By Sharon Robb
December 6, 2016—Marc Rojas of South Florida Aquatic Club made a good first impression in his international debut Tuesday at the FINA Short Course World Championships at WFCU Centre in Windsor Ontario, Canada.
Representing the Dominican Republic for the first time, Rojas finished the 100-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 1:02.18, but fell short of making the semifinal round. It was also a national short course record for the Dominican Republic.
Rojas has the 200-meter breaststroke, 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley remaining in the six-day meet.
“Marc had a solid swim, it was his best time,” said SOFLO coach Chris Anderson, who is also serving as Jamaica’s head coach of a five-swimmer contingent.
In the opening round of the women’s 50-meter breaststroke, SOFLO four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson was top qualifier in 29.48, well off her short course world record of 28.64 set in Tokyo during the FINA World Cup Series. Close behind was Finland’s Jenna Laukkanen in 29.71.
Atkinson held on to her top seed after the evening semifinal in 29.09. She was one of three swimmers under 30 seconds. Americans Lilly King finished in 29.17 followed by Molly Hannis in 29.88. Laukkanen was fourth fastest in 30.06.
In other events:
Men’s 400-meter freestyle: 2008 Olympic gold medalist Park Tae Hwan of Korea won in a lifetime-best 3:34.59, lowering his previous best of 3:36.68.
Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Former world record holder Italian Federica Pellegrini surged in the final 50 meters to overtake Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, 1:51.73-1:52.28.
Men’s 200-meter butterfly: South African Olympic gold medalist Chad Le Clos had no problem defending his world title in 1:48.76. His final split was 27.19. American Tom Shields was second in 1:49.50 and Japan’s Daiya Seto was third in 1:49.97.
Men’s 100-meter backstroke: Russian Andrei Shabasov earned the top seed in the semifinal round in 49.71.
Women’s 400-meter individual medley: Hosszu came back from her 200 freestyle loss to win by a large margin in 4:21.67 ahead of Americans Ella Eastin in 4:27.74 and Madisyn Cox in 4:27.78.
Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Germany’s Marco Koch earned the top seed in the semifinals in 56.86.
Women’s 100-meter backstroke: Canadian Kylie Jacqueline Masse was top qualifier in semifinals in 56.19. Hosszu, competing in the third of 12 events, qualified fifth in 56.74.
Men’s 200-meter individual medley: China’s Shun Wang won the world title in 1:51.74 ahead of Germany’s Philip Heintz in 1:52.07.
NBC Sports is live streaming the daily prelims at 9:30 a.m. and finals at 6:30 p.m. The TV schedule is: Wednesday, 9-11 p.m., Universal HD; Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. NBCSN; Friday, NBCSN, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30-11 p.m., NBCSN; and Sunday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., NBCSN.
SOFLO has a talented group at the four-day U.S. Winter East Junior Nationals that begin Wednesday at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.
2016 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier Kathleen Golding leads SOFLO’s six-swimmer contingent. Golding, 16, is seeded 17th in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:00.34. The IM is one of six events Golding is qualified in. She will also swim the 50 freestyle, 400 IM, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 breaststroke.
Joining Golding are SOFLO teammates Max Asnis in the 200 butterfly; Kelley Heron in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM and 200 backstroke bonus races; Luke Lezotte in the 50 freestyle; Ervin Marin in the 200 IM and 400 IM and 100 breaststroke bonus races; and Jessica Rodriguez in the 200 breaststroke bonus race and 100 breaststroke. It is one of the largest contingent to represent SOFLO at the national level.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com