Siobhan Haughey Breaks World Record; SOFLO’s Atkinson Disqualified In Semis At FINA Short Course World Championships

By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 16, 2021–In a wild start to the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena, a world record was broken, a relay finish tied for gold and several swimmers were disqualified including world record holder Alia Atkinson.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s five-time Jamaican Olympian was disqualified in the 50-meter breaststroke semifinals. Atkinson, 33, the top seed and defending champion in the event, was disqualified for a downward dolphin kick before her first place finish in 29.55. Atkinson had won gold in the event in 2018 in China and still holds the world record of 28.56.

In an unprecedented call, thirteen other swimmers were disqualified in the women’s 50 breaststroke and men’s 100 breaststroke prelims. According to meet officials, all disqualifications were called by underwater cameras and not one specific lane judge.

Atkinson has the 100-meter breaststroke left to swim on Sunday with opening heats.

SOFLO teammate Julio Horrego, 23, representing Honduras, was 25th overall in the 100-meter breaststroke heats in 58.80 and fell short of making the semifinal round.

In championship final action:

Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong took down the world record and course record in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:50.31. Her opening split was 53.81. She earned $50,000 in world record bonus money in addition to $10,000 for first place. The previous record was 1:50.43, set by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom in 2017.

Felix Auboeck of Austria won the 400-meter freestyle in a national record 3:35.90. It was his first gold medal in the event.

Italy’s Alberto Razzetti won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:49.06 ahead of Switzerland’s Noe Ponti in 1:49.81 and Olympic gold medalist Chad le Clos of South Africa in 1:49.84.

Canadian Tess Cieplucha won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:25.55. It was her first world title in the event. American Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg took the bronze in 4:26.63.

In an exciting race, Daiya Seto of Japan won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:51.15 followed by American Carson Foster in 1:51.35 and Italian Alberto Razzetti in 1:51.54.

In another exciting race, the U.S. and Canada tied for gold in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle rely in 3:28.52. Sweden took bronze in 3:28.80. The Canadian foursome of Kayla Sanchez, Margaret MacNeil, Rebecca Smith and Katherine Savard broke the national record. The U.S. relay members were Kate Douglass, Claire Curzan, Katherine Berkoff and Abbey Weitzeil.

Russia (Kliment Kolesnikov, Andrei Minakov, Vladislav Grinev and Aleksandr Shchegolev) won the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay in 3:03.45. Italy was second in 3:03.61 and U.S. (Ryanb Held, Hunter Tapp, Shaine Casas, Zach Apple) was third in 3:05.42.

The five-day meet continues Friday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday, Dec. 21.

FINA is offering a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There is also be a $50,000 bonus for any swimmer who breaks a world record.

The top eight individual payoffs for first through eighth place are $10,000, $8,000, $7,000, $6,000, $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

There are 943 swimmers from 183 countries competing. The swimming is part of the Aquatics Festival which includes open water swimming, high diving and diving team competition.

Final sessions of the pool swimming will be streamed on NBC Sports’ Olympic Channel. Eurovision Sport’s All Aquatics will air the heats.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Italy Wins First Gold Medal At FINA Short Course World Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson, Horrego Race Thursday

By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 15, 2021–Italy won the inaugural open water mixed team relay Wednesday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Yas Bay.

It was the first time the new open water event was held at the championships.

Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy led his relay team in the 6K event. His split of 15:49.1 was the fastest of the nine teams that competed. He was 3.2 seconds faster than Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky, who challenged him in the final lap.

“It was a tough race,” Paltrinieri said. “Since Tokyo, I have been focusing on pool training, mostly on the 1500 meters. Today was a race in the sea, but it was also a 1500-meter race so I decided to swim the relay.

“Relays are always fun. I won’t be swimming the 10K Thursday. I battled with Kristof for the last 200 meters and he was trying to stay close to me. After the last buoy I gave it everything I had and he wasn’t able to pass me.”

Hungary was second in 1:06.51 and Germany was third in 1:07.29. The Italian team will split $20,000 in prize money. Hungary earned $16,000 and Germany $12,000.

Martina De Memme led off the Italian relay in 17:23.8 and was the sixth fastest lead-off swimmer in the event. De Memme was also the oldest swimmer on the Italian relay at age 30. Giulia Gabrielleschi, 25, the youngest Italian swam the second leg in 17:24.60 and was fifth fastest swimmer in the second leg. Domenico Acerena swam the third leg in a time of 16:10.6, second-fastest third leg swimmer.

Longtime St. Andrew’s Aquatics director and coach Sid Cassidy of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee directed the open water event.

The five-day meet continues Thursday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday, Dec. 21.

SOFLO and Florida Gold Coast will be well-represented. SOFLO Olympians Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Julio Horrego of Honduras will represent their countries. Both will compete Thursday. Atkinson, the world record holder in the 50-meter breaststroke, is seeded second in 28.88. Horrego will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke. His entry time is 1:01.18, seeded 37th.

Other FGC swimmers competing are:

Steven Aimable, Senegal, Azura.
Julimar Avila, Honduras, Azura.
Nicole Frank, Uruguay, Azura.
Yeziel Morales, Puerto Rico, Azura.
Maria Fe Munoz, Peru, Azura.
Kerry Ollivierre, Grenada, Azura.
Joaquin Vargas, Peru, Azura.
Sidrell Williams, Jamaica, Azura.
Dylan Carter, Trinidad and Tobago, American Heritage Plantation alum.
Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, Florida State, St. Andrew’s alum.
Miguel Cancel, Puerto Rico, University of Florida, Gulliver Prep alum.

FINA will offer a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There will also be a $50,000 bonus for any swimmer who breaks a world record.

The top eight individual payoffs for first through eighth place are $10,000, $8,000, $7,000, $6,000, $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

There are 943 swimmers from 183 countries competing. The swimming is part of the Aquatics Festival which includes open water swimming, high diving and diving team competition.

Final sessions of the pool swimming will be streamed on NBC Sports’ Olympic Channel. Eurovision Sport’s All Aquatics will air the heats.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Franklin Breaks Medal Record At Worlds, Ready For Next Chapter

Franklin Breaks Medal Record At Worlds, Ready For Next Chapter


August 4, 2013

After eleven years of working together at Colorado Stars, Missy Franklin and her coach Todd Schmitz spent the final day of the 15th FINA World Championships adding another page in history.

The 18-year-old Franklin now headed to California-Berkeley for her freshman year, became the winningest female swimmer ever at a world championship leaving Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona with a record six gold medals.

She eclipsed the women’s record of five that she shared with Americans Tracy Caulkins and Shirley Babashoff and Aussie Libby Trickett.

Franklin is one of only five swimmers to win six gold medals at either worlds or an Olympics. The others are Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Ian Thorpe and Kristin Otto.

On Sunday, the final day of competition, Franklin led off the winning 400-meter medley relay with Schmitz watching from the stands.

Franklin was joined by relay teammates Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer and Megan Romano to win in 3:53.23, nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Australia.

“I still can’t really believe that it happened,” Franklin said. “I don’t even know what to say. Coming into this meet, I wanted to see where I was after London.

“I had some really great races that I’m really proud of and there’s a bunch where I know there’s a lot of room to improve on. I’m really excited about the next year, and the year after that, and all the years following those.”

Franklin lost out to U.S. teammate Katie Ledecky chosen the top female swimmer of the meet. Ledecky won four gold medals and broke two world records.

Chinese star Sun Yang, winner of three gold medals, was name the meet’s male top performer. Ryan Lochte also took three gold medals.

But the day belonged to Franklin and Schmitz, who has been coaching her since she was 7 and in the beginning used to chastise her for not training hard enough.

Before she leaves for college, Franklin plans on vacation with her family at her aunt’s oceanfront home in Pictou, Nova Scotia, digging clams and enjoying the rocky beach. After a week home in Colorado, she will say goodbye to her Alaskan Malamute, Ruger, and head off for another chapter in her already storied career.

Franklin will now train with Olympic and Cal coach Teri McKeever. She plans on swimming for the Bears through her sophomore year and then is expected to turn pro leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Franklin is toying with the idea of majoring in social welfare hoping to become a teacher.

Remarkably, two 16-year-olds left with three world records set during the meet, Ledecky and Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania.

Georgia sophomore Chase Kalisz, 19, made his worlds debut on the final day of the meet. It was worth the wait. He took a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:09.22. Kalisz of North Baltimore Aquatic Club used to train with Michael Phelps.

“I was going off the excitement of everyone all week,” Kalisz said. “I fed off that excitement. I kicked as hard as I could coming home. It hurt.”

The U.S. men’s 400-meter medley relay with Matt Grevers, Kevin Cordes, Ryan Lochte and Nathan Adrian was disqualified for an early start by Cordes by 1/100th of a second. It was the first time Lochte (swimming butterfly leg) competed in an international meet in the relay.

Lochte gave the U.S. the lead after his 51.0 split. Adrian extended the lead and the U.S. had the fastest time in 3:30.

“You can’t take that away from us whether he jumped or not, that was an incredible relay,” Adrian said. Grevers blamed himself for coming into the wall slower than anticipated.

Canadian two-time Olympian Ryan Cochrane took the silver medal in the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:42.48 and now has won the most medals by a Canadian swimmer at a world championship with six medals.

On the final day, the U.S. won five medals, one gold, two silver and two bronze. The U.S. team’s final medal tally was 31 in pool and open water, 14 gold, eight silver and nine bronze. The U.S. led all nations in both gold medals and total medal count and was awarded FINA’s trophy as top team of the meet.



50-meter backstroke: 1. Camille Lacourt, France 24.42, 2. tie, Matt Grevers, USA and Jeremy Stravius, France 24.54.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Daiya Seto, Japan 4:08.69, 2. Chase Kalisz, USA 4:09.22, 3. Thiago Pereira, Brazil 4:09.48.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Yang Sun, China 14:41.15, 2. Ryan Cochrane, Canada 14:42.48, 3. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 14:45.37.

400-meter medley relay: 1. France 3:31.51, 2. Australia 3:31.64, 3. Japan 3:32.26, USA, DQ.


400-meter individual medley: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 4:30.41, 2. Mireia Belmonte Garcia, Spain 4:31.21, 3. Elizabeth Beisel, USA 4:31.69.

50-meter breaststroke: 1. Yuliya Efimova, Russia 29.52, 2. Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania 29.59, 3. Jessica Hardy, USA 29.80.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands 24.05, 2. Cate Campbell, Australia 24.14, 3. Francesca Halsall 24.30.

400-meter medley relay: 1. USA 3:53.23 (Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Dana Vollmer, Megan Romano), 2. Australia 3:55.22, 3. Russia 3:56.47.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Ledecky Breaks American Record On Day One Of World Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson Begins Monday

Ledecky Breaks American Record On Day One Of World Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson Begins Monday


July 28, 2013

Teenager Katie Ledecky was the shining star for the U.S. on opening day of the 15th FINA World Aquatic Championships at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.

The high school junior was amazing in the 400-meter freestyle breaking the American record in 3:59.82 and winning her first gold medal of the world championships.

The previous record was 4:01.77 set by Allison Schmitt at the London Olympics.

It is the second fastest time in the history of the event and fastest not done in a rubberized suit. She was just 0.67 seconds off the world record.

“This is easier,” said the 16-year-old when asked to compare the Olympics, her first international meet, to worlds.

“I am a lot more relaxed on the international stage after having the Olympics as a first international competition,” Ledecky said. “It’s just great to get back to a top international competition and to do well.

“I really wasn’t expecting to go that fast, that wasn’t my focus,” Ledecky said. “I just got into it. I’m still in shock over the time. I just wanted to get into a race with the other girls and do my best.”

South Florida Aquatic Club’s three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica opens her medal quest today in the first of three events, the 100-meter breaststroke prelims and semifinals.

With the experience of Olympian Natalie Coughlin and monster anchor leg from St. Petersburg’ Megan Romano, the U.S. women’s team broke the American record in the 4×100-meter freestyle to win gold. The relay of Missy Franklin, Coughlin, Shannon Vreeland and Romano won in 3:32.31. The previous record was 3:34.24.

Romano’s 52.60 anchor swim was the second-fastest 100 freestyle split in American history, behind only Dara Torres’ 52.44 at the Beijing Olympics.

“I just love to race,” Romano said. “And relays are awesome. It’s great competing for these girls next to me. I was doing it for them. It’s fun and I love it.”

It was the first time the U.S. women have won the event since 2003.

“Oh my gosh, that was amazing,” Franklin said. “We knew Megan could do it.”

With Michael Phelps watching from the stands, France did it again to the U.S. men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay of Nathan Adrian, Ryan Lochte, Anthony Ervin and Jimmy Feigen. The 2012 Olympic relay gold medalists outraced the U.S. to win in3:11.18. The U.S. took silver in 3:11.42 and Russia the bronze in 3:11.44.

France came back from dead last on the first 50 and fourth after 100 with blistering splits from Fabien Gilot (46.90, fastest of the night) and Jeremy Stravius.

Phelps was wearing a black boot cast on his right foot to protect a stress fracture he suffered while playing golf a few weeks ago.

“People don’t know golf can be a dangerous sport,” Phelps said with a smile. “At least I save room in my suitcase, all I have to pack is one shoe now.”

China’s Olympic gold medalist Sun Yang won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:41.59. U.S. Olympian Connor Jaeger was third in 3:44.85.

The U.S. finished with four gold medals, two silvers and one bronze on Day One.

Day Two events are men’s 100-meter breaststroke, women’s 100-meter butterfly, men’s 100-meter backstroke, women’s 100-meter breaststroke, men’s 50-meter butterfly, women’s 100-meter backstroke, men’s 200-meter freestyle and women’s 200-meter individual medley.

Today’s TV Schedule: Monday, July 29, 12-2 p.m. live, Universal Sports



400-meter freestyle: 1. Sun Yang, China 3:41.59, 2. Kosuke Hagino, Japan 3:44.82, 3. Connor Jaeger, USA 3:44.85.

4×100-meter freestyle: 1. France 3;11.18 (Agnel, Manaudou, Gilot, Stravius), 2. USA 3:11.42, 3. Russia 3:11.44.


400-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, USA 3:59.82, AR, 2. Melanie Costa Schmid, Spain 4:02.47, 3. Lauren Boyle, New Zealand 4:03.89.

4×100-meter freestyle relay: 1. USA 3:32.31 (Franklin, Coughlin, Vreeland, Roman), 2. Australia 3:32.43, 3. Netherlands 3:35.77.


The U.S. men’s water polo team’s run ended at the world championships on Sunday with a 10-6 loss to Spain ending the U.S. team’s hope for a medal. Fort Lauderdale’s Janson Wigo led the U.S. with three goals. The U.S. came back from a three-goal deficit in the second half, trailing by only 7-6 with 6:38 left to play but Spain went on a three-goal run to clinch the win. Eight teams now remain to play out for medals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at