Florida’s Caeleb Dressel Wins Three Gold Medals In One Day At FINA World Aquatic Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 29, 2017—In the span of one hour and 42 minutes, University of Florida’s Caeleb Dressel made history Saturday night at the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships at Duna Arena.

The former Clay High School and Bolles Club swimmer, became the first man to win three gold medals in a single night and first to win the 100 in both the freestyle and butterfly at worlds.

Dressel, 20, won his fourth, fifth and sixth gold medals in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly and 4×100-mixed freestyle relay.

Dressel has already won more gold medals than every other entire national team. Great Britain is second behind him with four golds.

On Sunday, if he wins as a member of the 4×100 medley relay, he will tie Michael Phelps’ all-time record with his seventh gold in a single world championships.

In his first day of the race, Dressel won the 50-meter freestyle in an American record of 21.15. He had the quickest start to top a stacked field of sprinters.

Just 34 minutes later, Dressel won the 100-meter butterfly in 49.86, second fastest on the all-time list and only 4/100ths of a second off Phelps’ world record from 2009.

“Being that close to something feels so good and it was unexpected,” Dressel said. “It is nice to be that close to the record.”

One hour and one awards ceremony later, Dressel finished the night on the winning mixed freestyle relay with Nathan Adrian, Mallory Comerford and Simone Manuel in a world record 3:19.60.

“After the medal ceremony, it is exciting when you have to run to another race,” Dressel said. “It is physically tiring and mentally straining. You gotta take one swim at a time and recover fairly quickly.”

Dressel is the fourth American man to win three individual gold medals at one world championship joining Tim Shaw (1975), Phelps (2003, 2007) and Ryan Lochte (2011).

“There are a lot of young talented guys in USA Swimming,” Dressel said. “Plenty of talent to go around. It is not just all on me.”

Former Bolles swimmer Joseph Schooling of Singapore won his first medal, a bronze in the 100-meter butterfly which he also won at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Schooling tied for third with Great Britain’s James Guy in 50.83.

“It was a fantastic swim, a very close race,” Schooling said. “I feel lucky to have finished third in the end.”

In other races:

American Katie Ledecky won her 14th gold in worlds history in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:12.68, eight seconds slower than her world record.

“I am happy with my gold medals but there is always room for improvement,” Ledecky said. “My time wasn’t as fast as I have been in the past. You take it and it was the end of a long week with lots of ups and downs.”

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum won the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record of 24.60.

“I know that I swim really well when I have a warm up race before,” Sjostrum said. “I got a really good start and I could feel I was swimming fast. It felt really good.”

American Kelsi Worrell failed to earn a podium spot but she did break the American record in the 50-meter butterfly in 24.48. She finished fourth among a fast women’s field. She broke the record of 25.50 set by American sprinter Dara Torres in 2009, the supersuit era. Worrell is now tied as the ninth fastest swimmer ever.

Aussie Emily Seebom knocked off Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:05.68. Hosszu took silver in 2:05.85, her 12th world medal.


After knocking off Serbia to get to the finals, Croatia didn’t waste its opportunity and defeated crowd favorite Hungary, 8-6, in the gold medal final. It was the first time Croatia won the gold medal in ten years since the world championships in Australia. Croatia jumped out to a 4-0 lead but Hungary rallied for a 4-4 tie. Early in the fourth, Croatia regained its advantage, 7-4 and went on to finish with another goal. Hungary goalkeeper Marton Vamos was named championship MVP. It would have been Hungary’s fourth world title in ten finals. Hungary has a record 11 medals overall—three gold,seven silver and one bronze. Also at Alfred Hajos Pool, outgoing world champion Serbia defeated Greece, 11-8, for the bronze medal.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Pellegrini Knocks Off Ledecky; Murphy, Dressel Win Relay Gold At 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 26, 2017—Italy’s world record holder Federica Pellegrini proved American superstar Katie Ledecky can be beaten.

The veteran swimmer won her seventh consecutive medal since 2005 in the 200-meter freestyle on Wednesday at the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships at Duna Aquatics Arena.

“I was only fourth at the Olympic Games last year, so this is a great success for me,” Pellegrini said. “I was thinking of the medal but I never thought it would be gold. What a nice gift for the last 200 meter freestyle of my life. I still can’t believe it.”

Pellegrini, 28, turned it on in the last 50 meters to win in 1:54.73 with a blistering 28.82 back half, nearly a full second faster than Ledecky and McKeon.

Ledecky, defending Olympic and world champion in the 200-meter freestyle, took silver in 1:55.18 tying Aussie Emma McKeon for second.

It was the first time Ledecky had lost at a world championship. Ledecky had been 12-for-12 over the last three championships including three golds this week.

“It was a very tough competition and a very good race,” Ledecky said. “I think I have to watch the video of the race before I can tell more but I am still motivated for all the other races here. I just didn’t really have it today. I can’t complain really with the silver.”

Pellegrini became the first swimmer in the history of the championships to capture seven medals in a single individual event.

It was a good day for Italy upsetting favorites.

Italy’s Gabriele Detti upset favorite Sun Yang of China to win the 800-meter freestyle in 7:40.77 and teammate Gregorio Paltrinieri took the bronze medal in 7:42.44. After winning the three world 800 titles in the last three consecutive worlds, Sun faltered to fifth place in 7:48.87.

“We train a lot so we are used to this type of competition,” Detti said. “But it was great that Italy led this event.”

In other races:

In the mixed medley relay, Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Murphy picked up gold medals. Murphy, Kevin Cordes, Kelsi Worrell and Mallory Commerford broke the world record in 3:40.28 during prelims and the foursome of Dressel, Matt Grevers, Lilly King and Simone Manuel re-broke the record in 3:38.56 to win and finish ahead of Australia and Canada. It was Dressel’s second gold medal of the week. It was Murphy’s first gold after taking a bronze in the 100-meter backstroke.

In the men’s 50-meter breaststroke and after two world record swims, Brit Adam Peaty, 22, won in 25.99, only the second performance under 26 seconds. Brazilian Joao Gomes Junior took silver in 26.52 ahead of South African Cameron Van Der Burgh.

South African Chad Le Clos returned to the spotlight to win the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly ahead of hometown favorite Laszlo Cseh, 31, in 1:53.33 and regain his world crown. Japan’s Daiya Seto won his first medal in the event with a bronze. Le Clos was overcome with emotion on the awards podium.

“It was unbelievable and so emotional, with the hard year I had with my family, both my parents fighting cancer,” Le Clos said. “I fought for my family tonight.

“It is a great honor to be here in the stadium, probably one of the best I have ever competed in, together with my great friend, Laszlo,” Le Clos said. “It was a very emotional event, before, during and after the race for me. I am very thankful and lucky that I touched home first.”

In a shocker, Bolles alum Joseph Schooling failed to get out of the prelims of the 100-meter freestyle in 48.86. He finished 17th. “It was a pretty rough meeting, not going to lie,” Schooling said. “Having a day off, first race after that, definitely felt pretty rough.”


Croatia remained unbeaten with a 12-9 victory over Italy to advance into the semifinals. Croatia also defeated the U.S., Russia and Japan in group play. Croatia plays defending champion Serbia in the semifinals on Thursday. Medal favorite Hungary routed Russia, 14-5, and will play Greece in the other semifinal. The final is Saturday. The U.S. won its last three games and finished 13th with a 3-2 record. The U.S. beat Russia, South Africa and France.

In the women’s semifinals, the U.S. and Spain advanced into Friday’s gold medal game. The U.S. defeated Olympic bronze medalist Russia, 14-9, and Spain eliminated Canada, 12-10. Russia and Canada will play for the bronze medal.

The defending world champion U.S. team is the only team undefeated in the field.


China leads in total medals with 25 (12 goal, 9 silver and 4 bronze). Russia has 17 (8 gold, 3 silver, 6 bronze). The U.S. has 22 (7 gold, 9 silver, 6 bronze). France and Great Britain each had seven total. Four days remain until the Closing Ceremony.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Four World Records Go Down On Day 3 Of FINA World Championships; SOFLO’s Rojas Competes In Final Event

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 25, 2017—In a showdown of the world’s top breaststrokers, American Lilly King broke the world and American records and won the world title Tuesday at the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships.

In front of a cheering electric crowd at Duna Aquatics Arena, King won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.13 and held off arch rival Yuliya Efimova of Russia their first meeting since the 2016 Rio Olympics.

King broke the world mark set by Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte set in 2013 to earn her first world championship medal.

“It is amazing how the world gets faster,” King said. “I was very, very excited at my first world record. I am really excited to see now what happens next.”

The U.S. last won gold in this event in 2011 when Rebecca Soni won.

American teammate Katie Meili was second in 1:05.03 and Efimova faltered to third and settled for the bronze in 1:05.05.

“That race was always going to be a showdown, an exciting dogfight, I was just hoping I was going to come out on top,” King said. “We get a lot of rivalries like this in football, basketball, swimming where we see a lot of really nice people, being really nice.

“That’s great and all but it’s not my personality. I’m spunky, I’m confident and I’m not going to not be myself before a race.”

King, 20, has always voiced her displeasure over Efimova being allowed to compete at the international level despite being caught twice for using banned substances.

“I was really freaking out when I got to the pool, very nervous, and then I got in for warm-up and felt a lot better and really confident going into the race,” King said.

Three other world records, two by one swimmer, were broken on Day 3.

A day after winning the 100-meter breaststroke, Brit Adam Peaty, 22, became the first man to dip below 26 seconds in the 50-meter breaststroke. He won in 25.95, lowering his record mark of 26.10 from the morning prelims by 0.15 seconds. It was Peaty’s fourth world record in the 50 breaststroke.

“I was on such a high from this morning and it was so hard to ignore the fact that I did a world record and try to get myself emotionally ready,” Peaty said.

Canadian Kylie Masse won a world title in the 100-meter backstroke in a world record time of 58.10. American Kathleen Baker took silver and Aussie defending champion Emily Seebohm took bronze finishing just 0.01 seconds behind Baker.

Canada has never won a gold medal in the women’s 100 backstroke at worlds. Masse’s gold is the first medal for Canada since Cheryl Gibson won bronze in 1978.

“I am still in shock but I am super happy,” Masse said. “Excitement in general was the feeling I had. I trusted the whole process. I worked hard this season and it paid off. I hope we have inspired younger generations to get to swim.”

In other races:

Superstar Katie Ledecky made it look easy winning the 1500-meter freestyle by 19 seconds. She led from the start to win her third straight world title in the 1500 in 15:31.82. It was her 12th world championship gold medal, the most of all time for a woman breaking a tie with Missy Franklin. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia took silver in 15:50.89 and Italian Simona Quadarella won bronze in 15:53.86. The win was the fifth women’s 1500 title at worlds for the U.S.

Ledecky had a tough double coming back to earn the top seed in the 200-meter freestyle in the semifinals. Less than an hour after the 1500, she went 1:54.69 setting her up nicely for Wednesday’s semifinals.

“I just knew I had a big night tonight and I couldn’t be more happy about it,” Ledecky said. “I think compared to two years ago my schedule is different. I was very happy with my 1500, two years ago it was faster, but I felt pretty good. I knew I could do it again.”

Added Belmonte, “Katie Ledecky is on another planet, so the goal of the race was to win the silver medal. For me, it is gold.”

China’s Sun Yang won his first world title in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:44.39. American Townley Haas was second in 1:45.04 for his first individual medal in a major international meet and Russian Alexandr Krasnykh was third in 1:45.23. Sun won the 400 freestyle earlier in the week.

China won its first medal at worlds in the men’s 100-meter backstroke when Xu Jiayu knocked off Bolles alum Ryan Murphy and Matt Grevers to take the gold in 52.44. Grevers took silver in 52.48 and Murphy took bronze in 52.59. It was Grevers third straight medal in the 100 back at worlds. It was Murphy’s first individual medal at worlds.

Japan’s Daiya Seto earned the top seed in the 200-meter butterfly semifinals in 1:54.03.


In a rarity at the international level, two Florida Gold Coast swimmers, the Dominican Republic’s Marc Rojas of South Florida Aquatic Club and Aruba’s Jordy Groters of Pine Crest Swimming and Missouri swam side-by-side in the same heat of the 50-meter breaststroke.

Groters finished 42nd in a best time and Aruba national record in 28.40.

Rojas, making his international long course worlds debut, was 52nd in 29.84 in his second and final event of worlds.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Hungary, Britain Dominate Gold Medals; SOFLO’s Rojas Swims Tuesday At FINA World Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 24, 2017—The second night of swimming at the 17th FINA World Championships featured four individual finals and three semifinals in front of a loud crowd of 12,000 Monday at Duna Arena.

Hometown favorite Katinka Hosszu had the crowd on its feet during the 200-meter individual medley dominating the women’s field for her third straight world title.

Hosszu, who scratched from the 100 backstroke, led from start-to-finish to win in 2:07.00 ahead of Japan’s Yui Ohashi (2:07.91). American Madisyn Cox surged in the last half of the race to take the bronze in 2:09.71. Even Cox was impressed by the electrifying atmosphere. She said she pretended the crowd was cheering for her and that motivated her.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem, who was a medal favorite, felt ill and was forced to get out of the pool after the first 50 meters.

Brit Adam Peaty defended his world title in the 100-meter breaststroke in a meet record 57.47. Peaty was just shy of his world record of 57.13 set last year. American Kevin Cordes took silver in 58.79 and Russian Kirill Prigoda won the bronze with a national record.

“I am really happy,” Peaty said. “We have quite a young team after Rio and I am a little bit now pushing because I do not feel anyone can push me right now in the country. This venue is absolutely incredible.”

Great Britain got its second gold medal with a stunning upset victory by Ben Proud in the 50-meter butterfly. Proud won in 22.75, just shy of the meet record in 22.67. Proud looked stunned after touching the wall. It was his first individual medal at either the Olympics or World Championships and first time Great Britain has medaled in the event since 2001 when Mark Foster finished third.

Brazil veteran swimmer Nicholas Santos (22.79) and Andrii Govorov of the Ukraine (22.84) took silver and bronze. American and Clay High School alum Caeleb Dressel and Singapore’s star Joseph Schooling were shut out of a medal finishing fourth (22.89) and fifth (22.95) respectively. Dressel, 20, came in with the fastest semifinal qualifying time.

Schooling, 22, was disappointed and is now focusing on the 100 butterfly.

“It’s fine, it’s my second best time,” Schooling told reporters. “I got beaten by four better guys. Obviously, I am disappointed with the positioning but the time was fine. It sets me up for a good 100 fly. I’ll just learn from the race and move on.” The 100 butterfly is Wednesday.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom continued her domination in the 100-meter butterfly. She broke the meet record to win a gold medal in 55.53, just shy of her best time of 55.48. It was Sjostrom’s fourth overall world championship gold medal (2009, 2013, 2015).

“I am a little bit tired because of yesterday’s race but I am very excited about today,” Sjostrum said. “I could not wait for the start. I just wanted to jump into the water. The championship record was not expected because I am focusing on the freestyle this year.”

Aussie Emma McKeon (56.18) was second and American sensation Kelsi Worrell of Louisville was third in 56.37. Worrell is coached by former St. Thomas Aquinas and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Vlad Polyakov.

In the men’s 100-meter backstroke semifinal, China’s Xu Jiayu earned the top seed for Tuesday night’s final with a time of 52.44. Americans Ryan Murphy (52.95), a Bolles alum, and Matt Grevers (52.97) are close behind.

In another interesting semifinal, Russia Yulia Efimova was the top qualifier in the 100-meter breaststroke just missing the world record (1:04.35) in 1:04.36. After she finished she leaned against her lane line and waved her index finger much the same way she did at last year’s Rio Olympics. American Olympic champion Lilly King, one of the most vocal swimmers about Efimova’s past performance-enhancing drug charges, was second qualifier in 1:04.53. The two, who last raced in Rio, obviously do not like each other and will leave it all in the pool Tuesday night. Also in the field is current world record holder Ruta Meilutyte, the third seed at 1:05.06.

Canadian Kylie Masse earned the top seed for the 100-meter backstroke final in 58.18, a Canadian national record. Defending world champion Emily Seebohm of Australia (58.85) and American Kathleen Baker (59.03) were second and third fastest.

Britain continued its success in the men’s 200-meter freestyle semifinal with James Guy (1:45.16) and Duncan Scott (1:45.18), the top two fastest seeds. Reigning Olympic champion Sun Yang was third fastest in 1:45.24.

Five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky had no problem cruising through the 1500-meter freestyle qualifying heats. She finished in 15:47.54. Her world and meet record is 15:25.48. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte was second fastest qualifier in 16:05.37.


South Florida Aquatic Club’s Marc Rojas of the Dominican Republic will swim his second and final event on Tuesday in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Rojas, 23, will swim in the fifth of nine heats in Lane 8 with a seed time of 28.90 right next to another FGC swimmer, Jordy Groters of Aruba and Pine Crest Swimming in Lane 7 (28.57).

It is Rojas second major international event and first long course world championships. Peaty is the gold medal favorite (26.48).

The World Championships are being televised at 11:30 a.m. EST on NBC Sports Network while live streaming for the competition can be found on NBCSports.com, the Olympic Channel and CBC.ca for viewers in Canada.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


SOFLO’s Marc Rojas Makes Long Course Debut, Ledecky Golden At World Aquatic Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 23, 2017—The Dominican Republic’s Marc Rojas of South Florida Aquatic Club made his long course world championship debut Sunday on opening day of the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships.

Rojas, 23, finished fifth in his 100-meter breaststroke heat in 1:03.65 and fell short of advancing into the semifinals. Rojas will also swim the 50-meter breaststroke.

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Aruba’s Jordy Groters, a senior at Missouri, was second in Rojas’ heat in a best time 1:02.95, placing 46th overall.

FGC swimmer, Daniella Van den Berg of Aruba and Florida State swam 4:32.09 in the 400-meter freestyle to finish 33rd.

World record holder Adam Peaty of Great Britain earned the top seed in breaststroke finals in 57.13.

Bolles alum Joseph Schooling set an Asian and Singapore record in the 50-meter butterfly heat. The 22-year-old finished in a best time 23.05 to advance into the semifinals. He beat his own records set in August, 2015.

The U.S. team broke five American records as swimming got underway.

In other events:

American Katie Ledecky, 20, broke her own meet record in the morning heat of the 400-meter freestyle. The five-time Olympic champion shaved 0.07 seconds off the record in 3:59.06. U.S. teammate Leah Smith qualified second in 4:02.00. Ledecky came back to win the event breaking her morning record in 3:58.34, second fastest in history. She is the first woman to win the event at three worlds. Smith was second.

“It was my second-best time ever, a really good swim for me and I can take a lot of positives away from it,” Ledecky said. “Every year is not going to be faster, just trying to build toward 2020.”

Ledecky won a second gold on the winning 4×100-meter relay with the U.S. knocking off defending and Olympic champion Australia.

China’s Sun Yang, 25, dominated the men’s field to win his third world title in the 400-meter freestyle in a world leading 3:41.38. He won by more than a body length over Aussie Mack Horton.

“It is too early to say what it going to happen,” Sun said. “I trained a lot and I must admit I am getting older and suffering some injuries. We will see during the week how it works and I will concentrate on one race after the other.”

The U.S. men won the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with Caeleb Dressel, Townley Haas, Blake Pieroni and veteran Nathan Adrian. Brazil was second. Dressel broke the American record on the leadoff leg in 47.26. Dressel also broke the American record in the 50-meter butterfly.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum broke the 100-meter freestyle world record in 51.71 swimming a relay lead-off leg on the 4×100.

Mallory Comerford set an American 100-meter freestyle relay with a split of 52.59 on the 400-meter freestyle relay American record setter.

Kevin Cordes broke his own American record in the 100-meter breaststroke he set last month in Indianapolis in 58.64 in the semifinals.

In the men’s 400 freestyle relay, the Aussies and Italians were disqualified for false starts.

The opening day attendance was 12,000 fans in Duna Arena.


Brit Tom Daley, 23, won gold in the men’s 10-meter platform on the final day of diving at Danube Arena. Daley knocked off 2016 Olympic champion Chen Aisen. After failing to make finals two years ago at worlds, Daley qualified second for the final and turned it on. Daley received 12 perfect 10-scores during his six-dive list. He scored over 100 points twice and finished with 590.95 points. Chen finished with 585.25 points. It was his first world title since Rome eight years ago when he burst onto the scene. China’s Yang Jian took the bronze. University of Miami redshirt sophomore David Dinsmore finished sixth with 479.75. Earlier in the day, Daley teamed with Grace Reid to win silver in the mixed 3-meter synchro. China’s Li Zheng and Wang Han took the gold. China finished with eight gold medals, two less than 10 won in Kazan. The U.S. team could manage only one bronze medal tied for last with Ukraine.


The sport is re-branding to help boost its popularity and is now going to be called artistic swimming. The re-naming was approved by FINA.


The U.S. men’s team, defeated Russia, 14-11, but it wasn’t enough to advance out of Group play and into the quarterfinals. Alex Bowen and Luca Cupido of the U.S. senior national team each scored four goals. The U.S. needed at least an eight-goal victory over Russia. The U.S. drops into the 13th-16th place bracket play.

France defeated Canada, 10-6, in the round 13-16 semifinals. Ugo Crousillat and Mehdi Marzouki each had three goals.

Australia, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia Italy, Montenegro, Greece and Russia advanced into the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


SOFLO’s Marc Rojas Competes Sunday In 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 22, 2017—Marc Rojas is a feel-good success story in swimming.

The 23-year-old South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer has had his share of ups and downs in the sport but continues to enjoy the journey that takes him to the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

On Sunday, the first day of the swimming competition, Rojas, representing the Dominican Republic, will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke. He will swim in the third of eight heats along with another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Pine Crest Swimming’s Jordy Groters of Aruba, now swimming at Missouri.

Rojas will also compete in the 50-meter breaststroke later in the week.

It will be his first long course world championships. In December 2016, he made his international debut at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Windsor, Canada.

“That was suppose to me my last meet supposedly, that was the plan,” Rojas said.

After graduating Florida State, the former high school state champion at Pembroke Pines Charter and junior national champion at Indian River State College wasn’t planning on swimming much longer.

“I was training to make my U.S. Trials cut but I didn’t do it,” Rojas said. “I waited to see if I could represent the Dominican Republic (his father is Dominican) so I kept training through the summer. The paperwork and everything went through giving me the okay for world championships in December.”

Rojas made a lasting impression in his international debut. He finished the 100-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 1:02.18 and national age group short course record for the Dominican Republic.

“That opened the door for me to keep representing the Dominican Republic for the next few years and here I am,” Rojas said.

“I am super excited,” said Rojas, whose mom Elena will watch her son from the stands.

Longtime SOFLO coach Chris Anderson, who has guided his transformation from a gangly teenager to an international swimmer, will coach him in addition to the Jamaican national team without four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, who is training for the FINA World Cup prize money series.

“It’s going to be a great meet to see all these high level competitors with world rankings and Olympic medals,” Rojas said.

After qualifying for worlds at the Dominican Nationals and being selected for the world team, Rojas has settled into a disciplined and structured lifestyle he said is “swimming, working and schooling.” Rojas is taking the prerequisite classes to get into nursing school.

“I want to stay with swimming for a while,” Rojas said. “I put a lot of thought into it. I thought that getting a career is always going to be there. With swimming, if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to pick it up later. I don’t want to look back over the course of the years and think what could have been. I want to jump on this opportunity I have and go for it.”

Most of the world’s top breaststrokers are in the men’s field including Adam Peaty of Great Britain, Felipe Lima of Brazil, Cody Miller and Kevin Cordes of the U.S., Cameron Van Der Burgh of South Africa and China’s Zibei Yan.

“It’s really cool to be here,” Rojas said. “It’s just like Canada. I feel gratitude and very fortunate to be at worlds around this high level of athlete. These are the greatest athletes in the world.

“The most nerve wracking moment is the ready room where all the athletes are going through their little routines and getting in the zone. In Canada that was the first time for me. It was a cool moment to look around and see the world’s greatest swimmers by your side. It was a cool experience and I’m looking forward to it and competing.”

In addition to Groters, other swimmers with Florida Gold Coast ties are: Gulliver Swim Club’s Alicia Mancilla of Guatemala with her Gulliver head coach Chris George; Metro Aquatics/Duke’s Isabella Paez of Venezuela; St. Andrew’s Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands; Pine Crest Swimming’s Mikel Schreuders of Aruba; Azura’s Marcos Lavada of Venezuela and Eisner Barberena of Nicaragua; and Azura alum Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador and Daniella van den Berg of Aruba. Other top Florida swimmers ready to take center stage after making a big splash at the 2016 Rio Olympics are Clay High School alum Caeleb Dressel, 20, and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 22.

Sunday’s opening session features preliminary rounds in eight different events with four finals. The men’s and women’s 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter freestyle relays will bypass semifinals and advance directly into the finals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Cunha Wins Third 25K Open Water Gold Medal; UM Diver Dinsmore Advances To Saturday Final At FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 21, 2017—In the last and most grueling of six open water races, defending champion Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil won the women’s 25K open water race for her third world title on Day 8 of the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships Friday at Lake Balaton.

Cunha, who has frequently trained in South Florida and won the Fort Lauderdale Roughwater event, finished in 5 hours, 21 minutes and 58 seconds, a two-second margin of victory.

She is only the second woman to win three world golds. Dutch swimmer Edith van Dijk won four.

Cunha also won gold at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai and 2015 in Kazan. Cunha has two silver medals and four bronze medals from past world championships. She has made the podium in every individual open water event.

“When it starts, I think of nothing, but toward the end I knew I was the only one in the leading three that had done the 25K course before,” Cunha said. “So I know the pain that would arrive at the end. This experience made the difference.”

Olympic 10K gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands was second in 5:22:00. Arianna Bridi of Italy took the bronze in 5:22:08.

American Becca Mann, a former Clearwater (CAT) swimmer, was seventh in 5:27:06.

France continued its dominance in open water with Axel Reymond winning the men’s 25K by just 6/10ths of a second.

Swimming for more than five hours, the Frenchman defeated Matteo Furlan of Italy (5:02:47).

“When there are 200 meters left, all you think about is touching the board,” Reymond said.

Russian Evgenii Drattcev took bronze in 5:02:49. American Chip Peterson was fifth in 5:03:43.

There were 44 finishers in the race. Five were unable to finish the race. Warm temperatures were also a challenge. The water temp was 75 degrees.


University of Miami redshirt sophomore David Dinsmore finished fourth in men’s 10-meter platform semifinals to qualify for Saturday’s final for Team USA.

Dinsmore, the NCAA national platform champion as a freshman, scored 483.10 points to qualify for his first worlds final.

Dinsmore is ranked behind Aleksandr Bondar of Russia (509.10), Tom Daley of Great Britain (498.65) and Chen Aisen of China (488.55) and will be in the medal hunt on Saturday.

“It’s really exciting,” Dinsmore said. “Last time I had a good meet but there was tough competition and it didn’t work out. Especially this year after the Olympic year, I wanted to come out and dive as best I could and things worked out.”

At the 2015 World Championships, Dinsmore finished 15th in the semifinals. Earlier in the week, Dinsmore earned a bronze medal in the mixed 3-meter/10-meter team event with Krysta Palmer.

Fort Lauderdale’s Jordan Windle finished 26th in the 10-meter prelims in his first worlds competing in an individual event.

Olympic gold medalist Shi Tingmao led China to a one-two finish in the women’s 3-meter springboard final. Shi, the defending champion and Monday’s 3-meter synchro winner, finished first with 383.50 points followed by teammate Wang Han (359.40) to capture China’s ninth consecutive gold medal in the event and seventh in 11 diving events in Budapest. Canadian Jennifer Abel took the bronze medal with 3:51.55 for the second worlds in a row.

“I need to work harder in order to achieve a higher score and win more gold medals,” Shi said.

Chinese divers have won 20 of the last 21 Olympic and world titles in the 3-meter springboard since 1986.

The last two diving finals are scheduled for Saturday.


Russia won the team free title winning its sixth gold medal. Twelve teams were in the final. Russia has been the title holder of the team title since 2007. Russia scored 97.300 points. China took the silver and Ukraine took bronze.


The U.S., Italy, Hungary and Greece all advanced into the women’s quarterfinal round. Italy has won three straight games and earned an automatic berth.

In the men’s tournament, Croatia reached the quarterfinals as expected. Croatia has beaten the U.S., Russia and Japan.


In the medal tally, China leads with 16 total medals including seven golds, Russia has 13, Italy had 8 and France has 7. The U.S. has 5 medals including only one gold.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com