SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Hangs On For Bronze In Final Race At Commonwealth Games

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Hangs On For Bronze In Final Race At Commonwealth Games

By Sharon Robb

July 28, 2014—In her final race of the 20th Commonwealth Games, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson had the gold medal slip away at Tollcross Swimming Centre.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian, poised to win her country’s first gold medal in swimming in her third Commonwealth Games appearance, was the top qualifier in the 100-meter breaststroke and was leading the field until the final 15 meters.

Atkinson, 25, was off the blocks like a rocket and went out fast with a 30.81 split. The race favorite was leading by 0.66 seconds until late in the race when she started to tighten up and faded to third for the bronze in 1:08.14.

Even the BBC announcers were rooting for Atkinson yelling “Come on Atkinson, you can do it” along with the sellout crowd that included Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton and brother Harry sitting at the top of the stands.

The likeable swimmer had similar races in the 50-meter breaststroke where she took silver and 200-meter breaststroke where she was shut out of medals after fading in her race. In the 100, she was unable to duplicate her semifinal swim of 1:06.87.

Brit Sophie Taylor saw her opportunity and blew past Atkinson with her killer instinct to put the race away and win the gold medal in a national record 1:06.35. Only Ruta Meilutyte (1:05.63), Kanako Watanabe (1:05.88) and Rikke Moeller Pedersen (1:06.19) have gone faster this year. Aussie Lorna Tonks took the silver in 1:07.34. Atkinson was visibly disappointed as she exited the pool.

On Day 5 of the competition, Atkinson leaves the Games with a silver medal in the 50-meter breaststroke and bronze medal. She is the first Jamaican swimmer to medal since Janelle Atkinson won two bronze medals at the 2002 Games in the 400- and 800-meter freestyles.

In other championship finals:

Men’s 200-meter backstroke: It was another 1-2-3 Aussie sweep for the second time in swimming. Mitch Larkin won in 1:55.83, just a half second off his season-best. It was the first time Australia won gold in the event since 1974. Josh Beaver took the silver in 1:56.19 and Matson Lawson took the bronze in 1:56.63. New Zealand’s Corey Main, the early leader after 100 meters, just missed a medal finishing fourth in 1:57.79. Main has been on a swimming scholarship at University of Florida since January 2013 and has settled into the strong training atmosphere.

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Jazz Carlin, 23, won Wales’ first gold medal in swimming in a Games record 8:18.11. After the lead changed hands four times, Carlin took off on the bell lap with a late kick and extended her lead to a body length. New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle took silver in 8:20.59 and Canadian Brittany MacLean took bronze in 8:20.91.

Women’s 200-meter butterfly: Despite Brit Aimee Willmott taking the race out fast, Canadian Audrey Lacroix, the oldest woman in the field, won her first gold medal in three Commonwealth Games appearances in 2:07.61. Willmott was second in 2:08.07 and Aussie Maddie Groves was third in 2:08.44. It was Canada’s third swimming gold medal.

Men’s 50-meter breaststroke: South African Cameron van der Burgh powered his way through the race to win back-to-back titles in a Games record 26.76. Van der Burgh held off young sensation Adam Peaty of England, was second in 26.78. Aussie Christian Sprenger was third in 27.46.

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: For the first 50 meters Aussie Cate Campbell was under world record pace with a 25.01 split. She was unable to maintain that pace for the second half of the race but managed to hold off her younger sister Bronte for the gold medal in a Games record 52.68. Bronte Campbell took silver in 52.86. Emma McKeon was third in 53.61 to make it an Aussie 1-2-3 sweep for the third time at the Games’ swimming. Bahamian Olympian and Bolles alum Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace was fifth in 54.37. Canada had three swimmers in the final.

Men’s 100-meter butterfly: South African Chad le Clos came from behind early leader Jason Dunford of Kanya and then held off a late challenge from Bolles Joseph Schooling of Singapore to win in a Games record 51.29, the fastest time in the world this year. Schooling, 19, broke his own national record and won a silver medal in 51.69, fourth fastest time in the world this year. He broke his previous record of 52.22 which he set earlier in the Games. It was Singapore’s first-ever silver medal in swimming and just the third Commonwealth Games medal in swimming won by an Asian. Brit Adam Barrett was third in 51.93.

In the men’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals, England’s Ben Proud earned the top seed with a national and Games record of 21.76. Aussie Cameron McEvoy was the only other swimmer to break 22 with a 21.94.

In the women’s 50-meter backstroke semifinals, Georgia Davies of Wales earned the top seed in 27.61, a national record.

After five days, Australia leads the overall Games medal count with 87 including 30 gold medals followed by England (74), Scotland (33) and South Africa (24).

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Miami Swimming Breaks 21-Year-Old FGC Record; Capote Takes Second On Final Night Of Senior Championships

Miami Swimming Breaks 21-Year-Old FGC Record; Capote Takes Second On Final Night Of Senior Championships

By Sharon Robb

July 27, 2014–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Ryan Capote finished on a good note on the final night of the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships Sunday at the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions.

Capote was the team’s top finisher placing second in the 50-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 24.85.

SOFLO’s Jessica Rodriguez, 15, was the top SOFLO girls finisher placing fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:16.58.

Both Capote and Rodriguez were among the top 20 high point swimmers.

Miami Swimming saved its best for the last night of the senior meet, winning four events including two individual and two relays including a record-breaker.

Miami Swimming broke a 21-year-old Florida Gold Coast and Open record in the 200-meter medley relay.

Dorothy Morgan, 17, Anna Valls, 18, Alexa Kalandiak, 18, and Kyla Valls, 15, won the relay in 1:58.02. The previous record was 1:58.19 set by Fort Lauderdale Swim Team in 1993.

The same Miami Swimming foursome won the 400-meter medley relay in 4:24.67.

Anna Valls won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:12.44. Dorothy Morgan won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:25.94.

Miami Swimming finished as the top Florida Gold Coast team in the combined team standings placing second with 891 points and third among women’s teams with 553 points.

Empire Swimming of New York swept the combined (1,290 points), men’s (514) and women’s (776) team titles. Empire Swimming is a member of the Metropolitan Swimming LSC.

Azura Florida Aquatics was fifth among combined teams (707) and men’s teams (497).

Metro Aquatics was the top FGC boys team placing third with 504 points.

Kelly Harrington, 16, made history on the final night of the three-day meet by becoming Boca Raton Swim Team’s first senior champion after winning the 15-16 year-old 50-meter butterfly in a lifetime-best 28.65. Her previous best was 30.82 which she first bettered in prelims in 29.94. Boca Raton Swim Team is the Florida Gold Coast’s newest team.

It was Harrington’s best finish during the three-day meet. She was also third in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles. She competed in all the 50s, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke in her last club meet before the high school season.

“It is pretty amazing,” Harrington said. “I am really excited and glad to be a part of the team. Coach Allan is great and I think I am going to improve a lot.

“I felt pretty confident beforehand,” Harrington said. “I felt good in the water. I got a good start. I thought from beginning I was going to win. I just knew it.”

Harrington will be a junior this fall at Boca Raton High School where she has been Most Valuable Swimmer two consecutive seasons.

Other Florida Gold Coast individual and relay champions were:

Julie Suarez, Lake Lytal Lightning, 100-meter backstroke, 1:04.60.

Geena Squartino, SwimFast, 1500-meter freestyle, 17:45.28.

Kelly Fertel, Rockway Swimming, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:14.21.

Nicole Urquidi, Gulliver Swimming, 50-meter freestyle, 26.90.

Azura Florida Aquatics, 200-meter medley relay, 1:47.06 and 400-meter medley relay, 3:55.59 (Mateo Gonzalez, Joe Ortiz, Arvin Moradi, Marcelo Acosta).

Nick Carter, Gulliver Swimming, 100-meter backstroke, 57.69.

Diego Faucher, Metro Aquatics, 50-meter butterfly, 26.32.

Joe Ortiz, Azura Florida Aquatics, 50-meter butterfly, 24.86.

Henry Contich, Pine Crest Swimming, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:08.81.

Mike Schreuders, Pine Crest Swimming, 50-meter freestyle, 23.82.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. Empire Swimming 1,290, 2. Miami Swimming 891, 3. Quest Swimming 886, 4. Clearwater Aquatic Team 853, 5. Azura Florida Aquatics 707, 6. Greenwood Swimming 563, 7. Virginia Gators 541, 8. Gulliver Swim Club 539, 9. Metro Aquatic Club 533, 10. Peru 456, 16. South Florida Aquatic Club 218.

GIRLS TEAM TOTALS: 1. Empire Swimming 776, 2. Greenwood 563, 3. Miami Swimming 553, 4. Quest 495, 5. Gulliver Swim Club 365.

BOYS TEAM TOTALS: 1. Empire Swimming 514, 2. Virginia Gators 508, 3. Metro Aquatics 504, 4. Clearwater Aquatic Team 499, 5. Azura Florida Aquatics 497.

GIRLS 15-16 HIGH POINT: 1. Beatrix Thompson, Empire 136, 2. Kyla Valls, Miami Swimming 110, 3. Laurynn Harvard, Unattached 103; SOFLO: 18. Jessica Rodriguez 46.

GIRLS OPEN HIGH POINT: 1. Meredith Vay, Quest 88, 2. tie, Megan Brown, Greenwood, Madeline Banic, Quest 85.

BOYS 15-16 HIGH POINT: 1. Alejandro Carriazo, Metro Aquatics 128, 2. Clark Beach, Quest 99, 3. Adler Cargill, Virginia Gators 94; SOFLO: 19. Ryan Capote 50.

BOYS HIGH POINT: 1. Grant Sanders, Clearwater 116, 2. Joe Ortiz, Azura 99, 3. Michael Craddock, Virginia 95.


200-meter medley relay:

Open, 1. Miami Swimming 1:58.02, FGC, Open record (Dorothy Morgan, Anna Valls, Alexa Kalandiak, Kyla Valls), 2. Quest 1:59.11, 3. Azura Florida Aquatics 2:04.13, 10. SOFLO “A” 2:09.86 (Liz Travieso, Jessica Rodriguez, Kylie Herman, Victoria Hill), 21. SOFLO “B” 2:20.44 (Carly Swanson, Astrid Rigau, Natasha Testa, Abolade Oyetunji).

100-meter backstroke:

15-16, 1. Beatrix Thompson, East 1:06.34; SOFLO: 12. Jessica Rodriguez 1:11.75, best time, 24. Liz Travieso 1:14.47, best time, 35. Carly Swanson 1:17.60, best time; Open, 1. Julie Suarez, Lake Lytal Lightning 1:04.60; SOFLO: 51. Victoria Hill 1:18.23, 61. Astrid Rigau 1:32.77.

1500-meter freestyle:

14-and-under, 1. Bridget Semenuk, Empire 17:54.89; 15-16, 1. Marcella Ruppert-Gomez, Clearwater 17:02.74; SOFLO: 10. Lilli Calero 19:30.22; 17-and-over, 1. Geena Squartino, SwimFast 17:45.28

50-meter butterfly:

15-16, 1. Kelly Harrington, Boca Raton Swim Team 28.65; SOFLO: 30. Natasha Testa 32.98, 35. Liz Travieso 33.35, 42. Carly Swanson 33.72, 43. Star Fassler 33.73, 62. Lilli Calero 35.51, 66. Victoria Lumelski 35.95; Open, 1. Meredith Vay, Quest Swimming 27.57; SOFLO: 37. Kylie Herman 32.08, best time, 44. Whitney Johnson 32.42, 63. Abolade Oyetunji 33.63, best time, 70. Victoria Hill 34.35, best time, 89, Astrid Rigau 35.98.

100-meter breaststroke:

15-16, 1. Kelly Fertel, Rockway Swimming 1:14.21; SOFLO: 4. Jessica Rodriguez 1:16.58; 44. Victoria Lumelski 1:34.25; Open, 1. Anna Valls, Miami Swimming 1:12.44.

50-meter freestyle:

15-16, 1. Nicole Urquidi, Gulliver Swimming 26.90; SOFLO: 33. Liz Travieso 30.00, best time, 54. Carly Swanson 30.96, 61. Star Fassler 31.14, 71. Lilli Calero 31.44, 76. Natasha Testa 31.71, 95. Victoria Lumelski 33.83; Open, 1. Meredith Vay, Quest Swimming 25.97; SOFLO: 60. Kylie Herman 29.42, best time, 63. Victoria Hill 29.57, best time, 64. Whitney Johnson 29.59, best time, 77. Abolade Oyetunji 30.19, 106. Astrid Rigau 31.34.

200-meter individual medley:

15-16, 1. Beatrix Thompson, Empire 2:21.17; Open, 1. Dorothy Morgan, Miami Swimming 2:25.94; SOFLO: 23. Kylie Herman 2:36.96.

400-meter medley relay:

Open, 1. Miami Swimming 4:24.67 (Dorothy Morgan, Anna Valls, Alexa Kalandiak, Kyla Valls), 2. Quest Swimming 4:24.74, 3. Empire Swimming 4:27.41, 10. SOFLO “A” 4:44.92 (Liz Travieso, Jessica Rodriguez, Kylie Herman, Victoria Hill), 21. SOFLO “B” 5:09.25 (Carly Swanson, Lilli Calero, Natasha Testa, Abolade Oyetunji).


200-meter medley relay:

Open, 1. Azura Florida Aquatics 1:47.06 (Mateo Gonzalez, Joe Ortiz, Arvin Moradi, Marcelo Acosta), 2. Westminster Academy 1:47.58, 3. Miami Swimming 1:48.41, 16. SOFLO “A” 1:56.14 (Gustavo Valery, Brendan Cassie, CJ Kopecki, Ryan Capote), 21. SOFLO “B” 2:00.60 (Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Bowie Suen, Teddy Sandoval, Cristian Rossi).

100-meter backstroke:

15-16, 1. Clark Beach, Quest Swimming 59.55; SOFLO: 11. Juan Lucas 1:03.74, 13. Alfredo Mesa 1:04.67, 20. Ryan Capote 1:06.38, 28. Gustavo Valery 1:07.99; Open, 1. Nick Carter, Gulliver Swim Club 57.69.

1500-meter freestyle:

14-and-under, 1. Andrew Babyak, Empire 17:20.29; 15-16, 1. Ludov Boscaino, Clearwater 15:48.12; SOFLO: 13. Jonathan Strod 18:04.85; 17-and-over, 1. Taylor Uselis, Clearwater 15:57.14.

50-meter butterfly:

15-16, 1. Diego Faucher, Metro Aquatics 26.32; SOFLO: 5. Ryan Capote 27.28, 26. CJ Kopecki 29.26, 35. Cristian Rossi 29.79, 51. Mathew Delvalle 32.03, 53. Tyler Gibson 32.64, 58. Brandon Fratianni 33.30, 61. Bryan Moran 34.81; Open, 1. Joe Ortiz, Azura 24.86; SOFLO: 68. Teddy Sandoval 31.27.

100-meter breaststroke:

15-16, 1. Henry Contich, Pine Crest Swimming 1:08.81; SOFLO: 24. Brendan Cassie 1:17.58, 36. Tyler Gibson 1:21.17; Open, 1. Shane McNamara, Empire Swimming 1:03.60; SOFLO: 41. Bowie Suen 1:18.23.

50-meter freestyle:

15-16, 1. Mike Schreuders, Pine Crest Swimming 23.82; SOFLO: 2. Ryan Capote 24.85, 12. Gustavo Valery 25.32, 31. Alfredo Mesa 26.41, 34. Esteban Diaz-Velasco 26.44, 55. Juan Lucas 27.19, 59. CJ Kopecki 27.36, 69. Cristian Rossi 27.81, 93. Bryan Moran 29.36, 97. Brendan Cassie 30.09, 104. Mathew Delvalle 31.30; Open, 1. Erik Risolvato, Unattached 22.95; SOFLO: 102. Bowie Suen 28.46.

200-meter individual medley:

15-16, 1. Jamison Austin, Virginia Gators 2:11.51; SOFLO: 20. Jonathan Strod 2:22.70, 43. Tyler Gibson 2:39.93; Open, 1. Grant Sanders, Clearwater 2:05.43; SOFLO: 50. Bowie Suen 2:32.86.

400-meter medley relay:

Open, 1. Azura Florida Aquatics 3:55.59 (Mateo Gonzalez, Joe Ortiz, Arvin Moradi, Marcelo Acosta), 2. Empire Swimming 3:57.21, 3. Miami Swimming 4:01.08, 13. SOFLO “A” 4:18.06 (Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Brendan Cassie, CJ Kopecki, Ryan Capote), 20. SOFLO “B” 4:38.57 (Jonathan Strod, Bowie Suen, Mathew Delvalle, Teddy Sandoval).

Sharon Robb can be reached at