AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Atkinson Among World Cup Field Racing For Prize Money; Florida Gators Open In South Florida; Poppell, Nesty Make College Head Coaching Debuts

By Sharon Robb

September 27, 2018—After missing the opening cluster, SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will join the 2018 FINA World Cup Series for its second cluster Friday through Sunday in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Both the men’s and women’s fields are larger than the small turnout in Kazan and Doha. The field features 185 swimmers from around the world.

Other swimmers expected to compete are Brazil’s Felipe Lima and Eteine Medeiros, Americans Michael Andrew, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, Molly Hannis, Melanie Margalis and Kathleen Baker, Mitch Larkin, Mack Horton and Emily Seebohm of Australia, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, Yulia Efimova of Russia, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, Japan’s Daiya Seto and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos.

Twelve events will be raced on each of the three days in Eindhoven.

Atkinson will be joined by women’s series leader Sarah Sjostrum of Sweden and men’s leader Anton Chupkov of Russia. Sjostrum earned the maximum points and earned the $50,000 Cluster One bonus after the first two stops of the short course meters series.


After intrasquad and alumni meets the past two weeks, the college dual meet season opens Thursday through Saturday across the nation including South Florida.

University of Florida men’s and women’s teams open their season Thursday at Florida Atlantic in the first meet of the season. The Gators women’s team head further south on Friday to swim University of Miami. The Gators then head to Florida Gulf Coast also on Saturday.

The women’s team begins its first season under head coach Jeff Poppell, former Gulliver Prep head coach and aquatics director. Poppell has been at Florida since 2016 serving as an associate head coach.

The Gators women’s team returns 27 letter winners including All-Americans Sherridon Dressel and Brooke Madden. The Gator men feature 14 freshmen. Anthony Nesty makes his debut as first-year head men’s coach. Nesty has spent the last 20 seasons with the Gators.

Florida International University women’s team heads to University of Miami on Saturday. Florida State is holding an intrasquad meet on Saturday in Tallahassee. Florida Atlantic will host Gardner-Webb and North Florida on Saturday.


Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, 23, is engaged to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson. Johnson proposed at Lake Lanier Islands Resort in Georgia. Johnson swam at University of Texas and was a member of the 2010 NCAA champion team. “Thank you for making this the easiest answer to any question I’ve ever been asked,” Franklin posted on Instagram.


South African Olympic medalist Cameron van der Burgh has relocated to London to train for his fifth FINA World Short Course Championship in Hangzhou, China, Dec. 11-16. Burgh said after 30 years in South Africa it was time to start a new journey. He will continue to compete internationally for South Africa…

American Heritage Plantation alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Award from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago at this year’s Republic Day National Awards Function. Carter was honored for bringing national attention to the tiny island and for putting aquatics at the forefront. Carter was a silver medalist at the Commonwealth Games and won three gold medals at CAC. He is the first and only swimmer to medal at both the Youth Olympic Games and FINA World Junior Swimming Championships…

The 2020 Olympic Trials date were officially set for June 21-28. The Trials will be hosted by Omaha, Nebraska for the fourth time. The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo five weeks after the Trials. The Trials cuts were announced by USA Swimming during Thursday’s U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in Jacksonville and they are all faster than the 2016 cuts. The men’s 800 and women’s 1500 freestyle events will make their debut at the 2020 Trials. The 2018 Winter National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. in late November will be the first meet where swimmers can get their Trials cuts.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Evelyn Salama Ready To Take On Kona’s Ironman World Championship Saturday

By Sharon Robb

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII—October 13, 2017—“Look out, I’m just getting started. I am more motivated than ever.”

That was Evelyn Herrmann Salama, then 36, eight years ago after competing in the May 20-23 U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals at Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta where she swam five lifetime-best times.

On Saturday, the 44-year-old Pembroke Pines wife and mother of two will compete in the Ironman World Championship, the granddaddy of all triathlons.

Ever since she earned one of the 40 qualifying slots for her first Kona appearance at Cabo Ironman 2016 in Cabo San Lucas, Salama has been focused on “checking another one off my bucket list.”

It will be her fourth Ironman distance event that features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-bike and 26.2-mile run in challenging winds and hot conditions.

“It is overwhelming,” Salama said from Kona. “I am happy I have such an incredible supportive husband and sponsor to let me come out two weeks ahead of time to get acclimated to the time change and weather. I am a bucket of nerves.”

Salama has been able to get in some pre-event swims, bike rides and runs along the course as well as trying out the local cuisine and now is resting and surrounded by her family including husband Jason, son Gustavo and daughter Eliana, and friends leading up to the big day.

“I am overwhelmed by the athletes, everyone looks fitter than the last person you saw,” Salama said. “I have taken a week to marinate in that and convince myself I belong here. I know now I have earned my spot and I am ready to go.”

Eight years ago, SOFLO age group coach Rose Lockie was Salama’s mentor when she decided to compete in masters swimming. Now she is working with her son Travis Lockie in swimming and her coach Dirk Smeets of West Palm Beach. Smeets of the Netherlands has played an integral role in Salama’s progess and success.

Her proudest accomplishment was representing Team USA in 2015 in the ITU World Triathlon Championship in Chicago in her 40-44 age group.

Her progress has been remarkable in eight years.

“I grew up a little bit,” Salama said. “I came to realize despite all of Rose’s efforts and my tenacity and stubbornness I was never going to compete with people who have been swimming all their lives.”

A friend suggested she try triathlons. Her first was a reverse triathlon on a Huffy bike.

“I got out of the water and I thought I got this easy and then everybody passed me on the bike,” Salama said with a laugh. “I crossed the finish line feeling humbled.”

Now Salama is in Kona eyeing that finish line with a different mindset.

“I didn’t know my mindset at first,” Salama said. “When I qualified I was thinking Top 10 in my head but now I have adjusted my goals. A good friend said to me when I qualified for Kona, it was like being the valedictorian of my high school. Now I am in Kona and it’s like Harvard, everyone is a valedictorian. It’s quite a thing to get here and another thing to compete here. It’s really humbling.”

Salama has become an example for those with very little experience or background in sports to start training and competing. When she started masters swimming she had only swam in fifth, sixth and seventh grade. It helped that Academic Village Pool was less than an hour from her house when she decided to train with Rose Lockie for the masters meet.

The rest, as they say, is history. After Kona she wants to spend more time with her family.

“I will hang up my full Ironman shoes, my kids have had it,” Salama said. “I didn’t expect to get this far. But I also don’t want to look back and see that I was a detriment for my children. My family comes first. I told my daughter, who is a soccer phenom, that this is my World Cup, this is what I trained for.

“I am very lucky that I am checking off everything I had as goals. I qualified for 70.3 worlds. I competed in the Olympic distance at worlds. And now I am here at the mecca.

“At this point I just want to do my best and cross that finish line knowing I gave it everything I had. I will be happy with that. I don’t want to put a time out there. This place is so powerful. I just want to do the best of my ability that day.”

For those wanting to follow Salama on the Ironman website tracker, her number is 1618.

Salama will be among 2,400 age group athletes. The largest international athlete field in race history will have 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents represented.

Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 earned their championship opportunity by having finished among the best at one of more than 40 qualifiers around the world.


WHEN: Saturday, 6:35 a.m., (HST).

WHERE: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

COURSE: 2.4-mile swim starts at Kailua Pier and finishes at Kamakahonu Bay; 112-mile bike along Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Kailua-Kona to the turnaround in Hawi; 26.2-mile run winds through the town before heading out to Ali’i Drive.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Daniela Ryf, Switzerland and Jan Frodeno, Germany.

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY: $650,000 pro purse distributed to the Top 10 men and women finishers.

LIVE COVERAGE: Race coverage can be viewed on For live tracking, real time results and instant notifications, fans can download the Ironman Tracker app on Google Play and the iTunes App Store. In addition, NBC will air an event special on Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m.

MEN’S TOP PROS: Jan Frodeno, Germany; Sebastian Kienle, Germany; Benjamin Hoffman, U.S.; Patrick Lange, Germany; Timothy O’Donnell, U.S.; Frederik Van Lierde, Belgium; Kyle Buckingham, South Africa; Tim Don, Great Britain; Pete Jacobs, Australia.

WOMEN’S TOP PROS: Daniela Ryf, Switzerland; Sarah Crowley, Australia; Kaisa Sali, Finland; Sarah Piampiano, U.S.; Heather Jackson, U.S.; Michelle Vesterby, Denmark; Susie Cheetham, Great Britain; Anja Bernek, Germany; Michaela Herlbauer, Austria; Linsey Corbin, U.S.; Leanda Cave, Great Britain.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Hosszu, Sjostrom, Le Clos Shine On Final Day Of FINA World Cup Series; Missouri Tigers Dominate Show-Me Showdown

By Sharon Robb

October 1, 2017—Hungarian Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu just missed the 100-meter individual medley world record on Day Two of the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Series in Hong Kong.

The final session featured some of the world’s best swimmers and series leaders including Hosszu, Sarah Sjostrom and Chad Le Clos.

In the race of the night, Hosszu pulled away from Sjostrom to win the 100 individual medley in 56.97, off her world record of 56.51 and ahead of Sjostrom in 58.62. The two have been the stars of the series.

Hosszu also won the 100-meter backstroke in 56.20 ahead of Aussie Emily Seebohm in 56.71.

Hosszu finished the meet with a win in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:33.55, pulling away from South African Jessica Whelan in 4:50.24.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of SOFLO won her second gold medal of the meet in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.26. She also took third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:26.70; was fourth in the 100-meter individual medley in 59.57; and fifth in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.32. Atkinson automatically qualified for finals and did not have to swim prelims.

On Saturday she won the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.09. It was her seventh gold medal of the 2017 series. She has also taken three bronze medals after three of the eight series stops.

Other winners were:

Sjostrom won the 100-yard freestyle in 51.99 ahead of Ranomi Kromowidjojo in 52.53. She also won the 50-meter butterfly in 24.62 just missing the world record of 24.38.

Le Clos won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:42.88 ahead of American Tom Shields in 1:43.58. Le Clos also won the 100-yard butterfly in 50.28, again ahead of Shields in 50.82.

Cameron van der Burgh won the 100-yard breaststroke in 56.43.

Florida State alum Pavel Sankovich of Belarus won the 50-meter backstroke in 23.03. It was his first win of the weekend meet.

China’s Zhang Yufei won the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.64.

Russian Kirill Prigoda won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:54.81 just out-touching Hong Kong’s Kenneth To in 1:54.83.

Femke Heemskerk won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:04.30.

Russian Vladimir Morozov won the 50-meter freestyle in 20.91, the only sub-21 in the final. Le Clos was second in 21.48.

Canadian Kierra Smith led from start to finish to win the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:18.48.

Christian Diener of Germany won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:51.25.

China’s Qiu Ziao knocked off 800 world champion Gabriele Detti of Italy in the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:44.09. Detti took silver in 14:46.44.

Netherlands won the 4×50 freestyle mixed relay in 1:32.11 with Thom de Boer (22.04), Kyle Stolk (21.69), Femke Heemskerk (24.21) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (24.17).

Next up is Doha, Qatar Oct. 4-5.

FINA has increased the prize money for the top reward among overall series winners from $100,000 to $150,000 for first, $100,000 for second and $50,000 for third. The increase in prize has not attracted more top level swimmers for the remainder of the series. Most of the world’s top swimmers from national teams are not competing.

Coaches and swimmers are planning to start a new pro tour in 2018. It features the concept of a pledge to pay 49 percent of all revenue generated to athletes. FINA’s spend on swimmers amount to less than five percent of available funds.


Missouri men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams hosted the 12th annual Show-Me Showdown, competing against teams from all over the state. The Tigers won 21 combined events on both the men’s and women’s sides.

The women’s team had 700 points and men’s team, led by NSU University School and Pine Crest Swimming Club alum Jordy Groters of Aruba this season, finished with 676 points. Groters, a senior, is one of six returning All-Americans, along with junior Mikel Schreuders, also Aruban. Schreuders won the 100-yard freestyle in 46.00 and was a member of the winning 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays. Both Groters and Schreuders are coming off this summer’s FINA World Championships.

The Tigers next meet is Oct. 14 at home. The men will swim SEC foe South Carolina and women will battle South Carolina and Arkansas.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Sjostrum, Hosszu Steal Spotlight On Day One Of FINA World Cup In Hong Kong; Carter, Tretyakov, Ciesla Win For USC

By Sharon Robb

September 30, 2017—Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden and Katinka Hosszu took center stage, each winning three events on opening day of the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Series Saturday in Hong Kong.

Sjostrum won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:51.77, more than a second ahead of Femke Heemskerk at Victoria Park Swimming Pool.

Sjostrum also won the 100-meter butterfly in 55.32 and 50-meter freestyle in 23.42, virtually unchallenged in those events.

Hosszu won the 50-meter backstroke in 26.24, 200-meter individual medley in 2:05.29 and 200-meter backstroke in 2:03.14, a 2.76-second margin of victory.

Sjostrum leads the series point standings with 90 points ahead of Hosszu. In the men’s standings, Chad Le Clos leads Vladimir Morozov and Kirill Prigoda.

The tour’s second cluster has more entries (six) per event because of the cancellation of the Dubai stop trimming the meets from three to two.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of SOFLO won the 100-meter breaststroke against a less than stellar field in 1:04.09, off her best time of 1:02.36. She was also third in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:12.62. The field featured several club swimmers from Japan.

Other winners were:

Vladimir Morozov won the 100-meter freestyle in 45.91 ahead of Le Clos in 46.10. Morozov won the 100-meter individual medley in 51.64.

American Tom Shields won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:49.62. Le Clos came back to win the 50-meter butterfly in 22.52 ahead of Shields.

Kirill Prigoda won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:04.02.

Cameron van der Burgh won the 50-meter breaststroke in 25.80.

Germany’s Christian Diener won the 100-meter backstroke in 51.44.

Italy’s Gabrielle Detti won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:43.11.

China’s Li Bingjie won the men’s 800-meter freestyle in 8:27.29.

Ayrton Sweeney of South Africa won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:07.76.

The Netherlands won the mixed 200-meter medley relay in 1:40.75 with Ranomi Kromowidjojo splitting 25.63 on the butterfly leg.

The second day of the meet continues on Sunday.


Senior Dylan Carter and freshman Nikita Tretyakov led University of Southern California men’s team to its second road win within 24 hours, 153-141, over Cal Poly on Saturday.

Carter, an American Heritage Plantation alum and Trinidad and Tobago national team member, won the 50-yard butterfly in 20.36. Carter won the 100-yard butterfly in 47.10, a NCAA B cut. Carter was also a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay.

Tretyakov was third in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:51.26.

In USC’s season-opening win over UC Santa Barbara on Friday, Carter was a member of the winning 400-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relays. Carter also won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:38.66 and was second in the 100-yard freestyle in 45.14.

Tretyakov, who swims with Swim Fort Lauderdale in the Florida Gold Coast, was second in the 100-yard butterfly in 49.55.

USC’s first home meet is Oct. 6. against Cal State Bakersfield…

Another top Florida Gold Coast swimmer and Pine Crest alum, Marta Ciesla wasted little time establishing herself her freshman year of college swimming for USC.

USC women’s team won its season-opener, 136-106, at San Diego. Ciesla won two events. Ciesla won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.86 and 100-yard freestyle in 51.92 in her Trojan debut.

Florida International University women’s team, with senior Maria Lopez, a SOFLO alum, knocked off crosstown rival University of Miami, 164.5-115.5 in FIU’s season-opener at home. FIU did not post results online at CollegeSwimming, Meet Mobile or team website after the meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

She Did It! Fifth Time A Charm For Diana Nyad

She Did It! Fifth Time A Charm For Diana Nyad


September 2, 2013

At 64 years old, former Pine Crest swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim 110 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

Just before 2 p.m. on Monday among a cheering crowd, Nyad walked out of the water onto Smathers Beach in Key West, pumped her fists and collapsed into her support team’s collective arms after 52 hours, 54 minutes and 18.6 seconds of swimming non-stop.

“This has been my lifelong dream,” said Nyad, sunburned and a little dazed. “Never ever give up. You’re never too old to chase your dreams. It looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team.”

Nyad was examined by paramedics. Her doctors said her lips and tongue were swollen from the salt water and swimming mask. She also had abrasions in her mouth from her mask.

Thirty-five years after her first attempt, the legendary U.S. distance swimmer ended her historic swim on her fifth and final attempt.

Aussie Susan Maroney was the first and only person to successfully swim across the Florida Straits in 1997 at age 22, but was protected by a shark cage.

Nyad, born in New York City, moved with her family to Fort Lauderdale where she grew up and started swimming seriously in seventh grade. She attended Pine Crest in the mid-1960s where she won three state high school titles in the backstroke. She was introduced to marathon swimming by the late Buck Dawson, former director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Nyad left Hemingway Marina in Havana, Cuba on Saturday at 8:59:02 a.m. in her final bid to swim across the treacherous Florida Straits. She said before her swim that it would be the “last time” she would attempt to make what seemed to many an impossible dream come true.

At her Friday news conference, she seemed confident that she would succeed this time around.

“The message is be your best self,” Nyad said.

“People who go to Mt. Everest…sometimes it takes them 20 years to make it, after mounting expedition after expedition,” she said. “No one has ever done this before without a shark cage, though people have tried since the 1950s. It’s not enough to be a strong swimmer, you need a lot of luck, too.

“It’s a fine line between having the grace to let go of something you don’t have control over and just can’t beat…and I could be in that place…except I had to ask myself, is there a way? I feel stronger and more prepared then I’ve ever been. It’s a fine line between seeing things are bigger than you are and there’s another fine line, an edge, where you don’t want to ever give up.”

Nyad was monitored by a medical staff of team doctors. She fed every 45 minutes on everything from pasta and peanut butter sandwiches to a smoothie mixture of bananas, peanut butter and honey. The only medication she took was Tylenol for her sore shoulders.

About two miles out from shore, an emotionally-charged Nyad started treading water while she motioned to her team.

“I am about to swim my last two miles in the ocean,” she said. “This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very glad to be with you. Some on the team are the most intimate friends of my life and some of you I’ve just met. But I’ll tell you something, you’re a special group. You pulled through, you are pros and have a great heart. So let’s get going so we can have a whopping party.”

Last August Nyad ended her fourth big because of lightning storms and jellyfish stings. Her first attempt was in 1978 when she was just 28 years old.

Nyad is already in the history books. She set an open sea record for both men and women by swimming from the Bahamas to the Florida Keys in 1979, about the same distance as the Cuba-Florida swim but far less dangerous.

Ten support boats assembled around her at the 2.5-mile mark. The beach started filling up with hundreds of curious onlookers, whistling fans and tourists about an hour before she arrived as well as a small flotilla in the waters’ shallow part.

The biggest difference this time around was Nyad wearing a prosthetic mask on her face to ward off jellyfish and their venomous stings. Weather conditions were relatively ideal over the weekend. She ran into rough weather only twice.

“The stars were just aligned,” said one of her supporters.

Nyad was accompanied by a 45-member team, several yachts and kayakers.

“Happy Labor Day has a new meaning when you’ve swum 50 non-stop hours working your mind, body, and spirit to realize your XtremeDream,” her crew tweeted

Tweeted Olympian Melvin Stewart, “Been praying for Diana Nyad on and off for 50 hours now…something tells me I’m one of millions praying for her.”

Stewart later followed with “I haven’t cried over a swim since Michael Phelps went 8-for-8 until today.”

Even President Barack Obama tweeted “Congratulations, never give up on your dreams.”
By 3 p.m., Nyad was trending around the world!!!
Sharon Robb can be reached at

Junior Swimmers Shine At World Championships

Junior Swimmers Shine At World Championships


August 31, 2013

USA Swimming National Junior Team head coach Jack Roach said it best when describing the FINA Junior World Championship Championships in Dubai as “making memories and building the future.”

The six-day meet came to a close on Saturday after a week of impressive swimming and 47 meet records, making it the best in meet history.

On the final day, Aussie Mackenzie Horton won the 1500-meter freestyle in a meet record 14:56.60 and Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania won the 50-meter freestyle in 25.10, both of them finishing with four gold medals.

Team USA’s Caeleb Dressel of Bolles won the 100-meter freestyle after a 23.03 opening 50-meter split to win in a meet record 48.97. It also broke the U.S. national age group record (17-18) set by Michael Phelps in 2004 in 49.05.

Teammate Andrew Seliskar won the 200-meter butterfly in a meet record 1:56.42 including a third 50-meter split of 29.04.

Australia won the gold medal count with 10 followed by Team USA and Russia, each with nine. The U.S. finished with 28 total medals, Russia had 26 and Australia had 18.

The U.S. won the combined (989 points), boys (410) and girls (517) team titles and received the Championship Trophy.

Florida Gold Coast swimmers were in the international spotlight.

AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy, the only FGC swimmer on the U.S. junior national team, took home three bronze medals and Dylan Carter of Davie Nadadores grabbed a silver medal.

Smiddy will now return home to compete for the South Florida Heat in high school swimming as a senior. Carter of Plantation American Heritage, who represents Trinidad and Tobago, is heading to California for college in January.

Twelve other FGC swimmers represented their international countries and several turned in lifetime-best times against a world-class field.

The 2015 FINA World Juniors Championships are set for Singapore.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Clara Smiddy Wins Individual Medal At Junior Worlds

Clara Smiddy Wins Individual Medal At Junior Worlds


August 30, 2013

Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks won her first major individual international medal Friday at the FINA World Junior Championships in Dubai.

Smiddy, 17, of the South Florida Heat swim team, finished third in the 50-meter backstroke for a bronze medal on Day 5 of the six-day meet.

Smiddy finished in a lifetime-best 28.86, ahead of U.S. teammate Kathleen Baker and Olympian Ruta Meilutyte. Smiddy’s previous best was 29.10 which she first lowered in prelims in 29.08 and again in semifinals in 28.88.

It was her third bronze medal. She was also part of the U.S. team’s third place 400-meter mixed medley and 400-meter medley relays.

Smiddy, a member of the U.S. junior national team, had just missed a medal in the 100-meter backstroke earlier in the week by .06 seconds.

Smiddy, working on her third taper, was all smiles on the awards podium and wrapping up her final event.

U.S. teammate Becca Mann of Clearwater won the 1500-meter freestyle by 10 seconds in 16:23.89. Isabella Rongione, also of the U.S., took the bronze in 16:35.28.

American Gunnar Bentz won the 400-meter individual medley in a meet record 4:14.97.

The U.S. collected six medals including two gold medals. Seven more meet records were also broken to bring the weeklong total to 39.

Russian Svetlana Chimrova has broken five meet records in all five of her swims.

Davie’s Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago took a silver in the 50-meter butterfly in 23.98. All three medalists were inside a 0.05-second gap.

The meet concludes on Saturday.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Dylan Carter, Davie, Trinidad and Tobago, 100-meter freestyle, 5th, 49.93, best time; 50-meter butterfly, 2nd, 23.98.

Renzo Tjon-A-Joe, Davie, Suriname, 100-meter freestyle, 18th, 51.16, best time.

Zu Pigot, Metro Aquatics, Suriname, 100-meter freestyle, 48th, 52.88.

Tyla Martin, Pine Crest, Trinidad and Tobago, 100-meter butterfly, 29th, 1:04.08.

Jordy Groters, Davie, University School, Aruba, 50-meter breaststroke, 29.17, best time

Wayne Denswil, Metro Aquatics, St. Brendan’s, Suriname, 30.67, best time.

Daniela Veloza, Titan Aquatics, Colombia, 1500-meter freestyle, 21st, 18:08.05.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Heat’s Clara Smiddy Makes Second Final At Junior Worlds

South Florida Heat’s Clara Smiddy Makes Second Final At Junior Worlds


August 29, 2013

Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks and South Florida Heat will go after her first individual medal Friday at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai.

Smiddy, 17, got through Thursday’s prelims (best time 29.08) and semifinals (best time 28.88) of the 50-meter backstroke, which she was seeded fifth in going into the week-long meet, her first major international meet as a member of the U.S. junior national team.

Smiddy just missed a medal by .06 in her specialty event 100-meter backstroke and swam the mixed medley relay prelims for the U.S. team.

Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel, two weeks after turning 17, broke his first 17-17 national age group record in the 50-meter freestyle in 22.22. He finished third for a bronze, 1/10th better than the previous mark of 22.32 set by Bolles teammate Santo Condorelli two weeks ago at junior nationals.

Dressel has both the 15-16 and 17-18 age group records.

Six meet records fell on Thursday with Russia leading the way.

Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte won two events in meet record times within forty minutes. She won the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley and also competed in the 50-meter backstroke semifinals.

After four days of swimming Russia and Australia dominate the medal tally with the U.S. third on the list.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Clara Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks, United States, 50-meter backstroke, 8th, 29.08, best time; 6th, 28.88, best time.

Brieen Renfrum, Metro Aquatics, Suriname, 50-meter backstroke, 30.91, best time.

Dylan Carter, Davie, Trinidad and Tobago, 50-meter butterfly, 2nd, 23.87, best time, 5th, 24.16.

Zu Pigot, Metro Aquatics, Suriname, 50-meter butterfly, 21st, 25.03, best time.

Tyla Martin, Pine Crest, Trinidad and Tobago, 400-meter freestyle, 27th, 4:32.72.

Daniela Veloza, Titan Aquatics, Colombia, 400-meter freestyle, 29th, 4:36.53, best time.

Jordy Groters, University School, Davie, Aruba, 200-meter breaststroke, 35th, 2:22.95.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy Competes Thursday; U.S. Continues To Shine At Junior Worlds

AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy Competes Thursday; U.S. Continues To Shine At Junior Worlds


August 29, 2013

In one of the upsets of the meet, American Kylie Stewart of Dynamo Swim Club won the 200-meter backstroke on Day Three of the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships Wednesday in Dubai.

Stewart knocked off U.S. teammate Kathleen Baker with a meet record 2:09.74. Baker took the silver in 2:10.68.

In a bizarre finish, U.S. teammates Justin Lynch and Matthew Josa touched in 53.27 to tie for the bronze medal in the 100-meter butterfly. Japan’s Takaya Yasue won the gold medal in 53.01.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey won the 100-meter freestyle in 54.47.

Aussie Mack Horton won the 800-meter freestyle in 7:45.67, breaking the meet record by 10 seconds.

In the 50-meter freestyle semifinals, Bolles Caeleb Dressel swam 22.41 after going 22.50 in prelims. Dressel swam a 48.83 anchor split to bring the U.S. from behind to take a silver in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

After three days of swimming, the U.S. has 14 medals (five gold, six silver and three bronze).

Clara Smiddy, 17, a senior with South Florida Heat is seeded fifth in the 50-meter backstroke. She was scheduled to compete in the prelims on Thursday morning and semifinals Thursday night.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Tyla Martin, Pine Crest, Trinidad and Tobago, 50-meter butterfly, 39th, 29.14; 200-meter backstroke, 36th, 2:26.64.

Zu Pigot, Metro Aquatics, St. Brendan’s, Suriname, 50-meter freestyle, 25th, 23.64.

Jordy Groters, Davie, University School, 50-meter freestyle, 38th, 24.07.

Brienne Renfrum, Metro Aquatics, St. Brendan’s, Suriname, 200-meter backstroke, 46th, 2:36.31.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Florida Gold Coast’s Clara Smiddy Just Misses Backstroke Medal At Junior Worlds

Florida Gold Coast’s Clara Smiddy Just Misses Backstroke Medal At Junior Worlds


August 27, 2013

Clara Smiddy of the South Florida Heat just missed medaling in her individual event on Day Two of the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai.

Smiddy, 17, of AquaKids Sharks, seeded third (1:01.35) going into the championship final of the 100-meter backstroke, was out-touched finishing in 1:01.33, just .06 out of third place.
“A great experience no matter what,” said her AquaKids Sharks coach Lou Manganiello.

Smiddy swam the prelims of the 400-meter mixed medley relay (1:01.59) and helped the U.S. team earn the second seed.

The U.S. came back at night to take bronze in the relay in 3:52.63 behind Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel’s anchor leg (48.70) that brought the U.S. from fifth to third enabling Smiddy to get a bronze relay medal.

Smiddy has the 50-meter backstroke individual event remaining in the meet that ends on Saturday.

Davie’s Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago also finished fourth in the 100-meter backstroke in 55.36. Carter was seeded third in 55.64.

Clearwater’s Becca Mann was second in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:37.85. Earlier, Mann was fifth in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:13.51.

Dressel was fifth in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.29.

The U.S. team took five medals on Day Two. Kathryn McLaughlin won her second gold medal of the meet in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.72 and Gunnar Bentz of Atlanta won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:59.44 to lead the U.S. contingent.

After two days, the U.S. has won four gold, four silver and one bronze.

Kathleen Baker took a silver in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.18.

Aussie Mack Horton broke the 400-meter freestyle meet record in 3:50.25 during prelims. Lithuanian 16-year-old Ruta Meilutyte broke the meet record in the 50-meter breaststroke in 31.10.

Other Florida Gold Coast results:

Jordy Groters, University School, Davie, Aruba, 200-meter individual medley, 25th, 2:09.35.

Tyla Martin, Pine Crest, Trinidad and Tobago, 200-meter butterfly, 32nd, 2:24.15.

Dylan Carter, Davie, Trinidad and Tobago, fifth, 200-meter freestyle, 1:49.39, prelims and scratched from finals.

Christian Selby, Davie, Barbadoes, 43rd, 200-meter freestyle, 1:58.63.

Zu Pigot, Metro Aquatics, St. Brendan’s, Suriname, 100-meter butterfly, 21st, 55.44.

Sidrell Williams, St. Andrew’s, Jamaica, 100-meter butterfly, 43rd, 58.78.

Sharon Robb can be reached at