WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS NOTEBOOK, Issue Two: China Wins Second Gold Medal In Diving

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS NOTEBOOK, Issue Two: China Wins Second Gold Medal In Diving

July 17, 2011


Competing in its backyard has its advantages for China, clearly the hometown favorite during the diving competition at the XIV FINA World Aquatic Championships in Shanghai.

China won its second gold medal on Sunday and kept its hopes of sweeping all ten diving events alive.

Qiu Bo and Huo Liang, who have trained together for only two months, were picture-perfect in the men’s 10-meter synchronized event, earning eight perfect 10s while totaling 480.03 points for the six-dive final.

It was Huo’s third consecutive worlds gold medal. He won with different teammates at the 2007 Melbourne and 2009 Rome world championships.

“I am happy to win the title because we work very hard,” said Huo, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist. “The opponents are all hard to beat, we just think about our performance. The only opponent is ourselves.”

Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein of Germany took the silver medal with 443.01 points.

Oleksandr Gorshkovozov and Oleksandr Bondar of the Ukraine won the bronze medal with 435.36 points.

Great Britain’s Peter Waterfield and Tom Daly, the platform gold medalist in 2009, were sixth. Waterfield had been doubtful to compete with flu-like symptoms during training camp. The Brits have already secured a synchronized spot in the 2012 Olympics since they are the host country. Americans David Boudia and Nick McCrory finished fifth with 420.69. They were in third place after three rounds but missed a back 3 ½ in the fifth round putting them out of medal contention.

Water polo

Defending champion and pre-tournament favorite United States women’s team struggled to a 7-7 tie with the defending Olympic gold medalist Netherlands in their opening game. The U.S. was leading 7-6 with less than three minutes left but the Netherlands tied the game at the 1:28 mark. Center forward Lauren Wenger scored three goals for the U.S. which next plays Hungary on Tuesday…Goalkeeper Rachel Riddell came up with fourteen saves to lead Canada to a 10-7 victory over Australia. It was the first time Canada, ranked No. 2 in the world, had beaten the Aussies in international games in nearly two years…In other games, Hungary beat Kazakhstan, 21-6; New Zealand beat Uzbekistan, 19-6; Russia beat Brazil, 15-4; Greece edged Spain, 10-9; Italy beat Cuba, 12-4 and China beat South Africa, 22-5…Men’s game action begins on Monday.

Synchronized swimming

Russia’s Natalia Ishchenko won her third consecutive technical solo world title. It was her seventh world title overall. She totaled 98.30.  China’s Huang Xuechen took silver with 96.50 points, earning her country’s first medal ever in the solo event. Andrea Fuentes of Spain took the bronze with 95.30 points. The U.S. top finisher was Mary Killman, placing 11th with 87.10.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Breaks Second National Relay Record, Pinon Breaks Own FGC Record At Junior Olympics

SOFLO Breaks Second National Relay Record, Pinon Breaks Own FGC Record At Junior Olympics

July 17, 2011


Alfredo Mesa Jr. was feeling a little left out Saturday night watching his South Florida Aquatic Club teammates break their first national age group record.

It didn’t last long after Mesa and three of those teammates broke a second USA Swimming national age group long course record Sunday morning in the timed final session of the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Long Course Junior Olympics at Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex.

Tristan Celestin, 12, Alfredo Mesa, 12, Cristian Rossi, 12 and Julien Pinon, 12, broke the 200-meter freestyle relay record in 1:50.83. Celestin, Rossi and Pinon were members of the national record-breaking 200-meter medley relay (2:01.10) Saturday night.

The previous 200-meter freestyle relay national record was 1:51.50 set by Premier Aquatic Club in 2010 with Todd Coachman, Jonathan Saucedo, Todd Ber and Alejandro Londono.

It was also the SOFLO relay’s second Florida Gold Coast record in as many days. The previous FGC record was 1:54.24 set by Rockway in 2008.

The splits were Celestin (27.7), Mesa (28.4), Rossi (28.1) and Pinon (26.0).

Pinon also broke his own FGC record (57.28) set June 23rd, in the 100-

meter freestyle in 56.65. It was Pinon’s career-fourth FGC record, two individual and two relays.

For Mesa, a national record was a great reason to celebrate with his teammates.

“Two national records for SOFLO shows that we are beasts,” Mesa said.

“We have been talking about breaking national records a lot in practice. This is big. When I am older I will remember that I was part of a team that was very good and able to break national and Florida Gold Coast records.”

Mesa said he felt a little pressure going into his second leg.

“I kind of felt it out there, I didn’t want to let my team down,” Mesa said. “I felt very good and strong in the water but I felt kind of nervous, too, knowing I was trying to break a national record.”

Mesa said he knew how to swim before he learned how to walk. He has been competing since he was five.

“Swimming is awesome,” Mesa said. “Making zones is still No. 1 for me in my life but a national record is a close second. We still have some more records in us. When I touched the wall I knew we were going to break the record because we all have heart.”



200-meter freestyle relay: 11-12, 1. Jupiter “A” 2:00.49 (Shayne Sipowski, Sydney Groth, Francesca Choy, Meghan O’Brien), 3. SOFLO “A” 2:01.40 (Allison Kopas, Jessica Rodriguez, Sophia Bucaro, Catharine Cooper), 6. SOFLO “B” 2:06.71 (Kelley Heron, Bianca Monti, Natasha Testa, Isabella Pittinger).

400-meter freestyle relay: 13-14, 1. Pine Crest “A” 4:12.87 (Caroline Nava, Lindsey Swartz, Miriyam Ghali, Marin Mullen), 3. SOFLO “A” 4:17.45 (Steph Campo, Carly Swanson, Andrea Melendez, Melissa Marinheiro), 11. SOFLO “B” 4:38.95 (Monica Rodriguez, Lilliana Calero, Kelly Kealty, Kylie Herman).

200-meter individual medley: 10-and-under, 1. Alexa Meszaros, FLA 2:54.32; SOFLO: 9. Jennifer Rodriguez 3:04.59, best time, 11. Hannah Virgin 3:08.58, best time, 14. Amanda Kopas 3:13.51, best time, 15. Vanessa Mesa 3:14.25, best time, 22. Katherine De Barros 3:17.09, best time; 11-12, 1. Rose Smiddy, AK Sharks 2:29.61; SOFLO: 2. Allison Kopas 2:35.36, best time, 4. Jessica Rodriguez 2:38.54, best time, 17. Sophia Bucaro 2:15.18, 18. Alani Carrasco 2:52.01, best time, 28. Delanie Perez 2:57.17, 33. Maya Hirian 2:59.66; 13-14, 1. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s 2:29.31; SOFLO: 5. Melissa Marinheiro 2:31.16, best time, 17. Audrey Mason 2:43.56, 18. Andrea Melendez 2:44.18, best time.

50-meter backstroke: 10-and-under, 1. Sophia Perez, MAC 35.06; SOFLO: 6. Hannah Virgin 40.78, best time, 7. Amanda Kopas 40.84, best time, 11. Vanessa Mesa 42.35, best time, 25. Delaney Biro 50.15; 11-12, 1. Jamie Flores, Pine Crest 33.82; SOFLO: 3. Allison Kopas 35.01, best time, 5. Isabella Pittinger 36.01, best time, 11. Catharine Cooper 36.98, best time, 18. Maya Hirian 38.82, 24. Stephanie Mlujeak 40.78, 25. Sarah Bucaro 40.90, 26. Megan Damon 42.31; 13-14, 1. Darby Goodwin, Jupiter 31.68; SOFLO: 12. Steph Campo 33.94, 32. Monica Rodriguez 36.56, best time, 38. Carly Swanson 37.02, best time, 39. Adrianna Cuevas 37.05, best time, 43. Kylie Herman 37.33, best time, 49. Nicole Gautieri 38.18, 58. Emily Jurich 39.17.

50-meter breaststroke: 10-and-under, 1. Thea McKenna, SwimFast 42.87; SOFLO: 3. Jennifer Rodriguez 44.53, best time, 16. Amanda Kopas 48.74, best time, 20. Katherine De Barros 49.93; 11-12, 1. Allison Kopas, SOFLO 37.48; SOFLO: 3. Kelley Heron 39.59, best time, 4. Jessica Rodriguez 39.70, best time, 18. Natasha Testa 42.87, best time, 22. Delanie Perez 43.22, best time, 28. Bianca Monti 44.39, best time; 13-14, 1. Perez Hickman, Miami Dade County 37.20; SOFLO: 3. Jillian Alexander 38.04, 5. Kelly Kealty 38.29, best time, 7. Audrey Mason 38.48, best time, 33. Nicole Gautieri 42.03, 34. Rebecca Wilkerson 42.13, 35. Lindsey Sauer 42.44, 37. Emily Jurich 42.61, 39. Jenna Deal 42.82, 46. Leysha Caraballo 46.05.

200-meter butterfly: 11-12, 1. Julia Talamo, Rockway 2:37.35; SOFLO: 7. Natasha Testa 3:05.28; 13-14, 1. Christine Herfuth, Lake Lytal 2:25.23, SOFLO: 5. Haley Wright 2:43.17, best time, 8. Kylie Herman 2:48.36.

100-meter freestyle: 10-and-under, 1. Alexa Meszaros, FLA 1:09.48; SOFLO: 6. Hannah Virgin 1:12.29, best time, 10. Jennifer Rodriguez 1:15.84, 21. Vanessa Mesa 1:18.94, 24. Katherine De Barros 1:19.60, best time, 29. Ashley Tan 1:20.41, best time, 35. Alexandra Crespo 1:21.74, 40. Annita Huang 1:22.89; 11-12, 1. Rose Smiddy, AK Sharks 1:01.37; SOFLO: 3. Catharine Cooper 1:03.81, best time, 9. Sophia Bucaro 1:06.48, 16. Charlene Forti 1:08.00, best time, 22. Isabella Pittinger 1:09.41, best time, 26. Natasha Testa 1:09.87, best time, 29. Bianca Monti 1:10.05, best time, 50. Alisa Kislych 1:12.53, best time, 58. Stephanie Mlujeak 1:13.17, best time, 60. Sophie Bucaro 1:13.31, best time, 77. Maya Hirian 1:15.47, 85. Megan Schimansky 1:16.67; 13-14, 1. Caroline Nava, Pine Crest 59.03; SOFLO: 7. Steph Campo 1:02.54, 16. Andrea Melendez 1:03.81, best time, 20. Carly Swanson 1:04.91, best time, 36. Kylie Herman 1:06.53, 43. Kelly Kealty 1:07.63, 48. Lindsey Sauer 1:08.28, 52. Monica Rodriguez 1:08.69, 55. Lillian Calero 1:09.10.

1500-meter freestyle: 11-12, 1. Jenna Pisani, Lake Lytal 18:47.48; SOFLO: 4. Kelley Heron 19:24.39, best time, 8. Stephanie Mlujeak 20:41.31, best time, 9. Alani Carrasco 20:47.98, best time; 13-14, 1. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 18:23.48, best time.


200-meter freestyle relay: 11-12, 1. SOFLO “A” 1:50.83, NATIONAL RECORD (Tristan Celestin, Alfredo Mesa Jr., Cristian Rossi, Julien Pinon), 6. SOFLO “B” 2:02.96 (Kevin Porto, Bruno Berti, Ricardo Roche, Juan Lucas).

400-meter freestyle relay: 13-14, 1. Davie Nadadores “A” 3:54.75 (Esteban Velasquez, Matthew Lyn, Gabriel Perez, Marco Guarente), 5. SOFLO “A” 4:07.59 (Bryce Pierce, Gustavo Valery, David Stoddard, August Charni), 11. SOFLO “B” 4:16.18 (Alexander Viloria, Ryan Capote, Jordan Colon, Teddy Sandoval).

200-meter individual medley: 10-and-under, 1. Samuel Quintero, SOFLO 2:49.08, best time; SOFLO: 3. Jonathan Skarie 3:03.50, 4. Rafael Rodriguez 3:03.64, best time, 9. Brandon Mora 3:09.62, 15. Augusto Cohn 3:16.08, 18. Leonardo Mateus 3:17.69, best time; 11-12, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami Dade 2:34.44; SOFLO: 4. Juan Lucas 2:37.53, 6. Ricardo Roche 2:41.01, best time, 9. Kevin Porto 2:43.90, best time, 21. Federico Maeso 2:53.19, best time, 23. Mathew Menocal 2:54.45, best time, 32. Andres Lares 3:00.59; 13-14, 1. Marco Guarente, Davie 2:20.28; SOFLO: 19. Jordan Colon 2:36.62, best time, 23. Augsut Charni 2:38.09, 26. Bryce Pierce 2:38.67, best time, 27. Teddy Sandoval 2:38.83, best time, 34. Alexander Viloria 2:43.67.

50-meter backstroke: 10-and-under, 1. Elv Kotikovski, FLA 36.97; SOFLO: 2. Samuel Quintero 37.42, best time, 3. Matthew Liang 39.83, best time, 9. Rafael Rodriguez 41.49, best time, 14. Leonardo Mateus 42.94, 15. Augusto Cohn 42.98, best time; 11-12, 1. Juan Lucas, SOFLO 32.76; SOFLO: 5. Kevin Porto 35.33, best time, 12. Jack Davies 37.23, 19. Rodrigo Rodriguez 38.69, best time, 20. Bruno Berti 38.71, best time, 27. Collin Burt 40.37; 13-14, 1. Wayne Denswil, MAC 30.32; SOFLO: 6. Gustavo Valery 32.13, best time, 8. August Charni 32.67, best time, 14. David Stoddard 34.19, best time.

50-meter breaststroke: 10-and-under, 1. Adrian Aguilar, MAC 42.68; SOFLO: 4. Jonathan Skarie 44.57, best time, 6. Matthew Liang 45.64, best time, 17. Gian Savino 50.22, best time; 11-12, 1.Tristan Celestin, SOFLO 33.55, best time; SOFLO: 3. Cristian Rossi 37.66, best time, 26. C.J. Kopecki 44.84, 27. Tyler Gibson 45.05, best time, 31. Bruno Berti 46.35; 13-14, 1. Manuel Lopez, MAC 32.78; SOFLO: 12. Jordan Colon 37.65, best time.

200-meter butterfly: 10-and-under, 1. Jose Llanio, Blue Marlins 2:35.74; SOFLO: 2. Alfredo Mesa Jr. 2:37.66, best time, 4. Nicholas Perera 2:42.64, best time; 13-14, 1. Nicolas Medina, Unattached 2:16.42.

100-meter freestyle: 10-and-under, 1. Adrian Aguilar, MAC 1:10.80; SOFLO: 3. Rafael Rodriguez 1:13.79, 13. Brandon Moran 1:16.24, best time, 15. Tie, Jonathan Skarie 1:16.49, best time, and Augusto Cohn 1:16.49, best time, 26. Max Cope 1:20.28, 28. Leonardo Mateus 1:20.76, best time; 11-12, 1. Julien Pinon, SOFLO 56.65, best time; SOFLO: 2. Cristian Rossi 1:01.46, 3. Alfredo Mesa Jr. 1:02.45, 5. Juan Lucas 1:03.47, 22. Rodrigo Rodriguez 1:09.13, best time, 28. Matthew Menocal 1:09.89, 29. Andres Lares 1:10.35, best time, 34. Sebastian Vargas 1:11.14, best time, 37. Jack Davies 1:11.46, best time; 13-14, 1. Wayne Denswil, MAC 56.57; SOFLO: 11. August Charni 1:00.16, 23. Gustavo Valery 1:01.30, best time, 31. David Stoddard 1:02.04, best time, 38. Bryce Pierce 1:02.55, best time, 52. Teddy Sandoval 1:03.92, best time, 56. Jordan Colon 1:04.19, best time, 61. Alexander Viloria 1:04.76, best time, 65. Juan Saldana 1:05.30, best time, 68. Ryan Capote 1:05.97.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Breaks First National Record At Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

SOFLO Breaks First National Record At Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

July 16, 2011


Juan Lucas, Tristan Celestin, Julien Pinon and Cristian Rossi are national age group record holders for the first time in their young swimming careers.

The South Florida Aquatic Club foursome shattered the USA Swimming national age group long course record in the boys’ 11-12 200-meter medley relay Saturday night at the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Long Course Junior Olympics at Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex.

In an emotionally-charged race, Lucas (backstroke), Celestin (breaststroke), Pinon (butterfly) and Rossi (freestyle) broke the nine-year-old national record in 2:01.10 to break into the national spotlight.

All four swimmers are 12-years-old.

The previous record was 2:03.78 set by Nova of Virginia Aquatics’ David Wren, Jordan Arencibia, Ian Vost and Gaites Brown in 2002.

The four swimmers also broke SOFLO’s Florida Gold Coast record of 2:05.71 set last month with Lucas, Celestin, Alfredo Mesa Jr. and Rossi.

After just missing the national record in the 400-meter freestyle relay Friday night, the four swimmers were determined to swim a perfect race.

“I was over the moon,” said SOFLO age group coach Rose Lockie, who has worked extensively with Lucas, Pinon and Rossi at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines. Celestin trains at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

“I knew they could do it, but sometimes they can get too excited and when they are so excited, just the smallest error could have blown it. I just didn’t want them getting too excited and overdoing it. I don’t think they felt the pressure because they are so young.

“I think it’s amazing for a 12-year-old to have a national record. I am thrilled for them. I haven’t slept in two days thinking about it. I knew they were capable of doing it. In warm-up, they were singing and cheering. It was fun to watch.”

The foursome had the fastest individual times for their strokes.

“They were the best four for this relay,” Lockie said. “They are talented. They motivate each other. They do it in practice and meets. There is a tight bond that they have and it rubs off in practice and meets. They are just close and encourage each other all the time.”

It was also Lockie’s first national record as a coach. “As a coach you can only do so much, it’s up to them to respond and they responded very well.

“I saw the talent from the start,” Lockie said. “It helped when Julien came over to the team, he is very competitive. Having him in practice has the other kids training harder and pushing harder. They pump each other up so much. They have a lot of fun, too.”

Even more amazing, all four boys are not fully tapered because they will be competing at zones at the end of the month in Cary, N.C.

The foursome took turns talking about their record-setting performance.

“Yesterday we missed the record,” Lucas said. “We thought we would break this one. Since I am the backstroker I just kept thinking about not slipping on my start. I was thinking, ‘oh my gosh, go out fast, go out fast.’ I was really concentrating on that and my finish to get to Tristan.

“It feels great to break it,” Lucas said. “This is No. 1 right now for me in swimming. That was one of my best backstroke legs. It was pretty cool to get the record. Coach Rose got all excited and almost fell into the water. Cristian, Tristan and me have known each other for a year and a half and Julien just came on the team. We talked about doing this and we did it. I am still excited.”

For Celestin, it was his fifth FGC record and first national record.

“Hopefully, this is the first of many national records to come,” Celestin said. 

“I wasn’t nervous, I was anticipating the win and us breaking the record and we did,” Celestin said. “I think I was more anxious. This is my first national record and I am really excited to add it to my record collection.

“I would like to see the relay stay together but one of us ages up after the long course season.”

After his breaststroke leg, Celestin needed a few moments to catch his breath.

“It was exciting,” Celestin said. “I got out so fast and was going so fast that I needed to catch my breath. Then I watched Julien take it out and was cheering for him and Cristian. Everyone was screaming, it was great. We actually broke the record.”

Pinon said he saw storm clouds forming and was hoping the bad weather would hold off just until after the relay.

“I just kept thinking, ‘there’s a storm coming up, please don’t let it rain,’” Pinon said. “When you think about it, this is bigger than an FGC record. This is awesome. I thought we were capable of breaking it. We missed the record last night. We just told each other let’s not make any mistakes. This is definitely No. 1 for me, having a national record.”

Rossi admittedly was nervous bringing it home.

“My stomach felt awful before I went on the blocks,” Rossi said. “I just didn’t want to make any mistakes.

“It is amazing. People keep saying congratulations. It is just awesome. Everyone on the relay was awesome. I didn’t think I was doing good enough so at the 15-meter mark I just decided to start kicking more and working harder. This is the biggest thing in swimming for me. It’s something to talk about and remember.”

Added SOFLO CEO and coach Chris Anderson: “Eighteen months ago when the club started this was the vision to get on the national scene and breaking a national record is the start to making this vision come true.”

Inclement weather forced the cancellation of the remaining individual events and relays on Saturday night.

On Sunday, the morning session will be timed finals and evening session will be the re-scheduled Saturday night finals. Defending champion SOFLO leads the combined team standings after Day Two.

The boys trail Metro Aquatics, 198-195 and girls lead Pine Crest, 169-106.



200-meter medley relay: 10-and-under, 1. Team FLA 2:36.16 (Violeta Tumolo, Gabriella Marchesani, Gabriella Antonini, Alexandra Meszaros), 3. SOFLO “A” 2:41.48 (Amanda Kopas, Jennifer Rodriguez, Hannah Virgin, Vanessa Mesa), 13. SOFLO “B” 2:56.65 (Isabel Shashaty, Alexandra Crespo, Katherine De Barros, Ashley Tan); 11-12, 1. Jupiter “A” 2:13.93 (Francesca Choy, Jisella Bordieri, Sydney Groth, Shayne Sipowski), 2. SOFLO “A” 2:14.67 (Jessica Rodriguez, Kelley Heron, Allison Kopas, Catharine Cooper), 5. SOFLO “B” 2:22.35 (Isabella Pittinger, Delanie Perez, Natasha Testa, Sophia Bucaro); 13-14,


200-meter medley relay, 10-and-under, 1. Metro Aquatic “A” 2:29.92 (Adrian Aguilar, Eric Vives, John Torres, David Montana), 2. SOFLO “A” 2:37.40 (Rafael Rodriguez, Jonathan Skarie, Samuel Quintero, Augusto Cohn), 9. SOFLO “B” 2:52.65 (Leonardo Mateus, Brandon Moran, Matthew Liang, Pablo Ziehm); 11-12, 1. SOFLO “A” 2:01.10, NATIONAL RECORD (Juan Lucas, Tristan Celestin, Julien Pinon, Cristian Rossi), 8. SOFLO “B” 2:21.08 (Kevin Porto, Ricardo Roche, Nicholas Perera, Alfredo Mesa Jr.).


What: Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Junior Olympics Long Course Championships

When: Sunday timed finals 8:30 a.m., Saturday night re-scheduled finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW 2nd St., Plantation.

Admission: $3 adults per session, $3 heat sheets per session. For information call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at