Future Looks Bright For SOFLO After Fifth Place National Debut At Texas Senior Circuit Meet

Future Looks Bright For SOFLO After Fifth Place National Debut At Texas Senior Circuit Meet


Teenagers Anne Kuczynski and Brandon Goldman of the South Florida Aquatic Club were looking for a confidence-builder like the Texas Senior Circuit Swimming Meet at Texas A&M.

After a Monday morning workout in College Station, Tex. , the promising 15-year-olds, like many of their SOFLO teammates, will return home brimming with confidence and motivated for the future.

In its national debut, SOFLO placed fifth among 24 teams and finished ahead of several larger and more-established teams.

On Sunday, the final day of competition, Goldman posted back-to-back career-best times (1:04.31 and 1:03.89) in the 100-meter backstroke. Kuczynski posted a career-best 36.90 in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Over three days, Kuczynski managed to final in nearly every one of her events with best or near-best times including her 200 breaststroke which she dropped from 2:51.80 to 2:49.54. She hit every goal time she set with her coach to swim by the end of the season.

The younger sister of Caroline Kuczynski, 19, the team’s top performer of the meet, like the rest of the 15-member team, was not rested or tapered for the meet and coming off heavy training.

“I wasn’t really expecting this because we have been training pretty hard,” Anne Kuczynski said. “At the beginning of the year, Michael (Lohberg) had us do our goal times. I made all of them in this meet so I am pretty happy.”

Kuczynski called the meet “a turning point” in her young career.

“I am excited about the years to come,” Kuczynski said. “I am a sophomore in high school but I am already thinking about college. I know I can get faster for college. I liked this meet. It makes me feel better about myself. I want to go home, train extra hard and do better.”

Watching her older sister was a little added inspiration.

“She is my inspiration,” Anne said. “She is my hero. She swims so fast all the time. She is the star in the family. She gives me tips. She’s kind of like a second coach.”

Goldman is equally motivated for the future after competing in his second Texas Senior Circuit meet. Goldman did well in both individual and relay events.

“I was here to get experience and have fun,” Goldman said. “I didn’t have any high expectations. If I swam well, great; if not, it is the beginning of the season.

“I didn’t put that much pressure on myself. I wanted to be around my best times so I am happy I was even able to get best times. I was really happy with my 400 IM, I dropped three seconds.

“It’s exciting when you gain experience and drop some more time. I am kind of surprised I did so well. I thought I would be real tired. I got here, felt good in the water and expected to swim well after that. This was a real confidence-booster. I am going to keep doing what I am doing, it seems to be working.”

SOFLO national team assistant coach Kathleen Prindle said the meet served its purpose.

“There were many goals for the meet,” Prindle said. “We wanted to give the younger kids more exposure. The more experience they get the better off they are and better prepared for the bigger meets.

“This meet was a wait-and-see. We had gotten into hard training and this was the first test of how are we doing. It was a fun training meet.”

Marc Rojas, 16, turned in two career-best times on the same day in the 200-meter individual medley (2:19.71) and 50-meter breaststroke (32.37).

Jenna Moodie, 15, rekindled her love affair for the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. She dropped nine seconds in the 200 freestyle.

“I was happy with both of them,” Moodie said. “I was having a mental thing with them before but I picked them up again and doing a lot better.

“The coaches told us not to expect anything because we have been working out so hard. I was so sore I couldn’t move on Tuesday.

“Even though I wasn’t tapered I made mostly best times,” Moodie said. “I am happy with that. It was a fun meet for sure. It’s nice to get that race experience. I am excited about getting back and training harder.”

The meet was also a great opportunity for swimmers to bond under the new SOFLO logo.

“Our team is definitely coming together, it was nice to finish fifth,” Moodie said. “Usually there are a lot of teams and we would score points here and there. At this meet we had somebody almost in every final.”

In other final night action:

Two-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, 21, of Texas A&M who grew up swimming with the Comets and was competing for her college’s club team, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 33.34. SOFLO’s Melissa Cooper, 17, was third in 34.09. Brittney Phelan, 17, was fourth in 34.86. Anne Kuczynski was 11th in 36.45 and Lucia Morris, 18th in 38.00.

Atkinson and Cooper also swam a 200-meter breaststroke time trial. Atkinson finished in 2:35.53 and Cooper in 2:54.76.

In the men’s 50-meter breaststroke, Alex Rodriguez, 19, was ninth in 31.15.

Caroline Kuczynski finished fourth in the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:19.35. Her previous best was 2:21.97. Kuczynski also finished ninth in the 200 individual medley in 2:23.13, another best time. Her previous best was 2:24.99.

In the men’s 200 butterfly, Luke Torres was eighth in 2:13.25 after swimming a career-best 2:10.08 in prelims.

Also in the 200 butterfly, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, was tenth in 2:13.57 after swimming 2:14.63 in prelims, both career bests, bettering his seed time of 2:17.20. O’Shaughnessy was 15th in the 200 IM in 2:17.55.

Zain Qali, 22, was 18th in the 200 butterfly in 2:15.64. Tyler Sell was 22nd in 2:20.85.

In the women’s 800-meter freestyle, Emma Lincoln, 14, finished 27th in 9:42.38 and Leonie Davies, 13, was 32nd in a career-best 9:52.74. Her previous best was 10:13.99.

In another time trial, Rojas swam 2:42.96 in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com



Lochte Tests Knee, Wins 200 Backstroke Title At Santa Clara International Grand Prix On Day 4

Lochte Tests Knee, Wins 200 Backstroke Title At Santa Clara International Grand Prix On Day 4


Six-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach won one of his signature events late Saturday night at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix.

Lochte, coming off knee surgery and seven-month layoff and competing in only his third meet since tearing the meniscus in his left knee, defended his title, winning the 200-meter backstroke in 1 minute, 58.74 seconds at the George Haines International Swim Center.

Lochte, the reigning Olympic champion, finished ahead of Olympian Matt Grevers, second in 1:59.77 and Austin Surhoff (2:01.24).

“I knew pretty much everyone I was racing against,” Lochte said. “I knew I had to go out fast in the first 100.”

Lochte won gold in the 200 backstroke at both the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympic Games.

Lochte, who was entered in eight events, called the win a breakthrough swim after narrowly missing the podium in the 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly.

“With any injury I just have to focus on the positive,” said Lochte, who said the seven-month layoff was his longest since age 8. “I’ve gotten stronger with every meet. Maybe my body needs the break.”

Elizabeth Beisel, 17, an Olympic finalist in two individual events in Beijing, won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:39.21.

Olympian Nathan Adrian won the 50-meter freestyle 8/10ths ahead of the rest of the field to win in 22.32.

Californian Kasey Carlson, 18, won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:09.13. The 2009 world championship bronze medalist is planning to train at USC to work with Trojan coach Dave Salo.

Presley Bard won the women’s 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.24.

In other races, Aussie Olympic bronze medalist Patrick Murphy won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:52.98; Dagny Knutson, 18, won the women’s 200 freestyle in 1:58.82 and Japan’s Olympian Masayuki Kishida won the men’s 100 butterfly in 53.27.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com



Kuczynski, Cooper win gold, SOFLO remains fifth after day two of Texas Senior Circuit meet

Kuczynski, Cooper win gold, SOFLO remains fifth after day two of Texas Senior Circuit meet


On an emotionally-charged night, the South Florida Aquatic Club turned heads Saturday at the Texas Senior Circuit Swimming Meet at Texas A&M.

Caroline Kuczynski, 19, won her second individual event in two days posting career-best times in both prelims and finals of the 100-meter butterfly.

Texas A&M-bound Melissa Cooper made a good first impression in front of her new college coach.

Cooper knocked off two-time Olympian and Texas A&M’s NCAA champion Alia Atkinson to win the 100-meter breaststroke at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium in College Station, Tex.

The SOFLO men’s 400-meter medley relay team of Brandon Goldman, 15, Alex Rodriguez, 19, Luke Torres, 16, and Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, finished third in 4:04.27 to pick up 32 points and enable the Nike-sponsored team to remain in fifth place with 269 points heading into the third and final day of competition on Sunday.

Kuczynski swam the second fastest time in the 100 butterfly prelims in a career-best 1 minute, 2.25 seconds, bettering her previous best of 1:02.53. She dropped again in finals to win her second event in 1:01.11. She won the 50-meter butterfly on Friday night.

“That is a really good swim, she is further along than I thought she was,” said SOFLO coach Michael Lohberg. “She is a great swimmer. When you do the right things with her she can do great stuff.”

Kuczynski, who will be a sophomore at Arizona State this fall, is both surprised and excited by her swims. Buoyed by a new dryland strength program from her college strength and conditioning coach, she looks and feels stronger in the water.

“I feel stronger than I ever have before,” Kuczynski said. “I have been training really hard and it’s all coming together with the swimming and strength. I am pulling through the water way better and feel great in the water. Everything feels so good right now.

“I was really nervous coming into this meet with no rest,” Kuczynski said “It’s good to know I can go this fast this early in the season not rested. I still have time to fine tune everything. It’s definitely motivating to know.”

With only 15 to 20 minutes between her events, Kuczynski finished fourth in the 200-meter freestyle. She bettered her career-best time of 2:11.05 in prelims in 2:08.09 and again in finals in 2:06.04.

“The last 50 I felt it,” Kuczynski said. “I just went in with nothing to lose. College really helped me get used to racing so many events in a short amount of time. You learn to swim three to four events in a time frame of an hour. Your body gets used to it.”

Kuczynski has the 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley remaining on Sunday.

It was Kuczynski, wearing one of the team’s new caps, who made history for SOFLO by being its first swimmer in the first heat of the first event in the team’s first national meet.

In an exciting women’s 100-meter breaststroke final, Cooper, 17, held off the more experienced and hometown favorite Atkinson, 21, to win her first major title at the national level.

Cooper won in 1:12.52, her second fastest career time. Atkinson finished second in 1:12.57. She was seeded first after morning prelims (1:14.16). Her career-best time is 1:11.74.

For Cooper, the race was inspiring to swim in her future home pool in front of her college coach Steve Bultman.

“I love this pool, it feels like silk and I love the atmosphere,” Cooper said. “It was a great race. I wasn’t that nervous and I don’t know why. At first I didn’t even know the final was ready. I thought, ‘oh, oops, let’s get behind the blocks.’ It was the most relaxed I’ve ever been.”

During morning prelims, Cooper got the chance to watch Atkinson before she swam her heat.

“It was motivating to watch her swim,” Cooper said. “I am pretty competitive and to get the chance to race against someone like that was great. I am pretty shocked right now. I would have been happy with a 1:14 since we just started training hard.

“Everything felt like it just clicked. I am finally getting confident and my stroke felt wonderful. This was my second best 100 breaststroke ever.”

After a few anxious weeks when Cooper signed with Clemson only to find out the college planned to drop its swim program, Cooper signed with the Aggies.

“It was a very stressful time but everything worked out a lot better than it would have been,” said Cooper, who competes in the 50 breaststroke and 50 freestyle on Sunday.

Also in the 100 breaststroke, Brittney Phelan, 17, finished ninth in 1:15.57, close to a career-best; Anne Kuczynski, 15, was 19th in a career-best 1:18.66 and Lucia Morris, 16, was 27th in 1:22.82.

In the men’s 100-meter butterfly, Torres, 16, finished seventh in 57.75. Both his morning time (57.98) and finals time were career-bests. His previous best was 58.63.

Also in the butterfly, Zain Qali, 22, was 12th in 58.90. Sell, 18, was 43rd in 1:03.23.

“It was a decent swim,” said Qali, who competes in the 200 butterfly and 200 IM on Sunday. “I have been practicing hard for the summer. Right now I have a lot of mileage in my body and I feel a little heavy in the water. By the end of July I hope to go best times.

“The kids on the team are doing great and racing best times. They are very motivated. They train with us and they are motivated to go faster.”

In the 100-meter breaststroke, Rodriguez, 19, was tenth in 1:07.65;  O’Shaughnessy, 19, was 13th in  1:09.25; and Marc Rojas was 24th in 1:13.59 after swimming 1:10.90 in prelims.

In the women’s 200-meter freestyle, Emma Lincoln, 14, was 53rd in a career-best 2:15.12 and Jenna Moodie, 15, was 64th in 2:16.54.

In the men’s 200-meter freestyle, Sell, 18, was 16th in 2:02.63 and Rojas was 56th in 2:05.44.

In the men’s 400 individual medley, O’Shaughnessy was 10th in 4:46.86;

Torres was 12th in a career-best 4:52.32; Goldman was 22nd in 4:54.75, his second time drop in the event after a 4:55.78 in morning prelims bettered his seed time of 4:57.94; and Sell was 23rd in 5:00.38 after swimming 4:56.75 in prelims.

The SOFLO women’s 400 medley relay team of Moodie, Phelan, Morris and Lincoln was 12th in 4:57.41 and picked up 10 points.

SOFLO national team assistant coach Kathleen Prindle has been pleased with the team’s showing.

“Overall, the kids are surprising me,” Prindle said. “They are doing very well. We came to this meet with the expectations of getting more experience as a training meet.

“They just got into hard training yardage, they are all rather tired and did not taper but we have had a lot of best times and a lot of finalists,” Prindle said.

“Anne Kuczynski has had significant best times and been finaling in all of her events. Brandon Goldman dropped 2 ½ seconds in the 400 IM prelims and another second in finals. We’re quite happy.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com






Dana Vollmer has been on both ends of the emotional rollercoaster in swimming.

An Olympic gold medalist in 2004, Vollmer failed to make the U.S. team four years later.

At 22, Vollmer is determined more than ever to return to the Olympic spotlight and showed just how determined Friday night at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix when she broke a meet record in the women’s 100-meter butterfly.

Vollmer of Granbury, Tex. won the event in 57.73 seconds, breaking Natalie Coughlin’s 2006 meet record of 58.22. She topped an impressive women’s field that included 2008 Olympians Elaine Breeden and Christine Magnuson.

Vollmer was coming off the exhausting three-meet Mare Nostrum Tour in Europe.

“That’s a blistering time for her,” said U.S. national team coach Mark Schubert.

It was the first of three events Vollmer won on Day Two of the California meet.

She also won the 100-meter freestyle (54.47) and was a member of Cal Aquatics winning 400-meter freestyle relay.

“Even though I am training hard I am feeling strong and this gives me confidence,” Vollmer said.

The men’s 100-meter breaststroke was a close race between Brazil’s Henrique Barbosa and Mike Alexandrov with Barbosa beating him to the wall in 1:02.57 to 1:02.66.

Teenager Keri Hehn of Fargo, N.D. won the women’s 200-meter breaststroke in 2:26.93.

Aussie  Kendrick Monk won the 200 freestyle in 1:49.29.

Canada’s Alexa Komarnycky won the 400 freestyle in 4:10.27 and teammate Brian Johns won the 400 individual medley in 4:17.73.

Brazil’s Kaio Marcio De Almeida won the men’s 200-meter butterfly in 1:56.94.

Six-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach, coming off knee surgery and seven-month layoff, was sixth in the 200-meter freestyle and fifth in the 200 butterfly.

Race footage of the USA Swimming Grand Prix meet is being broadcast live throughout the weekend on www.swimnetwork.com and is also available live on Universal Sports at 5 p.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com






Caroline Kuczynski didn’t know what to expect.

The 19-year-old, coming off a successful freshman season at Arizona State, is home for the summer and training hard with the South Florida Aquatic Club.

So on Friday when she qualified third in the 50-meter butterfly in 28.61 seconds during morning prelims of the Texas Senior Circuit Swimming Meet, Kuczynski was happy and surprised.

Six hours later when she won the 50 butterfly event in a career-best 27.76  at the Texas A&M Student Recreation Center Natatorium in College Station, Tex., she was ecstatic.

Her strong opening swim sets her up nicely for Saturday’s 100-meter butterfly which she is seeded ninth in (1:02.53 seed time).

Her first place and the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay’s third place buoyed SOFLO to a fifth-place finish on Day One of the three-day meet.

SOFLO had seven individual swimmers and both 400 freestyle relay teams qualify for finals in its national debut.

“I was pretty happy with the swim,” said Kuczynski, a 2012 Canadian Olympic hopeful. “I didn’t expect much from this meet because we weren’t rested and in full training. This was just a meet to race.

“I felt good in the water,” she said. “Going into the final as the third seed surprised me. I was expecting a fight to make it into the finals so that helped me feel pretty confident for finals.

“I am very happy swimming my best time I got. That event isn’t in every meet. It was a good race for me. My stroke felt amazing. It definitely is a confidence-booster for the 100. I just need to have one more lap.”

Kuczynski also swam the third leg of SOFLO’s 400-meter freestyle relay that finished seventh in 4:06.10.

The only other SOFLO swimmer in the 50-meter butterfly, Lucia Morris, 16, was 42nd in the 50-meter butterfly in 33.82 in her national meet debut.

SOFLO’s 400 free relay team of Luke Torres, 16, Brandon Goldman, 15, Zain Qali, 22 and Tyler Sell, 18, finished third in 3:45.76 to pick up 32 points.

In the men’s 50-meter butterfly, Qali, was fifth in 26.54 seconds. He was seeded sixth after his morning prelim swim of 27.12.

Also in the 50 butterfly, Alex Rodriguez was 25th in 29.18.

SOFLO had eight swimmers in the men’s and women’s 200-meter breaststroke events.

Brittney Phelan, 17, finished fourth in the final in 2:41.68. she was the second fastest qualifier in morning prelims in a career-best 2:41.49.

Anne Kuczynski, 15, was 15th in finals in 2:51.13 finals. She was seeded 14th after swimming a career-best 2:49.54 in prelims. Her seeded time coming into the meet was 2:51.80.

Also in the women’s 200 breaststroke, Lucia Morris, 16, was 22nd in 2:53.59 and Jenna Moodie, 15, was 38th in 3:00.76.

In the men’s breaststroke, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, coming off his freshman season at Seton Hall, was fourth in 2:28.65. He just made finals after an eighth place finish in morning prelims in 2:32.39.

Luke Torres, 16, a top swimmer at American Heritage, was sixth in the 200 breaststroke in 2:31.11 after swimming a career-best 2:30.97, fourth fastest time in prelims.

Also in the men’s 200 breaststroke, Alex Rodriguez, 19, was 17th in 2:36.71 and Marc Rojas, 16, was 29th in 2:40.04.

Florida State-bound Tyler Sell, 18, was fifth in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:12.24. Rojas was 32nd in 4:22.69.

In the women’s 400-meter freestyle, Leonie Davies, 13, was 51st in 4:46.64 and Emma Lincoln, 14, was 60th in 4:49.08. Both were making their national meet debut.

Goldman, 15, getting his first taste of national competition, was 30th in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:21.25. Sell, 18, was 34th in 2:22.33.

In the 100-meter freestyle, Texas A&M-bound Melissa Cooper, 17, was 30th in 1:01.32; Moodie was 47th in 1:02.46 and Lincoln was 64th in 1:03.90.

In the men’s 100 freestyle, Torres was 26th in a career-best 55.62, bettering his previous best of 56.05.

The Nike-sponsored South Florida Aquatic Club, making its national debut, is fifth among 24 teams with 147 points after the first day of competition.

The meet features more than 350 swimmers from around the country including host Aggie Swim Club (305), Longhorn Aquatics (231.5), First Colony Swim Team (211) and King Aquatic Club (196.5), the top four teams.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com






Gearing up for a full summer of meets, the South Florida Aquatic Club will make its national debut this weekend.

A mix of young, talented and experienced swimmers will compete at the Texas Senior Circuit Long Course Meet Friday through Sunday in College Station, Tex.

The swimmers will get the chance to swim indoors at the Texas A&M Student Recreation Center Natatorium.

The venue has hosted several high level meets including the Women’s and Men’s NCAA Championships, Big 12 Championships and U.S. Open and World Cups in addition to the Texas Senior Circuit Swimming Series.

“It is the first meet we have together at the national level,” said national team coach Michael Lohberg, referring to the merger of Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets Swim Team into the Nike-sponsored South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO).

Lohberg and five swimmers including two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov recently returned from Europe where SOFLO made its international debut at the Mare Nostrum Tour.

“For most of the kids this is a meet building up to the summer,” Lohberg said. “There are swimmers who have high ambitions like nationals in Canada. Other kids are trying to make senior national cuts for the U.S. For most, it is part of their preparation for the end of July and Senior Championships.”

The meet is well-liked by SOFLO coaches for its atmosphere and competitive qualifying time cuts.

“Our kids decided whether they wanted to go or not,” Lohberg said. “It is good to get out of South Florida for meets and a good chance for them to race before the summer meets.

“It is a relatively quick meet and it’s a good indoor pool. The timing is good and it’s a well-run meet. The trip is always fun. Our kids have always enjoyed going to this meet.”

The SOFLO meet roster features Melissa Cooper, 17, who recently signed with Texas A&M and will get a chance to swim in the pool she will call home for the next four years; British teenager Leonie Davies, 13; Canadian sisters Anne, 15 and Caroline Kuczynski, 19; Emma Lincoln, 14; Jenna Moodie, 15; Lucia Morris, 16; Brittney Phelan, 17;

Brandon Goldman, 15; Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19; Zain Qali, 22; Alex Rodriguez, 19; Marc Rojas, 16; Tyler Sell, 18; and Luke Torres, 16.

The males will swim in 41 events and females 34 events.

“It’s a good meet for our swimmers,” Lohberg said. “They will have to be tough and swim fast. They will get the chance to have morning and night swims.

“The kids are going to enjoy it. Some who are back from college for the summer like Ryan and Rory will see where they are in their training after a couple of weeks. They have to race at some point, that is part of the equation. For the younger ones like Brandon, they will see what they can do at a meet like this.

“The main thing is they swim against good competition, have a good time and see something new. Everybody has a different purpose for this meet.”

Texas A&M host coach Steve Bultman said he expects about 300 swimmers.

“It’s a good solid senior meet,” Bultman said. “You are a pretty good swimmer if you have the qualifying times. It’s a confidence-building meet.

“We have a number of Texas teams, a couple of teams out of the association including King Aquatics and we’re looking forward to seeing SOFLO compete,” said Bultman, who has coached the women’s program at Texas A&M for 11 seasons.

Two-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, who grew up in Pembroke Pines training with the Comets and won an individual NCAA title for Texas A&M this season, will compete for the Aggies’ club team and will share the pool deck with some of her future SOFLO club teammates.

Davies, coming off the All-Star Open Water competition in Fort Myers this past weekend, will make her national debut since moving to Florida from Maryland where she competed along the east coast.

“I am really excited,” Davies said. “It’s a cool experience. I get to see what it is like to be in the big game. It’s going to be a good experience and fun.”

Davies’ training has been going well. During the Texas A&M meet she will try to make her British junior national cut times in the 400 freestyle (needs about a five-second drop) and 800 freestyle (needs about a 30-second drop.”

“Training is going good, the practices are getting a lot harder,” Davies said. “I am getting back into really good shape and feeling stronger and stronger.”

After she competes at the FGC Junior Olympics, Davies and her family are going to their native England for a month to visit relatives. She plans to train at a Sheffield pool.

“If I swim well enough in Texas and Coral Springs I am hoping I could get my cuts and swim at nationals. I know it sounds like big time drops but it’s not impossible.”


More than 10 U.S. Olympians including gold medalists Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach and newlywed Natalie Coughlin of Vallejo, Calif. will compete in the Swimnetwork.com Santa Clara International Grand Prix Thursday through Sunday. The meet is the second-to-last stop of the eight-meet USA Swimming Grand Prix. Swimnetwork.com and Universal Sports will webcast and broadcast the meet respectively.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com






Olympic bronze medalist Ryan Cochrane of Victoria, British Columbia won the men’s 800-meter freestyle on the opening day of the Swimnetwork.com Santa Clara International Grand Prix.

Cochrane won in 7 minutes and 58 seconds Thursday night, the first of four days of competition.

Cochrane, 21, of Island Swimming was second in the 1500 meters in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was the first medal for Canada in the 1500 in 88 years and first Olympic medal for a Canadian swimmer since the 2000 Olympics.

Aussies Robert Hurley (8:01.73) and Thomas Fraser-Holmes (8:03.00) finished second and third respectively. Scott Korotskin was the top U.S. finisher placing seventh in 8:22.86.

UCLA sophomore Samantha Vanden Berge won the women’s 1500 meters in 16:51.63. Tristen Baxter was second in 16:52.91.

The four-day meet continues Friday with 10 U.S. Olympians competing including Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach and Natalie Coughlin of Vallejo, Calif. The meet is the second-to-last-stop of the eight-meet USA Swimming Grand Prix.


The South Florida Aquatic Club makes its national debut Friday at the Texas Senior Circuit Long Course Meet at the Texas A&M Student Recreation Center Natatorium in College Station, Tex.

SOFLO will have a group of 15 swimmers competing. SOFLO coaches Chris Anderson and Kathleen Prindle will coach the contingent.

The group is a nice mix of young, talented and experienced swimmers.

The meet features more than 300 swimmers. Zain Qali, 22, Tyler Sell, 18, and Melissa Cooper, 17, are among SOFLO’s highest seeded swimmers.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com