Peaty Breaks World Record; Ledecky Finishes Second; SOFLO, Florida Gold Coast Swimmers See Action On Day One Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 21, 2019—The opening day of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships on Sunday at Nambu International Aquatics Centre crowned its first four world champions with some stunning surprises.

Brit Adam Peaty cracked the 57-second barrier to become the first swimmer to do so when he broke the world record in the semifinals. Peaty finished in an astounding 56.88, breaking his own world record by 0.22 sconds. He was on world record pace midway through the race. He will now go after the gold medal Monday night.

“There’s no real words, except for incredible,” Peaty said. “Obviously, I’ve been chasing that for years now. As soon as I touched that wall in Rio, I was like, ‘I could go faster’. It’s a very special journey that we’ve had and hopefully we’ll go a lot faster tomorrow. I said to all these guys down there, it’s still a semi-final. It would be a bit embarrassing to go world record and then not come away with a world title.”

Katie Ledecky, 22, opened worlds with a rare second-place finish. The American superstar lost for the first time on a major international stage, finishing second in the 400-meter freestyle. Aussie teenager Ariarne Titmus reeled her in on the final lap to knock off the five-time Olympic champion.

“I want to try to take it in,” Titmus told reporters, “because that’s not something that happens every day. Before the race my coach said to me just fight. I never thought I would find myself in a situation where I’d be mowing Katie down. She’s such a champion.”

The world record holder in the event was second in one of her strongest events in 3:59.76, 0.21 seconds behind the 18-year-old. She had won every major race at that distance since the 2013 worlds. U.S. teammate Leah Smith was third in 4:01.29.

“Obviously this stings a little,” Ledecky said. “It’s unfamiliar and different. But I need to rebound from this, and I need to get my fight back. I just need to continue to do the things I know I’m prepared to do. I’m prepared to swim fast at this meet. Tonight wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be.”

In the men’s 400-meter freestyle, China’s Olympic champion Sun Yang won gold in 3:42.44, a record fourth gold medal at worlds. Aussie Mack Horton was second in 3:43.17 and Italian Gabriele Detti was third in 3:43.23. American Zane Grothe was eighth in 3:45.78.

The U.S. won the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay in a championship record 3:09.06. Relay members included Clay High School and Bolles alum Caeleb Dressel, Blake Peroni, Zach Apple and Nathan Adrian. Dressel swam lead-off in 47.63. Russia was second in 3:09.97 and Australia was third in 3:11.22.

Dressel also broke the American and championship records in the 50-meter butterfly qualifier in 22.57.

Australia won the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle in 3:30.21 with Cate Campbell, Brianna Throssell, Madison Wilson and Bronte Campbell. The U.S. was second in 3:31.02 with Allison Schmitt, Abbey Weitzeil, Margo Greer ad Lia Neal. Canada ws third in 3:31.78.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Nguyen Vien of Vietnam opened worlds with a 26th place finish in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:17.79 and 19th place in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:13.35.

Among Florida Gold Coast swimmers: Aruba’s Daniel Jacobs was 40th in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:00.69. Venezuela’s Isabella Paez was 36th in 100-meter butterfly in 1:01.27. Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador was 31st in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:55.06. Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was eighth in the 50-meter butterfly opener in 23.33 and 13th in 23.37 in semifinals to end his finals hope. Joseph Schooling of Singapore failed to qualify in the 50 butterfly finishing 20th in 23.73. Colombia’s Jorge Murillo was 33rd in 1:01.45. Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas was 58th in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.60. Will Pisani was 13th in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay swimming for Canada in 3:15.06.

The world championships has brought together a record 2,620 athletes from 194 countries and territories around the world with 76 sets of medals up for grabs in pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming.

The meet will be streamed and televised by the Olympic Channel and live timing will be available.

TV Schedule:

Live Results:

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Aquatic Club, Florida Gold Coast Well-Represented At 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships When Swimming Begins Sunday

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 20, 2019—When the swimming competition of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships begin Sunday, South Florida will be well-represented with talented swimmers including several medal hopefuls.

The eight-day meet will be held at Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center. Opening day events are the women’s 200 individual medley, women’s 100 butterfly, men’s 50 butterfly, men’s 100 breaststroke, men’s and women’s 400-meter freestyle and 4×100-meter freestyle relays including finals in the 400s and relays.

South Florida Aquatic Club will be represented by Olympians Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Nguyen Vien of Vietnam.

Atkinson, a four-time Olympian, is the 2018 short course world champion in the 50 breaststroke. She holds both short course breaststroke world records at 28.56 and 1:02.36. In her last Worlds appearance in 2015, Atkinson settled for silver in the 50 breast with her current lifetime best of 30.11. Her season best this year is 30.58, ranked seventh in the world.

Atkinson, who turns 31 in December, is among medal favorites in the 100 breaststroke. She has been as fast as 1:05.93 but not since 2015.

SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson will coach the Jamaican team that also features Michael Gunning and Keanan Dols, who is making his long course worlds debut. Dols will compete in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley events. Dols has decided to redshirt at Penn to focus on training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

SOFLO’s Nguyen Vien, her country’s top swimmer, is one of seven swimmers representing Vietnam.

Vien is known as the most prolific swimmer in Vietnam. She collected 19 gold, seven silver and two bronze medals, and broke 11 records at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. In addition, Vien won two Asian Games bronzes, alongside one silver and two bronzes at the FINA World Cup.

Vien will compete in the 400-meter freestyle and 200- and 400-meter individual medleys. She is using worlds as a warm-up for the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines later this year, according to Tran Duc Phan, Deputy Director of the General Department of Sports and Physical Training.

Aruba national record holder Patrick Groters, a NSU University School and Pine Crest Swimming Club alum, will represent Aruba. Groters holds 11 national records and 18 age group records in Aruba. He is a sophomore at University of Denver.

NSU University and Pine Crest Swimming Club alum Daniel Jacobs, 19, is also competing for Aruba. Jacobs, a sophomore at Georgia Tech who currently trains with Azura Florida Aquatics, is a national record holder in the 4×200-meter freestyle and national age group record holder in the 200 and 400 freestyle. He is expected to swim both freestyles.

Dylan Carter, 23, an American Heritage alum, will represent Trinidad and Tobago. Carter is the 2018 Commonwealth 50-meter butterfly silver medalist and 2018 FINA World Short Course bronze medalist in the event.

“This is the most prepared I have felt for a worlds long course I would say in my life,” said Carter, who also plans to compete in the Pan American Games. “I know I am prepared and I know I am ready.”

Florida State, Riviera Beach Suncoast and Lake Lytal Lightning alum Will Pisani of West Palm Beach is one of 13 male swimmers and 25 overall who will represent Canada. Pisani will compete on the 400-meter freestyle relay team, 100 freestyle and 50 butterfly.

Miami’s Isabella Paez will represent Venezuela in the butterfly events. She is a Doral Academy, Duke and Metro Aquatic Club of Miami alum. She will also compete in the Pan American Games.

St. Andrew’s Izaak Bastian of Florida State will represent the Bahamas in the breaststroke and sprint freestyle. As one of the top swimmers in the Bahamas, Bastian competed at the Youth Olympics in the breaststroke events in 2018 before being named as the Male Junior Athlete of the Year by the Nassau Guardian.

Lauren Hew, another St. Andrew’s alum and Florida State swimmer, will compete for the Cayman Islands. nternationally, Hew represented the Cayman Islands at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in seven individual events.

Azura Florida Aquatics has the largest contingent at worlds with 12 swimmers from 10 countries. They are: Julio Horrego, Honduras; Steven Aimable, Senegal; Gabriel Araya, Chile; Tatiana Illis, St. Maarten; Daniel Jacobs and Alyson Ponson, Aruba; Celina Marquez, El Salvador; Mariel Mencia, Dominican Republic; Yeziel Morales, Puerto Rico; Mya Defreitas, Shane Cadogan and Alex Joachim of St. Vincent and Grenadines.

The battle for medals will be between the U.S., Australia and Canada. The U.S. is projected to win 25, Australia 12 and Canada 9.

Olympic qualifying spots for relays will be on the line. The worlds will be the first chance for countries to qualify relays for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The spots go to the nation and not the swimmer foursome. At the Olympics, countries can select any swimmers they wish. There are seven relay events at the Olympics including the new mixed 400-meter medley relay.

The world championships has brought together a record 2,620 athletes from 194 countries and territories around the world with 76 sets of medals up for grabs in pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming.

The meet will be streamed and televised by the Olympic Channel and live timing will be available.

TV Schedule:

Live Results:

Sharon Robb can be reached at

18th FINA World Aquatics Championships Opens Friday; Swimming Begins July 21

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 10, 2019—The 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships will make its debut in Korea on Friday.

The biggest FINA event, held over 17 days, will feature competitions in all six aquatic disciplines–swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo competing for 76 gold medals.

With the slogan of “Dive Into Peace” the world championships will offer a sneak preview of what’s to come at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Several international athletes are competing for Olympic berths.

The 18th edition of the FINA World Championships has attracted the largest number of athletes in event history with 2,639 from 194 countries.

With 82 athletes, host South Korea will have the largest contingent of athletes including 29 in swimming. South Korea will make its debut in open water swimming and water polo at worlds.

Swimming, the most popular event, will not begin until July 21, at the Nambu University Memorial Aquatics Center. The U.S. team leads in medals with 208 gold medals in 17 world championships.

China is expected to dominate the diving, that begins Friday. Divers will compete for 13 gold medals.

High diving, made from heights over 20 meters, made its debut at the 2013 world championships in Barcelona and is attracting a strong fan base around the world. Male divers will jump from a 27-meter platform and women will dive from 20-meters. Only two gold medals are available. In 2017, Steve LoBue of Pembroke Pines won gold. High diving will be held July 22-24 at the Chosun University High Diving competition venue.

More than 1,097 athletes from 47 countries will compete in synchronized swimming. Ten gold medals are up for grabs. Russia is expected to dominate.

Nearly 400 swimmers from 60 countries will compete in open water swimming held at the Yeosu EXPO Ocean Park Open Water swimming venue. The July 13-19 events featuring 5K, 10K and 25K distances will award seven gold medals.

Water polo is the only competitive team sport at worlds. Hungary, Italy and the U.S. will be playing for gold in the men’s and women’s tournaments, July 14-27.

PREVIEW COMING UP NEXT WEEK: South Florida will be well-represented in pool swimming at worlds with South Florida Aquatic Club’s Olympic veterans Nguyen Vien of Vietnam and Alia Atkinson of Jamaica along with several other swimmers from around the Florida Gold Coast.

Sharon Robb can be reached at