Floridians Finke, Dressel Win Gold For Team USA On Historical Night At Tokyo Olympics

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 28, 2021–In one of the most exciting nights in the history of Florida swimming, Caeleb Dressel and Bobby Finke won gold medals for Team USA Wednesday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

It was Dressel’s first individual gold medal and fourth overall (three others on relays in two Olympic Games) against the world’s fastest final field ever assembled in the event.

Dressel was emotional after the race, trying to hold back tears that kept coming while watching his parents, wife and sister on NBC’s coverage of the watch party in Orlando.

“I don’t know if this has set in yet,” Dressel said. “Right now I’m kind of hurting. It’s been a really tough year, it was really hard, so to have the results show up really makes me some kind of happy.”

Finke, 21, of University of Florida and St. Petersburg Aquatics, won the first-ever men’s 800-meter freestyle in an American record 7:41.87. Reigning world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy was second in 7:42.11 and Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk was third in 7:42.33.

Looking out of medal contention for most of the race in fifth place, Finke found another gear after the final turn with a 26.3 split and reeled in four swimmers in the final 25 meters to win his first Olympic final.

“Oh yeah,” Finke said, when asked if he had surprised himself with his performance. “My best time going into this was (7:47). And then in prelims, I dropped down to (7:42). And then here I dropped another second. So I had no idea that I was going to do that, honestly.”

The gold is the first for an American male swimmer in an Olympic distance race since 1984.

“The pain kind of goes away once you just start,” Finke said. “Your mind just kind of disappears, and you’re just kind of blacking out a little bit. I just wanted to get my hand on the wall. I am so happy that I was able to switch it into another gear. This means a lot. Coming into this there was a lot of doubt behind American distance.”

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Colleen Furgeson of the Marshall Islands was fifth in her 100-meter freestyle heat in 58.71.

Azura has four swimmers competing Thursday. They are Abbas Qali of Kuwait, 100 butterfly; Davidson Vincent of Haiti, 100 butterfly; Steven Aimable, 100 butterfly; and Celina Marquez of El Salvador, 200 backstroke.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 200-meter butterfly: No one was going to catch China’s Yufei Zhang who won in an Olympic record 2:03.86, the fastest time in 12 years. China has won three of the last four gold medals in the event. The U.S. took silver and bronze with Regan Smith in 2:05.30 and Hali Flickinger in 2:05.65.

Women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay:
China upset Australia for the gold medal and Katie Ledecky turned in on with her 1:53 anchor leg to give the U.S. a silver medal. Heavy favorite Australia took the bronze. All three teams swam under the old world record of 7:41.50. China won in a world record 7:40.33, the U.S. took silver in an American record 7:40.73 and Australia third in an Oceanic record 7:41.29. Ledecky has now won three Olympics medals including one gold. She can win one more Saturday in the 800 freestyle.

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Aussie Izaac Stubblety-Cook surged in the final 50 meters to win in an Olympic record 2:06.38. Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands was second in 2:07.01 just ahead of Finland’s Matti Mattsson in 2:07.13.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Yufei Zhang, CHN 2:03.86, 2. Regan Smith, US 2:05.30, 3. Hali Flickinger, US 2:05.65.

4×200-meter freestyle relay: 1. China 7:40.33, 2. United States 7:40.73, 3. Australia 7:41.29.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, US 7:41.87, 2. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 7:42.11, 3. Mykailo Romanchuk, UKR 7:42.33.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Izaac Stubblety-Cook, AUS 2:06.38, 2. Arno Kamminga, NED 2:07.01, 3. Matti Mattsson, FIN 2:07.13.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel, US 47.02, 2. Kyle Chalmers, AUS 47.08, 3. Kliment Kolesnikov, ROC 47.44.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s DeLuna, Wilson Swim Best Times; FGC Girls Seventh At Southern Zones Age Group Championships

By Sharon Robb
TUPELO, Miss., July 28, 2021—Against a strong field, Gabriella DeLuna and Izzy Wilson swam lifetime-bests Wednesday at the USA Swimming Southern Zones Age Group Championships.

In prelims, DeLuna, 14, just missed finals placing ninth in the 100-meter butterfly in a best time 1:06.75, dropping 1.16. She has the 200 backstroke, 400 IM, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 200 IM left. DeLuna was also a member of the sixth place 400-meter medley relay.

Wilson, 14, was 24th in the 200-meter freestyle prelims in a best time 2:16.34, dropping 0.19. She has the 200 backstroke, 400 freestyle and 200 butterfly remaining to swim.

SOFLO teammate Nicholas Pelaez, 14, was 38th in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:12.41. He has the 100 freestyle, 400 IM, 400 freestyle and 200 butterfly left to swim.

Alera Hurwitz of St. Andrew’s Aquatics was top FGC finisher with a fifth place in the 100-meter butterfly in a best time 1:07.92, dropping 3.53. She was also a member of the fifth place 400-meter medley relay.

Florida Gold Coast, coached by Jennifer Gibson of Swim Fort Lauderdale and Rodrigo Mendes of Midtown Weston, is seventh among the girls teams with 22 points, 12th among the boys teams with 4 points and 11th in the combined team standings with 26 points.

FGC’s 11-12 girls team: Alera Hurwitz, St. Andrew’s; Natalie Dufflocq, North Palm Beach; Maria Perez, Midtown Weston; and Emma Han, Wahoos of Wellington. There is no boys’ 11-12 team.

FGC’s 13-14 girls’ team: Izzy Wilson, SOFLO; Gabriella DeLuna, SOFLO; Reese Andres, St. Andrew’s; Samantha Schoenborn, St. Andrew’s; Sidney Anton, Pine Crest; Reese Rosenthal, Gulliver Swim Club; Abbie Sargent, Florida Keys Swim Club; and Sara Miller, St. Andrew’s.

FGC’s 13-14 boys’ team: Nicholas Pelaez, SOFLO; Dylan Ferguson, Metro Aquatics; Nahuel Balade, Ransom Everglades; Lucas Franchak, Hurricanes; and Andy Serrano-Pena of Ransom Everglades.

The five-day meet continues Thursday with prelims at 10 a.m. and finals at 6:30 p.m.

1. North Carolina 334, 2. Florida Swimming 331.5, 3. Team Georgia 223, 4. South Carolina 184.5, 5. South Texas 162, 6. Southeastern 131, 7. North Texas 65, 8. Kentucky 29, 9. tie, Louisiana Zone 27, Border Swimming 27, 11. Florida Gold Coast 26, 12. Mississippi Zone 16, 13. West Virginia 10.

BOYS TEAM TOTALS: 1. North Carolina 152.5, 2. Florida Swimming 146.5, 3. Team Georgia 113, 4. South Texas 86, 5. Southeastern 45, 12. Florida Gold Coast 4.

GIRLS TEAM TOTALS: 1. Florida Swimming 149, 2. North Carolina 131.5, 3. South Carolina 119.5, 4. Team Georgia 82, 5. Southeastern 60, 7. Florida Gold Coast 22.

200-meter freestyle: 11-12, 1. Peyton Williams, SES 2:11.96; 13-14, 1. Carly Mauldin, STX 2:08.02; 15-18, 1. Kaitlyn Golyski, SC 2:07.80.

50-meter breaststroke: 11-12, 1. Blakely Hammel, FL 35.95.

200-meter breaststroke: 13-14, 1. Savannah Branon, FL 2:42.50; 15-18, 1. Emily McMahan, SC 2:43.71.

100-meter butterfly: 11-12, 1. Peyton Williams, SES 1:05.94; FGC: 5. Alera Hurwitz 1:07.92, time drop 3.53; 13-14, 1. Zetta Bartee, NCS 1:03.32; 15-18, 1. Jayla Thompson, GA 1:04.21.

400-meter medley relay: 11-12, 1. North Caroline 4:38.85, 2. Florida Swimming 4:42.77, 3. Southeastern 4:47.67, 5. Florida Gold Coast 4:53.50 (Maria Perez, Emma Han, Alera Hurwitz, Natalie Dufflocq); 13-14, 1. Team Georgia 4:28.17, 2. Florida Swimming 4:31.55, 3. South Carolina 4:34.22, 6. Florida Gold Coast 4:38.66 (Sam Schoenborn, Reese Andres, Gabriella DeLuna, Sidney Anton); 15-18, 1. South Carolina 4:30.70, 2. Florida Swimming 4:34.37, 3. North Carolina 4:35.12.

200-meter freestyle: 11-12, 1. Owen Ekk, FL 2:00.49; 13-14, 1. Oliver Rowe, STX 1:54.46; 15-18, 1. Collin Davis, NCS 1:56.79.

50-meter breaststroke: 11-12, 1. Gabrian Hardy, NCS 33.08.

200-meter breaststroke: 13-14, 1. Coleman Kimmel, SES 2:29.89; 15-18, 1. Kole Petersen, STX 2:26.72.

100-meter butterfly: 11-12, 1. Joseph Campagnola, FL 1:01.90; 13-14, 1. Oliver Rowe, STX 56.41; 15-18, 1. Eamon Monaghan, GA 57.23.

400-meter medley relay: 11-12, 1. Florida Swimming 4:24.23, 2. North Carolina 4:28.45, 3. Team Georgia 4:34.24; 13-14, 1. North Carolina 4:02.70, 2. Southeastern 4:07.93, 3. Team Georgia 4:10.93, 7. Florida Gold Coast 4:18.72 (Dylan Ferguson, Lucas Franchak, Andy Serrani-Pena, Nahuel Balade); 15-18, 1. South Carolina 4:02.24, 2. Florida Swimming 4:04.73, 3. North Carolina 4:06.30.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com