SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Silver Medal At XVI Pan American Games

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Silver Medal At XVI Pan Amercan Games

October 18, 2011


After a 12-year drought in major international swimming medals, Alia Atkinson gave Jamaica its first on Tuesday night at the XVI Pan American Games.

The 22-year-old two-time Olympian won the silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:14.75, her fifth national record time in four days at the Scotiabank Aquatics Center in Guadalajara, Mexico.

It was the SOFLO swimmer’s first major international medal at a major meet and Jamaica’s first medal in swimming at the Pan American Games since 1999 when Janelle Atkinson won three silver medals in Winnipeg, Canada.

After just getting out-touched for a bronze medal in the 100-meter breaststroke by fifteen hundredths of a second on Monday night, Atkinson was determined to bounce back. She was visibly upset after going out too fast and not hitting the touchpad hard enough at the finish. She was mad, according to her coach, and came back with a vengeance in the championship final.

Swimming in Lane 5, Atkinson took the race out hard and fast. She was second after the opening butterfly leg, fourth after the backstroke, moved back into second on the breaststroke and maintained her lead in the freestyle. Her splits were 28.89, 36.19, 37.49 and 32.18.

Initially, she and her coach, Chris Anderson, planned only to swim morning prelims and rest for Thursday’s 200-meter breaststroke, but after a solid swim decided to swim finals.

American Julia Smit defended her Pan American Games 200 IM title in 2:13.73 and Brazil’s Joanna Maranhao was third in 2:15.08. St. Thomas Aquinas alum Daniela Victoria of Venezuela and Davie Nadadores was eighth in 2:22.67. In the “B” final of the women’s 200 IM, Florida State’s McKayla Lightbourn of the Bahamas won in 2:20.62.

“This one was really exciting for me because I won this medal in 2007 Pan Ams and it was one of my goals to repeat,” Smit said.

Atkinson’s was Jamaica’s second medal overall. Badminton player Charles Pyne took a bronze in men’s singles also on Tuesday.

Atkinson was all smiles on the medal stand clutching her medal and blue stuffed toy mascot. She looked up at the flags being raised during the anthem ceremony and mouthed “wow.” At that moment, it hit her what she had just accomplished.

After a rest day on Wednesday, Atkinson will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke, her fourth and final event. She has recorded five national record swims in six races.

SOFLO teammate Arlene Semeco of Venezuela, the defending 100-meter freestyle champion, competes in the event on Wednesday.

The Americans won four of five gold medals and left Brazil in its wake on Tuesday night.

Julia Smit, Arthur Frayler, Sean Mahoney and women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay team all won to give the U.S. team twelve gold medals through four days of swimming.

Brazil, the biggest U.S. challenger in the pool with six gold, failed to win a race for the first time at this year’s Games.

In the men’s 200-meter freestyle finals it was a family affair with brothers Brett and Shaune Fraser of the Cayman Islands going one-two, the first top two finish by siblings ever.

Brett Fraser led from start-to-finish and won by a half-body length to break the meet record in 1:47.18, the first of three meet records of the night. The previous record was 1:48.49 set by Gustavo Borges in 1995.

Shaune Fraser took the silver and Paraguay’s Ben Hockin took the bronze, his country’s first, in 1:48.48. Both Frasers are University of Florida products and 2008 Olympians.

Hockin competed in the 2008 Olympics for Britain before switching nationalities. Venezuela’s Daniele Tirabassi of Davie Nadadores was eighth in the 200 freestyle in 1:52.31. Florida State’s Mateo De Angulo of Colombia was 13th.

The U.S. men went 1-2 in the 1,500-meter freestyle. Arthur Frayler won in 15:19.59 and Ryan Feeley was second in 15:22.19. Argentina’s Juan Pereyra took third in 15:26.20. Venezuela’s Ricardo Monasterio, making his fourth Pan American Games appearance, was eighth in 16:05.64.

The U.S. finished one-two again in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke. Sean Mahoney won in 2:11.62 and Clark Burckle was second in 2:12.60, both breaking the Pan American Games record of 2:13.37 set in 2003. Brazil’s Thiago Pereira was third in 2:13.58.

Sagemont freshman student Jordy Groters of Aruba and Davie Nadadores was fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke “B” final in 2:27.10.

The U.S. women’s 800-meter freestyle relay team of Catherine Breed, Elizabeth Pelton, Chelsea Nauta and Amanda Kendall broke the third Pan American Games record in 8:01.18. Brazil was second in 8:09.89 and Mexico was third in 8:12.19.

Overall, the U.S. is leading in the overall medal tally with 63 overall including 24 gold medals. Brazil is second with 30 overall including 10 gold.

FINA/ARENA World Cup In Moscow

Rising star Missy Franklin outshined superstar Michael Phelps on the opening day of the FINA/Arena World Cup Series’ third city stop at the Olympiyskiy Swimming Pool in Moscow.

In front of a sellout crowd, Franklin won two events. Franklin tied Allison Schmitt in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:53.27 and won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:03.61, slower than her prelim time of 2:02.81.

Phelps won the 100-meter individual medley in 52.19 but lost the 200-meter butterfly. Japan’s Hidemasa Sano won in 1:51.62 and South African Chad Le Clos was second in 1:51.95. Phelps was a surprising third in 1:53.24 and failed to qualify for the 100-meter freestyle final. Phelps will swim the 200 freestyle, 200 backstroke and 100 butterfly on Wednesday.

Aussie Geoff Huegill won the 50-meter butterfly in 22.96. Swede Theresa Alshammar won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.27 and Germany’s Paul Biedermann won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:40.40.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 96: SOFLO’s Gautieri Named Scholastic All-American; Alcaide Dominates Rowdy Gaines Meet

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 96: SOFLO’s Gautieri Named Scholastic All-American; Alcaide Dominates Rowdy Gaines Meet

October 18, 2011


Gina Gautieri was recognized for her excellence in the classroom and pool by being named to USA Swimming’s Scholastic All-American team.

The All-American team is made up of high school student-athletes who have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and achieved the required time standard in a single event.

The Douglas High School graduate and Bucknell freshman grew up at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, first learning how to swim with Biggi Lohberg and Swim America and honing her skills with several coaches including the late Michael Lohberg, a six-time Olympic coach.

Gautieri maintained her passion for swimming even though she had a full classload of AP courses, honor classes, community service, school clubs and honor societies during high school. Now, she is adjusting to college life at Bucknell, where she is a member of the swim team and studying mechanical engineering.

In high school, Gautieri was in the top four percent of her class, a  Wendy’s Heisman Award winner and two-time captain of the girls’ swim team.

Gautieri qualified for the state meet her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Her teammates voted her team captain her junior and senior years. While she has had several swimming career highlights, she said the biggest was when she made finals at this year’s state meet.

In this year’s Scholastic All-American tabulations just released by USA Swimming, the sport’s governing body, there was an increase of team members from 1,548 to 1,757, an increase of 13.5 percent. The team features 1,050 girls and 707 boys.

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers named were:

Ana Anaya, Metro Aquatics Club of Miami; Gabriela Garcia, Miami Swimming; Mallory McKeon, Pine Crest Swimming; Aubrey Murray, Martin County; Jessica Randolph, Plantation Swim Team and Khamai Simpson, AK Sharks for the girls; Austin Evenson, Pine Crest Swimming; Austin Manganiello, AK Sharks; Dylan Marsolek, Plantation Swim Team; Ryan Rosenbaum and Lance Rutkin, Fort Lauderdale Aquatics; Juan Sequera, Rockway; Andrew and Samuel Smiddy, AK Sharks; Daniel Spas, Heritage Aquatics; and Thomas Veale, Pine Crest Swimming.

Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic in Orlando

SOFLO’s Jessie Alcaide was one of the most dominant swimmers this past weekend at the Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic in Orlando.

Alcaide, 27, who trains at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines, won the 50-meter freestyle in 26.60, 100-meter freestyle in 58.52, 50-meter breaststroke in 37.09, 50-meter butterfly in 29.94, 100-meter butterfly in 1:04.85, 100-meter individual medley in 1:06.67, 200-meter individual medley in 2:26.45, and was third in the 800-meter freestyle in 10:54.83.

Alcaide has been swimming masters meets for four years although her priority is the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials. She has been putting in 55,000 yards six days a week.

“I love swimming,” Alcaide told reporters at the meet. “I don’t care what kind. The kids at the pool definitely push me, they have endless energy and kick my butt every day. I want to make the Olympic trials, that’s my goal.”

Ten world age group masters records were broken during the three-day meet. GOLD Masters, a top local team that includes Coral Springs Masters swimmers, broke two of those world records. They were:

Men 280-319 800-meter freestyle relay: GOLD, Jose Ferraz, 66, Cav Cavanaugh, 76, Howard Rolston, 71, Davie Quiggin, 67, 10:28.15, old record was 11:31.11.

Women 240-279 200-meter medley relay: GOLD, Maureen Hughes, 58, Danielle Ogier, 59, Pat Sargeant, 58, Jeannie Mitchell, 65, 2:29.05, old record 2:29.87.

Coral Springs Masters swimmers Celia Devanney, 54, and Barbara Protzman, 57, also competed and did well. Both competed under the GOLD umbrella.

Devanney was fifth in 100-meter freestyle, 1:14.10; fourth in 200-meter freestyle, 2:41.14; fourth in 400-meter freestyle in 5:35.76; and third in her specialty event, the 1500-meter freestyle in 21:39.23.

Protzman was second in the 50-meter butterfly, 38.64; second in the 100-meter butterfly, 1:32.81; second in the 50-meter freestyle in 34.17; won the 200-meter freestyle in 2:42.92; won the 800-meter freestyle in 11:54.80 and was a member of the winning 160-199 400-meter freestyle relay with Katie Broussard, Pat Sargeant and Carolyn Mizell in 4:37.60.

Other GOLD champions:

Katie Broussard, 37, 50-meter freestyle 29.24; 100-meter backstroke, 1:16.08; and 50-meter butterfly, 31.32.

Debbie Cavanaugh, 53, 100-meter backstroke, 1:17.31.

Danielle Ogier, 59, 200-meter breaststroke 3:27.81.

Pat Sargeant, 58, 50-meter butterfly 32.76; 100-meter butterfly 1:17.41; 100-meter individual medley; 50-meter freestyle 30.02; 100-meter freestyle 1:07.94; 50-meter backstroke 36.42; 100-meter backstroke 1:17.86; 200-meter backstroke, 2:48.87.

Jeannie Mitchell, 65, 100-meter individual medley, 1:41.28; 50-meter backstroke 42.76.

JC Mejia, 25, 50-meter backstroke, 38.58.

David Hoffman, 60, 1500-meter freestyle, 22:38.13.

Roger Parsons, 64, 100-meter backstroke, 1:24.50; 200-meter backstroke 3:08.22.

Jose Ferraz, 66, 200-meter freestyle 2:36.89; 400-meter freestyle 5:10.19; 200-meter individual medley 3:08.45.

David Quiggin, 67, 1500-meter freestyle 20:51.43; 100-meter backstroke 1:22.96; 50-meter butterfly 31.06; 50-meter freestyle 28.07; 100-meter freestyle 1:02.55; 200-meter freestyle 2:23.71; 100-meter individual medley 1:16.22; 400-meter individual medley 6:17.65.

David McIntyre, 74, 50-meter backstroke, 38.85.

Cav Cavanaugh, 76, 50-meter freestyle 31.38; 100-meter freestyle 1:12.72; 200-meter freestyle 2:47.17; 50-meter butterfly 42.91, 100-meter individual medley 1:32.78; 200-meter individual medley 3:34.27.

160-195 400-yard freestyle relay: GOLD, Katie Broussard, Pat Sargeant, Carolyn Mizell, Barbara Protzman, 4:37.60.

Sharon Robb can be reached at