June 14, 2011
WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
The final two members of South Florida Aquatic Club’s large, star-studded contingent arrived Sunday and Monday in Rome, Italy.
Five-time Olympian Dara Torres and two-time Olympian Alia Atkinson joined their SOFLO teammates who have been in town since Saturday preparing for the June 17-19 48th annual Sette Colli International Open Swimming Trophy Meet.
The SOFLO contingent is a good mix of experienced Olympians and national record holders, junior national stars and up-and-coming swimmers making their international meet debut at the site of the 2009 World Championships.
With $100,000 in prize money being offered, several top European swimmers are expected to head the field after competing in the June 4-12 Mare Nostrum meet in Spain, France and Monaco, including Italian star Alessia Filippi, who won gold in the 1500 and bronze in the 800 at the 2009 World Championships. Since Filippi missed the Italian Nationals while competing on Italy’s version of Dancing With The Stars, this weekend’s meet will serve as her world championship trials.
The meet will be a good test for SOFLO swimmers looking to race and pick up valuable international experience.
Heading SOFLO’s lineup is Torres, 44, who will swim only the 50-meter freestyle, her signature event she holds the American record in.
It will be Torres third meet since the 2009 Rome World Championships and reconstructive knee surgery. The five-time Olympian has already qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials.
Atkinson, who represents Jamaica, will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events, 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter butterfly, in preparation for this summer’s world championships in Shanghai.
Venezuelan Olympian and national record holder Arlene Semeco will compete in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles, also in preparation for this summer’s world championships.
Loai and Hazem Tashkandi of Saudi Arabia, who have also competed internationally, will compete in multiple events.
Loai, who made history by winning three goal medals in national record-breaking swims at the Arabian Gulf State Championships earlier this year, will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 200- and 400-meter individual medley.
Hazem, his younger brother, will swim the 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyles.
U.S. Olympic hopeful Julie Stupp, also already qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in three events, will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke, 200- and 400-meter individual medley and 200-meter butterfly. Her sister, Hallie, will compete in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly, 50- and 100-meter freestyle and 200-meter individual medley.
University of Miami’s Dana Hatic and longtime SOFLO swimmer will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.
Four of SOFLO’s most promising teenagers will also compete.
Brandon Goldman, a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas swim team, will make his international debut in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter backstroke and 400-meter individual medley.
Goldman will be joined by Brazilian Luke Torres, Keegan Boisson-Yates and Lindsey McKnight, who have all competed in international meets. Boisson-Yates represents Trinidad and Tobago internationally.
Torres will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter butterfly. Boisson-Yates will swim the 50- and 100-meter backstroke and 50- and 100-meter freestyle. McKnight will swim the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyles, 100-meter breaststroke, 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley.
The three-day meet has heats and finals in all events except the 800 and 1500. There will also be “B” finals for 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle and for 100-meters of each stroke.
FRIDAY, JUNE, June 17:
Women’s and men’s 50-meter backstroke, women’s and men’s 400-meter freestyle, women’s and men’s 100-meter breaststroke, women’s and men’s 100-meter butterfly, women’s 1500-meter freestyle, men’s and women’s 50-meter freestyle.
SATURDAY, JUNE 18:
Women’s and men’s 200-meter butterfly, women’s and men’s 200-meter backstroke, women’s and men’s 400-meter individual medley, women’s 100-meter freestyle, men’s 200-meter freestyle, women’s and men’s 50-meter breaststroke, women’s and men’s 800-meter freestyle.
SUNDAY, JUNE 19:
Men’s and women’s 200-meter backstroke, men’s and women’s 50-meter butterfly, men’s and women’s 200-meter breaststroke, men’s 100-meter freestyle, women’s 200-meter freestyle, men’s 1500-meter freestyle, women’s and men’s 200-meter individual medley.
SOFLO’S ALCAIDE HEADS TO SANTA CLARA
Jessie Alcaide, 26, will compete against a national-caliber field Thursday through Sunday in the Santa Clara Invitational Grand Prix, the final stop of the 2011 USA Swimming Grand Prix.
Alcaide, one of the newest members of SOFLO, will compete in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly.
Several international swimmers are expected to compete in the meet used as a final long course tune-up before the World Championships. Brazil’s Thiago Pereira and Aussie Nicholas D’Arcy head the international field.
Fifteen U.S. Olympians including Olympic gold medalists Michael Phelps, Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte, Rebecca Soni and Brendan Hansen will compete.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com