trials in the 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke or 200 individual medley.

In Wednesday night’s other final events:

Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Allison Schmitt, 20, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club won in 1:56.84, finishing ahead of top morning qualifier Dana Vollmer, 22, of California Aquatics (1:56.93) and Katie Hoff, 21, of FAST Swim Team (1:57.50). Schmitt’s time was the second fastest in the world.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke: David Plummer, 24, of Minnetonka Swimming pulled off the upset of the night by winning in 53.60 and knocking off world and American record holder Aaron Peirsol, 27, of Longhorn Aquatics, who finished second in 53.63. Peirsol, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, was the fastest morning qualifier in 54.02 but knew he would have his hands full with Plummer, the second fastest qualifier in 54.11.

Men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay: The Schroeder YMCA relay of Kevin Baseheart, 21, Adam Mania, 26, Mihell Friedemann, 18, and Seven Cebertowicz, 20, won in 3:22.86.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Men’s 200-meter butterfly: 63. Jeffrey Raymond, 20, Pine Crest Swimming, 2:06.09.

Men’s 200-meter freestyle: 41. Jeffrey Raymond, 20, Pine Crest Swimming, 1:52.75; 53. Andrew Novakoff, 20, Davie Nadadores, 1:53.37.

Women’s 200-meter freestyle: 19. Lauren Driscoll, 16, FLA 2:01.09 “C” final, 2:00.95, prelims; 95. Damaris Iriondo, 17, FLA 2:05.17.

The national championships is following the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims (12 noon EST) and evening finals (9 p.m. EST). The competition will be broadcast by NBC in two shows at Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, 8. The Aug. 7 show will air from 4-6 p.m. EST and the show on Aug. 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST.

The meet is being webcast live by Swimnetwork.com for the entire meet.

The only swimmers guaranteed spots on the Pan Pacs team are the winners in each event and top four in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Second place finishers and then third place finishers will be added until the roster of 26 swimmers is complete.

In addition to Pan Pacs later this month in Irvine, the national championships will decide the U.S. roster for several international meets including Junior Pan Pacs, 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships, 2011 FINA World Championships and 2011 World University Games. Team rosters will be posted at www.usaswimming.org.

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Thomas Lurz of Germany won the 10K open water race on the opening day of the European Championships in Hungary. Lurz finished in 1 hour, 54 minutes and 22.5 seconds, just 2.3 seconds ahead of Italian Valerio Cleri (1:54:24.8) off the north coast of Lake Balaton. Evgeny Drattsev of Russia took the bronze, just 4.1 seconds out of first in 1:54:26.6. In the women’s 5K race, Ekaterina Seliverstova won the gold medal in 1:02:34.7. Kalliopi Araouzou of Greece was second in 1:02:37.3 and countrywoman Marianna Lymperta was third in 1:02:41.3. The pool events begin on Monday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

Without High-Tech Suit, Phelps Competes Wednesday At Nationals, SOFLO’s Sell Completes First Event

Without High-Tech Suit, Phelps Competes Wednesday At Nationals, SOFLO’s Sell Completes First Event


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

Calling this week “more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge,” Michael Phelps begins competing on Wednesday at the ConocoPhillips National Championships and USA Swimming National Team Trials in Irvine, Calif.

With the high-tech full-body swim suit now banned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, the 14-time Olympic gold medalist will swim in the Speedo knee-to-navel style jammer, a 1990s suit now back in demand.

Since the Jan. 1 worldwide ban went into effect, times have been noticeably slower at various meets around the world.

This week Phelps, who turned 25 in June, is entered in five events: the 100- and 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke. On Wednesday, his busiest day, he swims the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly.

There is a lot at stake in the highly-competitive meet. The top two finishers in each event qualify for the Pan Pacific Championships at the end of the month in Irvine and from that group the U.S. team for next year’s world championships in China.

Failing to qualify for those teams means American swimmers would not be competing in a major international meet until the 2012 London Olympics.

Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is looking forward to seeing how some of the world’s best swimmers, including himself, will handle the ban on the high-tech suits that created a buzz in the swimming world. Forty-three world records alone were broken at the world championships in Rome.

“I still think you are going to see tight races,” Phelps said. “I would rather see a tight race than watch a world record get obliterated by five seconds.

“It’s really going to be interesting to see who can make the transition between wearing normal suits and not wearing banned suits,” Phelps said.

“It’s going to show who is willing to put in more work to be able to be in better physical shape. You’re not going to be able to float as easy on top of the water as you were with the banned suits.”

For Phelps, the meet will be a big test. More than a month ago in Paris after altitude training, he was disappointed with his results particularly his freestyle stroke which he has been struggling with. He said his freestyle “is a lot better than it was a few weeks ago.”

“I am more motivated now than I have been all year,” Phelps said. “Not being where you want to be is frustrating. You know what you need to do to get back and you know what you need to change.”

Phelps’ training has been hampered by the long time off (six months) he took after Beijing and inconsistent training.

“It’s all on me and the inconsistency of workouts,” Phelps admitted. “Not really putting in the yardage that I need to do to be able to compete at the level that I want to compete at.

“Not being as satisfied as I want to be leaving here I think is more than likely going to happen,” Phelps said. “I think not being in the best of shape that I could be in, and that I should be in, in my eyes is really going to be a test of how strong I can be mentally and how much I can work my mind to get through these next couple of weeks.”

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tyler Sell competed in the first of his four events on Tuesday, the opening day of the five-day meet.

Sell, 18, headed to Florida State in a few weeks, finished the 400-meter freestyle in 4:08.66. His seed time was 3:58.03. On Wednesday, Sell, like Phelps, competes in the 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter butterfly.

In Tuesday night’s final races:

Women’s 100-meter butterfly: Chris Magnuson, 24, of Tucson Ford Dealership, the top morning qualifier, won in 57.32, out-touching American record holder Dana Vollmer, 22, of California Aquatics in 57.45. Natalie Coughlin, 27, of California Aquatics was fourth in 58.31.

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Ariana Kukors, 21, of FAST Swim Team won in 2:10.54, edging Caitlin Leverenz, 19, of California Aquatics in 2:10.84. Teenager Missy Franklin, 15, of the Colorado Stars and one of USA Swimming’s young rising stars, was fourth in 2:11.69.

Women’s 400-meter freestyle: American record holder Katie Hoff, 21, of FAST Swim Team, has her mojo back. After two tough years, she won her third national title in 4:05.50, off her AR of 4:02.20. Allison Schmitt, 20, of North Baltimore was second in 4:06.19.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: Peter Vanderkaay, 26, of Club Wolverine, fastest morning qualifier, defended his title to win in 3:46.88. Michael Klueh, 23, of Longhorn Aquatics was second in 3:48.24.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: In an exciting race, Michael Alexandrov, 25, of Tucson Ford Dealership won his second national title as a U.S. citizen in 1:00.26, finishing ahead of both Mark Gangloff, 28, swimming unattached in 1:00.42 and Eric Shanteau of Longhorn Aquatics in 1:00.75. Alexandrov had been a dual citizen of Bulgaria and the U.S. before declaring he will race for the U.S. last year. His time moved him to fourth in the world.

Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Ryan Lochte , 26, of Daytona Beach showed he is back from knee surgery with a win in 4:09.98. Tyler Clary, 21, of FAST Swim Team was second in 4:14.12.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Women’s 100-meter butterfly: 46. Chelsea Britt, 15, FLA 1:01.67.

Women’s 400-meter freestyle: 9. Lauren Driscoll, 16, FLA, 4:10.24, just outside the Top 25 in the world.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: 60. Joey Pedraza, 23, Davie Nadadoes, 4:02.50.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: 45. Nicholas Manousos, 19, Davie Nadadores, 1:04.89.

The national championships is following the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims (12 noon EST) and evening finals (9 p.m. EST). The competition will be broadcast by NBC in two shows at Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, 8. The Aug. 7 show will air from 4-6 p.m. EST and the show on Aug. 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST.

In addition, Universal Sports will broadcast finals live on Wednesday (9-11 p.m. EST). The meet will also be webcast live by Swimnetwork.com for the entire meet.

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

SOFLO’s Melissa Cooper, Tyler Sell Will Swim Against The Best At ConocoPhillips National Championships Beginning Today

SOFLO’s Melissa Cooper, Tyler Sell Will Swim Against The Best At ConocoPhillips National Championships Beginning Today


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

August 2, 2010

Melissa Cooper is feeling “awful, really weird and funky” during her taper and that’s a very good sign.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer will make her senior national debut against the sport’s best swimmers this week at the ConocoPhillips National Championships and USA Swimming National Team Trials that begin Tuesday in Irvine, Calif.

Cooper, 18, is scheduled to leave Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday afternoon for the biggest meet of her young career. She will compete on Thursday morning in the 100-meter breaststroke prelims in which she is seeded 55th out of 129 swimmers with a career-best 1:11.74 time. She also plans to swim a few time trials in the 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke or 200 individual medley.

Sell, 18, and SOFLO CEO and Coach Chris Anderson are already in California preparing for the first of four events the Florida State-bound Sell will compete in.

On Tuesday, Sell will compete in the 400-meter freestyle in which he is seeded 47th among a field of 110 in a career-best 3:58.03. Sell will also compete in the 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter butterfly on Wednesday and 1500-meter freestyle on Friday.

Both Cooper and Sell along with SOFLO teammate Tiffany Oliver will also compete in Speedo Junior Nationals the following week at the same venue, the William Woollett Junior Aquatics Center in Irvine.

Cooper is looking forward to competing at senior nationals. She has had the national cut time for a year.

“I am excited about seniors,” Cooper said. “I can’t wait. I am going to have a lot of fun. I am going let the rest of the field swim the way they can swim and see what I can do against them. I always love racing people, that is my favorite part.”

Cooper has been training hard. Her last competitive meet was the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships two weeks ago in Coral Springs where she swam career-best times at the start of her taper.

“I feel I am in the best shape I have ever been in,” Cooper said. “I have been motivated for a while.

“Workouts for me have been right where they should be. During my taper I always feel awful and really weird. My breaststroke gets really funky before I head out to a meet and then everything just clicks. I am waiting for the click right now.”

Cooper is taking it one meet at a time. She is focused on seniors first and then will try and make the junior national team.

“I am pretty calm as a person anyway,” Cooper said. “I am going to take it a day at a time.”

Cooper will rub elbows with more than 30 U.S. Olympians including Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Aaron Piersol, Natalie Coughlin and Rebecca Soni. The field will be highly-competitive with the majority of the 2009-2010 U.S. National swim team competing.

The meet is considered one of the biggest of the year. It will serve as a selection meet for the 2010 Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships, also in Irvine Aug. 18-22. Both nationals and Pan Pacs will serve as selection meets for the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China.

Cooper is looking forward to soaking up as much experience as she can and enjoying the atmosphere of a world-class senior meet.

“I went to states where everyone was so excited so I am looking forward to seniors being even better,” Cooper said. “Usually, I do good at meets I think are big.

“At seniors, I really just want to try to get used to the pool and the atmosphere before I head into juniors with a 2 ½ week-taper.

“I am not sure how my taper will go since I have never done weights before. It’s good I have a big race against a good field. It’s a good test for me.”

A Scholastic All-American at Plantation American Heritage, Cooper will have only four days to pack for Texas A&M when she returns home from Irvine, Calif.

“This is a wonderful time for me,” Cooper said. “This is perfect how everything turned out. I am so happy right now.”

The Florida Gold Coast will be well-represented. Among local swimmers are Joey Pedraza, Lauren Driscoll and Damaris Iriondo. USA Swimming official Jay Thomas is the meet referee.

The national championships will follow the traditional meet schedule of morning prelims (12 noon EST) and evening finals (9 p.m. EST). The competition will be broadcast by NBC in two shows at Aug. 7 and 8. The Aug. 7 show will air from 4-6 p.m. EST and the show on Aug. 8 from 4:30-6 p.m. EST.

In addition, Universal Sports will broadcast finals live on Aug. 3 (9-11:30 p.m. EST) and Aug. 4 (9-11 p.m. EST). The meet will also be webcast live by Swimnetwork.com throughout the competition.

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