SOFLO’s Lance Lesage, Rafael Rodriguez, Pine Crest’s Julia Podkoscielny Head Florida Gold Coast Contingent At Speedo Summer Junior National Championships That Begin Tuesday

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Florida Gold Coast will be well-represented at the Speedo Summer Junior National Championships at Stanford’s Avery Aquatics Center.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Lance Lesage and Rafael Rodriguez will make their debut with veteran SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson.

Rodriguez, 17, will open with the 18-and-under 200-meter butterfly on Tuesday. He is seeded 14th in 2:03.26.

On Wednesday, Lesage, 16, will swim his first event, the 200-meter backstroke, seeded 41st in 2:06.42. Rodriguez has the 400-meter individual medley and is seeded with his yards time of 3:58.75.

On Thursday, Rodriguez will swim the 100-meter butterfly, seeded in 57.31 and on Friday Lesage wraps up with the 100-meter backstroke, seeded 62nd in 58.60.

Podkoscielny heads the rest of the Florida Gold Coast contingent on only her second national trip. She is coming off a successful USA Swimming Futures meet where she won three gold medals and got her U.S. Olympic Trials cut in the 400-meter individual medley.

Among other FGC swimmers are Anna Auld, 16, of East Coast Aquatic Club; Kevin Degrijze, 17, of East Coast Aquatic Club; and Paige Maceachern, 16, of unattached for Pine Crest Swimming.

A large number of swimmers who competed in last week’s senior nationals will return to the same pool for junior nationals. Some of the top juniors entered are Lillie Nordmann, Claire Tuggle, Rye Ulett, Ian Grum, Tristen Ulett, Justina Kozan and Ethan Hu.

Also swimming is Maggie Wanezek, 13, who became the youngest swimmer to break 29 seconds in the 50-meter backstroke.

USA Swimming will live stream all sessions of junior nationals, unlike the senior national meet, which had sessions split between USA Swimming and NBC Sports.

All 10 sessions of the meet will come through live on Prelims are 9 a.m. local time and finals at 5 PM.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Pine Crest, Azura, South Florida Aquatic Club Swimmers Head Florida Gold Coast Contingent For XVIII Pan American Games

By Sharon Robb

LIMA, Peru, August 5, 2019—While the XVIII Pan American Games got under way July 26 with various other sports, swimming finally kicks off on Tuesday at Villa Deportiva Nacional.

Venezuela’s Andrea Santander of Pine Crest Swimming heads the local contingent. Santander will compete in the 200-meter individual medley on Saturday and relays.

Her last major international competition was the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina last October.

The Pan American Games will be her sixth international meet. She is one of Venezuela’s top swimmers and 2020 Tokyo Olympic hopeful. Santander is also a high school state champion, All-American and record holder at Pine Crest High School where she will be a senior this fall.

Azura Florida Aquatics Coach Gianluca Alberani will need more than one stopwatch at his third Pan American Games.

Azura has ten swimmers competing. They are Gabriel Araya of Chile, Mariangela Cincotti of Venezuela, Rodolfo Falcon of Cuba, Hernan Gonzalez of Panama, Julio Horrego of Honduras, Antoine Khazne of Venezuela, Celina Marquez of El Salvador, Matheo Mateos of Paraguay, Yeziel Morales of Puerto Rico and Alyson Ponson of Aruba.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Miguel Cancel will represent Puerto Rico in the 400-meter individual medley.

Former South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer Jorge Murillo will represent Colombia. It is his third Pan American Games.

American Heritage alum Dylan Carter will represent Trinidad & Tobago.

Doral Academy and Duke alum Isabella Paez of Miami will represent Venezuela in the butterfly events and relays. She will compete for the national team on her second Pan American Games team.

The U.S. will be well-represented with three-time Olympian Nathan Adrian heading the team. Adrian also competed at the world championships on the 400-meter freestyle relay just eight months after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. He is undergoing treatment.

Some other swimmers joining Adrian are Annie Lazor, Cody Miller, Kevin Cordes, Lia Neal, Becca Mann, Ali DeLoof and Alex Walsh.

The U.S., Brazil and Canada are the top countries competing over five days for Pan American Games supremacy.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Lochte Wins National Title, SOFLO’s Golding Swims Final Race At Phillips 66 National Championships

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 5, 2019—Ryan Lochte is definitely back.

The six-time Olympic gold medalist, coming off a 14-month suspension, won the 200-meter individual medley on the final day of the Phillips 66 USA National Championships Sunday at Stanford’s Avery Aquatics Center.

Lochte, 35, won in 1:57.76, nearly four seconds slower than his world record set eight years ago. It was his 27th national title.

“This was a lot easier 10 years ago,” said Lochte, who finished 1.07 seconds ahead of silver medalist Shalne Casas. “I’ve got a long ways to go for 2020. This younger generation of swimmers are fast. They are young and I am definitely getting older, but I’m up for the challenge.”

Lochte gave his gold medal to a young fan, saying “I don’t know half the swimmers I’m swimming against. As rewarding as it is for me to win races, I get more satisfaction out of seeing the smiles on kids’ faces when I give them my medals.”

Lochte was pleased with his comeback meet but admitted he wasn’t in top form.

“It didn’t feel good at all,” Lochte said with a laugh. “I just remember years ago it feeling so much easier, but I mean it’s a starting point for me. Especially since my daughter has been born, the past five and a half to six weeks, I haven’t really been at the pool.”

In other championship finals:

Madisyn Cox won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:10.00 ahead of Vanessa Pearl in 2:12.40. Former Gulliver swimmer Kelly Fertel won the “B” final in 2:13.27.

A day after making her first U.S. Olympic Trials cut in the 400-meter freestyle, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, 18, swam the 200-meter individual medley in 2:19.46 in her fourth and final event of senior nationals.

Erika Brown won the women’s 50-meter freestyle in 24.71. Gretchen Walsh was second in 24.85.

Ryan Held won the men’s 50-meter freestyle in 21.87. Bowe Becker and Robert Howard tied for second in 22.00.

Ally McHugh won the women’s 1500-meter freestyle in 16:05.98. McHugh took the lead at 1100 and had a two-body length going into the 1300-mark.

Bobby Finke of St. Petersburg Spa won the men’s 800-meter freestyle in 7:47.58 ahead of Zane Grothe in 7:50.47.


Dan Kesler has been named associate head coach with the Florida State swimming program. He replaces Ozzie Quevedo who left for the same position at Alabama. Kesler has coached the last seven seasons at Arizona State. He will work with head coach Neal Studd….

Swim sensation Caeleb Dressel, a Florida, Clay High School and Bolles Swimming Club alum, made a special appearance on NBC’s Today Show to talk about his success at the FINA World Aquatics Championships. Dressel talked about how he reacted to such a successful meet at Worlds, saying the medals were “just pieces of metal.” Dressel also talked about his post-Worlds meals where he was finally able to indulge himself with some unhealthy foods and how he is going to refocus to sustain his success next year for the Olympic Games in Tokyo…

Eleven World Cup records were broken in Tokyo, site of the FINA World Cup Series. The series resumes Thursday in Jinan, China. South Florida Aquatic Club veteran swimmer Alia Atkinson of Jamaica will compete. She won the 50-meter breaststroke in the series opener.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Pine Crest’s Podkoscielny Double Winner, SOFLO’s Dinehart Seventh On Final Day Of USA Swimming Futures Championships

By Sharon Robb

GREENSBORO, N.C., August 4, 2019—Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest Swimming made a lasting impression at the USA Swimming Futures Championships at Greensboro Aquatic Center.

The 14-year-old won two events on Sunday, the final night of competition. Podkoscielny won the 200-meter backstroke in a lifetime-best 2:15.07 with a total time drop of 5.25. She was the top seed after prelims in 2:18.21, shaving 2.11 off her previous best.

Podkoscielny also won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:18.24, another lifetime-best with a 1.47 drop.

Her double victories came on the heels of her winning the 400-meter individual medley by nearly three seconds with an Olympic Trials qualifying standard time of 4:50.42, an 11-second drop from her previous best of 5:01.34. The qualifying standard is 4:51.79.

It was the first time the talented swimmer flew to a competition, competed in an indoor meet and raced at a national level meet. She swam a total of eight individual and relay events.

Swimming DNA runs in the family. Her father, Pine Crest coach Mariusz Podkoscielny is a two-time Olympian for Poland. He finished fifth in both the 1500 and 400-meter freestyles at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He set the Olympic record in the 400 prelims. He also competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He was also a successful collegiate swimmer at University of Arizona.

Pine Crest Swimming was the top Florida Gold Coast team placing sixth among 55 girls teams with 115.5 points. Podkoscielny scored 76 of those points.

SOFLO’s Olivia Dinehart, 14, was seventh in the 1500-meter freestyle in 17:23.56. Teammate Mallory Schleicher was 15th in 17:43.09.

South Florida Aquatic Club boys’ 4×100-meter medley relay finished sixth in 4:01.53 with Dominic Bono, Juan Pablo Pineda, Miguel Sierra and Robert Wilson.

South Florida Aquatic Club girls finished 13th with 78 points.

TAC Titans won the men’s team title with 236 points to top a field of 69 teams. Lake Lytal Lightning was the top Florida Gold Coast boys finisher placing 20th with 43 points. Sarasota Sharks won the women’s team title with 267 points.

: 1. TAC Titans 236, 2. Marlins of Raleigh 228, 3. Nashville 125, 4. Academy Aquatic 124, 5. Sarasota Tsunami 113.

WOMEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Sarasota Sharks 267, 2. Blue Dolfins 235, 3. Marlins of Raleigh 228, 4. TAC Titans 173.5, 5. Dynamo 119, 6. Pine Crest 115.5, 9. North Palm Beach 88, 13. South Florida Aquatic Club 78.


100-meter freestyle:
1. Sophie Housey, GPG 57.24, 2. Savannah Barr, SYS 57.82, 3. Blair Stoneburg, TCA 58.06; SOFLO: 65. Paige Lane 1:00.76, 74. Gaby Banks 1:01.25.

200-meter backstroke:
1. Julia Podkoscielny, Pine Crest 2:15.07, 2. Morgan Jones, EAC 2:16.81, 3. Alaina Skellett, CANE 2:16.98; SOFLO: 45. Elena Dinehart 2:25.53

200-meter individual medley:
1. Julia Podkoscielny, Pine Crest 2:18.24, 2. Jennifer Secrest, NPB 2:20.27, 3. Hannah Holman, TNAQ 2:20.33; SOFLO: 46. Molly Golding 2:27.70, 50. Olivia Dinehart 2:27.98, 77. Mallory Schleicher 2:31.63.

1500-meter freestyle:
1. Madison Murtagh, FSLA 17:05.56, 2. Adrianna Cera, MOR 17:11.24, 3. Polina Rukosuev, FSLA 17:12.71; SOFLO: 7. Olivia Dinehart 17:23.56, 15. Mallory Schleicher 17:43.09.

4×100-meter medley relay:
1. TAC Titans 4:20.45, 2. Sarasota Sharks 4:21.38, 3. Marlins of Raleigh 4:21.94, 24. South Florida Aquatic Club 4:34.76 (Elena Dinehart, Olivia Dinehart, Paige Lane, Gaby Banks).


100-meter freestyle:
SOFLO: 46. Miguel Sierra 54.36, time drop 1.53, 51. Robert Wilson 54.50, 73. Juan Mora 55.11, 96. Juan Pablo Pineda 56.98, time drop.

200-meter backstroke:
1. Braeden Haughey, TAC 2:02.17, 2. Erek Nelson, FINS 2:04.82, 3. Lance Norris, Unattached 2:05.17.

200-meter individual medley:
1. Phillip Meffert, MMA 2:07.06, 2. Bryar Long, ACAC 2:07.15, 3. Evan Petty, NAC 2:08.08.

800-meter freestyle:
1. Grant Davis, GOLD 8:17.79, 2. Riley Sampson, CFM 8:19.94, 3. Andrew Jordan, CMSA 8:20.03; SOFLO: 40. Dominic Bono 8:45.35, time drop 7:52.71.

4×100-meter medley relay:
1. Mid Michigan Aquatics 3:54.93, 2. Waves of Wilmington 3:57.77, 3. TAC Titans 3:58.48, 6. South Florida Aquatic Club 4:01.53 (Dominic Bono, Juan Pablo Pineda, Miguel Sierra, Robert Wilson).

Sharon Robb can be reached at