By Sharon Robb
QUERETARO, Mexico, February 26, 2019–The road trip to Mexico for training and competing had some positive results for South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers.
With only four swimmers, SOFLO finished 19th among a field of 80 teams at the Feb. 22-24 second edition of the Copa Heller Internacional in Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico.
SOFLO finished with 71 points in the long course meters competition that featured both world-class swimmers and age group swimmers.
Four-time Jamaican Olympian and world short course record holder Alia Atkinson, 30, swam and won her best races in the 50-meter breaststroke (31.60) and 100-meter breaststroke (1:10.84), including a win over Mexico’s top breaststroker Esther Gonzalez (1:12.65).
Atkinson also swam the 50-meter butterfly, third in 27.62; 50-meter freestyle, third in 26.63; and 50-meter backstroke, first in 29.92 with a time drop of 0.02. She finished with 49 points.
Atkinson was joined by SOFLO teammates Rafael Rodriguez, 17, Dominic Bono, 15, and Hartley Pitters-Hinds, 13. The results for the trio were:
Rodriguez, 22 points in high point:
50-meter butterfly fly, 26.39, time drop 1.38 prelims; finals, 16th, 26.58.
400-meter individual medley, second, 4:53.42.
200-meter individual medley, 2:15.17 in prelims and fifth in finals 2:15.41.
100-meter butterfly, 59.20 in prelims, 16th in final 59.34.
50-meter freestyle 25.47 prelims.
400-meter freestyle, second 4:19.55, 11 and over; fourth, 4:19.48, 15 and over.
50-meter butterfly, 29.66, time drop 2.57 in prelims.
100-meter butterfly, 1:05.14, time drop of 0.89 in prelims.
400-meter individual medley, 11th 5:12.64, final.
200-meter individual medley, 25th, 2:24.26
400-meter freestyle, 12th, 4:32.04.
200-meter freestyle, 2:19.23, 13th.
200-meter back, 13th, 2:19.23
50-meter freestyle, 28.43, 0.78 time drop in prelims.
50-meter butterfly, 34.45
100-meter breaststroke, 1:41.45
100-meter backstroke, 1:22.48
200-meter individual medley, 2:57.72
50-meter breaststroke, 43.64
50-meter freestyle, 31.39
50-meter backstroke, 35.69
It was one of the biggest elite meets in Mexico. In addition to Atkinson, among the elite field was Brazil world record holder Cesar Cielo, who has not retired and American record holder Kelsi Worrell.
Cielo swam a pair of races, finishing fourth in the 50-meter butterfly in 24.41 and winning the 50-meter freestyle in 22.85. Cielo was the 2008 Olympic Champion in the 50 freestyle and has a combined five long course World Championships in those two events combined.
Worrell won all four events she competed in: 50-meter butterfly, 26.35; 100-meter butterfly, 59.01; 50-meter freestyle, season-best 25.56 and 100-meter freestyle, 57.31
The men’s breaststroke races featured some great racing betweem Brazilian veteran Joao Gomes and Mexico’s Mauro Castillo-Luna, who was an NCAA All-American at Texas A&M before graduating last season. Gomes won both the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.46 and 100-meter breaststroke in 1:01.75). Castillo-Luna won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:16.58.
Other top finishers were:
Colombia’s Omar Pinzon won the 50-meter backstroke (26.20), 100-meter backstroke (56.77) and 200-meter backstroke (2:06.32).
California alum Long Yuan won the 100-meter freestyle in 51.06 and 200-meter freestyle in 1:52.50.
Cuba’s Hanser Garcia won the 100-meter freestyle in 51.56.
Brazil’s Leonardo de Deus won the 100-meter butterfly in 54.29 and 200-meter butterfly in 1:59.86.
American Anthony Ervin, 37, was fifth in the 50-meter freestyle in 23.11.
South African Roland Schoeman, 38, was third in the 50-meter freestyle in 24.00, second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.73 and second in the 50-meter freestyle in 23.10.
Brazil’s Nicholas dos Santos won the 50-meter butterfly in 23.64 and 50-meter freestyle in 23.17.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org