Lochte Wins Three Events, SOFLO’s Atkinson Makes Second Final On Last Day Of Short Course Worlds

Lochte Wins Three Events, SOFLO’s Atkinson Makes Second Final On Last Day Of Short Course Worlds


December 19, 2010

Ryan Lochte ended a truly remarkable year with even higher hopes for the future.

The hottest swimmer in the world in 2010, may not have broken another world record on Sunday but added three more gold medals to his already Herculean efforts on the final day of the FINA Short Course World Championships in Dubai.

The 26-year-old Floridian was the most talked about swimmer during the five-day meet and rightfully so.

Lochte finished with seven medals: five individual golds, one relay gold and one relay silver and two world records. He missed an eighth medal when the U.S. finished fourth in the 400 freestyle relay on opening night.

Lochte broke the all-time record for medals won at three short course world championships with a total of 21, four more than previous record holder Therese Alshammar of Sweden with 17.

Buoyed by Lochte, who lives and trains in Gainesville, Team USA finished with 25 total medals, 12 gold, 6 silver and 7 bronze. China had 14 (3 gold, 5 silver, 6 bronze) and the Aussies had 11 (1 gold, 7 silver, 3 bronze). Russia had 10 medals (4 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze).

Lochte started his ambitious night on Sunday flirting with another world record but settled for the meet record in the 200-meter backstroke in 1:46.68, 2.41 ahead of U.S. teammate Tyler Clary who took silver in 1:49.09 and Austrian Markus Rogan took bronze in 1:49.96.

Lochte also broke his own American record of 1:47.91 he set in 2008. Lochte is one of only two swimmers to crack 1:47.

Fighting off fatigue, the Floridian won the 100-meter individual medley in 50.86. Germany’s Markus Deibler took silver in 51.69 and Russian Sergey Fesikov took bronze in 51.81.

Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell just missed a medal finishing fourth in 51.97, which lowered his own national record.

“I messed up a couple turns,” Lochte said referring to the 100 IM. “I just went for it.

“I felt it a lot in my legs after the 200 back, but it’s around the time I went in semis so I’ll take it. I think I could have gone a lot faster in the 200 back. I gave it my best shot.”

Lochte, a member of the winning 4×100-meter relay along with teammates Nicholas Thoman, Michael Alexandrov and Garrett Weber-Gale, gave the U.S. the lead on his third leg as the U.S. went on to win in a meet and ratified American record 3:20.99, just 0.62 ahead of the Russians in 3:21.61 and 2.13 ahead of Brazil with Cielo swimming anchor leg.

It was the only relay the usually dominant U.S. team won in the men’s and women’s competition.

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson, representing Jamaica, made her second championship final and finished eighth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.49. She also made the 50-meter breaststroke final becoming the first Jamaican swimmer to make the championship final of the world short course meet.

American Rebecca Soni remains the swimmer to beat in the breaststroke after winning the 200-meter breaststroke in a meet record 2:16.39 setting herself up as a favorite for the long course worlds in Shanghai this summer. China’s Ye Sun took silver in 2:18.09 and Denmark’s Moller Rikke Pedersen took bronze in 2:18.82.

Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli, despite swimming in the slow heat because of paperwork glitch, won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:24.16. No one was able to overtake his time in the faster heat. Denmark’s Mads Glaesner took silver in 15:29.52 and Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta took bronze in 14:31.47.

In other championship finals:

Brazil’s Cesar Cielo swept the sprint events by winning the 100-meter freestyle in a meet record 45.74 adding to his 50-meter title Friday and duplicating his feat at last year’s long course worlds in Rome. France’s Fabien Gilot was second in 45.97 and Russian Nikita Lobintsev was third in 46.35. American Nathan Adrian finished a disappointing sixth in 46.44.

“It was harder than I expected,” Cielo said. “I thought I was going to be faster but a gold is always a gold.”

China continues to look impressive with Jing Zhao winning the women’s 50-meter backstroke in a meet record 26.27. Aussie Rachel Goh took silver in 26.54 and Spain’s Mercedes Peris Minguet took bronze in 26.80.

Australia’s Felicity Galvez won gold in the 100-meter butterfly in a meet record 55.43. It was the Aussies first gold of the five-day meet. Australia had not gone without gold at a short or long course meet since 1986. The Aussies did not bring several of their top swimmers after a busy summer that includes Pan Pacs in California. Sweden’s Therese Alshammar was second in 55.73 and American Dana Vollmer was third in 56.25.

Brazil’s Felipe Silva won the 50-meter breaststroke in a meet record 25.95. South Africa’s Cameron Van Der Burgh took silver in 26.03 and Norway’s Aleksander Hetland took bronze in 26.29.

American Jessica Hardy was shut out in the 50-meter freestyle. The Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo (23.37) and Hinkelien Schreuder (23.81) finished 1-2 in the sprint event. Bahamians Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace took bronze in 24.04. Hardy finished fourth in 24.09. Kromowidjojo also completed a sweep after winning the 100 freestyle. She finished with three golds including a victory in the 400 freestyle relay.

South Africa’s Chad Le Clos won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:51.56. Brazil’s Kaio Almeida took silver in 1:51.61 and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh took bronze in 1:51.67.

France’s Camille Muffat won the 200-meter freestyle in a meet record 1:52.29. American Katie Hoff was second in 1:52.91 and Aussie Kylie Palmer was third in 1:52.96.

Attendance was disappointing throughout the week at the multi-million complex particularly on the final day when none of the swim teams remained to watch the closing ceremony or flag exchanging ceremonies. Less than a 100 watched the closing in the 15,000-seat arena.

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


Soni, Cielo, Garcia Steal Spotlight From Lochte For One Night At Short Course Worlds

Soni, Cielo, Garcia Steal Spotlight From Lochte For One Night At Short Course Worlds


December 18, 2010

While Ryan Lochte flirted with another world record in the 100-meter individual medley semifinals, American Rebecca Soni, Brazilian Cesar Cielo and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia shared the spotlight on Saturday night at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Dubai.

While Lochte remains the talk of the meet, a few other swimmers got their fifteen minutes of fame on Day Four.

Garcia won her third gold and fourth medal overall breaking the meet record in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:05.73.

“I feel very happy, it was an amazing race,” Garcia said. “This morning I was very tired and felt very nervous but as the afternoon wore on I became more relaxed.

“I can’t believe that I have won four medals, three of them golds. I think it will sink in when I get home.”

Garcia, who swims the 200-meter breaststroke on Sunday, also won gold in the 400-meter individual medley and 200-meter butterfly on Day One and silver medal in the 800-meter freestyle.

Soni, the queen of the breaststroke, won her second gold medal in a breaststroke event. After winning the 50-meter breaststroke, she won the 100-meter breaststroke in a meet record 1:03.98, and renewed her rivalry with Aussie Leisel Jones.

Soni was only 0.01 seconds ahead of Jones at the midway point but turned it on coming home.

“I definitely saw her next to me,” Soni said. “I know turns are my weakness so I just tried to outswim her and get to the wall first.

“It’s hard to be the first race of the night. I’m used to sitting back there and watching Ryan Lochte set a world record first.”

Albert Subirats of Venezuela won his country’s first gold medal at a world championship since 1997 in the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 22.40.

“I am happy to get gold for myself and my country,” Subirats said. “I think I have gotten fourth by 1/100th of a second six times over the last few years.”

Russian Stanislav Donets won the 50-meter backstroke in a meet record 22.93.

Cielo will go after his second gold medal on Sunday after being the top qualifier in the 100-meter freestyle semifinals in a meet record 46.01. He was 0.13 ahead of world record pace midway through his race.

Lochte, who also has three gold medals, was the fastest qualifier for Sunday’s 100-meter individual medley in a meet record 50.81, just 0.05 seconds off the world record. Germany’s Markus Deibler qualified second in 52.08, a German national record.

“I don’t know what to say about that race,” Lochte told reporters afterwards. “I’m not used to swimming it. Today was my easy day. I was pushing for it this morning until just at the end and then I stopped. I enjoyed that race.

“I’m not really aiming for anything on Sunday. It’s definitely going to be a hard challenge for me. It’s probably going to be the hardest day. But I’m up for it.”

Lochte has already won gold in the 200-meter freestyle as well as his world record swims in the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys. On Sunday Lochte is scheduled to swim the 100-meter individual medley, 200-meter backstroke and may swim on the 4×100-meter medley relay.

“I do have a tough schedule, it’s just a lot of racing,” Lochte said. “It’s a stepping stone for me on the way to the World Championships.”

The Netherlands won the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay in a meet record 3:28.54, ahead of the U.S. team of Natalie Coughlin, Katie Hoff, Jessica Hardy and Dana Vollmer (3:29.34) and China (3:29.81).

Team USA leads the medal count with 18 total medals (8 gold, 4 silver and 6 bronze). China has 12 total, 2 gold, 4 silver and 6 bronze. Competition concludes on Sunday.

In the men’s 50-meter breaststroke, SOFLO’s Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan finished 11th in the semifinals in 26.86 and did not make the final eight. Brazil’s Felipe Silvas was top qualifier in 26.22.

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson will compete in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke for Jamaica. The heats will take place in the morning session.


Eight-and-under swimmer Luke Gillette of Trinidad and Tobago’s Marlins club team broke a 30-year-old record on Day Two of the annual Invitational Swim Meet at the Marlins pool. Gillette was first in his age group in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:12.15. The old record of 1:12.24 was set by Laurens Albada in December 1980. Gillette also won the 50-meter butterfly in 36.73.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com