AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 181: SOFLO Lands Record Fifteen Swimmers On FGC Zone Team

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 181:SOFLO Lands Record Fifteen Swimmers On FGC Zone Team


July 3, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club had fifteen swimmers and two coaches selected for the Florida Gold Coast Zone Team.

It’s the most swimmers the young club has had in its nearly three-year history. Last year SOFLO placed 12 swimmers on the team.

The swimmers will compete against some of the nation’s top swimmers at the July 31-Aug. 4 Southern Zone Age Group Championships in Rockwall, Texas.

The zone championships feature regional swimmers at the senior and age group levels who qualify for these meets within the four designated zones: southern, eastern, central and western.

SOFLO girls selected to the team are:

11-12: Catharine Cooper, Kelley Heron, Isabella Pittinger, Bianca Monti, Megan Schimansky.

13-14: Steph Campo, Jessica Rodriguez.

15-18: Maria Lopez, Melissa Marinheiro, Marcella Marinheiro.

SOFLO boys selected to the team are:

11-12: Kevin Porto, Ricardo Roche.

13-14: Julien Pinon, Gustavo Valery, Alfredo Mesa Jr.

SOFLO age group coaches Megan Garland and Josh Laban are members of the Zone All-Star coaching staff.

U.S. Trials Leftovers

On Saturday, the entire U.S. Olympic swim team will head to Knoxville, Tenn. for the team’s domestic training camp before leaving for London. On July 12 the team will hold an open practice…The Olympic pool competition is July 28-Aug. 4 at the London Aquatic Centre. The men’s and women’s 10K is Aug. 9-10 at the Serpentine at Hyde Park…Davis Tarwater, 28, was a late addition to the team when Michael Phelps scratched from the 200-meter freestyle and Ricky Berens moved into the individual event slot. Tarwater, after missing the team in three events, will swim the 800-meter freestyle relay. When Tarwater returned to Omaha on Tuesday, he sought out Phelps and said “I owe you dinner. Dinner seems like the least I can do. I mean, what do you do in that situation?”…Berens found out he made the Olympic team in an individual event when Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman told him on Twitter…When Ryan Lochte returned home to Florida, a new Nissan 370Z was waiting for him in his driveway. “I think I gotta get this baby in gold next,” Lochte tweeted. Nissan is among several of his high profile sponsors…Michael Phelps is featured in a cover story in the August issue of Details Magazine….In a survey taken by ESPN’s Sportsnation Nokia Poll, basketball was the top Olympic sport selected by fans as being the most exciting at 42 percent followed by swimming, 24 percent, track and field, 23 percent and gymnastics, 12 percent…In TV ratings, The Bachelorette (7.4 million) edged the U.S. Olympic swimming trials (7.3 million)…How perfect is this? The most predominant Zodiac sign of swimmers on this year’s Olympic team is Pisces, The Fish with 13 of the 49 swimmers….25 percent of the U.S. swim team has University of Michigan ties.

U.S. Olympic Tweets

“A nice surprise awaited us when we landed. Thanks to all the swimmers and parents of SwimMAC. I’m shocked, we completely didn’t expect this. We will make you proud.”—Cullen Jones

“Less than 12 hours after our race, training away with Kara Lynn Joyce.”—Jessica Hardy

“Got some interesting looks in the gym today lifting with Peter Vanderkaay and both having shaved bodies.”—Conor Dwyer

“My pizza has broccoli on it that means I’m healthy right?”—Nathan Adrian

“USA Swimming made the right call letting us come home for a few days of much-needed R&R.”—Eric Shanteau

“Dara Torres, what a memorable journey. Had the best time of my life working with the best female athlete of all time.”—Bruno Darzi

“I guess it’s time to figure out what I wanna do when I grow up!”—Dara Torres

SOFLO’s Martin At U.S. Masters Nationals

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jennifer Martin, a Pembroke Pines police officer, will be among a national-caliber field including Olympians Brooke Bennett, 32, and Misty Hyman of Phoenix at the July 5-8 Marriott U.S. Masters Summer Nationals at CenturyLink Center in Omaha. The four-day meet is being held in the same venue the U.S. trials were held in this past week.

Martin, 32, is seeded first in the 30-34 50-meter freestyle (28.57) and 50-meter breaststroke (38.12), second in the 100-meter freestyle (1:02.99) and third in the 50-meter butterfly (31.21).  

Ann Stewart, 42, David McIntyre, 75, Andrew Cole, 49, Eric Jackwin, 23, and Timothy Shead, 60, of GOLD are also entered. Swim Fort Lauderdale is among team favorites. The meet is timed finals. 


Stanford women’s head coach Lea Maurer has resigned her position  after seven seasons to make more time for her family, she said. The athletes were told on Monday. Stanford has finished in the top five at NCAA’s during her tenure. Men’s head coach Skip Kenney had retired earlier this summer.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres Finishes Fourth, Misses Shot At Sixth Olympics

Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres Finishes Fourth, Misses Shot At Sixth Olympics


July 2, 2012

The journey ended for swimming great Dara Torres on the final night of the U.S. Olympic trials at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

The 45-year-old mother was fourth in the 50-meter freestyle, ending her quest for a record sixth Olympic team.

Torres stared at the scoreboard, bowed her head over a lane line and then hugged and congratulated the top two qualifiers, Jessica Hardy and Kara Lynn Joyce. She waved to her 6-year-old daughter Tessa Grace, dressed in a fluorescent green t-shirt that read “Go Mom.”

“I tried the best I could, I gave it everything I had,” Torres said. “This is really over.

“Obviously, I was hoping to make the team. That was my goal and missing it by less than a tenth of a second is tough, but I don’t think there’s anything I could have changed.

“I’m most proud of the fact that I hung in there this long. I’ve had more downs than ups the past couple of years.”

Hardy, 25, won in 24.50 seconds and Joyce, 26, was second in 24.73. Torres finished in 24.82, missing a trip to London by 9/100ths of a second. It was a faster time than what she swam in 2000 (24.9) to qualify for the Olympics.

The difference for Torres was her start off the blocks. She was 5/100ths slower than her great semifinal start that earned her second in her heat and third seed overall for finals.

Torres was emotional before her race and admittedly was just as nervous as she was at her first U.S. trials in 1984.

“Being 45, getting fourth in Olympic trials against girls almost half my age, it’s OK,” Torres said. “I’m used to winning but that wasn’t the goal here. The goal was to try and make it. I didn’t quite do it but I’m really happy with how I did. I was able to hang in there.

“I was very emotional before my swim,” Torres said. “When I was putting my suit on with my trainer (Anne Tierney), we started crying because I started thinking about Michael. In July of 2010 he had said to me, ‘Let’s go for this.’ I really wanted to finish the story that I started with him. I didn’t make it but I know he would have been proud.”

After getting out of the pool for the last time at trials, she motioned to her daughter and walked into the stands, scooped her up and walked back on the pool deck with her in her arms. It was one final moment she wanted to savor with her daughter, who was only 2-years-old when Torres made her fifth Olympic team in 2008 at age 41.

Hardy said she was thrilled to race against Torres.

“I love racing Dara,” Hardy said. “I wish she could have made it this year, but swimming with her the past couple years has been really an awesome treat for sure, an honor. She is an inspiration.”

After winning three silver medals in Beijing and just missing a gold medal in the 50, Torres underwent radical knee surgery and started to work her way back defying the odds. She and her six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg talked about making another run at it and the two worked together until Lohberg succumbed to aplastic anemia on April 4, 2011.

Torres carried on their goal working with Lohberg’s successor, Coral Springs Swim Club head coach Bruno Darzi, a former Lohberg swimmer.

“We overcame a lot of difficulties, there were so many things we had to fix,” Darzi said. “She put 100 percent into it. She left nothing behind. She did everything I asked her to do and everyone else asked of her.

“She is an amazing person to work with. She put so much time and effort into it. She didn’t swim the way she wanted to and she is a little upset. She did everything she needed to do. By far, she is the best swimmer I have ever worked with.”

Torres retires from the sport with 12 medals, including four relay gold, tied with Jenny Thompson as the most decorated U.S. female swimmer. She also still holds the American record in the 50-meter freestyle in 24.07 she swam in Beijing.

Asked if she would pursue the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, she shook her head emphatically and said “This is it.” She said she is going to enjoy some time with her daughter, have a nice summer and cheer on the U.S. team.

In the only other race held on the eighth and final night of the trials, Andrew Gemmell won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:52.91.

Connor Jaeger, after swimming 1600 meters by accident the night before, qualified second in the 1500 in only his fifth time ever he has swum the event in 14:52.51. They were the fourth and fifth fastest times in the world this year. Both overtook early leader Chad LaTourette who set the pace for the first 1100 meters.


On Monday night’s local news, NBC’s Justin Finch visited Coral Springs Aquatic Complex for a live remote and talked with sprint and age group coach Chris Jackson and swimmers about Dara Torres. The feature also included an old interview with Torres before she left for the trials. Several swim team members including Brandon Goldman and Emma Lincoln posed with Finch for photos poolside…

Michael Phelps decided to drop the 200-meter freestyle to focus on the 400-meter freestyle relay which the Aussies are favored to win. It leaves Phelps with seven events. It also gives Ricky Berens the opportunity to compete in the 200-meter freestyle as an individual. He was already on the team for the 400 and 800 relays. Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman announced the decision on Monday. “No one should be expected to do that twice,” Bowman said referring to Phelps eight gold medal haul in 2008. “Once was more than enough.”Phelps also repeated his plans to retire after London. “I won’t be coming back, put it on record,” Phelps said…

Former Mission Bay coach Steve Bultman of Texas A&M Aggies, with two swimmers on the Olympic team, and Todd Schmitz, Missy Franklin’s coach, were named assistant coaches for the Team USA Olympic women’s coaching staff…

Total attendance for the weeklong trials was 167,048 beating the 2008 total of 160,063…Average age of the U.S. men’s Olympic team is 26 and dominated by post-grads, and women’s team is 21…The U.S. is sending 48 swimmers (25 women, 23 men) to London after sending 43 to Beijing.


“Back to work. Dryland session and a pool workout, here we go. Felt great working out again! Teri wrote me a 4K practice I completed with my husband. I’ve got 25 days to get faster.”—Dana Vollmer

“It’s official. I am a coach on the 2012 USA Olympic staff. Thanks USA Swimming. London here USA comes.”—Todd Schmitz

“Woohoo! Yay for Ricky Berens for securing an individual swim in the 200 free at London 2012. This is so exciting.”—Rebecca Soni

“Farewell Omaha! Thanks for the amazing memories. My family and I will always remember swim trials 2012.”—Janet Evans

“Dream come true! This is incredible, can’t believe all of this is happening to me.”—Ricky Berens

“Aww Dara talked about her coach passing away. We miss you Coach Michael.”—Leonie Davies, former SOFLO swimmer

“Dara still won in my book.”—SOFLO swimmer Keegan Boisson-Yates

“Well, I gave it everything I’ve got and left no stones unturned. Time to cheer on all the amazing USA swimmers heading to London.”—Dara Torres

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 180: Marathon Swimmer Palfrey Gives Up Record Swim Attempt

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 180: Marathon Swimmer Palfrey Gives Up Record Swim Attempt


July 2, 2012

Marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey endured jellyfish stings and shark sightings but the strong currents in the Florida Straits pushing her off course was too much to handle.

The 49-year-old grandmother was forced to give up her quest of completing the 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage early Sunday morning.

Palfrey had made it well past the halfway mark and had been in the water for more than 40 hours before being pulled out by her crew.

Palfrey was hospitalized in Key West with severe stings, dehydration, mouth ulcers and blisters.

“Penny has been 100 percent focused on this swim for a year, so she was quite a bit upset,” said her husband Chris at a news conference in Key West.

“There were of course some tears. She didn’t know what was happening until we told her so it took a few minutes while she took it in.

“She was still strong but 41 hours of continuous swimming, she was physically exhausted. It was really only her mental focus that was keeping her going. She was going really well but she only had a few more hours in her.”

Palfrey had hoped to finish within 40 to 50 hours. American marathoner Diana Nyad, 62, also had two unsuccessful attempts at the crossing. She is training for a third attempt later this month weather permitting.


All members of Australia’s swimming team headed to the London Olympics will receive a share of more than $750,000 to assist in their final preparation for the Games. Athletes will also be eligible to earn financial performance bonuses based on their medal and finals achievements in London. An individual gold medal is worth $35,000 and relay gold medal $60,000 to be shared across both heats and finals swimmers. The goal of the Aussie swim federation is to be the world’s leading swimming nation by 2016…

Aussie Olympic athletes have been banned from using the sedatives Stilnox, Rohypnol and Mogadon. They have been warned their rooms will be raided if they are suspected of using the sedatives. Aussie Olympic Committee president John Coates made the recent announcement and said the AOC is rewriting its official team medical manual to include the sleeping pills. The action stems from swimming great Grant Hackett’s admission in a newspaper article that he developed a dependency on Stilnox after being prescribed the drug by team doctors and lost his shot at a gold medal…

The 4,700 Olympic medals have been completed and are now tucked away in the vault in the Tower of London for safe keeping until the Olympics begin…

Houston is among eight cities that have put in bids to host the 2016 or 2018 World Short Course Swimming Championships. The University of Houston or the 11,000-seat Berry Center, a high school arena in northwest Houston, is a possible site to be converted to a pool venue. Other cities bidding are Eindhoven, Netherlands; Hong Kong; Windsor, Canada; Abu Dhabi; China; Christchurch, New Zealand; and Gold Coast Australia. The meet will be awarded in December.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres Seeded Third, One Race Away From Sixth Olympics

Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres Seeded Third, One Race Away From Sixth Olympics


July 1, 2012

Dara Torres is one race away from making her sixth Olympic team.

The Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer put together back-to-back solid races in the preliminaries and semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle Sunday in front of 12,406 fans at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha.

Torres, at 45 the oldest swimmer in the field, finished second in her semifinal heat in 24.80 seconds and is seeded third going into Monday night’s championship final.

Torres needs to finish first or second to punch her ticket for the London Olympics, a record sixth Olympic appearance.

“I’m in the finals, in the top eight, I’m ecstatic,” Torres said.

Unlike her morning swim, Torres had a great start and turned it on to the finish just behind top-seed Jessica Hardy. In prelims, she made the semifinal cut in 25.00 seconds, finishing fifth on the last morning of trials prelims.

Both times are the fastest Torres has swum since the 2009 World Championships in Rome according to her coach Bruno Darzi.

Her mom and 6-year-old daughter Tessa Grace watched from the stands.

“It felt pretty good,” Torres said after prelims. “I just tried to conserve my energy since it’s a little hard for me to recover. I know it sounds silly. It’s just one race. But as you know when you’re older you just don’t recover as quick. So, it’s hard.

“It’s been a lot of hard work. I really love this sport and that takes a really big goal. I am just trying to have fun with this.”

Torres, who bought a $5,000 starting block (winged track starting block being used at the trials) to work on her starts at her Coral Springs Aquatic Complex home pool, was also rocking her new Australia-based Engine swimsuit. Former swimmer Roque Santos is Director of Engine USA which launched its swimwear in the U.S. during this week’s trials.

Jessica Hardy is seeded first in 24.56 followed by Christine Magnuson in 24.72, Torres, the American record holder, Madison Kennedy in 24.96 and Kara Lynn Joyce in 24.97.

Torres is 30 years older than the youngest swimmer who swam in morning prelims. To put it in perspective, Torres competed in three Olympics before Missy Franklin was born (1984, 1988, 1992).

Kelsi Hall of Miami Swimming was 13th in 25.58. South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver was 37th in 25.92 and Jessie Alcaide 74th in 26.35.

In other races Sunday night:

Women’s 200-meter backstroke: Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin qualified for her fourth individual event and seven overall, a record for a U.S. female swimmer. Franklin got out to a great start and led at 29.99 at the first 50. She maintained the lead at the 100 in 1:01.46 and was a full body-length going into the last wall in 1:33.58. She was less than a second off world record pace and won in 2:06.12, fastest time in the world this year. Franklin potentially could win a record seven medals in London in individual and relay events.

“It felt really good, 200 back is my favorite event,” Franklin said. “It was a perfect way to end the meet. It was awesome. Seven events hasn’t set in yet. It still feels like a dream. I still can’t believe it’s happening.”

The Gators Elizabeth Beisel was second to qualify for her second event in 2:07.58.

“I knew exactly where I was,” Beisel said. “I took a look on my last turn. I knew it would come down to the last 50.”

Naples Elizabeth Pelton, in her last race to make the team, finished third in 2:08.06. Teresa Crippen was sixth in 2:11.79.

Seven teenagers were in the backstroke championship final.

Men’s 100-meter butterfly: In the fourth and last head-to-head showdown, it was no contest as four-time Olympian Michael Phelps won in 51.14 and Ryan Lochte was third in 51.65. After a bad start (last off the blocks), Phelps headed into the wall at 23.62. Phelps was sixth as he turned turn and just punched off the wall and raced home to win by 18/100ths.

“I wasn’t happy after that race, my stroke was off and I got off to a bad 50,” Phelps said. “I said so many times I wasn’t going to swim eight events. I guess we are going to try something. It’s the same exact program I had in 2008. As a whole, I saw I could handle this kind of pressure at this event. It gives us a lot of confidence. I need to be better than this to win the events I want to be able to win.”

Tyler McGill, 24, in his last shot at the team, was second in 51.32, the top two fastest times in the world this year

Said McGill: “I just came here and did what I needed to do. My coach and I said I was going to London this morning and I stayed with the plan.”

Lochte was all smiles after the race. “That race was for fun. I took that 100 fly as a training swim after the triple last night. I went back to training and had practice this morning. Now I get ready for London. When I am fully-rested I will be a lot better in London.”

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Fifteen-year-old Katie Ledecky, after finishing third in the 400, became the youngest swimmer on the U.S. team as she made her first Olympics with the second fastest time in the world this year in 8:19.78. Favorite Kate Ziegler was second in 8:21.87.

“This is unbelievable,” Ledecky said. “A year ago I didn’t even have the 800 cut for this meet. I was really surprised how fast I went out, I wasn’t expecting it. I just went with it.”

Ziegler made her second Olympic team. “This is the first meet in a very long time had a fun time I couldn’t be happier.”

Men’s 50-meter freestyle: In a huge upset in the Splash and Dash, Cullen Jones, considered an underdog coming into trials, topped an impressive field including Nathan Adrian, to win in 21.59. Twelve years after tying for the gold medal, Anthony Ervin, at age 31, successfully completed his comeback with a second place just 1/100th of a second behind Jones. Adrian was a disappointing third in 21.68.

“I couldn’t let 2008 happen again, third in 100 and third in the 50,” Jones said. “I had a ‘couldn’t be beaten mentality’ and went out and did it. My coach stayed on me all year and I had some great training partners.”

Said Ervin, “I am just so happy. I got to give credit to all the people to support me the whole way. It’s been an incredible journey and the journey continues.”

FLORIDA GOLD COAST RESULTS                                                               

Women’s 50-meter freestyle:  37. Tiffany Oliver, SOFLO 25.92; 47. Rhi Jeffrey, Unattached FGC 26.07; 74. Jessie Alcaide, SOFLO 26.35; 96. Harper Bruens, Swim Fort Lauderdale 26.53; 102. Brittany Selts, Miami Swimming 26.58.

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: 54. Joey Pedraza, Davie Nadadores 15:56.40.


U.S. Olympic coach and former University of Michigan coach Jon Urbanchek announced he is retiring after 50 years of swimming at age 75. He was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale in 2008. Urbanchek is currently coaching world-class swimmers in Southern California…Ryan Lochte, who has more than 130 pairs of shoes, showed off his new pair of red, white and blue stars and stripes high tops with wings for heels. He also wore a pair of sparkly green high tops with emerald rhinestones. Speedo, which made the shoes, is selling flip flop versions for $24.99…Connor Jaeger of Michigan will never live this down. The distance swimmer, competing in the 1500-meter freestyle, lost count and swam nearly an extra 50 meters before realizing he swam too long. Unlike USA Swimming, FINA prohibits counters in the water so it was easy to do when Jaeger was in such a zone. He qualified second in a best time 14:59.97…Micah Lawrence of SwimMAC announced she is returning to Auburn in the fall…Gary Hall Sr. and Gary Hall Jr. of The Race Club were medal presenters for the men’s 50-meter freestyle…Clearwater 14-year-old Becca Mann qualified for four finals including Sunday’s 800 where she finished fifth in 8:28.54, a best time and national age group record breaking the 1978 mark.


“And you thought last night was amazing? Wait until tonight.”—NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines

“Walking through the Aquazone and just sat in the brand new BMW M6. I gotta get me one of these!”—Ricky Berens

“Swimming fans are the best.”—Rebecca Soni

“Let’s go Dara, let’s go!!”—Keegan Boisson-Yates, SOFLO future Olympic hopeful

“Excited to be presenting awards for 800 free. All I’m going to be repeating on my walk “don’t trip, don’t trip.”—Brooke Bennett

“Way to close out trials like a true champion. You made everyone proud especially Mama Phelps.”—Debbie Phelps

“And NBC goes to commercial in the middle of the women’s 800 freestyle final at Olympic Trials. Typical.”—Janet Evans


Evening session: Women’s 50 Freestyle Final, Men’s 1500 Freestyle Final


No Prelims

Finals, 8-8:30 p.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 179: Marathon Swimmer Penny Palfrey Nearing Florida Shore

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 179: Marathon Swimmer Penny Palfrey Nearing Florida Shore


June 30, 2012

About 69 miles (111 kilometers) into her Cuba-to-Florida swim, endurance swimmer Penny Palfrey saw hammerhead sharks beneath her, shook it off and continued swimming strong.

The 49-year-old mother of three and grandmother from Australia, taking advantage of near-perfect weather conditions, is more than halfway past her Cuba-to-Florida record swim attempt.

She is right on track to walk ashore on Big Pine Key on Sunday, 55 to 59 hours and 103 miles after her start from Havana, Cuba on Friday

The British-born Australian is attempting to become the first woman to swim the route unassisted and without the aid of a shark cage. Aside from jellyfish stings and extreme heat, Palfrey is swimming strong according to her support team.

At 8:30 p.m. Saturday she was about 30 miles (61.15 kilometers) south, southwest of Key West. Her website is tracking her through GPS and updating reports frequently. She is being accompanied by a support crew on kayaks and catamaran.

Before this, her personal best was 67 miles (108 kilometers) when she swam between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman Islands.

Palfrey, a 20-year veteran of distance swimming, also plans to swim the North Channel in August. She has already completed six of seven channels of the Oceans Seven.

Asked about the first thing she planned to do on arrival in Key West Palfrey laughed and said, “Get out of the water.”

Miami’s Valdivia Wins

Ricardo Valdivia of Miami Beach, a former Spanish national team member, won the 5K race at the inaugural Aaron Vaughn Memorial Frogman swim Saturday morning off the Jensen Beach Public Beach.

Valdivia covered the 5,000-meter loop course in one hour, 35 seconds.

Richard Andrews of Lake Lytal Lightning was second in 1:00:45 and Matthew Getty of Tampa was third in 1:06:16.

In the women’s 5K race, Mikayla Carnley of Alachua won the overall title in 1:07:54 followed by Maria Aponte in 1:07:57 and Emma Madden in 1:10:19.

In the 1,000-meter race, Chris Miller won the men’s race in 16:26 followed by former SOFLO swimmer Jonathan Skarie of Martin County in the same time. John Potts of Boca Raton was third in 17:17.

In the women’s 1K, Sophia Oliva of Plantation won in 16:15, Kacie Segovia in 18:07 and Abby Boburka in 19:17.

The event was held in honor of Martin County resident Aaron Vaughn, who was a Navy SEAL killed in active duty in the Middle East.

Swedish Nationals

Sarah Sjostrom, struggling with an infection this past week, has dropped out of the Swedish Long Course National Championships in Norrkoping, Sweden. She is being treated with antibiotics. The meet ends Sunday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Torres Goes After History On Sunday; Phelps Beats Lochte Again At U.S. Olympic Trials

Torres Goes After History On Sunday; Phelps Beats Lochte Again At U.S. Olympic Trials


June 30, 2012

Dara Torres begins her date with history on Sunday.

The five-time Olympian competes in the preliminaries and semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

At 45, the Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer is going after an unprecedented sixth Olympic team.

Torres told Bob Costas during an afternoon interview on Saturday her chances were 60-40.

“This is something I want to do until my body tells me it absolutely can’t take anymore,” Torres said.

Torres, the American record holder in the event, is in the 16th and final heat of the event and will swim against top-seeded Jessica Hardy (24.63). Torres is seeded eighth in 25.16.

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers Jessie Alcaide and Tiffany Oliver will also compete in the 50-meter freestyle.

There was plenty of excitement during Saturday night’s races in front of a sellout crowd of 14,335.

In the closest 200-meter individual medley finish in trials history, reigning Olympic champion Michael Phelps, on his 27th birthday won the 200-meter individual medley in his third head-to-head showdown against Ryan Lochte. Phelps now has a 2-1 advantage over Lochte at the trials.

Phelps touched the wall first in 1:54.84, fastest time in the world this year and just 9/100ths of a second ahead of Lochte in 1:54.93.

For Phelps, it was a threepeat after winning the event at the 2004 and 2008 trials. It was also Phelps’ 12th career trials victory.

Phelps was strong throughout the race. He led after the butterfly leg in 24.94 and backstroke in 54.19. Phelps was stroke-for-stroke during the breaststroke which was the key for Phelps along with great turns and streamlining, still leading in 1:27.36. On the final freestyle leg, Lochte led for a short time before Phelps overtook him and held off Lochte for the win.

“A win is a win, it feels good to be back on that side, but I’m sure that’s not going to be the end of us going back and forth,” Phelps said. “I’m just happy to have a good race like that, kind of fold it all together.

“I’m sure there’s going to be some more races like that over the next few weeks,” Phelps said. “Ryan swam three great races tonight. That’s a tough triple.”

Phelps also competed in the semifinals of the 100-meter butterfly posting the fastest time of the night.

Lochte was swimming the 200 IM just 28 minutes after winning the 200-meter backstroke in 1:54.54. Tyler Clary was second in 1:54.88 and qualified for his second Olympic event. Bolles’ Ryan Murphy was fourth in 1:57.39.

Both Phelps and Lochte have now qualified for four individual events for London.

Lochte’s night program was insane, the 200 backstroke final at 8:15, 200 IM final at 8:43 and 100 butterfly semifinals at 9:13.

Before his butterfly warmdown, Lochte asked to sit down. After his fly warmdown, Lochte got out of the pool slowly and said “I don’t feel so hot.

“Tonight was probably the most pain I’ve ever endured in swimming competition,” said Lochte, who may scratch from the 100 butterfly final.

“The best thing about swimming is racing and stepping up against the world’s best,” Lochte said. “That’s what I love doing. The last lap is brutal. There’s always something left, you just have to find that extra gear.”

After reporters wished Phelps happy birthday on his 27th birthday, he said “After you get past 25, there’s no point in counting anymore.”

In the women’s glamour event, the 100-meter freestyle, Jessica Hardy bounced back from her early week 100-meter breaststroke disappointment by winning the freestyle in a best time 53.96.

“I am shocked right now,” Hardy said. “This is amazing. It’s my best time ever. I can’t believe I just did this. I think my early week race made me tougher. That was all my heart in that race right there.”

Missy Franklin, just 20 minutes after competing in the 200-meter backstroke semifinals, was second in the freestyle in 54.15 to qualify in her third individual event for London.

In her last shot at making the team, sentimental favorite Natalie Coughlin made her third Olympic team as a relay alternate by finishing sixth in 54.44. She went out fast in the first 50 meters.

“I feel great,” Coughlin said. “This isn’t exactly how I pictured this meet to turn out for me, but I couldn’t be happier. I hope to represent the U.S. as well as I can. I will embrace the role of being a leader and help in any way I can.”

The men’s 50-meter prelims and semifinals provided some great surprises.

Anthon Ervin, 31, in the midst of a comeback, posted the fastest American 50 time of the year in 21.83 during morning prelims and came back in the semifinals to better it by swimming a best time 21.74. Four swimmers (Ervin, Nathan Adrian, Josh Schneider and Jimmy Feigen) dipped under 22 seconds. Cullen Jones qualified fifth in 22.08.

“It’s the splash and dash,” Ervin said. “I was hoping my body would be ready for that start. It was better than I thought it would be.”

Swimming legend Janet Evans failed to advance into the 800-meter freestyle finals, finishing in 9:01.59, off her 8:46.89 seed time, ending her comeback at age 40. Evans was 53rd out of 65 swimmers and was eighth in her heat.

She formally ended her comeback by signing the papers removing her from the USADA testing pool.

Evans still holds the American record in the event that she set at age 17.

“I wish I had swam faster but I think I will be totally grateful,” said Evans, whose husband, two kids and parents were in the stands watching. “Grateful for the fact that I was able to do it and my body held up and people who supported me. I’ll be happy I did it instead of sitting on my couch wondering what if?”

Evans stroke was not at its best. By the 500-meter mark, she was five seconds back.

“Journeys mean more when you’re our age,” Evans said. “It became about more than making the Olympic team. It became about doing something for myself and inspiring others to have the courage to go do something they are scared of doing or is a little bit outside their comfort zone.”

Another sentimental favorite who saw her Olympic hopes dashed was 30-year-old Amanda Beard, who finished fifth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:26.42, ending her hopes of making a third Olympic team.

In other races Saturday night:

Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: American record holder Rebecca Soni, 25, showed why she owns this event, winning in 2:21.13. Texas A&M Aggies’ Breeja Larson took it out fast to lead after the first turn in 32.37 but it was all Soni after that. At the 100 she led in 1:08.38, picked up her tempo and started to pull away winning by nearly a full body-length. Micah Lawrence of SwimMAC was a surprise second in 2:23.03. Larson faded to sixth in 2:27.52.”

“I’m always a little nervous to push it too soon,” Soni said. “I felt great the first 100, nice and long. I know I’ve trained the hardest. Hopefully I can bring home a gold, that would be amazing.”

Women’s 200-meter backstroke semifinal: Missy Franklin (2:07.91) and Elizabeth Beisel (2:08.41) finished 1-2 in their heat to lead the field. Naples’ Liz Pelton qualified third and Teresa Crippen made her second final qualifying seventh.


Men’s 100-meter freestyle: 53. Glenn Wagner, Unattached-FGC 54.61.

Women’s 200-meter backstroke: 72. Lauren Driscoll, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:17.48; 140. Danielle Smith, WVU/FGC 2:20.22; 156. Tasija Karosas, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:21.52; 159. Clara Smiddy, Unattached, FGC 2:21.62.


Lia Neal, 17, of Asphalt Green becomes only the second African-American female behind Nike’s Maritza Correia to make the Olympic team. She was fourth in the 100-meter freestyle in a best time 54.35…The average age of the women finalists in the 800-meters is under 18…As of Saturday, swimmers from the state of Florida have advanced to the finals or semifinals 27 times…Bolles’ Ryan Murphy declared a false start in the 100-meter butterfly…Jason Lezak scratched from the 50-meter preliminaries….Katie Hoff, 23, looking better than she has all week suffering from an intestinal bug, finished 13th in the 800, ending her attempt at a third Olympic team. Four years ago she won five events at trials…As Phelps left the pool deck, about 20 basket kids sang Happy Birthday to him. The sellout crowd also sang after the medal ceremony…Debbie Phelps ordered a special birthday cake from a local bakery for her son’s after-meet family dinner party. The cake featured a collage of Phelps’ swimming career.


“I am not disappointed with my swim. It was an honor. I am thankful for every moment. I will be back. I’m still having fun. It’s a pretty sweet job.”—Amanda Beard

“Ryan Lochte’s triple tonight was one of the most impressive things I have seen at a swim meet before. I have trouble doing one 200 in a night.”—Ricky Berens

“I’m going to London. Swam the race of my life tonight, all heart and soul.”—Jessica Hardy


Morning session:  Women’s 50 Free H, Men’s 1500 Free H

Evening session: Women’s 200-meter Backstroke F, Men’s 100-meter Butterfly F, Women’s 800 Free F, Men’s 50 Free F, Women’s 50 F Semifinals


Prelims, 6-7 p.m. ET, NBCSN

Finals, 8-9 p.m. ET, NBC

Sharon Robb can be reached at