FSU Swimmer, Former St. Andrew’s Swimmer, Water Polo Standout McKenna Keith Diagnosed With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

By Sharon Robb

TALLAHASSEE, September 6, 2018—McKenna Keith, a St. Andrew’s School All-American swimmer and now a Florida State senior, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The disease is a cancer of the lymphatic system. She is undergoing chemotherapy through December and hopes to return after her treatment is complete.

Keith, whose family lives in Boca Raton, lettered in swimming and water polo for four years at St. Andrew’s in Boca Raton. She was a three-time All-American in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays and 400-yard medley relay.

Keith transferred to FSU last season after starting her collegiate career at South Carolina where she swam her freshman and sophomore seasons, competed in four events and had six Top 10 finishes during the regular season. As a freshman she was the team’s top sprinter. She was named to the 2017 Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Her FSU teammates have set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for her rent payments. Keith has a lease at her school apartment and is responsible for rent in addition to medical expenses.

The page reads “on top of all of the medical costs she is already facing, we do not want rent and utilities to be an extra burden for her family.

“We want McKenna to be able to come back and be able to live in her room in our apartment without any worry about violating or cancelling the lease. The Seminole family is behind her every step of the way as we anticipate her healthy return next semester.”

As of Thursday, $6,175 has been raised.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Louisville’s Acosta, Bradford-Feldman Top FGC Finishers On Day Two Of TYR Pro Swim Series In Austin; SOFLO’s Golding Races Twice

By Sharon Robb

January 12, 2018—Marcelo Acosta and Rachel Bradford-Feldman, both of the University of Louisville were top Florida Gold Coast finishers Friday in the TYR Pro Swim Series at Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center.

Acosta, 21, was fifth in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:01.14. His seed time was 7:55.70. Zane Grothe, swimming unattached for Mission Viejo, won the event in 7:56.69. Acosta was also 10th in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:51.78 on Thursday night.

Acosta, a junior and El Salvador native, trains with Azura Florida Aquatics. Acosta redshirted to prepare for the 2016 Olympics. He became the first swimmer from El Salvador to qualify for the OLympics with an “A” cut. He also qualified for the 2017 World Championships in Hungary.

Louisville’s Rachel Bradford-Feldman, 20, a former St. Andrew’s swimmer, was fifth in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:14.92.

Kathleen Golding of South Florida Aquatic Club had two prelim races on Friday. Golding, 17, finished 19th in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:19.35. She was seeded 24th. Her best time is 2:17.19. In the 100-meter freestyle she was 34th in 57.76. Her best time is 56.20.

Golding has completed four of her seven events she is entered in. She has the 50-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly left to swim.

In the most exciting race of the night, veteran swimmer and Olympian Matt Grevers, 32, of Tucson Ford edged Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 22, of Cal Aquatics in the 100-meter backstroke, 53.73-53.99.

2016 Olympian Tom Shields returned home to Berkley, Calif. after complaining of back and health issues. Shields posted a photo on his Instagram page undergoing cupping at his chiropracter’s office. He has been recovering from a couple of long-needed surgeries and was worn down after training camp.

The TYR Pro Swim Series at Austin is the first of six stops for the series and will be swum in long course meters. Prelims will begin 9 a.m. CST through Saturday with finals beginning at 5:40 p.m. CST on Saturday.

TYR is the official outfitter for South Florida Aquatic Club.

NBC Sports will provide live coverage of the TYR Pro Swim Series at Austin on live television on Olympic Channel on Saturday. Each finals broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. ET. A live webcast of prelims will be available online at usaswimming.org.

AquaKids Sharks Hailey Jerew, 17, and Mary Smutny, 17; Azura Florida Aquatic’s Patricia Casellas, 27, Luis Flores, 23, Edson Lima, 23, Daniel Torres, 26, and Gonzalo Vegas, 20 are also competing for the Florida Gold Coast. Florida Gold Coast college swimmers Marcelo Acosta and Rachael Bradford Feldman are competing for University of Louisville.

Other meet stops are Atlanta, Mesa, Ariz., Indianapolis, Santa Clara, Columbus and U.S. Nationals.



800-meter freestyle: 1. Bingjie Li, China 8:28.98, best time, 2. Kriste Kobrich, China 8:35.65, 3. Hannah Moore, NC State 8:36.87.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Regan Smith, Riptide 59.38, pool record, 2. Taylor Ruck, HPCO 1:00.18, 3. Olivia Smoliga, Athens Bulldogs 1:00.23, 83. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 1:09.31.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Alys Thomas, Wales 2:09.50, 2. Yufei Zhang, China 2:10.22, 3. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs 2:10.37, 24. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:18.31.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Katie Meili, New York Athletic Club 1:06.49, 2. Rachel Nicol, UCSC 1:07.70, 3. Molly Hannis, TNAQ 1:07.93, 36. Rachel Bradford-Feldman, UOFL 1:14.10, 46. Patricia Casellas, Azura 1:15.91, 55. Hailey Jerew, AquaKids Sharks 1:20.54.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Taylor Ruck, HPCO 53.51, 2. Margo Geer, MVN 53.74, 3. Kayla Sanchez, HPCO 54.71, 34. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 57.76, 47. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 57.97, 100. Hailey Jerew, AquaKids Sharks 1:01.77.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M 2:09.92, pool record, 2. Melanie Margalis, SPA 2:10.66, 3. Madisyn Cox, Longhorn Aquatics 2:10.98, 5. Rachel Bradford-Feldman, Louisville 2:14.92, 19. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:19.35.


800-meter freestyle: 1. Zane Grothe, MV 7:56.69, 2. Anton Ipsen, NC State 7:57.64, 3. Clark Smith, Longhorn Aquatics 8:00.70, 5. Marcelo Acosta, Louisville 8:01.14.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford 53.73, 2. Ryan Murphy, California Aquatis 53.99, 3. Justin Ress, NC State 54.43, 27. Daniel Torres, Azura 57.83.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs 1:55.63, 2. Masayu Umemoto, RQ 1:57.64, 3. Jack Conger, Nation’s Capital 1:58.09.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Zibei Yan, China 59.84, 2. Andrew Wilson, Longhorn Aquatics 1:00.90, 3. Nic Fink, Athens Bulldogs 1:01.40.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Nathan Adrian, Cal Aquatics 48.75, 2. Ryan Held, NC State 49.35, 3. Daniel Krueger, McFarland Spartans 49.77, 31. Daniel Torres, Azura 52.59, 40. Jhonny Perez, Azura 53.03.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs 1:57.50, 2. Will Licon, Longhorn Aquatics 2:01.08, 3. Carson Foster, Mason Manta Rays 2:01.46,

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas “Living The Dream” At Florida State

By Sharon Robb

November 28, 2014—Marc Rojas came home for Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with family, friends, teammates and coaches at South Florida Aquatic Club.

Rojas, 20, is enjoying his first season competing in NCAA Division I swimming at Florida State.

Now a junior, Rojas spent his first two seasons at national champion Indian River State College. He was an NJCAA national champion in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 2013 posting a career-best 15:38.80.

In high school, he was the first sophomore ever to win a state high school title at Pembroke Pines Charter in 2009.

Now he hopes to add to his swimming resume over the next two seasons working with second-year FSU head coach Frankie Bradley, a former St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Pine Crest club swimmer, Florida State swimmer and former Auburn associate head coach and Indian River head coach.

FSU is a Division I program on the rise and back in the college swimming spotlight under Bradley’s guidance.

The transition from club and his first two years of college swimming to a Division I team took time, Rojas admitted.

“I really just got adjusted maybe three weeks ago,” Rojas said. “It took me a while training-wise. The program is really tough and it challenges you. I love that stuff.

“It’s a new environment, new coaches and I am learning things every day,” Rojas said. “My swimming is improving.”

In the Seminoles’ recent 168-119 victory over Florida Southern, Rojas was second in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:08.24 with a 1:01.83 split.

“I am definitely excited about the future,” Rojas said. “I knew I wanted to go to Florida State. I took my trip there and I told myself this is the place. This is the place where I feel I am going to excel the most. I love it there. I am so thankful to be there. I worked very hard and it’s all paying off.

“It is a dream come true.”

Rojas is enjoying the perks that come with being a college athlete including the athletic cafeteria with healthy food geared toward elite athletes. “I go for the yogurt, fruit and bagels between classes all the time,” he said with a smile.

Rojas is competing in his specialty breaststroke and freestyle events and relays.

“I want to see what I can do,” Rojas said. “It’s great training with all these quality athletes along with the pros like (FSU alum) Pavel Sankovich (of Belarus) and Jared Pike (of the United Kingdom).

“It’s cool when you see the pros coming here to train with Frank. Being around those athletes you can see the way they train. We can train with them and it makes you better.”

The Seminoles next meet is the Dec. 5-7 Georgia Invite in Athens, Ga. FSU also has a training trip scheduled at Indian River.

The biggest meets of the season Rojas is looking forward to are the Feb. 25-28 Men’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in Atlanta and March 26-28 Men’s NCAA Championships in Iowa City, Iowa.

“This is a top tier team and we have big goals for ourselves,’ Rojas said. “We don’t mess around, we don’t play any games. This is the real deal. This is what I have been looking for. This is where greatness happens.”

Rojas returns to Tallahassee this weekend. He was happy to get a chance to see his SOFLO teammates and SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson and age group coach Rose Lockie of Pembroke Pines Charter, who made a huge difference in his life.

“The relationships I built here are going to last forever,” Rojas said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas Second For Florida State, Seminoles Sweep Florida Southern

By Sharon Robb

November 7, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Marc Rojas, competing in his first season for Florida State, was second in the 200-yard breaststroke to help lead the Seminoles to a 168-119 victory over Florida Southern during Homecoming Weekend in Tallahassee.

Rojas, a junior, was second in 2:08.24 behind teammate Storm Hewitt in 2:06.62. His 100 split was 1:01.83.

Rojas was also a member of the 400-yard medley “B” relay that finished second in 3:22.47 and 200-yard medley “B” relay that finished third in 1:33.91.

The Seminoles combined to win 12 events.

FSU women’s team, honoring its Paint it Pink campaign, also defeated Florida Southern 171-114. Both teams are 1-2.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

American Heritage Sweeps David Posnack JCC In Dual Meet; SOFLO’s Pinon, Kopecki, Rossi Score

By Sharon Robb

October 7, 2014—In a more relaxing atmosphere, American Heritage got the opportunity to swim most of its swimmers in its meet against David Posnack JCC.

American Heritage won the combined, 259-68; girls, 120-40 and boys, 139-28, team titles.

Because of Posnack’s lack of depth, American Heritage swept the top three places in several events and swept all three boys and girls relays.

The boys won every individual event and swept all three relays.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Julien Pinon and Fernando Bohorquez were double winners.

Pinon won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:45.71 and 100-yard freestyle in 48.06.

Bohorquez won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:00.75 and 100-yard butterfly in 53.12.

SOFLO teammate CJ Kopecki won his first event in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:57.29, the only swimmer to dip under 5 minutes. Kopecki was also a member of the winning 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.

SOFLO’s Cristian Rossi was third in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:01.39 and was a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay team.

In the girls races, American Heritage won every event except the 100-yard breaststroke won by Posnack’s Maddie Sumkin in 1:22.03.

Catharine Cooper, Alexandra Pacitti and Lindsay Hay were double winners. Cooper won off-events in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:02.90 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:27.21.

Pacitti won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:06.71 and 100-yard backstroke in 1:06.65.

Hay won the 100-yard freestyle in 56.90 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:19.53.


American Heritage 259, David Posnack JCC 68


American Heritage 120, David Posnack JCC 40


200-yard medley relay: 1. American Heritage “A” 2:02.31 (Lindsay Hay, Gabrianna Banks, Catharine Cooper, Alexandra Pacitti), 2. American Heritage “B” 2:17.20, 3. David Posnack 2:32.06.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Catharine Cooper, AH 2:02.90, 2. Zoe Abovitz, DP 2:19.84, 3. Tiana Brannan, AH 2:21.71.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Lindsay Hay, AH 2:19.53, 2. Marissa Brannan, AH 2:21.78, 3. Maddie Sumkin, DP 2:52.37.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Madison Parelle, AH 29.93, 2. Rachel Levy, DP 30.25, 3. Jenifer Prine, AH 31.21.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Alexandra Pacitti, AH 1:06.71, 2. Gabrianna, AH 1:10.68, 3. Rachel Levy, DP 1:17.31.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Lindsay Hay, AH 56.90, 2. Marissa Brannan, AH 58.53, 3. Anna Rogers, AH 1:14.31.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Catharine Cooper, AH 5:27.21, 2. Zoe Abovitz, DP 6:00.43, 3. Gabrianna Banks, AH 6:01.59.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. American Heritage “A” 1:57.15 (Marissa Brannan, Tiana Brannan, Sumera Subzwari, Lindsay Hay), 2. American Heritage “B” 2:08.56, 3. David Posnack “A” 2:24.66.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Alexandra Pacitti, AH 1:06.65, 2. Tiana Brannan, AH 1:14.43, 3. Kassidy Kadosh, AH 1:35.16.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Maddie Sumkin, DP 1:22.03, 2. Madison Parelle, AH 1:25.03, 3. Anna Rogers, AH 1:33.00.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. American Heritage “A” (Gabrianna Banks, Alexandra Pacitti, Catharine Cooper, Jenifer Prine), 2. David Posnack “A” 4:43.68, 3. American Heritage “B” 5:29.34.


American Heritage 139, David Posnack JCC 28


200-yard medley relay: 1. American Heritage “C” 1:51.81 (Jacob Rogatinsky, Diego Rodriguez, CJ Kopecki, Steffen Willem), 2. American Heritage “B” 1:52.03, 3. David Posnack “A” 2:05.46.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Julien Pinon, AH 1:45.71, 2. Carlos Rodriguez, AH 1:55.50, 3. Jonathan Farah, AH 1:58.15.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Fernando Bohorquez, AH 2:00.75, 2. Nico Medina, AH 2:10.53, 3. Elad Fraiman, DP 2:20.32.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Sebastian Vargas, AH 23.84, 2. Marcos Serur, AH 24.40, 3. Diego Rodriguez, AH 24.84.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Fernando Bohorquez, AH 53.12, 2. Chris Garcia, AH 53.21, 3. Cristian Rossi, AH 1:01.39.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Julien Pinon, AH 48.06, 2. Jonathan Farah, AH 52.43, 3. Carlos Rodriguez, AH 52.96.

500-yard freestyle: 1. CJ Kopecki, AH 4:57.29, 2. Sebastian Vargas, AH 5:06.34, 3. Taylor Eaddy, AH 5:07.25.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. American Heritage “A” 1:39.09 (Alejandro Lombo, Marcos Serur, Cristian Rossi, Steffen Willem), 2. David Posnack “A” 1:51.28, 3. American Heritage “C” 2:11.15.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Jacob Rogatinsky, AH 1:03.56, 2. Nicholas Pacitti, AH 1:05.71, 3. Luis Cortez, AH 1:12.09.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Taylor Eaddy, AH 1:06.53, 2. Elad Fraiman, DP 1:11.66, 3. Ian Olsson, AH 1:12.34.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. American Heritage “C” 3:24.19 (CJ Kopecki, Chris Garcia, Taylor Eaddy, Steffen Willem), 2. American Heritage “A” 3:30.59, 3. American Heritage “B” 3:31.00.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SWIM ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Ends Swimming Career As FSU’s Most Valuable Swimmer

SWIM ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Ends Swimming Career As FSU’s Most Valuable Swimmer

By Sharon Robb

April 22, 2014

Longtime Comets and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer Tiffany Oliver ended one chapter of her life and is about to embark on a new journey in law school.

The Florida State Senior and four-year swimmer for the Seminoles was honored at the team’s recent banquet as one of three Most Valuable Swimmers.

Oliver shared honors with Madison Jacobi and Pavel Sankovich.

Oliver’s college legacy includes school records in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.02 and 100-yard freestyle in the 100-yard freestyle. Her best time in the 200-yard freestyle was 1:46.72.

She was also the first Seminole in history to defend her sprint titles at the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. She qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials and three NCAA Championship meets.

Oliver, an honors student, was accepted into FSU’s law school.

“I thought we had a great season,” FSU first-year coach Frankie Bradley said. “All our award winners were picked by the coaching staff and they were very deserving. These athletes had an impact on our program this year.”

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers and divers honored were Mikey Lewark, Jason Coombs, Connor Knight and Jason McCormick.


South Florida Aquatic Club’s Amber Hunter of West Broward High School was among athletes from south area high schools to be honored recently by the Broward County Athletic Association Scholar Athletes Monday at the Signature Grand in Davie.


Freshman Kira Toussaint of Florida Gulf Coast was named Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimmer of the Year. During her first season she broke eight FGCU records including four individual and four relays and also four CCSA records. Toussaint, an All-American, is a teammate of SOFLO swimmer Marcella Marinheiro, who also finished her freshman season.


George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago heads the field for this weekend’s fifth annual TYR JAX 50. All proceeds benefit Planet Swim Foundation with the goal of providing learn-to-swim lessons to in-need children in the Jacksonville area. On Friday night the 100s and 200 individual medley events will be held. Saturday morning the 50s will be held to determine the Top 8 qualifiers in each age group for the three-race bracket challenge. It will be live-streamed by Florida Swim Network.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

California Wins Team Title, Cordes Breaks Second American Record, Murphy Wins Second Title At NCAA Championships

California Wins Team Title, Cordes Breaks Second American Record, Murphy Wins Second Title At NCAA Championships

By Sharon Robb

March 29, 2014

The University of California Bears came to swim Saturday night at the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

By the third event on the final night of competition, the Bears knew the title was theirs.

Headed into the championship finals at the University of Texas’ Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center, only six points separated leader Texas and California but that all changed quickly after the first two events.

After a perfect dual-meet season and second consecutive conference title, California won its third team title in four years and fifth overall in the program’s history with 468.5 points.

Texas was second with 417.5 followed by Florida with 387 and defending champion Michigan fourth with 310. Florida State under first year coach Frankie Bradley finished 14th with 105 and University of Miami was 25th with 26 points, all in diving.

Cal had seven swimmers in the “A” finals and two in consolations. Texas had five in the “A” finals and five in consolations.

California freshman Ryan Murphy, 18, swept the backstroke events winning his second NCAA title in the 200-yard backstroke in an NCAA record 1:37.35, all but clinching the national title.

The Bolles alum and race favorite led from the start and was ahead of American record pace by half a second until the final five yards. Murphy also re-broke his 17-18 national age group record of 1:38.15.

Cal teammate Jacob Pedley was fourth in 1:39.59. Murphy and Pedley earned 35 points for the Bears. After the backstroke and mile, the Bears led Texas, 364.54-349.5.

“It’s all about the team title,” Murphy said. “We did everything we could do to contribute to the team. It was a great start to the evening. I hope we can keep rolling. It would be awesome if we did make a difference for the team title in this race.”

Arizona’s Kevin Cordes stole a little of California’s thunder with his second American record of the meet.

Cordes won the 200-yard breaststroke in an American, NCAA and U.S. Open record 1:48.66, breaking the record by 2/100ths of a second.

It was Cordes 11th American short course record in the last two years.

After the first 50, Cordes was a second ahead of American record pace, taking five strokes per 25. With clean walls and perfect streamline, he built a three-body length lead over some of the best breaststrokers in the world.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Cordes said. “It hasn’t really set in yet. I just go out there every day and try to improve. It’s just about different strategies, learning to swim and execute.”

After the breaststroke, Cal had a 412.5-370.5 lead.

In other championship races:

1,650-yard freestyle: Defending champion Connor Jaeger of Michigan led from wire-to-wire to win in a pool record 14:29.27. Cal senior Jeremy Bagshaw, who swam in an earlier heat, finished second in 14:39 to score 17 points for the Bears in their title run. After the event, California led Texas by 11, 329.5-318.5. Florida sophomore Arthur Frayler was third in 14:43.08.

100-yard freestyle: Brazilian Joao De Lucca of Louisville fought off fellow Brazilian Marcelo Chierighini of Auburn to win in 41.70. He is the first swimmer to sweep the 100 and 200 freestyle titles since Gustavo Borges accomplished the feat in 1995. Florida State senior and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Paul Murray was 20th in 42.70. Chierighini had broken the pool record in prelims in 41.52. Cal’s lead was 385.5-365.5 over Texas.

200-yard butterfly: South African Dylan Bosch, a sophomore at Michigan, knocked off Florida’s Marcin Cieslak to win in an NCAA and U.S. Open record of 1:39.33. Cieslak was second in 1:40.19. Florida State junior Connor Knight, a Florida Gold Coast swimmer, won the “B” final in 1:42.25.

“I had a pretty good feeling I could get it,” Bosch said. “This is the fastest meet in the world. It is crazy. I always thought I had a chance to get the record. I wanted to do it for my teammates. We all train together so well. Records are there to be broken. Just to be in the books and written into history is a great feeling.”

10-meter platform diving: Defending champion Nick McCrory of Duke nailed his final dive to make history as the only diver ever to win four consecutive NCAA platform titles. The Olympic bronze medalist finished with 454.85 that included a 10 on his final dive. Rafael Quintero of Arizona was second with 452.40 points.

“I was up there doing the math in my head what scores I had to average, I knew it was a tall order,” said McCrory, who scratched from 3-meter with an injury. “I tried to do my best. It was better than I thought when I hit the water. For me this is huge. I couldn’t ask for a better way to go out at Duke.”

400-yard freestyle relay: With two freshmen duking it out on the anchor leg for Auburn and N.C. State, Auburn, led by freshman Kyle Darmody knocked off a stacked field to win the final event of the night in a meet record 2:48.33. Cal was second in 2:49.48 and N.C. State, with freshman Areas Schiellerup on anchor leg, was third in 2:49.50.

In all, 56 schools and 270 participants—235 swimmers and 35 divers—competed in the three-day meet.

For those who would like to again watch the NCAA Men and Women Swimming and Diving Championships, ESPNU is re-broadcasting the women’s meet on April 2 at 9 p.m., April 3 at 11 p.m. and April 11 at 10 p.m. The men’s meet will be re-broadcast on April 9 at 8 p.m., April 10 at two times, 1 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Three American Records Fall At NCAA Championships; Murphy Wins First NCAA Title As Freshman

Three American Records Fall At NCAA Championships; Murphy Wins First NCAA Title As Freshman

Three American Records Fall At NCAA Men’s Championships; Murphy Wins First NCAA Title As Freshman

By Sharon Robb

March 28, 2014

On an amazing night of fast swimming, three American records were shattered Friday night at the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships.

Headed into the third and final night of competition at the University of Texas’ Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center, Texas leads with 318.5 followed by California with 312.5, Florida with 279 and Michigan with 225. Florida State is tenth with 96.

Three American records, two individual and one relay, fell on Friday night.

In the 400-yard individual medley, defending champion and top-seed Chase Kalisz of Georgia pulled away from the field to win in an American, NCAA, U.S. Open and pool record of 3:34.50, taking nearly two seconds off the previous record.

After a solid first half, the 6-foot-4 Kalisz came on strong in the back half on the breaststroke and freestyle legs to post the fastest time in the event’s history.

“The whole season I was looking at that record,” Kalisz said. “I told my coach that’s what I wanted to get. We worked on my front half. I got it done today. I couldn’t be happier.”

Florida junior Dan Wallace was second in 3:38.17. Florida teammate Carlos Omana, a Florida Gold Coast swimmer for Metro Aquatics, was 36th in 3:49.69.

Two-time defending champion Kevin Cordes of Arizona blistered his own American, NCAA and U.S. Open record in the 100-yard breaststroke to win his third NCAA title in the event in 50.04, winning by nearly a second and a half. He went out in 23.58, his fastest first half ever.

Cordes has now broken the record seven times in the last two years.

Cordes first broke his own American, NCAA and U.S. Open record during morning prelims in 50.55. The junior’s splits were 23.95 and 26.60. His previous best was 50.70.

Cordes now has the four fastest times in the history of the event.

In the 200-yard medley relay, California, which barely made it into the final, held off Texas and Arizona in an exciting battle to win in an American and pool record 1:22.83, lowering its own 2013 record of 1:23.17.

Bolles alum and freshman Ryan Murphy gave the Bears an early lead on the opening leg. Other relay members were Chuck Katis, Tony Cox and Tyler Messerschmidt with a quick anchor leg to the wall.

Texas was second in 1:23.30. Florida State with Pavel Sankovich, Jared Pike and Florida Gold Coast swimmers Connor Knight and Paul Murray was fourth in 1:24.57 and earned All-America honors, edging fifth-place Florida in 1:24.82 with Christian-Paul Homer, Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, Marcin Cieslak and Bradley deBorde. Arizona was disqualified for an early takeoff on its second exchange.

With a great back-half surge, Murphy won his first individual NCAA title as a freshman in the 100-yard backstroke.

The PAC-12 champion, top-seed and youngest in the field at 18, won in a best time 44.63.

Murphy also lowered his own national age group record he had set on Thursday’s leadoff medley relay leg.

Before Murphy’s race, California and Texas were tied in the team standings. After his swim, the Bears moved ahead of Texas, 286.5-270.5. Florida was third with 245 and Michigan fell out of contention with 195.

“Going into the last turn I was hurting pretty bad but all the practice paid off there,” Murphy said. “Obviously, the team title is our goal and to help contribute to that makes it all that much better.”

Defending backstroke champion and junior David Nolan of Stanford was fourth in 45.21.

Heading into Friday night’s finals, Texas had a one-point lead over California with Florida and Michigan close behind.

Defending NCAA diving champion Nick McCrory was forced to withdraw from the 3-meter springboard competition after failing his third dive. Minnesota Matt Barnard hit his right heel on the board and was taken to the hospital with a splint on his right leg.

University of Florida was dealt a blow on the second day, losing 17 points from its seeds including fifth-seeded Sebastien Rousseau unable to make the “A” final in the 400-yard individual medley. Rousseau came back to win the “B” final by a best time by half a second in 3:40.77.

The Gators are not without their loyal teammates who did not qualify for NCAAs including Florida Gold Coast swimmers Luke Torres and Ryan Rosenbaum, painted with orange and blue Gator colors and hard to miss in the stands.

“The coaches were really excited about us coming,” said Torres, who drove to Texas with several of his teammates.

Michigan lost valuable points when its fourth-seeded 200-yard medley relay dropped to ninth place and lost its projected 30 points.

There have been 16 disqualifications in the relays after two days. ESPN analyst Rowdy Gaines said he has never seen anything like it in his 30 years of coming to the NCAA meet.

In other championship races:

100-yard butterfly: Florida senior Marcin Cieslak attacked the final wall to knock off an impressive field to win his second NCAA title in a best time 44.87, seventh fastest time in history. He also won the 200 IM earlier in the meet.

“I just tried to go as hard and fast as I could,” Cieslak said. “There is not a lot of time to think in the 100 fly. Every race counts at this meet. I just tried to stay relaxed.”

Florida State senior Pavel Sankovich was second in 45.00, also a best time. Top seed Tim Phillips, looking for Ohio State’s first NCAA title since 1965, was third in 45.10. FSU teammate and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Connor Knight was 19th in 46.42.

200-yard freestyle: Defending champion Joao de Lucca of Louisville defended his title in 1:31.96. Top seed Michael Wynalda of Michigan was third in 1:32.58.

“I knew those guys were coming for me, but I was so in my zone, I just did my race,” said de Lucca, who works with assistant coach and three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov, a former Florida Gold Coast swimmer.

Also in the 100-yard breaststroke, Florida State freshman and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Jason Coombs was 20th in 53.26.

3-meter springboard diving: Texas freshman Michael Hixon nailed his final dive for more than 90 points to win his second NCAA title in two days with 457.20 for six rounds and gave the Longhorns another 20 points and put them back in the lead with 290.5 points to the Cal Bears’ 286.5. Hixon finished with 40 points for the Longhorns.

Stanford’s defending champion Kris Ipsen was fourth with 394.90. University of Miami fifth-year senior Zach Nees finished fifth with 386 points.

“The best thing to do was stay in the dive and take it one dive at a time,” Hixon said. “Our goal is to win a national championship and I am just trying to do everything I can do to help that.”

800-yard freestyle relay: University of Southern California, with a strong leg from Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter, won in 6:13.09. Other relay members were Cristian Quintero, Reed Malone and Dimitri Colupaev. Defending champion Florida was second in 6:14.74. Michigan’s U.S. open record-holding relay was looking for its first title of 2014, was third in 6:16.37.

Saturday’s events are 1,650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, 10-meter platform diving and 400-yard freestyle relay.

Prelims are 11 a.m. and finals 7 p.m. Both sessions will be live streamed at Texassports.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Florida Gators Off To Good Start At NCAA Men’s Championships

Florida Gators Off To Good Start At NCAA Men’s Championships

By Sharon Robb

March 27, 2014

In an electrifying atmosphere, University of California-Berkeley won the final event of the night to trail Texas by one point on the opening night of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

The 400-yard medley relay, with a blistering backstroke split of 44.91 from Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, won by a two-body length lead for a pool record 3:02.66. Other relay members were Chuck Katis, Marcin Tarcynski and Seth Stubblefield.

Murphy’s opening split was a national 17-18 age group record for the 18-year-old.

The previous pool record of 3:02.94 was held by Olympians Aaron Piersol, Brendan Hansen, Ian Crocker and Neil Walker.

As expected, it looks like a four-team battle for the national title between Texas with 146 points, Cal-Berkeley with 145, Florida with 137 and Michigan with 109 at the Lee and Joe Jamil Swimming Center at the University of Texas in Austin.

Florida State is 12th with 38 points and University of Miami is 20th with 12 points.

The Gators had plenty of star power on Thursday night.

Florida senior Marcin Cieslak won the 200-yard individual medley in a career-best time of 1:40.58, third fastest performer in history and fourth fastest of all-time. Cieslak broke Ryan Lochte’s pool record of 1:40.97.

Murphy, a freshman at California, was eighth in the 200 IM 1:43.91 after going 1:42.24 in prelims. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Jason Coombs, a freshman at Florida State, was 40th in 1:46.09.

Gator teammate Brad deBorde, seeded first after morning prelims, was third in the 50-yard freestyle in 18.98, the last swimmer under 19 seconds in finals.

Florida junior Dan Wallace was second in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:11.62. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Carlos Omana, a junior at Florida, was 37th in 4:20.58.

Florida’s 200-yard freestyle relay was fifth in 1:16.98 with Brad deBorde, Sebastien Rousseau, Corey Main and Matt Curby.

In other championship races:

Southern Cal junior Cristian Quintero won the 500-yard freestyle in a pool record 4:10.02. Quintero took it out fast and led from wire-to-wire. Defending champion Connor Jaeger of Michigan was third in 4:12.67.

Alabama freshman Kristian Gkolomeev and Arizona junior Brad Tandy tied for the NCAA title in the 50-yard freestyle in 18.95. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Paul Murray, a senior at Florida State, was seventh in 19.14 after going 19.08 in prelims. Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter, a freshman at Southern Cal, was 42nd in 19.93.

Top-seed California opened the evening with a win in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:15.27, just missing the American record by .01. The relay came from behind with an anchor leg split of 18.4 from Seth Stubblefield. Other relay members were Tyler Messerschmidt, Ryan Murphy and Tony Cox. Texas was second in 1:15.53.

Texas freshman Michael Hixon topped a strong field to win the 1-meter springboard diving title with 443.50 points. Stanford junior Kris Ipsen was second with 436.55. University of Miami junior Samuel Dorman was seventh with 379.00.

Friday’s events are 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, 800-yard freestyle relay and 3-meter springboard diving.

Prelims are 11 a.m. and finals 7 p.m. Both sessions will be live streamed at Texassports.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Florida Gold Coast Has Strong Presence At NCAA Men’s Championships

Florida Gold Coast Has Strong Presence At NCAA Men’s Championships

By Sharon Robb

March 26, 2014

A week after the women were in the spotlight, the men will take their turn at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships that begin Thursday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center at the University of Texas in Austin.

In what’s expected to come down to the final event, Florida is seeded first based on the psych sheet followed by Michigan, North Carolina State and University of California at Berkeley.

Florida State is seeded 11th with first-year coach Frankie Bradley, a former Florida Gold Coast swimmer, making his NCAA Championship coaching debut with the Seminoles.

The Florida, Michigan, N.C. State and Cal seedings are based on the Top 16 swimmers if they finished where they are seeded in the psych sheet, which of course, rarely happens, but then that’s why they have meets.

Florida has 391 points and Michigan, which spends time at The Race Club in the Keys training and fishing during holiday breaks, has 376 points. Florida State has 133 points.

If ever there was a year the Gators have a shot at another team title, it’s this year.

The Gators qualified 14 swimmers men and five powerful relays that features four seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.

Leading the Gators is Metro Aquatic Club’s Carlos Omana, one of the mainstays on the team.

Omana will be joined by Arthur Frayler, Sebastien Rousseau, Mitch D’Arrigo, Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, Marcin Cieslak, Connor Signorin, Corey Main, Matt Elliott, Pawel Werner, Dan Wallace, Matt Curby, Brad deBorde and Jack Blyzinskyj. Christian-Paul Homer will travel with the team as a relay alternate.

The Gators are coming off their second consecutive SEC Championship title.

The Seminoles are led by two-time defending ACC Swimmer of the Meet Pavel Sankovich of Belarus. Sankovich will score most of FSU’s points in the 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke and individual medley as well as the free relays.

The No. 17-ranked Seminoles will have eight swimmers competing in individual events and relays including Florida Gold Coast swimmers Paul Murray, Connor Knight, Jason McCormick and Jason Coombs.

The Wolverines are led by sprinter Bruno Ortiz and Michael Wynalda.

There will be a strong Florida Swimming and Florida Gold Coast presence at the three-day meet.

Also entered in the meet are Dylan Carter of Southern California and Trinidad and Tobago, who trains in South Florida extensively and competes in Florida Gold Coast meets.

Cal’s Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, could score 40 to 50 points on relays and in the backstroke events.

Thursday’s events are 200-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relay.

Prelims are 11 a.m. and finals 7 p.m. Both sessions will be live streamed at Texassports.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com