Fort Lauderdale Centennial Celebration Of Swimming And Diving Highlights Weekend

Fort Lauderdale Centennial Celebration Of Swimming And Diving Highlights Weekend


May 4, 2011

For four days, the aquatic world will be in the spotlight during the City of Fort Lauderdale 100-Year Celebration of Swimming and Diving that feature the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix, 47th International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Paragon Awards and Fran Crippen SafeSwim Festival.

On Thursday, the four-day splash begins with the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

The four-day meet features the world’s best divers from the U.S., China, Canada and other countries including 47 Olympians preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.

The meet is the only competition that features the best divers competing on American soil this year. The diving events begin Thursday at 10 a.m. and end Sunday at noon.

University of Miami’s Brittany Viola, Atlantic Coast Conference Student-Athlete of the Year, and former Plantation diver Kassidy Cook are the only locals in the field.

2008 Olympian Jevon Tarantino, an Olympic Heights alum, who trained at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex early in his career, is no longer diving because of lack of sponsors to fund his training.

On Friday night, ISHOF’s 47th annual Induction Ceremony will be held at the Broward County Convention Center at 6 p.m.

Heading the Class of 2011 is Monaco’s Prince Albert II, who will receive the Gold Medallion Award.

Prince Albert, 53, who recently attended the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey, is also set to wed this summer (July 1-2). His fiancé is former South African Olympic backstroke swimmer Charlene Wittstock, 33.

Others honorees are five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe, U.S. swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg, Aussie swimmer Petria Thomas, synchro swimmer Miya Tachibana, water polo player Aleksandar Sostar, open water swimmer Michael Reed, Hungary water polo coach Denes Kemeny, contributor Thomas Hoad and pioneer Re Calcaterra.

On Saturday, national-caliber open water swimmers will compete for prize money in the inaugural Fran Crippen SafeSwim Festival off Fort Lauderdale beach. The race is in honor of Crippen, who died tragically while competing in a FINA-sanctioned race in October 2010.

The festival will feature three events: One Mile Dash For Cash at 9:30 a.m., 10K invitation-only marathon at 11 a.m. and two-hour open water safety clinic at 2 p.m. The clinic will feature several top swimmers including three-time Olympian Aaron Piersol and two-time Olympian Peter Vanderkaay.

Also on Saturday is a free day of standup paddleboard instructions, junior lifeguard and age group races, a Polynesian Asian/Pacific Cultural Festival and Guinness World Record high dive attempt by Professor Splash at Alexander Park in Fort Lauderdale and Paragon Awards at ISHOF. 

On Sunday, the Auto Nation Standup Paddleboard Challenge will be held and will feature extreme athlete Tom Jones, who is training for a paddle from California to Hawaii for Plastics Free Oceans.

Also, on exhibition at the ISHOF Museum is the story of swimming in Fort Lauderdale over the past hundred years. It showcases a century of swimwear from the Jantzen archive. The exhibit runs through October but is free to the public May 5-8.

For information or tickets, call 954-462-6536 or visit

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Catalin Grant Will Be Honored At Kids Of Character Awards Ceremony

SOFLO’s Catalin Grant Will Be Honored At Kids Of Character Awards Ceremony


May 3, 2011

Student-athlete Catalin Grant of Hawkes Bluff Elementary School is among twenty-seven students chosen as top honorees for the eleventh annual Sun-Sentinel Kids Of Character Year-End Awards Ceremony.

Grant will be honored on Monday, May 9th at Cooper City High School in a celebration event sponsored by the Broward County Public Schools, Publix and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Grant was singled out for her fundraising for charities including UNICEF, Red Cross and Humane Society by selling items from a “Snack Shack” at her house.

Grant swims for the Meteorites under Coach Luis Soler at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines. She started with the Dippers in January 2009.

The twenty-seven students were nominated from 120 participating schools throughout Broward County.

Grant told the Sun-Sentinel that she got the idea of the “Snack Shack” from her older sister five years ago. In the beginning they worked together along with their mother, Wendy Grant.

Grant, 10, a fifth grader, now does it on her own in her spare time when she’s not doing homework, swimming or helping friends.

“I just like doing things for charity, raising money to help them,” Grant told the Sun-Sentinel.

She was only in kindergarten when she worked on her first charity for Hurricane Katrina victims. Her most recent charity work was for UNICEF.

Grant also helps tutor students with their schoolwork and helps out anyone in need. She is known as “a sweet girl with a big heart.”

Her teacher called her “a positive role model to her classmates and peers.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at