WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
January 11, 2012
Alia Atkinson, after enjoying her best international year in swimming in 2012, was honored Friday night with the People’s Choice Award during the RJR Sports Foundation Ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
Atkinson, 24, also earned runner-up honors again for Sportswoman of the Year.
The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer and three-time Olympian continues to put Jamaica on the map in swimming.
At the 2012 London Summer Olympics Atkinson won a swim-off to qualify for her first Olympic final in the 100-meter breaststroke where she just missed a medal finishing fourth.
Five months later she won two silver medals and made all four of her finals at the World Short Course Championships in Turkey making history as the first Jamaican swimmer to medal at worlds.
Atkinson is one of the sport’s world-class athletes who is not fully-funded by her country’s swim federation or athletic administration despite outcry from several of her followers and media.
Olympic track gold medalists Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce won the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards, as expected in the track-loving nation. It was the fourth time Bolt won the honor.
Fraser-Pryce was recently named the first ambassador of the University of Technology where a new assessment center aimed at developing the full potential of children with disabilities was named in her honor.
Bolt’s Racers Track Club teammate Yohan Blake finished runner-up to Bolt. Bolt’s coach Glen Mills received the Sagicor Icon Award. SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson was also in the running for the coach’s honor.
It was the second major awards for Bolt and Fraser-Pryce in four days. They also won the 2012 Jamaica Athletics Administration male and female athlete of the year awards on Tuesday.
Daytona Beach State Drops Swimming
SOFLO’s Xavier Brown is without a college swim team after only five months.
Daytona Beach State College, where Brown was a freshman, has dropped its men’s and women’s swim teams.
Head coach Don Gibb led the team to a second place finish at the NJCAA National Championship behind in-state rival Indian River State College, where Brown’s SOFLO teammate Marc Rojas is a freshman
The Miami-born Brown, at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, with athleticism and unlimited potential, is a coach’s dream. He had five offers from out-of-state colleges but chose to stay in-state.
Brown is back home and has been training with SOFLO since Dec. 11.
SOFLO’s Marinheiro, Pinon Makes All-County
West Broward High School sophomore Melissa Marinheiro was selected first team All-County for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for the second year in a row. The SOFLO swimmer from Brazil made it in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events after swimming best times during state prelims and placing fifth in the 200 freestyle and sixth in the 500 freestyle in finals. Big sister Marcella Marinheiro, a senior, made second team in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle. SOFLO teammate Julien Pinon, a freshman at American Heritage Plantation, was selected to second team for the 100 and 200 freestyles. He was also a member of the first team 200 freestyle relay and second team 400 freestyle relay. The Miami Herald’s team is expected to be released Jan. 16th.
Swimming will get a little more mainstream exposure thanks to Ryan Lochte. The Olympic champion landed his own reality show on cable. The six-episode series called What Would Ryan Lochte Do? will air on E! The show will follow the 28-year-old swimmer training for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Gainesville with Gregg Troy, developing his fashion line, making media appearances, dealing with his family and friends, playing golf and looking for a girlfriend. “Watching this show, I believe people will fall into three categories: they want to be him, sleep with him or mother him,” said E! Entertainment president Suzanne Kolb. Lochte now joins Honey Boo Boo and the Kardishians in the reality world of television…
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin competed in her first high school meet of the season this past week. Franklin competed for Regis Jesuit High School against rival Highlands Ranch. “I was so nervous,” Franklin said. “My teammates asked me what was wrong with me. I love that. It shows me that the excitement of the sport is still there, no matter where you go. It was awesome to come back to my first high school dual meet.” Franklin didn’t compete in her trademark events. She broke state times in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle. She also swam lead-off leg on the 200- and 400 freestyle relays. Even more impressive was after the meet, the 17-year-old balanced a water bottle on her forehead during her backstroke warmdown, an exercise to help her with head stabilization. The water bottle stayed on her head for the entire length of the pool…
Georgia split its dual meet against Texas on Saturday. The No. 3 Lady Bulldogs, led by Allison Schmitt and Shannon Vreeland, knocked off No. 5 Texas, 143-100, while the No. 4 Longhorns beat No. 12 Georgia, 132-109. Georgia finished its home dual meet schedule with a perfect 8-0 record and extended its school record win streak at their natatorium to 82…Florida International women’s team defeated Central Connecticut State University, 198-100 in Miami. Sonia Perez and Johanna Gustafson led the Golden Panthers. FIU will host Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 11 a.m…Led by senior captain Caroline Kuczynski, Arizona State defeated Brigham Young in a dual meet, 201-94. Kuczynski won the 100 butterfly in 55.19, 200 individual medley in 2:06.19 and was a member of the winning 200 medley relay…No. 13-ranked Nova Southeastern men’s team defeated Florida Atlantic, 108-97 and lost to Western Kentucky, 163-42. It was the first time in NSU’s history the Sharks have beaten FAU. FAU women’s team topped NSU, 118-87 and lost to Western Kentucky, 166-39. WKU and post-grads including Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue, have been training at SOFLO’s pool. NSU sophomore Linea Cutter finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.13. NSU will host its final dual meet against Sunshine State Conference rival Florida Southern on Saturday, Jan. 19th at noon…
Fifteen-year-old swimmer and diver Ryan Klarner of Palatine, Ill. reached out to Taco Bell on Facebook last month asking for a customized Speedo with “think outside the buns” printed on it. The company said yes and the Fremd High School swimmer will get his specially-inscribed suit in the mail. While rules prohibit him from wearing any kind of advertisement on his suits in meets, he can wear it in practice. Klarner said he eats Taco Bell, his favorite fast food restaurant, at least seven times a week. The pink suit has the Taco Bell logo on the front and special saying on the back.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org