Caeleb Dressel Shines On Final Night Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships; Hosszu, Le Clos Named FINA Swimmers Of The Year


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 16, 2018—On the sixth and final night of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships, Caeleb Dressel saved his best for last.

The Clay High School and Bolles Swim Club alum won the 100-meter freestyle in an exciting finish against Russian Vlad Morozov, 45.62-45.64. Dressel used his closing speed to out-touch Morozov. South African Chad le Clos took the bronze in 45.89.

It was Dressel’s first individual gold medal and short course world title. He also broke his own American record of 45.66 he set earlier in the meet as leadoff leg of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

“I actually feel alright right now,” Dressel said. “It was a long meet, but I’ve had meets where I was a lot more tired. This went smoothly. I’m happy to be done, don’t get me wrong, but it was a great performance all around from everyone on the team and it was really exciting to be a part of that.”

Dressel was also a member of the winning 4×100-meter medley relay with a split of 48.28. The U.S. men won in a championship record 3:19.98 breaking the old U.S. record of 3:20.99 set in 2010. Russia was second in 3:20.61 and Japan was third in 3:21.07. Dressel was joined by teammates Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, Andrew Wilson and Ryan Held.

“I feel like I’m in really good shape,” Dressel said. “They (his swims) were pretty sloppy to be honest, a lot of them. I feel like I got better as the meet went on because that was faster than the first day of the meet tonight, so I think I was getting better every day. The speed was not quite there, but like I said I think I’m in really good shape. My last 50 was really good in the fly and the free, so I’m not worried about anything and it will be fun year next year at Worlds.”

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu and South Africa’s Chad le Clos were named 2018 FINA Swimmers of the Year. Hosszu’s new coach, Arpad Petrov, was named the top women’s coach and former Coral Springs Swim Club coach Andrea di Nino and coach of Le Clos, was named men’s coach of the year. They were honored at the FINA World Aquatics Gala on Sunday night.

In the other Sunday finals:

The U.S. women’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay team of Madison Kennedy, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Erika Brown won in a championship record 1:34.03 ahead of world record holder Netherlands (1:34.55) and Australia (1:36.34).

Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine overtook early leader and world record holder Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy in the final 25 meters of the 1,500-yard freestyle to win in a championship record 14:09.14. Paltrinieri finished in 14:09.87 and Norway’s Henrik Christiansen was third in 14:19.39.

American Annie Lazor won a three-woman race in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:18.32 ahead of teammate Bethany Gelat in 2:18.62 and Belgium’s Fanny Lecluyse in 2:18.85.

Russia’s Evgeny Rylov surged in the final 50 meters to knock off American and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 1:47.02-1:47.34. Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki and Aussie Mitch Larkin tied for the bronze in 1:48.25.

American Kelsi Worrell Dahlia won the 100-meter butterfly in 55.01, just a half second off her world record. U.S. teammate Kendyl Stewart was second in 56.22 and Brazil’s Daiene Dias was third in 56.31.

South African Cameron van der Burgh won the 50-meter breaststroke in a championship record 25.41 to sweep the breaststroke events. The Olympic gold medalist and world record holder announced his retirement following the meet. Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus took silver in 25.77 and former championship record holder Felipe Lima of Brazil was third in 25.80.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter freestyle in a championship record of 23.19. Teammate Femke Heemskerk was second in 23.67. Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros was third in 23.76.

The U.S. women’s relay team of Olivia Smoliga, Katie Meili, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Mallory Comerford won the 4×100-meter medley relay in a championship record 3:45.58. China was second in 3:48.80 and Italy was third in a national record 3:51.38.

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries competed for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Second Gold, Dylan Carter Takes Bronze On Day Five Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 15, 2018—Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won her second gold medal Saturday at the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

Atkinson, 30, the top-seed and world record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke, won the event in 1:03.51. She is the first woman to win the event for three consecutive world championships (won gold in 2014 and 2016). It was her third medal after winning the 50-meter breaststroke and third in the 100-meter individual medley.

American Katie Meili took silver in 1:03.63. Meili pulled away from the field along with Atkinson, who had a great start and then held on for the win to out-touch Meili. Aussie Jessica Hansen was third in 1:04.61.

“Done and done,” Atkinson said. “Beyond thankful for God’s calming guidance and keeping me mentally and physically in the game. Two golds and a bronze is the best haul at worlds yet, and to do it at 30 years old makes it even better.”

Other Florida swimmers:

1. prelims, 3. semis, Caeleb Dressel, U.S., Clay/Bolles, 100-meter freestyle, 45.98, 46.09.

5. Melanie Margalis, U.S., St. Petersburg, 200-meter individual medley, 2:07.39.

12. Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador, Azura alum, 1,500-meter freestyle, 14:45.78.

25. Isabella Paez, Venezuela, Dora, Miami Metro Aquatics, 100-meter butterfly, 59.69.

66. Jhonny Perez, Dominican Republic, Azura alum, 100-meter freestyle, 51.03.

In Saturday’s finals seven countries won seven gold medals. No world records were broken.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:03.25 for her third consecutive title in the event which she holds the world and championship record in 2:01.86. It was her fourth gold medal of the meet. The U.S. finished two-three with St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis in 2:04.62 and Kathleen Baker in 2:05.64.

“It’s always nice to race in China,” Hosszu said. “I’ve got many fans throughout the year. I’ve been racing a lot in Beijing and now in Hangzhou. Obviously, I’m very happy with my results over the past couple of days. I’m happiest with this, the women’s medley gold because of the time (2:03.25).

“My training hasn’t changed that much by changing my coach. I’ve had a long swimming career, so I’m pretty aware what I need to do to perform well. Obviously, it’s really good to have a coach who can provide additional value to my training. There are little things I have changed and try to focus on. I do pay attention to recovery and try to do a lot more quality instead of quantity”.

American Olivia Smoliga won the 50-meter backstroke in an American record 25.88 successfully sweeping the sprint backstrokes. It was the only gold medal won by the U.S. on Day 5. Caroline Pilhatsch of Austria was second in a national record 25.99. Australia’s Holly Barratt was third in 26.04.

“It feels like a blur to me, it goes by so quickly,” Smoliga said. “I saw both girls off the side of me at the turn and I knew I had to have a good finish, so I tried my best to get my hands on the wall first. I think the time (25.88) is important. It shows how your training has been going, if you have improved your times from previous years. It shows what you are doing is the right thing”.

Japan’s Daiya Seto won the 400-meter individual medley in 3:56.43. Seto took off and led from start-to-finish. He was within a second of the world record of 3:55.50 held by Ryan Lochte. Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes was second in 4:02.74 and Brazil’s Brandonn Almeida was third in 4:03.71.

Brazilian world record holder Nicholas Santos knocked off South African Chad le Clos in the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record 21.81. Le Clos finished in 21.97 and Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 22.38. He was sixth fastest qualifier for the event. It was the second-ever medal for the Caribbean nation after George Bovell’s bronze in 2012 in the 100 IM.

Russia won the men’s 4×50-meter medley relay in a championship record 1:30.54. The U.S., despite Ryan Murphy leading off with a fast split of 22.73, took silver in 1:30.90 and Brazil won the bronze medal in 1:31.49.

In an exciting finish, China outlasted the U.S., 7:34.08-7:35.30 to take gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Australia took bronze in a national record 7:36.40.

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries are competing for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

On the sixth and final day, prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Aussie Teenager Breaks World Record On Day Four Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson Settles For 100 IM Bronze


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 14, 2018—Teenager Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off reigning world record holder Wang Jianjiahe of China in the 400-meter freestyle with a world record of her own Friday on Day Four of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

Titmus, 18, winner of the 200-meter freestyle, won the distance event in 3:53.92. Titmus, who was fourth in the event at the 2017 world championships in Hungary, led from start-to-finish. Jianjiahe was second in 3:54.56. China’s Lu Bingjie was third in 3:57.99.

It was the first woman individual world record at the meet after Daiya Seto and Kirill Prigoda broke men’s world records.

“I am a little bit in shock,” Titmus said. “I knew the Chinese girl would go out fast. I was worried she would have a little left in the tank at the end, but I held her off. I put in a lot of hard work since our trials five weeks ago and the turnaround I have had in that time is unbelievable. I dropped six seconds off my 400 and that shows what training hard can do. I can’t believe it, and for it to be a short course world record is something. I am someone who does not pride themselves on speed, but I will take it.”

It has been a breakthrough year for the young Tasmanian, who won three golds at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier in 2018. She only turned 18 in September and has already earned the nickname “Terminator.” Her father calls her “Arnie” and that became Terminator in Australian media after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won her second medal of the meet finishing third in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.11.

Atkinson also earned the top-seed in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal in 1:04.07. She was second fastest in the prelims in 1:04.34.

Another local, Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Plantation American Heritage was the sixth fastest qualifier in the 50-meter butterfly semifinals in 22.62 after going 22.53 in prelims.

In other Friday finals:

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu won the 100 IM, her third gold medal, in 57.26 and her fourth consecutive title in the event. Japan’s Runa Imai was second in 57.85. American Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg was fourth.

“I do feel a bit sore, and I am glad I did not swim the 50 backstroke in the morning,” Hosszu said. “I felt a lot readier this afternoon after having slept in this morning. For me the medley is a fun event. It is all the four strokes together and a sprint, so for me it is just a lot of fun”.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record in 24.47, her second gold medal of the meet. She also won the 100-meter freestyle. The previous record was 24.58. Aussie Holly Barratt took silver in 24.80 and American Kelsi Worrell Dahlia was third in 24.97.

Russian Kliment Kolesnikov won his showdown with Italian Marco Orsi in the 100-meter individual medley in a championship and junior world record 50.63. Orsi finished in 51.03 and Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori took the bronze in 51.53. American Michael Andrew was fourth in 51.58.

In an upset, Russian Vladimir Morozov won his first gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle in 20.33. It was his third medal in the event in three worlds. Fastest qualifier Caeleb Dressel, a Clay and Bolles alum, was second in 20.54. South African Bradley Tandy took the bronze in 20.94 after initial third place finisher Ben Proud of Britain was disqualified for a false start for the second time this year at an international meet.

Russian teammate Evgeny Rylov knocked off American and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy to win the 50-meter backstroke in 22.58. Murphy finished in 22.63.

Ireland’s Shane Ryan won his country’s first medal in the 25-year meet history with a third place in the 50-meter backstroke.

Two other world records were broken in the relay competition.

In the relay competition, the U.S. men’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay of Dressel, Ryan Held, Jack Conger and Michael Chadwick won in a world record 1:21.80.

Brazil broke the third world record in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay in 6:46.81 with Luiz Melo, Fernando Scheffer, Nicholas Santos and Breno Correia.

The U.S. team has 21 total medals (10 gold, 8 silver, 3 bronze). China has 10 (2 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). Russia has 9 medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze).

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries are competing for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

Prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Two More World Records Fall, Le Clos Knocks Off Dressel On Day Three Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships; Atkinson Goes For Second Gold On Day Four


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 13, 2018—Swimmers from Russia and United States broke world records Thursday on Day Three of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

Kirill Prigoda of Russia won the 200-meter breaststroke in a world and championship record 2:00.16. The previous record was 2:00.44 set by Germany’s Marco Koch in November 2016. Prigoda’s best finish before his record performance was a bronze in Doha in 2014.

Prigoda’s record swim was only the second individual world record of the meet.

“I didn’t think about breaking the world record before the competition,” Prigoda said. “When I was standing in front of the pool, my mind was clear and my eyes focused on the water. I just wanted to swim faster and faster. I am happy that my parents were both swimmers and that I am their son. But during the day-to-day training, I just try to swim fast. I think this is why I am here, why I am in swimming, and why I will be here tomorrow and next year”.

The U.S. mixed 4×50-meter medley team broke the second world record. The team of Olivia Smoliga, Michael Andrew, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Caeleb Dressel broke the previous U.S. world record of 1:37.17 in 1:36.40. The Netherlands was second in 1:37.05 and Russia was third in 1:37.33.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club qualified third for the 100-meter individual medley final in 58.20. Hungarian world and championship record holder Katinka Hosszu is seeded first in 57.69 and Japan’s Runa Umai is second in 58.04. In addition to the 100IM, Atkinson also has the 100-meter breaststroke on Day Four.

In other Thursday finals:

In a thrilling showdown, South African Chad le Clos won his fourth consecutive gold medal beating American Caeleb Dressel in the 100-meter butterfly in 48.50. Dressel never challenged Le Clos to place second in 48.71. China’s Li Zhuhao was third in 49.25.

“It was the biggest race of my short course career,” Le Clos said. “I was up against the best field by far and this was the main event of the whole week. I am very grateful I got the gold, it was a tough race. I was anxious because I was waiting the whole day for this, the whole week and the past three months because I knew this one could come.

“After the first night, people thought I was winded and I have always told them that is the biggest mistake they can make because after I have lost I come back much stronger. Tonight was important. I needed the win tonight”.

Without American Katie Ledecky in the field, China’s Wang Jianjiahe breeze to the gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:04.35. The 16-year-old was under world record pace until the 350-meter mark. Simona Quadarella of Italy was second in 8:08.03 and American Leah Smith was third in 8:08.75.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 100-meter freestyle in a championship record 51.14. Teammate Femke Heemskerk, the fastest qualifier, was second in 51.60. American Mallory Comerford was third in 51.63.

While Hungarian Katinka Hosszu faltered to fourth in the 200-meter backstroke, Americans Lisa Bratton (2:00.71) and Kathleen Baker (2:00.79) finished one-two. Aussie Emily Seebohm was third in 2:01.37.

“It is my first World Short Course Championships, I was nervous,” Bratton said. “After having to adjust my body from the long travel, I do feel good this week and expected to win a medal. I felt very excited tonight. I took these championships as an important experience to learn from those big names and to learn how to swim in short course”.

Other Florida swimmer results:

14. Dylan Carter, Trinidad and Tobago, American Heritage Plantation, 50-meter backstroke, 23.73; 34. 50-meter freestyle, 21.98.

30. Patrick Groters, Aruba, NSU University School/Pine Crest Swimming, 100-yard individual medley, 56.56.

55. Renzo Tjon-A-Joe, Surinam, Metro Aquatics, 50-meter freestyle, 22.52.

61. Jhonny Perez, Dominican Republic, Azura alum, 50-meter freestyle, 23.00.

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries are competing for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

Prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Gold; Two Relay World Records Broken On Day Two Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 12, 2018—Four-time Olympian and world record holder Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and South Florida Aquatic Club followed up her world record in October with a gold medal on Day Two of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

After finishing runner-up three times, Atkinson, 30, seeded first, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.05, a half-second off her world record of 28.56 set on October 6 at the FINA World Cup Series.

Atkinson held off Lithuanian rival and two-time short course gold medalist Ruta Meilutyte who finished second in 29.38. Italian Martina Carraro was third in a national record 29.59.

Meilutyte took the lead with a faster reaction time off the blocks, 0.60 to 0.62. But Atkinson pulled away after a great turn and went on to win her first 50 breaststroke short course title.

In six world short course championships, she has been 17th, sixth and second three times before winning. She now has the most medals (eight) for either a man or woman from the Caribbean at the world short course meet.

No other woman has won as many medals as Atkinson in the 50 breaststroke with four. Meilutyte has three. She is also tied with South African Cameron van der Burgh and Ukraine’s Oleh Lisohor as all-time top medalist in World Championship history in the event.

“It was a sweet swim,” said SOFLO and Jamaican delegation head coach Chris Anderson. “The 50-meter breaststroke has always been a difficult race to start off the World Championships. By having a great turn and solid finish I think it is really going to build confidence for the 100 breaststroke. It was a great swim for her and I’m looking forward to more swimming at worlds.”

In other Wednesday finals:

The U.S. women’s 4×50-meter medley relay team of Olivia Smoliga, Katie Meili, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Mallory Comerford broke the world and championship records in 1:42.38. China was second in 1:44.31 and the Netherlands was third in 1:44.57.

Bolles alum and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy won a close battle in the 100-meter backstroke in 49.23. Current short course meters world record holder Xu Jiayu of China was second in 49.26. Russian junior record holder Kliment Kolesnikov was third in 49.40.

Fifteen minutes after swimming the medley relay, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia finished a close second behind Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu who won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:01.60 edging out Dahlia in 2:01.73, who re-broke her own American record. Japan’s junior world record holder Suzuka Hasegawa was third in 2:04.04.

South African Cameron van der Burgh jumped out to an early lead and held on for the win in the 100-meter breaststroke in a championship record 56.01. Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus was second in 56.10 and Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki was third in 56.13.

American Blake Pieroni led from start-to-finish to win the 200-meter freestyle in 1:41.49. Danas Rapsys of Lithuania was second in 1:41.78 and Aussie Alexander Graham was third in 1:42.28. South African Chad le Clos failed to get out of the semifinals.

The U.S. won its third gold medal of the day in the 100-meter backstroke when American Olivia Smoliga knocked off world and championship record holder Katinka Hosszu, 56.19-56.26. There was a tie for third between Georgia Davies of Great Britain and Aussie Minna Atherton in 56.74.

The U.S. won the mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relay (Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia) in a world and championship record 1:27.89 knocking off world record holder and defending champion Netherlands, second in 1:28.51. Russia was third in 1:28.73. It was a third event for both Dahlia and Comerford.

Other Florida swimmer results:

12. Dylan Carter, Trinidad and Tobago, American Heritage Plantation, 200-meter freestyle, 1:43.74.

15. Isabella Paez, Venezuela, Doral/Miami Metro Aquatics, 200-meter butterfly 2:11.23.

29. Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador, Azura, 200-meter freestye, 1:47.00

69. Abby (Araoluwa) Oyetunji, Nigeria, Somerset/South Florida Aquatic Club, 100-meter freestyle, 1:02.34.

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries are competing for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

Prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Japan’s Daiya Seto Breaks World Record, Knocks Off Chad Le Clos; SOFLO’s Abby Oyetunji Makes Debut, Alia Atkinson Earns Top Seed On Day One Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 11, 2018—On an exciting opening day of upsets and world records at the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships, Daiya Seto of Japan took center stage in his dual against world record holder and defending champion Chad Le Clos of South Africa.

Seto reeled in early leader Le Clos in the final 50 meters of the 200-meter butterfly to break the world record in 1:48.24. Le Clos’ previous record was 1:48.56. Both swimmers came in under world record time and are now one-two in the all-time rankings. Le Clos was second in 1:48.32 breaking his own African national record. China’s Zhuhao Li was third in 1:50.39.

Clay and Bolles alum Caeleb Dressel led off the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay with an American record of 45.66 which buoyed the U.S. to a world record in 3:03.03, breaking the previous mark of 3:03.30 set in 2009. Other relay members were Blake Pieroni, Michael Chadwick and Ryan Held. Russia was second in 3:03.11 and Brazil was third in 3:05.15.

After breaking the Lithuanian national record in morning prelims by four seconds, Danas Rapsys jumped out to an early lead and never wavered to win the 400-meter freestyle in a championship record 3:34.01, again breaking his own national record and third on the all-time list. Henrik Christiansen of Norway was second in 3:36.64 and Gabriele Detti of Italy was third in 3:37.54.

In a thrilling women’s race with three different leaders, Aussie Ariarne Titmus emerged as the winner in 1:51.38. American Mallory Comerford was second in 1:51.81 and Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands was third in 1:52.36.

Hungary’s Iron Woman Katinka Hosszu won her second 400-meter individual medley world short course title in 4:21.40, close to world record pace for most of the race. St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis was second in a career-best 4:25.84, third-fastest American of all-time. Fantine Lesaffre of France was third in 4:27.31.

In front of his hometown fans, China’s Shun Wang did not disappoint winning the 200-meter individual medley in 1:51.01 and knocking off American Josh Prenot, who was second in 1:52.69. Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori was third in 1:52.73.

The U.S. women won the 4×100-meter freestyle relay knocking off world record and championship record holder Netherlands, 3:78.78 to 3:28.02. U.S. relay members were Olivia Smoglia, Lia Neal, Mallory Comerford and Kelsi Worrell Dahlia.

Four-time Olympian and world record holder Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and South Florida Aquatic Club set herself up to repeat as world champion in the 50-meter breaststroke earning the top seed in 29.54 for today’s final.

SOFLO teammate Abby (Araoluwa)Oyetunji, a Somerset Academy alum, made her world championship debut for Nigeria. She finished 52nd in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:16.23.

Other Florida swimmer results:

13. Anh Vien Nguyen, Vietnam/St. Augustine, 400-meter individual medley, 4:37.28

13. Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador/Azura, 400-meter freestyle, 3:42.74.

35. Patrick Groters, Aruba/NSU University School/Pine Crest Swimming, 200-meter individual medley, 2:02.16.

52. Abby Oyetunji, Nigeria/SOFLO, 200-meter freestyle, 2:16.23.

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries are competing for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

Prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships Begin Tuesday In China, Monday Night U.S. Time With Strong South Florida Connection


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 9, 2018—Four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and South Florida Aquatic Club is favored to repeat as world champion at the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships which begin Tuesday in China (Monday night in the U.S.).

Atkinson, the defending world champion and record holder, is seeded first in the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.56 among a less than stellar field. Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania is seeded second in 29.36 and American Molly Hannis is third in 29.51. The prelims and semifinals are on opening day and finals the following day.

Atkinson, 29, broke her own world record at the FINA World Cup in Budapest on Oct. 6. She swam 28.56 breaking her previous mark of 28.64 which she set in Tokyo, Oct. 26, 2016.

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

The World Short Course Championships have always been a meet where Atkinson has taken center stage. She was the first Jamaican swimmer to win a medal when she took silver in the 50 breaststroke in 2012 in Turkey. And, in 2014 she the first Jamaican to win a gold medal at the meet when she won the 100 breaststroke in Doha, Qatar.

SOFLO coach Chris Anderson is serving as the Jamaican team coach. Anderson has coached Atkinson since 2001 and has played a huge role in her success. Jamaican Breanna Roman had also qualified but withdrew because of illness.

SOFLO’s Abby Oyetunji, a Somerset Academy alum, is representing Nigeria in her world short course debut. Oyetunji has been swimming with SOFLO since 2011. She is one of four swimmers competing for Nigeria and one of only two women.

Patrick Groters, a NSU University School alum and Pine Crest Swimming Club swimmer, will represent Aruba. His older brother, Jordy, is graduating from Missouri this week.

American Heritage Plantation alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago will compete in five events. Doral and Metro Aquatic Club alum Isabella Paez will represent Venezuela.

Azura Florida Aquatics will be well-represented with current and alum swimmers coached by NSU University School coach Gianluca Alberani. Current swimmers are Sidrell Williams of Jamaica, Pedro Chiancone of Uruguay and Celina Marquez of El Salvador. Three alumni swimmers are Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, Elisa Funes of El Salvador and Jhonny Perez of the Dominican Republic.

Other swimmers with Florida connections are Clay alum and Bolles Swimming Club swimmer Caeleb Dressel; Bolles alum Ryan Murphy; Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg Aquatics; Vietnam’s Anh Vien Nguyen of St. Augustine Swim Team; Coral Springs Swim Club alum Abbas Qali and Plantation American Heritage alum Yousef Alaskari of Kuwait; and Westlake Prep alum Renzo Tjon-A-Joe of Surinam.

Other meet highlights:

USA Swimming’s five team captains are two-time Olympian Matt Grevers, three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, Madison Kennedy and Leah Smith. The U.S. team features 17 women and 18 men. The only top-seeded American male is Michael Andrew in the 100 IM. Kelsi Worrell Dahlia is the only American woman seeded first in the 100 butterfly. The women’s team will be coached by Brian Smith (Athens Bulldogs) and men’s team Dave Salo (Trojan Swim Club).

The U.S. team arrived in Hangzhou six days ago to give them twice as much time to adjust to the time zone as the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships they had in Tokyo last summer.

American Michael Andrew leads all male swimmers entered in five individual events. Teammate Leah Smith is entered in four women’s races.

Top names missing from the U.S. roster are five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky, seven-time world champion Simone Manuel, two-time world champion Chase Kalisz, two-time Olympic champion Lilly King and Olympic champion Nathan Adrian.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu is entered in eight events, six of which she won at the 2016 Windsor Worlds. She will swim all three backstroke events, 100 and 200 butterfly and all three individual medley races. Hosszu is the world record holder in the short course 100 back, 200 back, 100 IM and 200 IM.

Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang province and its economic, cultural, science and educational center, Hangzhou is one of the central cities in the Yangtze River Delta. It also is a popular City of Scenic Tourism, ranking among the first batch of National Historical and Cultural Cities crowned by the State Council. Located in the southern wing of the Yangtze River Delta, western tip of the Hangzhou Bay, downstream of the Qiantang River, and the southern terminus of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Hangzhou stands as a vital transport hub in southeast China.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com