SENIORS TAKE CENTER STAGE THIS WEEK AT PLANTATION CENTRAL PARK AQUATIC COMPLEX

SENIORS TAKE CENTER STAGE THIS WEEK AT PLANTATION CENTRAL PARK AQUATIC COMPLEX


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

PLANTATION—One of the most talented group of swimmers from the Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets Swim Team will converge on the Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex Friday through Sunday for the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships.

Lindsey McKnight, 16, Ashley Hicks, 18, Tiffany Oliver, 17, and Melissa Fernandez, 17, head the girls’ field.

Seeded No. 1 in their events are:

*Ashley Hicks, 18, Comets, in the women’s 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley.

*Tiffany Oliver, 17, Comets, women’s 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle.

*Lindsey McKnight, 16, 15-16 50-yard breaststroke, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke and 50-yard freestyle.

*Brittany Phelan, 17, Coral Springs, women’s 50-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke and 100-yard breaststroke.

At 13, British-born Leonie Davies of the Comets is one of the youngest in the girls’ field and will compete in the women’s open 200-yard freestyle.

Tyler Sell, 17, Justin Grigull, 17, Carlo Morante, 17, Marc Rojas, 16, Marco Camargo, 20, and Travis Lockie, 18, are among some of the highest seeded swimmers in the boys’ field.

The No. 1 seeded boys in their events are:

*Marco Camargo, 20, Coral Springs, men’s 200-yard butterfly.

*Kuwait’s Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18, of Coral Springs in the men’s 50-yard butterfly.

*Tyler Sell, 17, of the Comets, men’s 1,650-yard freestyle.

The Comets and Coral Springs Swim Club swimmers are competing unattached during the mandatory 120-day waiting period before their merger to become the South Florida Aquatic Club is official on May 1.

This is the first year the Florida Gold Coast has separated the seniors from the 14-and-under swimmers at its Junior Olympics. Coral Springs held the FGC JO Short Course Championships two weeks ago at its Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. This summer Coral Springs will host the older swimmers and Plantation will host the younger JOs.

Plantation Swim Team coach and meet director Jimmy Parmenter said he’s “on the fence” about the splitting of age group fields.

“I like the shorter sessions and I’m sure the other coaches do, too,” Parmenter said Wednesday while setting up for this weekend’s meet.

“It’s good that the older kids get to swim and there are more opportunities because they get to swim twice since there is an “A” final and “B” final,” said Parmenter, a former swimmer at Nova High School and University of Alaska.

“But on the other side, the young kids don’t get the chance to see the older kids, the high school swimmers and Olympians. I think having the older swimmers to watch and look up to as role models are important. I don’t like that part (separating the older and younger swimmers) at all especially when a meet of this level is only held two times a year.”

Parmenter is impressed at the talent assembled for the meet.

“The quality is pretty quick at the top end,” Parmenter said. “For the Florida Gold Coast, this is one of the most talented fields. Everyone is together.”

The field has 450 swimmers including foreigners from Kuwait, Japan and South Africa, and one team from Argentina, Parmenter said.

IF YOU GO

What: FGC Senior Championships

When: Friday-Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW 2nd Street, Plantation.

Admission: $3 per session, $2 heat sheets. For information call 954-452-2526.

THE FOLLOWING LIST IS THE COMETS SWIMMERS DAILY SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY

Women 15-16 200-yard backstroke: Amy Lunak, 16; Juana Vargas, 16; Chloe Sell, 15; Madeleine Fernandez, 15; Belinda De LaTorre, 15; Nicolle Garcia, 16.

Men 15-16 200-yard backstroke: Ivan Parada, 15; Paul Guarino, 15; Daniel Lee, 15.

Women 200-yard backstroke: Ashley Hicks, 18; Tiffany Oliver, 17; Melissa Fernandez, 17.

Men 200-yard backstroke: Carlo Morante, 17; Travis Lockie, 18; Tyler Sell, 17; Andrew Ling, 17; Gabriel Pena, 17.

Women 15-16 100-yard freestyle: Amy Lunak, 16; Juana Vargas, 16; Katie Brennan, 16.

Nicolle Garcia, 16; Madeleine Fernandez, 15; Kimberly Marquez, 16; Belinda De La Torre, 15.

Men 15-16 100-yard freestyle: Marc Rojas, 16; Xavier Brown, 15; Ivan Parada, 15; Daniel Lee, 15; Darryl Perez, 15; Paul Guarino, 15; Mike Franco, 15.

Women 100-yard freestyle: Tiffany Oliver, 17; Ashley Hicks, 18; Melissa Fernandez, 17; Bianca Muniz, 18; Brittany Williford, 17; Leonie Davies, 13; Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 100-yard freestyle: Carlo Morante, 17; Andrew Ling, 17; Kevin Ganaim, 17; Julio Simon, 18; James Shultz, 18.

Women 15-16 200-yard butterfly: Juana Vargas, 16; Katie Brennan, 16; Chloe Sell, 15.

Men 15-16 200-yard butterfly: Mike Franco, 15.

Women 200-yard butterfly: Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 200-yard butterfly: Tyler Sell, 17; Travis Lockie, 18; Gabriel Pena, 17; Julio Simon, 18.

Women 15-16 50-yard breaststroke: Amy Lunak, 16.

Women 50-yard breaststroke: Bianca Muniz, 18.

Men 50-yard breaststroke: James Shultz, 18; Andrew Ling, 17.

Women 15-16 500-yard freestyle: Katie Brennan, 16; Chloe Sell, 15.

Men 15-16 500-yard freestyle: Marc Rojas, 16; Mike Franco, 15; Ivan Parada, 15; Daniel Lee, 15.

Women 500-yard freestyle: Brittany Williford, 17.

Men 500-yard freestyle: Tyler Sell, 17; Travis Lockie, 18; Carlo Morante, 17; Gabriel Pena, 17; Julio Simon, 18.

SATURDAY SWIMS

Women 15-16 200-yard freestyle: Juana Vargas, 16; Katie Brennan, 16; Chloe Sell, 15; Madeleine Fernandez, 15; Nicolle Garcia, 16; Amy Lunak, 16.

Men 15-16 200-yard freestyle: Marc Rojas, 16; Ivan Parada, 15; Mike Franco, 15; Darryl Perez, 15.

Women 200-yard freestyle: Tiffany Oliver, 17; Ashley Hicks, 18; Melissa Fernandez, 17; Amber Hunter, 14; Leonie Davies, 13; Brittany Williford, 17; Bianca Muniz, 18; Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 200-yard freestyle: Tyler Sell, 17; Travis Lockie, 18; Carlo Morante, 17; Gabriel Pena, 17; Andrew Ling, 17; Julio Simon, 18.

Women 15-16 50-yard backstroke: Nicolle Garcia, 16; Madeleine Fernandez, 15; Juana Vargas, 16.

Men 15-16 50-yard backstroke: Ivan Parada, 15; Paul Guarino, 15; Xavier Brown, 15

Women 50-yard backstroke: Ashley Hicks, 18; Melissa Fernandez, 17; Tiffany Oliver, 17.

Men 50-yard backstroke: Carlo Morante, 17; Andrew Ling, 17.

Women 15-16 200-yard breaststroke: Amy Lunak, 16; Cynthia Walpole, 15.

Men 15-16 200-yard breaststroke: Marc Rojas, 16; Daniel Lee, 15.

Women 200-yard breaststroke: Bianca Muniz, 18.

Men 200-yard breaststroke: James Shultz, 18.

Women 15-16 100-yard butterfly: Juana Vargas, 16; Nicolle Garcia, 16; Katie Brennan, 16; Chloe Sell, 15.

Men 15-16 100-yard butterfly: Mike Franco, 15; Xavier Brown, 15; Daniel Lee, 15.

Women 100-yard butterfly: Melissa Fernandez, 17; Amber Hunter, 14; Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 100-yard butterfly: Travis Lockie, 18; Tyler Sell, 17; Carlo Morante, 17; Gabriel Pena, 17; Andrew Ling, 17; Kevin Ganaim, 17; Julio Simon, 18.

Women 15-16 400-yard individual medley: Amy Lunak, 16; Madeleine Fernandez, 15; Belinda De La Torre, 15.

Men 15-16 400-yard individual medley: Marc Rojas, 16; Daniel Lee, 15; Mike Franco, 15.

Women 400-yard individual medley: Tiffany Oliver, 17; Ashley Hicks, 18; Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 400-yard individual medley: Tyler Sell, 17; Gabriel Pena, 17; James Shultz, 18.

SUNDAY SWIMS

Women 15-16 100-yard backstroke: Amy Lunak, 16; Juana Vargas, 16; Madeleine Fernandez, 15; Nicolle Garcia, 16; Chloe Sell, 15.

Men 15-16 100-yard backstroke: Ivan Parada, 15; Paul Guarino, 15.

Women 100-yard backstroke: Ashley Hicks, 18; Melissa Fernandez, 17; Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 100-yard backstroke: Travis Lockie, 18; Carlo Morante, 17; Andrew Ling, 17.

Women 15-16 50-yard butterfly: Nicolle Garcia, 16; Juana Vargas, 16; Katie Brennan, 16; Kimberly Marquez, 16.

Men 15-16 50-yard butterfly: Xavier Brown, 15; Darryl Perez, 15.

Women 50-yard butterfly: Tiffany Oliver, 17; Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 50-yard butterfly: Kevin Ganaim, 17; Julio Simon, 18.

Women 15-16 100-yard breaststroke: Cynthia Walpole, 15; Kimberly Marquez, 16.

Men 15-16 100-yard breaststroke: Marc Rojas, 16; Daniel Lee, 15.

Women 100-yard breaststroke: Bianca Muniz, 18.

Men 100-yard breaststroke: James Shultz, 18.

Women 15-16 50-yard freestyle: Amy Lunak, 16; Katie Brennan, 16; Nicolle Garcia, 16; Madeleine Fernandez, 15; Kimberly Marquez, 16; Cynthia Walpole, 15; Belinda De La Torre, 15.

Men 15-16 50-yard freestyle: Xavier Brown, 15; Marc Rojas, 16; Darryl Perez, 15; Daniel Lee, 15.

Women 50-yard freestyle: Tiffany Oliver, 17; Ashley Hicks, 18; Melissa Fernandez, 17; Bianca Muniz, 18; Brittany Williford, 17; Stephanie Freiria, 17.

Men 50-yard freestyle: Andrew Ling, 17; Carlo Morante, 17; Kevin Ganaim, 17; Julio Simon, 18; James Shultz, 18.

Women 15-16 200-yard individual medley: Amy Lunak, 16; Madeleine Fernandez, 15.

Men 15-16 200-yard individual medley: Marc Rojas, 16; Daniel Lee, 15; Ivan Parada, 15.

Women 200-yard individual medley: Ashley Hicks, 18; Tiffany Oliver, 17; Melissa Fernandez, 17; Bianca Muniz, 18.

Men 200-yard individual medley: Tyler Sell, 17; Carlo Morante, 17; Andrew Ling, 17.

Women 1,650-yard freestyle: Brittany Williford, 17; Katie Brennan, 16; Chloe Sell, 15.

Men 1,650-yard freestyle: Tyler Sell, 17; Travis Lockie, 18; Gabriel Pena, 17; Ivan Parada, 15.

THE FOLLOWING LIST IS THE CORAL SPRINGS SWIM CLUB SWIMMERS DAILY SCHEDULE: 

FRIDAY SWIMS

Women 15-16 200-yard backstroke: Brittany Hanson, 15; Linea Cutter, 16.

Men 15-16 200-yard backstroke: Brandon Goldman, 15.

Men 200-yard backstroke: Justin Grigull, 17.

Women 15-16 100-yard freestyle: Linea Cutter, 16; Lucia Morris, 16; Anne Kuczynski, 15; Kirsten Garza, 15; Emily Greenwood, 15; Brittany Hanson, 15; Kristina Nork, 15; Brianna Giordanella, 15.

Men 15-16 100-yard freestyle: Mauricio Hidalgo, 16; Cosmin Cioanta, 15.

Women 100-yard freestyle: Taylor McKnight, 17; Jenna Moodie, 14; Martie Vicent, 18; Philomena Fiorenzi, 14; Brittney Phelan, 17.

Men 100-yard freestyle: Justin Grigull, 17; Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18; Zain Qali, 22; Colton Kleynhans, 20; Bogdan Cioanta, 14.

Men 15-16 200-yard butterfly: Brandon Goldman, 15; Mauricio Hidalgo, 16.

Women 200-yard butterfly: Taylor McKnight, 17.

Men 200-yard butterfly: Marco Camargo, 20; Zain Qali, 22.

Women 50-yard breaststroke: Lindsey McKnight, 16; Gina Gautieri, 16; Lucia Morris, 16; Anne Kuczynski, 15; Kristina Nork, 15.

Men 15-16 50-yard breaststroke: Luke Torres, 15.

Women 50-yard breaststroke: Brittney Phelan, 17; Philomena Fiorenzi, 14; Nicole Schein, 17.

Women 15-16 500-yard freestyle: Lindsey McKnight, 16; Gina Gautieri, 16.

Women 500-yard freestyle: Emma Lincoln, 14; Jenna Moodie, 14.

Men 500-yard freestyle: Justin Grigull, 17; Loai Tashkandi, 19.

SATURDAY SWIMS

Women 15-16 200-yard freestyle: Linea Cutter, 16; Brittany Hanson, 15; Brianna Giordanella, 15.

Men 15-16 200-yard freestyle: Mauricio Hidalgo, 16.

Women 200-yard freestyle: Emma Lincoln, 14; Martie Vicent, 18; Taylor McKnight, 17; Philomena Fiorenzi, 14.

Men 200-yard freestyle: Justin Grigull, 17; Les Moore, 18; Colton Kleynhans, 20; Loai Tashkandi, 19; Marco Hosfeld, 14.

Women 15-16 50-yard backstroke: Lindsey McKnight, 15; Emily Greenwood, 15; Brittany Hanson, 15; Linea Cutter, 16.

Men 15-16 50-yard backstroke: Brandon Goldman, 15.

Men 50-yard backstroke: Marco Camargo, 20; Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18.

Women 15-16 200-yard breaststroke: Lindsey McKnight, 15; Gina Gautieri, 16; Anne Kuczynski, 15; Lucia Morris, 16.

Men 15-16 200-yard breaststroke: Luke Torres, 15; Derek Schwab, 16; Cosmin Cioanta, 15.

Women 200-yard breaststroke: Brittany Phelan, 17; Philomena Fiorenzi, 14; Nicole Schein, 17; Emma Lincoln, 14.

Men 200-yard breaststroke: Bogdan Cioanta, 14; Marco Hosfeld, 14.

Women 15-16 100-yard butterfly: Linea Cutter, 16; Kristina Nork, 15.

Men 15-16 100-yard butterfly: Mauricio Hidalgo, 16; Brandon Goldman, 15.

Women 100-yard butterfly: Taylor McKnight, 17; Martie Vicent, 18; Emma Lincoln, 14; Jenna Moodie, 14.

Men 100-yard butterfly: Les Moore, 18; Marco Camargo, 20; Zain Qali, 22; Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18; Justin Grigull, 17; Colton Kleynhans, 20; Michael Minichiello, 18.

Women 15-16 400-yard individual medley: Kristina Nork, 15

Men 15-16 400-yard individual medley: Brandon Goldman, 15.

Men 400-yard individual medley: Les Moore, 18; Loai Tashkandi, 19.

SUNDAY SWIMS

Women 15-16 100-yard backstroke: Lindsey McKnight, 16; Emily Greenwood, 15; Brittany Hanson, 15; Linea Cutter, 16; Anne Kuczynski, 15; Kirsten Garza, 15.

Men 15-16 100-yard backstroke: Brandon Goldman, 15; Luke Torres, 15.

Women 100-yard backstroke: Emma Lincoln, 14.

Men 100-yard backstroke: Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18; Marco Camargo, 20; Justin Grigull, 17; Colton Kleynhans, 20; Les Moore, 18.

Women 15-16 50-yard butterfly: Lindsey McKnight, 16; Linea Cutter, 16.

Men 15-16 50-yard butterfly: Mauricio Hidalgo, 16.

Women 50-yard butterfly: Martie Vicent, 18; Jenna Moodie, 14.

Men 50-yard butterfly: Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18; Zain Qali, 22; Michael Minichiello, 18; Les Moore, 18.

Women 15-16 100-yard breaststroke: Lucia Morris, 16; Gina Gautieri, 16; Anne Kuczynski, 15; Kristina Nork, 15.

Men 15-16 100-yard breaststroke: Cosmin Cioanta, 15; Derek Schwab 16.

Women 100-yard breaststroke: Brittney Phelan, 17; Philomena Fiorenzi, 14; Nicole Schein, 17; Emma Lincoln, 14.

Men 100-yard breaststroke: Bogdan Cioanta, 14.

Women 15-16 50-yard freestyle: Lindsey McKnight, 16; Linea Cutter, 16; Juana Vargas, 16; Emily Greenwood, 15; Kirsten Garza, 15; Lucia Morris, 16; Brittany Hanson, 15; Brianna Giordanella, 15.

Men 15-16 50-yard freestyle: Mauricio Hidalgo, 16; Nicholas Nocera, 16.

Women 50-yard freestyle: Taylor McKnight, 17; Jenna Moodie, 14; Martie Vicent, 18; Brittney Phelan, 17.

Men 50-yard freestyle: Justin Grigull, 17; Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18; Bogdan Cioanta, 14; Marco Hosfeld, 14; Loai Tashkandi, 19; Colton Kleynhans, 20.

Women 15-16 200-yard individual medley: Anne Kuczynski, 15; Kristina Nork, 15; Brittany Hanson, 15.

Men 15-16 200-yard individual medley: Luke Torres, 15; Brandon Goldman, 15; Mauricio Hidalgo, 16; Cosmin Cioanta, 15.

Women 200-yard individual medley: Philomena Fiorenzi, 14.

Men 200-yard individual medley: Les Moore, 18; Loai Tashkandi, 19; Zain Qali, 22; Marco Hosfeld, 14.

Men 1,650-yard freestyle: Julio Simon, 18; Justin Grigull, 17.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

POLYAKOV, McKNIGHT WIN ON FINAL NIGHT OF SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES SOUTHERN ZONES

POLYAKOV, McKNIGHT WIN ON FINAL NIGHT OF SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES SOUTHERN ZONES


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

FORT LAUDERDALE—-Vlad Polyakov was looking for a good race and got it on the final day of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships.

After a week of training with good friend Neil Versfeld, the two-time Olympian put together a solid, strategic race to win the 200-meter breaststroke Sunday at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Polyakov, 26, of the Coral Springs Swim Club, won in 2 minutes, 17.55 seconds, just 6/100ths of a second ahead of Versfeld, 24, of the Athens Bulldogs, second in 2:17.61.

Polyakov admitted it’s always a battle of the minds when he races Versfeld.

In February at the Missouri Grand Prix, Polyakov said Versfeld psyched him out when he put a surge in during the third leg of the race. Versfeld finished third in 2:14.91 and Polyakov fourth in 2:15.67.

Polyakov decided to come up with his own race strategy with the help of a former triathlete friend.

“I was really happy with the outcome of my race tonight,” said Polyakov before heading out to the Brazilian Steakhouse with Versfeld and a few friends.

“I had a fun strategy coming into the race,” Polyakov said. “My friend told me to try and leave everything on the third leg because it psychs out the competition and usually throws people off. Neil did that to me in Missouri, it totally psyched me out. So I decided to try it and it ended up working for me.”

Said his coach, Michael Lohberg: “It was nice to see those two battle it out and nice to see Vlad race and enjoy himself.”

Polyakov, who represents Kazakhstan internationally, was hoping to regain his confidence after a disappointing finish at the March 4-6 Austin Grand Prix where he was sixth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.14 and fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:16.69.

“I think after the Texas meet I was hoping to swim faster than I did and I wanted to change my stroke a little bit,” Polyakov said. “I looked to this meet to try and accomplish that. This meet I love to race. It feels like home and I feel comfortable here.”

It also helped racing Versfeld, who represented South Africa in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is a multi-World Cup medalist.

Versfeld won a national championship his senior year at Georgia in the 200 breaststroke. He swam the fastest time in history of the NCAA Championships in 1:51.40. He has been training with Polyakov since Monday at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

“Neil is a tough trainer,” Polyakov said. “I knew it would be a lot of fun so I asked him to train down here and race with me at sectionals.

“This is what swimming is all about. We trained together, then we raced each other and we are still friends afterwards. I am really happy with the way it turned out. It was a great way to end the weekend.”

After several talks with his coach Michael Lohberg, Polyakov has rededicated himself to his swim career. An upcoming swim camp in St. Croix, March 29-April 5 will start a new chapter in his life, both swimmer and coach agree.

“It is full steam ahead for me,” Polyakov said. “I set a career plan for the future. Michael and I have been planning for a while. I got the Texas meet out of my head. Now I am looking ahead. We have a lot of things we want to try and do now. This is the stage, this is the time to prepare for my next most important meet which is the Asian Games.”

Said Lohberg: “We had several talks, several meetings. I think he is fine. The St. Croix training camp will be really important for him. It will be the start of a new chapter.”

Polyakov’s clubmate, Olympic hopeful Lindsey McKnight, 15, ended a good week on a winning note by capturing the 100-meter freestyle in 57.27, after qualifying in prelims in 58.75. McKnight is getting race sharp for her first international trip with the U.S. junior national team, another stepping stone in her young career.

Sprinter Arlene Semeco of Venezuela will leave Tuesday brimming with confidence for this week’s South American Championships in Colombia. Semeco, who won the 50-meter freestyle on Saturday during her taper week, and Leo Andara, both of the Coral Springs Swim Club, will compete.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

Lindsey Mcknight, Arlene Semeco & Vlad Polyakov @ Sectionals in Fort Lauderdale


arlene semeco and lindsey mcknight go 1-2 in the 50m free at sectionals in fort lauderdale on 3-20-2010.
Arlene Semeco and Lindsey Mcknight go 1-2 in the 50m free at sectionals in fort lauderdale on 3-20-2010.

 

lindsey mcknight 1st in 100m breast at sectionals on 3-19-2010
Lindsey Mcknight 1st in 100m breast at sectionals on 3-19-2010

 

Vlad Polyakov, 1st in 100m breast at sectionals on 3-19-2010
Vlad Polyakov, 1st in 100m breast at sectionals on 3-19-2010

ATKINSON GOES OUT A CHAMPION; WINS NCAA TITLE, SMASHES POOL RECORD AT PURDUE

ATKINSON GOES OUT A CHAMPION; WINS NCAA TITLE, SMASHES POOL RECORD AT PURDUE – Alia Atkinson of Texas A&M ended her collegiate career in style Saturday night. The Comets swimmer became only the second swimmer in Aggies history to win an NCAA title


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

Alia Atkinson of Texas A&M ended her collegiate career in style Saturday night.

The Comets swimmer became only the second swimmer in Aggies history to win an NCAA title.

Just one event after teammate Julia Wilkinson won the 100-meter freestyle, the two-time Olympian Atkinson won the 200-meter breaststroke title on the final night of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Purdue University’s Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.

With her club coach, Chris Anderson watching, the Jamaican-born Atkinson, 21, seeded second (2:08.07) behind Stanford’s Elizabeth Smith, captured the national title in 2 minutes, 7.38 seconds.

Atkinson’s time smashed the pool record of 2:08.48 set by Minnesota’s Haley Spencer at the Big 10 Championships last month.
Atkinson’s splits were 28.81, 32.90, 32.33 and 33.34. Smith was second in 2:07.50.

Last year Atkinson finished runner-up in the same event in a lifetime-best and school record time of 2:06.99.

Atkinson is the third fastest breaststroker in NCAA history and finishes her distinguished collegiate career with a long list of honors and accomplishments.

Her 20 first-place points helped to clinch a sixth place and fourth straight top 10 national finish for the Big 12 champion Aggies.

University of Florida, in fifth place after Day 2, won the women’s team title, edging Stanford 382-379.5. It was only the Gators second team title and first since 1982.

Atkinson is one of the Comets’ greatest success stories.

Atkinson and her family moved from Jamaica to Pembroke Pines to further her education in school and the pool.

She joined the Comets as a gangly 13-year-old in August 2002. All she could talk about was going to college and the Olympics.

Anderson loved her attitude but admitted when her parents enrolled her at the swim club, “she was rough around the edges.”

With a lot of work and determination, her talent started to emerge and the rough edges soon smoothed out as she became a rising star in Jamaica and U.S. swimming.

Starting her career at the age of three, Alia is often reminded of her first race when she stopped in the middle of the pool and began to cry. It’s a fact which her mother, Sharon Atkinson, never fails to remind her; a fact which many times serves as a source of inspiration.

She trained with Anderson and the Comets during her high school days at Flanagan, where she graduated from in 2005 as a high school state champion and All-American and continues to train with Anderson when home.

As a freshman at Texas A&M, she was Big 12 Newcomer of the Meet and Year.

The Jamaican national record holder owns the seven fastest breaststroke times in Texas A&M history and holds school records in both breaststroke events.

Atkinson’s clubmate Natasha Moodie, 19, of Michigan, making her NCAA debut, finished 23rd in the 50 freestyle in 22.60 and 31st in the 100 freestyle in 49.59.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

SEMECO, McKNIGHT FINISH 1-2 IN 50 AT SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES SOUTHERN SECTIONALS

FORT LAUDERDALE—Arlene Semeco is more than ready for this week’s South American Championships.

The Venezuelan national record holder won the 50-meter freestyle Saturday night on Day 3 of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

FORT LAUDERDALE—Arlene Semeco is more than ready for this week’s South American Championships.

The Venezuelan national record holder won the 50-meter freestyle Saturday night on Day 3 of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Semeco, 26, of the Coral Springs Swim Club, won in 26.04 seconds. Teammate Lindsey McKnight, 15, was second in 26.53 after finishing second to Olympian Elizabeth Beisel in the 200-meter individual medley.

It was a near carbon copy of last year’s race where Semeco finished first in 25.55 and McKnight finished second in 26.83.

“I am in the middle of my taper right now, so it’s hard to race fast in the middle of a taper,” Semeco said.

“I felt really good,” said Semeco, who took three breaths during the sprint race. “I just need to rest for next week and I will be ready to go. I am very excited to race.

“I was faster the second half of my race, that has always been my problem,” Semeco said. “I should be faster in the first half and then bring it home. It’s something I have been working on. It was a good race for me. I was ahead of everybody at the end.

“I could see Lindsey through the whole race and how fast she was going. She was just coming out of the 200 IM. Lindsey is a little monster. She did a good job.”

Coral Springs Swim Club coach Michael Lohberg was pleased with Semeco’s effort and form in the water.

“She was very solid with a strong second half,” Lohberg said. “She has good technique and is very high in the water. She is still a little bit in the taper so she lost the snappyness she usually has.”

Semeco has showed tremendous improvement since she started training with the six-time Olympic coach in 2007. Lohberg worked with her stroke and technique the first few months.

It also helped having five-time Olympian Dara Torres and Sharntelle McLean of Trinidad and Tobago to train with leading up to the Beijing, where Semeco made it to the semifinals in the 50.

“I feel like I didn’t become a swimmer or know how to race until I got to Coral Springs,” said Semeco, one of the most popular swimmers in Venezuela. “I feel so much better as a swimmer. I love to sprint. I don’t like to do more than 200 meters.”

 “Michael totally changed my stroke, took it apart and rebuilt it,” Semeco said. “I feel so much more efficient in the water.”

Semeco is funded by her swim federation which allows her to train full-time and work on her masters in nutrition at Florida International University.

Semeco will compete in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events in the South American Championships in Colombia. It will be her fourth appearance. She will be joined by clubmate Leo Andara at the prestigious meet.

Semeco, a University of Alabama graduate, represented her native country in two consecutive Summer Olympics in 2004 and 2008. She won two gold medals at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Semeco was a late bloomer in the sport. She started swimming at age 9 and didn’t get good until age 17.

“I started kind of late for a swimmer,” Semeco said. “I loved it and when I started breaking national records I knew I was going to be around for a while.”

After the South American Championships, Semeco will compete in Europe and then follow up with the Central American Games in July and after that start preparing for the World Championships in December.

“Making the Olympics was a dream come true,” Semeco said. “I would like to try and make it again for London. My plan is to stay around and train for the next two years.

“My first Olympics was hard,” Semeco said. “I didn’t qualify until two months before the Games and then I was scared out of my mind when I got there. In 2008, I felt more confident about myself and swimming. I am very excited about the future. I want to make London for sure and then see where life takes me after that.”

McKnight had another good finals night. She was second in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:17.71 after cruising in the prelims (2:23.31). Lohberg has been particularly pleased with her racing strategy.

“She is beginning to understand the difference between qualifying in the morning and racing at night,” Lohberg said. “She is getting cleverer and cleverer, better and better. She is learning all the tricks. She knows what she is suppose to do in the morning and then she comes back at night and races. I am really happy with her progress overall. And, I am a little surprised at what we are doing at this meet. It is a very nice surprise.”

Beisel, 17, of Bluefish Swim Club, won the 200 IM in 2:15.09 after she finished second in the 100 backstroke in 1:02.21.

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, 26, won his third event of the meet, in the 100 backstroke in 55.08, another World Champion Trials cut time. Lochte will sign autographs and pose for pictures on Sunday, the final day of the meet, between 2 and 4 p.m. on the pool deck.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.cvsscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

LINDSEY McKNIGHT WINS BIG ON DAY 2 OF SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES SECTIONALS AT FORT LAUDERDALE

LINDSEY McKNIGHT WINS BIG ON DAY 2 OF SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES SECTIONALS AT FORT LAUDERDALE


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

FORT LAUDERDALE—Lindsey McKnight barely had a chance to catch her breath swimming back-to-back events on Day 2 of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships.

The 15-year-old Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer was breathtaking in the opening night’s event, the 200-meter freestyle, Friday night at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Racing against Olympian Elizabeth Beisel, 17, of the Bluefish Swim Club and an international women’s field, McKnight looked impressive from start to finish swimming a career-best and sectional record time of 2 minutes and 1 second to win the first of two events.

Beisel, the fastest morning qualifier, was second in 2:01.04 and was the first to congratulate McKnight.

“She is the nicest person in the world,” McKnight said of Beisel. “She came over and congratulated me and said it was a great race and she was glad that I was there. I wouldn’t have been able to swim that fast without her pushing me. I need that kind of racing against great Olympians and fast people like her. She really pushed me.”

In the middle of heavy training and working towards her first international trip to Europe with the U.S. junior national team, McKnight, a Douglas sophomore and two-time High School Swimmer of the Year, was not shaved or tapered but still managed to swim the fastest 200 freestyle of her young career including an impressive opening 50-meter split of 28.52.

After the men’s 200-meter freestyle event which Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte won effortlessly in 1:50.08, McKnight came back and won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:11.73.

Both her freestyle and breaststroke times were World Championship Trials cut times.

McKnight’s 50-meter splits in the 200 freestyle were 28.52, 31.00, 31.03 and 30.45. Her opening split was the difference.

McKnight, a versatile swimmer, said she is used to brief warm downs when she swims a variety of events. She had a quick warm down followed by the awards ceremony and then jumped right back into the pool for the breaststroke.

“I was more focused on the 200 freestyle tonight,” McKnight said. “My breaststroke is not on top unless I am fully-tapered so I knew I wouldn’t go best time in the breaststroke. And I didn’t expect a best time in my freestyle either.”

McKnight’s last competitive meet was the short course junior nationals in December.

“It felt good to race again,” McKnight said. “I am pretty happy. I wasn’t like in complete shock but I was really happy how I swam the freestyle. I worked on a lot of stuff Michael (Lohberg) had me work on so he was happy, too.

McKnight will swim the 50 freestyle and 200 individual medley on Saturday and 100 freestyle on Sunday.

“I am always going to have stuff to work on,” McKnight said. “I think I bounced back pretty quickly after my two swims but I definitely felt that freestyle during the breaststroke. I was getting a little tired.”

McKnight’s teammate, two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan also had a good night, winning the 100-meter breaststroke. After swimming 1:06.79 in prelims, he won the event in 1:02.85, also a World Championship Trials cut time.

The four-day meet continues today with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte will sign autographs and pose for photos between 2 and 4 p.m. today at the pool.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.csscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

 

COMETS POOL PROJECT HUGE COMMUNITY EFFORT, SET FOR APRIL COMPLETION DATE

The City of Pembroke Pines Academic Village Pool and Training Center is in the final stages of much-needed renovation and expansion.

The $320,000 bond project that includes work on the aquatic facility, is scheduled to be completed by the end of April, according to Chuck Vones, City of Pembroke Pines Parks and Recreation assistant director.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

The City of Pembroke Pines Academic Village Pool and Training Center is in the final stages of much-needed renovation and expansion.

The $320,000 bond project that includes work on the aquatic facility, is scheduled to be completed by the end of April, according to Chuck Vones, City of Pembroke Pines Parks and Recreation assistant director.

The project, mainly funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and matching bond money, also includes refurbishing and upgrades of the basketball courts, soccer and football fields, tennis courts, track, boardwalk and nature area.

While the community is looking forward to every facet of the upgrades, it’s the pool deck expansion and renovation that has Comets parents, swimmers and coaches excited.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect with the recent announcement of the Comets merger with the Coral Springs Swim Club and formation of the South Florida Aquatic Club.

The improvements include pool deck expansion by 65 percent, stadium lighting, cost-effective Geothermal heating and cooling for the pool, parent seating area with easy access, bleacher seating for fans, crossfit exercise and dryland stations and brick donation walkway have been in the works since the project was approved in 2007.

The additional room will provide a safer environment and allow athletes to do more dryland training in the pool area.

Now that the dream has become reality, the improvements will only help to enhance and maintain the successful program, Vones said.

“The swim program and meets have been very successful,” Vones said. “These were improvements that needed to be done. They just outgrew the pool deck. It’s definitely a sign of growth and success. We are very excited about the completion of the project. We have had lots of people working on it.”

Comets head coach and CEO Chris Anderson has been involved with the improvements since Day One with the help from a large supporting cast that includes Dean Combs, City of Pembroke Pines Parks and Recreation Director; Vones; Greg Groselle, City of Pembroke Pines Aquatics Coordinator; the City of Pembroke Pines Commission; Mayor Frank Ortis; city manager Charles F. Dodge and members of the Comets Swim Team.

“This will provide a better training environment,” Anderson said. “Our team has grown so much. It’s what the kids need.”

The crossfit exercise stations on the pool deck will feature spinning bikes and indoor-outdoor exercise mats. While swimmers train, parents can get a little exercise in while watching their children in the pool. The cost of the workout area was underwritten by USA Swimming’s Silver Medal Grant program.

Other funding was raised by the City of Pembroke Pines, Anderson Aquatics LLC, Comets Swim Team Booster Club and Comets Swim Team Alumni Association.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

ATKINSON, MOODIE READY FOR NCAA’s

ATKINSON, MOODIE READY FOR NCAA’s
NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Swimming Championships


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

It will be like old times when Comets teammates Alia Atkinson and Natasha Moodie share a pool deck again.

Atkinson, 21, a senior at Texas A&M and Moodie, 19, a junior at the University of Michigan, will be among the nation’s top swimmers when the NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Swimming Championships.

The three-day meet begins Thursday at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Atkinson, a two-time Olympian for Jamaica, will compete in the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.13), 100- (59.80) and 200- (2:08.07) yard breaststroke events.  She is seeded second in the 200 breaststroke.

Atkinson is one of 16 qualifiers including seven seniors to qualify for the Big 12 champion Aggies.

Last year she scored a team-high 42.5 points at NCAAs to lead the Aggies to eighth. She finished second to Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Rebecca Soni in the 200-yard breaststroke with a school record 2:06.99. Her time made her the third fastest breaststroke in NCAA history behind Soni and Tara Kirk.

The Aggies have finished in the Top 10 at the NCAA meet for three straight years.

“This is definitely a group that has been there before,” said Texas A&M coach Steve Bultman, a former Florida Gold Coast coach at the now-defunct Mission Bay Aquatic Training Center. “They aren’t going to be scared or in awe of the situation when they get there. They have trained well and competed well all season and I think they expect to perform at a high level at the NCAA Championships.”

Moodie,  a member of the 2008 Jamaican Olympic team, is making her NCAA Championship debut.

She will compete in the 50- (22.53) and 100- (49.46) yard freestyle events as well as three relays.

Moodie is one of seven swimmers the Wolverines, third-place finishers at the Big Ten Championships, qualified for NCAAs.

Moodie, an All-Big Ten second team selection, finished the season at the team’s top sprinter, holding the team’s best time in the 50 freestyle and second best in the 100 freestyle.

A total of 322 swimmers and divers will compete for national titles. Student-athletes qualified for the championship by meeting the established standards in their events.

NCAA.com will stream both sessions of competition on Thursday and Friday and the preliminary session on Saturday. ESPN360.com will stream the finals live on Saturday.

Additionally, ESPN2 will air a 90-minute show at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

The complete list of swimmers competing in the championships is available on the NCAA website at www.ncaa.com/swimresults.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

CSSC COMPETES AT SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES

CSSC COMPETES AT SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

FORT LAUDERDALE—A small but talented group of swimmers from the Coral Springs Swim Club will compete in the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships that begin today.

Olympians Vlad Polyakov, 26, of Kazakhstan, Arlene Semeco, 26, and Leo Andara, 23, both of Venezuela, head the 10-swimmer contingent for the four-day meet at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Other Coral Springs swimmers entered are sisters Lindsey, 15, and Taylor McKnight, 17, Zain Qali, 22, Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18, Marco Camargo, 20, Loai Tashkandi, 19, and Luke Torres, 15. Most of them will swim just one event.

Several international teams from Latin and Central America and the Caribbean will compete including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Bahamas. A field of 790 swimmers from 13 countries are entered.

The four-day meet begins Thursday with the women’s 1500-meter freestyle and men’s 800-meter freestyle at 5 p.m. The rest of the week prelims are 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, 25, of Daytona Beach, who will compete in the meet, will sign autographs and pose for photos on Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the aquatic complex.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.csscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

TOP CLUBS CORAL SPRINGS, COMETS SWIM TEAM MERGE, BUILD FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

A new era in swimming begins with the merger of the Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets Swim Team.

Two of the most well-respected USA Swimming clubs in the southeastern United States will officially become the South Florida Aquatic Club on May 1. 

The Florida Gold Coast’s newest club will combine more than 450 swimmers and 20 employees including two world-class coaches, two 50-meter Olympic-size pools, three 25-meter and 25-yard pools, and diving and teaching pools at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, Mullins Park and City of Pembroke Pines Academic Village Pool, currently undergoing a training facility and pool deck expansion. 

Between them, SOFLO co-head coaches Michael Lohberg and Chris Anderson have more than 50 years of coaching experience and share the same vision. 

The clubs’ 8-and-under age group programs will remain under the auspices of the Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets satellite programs.

The Coral Springs Swim Club as well as the Comets Swim Team will continue to exist. All 8-and-under swimmers will still be registered under their original club name.

“Chris and I and all of our coaches wanted to do it that way,” Lohberg said. “You just don’t wipe out over 30 years of tradition.”

About two years ago, Lohberg started noticing a trend across the country.

 “There has been a trend in the United States to combine teams for economical reasons and also to make it more interesting for the kids,” said Lohberg, a six-time Olympic coach. “We are facing a lot of competition from other sports. “We have to make it exciting for kids to want to stay in the sport. I don’t look at this as competing against other swim teams, I look at it as competing against other sports.

“The main reason these kids get in the sport is camaraderie, not because they think they can be an Olympic champion,” Lohberg said. “They want to be with their friends, go to competitions together, go on trips and compete in local, national and international meets. It’s fun to be in large groups.

“And, by sheer numbers, together we will be competitive on a high level. It is very difficult for a relatively small team to go up against teams that consist of four or five clubs or run their program in seven different pools.

“The Comets are very strong in the younger age groups and we are strong in the older age groups. These kids want to be on a successful team and they want to have fun. In the last 10 years, Coral Springs has won more Junior Olympics than any other FGC team. We sent eight swimmers to the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Dara Torres winning three medals. I call that success, but today success is defined differently than it was five years ago.”

Both Florida Gold Coast clubs were recently recognized among the nation’s best with excellence awards from USA Swimming’s Club Recognition Program.

Coral Springs earned the Gold Medal Club achievement award as one of the nation’s Top 27 clubs.

The Comets earned the Silver Medal Club award, ranked between 28 and 100 in the country. The prestigious awards are based on the performance achievements of the athletes.

“We are taking an older age program and younger age program and putting them together to have a complete program,” said Anderson, also an Olympic coach.

“This is going to enable us to do a lot more dynamic things with not only educating our staff because we have a larger staff now but to bring on people like a sports information director to add the extra flair that we need to run a program of this stature,” Anderson said. “We want to make a huge impact nationally.

“It will give us the flexibility between the two pools to better service our athletes in the water,” Anderson said. “We are already getting our kids to be more competitive in practices that we merged together. That level of training has risen already because of that, which I think is wonderful. It’s giving the dynamic skills that these kids really need to be successful in life.

“We are all on board,” Anderson said. “We know this is for a bigger and better cause of developing swimming in South Florida. It’s going to be really cool to watch these 8-year-olds and see where they’re at age 17. We are going to have a wonderful junior national team and senior national team.”

While awaiting the mandatory 120-day waiting period, the merger has been a gradual progression the past few months. Parents, swimmers, coaches and booster club members have met and exchanged ideas. Head age group coaches Luis Soler of the Comets and Bruno Darzi of Coral Springs will also play key roles in the merger.

At this past week’s Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympics, host Coral Springs opened a swimmers’ lounge for SOFLO members to socialize and get to know each other during prelims and finals.

The swimmers will be outfitted in the latest swim fashion. The national team colors will be blue, turquoise and black. The age group team colors are blue, turquoise and white. A new logo is being designed.

SOFLO will cater to all branches of swimming and other aquatic sports from babies to masters. The Tri-Star Triathletes Club has also been formed as well as Coral Springs also has an active triathlon club. More details will be released later on both teams.

All three club websites in addition to basic information, will feature daily meet coverage on the local, national and international levels, swimmer and coach features, general swim stories, photos and blog to fill the void left by lack of coverage in shrinking newspaper sports sections and magazines, both locally and nationally.

“We think we are headed in the right direction,” Lohberg said. “We have a common philosophy of swimming in terms of coaching, administration and how you teach your kids. A lot of times these mergers are teams that are thrown together regardless of chemistry and just come together for the swim meets. We did not want to do that. We are doing things together not because we have to, but because we want to.

“The chemistry between the coaches and swimmers from both teams is wonderful. We are having a lot of fun with this. I can’t wait for the first big meet together as a new team.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com