By Sharon Robb
August 10, 2015—Fresh off the XVI FINA World Aquatic Championships that ended on Sunday, South Florida Aquatic Club’s pro swimmers will compete in FINA World Cup Series that opens in Moscow on Tuesday.
SOFLO teammates Claire Donahue, U.S. Olympic gold medalist; Carolina Colorado, two-time Colombian Olympian; and Jorge Murillo of Colombia will compete on the first two stops of the series in Moscow on Tuesday and Wednesday and Paris-Chartres on Aug. 15-16. The trio is among the Top 10 seeds in their events.
Murillo will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststoke events. Colorado will swim the 50-, 100- and 200-meter backstrokes. Donahue will compete in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly.
Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will join her teammates for the Paris-Chartres leg. SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson will coach his swimmers at both stops and return home Aug. 17 to prepare for the fall age group and high school seasons.
This year’s series is starting in Europe to take advantage of the swimmers’ presence because of the world championships. FINA officials were hoping to attract the top names. The Middle East stops in Doha and Dubai will now be held at the end of the series.
Prize money has significantly increased to $2 million to attract more top level athletes. There have also been several additions. The series stops will be held exclusively in 50-meter pools. All legs will serve as qualifying events for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Paris-Chartres has also been added as a new site for the series.
South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, the 2013 and 2014 men’s and women’s winners of the series, return to defend their titles.
While Moscow and Paris is the first cluster of cities, the second cluster is Sept. 25-26 Hong Kong, Sept. 29-30 Beijing and Oct. 3-4 Singapore; and third cluster is Oct.28-29 Tokyo, Nov. 2-3 Doha and Nov. 6-7 Dubai.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Lisa Blackburn, a national record holder for Bermuda, won the 200-meter individual medley age group title at U.S. Masters Summer National Championships in Geneva, Ohio. Blackburn, 44, won the 40-44 in 2:25.81. She also won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:46.74, 100-meter breaststroke in 1:15.07, 50-meter breaststroke in 34.64 and was second in the 50-meter freestyle in 27.44.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org