South Florida Aquatic Club Enjoys Best Year Yet, Future Looks Even Brighter

South Florida Aquatic Club Enjoys Best Year Yet, Future Looks Even Brighter

By Sharon Robb

December 31, 2012

What a year South Florida Aquatic Club had in 2012.

From three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson being ranked No. 1 in the world, breaking national records and winning Jamaica’s first-ever medals at the World Short Course Championships; to high school and age group swimmers dropping times and qualifying for various meets from the state high school meet to Junior Olympics and earning college scholarships, it was quite a year.

While swimmers, parents, coaches and volunteers get a chance to sit back and give each other a pat on the back for a job well-done as they ring in the New Year, let’s reflect on some of the highlights.

1.Alia Atkinson enjoyed her best international year ever, finishing fourth at the 2012 London Olympics in her first-ever Olympic final appearance and became the first Jamaican swimmer in history to win two silver medals and final in all four of her events at the World Short Course Championships in Turkey. Jamaica’s one-swimmer team finished ranked 20th as a country. She also held a No. 1 ranking in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.87 going into worlds. At the Canada Cup she won five events, high point and FINA highest scorer award and swam fastest time in the world (29.87). She is a unanimous selection for 2012 SOFLO Swimmer of the Year.

2. South Florida Aquatic Club, established in 2010, becomes an independent Florida Gold Coast team amicably breaking away from Coral Springs Swim Club it had merged with in April 2010.

3.For the third year in a row, SOFLO is named a USA Swimming Bronze Medal club. Ranked 24th overall among 200 national clubs, SOFLO is the top Florida Gold Coast team in the Bronze Medal category, ranked ahead of more established programs including Pine Crest Swimming. The award is based on the being a well-rounded club with strong age group and senior swimming programs.

4.SOFLO girls win the girls team title at 22nd Speedo Winter Championships as an independent club topping a field of 50 teams and 1,355 swimmers. The boys team was second and SOFLO took second among combined team scorers with 92 swimmers, second largest team in the meet.

5.Longtime SOFLO swimmer Tiffany Oliver, a junior at Florida State, is ranked second in the nation in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.30 before the holiday break. Also named Most Valuable Swimmer in April for her sophomore season that included her NCAA Championships debut.

5. SOFLO’s National and Florida Gold Coast age group record holder Julien Pinon makes his high school state meet debut as a freshman at American Heritage Plantation. One of the youngest swimmers at the Class 1A meet, Pinon took a bronze medal in the 200-yard freestyle relay and swam a best time in the 200-yard freestyle finals in 1:41.31. He also helped Heritage win its’ first-ever region boys title over Pine Crest and St. Andrew’s.

6. SOFLO’s Maria Lopez of Hialeah Gardens, Marcella and Melissa Marinheiro and Jacob Walters of West Broward and Ivan Parada of Pembroke Pines Charter, go best times in their specialty events in finals and consolation finals at state high school meets.

7. SOFLO wins USA Swimming Virtual Club Championship, recognizing and highlighting clubs that develop athletes and achieve success at multiple levels emphasizing the team element in club swimming. SOFLO was ranked No. 1 among Florida Gold Coast teams and ranked 45th in the nation, the only FGC club team ranked in the Top 50.

8. SOFLO wins combined team title at the Southern Zone Senior Long Course Championships. It was the first major team title SOFLO won as a stand-along USA Swimming club since the SOFLO/Comets and Coral Springs Swim Club parted ways on July 31st. SOFLO won by more than 1,000 points topping a field of 22 teams. In that meet, SOFLO’s Marc Rojas swam two junior national cut times and lifetime best in the 1500.

9. SOFLO’s Julien Pinon of the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team takes a silver in the 100-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best time of 54.44 at the Speedo Champion Series Southern Zone Age Group Championships in Texas where he was seeded 23rd in the event. He also swam a best time in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:58.81. Teammate Maria Lopez swam a best time of 1:04.47 in the 100-meter butterfly.

10. For the third year in a row, SOFLO swept the combined, boys and girls team titles at the FGC 14-and-Under Junior Olympic Long Course Championships as SOFLO’s Rafael Rodriguez and Kelley Heron won high point awards.

11.SOFLO has eight swimmers selected for the FGC Open Water All-Star Team and age group coach Megan Garland selected for the all-star coaching staff.

12. SOFLO has a record 28 swimmers selected to the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team for its duel against Florida Swimming, including 26 swimmers from its Academic Village Pool site.

13. SOFLO wins the combined and boys team titles and finished second for the girls team title at the FGC Short Course Junior Olympics.

14. SOFLO’s Melissa Cooper, after coming back from a career-threatening injury, earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors after posting back-to-back best times and finishing second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.92) in her ACC meet debut for Florida State where she walked-on. It was the first time in four years since her sophomore year in high school she swam a best time.

15. For the second year in a row, SOFLO has an age group coach named ASCA Florida Age Group Coach of the Year. A year after Rose Lockie was selected, Luis Soler was named for the honor.

In only its third year of existence, SOFLO shined at every level of swimming and 2013 will be the year it shines even brighter.

Happy New Year!!!

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Aquatic Club Earns Third Bronze Medal Club Excellence Award

South Florida Aquatic Club Earns Third Bronze Medal Club Excellence Award


December 17, 2012

For the third consecutive year, South Florida Aquatic Club was awarded Bronze Medal status in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence Award program for 2013.

SOFLO, less than three years old, is ranked 24th overall among 100 national clubs and is the top South Florida team in the Bronze Medal category.

The focus of USA Swimming’s voluntary program is to identify and reward up to 200 sanctioned clubs that have attained a high level of athlete performances as well as organized success.

It promotes the development of strong, well-rounded age group and senior swimming programs that produce elite 18-and-under athletes and provides recognition and resources to motivate and assist member clubs to strive for the highest ideals of athlete performance.

SOFLO totaled 5,907 points and was ranked ahead of veteran program Pine Crest Swimming (4,232 points).

Other Florida teams ranked in the Bronze Medal category are Tampa Bay Community Aquatic Club, T2 Aquatics of Naples, Brandon Sports and Aquatic Club and Swim Florida.

Silver medal status was awarded to St. Andrew’s Swimming, Swim Fort Lauderdale, Metro Aquatic Club of Miami and AK Sharks.

For the second consecutive year, SwimMAC Carolina earned the team championship. SwimMAC totaled 49,432 points. North Baltimore Aquatic Club is second with 39,214 and Mission Viejo Nadadores is third with 33,456.

Jacksonville Bolles is the top-ranked gold medal Florida team ranked fifth with 30,732 points. Sarasota YMCA is ranked 13th with 26,820 and Clearwater is 20th with 19,619.

Seven clubs were awarded gold medal status for the first time including Clearwater.

Of the record 346 teams that submitted applications for this year’s program, 88 clubs met the criteria for gold medal eligibility and an additional 107 clubs were eligible for the silver level.

Open Water Swims Coming Up

One of South Florida’s best open water events is the January 5th International Swimming Hall of Fame Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Swim off Fort Lauderdale Beach

The one mile swim annually attracts more than 500 age group, college, masters and open swimmers going off in wave starts.

The race begins 9:30 a.m. in front of Terramar Street and finishes on the beach in front of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Race day check-in is 7:30-9 a.m. at Alexander Park across the street from ISHOF and then swimmers are trolleyed to the start.

Age groups for boys and girls are 10-and-under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 and 19-24. There are men and women college divisions for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. The masters men and women age groups range from 25-29 to 80-84.

Online registration is at or at the ISHOF Gift Shop. The race application can also be found at All finishers receive a commemorative finish medal. Entry fee is $20 for college and age group and $30 for masters. There is an additional $10 late fee.

Other open water events:

January 6, Delray Beach Ocean Mile Swim: The Delray Beach Ocean Mile Swim benefits the Delray Beach Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Competition Team and Junior Lifeguard Competition. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Anchor Park and the race starts at 9:30 a.m. It’s a point-to-point race off Delray Beach with first, second and third place awards for all age groups. There are men and women divisions in all age groups. In addition to awards, all participants will receive a long sleeve t-shirts. Parking is free at Anchor Park until 11:30 a.m. Entry fee is $25. For information call 561-243-7352.

April 6, Swim Miami 2013 Presented by Nike: This is one of the most established open water swims in South Florida held off the Miami Yacht Club in Watson Island. The course consists of a clean water and beautiful backdrop featuring the downtown Miami skyline. Swimmers also get a chance to rub elbows with Olympic medalists and elite swimmers even though the race is open to all ability levels and ages. There are several distances offered. There is an 800-meter course. The mile course is one lap around the semi-rectangular course; the 5K is three laps and the 10K is six laps. The event begins 8 a.m. Registration closing day is Thursday, April 4th. All participants receive a finisher race patch and medals will be awarded to the top three in every age group. The top three overall finishers will receive a plaque. The race is safe and well-organized. There are discounted entries for those who register early. For information contact The Sports Promoters at 305-273-1129 or go to http:///


Arena, one of several top brands in competitive swimming, has signed an exclusive deal with USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body. Team USA will wear Arena brand gear at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Starting January 1, Arena will replace Speedo, which had nearly a 30-year exclusive contract with USA Swimming, as the U.S. national team’s new exclusive apparel brand sponsor.

The contract includes an eight-year partnership for both the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2020 Olympic Games.

Arena will also sponsor USA Swimming’s Grand Prix Circuit meets, all highly visible and high-caliber; play a role in the USA Swimming Foundation and Make A Splash programs, and have worldwide merchandising rights for the USA Swimming brand.

Nike, sponsor for South Florida Aquatic Club, will still sponsor the U.S. Olympic Committee’s apparel which means U.S. Olympic swimmers will wear Nike gear at the out of the water events at the Olympics.

Also athletes like Ryan Lochte, who has a private and lucrative sponsorship with Speedo, will still be allowed to wear his Speedo gear but will be required to wear Arena’s national team uniform during award ceremonies, press conferences and on deck.

Swimming in the U.S. is stronger than ever and rapidly growing in popularity and participation mainly because of USA Swimming programs such as SOFLO and Comets.

The strength of the sport in the U.S. is growing with a projected growth in membership after London 2012 of ten percent or more, record attendance and TV ratings for the U.S. Olympic Trials, long-term and Internet partnerships, and all topped off by the highest medal production of any swimming country in the Olympic Games.

This is the first time in USA Swimming history that USA Swimming will partner with multiple swimwear brands rather than one brand.


Ryan Lochte made ESPN’s Top 10 plays for his world records in this past week’s World Short Course Championships in Turkey…Two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Nathan Adrian was asked to lead a toy-buying shopping spree for underprivileged kids at Target in the San Francisco bay area.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson Completes Best International Meet Ever At Short Course Worlds

SOFLO’s Atkinson Completes Best International Meet Ever At Short Course Worlds


December 16, 2012

Alia Atkinson, competing in her fourth and final event on Sunday, left a lasting impression at the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian and longtime South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer made her fourth appearance in a championship final ending her whirlwind five days of world-class swimming.

The 24-year-old swimmer left Istanbul, Turkey with two silver medals, a first in Jamaican swimming history, and confidence to raise the bar even higher for future national and international meets including the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, where she will be a legitimate medal contender.

In Sunday’s 200-meter breaststroke final, Atkinson finished eighth and broke another national record in 2:21.64. She first broke the record in the qualifying heat in 2:21.69, bettering her previous best of 2:26.37.

In the race, Atkinson went out fast in Lane 2 and was among early leaders after the first 50 meters, but eventually faded after a long week of swimming.

Denmark’s Rikke Moeller Pedersen won in a meet record 2:16.08. Eighteen-year-old American Laura Sogar took silver in 2:16.93.

It was the first time Atkinson has qualified for four championship finals in a major international meet and first time she has captured two silver medals at world championships, also a first for Jamaica.

“Jamaica’s first medal at worlds meet and it was two of them,” Atkinson tweeted later in the evening. “Not a bad start but back to the drawing board for more fine tuning.”

Floridian Ryan Lochte was named Swimmer of the meet for the fourth consecutive world championships and made history winning the most medals with an unprecedented eight including six gold. He won three more medals on the fifth and final day.

Lochte has now won a total of 30 medals at short course worlds dating back to his first appearance in Indianapolis in 2004.

After breaking the world record in the 100-meter individual medley the night before, Lochte won a gold medal in the final in 51.21. Trinidad and Tobago’s George Bovell took the bronze in 51.66.

He won another gold anchoring the 4×100-meter medley relay that won in 3:21.03 with teammates Matt Grevers, Kevin Cordes and Tom Shields.

Lochte took a silver medal in the 200-meter backstroke behind Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki who won in 1:48.48 just .02 seconds ahead of Lochte.

“My overall performance this week was decent,” Lochte told reporters after the meet. “I had a couple of world records and it was an honor. I’m glad I was able to step up for the team. I always feel I can do better.

“After the Olympics I took a two-and-a-half month break, this was the longest break ever since I was 8 years old. My biggest goal is Rio 2016. I push my body to limits where other athletes are afraid to go.”

The free-spirited Lochte showed off another impressive pair of shoes on the pool deck during the meet, bright yellow and green teddy bear and flower shoes.

Lochte tweeted after the meet, “Thank you to all the fans that came out to short course worlds in Istanbul, Turkey and cheered me on. Couldn’t have done it without you guys. Much love.

“Not a bad way to end 2012 year with eight world championship medals. But there is a lot more for improvement. To be continued. That was a good meet for Team USA, the best team in the world.”

The U.S. team won five medals on Sunday to finished with 27 overall including a country-high 11 gold medals. China finished with 11 medals overall including three golds and Hungary and Denmark tied with 10 medals.

Bolles Ryan Murphy brought home two medals in his first world short course championships appearance. He took a bronze in the 200-meter backstroke in 1:48.86.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, coming off her FINA World Cup Series title, was named Female Swimmer of the Meet to end her most successful season in swimming. She won five medals during the meet. She was first in the 200 butterfly and 100 individual medley, second in the 200 IM and 200 freestyle and third in the 400 IM.

In other races on Sunday:

Russian Vladimir Morozov won the 100-meter freestyle in 45.65, off his meet record of 45.52 set earlier in the meet.

China’s Jing Zhao won the 50-meter backstroke in a meet record 25.95.

Italian Ilaria Bianchi won the 100-meter butterfly in 56.13.

Norway’s Aleksander Rognerud Hetland won the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.30 and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Felipe Lima was sixth in 26.68.

Belarus’ Allaksandra Herasimenia won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.64.

Japan’s Kazuya Kaneda won the 200-meter butterfly in a meet record 1:51.01.

Denmark’s Mada Glaesner won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:30.01.

U.S. Olympian Allison Schmitt won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:53.59.


Arizona State’s Caroline Kuczynski, who has worked out with SOFLO, was dominating in her team’s victory over Utah on Sunday. ASU won 154-121

Kuczynski, 21, was a member of the Sun Devils’ winning 200-yard medley relay that won in 1:43.07 with teammates Taylor Wohrley, Alex Popa and Shannon Landgrebe.

Kuczynski won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.55 and was third in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.36. Kuczynski also finished the 400 IM in 4:27.28.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins Second Silver; Breaks Meet, National Records At World Championships

SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins Second Silver; Breaks Meet, National Records At World Championships


December 15, 2012

Alia Atkinson continues to establish herself as a force to be reckoned with on the world-class level.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian and South Florida Aquatic Club veteran won her second silver medal Saturday at the 11th FINA World
Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Atkinson, 24, came ever so close to knocking off Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania in the 100-meter breaststroke. The showdown between the two has all the makings of a great rivalry.

Meilutyte, 15, won her second gold medal in a meet record 1:03.52. The previous meet record was 1:03.98 by U.S. Olympian Rebecca Soni in 2010.

Atkinson finished second in another national record and lifetime best of 1:03.80, also dipping under the meet record. She won another $3,000 for her runner-up finish. Rikke Pedersen of Denmark took the bronze in 1:04.05 after a tremendous back 50 that brought her back from seventh.

Meilutyte led from start to finish turning in 30.04, under world record pace, and returning in 33.48 to sweep the breaststroke sprint events. Atkinson lost a fraction to Meilutyte on each 50 splitting 30.20 and 33.60.

“So close,” tweeted her longtime SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson.

Meilutyte is now fourth on the all-time list for all suits. Atkinson is No. 6 in a textile suit and has dropped from a best time of 1:06.05 at the Dubai Championships just two years ago. Atkinson is also one of only six swimmers to crack 1:04.

“I came here to win a gold medal and didn’t quite accomplish that,” Atkinson told reporters. “I am swimming my best at this time and happy to bring home two silver medals. Ruta was amazing particularly at her age. I was swimming semifinals when I was 15. She is exceptional.”

Atkinson is the first swimmer from Jamaica to win two silver medals at the world championships and is on her way to establishing herself as the all-time greatest swimmer in her native country which inexplicably continues not to support her swimming career financially.

Atkinson competes in the 200-meter breaststroke, her last event on Sunday the final day of competition.

In other Saturday races:

Ryan Lochte broke his second world record in two days in the semifinals of the 100-meter individual medley in 50.71, breaking the old 2009 mark of 50.76.

“A new world record in the semifinals,” Lochte said. “I’ll take that but I know there is more left in the tank.”

Lochte has now won $30,000 in world record bonus money to total $44,500 for the meet.

Lochte went out in 22.84 and came home in 27.87. He hopes to break it again in Sunday’s final on the last day of the meet.

Aussie Robert Hurley won the 50-meter backstroke in 23.04. American Matt Grevers was second in 23.17 and Brazilian Guilherme Guido was third in 23.19.

Brazil’s Nicholas Santos won the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 22.22. Santos touched so hard when he finished he may have broken a bone in his hand. He may have it x-rayed. South African Chad Le Clos was second in 22.26.

China’s Ye Shiwen won the 200-meter individual medley knocking off favorite Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, 2:04.64-2:04.72. Shiwen won it on the last leg with a 28.49 split. Both flirted with the world record of 2:04.60.

The U.S. women came back to win the 400-meter freestyle relay with Megan Romano, Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt in 3:31.01. It was the Americans first win in the event since 2004.

Open Water Swimming

American Ashley Twichell won the Queen of the Sea Grid Race Saturday in Brazil. Twichell overtook early leader Brazilian Ana Marcela Cunha after the 600-meter mark at the second to last turn-buoy of the 800-meter course off Copacabana Beach. Twichell earned the pole position for Sunday’s Queen of the Sea race. “I felt really good,” Twichell said. “I knew Ana Marcela would take it out fast. I had lots of speed at the end which is not always the case with me.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson Just Misses Second Medal, Qualifies For Breaststroke Final; Lochte Breaks WR

SOFLO’s Atkinson Just Misses Second Medal, Qualifies For Breaststroke Final; Lochte Breaks WR


December 14, 2012

Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club just missed winning her second medal on the third day of the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships Friday in Istanbul, Turkey.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian finished fourth in the 100-meter individual medley in a career-best and Jamaican national record 58.85.

Atkinson was the top seed going in the championship final at the Sinan Erdem Arena with a semifinal qualifying time of 58.94, lowering her seed time and previous best of 59.96.

Atkinson was eighth (27.62) after the first 50 meters of the butterfly and backstroke and came on in the final 50 of the breaststroke and freestyle.

“Fourth, seems like this happened before,” Atkinson tweeted referring to her fourth place finish at the 2012 London Olympics in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, the fourth seed, overcame the breaststrokers to win the 100 IM in a meet record 58.49. Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania was second in 58.79 and China’s Zhao Jing was third in 58.80. All eight finalists were under a minute.

Hosszu had scratched from the 400-meter freestyle to be fresh for the 100 IM.

Also on Friday, Atkinson competed in the heat and semifinal of the 100-meter breaststroke, her strongest event. After swimming 1:05.26 in her heat, she finished in 1:04.99 in the semifinal to earn the third seed for Saturday night’s final. Her best time is 1:04.69.

Atkinson is seeded behind Denmark’s Rikke Moeller Pedersen and Lithuanian teenage sensation Ruta Meilutyte.

The British announcers at the meet continued to praise Atkinson. “She is a very determined Jamaican swimmer,” said Stuart Storey who is providing both TV and radio commentary.”I have been very impressed by Alia Atkinson.”

Another called Atkinson “one of the championships’ revelations.”

Atkinson has already won Jamaica’s first medal ever at the world championships, a silver in the 50-meter breaststroke and $3,000 in prize money.

On another night of exciting racing on Friday:

Ryan Lochte, the new face of American men’s swimming leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, broke the world record in the 200-meter individual medley and won his fourth gold medal and fifth medal overall in three days.

It was the first world record of the championships.

Lochte broke his own world record in 1:49.63 and became the first swimmer to go under the 1:50 mark. His previous record was 1:50.08 set in Dubai.

“Any time you break the world record it’s amazing” Lochte said. “I swam my best time, of course. I wanted to do something that no one else did here. I didn’t know I was going that fast anyway.”

It is the fifth consecutive world championship meet that Lochte has broken the 200 IM world record since Manchester in 2008. Lochte was under world record pace for the first 100. His splits were 23.71, 27.03, 31.74 and 27.15.

After Lochte won the 200 IM, the song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” played.

After the medal ceremony, Lochte gave his gold medal to a young fan, 9-year-old Arda Cakmak sitting in the stands. Cakmak wore the medal around his neck and showed off to friends and photographers. It was the second time this week Lochte gave his medal to a fan.

“To see that smile on that little face means everything to me,” Lochte said. “If I took the medal, it would end up in a sock drawer. If I give it to a fan, they are going to treasure it. It will make their day.”

Lochte later tweeted, “Can’t really sleep, the adrenaline in me is going off from getting a world record in the 200 IM.”

U.S. teammate Conor Dwyer was fifth in 1:53.99.

Lochte earned $20,000 in prize money for the IM performance including $15,000 in world record bonus money and $5,000 for first. Nearly $250,000 out of a possible $400,000 has been awarded to swimmers so far.

In addition to the world and meet record, four other meet records were broken. Brazil’s Nicholas Santos broke the 50-meter butterfly record twice in the heats in 22.40 and semifinals in 22.23. Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta broke the 200-meter breaststroke record in 2:01.35 and Hosszu’s 100 IM record in 58.49.

Russian Vladimir Morozov knocked off an impressive field to win the 50-meter freestyle in 20.55. French Olympic champion Florent Manaudou was second in 20.88. U.S. Olympian Anthony Ervin was third in 20.99.

“I was with some fast company on that podium,” Ervin tweeted. “I’m thankful to all of you who have been with me on this journey.”

Germany’s Britta Steffen won the 100-meter freestyle in 52.31 and Paul Biedermann won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:39.15.

Spain’s Melanie Costa Schmid won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:01.08.

China’s Ying Lu won the 50-meter butterfly in 25.14.

Daryne Zevina, 18, of the Ukraine won the women’s 200-meter backstroke in 2:02.24.

The U.S. women’s 4×100-meter medley relay of Smoliga, Hardy, Donahue and Romano finished third in 3:51.43. Denmark won the gold medal in 3:49.87, its first win in any short course relay in either gender. Australia took second in 3:50.88.

The U.S. team leads the medal count with 17 (7 gold, 4 silver, 6 bronze). China is second with eight medals (1 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) and Hungary is third with seven (three gold, one silver and three bronze) tied.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Silver At Short Course World Championships

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Silver At Short Course World Championships


December 13, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson just missed her first gold medal at a major international meet.

The three-time Olympian for Jamaica was stroke-for-stroke with Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte who just out-touched Atkinson for the gold medal in a meet and European record 29.44 Thursday at the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

Atkinson, 24, won her first world championship medal, taking the silver just .23 seconds behind in 29.67. Aussie Sarah Katsoulis was third in 29.94. U.S. Olympian Jessica Hardy, 20 minutes after swimming the 100-meter freestyle semifinal, was fifth in 30.01.

It was the third time Meilutyte, a 15-year-old Lithuanian, broke her own meet record. Meilutyte, now the second-fastest in the event, was in Lane 4 and Atkinson, wearing a bright pink racing suit that stood out on the blocks and in the water, was in Lane 5.

Atkinson also just missed breaking her own national record (29.62) for the third time in the event. Aside from her turnover, Atkinson swam a near-perfect race from start to finish.

“Happy with my first worlds medal,” Atkinson tweeted. “On to the next one!”

For the second day in a row, British announcers were impressed with Atkinson. “She’s going to be one to watch for the future that’s for sure,” said Alison Sheppard.

Atkinson competes in her second and third events on Friday in the 100-meter breaststroke heats and semifinals and 100-meter individual medley. She is in Lane 4 in the fifth of seven heats. She is also the top seed for the 100-meter individual medley final in another national record 58.94.

The United States continued its domination at worlds winning seven medals on Day 2 of competition.

Unheralded Olivia Smoliga who missed making the U.S. Olympic team, but won her first world title in the 100-meter backstroke in 56.64, winning by .43 seconds swimming Lane 1.

U.S. Olympian Matt Grevers won the 100-meter backstroke knocking off Russian Stanislav Donets in 48.89, just 2/100ths of a second ahead of Donets.

Japan’s Daiyo Seto, 18, won the 400-meter individual medley and became the first Asian to swim under 4 minutes in the event in 3:59.15. Seto is only the fifth swimmer in history to go under 4. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh was second in 4:00.50.

The U.S. men’s 4×200-meter relay of Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, Michael Klueh and Matt McLean won in 6:51.40 to finish the night on a winning note. Lochte swam lead-off leg in a 1:41.17 split, just missing the American record.

In the men’s 100-meter butterfly, Olympic champion Chad LeClos of South Africa and American Thomas Shields finished one-two. LeCLos broke the meet record in 48.82. Ryan Lochte was third in 49.59.

After two years of silver medals and a disappointing showing at the Olympics, Fabio Scozzoli of Italy won a world title in the 100-meter breaststroke by 22 seconds.

New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle won her first gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle in a best time 8:08.82. Boyle turned it on in the final 400 meters. Boyle is only the second New Zealand swimmer to win a gold medal at worlds. Denmark’s Lotte Friis was second ahead of American Chloe Sutton in 8:15.53.

Florida Gulf Coast College redshirt freshman Lani Cabrera of Barbados broke a national record in the 800-yard freestyle in 8:57.56 got 12th place. She broke her own record of 9:00.09. Cabrera, a Florida Gold Coast swimmer for the Davie Nadadores when not competing collegiately, holds five national records. She is one of 23 Davie swimmers competing at worlds for 12 countries.

Olympian Ryan Lochte is becoming a good will ambassador for the U.S. team in Turkey.

Lochte threw one of his gold medals to a small child in the stands on Wednesday and on Thursday met and posed for pictures with 11-year-old Paralympic swimmer Kaan Golakoglu, a Turkish swimmer who calls Lochte his biggest role model.

The five-day competition, held every two years, ends on Sunday. The U.S. leads the medal count with 11 overall followed by Hungary with four.


Olympian Brendan Hansen became a new father for the first time when Charlotte Kay Hansen was born on Dec. 12. “Look out I now have dad strength,” Hansen tweeted…Michigan’s Mike Bottom will coach the men’s team and Tennessee’s Matt Kredich will coach the women’s team at the next summer’s World University Games in Kazan, Russia, USA Swimming announced on Thursday. The Games are July 6-17 with the swimming competition on July 10-16. Other coaches selected are Minnesota’s Kelly Kremer, North Carolina’s Rich DeSelm, Arizona’s Rick DeMont, Kevin Blum of Coronado Navy Swim Association, Carol Capitani of Texas and Paul Stafford of Terrapins Swim Team…Olympic sprinter and free spirit Anthony Ervin is featured on the January cover of Swimming World Magazine.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Colon, Heron Lead SOFLO On Day One Of FGC Sprint Championships

Colon, Heron Lead SOFLO On Day One Of FGC Sprint Championships


December 12, 2012

After finishing his best high school season, Jordan Colon of South Florida Aquatic Club took up where he left off in club swimming on the opening day of the Broward County Sprint Championships.

Colon, 15, turned in four lifetime-best times in four events Saturday at Academic Village Pool.

In the boys’ 15-and-over 100-yard butterfly, Colon and teammate Roger Capote had impressive time drops. Colon, 15, won in a lifetime-best time of 57.91, dropping from 1:02.67. Capote finished second in a best time 59.85, lowering his previous best of 1:02.84.

Colon had another huge drop in time in the 50-yard backstroke which he tied teammate Fernando Quintero for the win in a best time 28.64. Colon’s previous best was 31.19.

Colon posted his third best time in the 50-yard freestyle, placing fourth in 24.47, bettering his previous best of 25.08.

Colon led a four-swimmer SOFLO sweep in the 100-yard individual medley. Colon won the event in a best time 58.05, dropping from 58.55. Three other teammates, Ivan Parada, Jacob Walters and Roger Capote rounded out the top four all with lifetime best times.

Top seed Rafael Rodriguez, 10, continued his domination in his age group. He won the 50-yard backstroke in a best time 31.56 and Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics cut, lowering his previous best of 31.97. Rodriguez also won the 50-yard freestyle in 27.08 and 100-yard individual medley in 1:07.15.

Other SOFLO boys individual age group winners were:

Kevin Porto in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:04.85; 50-yard backstroke in 30.72; and 100-yard individual medley in 1:06.80.

CJ Kopecki in the 100-yard butterfly in 59.00. He was also second in the 100-yard breaststroke in a best time in 1:11.29.

Gustavo Valery in the 50-yard backstroke in 27.71 and 100-yard individual medley in a best time 1:01.59.

Nicolas Rossi in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:33.95. Baldwin Suen in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:10.52. Roger Capote in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:06.97. Ryan Capote in the 50-yard freestyle in a best time 23.80. Ivan Parada in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.35.

The girls were led by Kelley Heron.  Heron won the 50-yard freestyle in a best time 26.03 and 100-yard individual medley in a best time 1:03.22 and was second in the 50-yard backstroke in a best time 30.09.

Other SOFLO girls individual age group winners were:

Kyana Castro won the 100-yard butterfly in a best time 1:16.41. Natasha Testa won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:05.30. Amber Hunter won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:01.84 and 100-yard individual medley in 1:05.73. Kylie Herman won the 50-yard backstroke in a best time 31.88. Annita Huang won the 50-yard backstroke in a best time 33.18. Jessica Rodriguez won the 50-yard backstroke in a best time 29.91 and 100-yard breaststroke in 1:10.65 and finished second in two events. Elise Larin won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:17.99. Rachel Ling won the 50-yard freestyle in a best time 25.63.



100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Kyana Castro, SOFLO 1:16.41 best time; SOFLO: 3. Isabella DiSalvo 1:20.82, best time, 5. Michelle Marinheiro 1:29.15, 6. Sara Quintero 1:32.98, best time; 11-12, 1. Agustins Nardoni, Hialeah; SOFLO: 2. Jennifer Rodriguez 1:13.10, best time, 6. Anna Montgomery 1:18.01, best time, 11. Kellie Wilcox 1:25.11; 13-14, 1. Natasha Testa, SOFLO 1:05.30; SOFLO: 4. Lilli Calero 1:09.91, best time, 5. Alani Carrasco 1:12.38, best time, 8. Zariya Harris 1:15.46, 11. Cristina Villegas 1:17.84, 13. Melissa Gonzalez 1:20.83; 15-and-over, 1. Amber Hunter, SOFLO 1:01.84; SOFLO: 2. Rachel Ling 1:02.96, best time, 3. Kylie Herman 1:03.74, 4. Whitney Johnson 1:04.12, 5. Andrea Melendez 1:04.60, best time, 7. Carly Swanson 1:10.65, 8. Astrid Rigau 1:12.02, 9. Jessie Cordero 1:14.22, 10. Clarisa Melendez 1:19.57, best time.

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Claudia Acosta, Hialeah 34.16; SOFLO: 2. Isabella DeiSalvo 35.52, best time, 3. Kyana Castro 36.06, best time, 5. Trinity Hoyos 39.35, best time, 7. Michelle Marinheiro 39.66, 8. Katrina Del Vecchio 40.82, best time, 9. Sara Quintero 41.17, 15. Morgan Cavanagh 42.59, best time, 17. Gretchen Montgomery 43.89, best time, 18. Samantha Cortez 44.68, best time, 22. Lauren Siegman 45.29, 23. Adrianna Rigau 46.08, best time, 24. Valentina Carrion 46.09, 26. Sophia Bedoya 46.47, best time, 28. Sara Ramirez 48.29, 29. Isabella Lizarazo 48.54, best time, 30. Kelly Cunningham 48.67, 31. Kylie McIntosh 48.77, best time, 32. Analucia Raimont 49.36, best time, 36. Vivian Jiang 50.85, best time; COMETS: 14. Erika Pelaez 42.55, best time, 16. Jena Legaspi 42.84, best time, 35. Caroline Glock 50.80; 11-12, 1. Annita Huang, SOFLO 33.18, best time; SOFLO: 4. Anna Montgomery 34.24, best time, 5. Katherine DeBarros 34.34, best time, 7. Anabel Vazquez 35.04, best time, 10. Kellie Wilcox 35.43, best time, 11. Mikaela De Gracia 36.09, best time, 13. Elise Larin 36.72, best time, 15. Camila Alvarez 38.81, best time, 16. Alexandra Crespo 38.92, 17. Paola Huerta 39.49, best time, 18. Catalina Lizarazo 39.90, best time, 29. Amy-Nicole Toro 46.23, best time, 31. Stephany Ramirez 58.15; 13-14, 1. Jessica Rodriguez, SOFLO 29.91, best time; SOFLO: 2. Kelley Heron 30.09, best time, 3. Star Fassler 31.35, 4. Stephanie Mlujeak 32.38, best time, 6. Natasta Testa 32.46, 9. Sofia Arriaga 34.77, best time, 10. Abolade Oyetunji 35.09, best time, 11. Alani Carrasco 35.13, 12. Cristina Villegas 35.29, 13. Lilli Calero 36.36, 14. Melissa Gonzalez 36.65, best time, 16. Valentine Diaz 36.81, best time; 15-and-over, 1. Kylie Herman, SOFLO 31.88, best time; SOFLO: 2. Andrea Melendez 32.47, 3. Whitney Johnson 33.16, best time, 5. Carly Swanson 33.71, 6. Astrid Rigau 33.96, 7. Hannah Doyle 34.05, best time, 8. Jessie Cordero 34.38 and Leysha Caraballo 34.38, 10. Clarisa Melendez 34.93.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Melanie Jimenez, Hialeah 1:30.83; SOFLO: 6. Katrina Del Vecchio 1:36.78, best time, 8. Valentina Carrion 1:40.95, best time, 9. Trinity Hoyos 1:42.84, 10. Gretchen Montgomery 1:43.81, best time, 13. Daniela Barreto 1:46.45, 14. Vivian Jiang 1:49.56, best time, 15. Morgan Cavanagh 1:49.87, best time, 16. Samantha Cortez 1:53.21, best time, 19. Sabrina Ramirez 1:59.73, 20. Kayla Cunningham 2:01.95, best time, 21. Isabella Lizarazo 2:03.91, best time, 22. Analucia Raimont 2:05.71, best time, 24. Kylie McIntosh 2:09.67, best time, 25. Lauren Siegman 2:11.80; COMETS: 17. Jena Legaspi 1:54.15, 18. Erika Pelaez 1:59.05, best time; 11-12, 1. Elise Larin, SOFLO 1:17.99; SOFLO: 3. Jennifer Rodriguez 1:19.40, best time, 5. Katherine DeBarros 1:21.97, 7. Anabel Vazquez 1:23.93, best time, 8. Alexandra Crespo 1:24.89, best time, 10. Annita Huang 1:25.63, 11. Mikaela DeGracia 1:27.54, 14. Camila Alvarez 1:29.51, best time, 16. Anna Montgomery 1:30.55, 17. Kellie Wilcox 1:30.80, best time, 18. Catalina Lizarazo 1:31.86, best time, 28. Amy-Nicole Toro 1:50.16, best time, 29. Paola Huerta 1:50.81, 30. Stephany Ramirez 2:02.32; 13-14, 1. Jessica Rodriguez, SOFLO 1:10.65; SOFLO: 2. Kelley Heron 1:11.12, 3. Star Fasler 1:16.43, 5. Natasha Testa 1:21.63, 6. Lilli Calero 1:22.51, 11. Abolade Oyetunji 1:27.13, best time, 12. Stephanie Mlujeak 1:28.20, best time, 14. Valentina Diaz 1:30.37, best time, 15. Zariya Harris 1:31.78; 15-and-over, 1. Nicole Hunnewell, Delvilrays 1:14.36; SOFLO: 3. Kylie Herman 1:18.73, best time, 4. Amber Hunter 1:19.63, 5. Rachel Ling 1:19.79, best time, 6. Andrea Melendez 1:21.69, 7. Leysha Caraballo 1:22.43, 8. Whitney Johnson 1:23.08, best time, 9. Astrid Rigau 1:24.90, 10. Carly Swanson 1:26.10, 11. Hannah Doyle 1:29.06, best time, 12. Clarisa Melendez 1:32.01.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Claudia Acosta, Hialeah 29.37; SOFLO: 2. Kyana Castro 30.05, best time, 4. Isabella DiSalvo 30.49, best time, 5. Michelle Marinheiro 32.19, best time, 12. Trinity Hoyos 33.60, best time, 13. Sara Quintero 34.23, best time, 14. Katrina DelVecchio 35.29, best time, 22. Morgan Cavanagh 38.28, 23. Daniela Barreto 38.30, best time, 24. Sophia Bedoya 38.38, 26. Lauren Siegman 38.98, 27. Valentina Carrion 39.00, best time, 32. Gretchen Montgomery 40.28, best time, 34. Isabella Lizarazo 41.27, 36. Astrid Rigau 41.51, best time, 37. Kayla Cunningham 41.85, best time, 38. Samantha Cortez 42.17, best time, 39. Analucia Raimont 42.56, best time, 41. Kylie McIntosh 45.17, best time, 44. Vivian Jiang 46.57, best time, 47. Sabrina Ramirez 49.29; COMETS: 28. Erika Pelaez 39.39, best time, 31. Jena Legaspi 39.77, 40. Caroline Glock 42.94; 11-12, 1. Eva Sher, Miami Country Day 28.64; SOFLO: 2. Annita Huang 28.96, 6. Katherine DeBarros 29.72, best time, 7. Anabel Vazquez 29.73, best time, 9. Elise Larin 30.01, 10. Jennifer Rodriguez 30.02, 17. Camila Alvarez 32.25, best time, 18. Mikaela DeGracia 32.29, best time, 19. Alexandra Crespo 32.32, best time, 26. Catalina Lizarazo 33.18, 29. Paola Huerta 34.79, 37. Stephany Ramirez 42.30, 38. Amy-Nicole Toro 42.70, best time; 13-14, 1. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 26.03, best time; SOFLO: 2. Jessica Rodriguez 26.92, 3. Natasha Testa 27.05, 6. Abolade Oyetunji 28.09, best time, 7. Star Fassler 28.27, 10. Cristina Villegas 28.36, 12. Lilli Calero 28.91, 13. Stephanie Mlujeak 29.05, 15. Alani Carrasco 29.44, 16. Sofia Arriaga 29.71, best time, 17. Valentina Diaz 29.97, best time, 19. Melissa Gonzalez 30.24, best time, 21. Zariya Harris 30.55; 15-and-over, 1. Rachel Ling, SOFLO 25.63, best time; SOFLO: 2. Amber Hunter 26.21, 3. Kylie Herman 26.55, 4. Andrea Melendez 27.32, 6. Carly Swanson 27.53, 7. Leysha Caraballo 27.68, 9. Astrid Rigau 28.38, 10. Jessie Cordero 29.45, 11. Hannah Doyle 29.63, 12. Clarisa Melendez 30.05.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Claudia Acosta, Hialeah; SOFLO: 2. Isabella DiSalvo 1:16.98, best time, 3. Kyana Castro 1:17.39, best time, 6. Michelle Marinheiro 1:23.97, 9. Katrina Del Vecchio 1:26.71, 11. Trinity Hoyos 1:27.29, best time, 12. Sara Quintero 1:27.80, best time, 18. Gretchen Montgomery 1:35.96, 21. Morgan Cavanagh 1:37.93, best time, 25. Kayla Cunningham 1:43.75, best time, 26. Daniela Barreto 1:46.10, 27. Isabella Lizarazo 1:49.15, 28. Lauren Siegman 1:49.50, 29. Analucia Raimont 1:49.59, 31. Astrid Rigau 1:50.37, best time, 32. Vivian Jiang 1:52.30, best time, 35. Kylie McIntosh 1:56.08; COMETS: 19. Jena Legaspi 1:36.05, best time, 22. Erika Pelaez 1:38.77, best time, 30. Caroline Glock 1:49.75; 11-12, 1. Elizabeth Mendez, Hialeah 1:11.32; SOFLO: 2. Jennifer Rodriguez 1:12.02, best time, 3. Annita Huang 1:13.16, best time, 5. Elise Larin 1:13.34, 6. Katherine DeBarros 1:13.86, best time, 7. Anabel Vazquez 1:14.02, best time, 10. Anna Montgomery 1:15.56, 14. Camila Alvarez 1:17.51, best time, 16. Alexandra Crespo 1:17.99, 18. Kellie Wilcox 1:20.64, 20. Mikaela De gracia 1:22.66, 23. Catalina Lizarazo 1:24.76, best time, 30. Paola Huerta 1:31.31, 34. Amy-Nicole Toro 1:44.82; 13-14, 1. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 1:03.22, best time; SOFLO: 2. Jessica Rodriguez 1:04.11, best time, 3. Star Fassler 1:06.91, 8. Stephanie Mlujeak 1:12.32, best time, 10. Alani Carrasco 1:13.21, 14. Cristina Villegas 1:15.16, 15. Abolade Oyetunji 1:16.16, 16. Zackary Harris 1:17.20, 17. Melissa Gonzalez 1:17.57, 19. Valentina Diaz 1:18.11, best time; 15-and-over, 1. Amber Hunter, SOFLO 1:05.73; SOFLO: 2. Rachel Ling 1:05.74, 4. Whitney Johnson 1:09.44, best time, 5. Leysha Caraballo 1:12.07, best time, 6. Jessie Cordero 1:15.68, best time, 7. Hannah Doyle 1:16.68.

200-yard freestyle relay:

12-and-under, 1. Hialeah 1:56.31, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:56.52, 3. SOFLO “B” 2:02.90, 6. SOFLO “C” 2:07.76, 7. SOFLO “D” 2:12.86, 8. SOFLO “E” 2:32.20; 13-and-over, 1. SOFLO “A” 1:45.59, 2. SOFLO “B” 1:49.79, 3. SOFLO “E” 1:57.90, 5. SOFLO “C” 1:59.92.


100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Michael Arias, SOFLO 1:20.18; SOFLO: 2. Derek Tom 1:22.02, best time, 3. Joseph Lee 1:22.96, 4. Nicolas Rossi 1:29.03, best time; 11-12, 1. Kevin Porto, SOFLO 1:04.85; SOFLO: 3. Sam Walters 1:11.11, 4. Leonardo Mateus 1:11.97, best time, 5. Bryant Segui 1:12.09; 13-14, 1. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 59.00; SOFLO: 3. Ryan Capote 1:00.76, 6. Juan Lucas 1:01.55, best time, 11. Tyler Gibson 1:10.13, best time, 12. Baldwin Suen 1:10.63, 13. Federico Molina 1:11.70, 14. Mathew Delvalle 1:12.86, best time, 16. Miguel Hernandez 1:14.53, best time, 17. Juan Medina 1:15.89, 18. Juan Osorio 1:17.25, 19. Matthew Menocal 1:18.31; 15-and-over, 1. Jordan Colon, SOFLO 57.91, best time; SOFLO: 2. Roger Capote 59.85, best time, 4. Teddy Sandoval 1:02.19, best time, 7. Edward Kon 1:02.60, best time, 8. Bowie Suen 1:03.85, 9. Fernando Quintero 1:04.88, best time, 10. Daniel Reyna 1:04.93, best time, 11. Juan Saldana 1:05.32.

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 31.56, best time; SOFLO: 2. Joseph Lee 35.99, 3. Derek Tom 37.57, 4. Michael Arias 37.81, 8. Akira Huang 39.75, best time, 12. Carlo Roche 41.93, best time, 18. Tanner Gibson 43.42, best time, 24. Marcos Vazquez 45.33, best time; COMETS: 14. Zackary Harris 42.77, best time, 21. Alejandro Mateus 45.08, best time, 30. Mark Andre De Gracia 47.84, best time, 32. Aldo Zepeda 48.31, best time; 11-12, 1. Kevin Porto, SOFLO 30.72; SOFLO: 3. Leonardo Mateus 33.88, best time, 6. Sam Walters 34.85, best time, 15. Gabriel Saavedra 39.48, best time, 17. Shane O’Brien 39.95, 18. Ethan Hew 40.03, best time, 21. Sebastian Simko 40.73, best time; 13-14, 1. Gustavo Valery, SOFLO 27.71; SOFLO: 2. Ryan Capote 28.81, 5. Cristian Rossi 30.80, 6. Simon Ortiz 31.10, best time, 7. Eduardo Graziano 31.59, 10. CJ Kopecki 31.69, 12. Rodrigo Rodriguez 32.39, best time, 13. Baldwin Suen 32.44, best time, 14. Tyler Gibson 32.85, best time, 15. Miguel Hernandez 33.04, 16. Matthew Menocal 33.51, 17. Juan Osorio 33.62, 21. Mathew Delvalle 35.10, best time, 26. Federico Molina 36.52, 28. Adrian Marrero 37.30; 15-and-over, 1. Jordan Colon, SOFLO 28.64 and Fernando Quintero, SOFLO 28.64; SOFLO: 4. Edward Kon 29.49, best time, 5. Jacob Walters 29.83, 7. Juan Saldana 30.74, best time, 8. Teddy Sandoval 31.56, best time, 9. Daniel Reyna 33.47.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Nicolas Rossi, SOFLO 1:33.95; SOFLO: 4. Akira Huang 1:42.50, best time, 5. Carlo Roche 1:43.45, best time, 13. Marcos Vazquez 1:56.06, best time; COMETS: 6. Zackary Harris 1:46.85, best time, 10. Mark Andre De Gracia 1:52.63, best time, 16. Aldo Zepeda 2:02.98, best time; 11-12, 1. Lester Machado, Hialeah 1:19.81, best time; SOFLO: 4. Kevin Porto 1:22.13, 9. Bryant Segui 1:27.58, 11. Gabriel Saavedra 1:36.57, best time, 16. Shane O’Brien 1:44.38, 18. Sebastian Simko 1:50.53, best time; 13-14, 1. Baldwin Suen, SOFLO 1:10.52; SOFLO: 2. CJ Kopecki 1:11.29, best time, 3. Gustavo Valery 1:13.65, 4. Tyler Gibson 1:13.66, 6. Ryan Capote 1:15.54, best time, 7. Cristian Rossi 1:15.75, 8. Juan Lucas 1:16.09, best time, 11. Juan Medina 1:18.47, best time, 13. Rodrigo Rodriguez 1:19.87, best time, 15. Simon Ortiz 1:21.06, best time, 18. Eduardo Graziano 1:24.80, 22. Adrian Marrero 1:28.16; 15-and-over, 1. Roger Capote, SOFLO 1:06.97; SOFLO: 2. Bowie Suen 1:08.38, 5. Edward Kon 1:09.00, best time, 8. Jacob Walters 1:12.25, best time, 11. Fernando Quintero 1:14.81, best time, 12. Teddy Sandoval 1:14.93, best time, 13. Juan Saldana 1:15.85, best time.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 27.08; SOFLO: 2. Michael Arias 30.33, 3. Nicolas Rossi 30.44, 4. Derek Tom 31.72, best time, 7. Joseph Lee 32.01, best time, 11. Carlo Roche 33.59, best time, 16. Akira Huang 35.92, 22, Marcos Vazquez 36.82, best time, 25. Tanner Gibson 37.55, best time; COMETS: 12. Zackary Harris 34.04, best time, 39. Aldo Zepeda 41.02, best time, 40. Alejandro Mateus 41.55, best time, 41. Mark Andre De Gracia 41.71, best time; 11-12, 1. Keegan Rose, Flying Fish 25.88; SOFLO: 3. Sam Walters 28.04, best time, 8. Leonardo Mateus 29.39, 13. Bryant Segui 29.78, 29. Sebastian Simko 34.32, best time, 32. Gabriel Saavedra 34.83, 34. Ethan Hew 36.00, best time, 36. Shane O’Brien 36.17; 13-14, 1. Ryan Capote, SOFLO 23.80, best time; SOFLO: 2. Gustavo Valery 24.08, 5. Cristian Rossi 25.20, 7. CJ Kopecki 25.41, 8. Eduardo Graziano 25.71, 10. Baldwin Suen 26.14, 13. Miguel Hernandez 26.57, best time, 15. Tyler Gibson 26.83, best time, 16. Simon Ortiz 26.87, best time, 17. Rodrigo Rodriguez 26.97, best time, 18. Matthew Menocal 27.20, best time, 22. Juan Osorio 27.81, best time, 25. Federico Molina 28.27, 28. Mathew Delvalle 28.77, best time, 30. Juan Medina 28.87, best time, 31. Adrian Marrero 28.96; 15-and-over, 1. Ivan Parada, SOFLO 23.35; SOFLO: 3. Jacob Walters 24.45, 4. Jordan Colon 24.47, best time, 5. Roger Capote 24.58, best time, 8. Fernando Quintero 25.18, 10. Teddy Sandoval 25.50, best time, 12. Juan Saldana 25.82, 13. Edward Kon 25.96, best time, 15. Bowie Suen 26.39, 19. Daniel Reyna 28.13, best time.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 1:07.15; SOFLO: 2. Michael Arias 1:18.11, 3. Nicolas Rossi 1:18.56, 4. Derek Tom 1:19.20, best time, 5. Joseph Lee 1:19.76, best time, 10. Carlo Roche 1:29.26, best time, 16. Akira Huang 1:33.01, 21. Tanner Gibson 1:39.16, 25. Marcos Vazquez 1:42.03, best time; COMETS: 13. Zackary Harris 1:30.93, 27. Aldo Zepeda 1:44.69, 29. Alejandro Mateus 1:49.35; 11-12, 1. Kevin Porto, SOFLO 1:06.80; SOFLO: 4. Sam Walters 1:12.35, best time, 8. Leonardo Mateus 1:14.53, 14. Bryant Segui 1:19.19, 20. Gabriel Saavedra 1:25.69, best time, 26. Sebastian Simko 1:33.48; 13-14, 1. Gustavo Valery, SOFLO 1:01.59, best time; SOFLO: 2. Juan Lucas 1:03.80, 9. Cristian Rossi 1:08.00, 11. Simon Ortiz 1:08.42, 12. Eduardo Graziano 1:09.58, 14. Matthew Menocal 1:10.66, 16. Miguel Hernandez 1:12.40, best time, 17. Juan Osorio 1:12.47, best time, 18. Juan Medina 1:13.34, best time, 19. Mathew Delvalle 1:13.35, best time, 22. Federico Molina 1:16.35, 28. Adrian Marrero 1:24.18; 15-and-over, 1. Jordan Colon, SOFLO 58.05; SOFLO: 2. Ivan Parada 59.21, best time, 3. Jacob Walters 1:00.73, 4. Roger Capote 1:02.05, 7. Bowie Suen, 1:04.44, 13. Daniel Reyna 1:10.60, best time.

200-yard freestyle relay:

12-and-under, 1. SOFLO “A” 1:50.47, 3. SOFLO “B” 2:05.96, 7. SOFLO “C” 2:19.70; 13-and-over, 1. SOFLO “C” 1:37.65, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:39.25, 3. SOFLO “B” 1:39.30, 5. SOFLO “D” 1:46.36, 6. SOFLO “E” 1”48.01.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Sitting Pretty At FINA World Short Course Championships

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Sitting Pretty At FINA World Short Course Championships


December 12, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson is seeded second going into Thursday’s championship final of the 50-meter breaststroke at the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships.

With a cloud of smoke from Wednesday’s opening ceremonies still hovering over the pool, the three-time Olympian for Jamaica was the second fastest qualifier in the event.

In front of a crowd of 2,000 at the Sinan Erdem Dome Arena, Atkinson won her semifinal heat in another career-best time and Jamaican national record 29.62, 1/10th of a second faster than her morning swim of 29.72. Atkinson has already lowered her previous best of 29.87 twice in the meet.

“I can definitely do this, let’s go,” Atkinson tweeted after her race. Atkinson is now fifth on the all-time fastest list.

Despite a poor turn, Atkinson is sitting pretty for a gold medal and possible world record she is seeking.

“I am very impressed by Alia Atkinson in the qualification rounds,” said British announcer Stuart Storey. “She was sixth in this event in Dubai and obviously she has improved quite a bit since then. To follow through like this after the Olympics is a testament to her training in the last few months.”

Top seed is Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania who broke her own meet record in 29.51 to earn the fastest seed. Olympian Jessica Hardy is seeded third in 29.82, her first time under 30 seconds in a textile suit. Hardy holds the world record in 28.80.

In other races:

Men’s 200-meter freestyle final: Olympian Ryan Lochte was the meet’s first gold medalist winning in 1:41.92 despite world record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany chasing him down and settling for second in 1:42.07. Gainesville training partner Conor Dwyer took the bronze in 1:43.78.  Lochte, the top seed, is one of only two swimmers to win the title twice, the other was Gustavo Borges of Brazil in 1995 and 2002. Lochte went out in 24.00 and was 50.12 at the 100. The top swimmer of the year, Yannick Agnel of France is not competing in Istanbul.

Women’s 200-meter butterfly: Hungarian Katina Hosszu, coming off her impressive World Cup Series crown, won in a meet record and national record time of 2:02.20, second fastest time in the history of the event. China’s Liuyang Jiao, who took an extra stroke, was second in 2:02.28. Brit Jemma Lowe was third in a national record 2:03.19.

Women’s 400-meter individual medley: In an upset, Scottish swimmer Hannah Miley of Great Britain just out-touched China’s Ye Shiwen to win the gold medal in a meet and European record 4:23.14. Shiwen was second in 4:23.33 and Hosszu third in 4:25.95.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle relay: The U.S. finished ahead of Italy to win the gold medal in 3:06.40. Anthony Ervin led off in 47.28 followed by Lochte (45.64), Jimmy Feigen (47.25) and Matt Grevers (46.23) to win in 3:06.40. Italy was second in 3:07.07. The Aussies took bronze.

Women’s 800-meter freestyle relay: The U.S. women came from behind to win in 7:39.25 with Megan Romano, Chelsea Chenault, Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt. Russia led the U.S. after the first leg and finished second in 7:42.77. Defending champion China overtook Denmark for third in 7:43.26.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke: U.S. Olympian Matt Grevers and World Cup backstroke champion Stanislav Donets of Russia are headed for a great finals showdown. Donets’ underwaters were amazing. Donets touched the wall so high on the final turn that it allowed him to push off deeper so he could kick further. He turned at 24.0 to go under 49.98. Grevers is seeded second at 50.24.

American Tom Shields qualified in 50.14 in the 100-meter butterfly semifinals to earn the top seed. Chad Le Clos of South Africa was second in 50.16. Lochte qualified third in 50.59.

With South African Cameron van der Burgh out of the field because of money problems with his federation, Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli earned the top seed in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal in 57.66.

In the women’s 100-meter backstroke semifinal, 16-year-old Mie Nielsen of Denmark was top qualifier in a national record 57.15.

In prelims of the 100-meter breaststroke, Trinidad and Tobago’s Abraham McLeod, ranked 22nd in the world, finished in a national  record of 59.35 in his heat. He is his country’s first swimmer to swim under 1 minute in the event.

Trinidad swim star George Bovell is questioning the logic of Turkey hosting the championships in a tent and basketball arena in temporary pools when there is a world-class facility available in the city. “It’s winter and very cold inside especially when wet, why?” Bovell tweeted.

In Florida Gold Coast results, Aruba’s Jemal Legrand finished 40th in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:50.93, a lifetime best and national record. Aruba teammate Jordy Groters was 56th in the 100-meter breaststroke in a personal best 1:02.98 and national record. Brazil Olympian Felipe Lima was 11th in 58.58 in the 100-meter breaststroke prelims and fifth in 58.05 in semifinals.

The meet is being televised live at EuroSport at and on tape-delay each night at 8 p.m. on Universal Sports and also being live audio streamed by the outstanding FINA commentary team of Stuart Storey and Alison Sheppard.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Ready To Shine At Short Course World Championships

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Ready To Shine At Short Course World Championships


December 11, 2012

Alia Atkinson is ready to take on the world.

Atkinson, a three-time Olympian for Jamaica who trains with South Florida Aquatic Club and longtime head coach Chris Anderson, will challenge some of the best swimmers in the world at the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships that begins Wednesday in Istanbul, Turkey and ends on Sunday.

Atkinson, who turned 24 on Tuesday and received birthday wishes from friends and family from around the world, is enjoying her finest season in swimming coming off impressive swims at the 2012 London Olympics and recent Canada Cup.

It is her third short course world championship appearance since age 15.

“She has plenty of international experience and knows the competition,” Anderson said. “London opened her eyes and reinforced her confidence. She is confident.

“I feel she can break a world record, she has set herself up nicely for it,” Anderson said. “That is where we set the bar. She is No. 1 in the world. She knows she can take it to another level.”

Atkinson will challenge for medals in several events and will go after a world record in the 50-meter breaststroke, which she is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. It will be her first event on Wednesday.

Atkinson has the morning heat and semifinal of the 50 breaststroke on Wednesday at the 16,000-seat Sinan Erdem Dome Arena. The national record holder is seeded first in 29.87. Other top seeds are Rebecca Ejdervik of Sweden (29.95) and Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania (29.96).

The U.S. team will be led by Olympian Jessica Hardy and Ellyn Baumgardner in the breaststroke events.

Atkinson also has the 100-meter individual medley (59.96) on Thursday, 100-meter breaststroke (1:04.69) on Friday and 200-meter breaststroke (2:27.37) on Sunday.

Her last world short course championships was in 2010 in Dubai where she finaled in both the 50- and 200-meter breaststroke, finishing sixth in the 50 in 30.22 and eighth in the 200 in 2:25.49.

Anderson said Atkinson is well-suited to the short course, 25-meter pool.

“She has emerged into a new, athletic fit aquabody,” Anderson said. “She looks great and she has been training and competing great. We have put in the work. It’s up to her now.”

A world record and medals on an international level may also help convince the Jamaica Olympic Association to fund their top Olympic swimmer for her 2016 Rio campaign over the next four years.

Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson made it a point to promise support after Atkinson broke another national record and just missed an Olympic medal in London in the 100-meter breaststroke.

However, funding still remains a major issue and no promises have been kept. Jamaica continues to pour money into other sports including track and equestrian but has failed to support swimming like most of the world’s other countries have. Swimmers with half of Atkinson’s talent are funded year-round in the U.S. and other countries.

Atkinson will be joined by other Florida Gold Coast swimmers Jemal Legrand and Jordy Groters, both of Aruba, and Olympian Felipe Lima of Brazil. They train with the Davie Nadadores.

The meet has attracted a record 958 athletes from 162 countries competing in 40 events. Sixteen Olympic medalists from the 2012 London Olympics will compete including nine Olympic champions.

U.S. Olympian Claire Donahue, who trains at SOFLO frequently, will compete in the 50 and 100 butterfly. Clearwater’s Becca Mann is entered in the 400 individual medley and 800 freestyle.

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte will lead the men’s team. He is entered in six events (200 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 50 and 100 butterfly, and 100 and 200 individual medley).

Bolles’ Ryan Murphy is entered in the 200 backstroke.

While the U.S. team is deep in talent and looking to the future with several young stars, several countries are not sending most of their top talent including Brazil and France. Great Britain and Australia are sending small rosters of swimmers. Russia is expected to be the top country to challenge the U.S.

Universal Sports will air the meet on tape delay at 8 p.m. each day and again at 1:30 a.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Melissa Marinheiro Swims Best Time On Final Day Of Junior Nationals

SOFLO’s Melissa Marinheiro Swims Best Time On Final Day Of Junior Nationals


December 8, 2012

Melissa Marinheiro added another career-best time to her swimming resume on the final day of the U.S. Winter Short Course Junior Nationals in Knoxville, Tenn.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, competing in her third and final event of junior nationals, swam the 1,650-yard freestyle in 17:05.30 on Saturday.

Leah Stevens, 16, of Lakeside won the event in 16:07.77.

After completing her second junior national appearance, the Brazilian swimmer is more determined than ever to return to training hard at Academic Village Pool.

“I wanted to go under 17, but it is a good drop,” Marinheiro said. “I have to train more for the mile and do more distance freestyle. I don’t like the mile but I am beginning to like it. I know if I train for it I will get better in my other races.

“I was really happy at the meet,” she said. “I watched the other races like the 500 freestyle to learn what the fast swimmers are doing and to see how they swam their races and see what I didn’t do. It was definitely a learning experience.”

Marinheiro will take a break from competing until February after a long and busy winter that included age group meets in Brazil and state high school meet in Orlando, where she dropped time in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles and got another junior cut time.

“I am a little tired but this has been awesome travelling all over for swim meets and competing,” Marinheiro said.

“I was a little nervous at first but I got better and excited that I was here,” Marinheiro said. “My first junior national was to get experience and see what it was like. At this one I was hoping to swim best times. The next one will be the best one yet.

“Junior nationals isn’t like any meet I go to in Florida. Here everyone is good and they all have goals and act differently. It’s great environment to be in. People are serious but they also have fun.”

In other finals:

Caeleb Dressel of Bolles Swimming broke Joey Hudepohl’s 15-16 national age group record in the 100-yard freestyle. The 16-year-old won in 43.29 bettering the age group record of 43.83 set in 1990.

In the boys 100-yard freestyle race, Florida swimmers finished first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth including Davie’s Dylan Carter, fourth in 43.84.

Bolles teammate Joseph Schooling won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:45.00 despite swimming in Lane 1. He bettered his previous best time of 1:45.08.

Bolles boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team broke the meet record in 2:55.89 with Josh Booth (44.9), Dressel (42.94), Santo Condorelli (43.54) and Schooling (44.47). SwimMac won the girls relay in 3:21.65.

Jonathan Roberts of North Texas won the 1,650-yard freestyle in 15:12.01.

SwimMAC’s Kathleen Baker out-touched Raleigh’s Hannah Moore, 1:54.31-1:54.46 to win the 200-yard backstroke with a best time.

Hennessey Stuart won the men’s 200-yard backstroke in 1:43.64.

North Mecklenberg’s Emily Allen, 15, dipped under 50 seconds for the first time to win the 100-yard freestyle in 48.73.

Crow Canyon’s Heidi Poppe won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:13.14.

Orinda’s Steven Stumph won the 200-yard breaststroke in a meet record 1:55.88.

Megan Kingsley of Mount Pleasant won the 200-yard butterfly in a meet record 1:55.50.

Florida Gold Coast Results

Girls 1,650-yard freestyle: 26. Casey Francis, Pine Crest 16:57.23, 34. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 17:05.30.

Girls 200-yard backstroke: 6. Clara Smiddy, AK Sharks 1:57.97, 36. Tasija Karosas, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:02.07, 128. Rachael Bradford-Feldman, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:08.66.

Girls 100-yard freestyle: 15. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s Swimming 50.89, 84. Caroline Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 52.23, 135. Darby Goodwin, St. Andrew’s Swimming 54.22.

Girls 200-yard breaststroke: 50. Rachael Bradford-Feldman, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:21.69.

Girls 200-yard butterfly: 7. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 1:59.40, 33. Casey Francis, Pine Crest 2:03.80, 46. Tasija Karosas, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:05.71, 68. Tyla Martin, Pine Crest 2:08.89.

Girls 4×100-yard free relay: 6. St. Andrew’s 3:24.27 (Tasija Karosas, Megan Moroney, Rachael Bradford-Feldman, Brenna Ruth), 32. Pine Crest 3:30.99 (Marta Ciesla, Caroline Nava, Casey Francis, Brittany Hammond).

Boys 1,650-yard freestyle: 22. Kent Haeffner, Pine Crest 15:42.03.

Boys 200-yard backstroke: 39. Quinn Casssidy, St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:50.14, 90. Dylan Carter, Davie 1:53.16.

Boys 100-yard freestyle: 4. Dylan Carter, Davie 43.84, 6. Julian Ballestas, Metro Aquatics 44.80, 12. Jason McCormick, FLA 45.03.

Boys 200-yard breaststroke: 43. Rafa Van Leeuwaarde, Davie 2:05.48.

Boys 200-yard butterfly: 21. Julian Ballestas, Metro Aquatics 1:50.79.

Boys 4×100-yard free relay: 11. St. Andrew’s 3:06.32 (Quinn Cassidy, Gage Kohner, Luke Hayhoe, Shawn Warner).

Sharon Robb can be reached at