Germany’s Florian Wellbrock Wins Men’s Olympic 10K Open Water Swim

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, August 4, 2021—Florian Wellbrock was determined not to let his third race of the Tokyo Olympics slip away.

The 23-year-old German world 10K champion won the Olympic men’s 10K open water gold medal by 25 seconds in 1 hour, 48 hours and 33.7 seconds at Odaiba Marine Park.

The victory more than made up for his fourth place in the 800-meter freestyle after leading until the last 50 meters only to finish fourth and settling for a bronze medal in the 1500 meters.

Wellbrock had the lead for most of the 6.2-mile race, trailing France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier briefly. Going into the seventh and final lap, six swimmers were together but it was Wellbrock who surged after making the final turn around a red buoy at the far end of the course and broke away for the win. No one was going to catch him on Wednesday.

Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky took the silver medal in 1:48.59, just edging out Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri in 1:49.01.1. Defending champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands was seventh. American Jordan Wilimovsky, 27, was tenth in 1:51.40.2. He was the only U.S. entry.

Wellbrock was the second German to win a medal in the 10K, held in the Olympics for just the fourth time after making its debut at the 2012 London Games. Thomas Lurz won bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012.

The temperature was 81 degrees with 80 percent humidity. The water temperature was 84 degrees. The stifling heat forced two swimmers to drop off including France’s David Aubry. Great Britain’s Hector Pardoe also was unable to finish.


  1. Florian Wellbrock, Germany 1:48.33.7
  2. Kristof Rasovszky, Hungary 1:48.59.0
  3. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 1:49.01.1
  4. Matan Roditi, Israel 1:49.24.9
  5. Athanasios Kynigakis, Greece 1:49.29.2
  6. Marc-Antoine Olivier, France 1:50.23.0
  7. Ferry Weertman, Netherlands 1:51.30.8
  8. Michael McGlynn, South Africa 1:51.32.7
  9. Hau-Li Fan, Canada 1:51.37.0
  10. Jordan Wilimovsky, USA 1:51.40.2

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha Wins Olympic Gold Medal In Women’s 10K Open Water Swim

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, August 3, 2021—In one of the closest open water finishes, Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha finally won her Olympic medal in the 10 kilometer open course marathon swim Tuesday night.

Making her third Olympic appearance, Cunha, 29, the five-time world champion had won every major title in her sport except an Olympic medal.

Cunha, who has trained and competed in South Florida, held off late surges by defending champion Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands and Australia’s Kareena Lee to win the seven-lap race in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 30.8 seconds at Odaiba Marine Park in the oppressive Tokyo heat.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she was fifth as a 16-year-old and at the 2016 Rio Games she was 10th. She didn’t qualify in 2021.

“It means four Olympic cycles, a lot of years working,” Cunha said when asked what winning a gold medel means to her. “It’s my third Olympic Games.

“In 2008 I had no chance, in 2012 I didn’t qualify and Rio 2016 was not the result my coach and I expected.

“We arrived here wanting, as much as you can, this medal and around 10 days ago, I said to my coach to win this race will be very difficult for my opponents because I want it so hard, so much and I’m really well prepared.”

With very little wind and current, the race was a test of endurance and tactics as the top medal contenders hung back in the beginning and gradually picked up the pace in the later stages of the swim.

Late in the race, air temperature was 86 degrees with 74 percent humidity. The water temperature was 84 degrees, under the allowable limit of 88 degrees.

At the end of lap six (8.6K), Leonie Beck of Germany was leading the race, 2.6 seconds ahead of Cunha, with just 5.5 seconds separating the top five. By the 9.5K mark, Cunha took the lead and led the rest of the way.

In the last 500 meters, Cunha put in a surge opening a gap of 0.7-seconds between her and van Rouwendaal. Beck dropped to third place and eventually fifth while Lee moved from fifth to fourth, 3.5 seconds behind, and eventually finished third.

“I think I did the best race possible,” van Rouwendaal said. “I was one of the favorites here and that’s really, really hard in open water because everybody’s looking at you, and every round I couldn’t come up a little bit more in the front.”

Before her Olympic swim, Cunha said, “I always liked swimming outdoors in rivers, at the beach. I always loved it. When you have clear goals, it is easier to train and swim behind them. Therefore I believe in taking it step by step.”

There was a 32-second gap between the lead group of seven swimmers and the rest of the 25-swimmer field.

In what is expected to be the final race of her swimming career, American Ashley Twichell finished seventh in 1:59:37.9, just behind U.S. teammate Haley Anderson, sixth in 1:59.36.9.

Twichell swam in the lead for much of the race and was in second place at the start of the final lap but slipped out of medal contention in the final stretch as swimmers with closing speed surged past her.

At 32 years old, Twichell became the second-oldest American woman to swim in the Olympics, trailing only Dara Torres.

Alice Dearing, 24, of Great Britain was 19th in 2:05:03.2, 5:32.4 out of first place. She made history by becoming the first black woman to swim in the Olympics for her country in the marathon event. She looked strong for the first two-thirds of the event but faltered in the later stages.

On Wednesday, the men will compete with defending champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands leading the field. His challengers include 2012 London Champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, German world champion Florian Wellbrock and 2016 Rio bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier.


  1. Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil 1:59:30.8
  2. Sharon vam Rouwemdaal, Netherlands 1:59:31.7
  3. Kareena Lee, Australia 1:59:32.5
  4. Ana Olasz, Hungary 1:59:34.8
  5. Leonie Beck, Germany 1:59:35.1
  6. Haley Anderson, United State 1:59:36.9
  7. Ashley Twichell, United State 1:59:37.9
  8. Xin Xin, China 2:00:10.1
  9. Lara de Villele Grangeon, France 2:00:57.3
  10. Finnia Wunram, Germany 2:01:01.9
    Sharon Robb can be reached at

What A Finish! Dressel, Finke, U.S. Men’s Relay Win Gold, Breaks World Record

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 31, 2021–In an exciting finish to the eight-day swimming competition, the U.S. men came up big Saturday at the Olympic Aquatics Centre.

Caeleb Dressel, 24, won his fifth gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics joining the elite group of Michael Phelps, Matt Biondi and Mark Spitz as the only U.S. swimmers to win five gold medals in a single Olympic Games.

Dressel won the 50-meter freestyle in an Olympic record 21.07 and rallied the underdog 4×100-meter medley relay team to a gold medal and world record 3:26.78 to keep the U.S. team’s undefeated streak alive at 15. Dressel also won gold medals in the 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 4×100 free relay earlier in the week.

After strong relay legs from Ryan Murphy (52.31 split) and Michael Andrew (58.49 split), Dressel gave anchor leg Zach Apple (46.95 split) a half-second lead going into the freestyle leg. Dressel’s relay leg of 49.03 was the fastest in history. The U.S. had never lost the relay but were considered underdogs to Great Britain after barely qualifying for the final by 3/10ths of a second and ending up in Lane One for the final.

The relay broke a 12-year-old world record held by a U.S. team that included Phelps and Aaron Piersol at the 2009 World Championships.

Before the relay, Dressel won his sixth gold overall (in two Olympics) and fourth in Tokyo. With the second-fastest start (0.63), Dressel held off Frenchman Florent Manaudou, who had the quickest start (0.61), to win in 21.07. Manaudou took silver in 21.55.

Brazil’s Bruno Fratus, who trains at Coral Springs Swim Club, took the bronze in 21.57 for his first career Olympic medal at age 32. It was the 91st time Fratus has broken 22 seconds, more than any other swimmer in history.

St. Petersburg’s Bobby Finke did it again. Just as he did in the 800-meter freestyle to win gold, the University of Florida senior turned on the after jets in the final 50 with a 25.7 split to win the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:39.65.

It was the first time a U.S. male won the 1500 event since Mike O’Brien of Mission Viejo 37 years ago at the 1984 Olympic Games.

“This means the world to me,” Finke said. “I was just trying to hold on and get my hand on the wall.”

In the women’s championship medal finals:

Women’s 50-meter freestyle:
Aussie Emma McKeon, 27, won her sixth medal of the Games with an Olympic record time of 23.81 and another gold in the medley relay to become the most decorated Aussie swimmer in a single Olympics. She had the slowest start (0.70) but turned it on in the final 10 meters. Sweden’s world record holder Sarah Sjoestroem, 27, overcame a fractured elbow sustained in February when she slipped on ice, to take home the silver medal in 24.07 and her fourth Olympic medal of her career. She had the second fastest start (0.63). Denmark’s Pernille Blume, who had the fastest start (0.62) and was defending champion after winning in Rio, won the bronze in 24.21. Only 3/10ths of a second separated the field of eight women that had won 28 combined Olympic medals.

Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay: Three teenagers Regan Smith, Lydia Jacoby and Torri Huske and Olympian Abbey Weitzeil, swimming anchor leg, just missed a gold medal by 3/100ths of a second. Australia won in an Olympic record 3:51.60, the eighth gold medal for the Aussies. The U.S. finished in 3:51.73. Canada was third in 3:52.60. The U.S. women had won 10 of the last 14 relay titles.

With the open water events still to come this week, the U.S. finished with 30 medals (11 gold, 10 silver, 9 bronze)and Australia earned 20 (9 gold, 3 silver, 8 bronze). Great Britain was third with 8 medals (4 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze). Twenty one nations managed to win at least one medal in Olympic swimming.


50-meter freestyle: 1. Emma McKeon, AUS 23.81, OR, 2. Sarah Sjoestroem, SWE 24.07, 3. Pernille Blume, DEN 24.21.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. Australia 3:51.60, OR, 2. U.S. 3:51.73, 3. Canada 3:52.60.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel, US 21.07, OR, 2. Florent Manaudou, FRA 21.55, 3. Bruno Fratus, BRA 21.57.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, US 14:39.65, 2. Mykhailo Romanchuk, UKR 14:40.66, 3. Florian Wellbrook, GER 14:40.91.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. US 3:26.78, WR, 2. Great Britain 3:27.51, ER, 3. Italy 3:29.17.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Dressel, Ledecky Make History With Gold Medals, World Record At Tokyo Olympics

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 30, 2021–Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky more than lived up to expectations Friday at the Olympic Aquatics Centre.

Dressel, 24, broke his own world record in the 100-meter butterfly in 49.45. His previous record was 49.50.

Dressel led with the quickest start (.60 off the blocks) and after the turn (23.00 split) and held off Hungary’s Kristof Milak’s late charge, who was second in a European record 49.68, also a lifetime best.

It was the first world record in an individual event by a male. Dressel is five-for-five in gold medals in two Olympics including two individual and one relay in Tokyo.

It was a busy day for the Clay High School, Bolles Swim Club and University of Florida alum who had a challenging triple in a span of 73 minutes. His semifinal 50-meter freestyle was 46 minutes after the 100 fly final. He then swam anchor on the mixed 400-meter medley relay 27 minutes after the 50 free and butterfly gold medal ceremony.

No American woman has won more gold medals than Katie Ledecky, 24, who won her sixth gold medal in her final event of the Games in the 800-meter freestyle. She won her third consecutive 800 Olympic gold in 8:12.57.

In the final 200 meters, she pulled away from Aussie rival Ariarne Titus who took silver in an Oceanic record 8:13.83. Fifteen-year-old U.S. teammate Katie Grimes was fourth in 8:19.38 and thanked Ledecky for pulling her along. “You’re welcome,” smiled Ledecky leaning on a lane line.

“It’s awesome, I just wanted to finish on a really good note,” Ledecky said. “I’m really happy. I want to try and soak it all in. I’m still in a lot of pain.

“That was not my last swim. I’m going to be around at least until 2024 (Paris Olympics) and maybe 2028 (Los Angeles Olympics). I don’t take anything for granted.”

Local swimmers results:

Coral Springs Swim Club’s Bruno Fratus of Brazil won the eighth heat of the 50-meter freestyle in 21.67. In the first semifinal he was second in 21.60, the 90th time he has broken 22 seconds, more than any other swimmer in history. He will swim in Lane 3 in the final next to Dressel.

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago, second in his 50-meter freestyle heat in 22.46.

Westlake Prep alum Renzo Tjon-A-Joe of Suriname, fifth in his 50-meter freestyle heat in 22.56.

Azura’s Samantha Roberts of Antigua was sixth in her 50-meter freestyle heat in 27.63.

PAQ’s Cherelle Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago was eighth in her 50-meter freestyle heat in 26.19.

Azura’s Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador was second in his 1500-meter freestyle in 15:27.37.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 200-meter backstroke:
The Aussies continue to have a great showing, this time finishing one-three in the event. Kaylee McKeown came on in the last 20 meters to sweep the backstroke events in 2:04.68. She went 31 seconds on the back end. Early leader Kylie Masse of Canada was second in 2:05.42 and Aussie teammate Emily Seebohm was third in 2:06.17. Americans Rhyan White (2:06.39) and Phoebe Bacon (2:06.40) were out of the medal hunt in fourth and fifth.

Mixed 4×100-meter medley relay: The event made its Olympic debut with the U.S. getting shut out of medals. Great Britain, with Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty (56.78 split), James Guy and Anna Hopkin won with a world record 3:37.58. China was second in 3:38.86 and Australia third in 3:38.95. The U.S. relay of Ryan Murphy (52.23 split), Lydia Jacoby (1:05.09), who lost her goggles on the start and swam with them on her face, Torri Huske (56.27) and Caeleb Dressel (46.99), who was eight seconds behind the leaders when he hit the water, was fifth in 3:40.58.


200-meter backstroke: 1. Kaylee McKeown, AUS 2:04.68, 2. Kylie Masse, CAN 2:05.42, 3. Emily Seebohm, AUS 2:06.17.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, US 8:12.57, 2. Ariarne Titmus, AUS 8:13.83, OC, 3. Simona Quadarella, ITA 8:18.35.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Caeleb Dressel, US 49.45, WR, 2. Kristof Milak, HUN 49.68, ER, 3. Noe Ponti, SUI 50.74.

Mixed 4×100-meter medley relay: 1. Great Britain 3:37.58, WR, 2. China 3:38.86, 3. Australia 3:38.95.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Floridians Finke, Dressel Win Gold For Team USA On Historical Night At Tokyo Olympics

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 28, 2021–In one of the most exciting nights in the history of Florida swimming, Caeleb Dressel and Bobby Finke won gold medals for Team USA Wednesday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

It was Dressel’s first individual gold medal and fourth overall (three others on relays in two Olympic Games) against the world’s fastest final field ever assembled in the event.

Dressel was emotional after the race, trying to hold back tears that kept coming while watching his parents, wife and sister on NBC’s coverage of the watch party in Orlando.

“I don’t know if this has set in yet,” Dressel said. “Right now I’m kind of hurting. It’s been a really tough year, it was really hard, so to have the results show up really makes me some kind of happy.”

Finke, 21, of University of Florida and St. Petersburg Aquatics, won the first-ever men’s 800-meter freestyle in an American record 7:41.87. Reigning world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy was second in 7:42.11 and Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk was third in 7:42.33.

Looking out of medal contention for most of the race in fifth place, Finke found another gear after the final turn with a 26.3 split and reeled in four swimmers in the final 25 meters to win his first Olympic final.

“Oh yeah,” Finke said, when asked if he had surprised himself with his performance. “My best time going into this was (7:47). And then in prelims, I dropped down to (7:42). And then here I dropped another second. So I had no idea that I was going to do that, honestly.”

The gold is the first for an American male swimmer in an Olympic distance race since 1984.

“The pain kind of goes away once you just start,” Finke said. “Your mind just kind of disappears, and you’re just kind of blacking out a little bit. I just wanted to get my hand on the wall. I am so happy that I was able to switch it into another gear. This means a lot. Coming into this there was a lot of doubt behind American distance.”

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Colleen Furgeson of the Marshall Islands was fifth in her 100-meter freestyle heat in 58.71.

Azura has four swimmers competing Thursday. They are Abbas Qali of Kuwait, 100 butterfly; Davidson Vincent of Haiti, 100 butterfly; Steven Aimable, 100 butterfly; and Celina Marquez of El Salvador, 200 backstroke.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 200-meter butterfly: No one was going to catch China’s Yufei Zhang who won in an Olympic record 2:03.86, the fastest time in 12 years. China has won three of the last four gold medals in the event. The U.S. took silver and bronze with Regan Smith in 2:05.30 and Hali Flickinger in 2:05.65.

Women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay:
China upset Australia for the gold medal and Katie Ledecky turned in on with her 1:53 anchor leg to give the U.S. a silver medal. Heavy favorite Australia took the bronze. All three teams swam under the old world record of 7:41.50. China won in a world record 7:40.33, the U.S. took silver in an American record 7:40.73 and Australia third in an Oceanic record 7:41.29. Ledecky has now won three Olympics medals including one gold. She can win one more Saturday in the 800 freestyle.

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Aussie Izaac Stubblety-Cook surged in the final 50 meters to win in an Olympic record 2:06.38. Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands was second in 2:07.01 just ahead of Finland’s Matti Mattsson in 2:07.13.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Yufei Zhang, CHN 2:03.86, 2. Regan Smith, US 2:05.30, 3. Hali Flickinger, US 2:05.65.

4×200-meter freestyle relay: 1. China 7:40.33, 2. United States 7:40.73, 3. Australia 7:41.29.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, US 7:41.87, 2. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 7:42.11, 3. Mykailo Romanchuk, UKR 7:42.33.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Izaac Stubblety-Cook, AUS 2:06.38, 2. Arno Kamminga, NED 2:07.01, 3. Matti Mattsson, FIN 2:07.13.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel, US 47.02, 2. Kyle Chalmers, AUS 47.08, 3. Kliment Kolesnikov, ROC 47.44.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Ledecky Bounces Back, Wins Gold In First-Ever Women’s 1500 At Olympics; SOFLO’s Horrego Swims Final Event In Olympic Debut

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 27, 2021–Less than 90 minutes after swimming the 200-meter freestyle, Katie Ledecky won the first-ever women’s 1500-meter freestyle Olympic final Tuesday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

After finishing fifth in the 200 earlier, Ledecky, 24, left little doubt in the mile leading by as many as four seconds before winning the historic event in 15:37.34.

It was Ledecky’s first gold of the Games after taking silver in the 400 freestyle. The world record holder was emotional after her race leaning against a lane line trying to hold back tears.

“I just wanted to get the job done tonight,” Ledecky said. “I wanted to get my mind ready. I knew it would be tough. I’m so glad we could do it in the best possible way.”

U.S. teammate Erica Sullivan, 20, was second in 15:41.41. Germany’s Sarah Kohler was third in 15:42.91.

Ledecky dominated the heats in the women’s 1500 on Monday night setting the first-ever Olympic record in 15:35.35. Ledecky owns the 11 fastest times in history.

SOFLO’s Julio Horrego of Honduras was sixth in his 200-meter breaststroke heat in 2:17.51 in his second and final Olympic event. Horrego fought through adversity after being quarantined for five days and unable to work out with his Coach Chris Anderson before his 100 and 200 breaststroke events.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Julimar Avila of Honduras was the first Universality swimmer and Honduras swimmer to make it out of prelims into the semifinal round of 16 swimmers for the 200-meter butterfly. She swam a lifetime-best and national record time of 2:15.36 to finish 16th. She went on to finish eighth in the semis in 2:16.38.

University of Miami’s Remedy Rule of the Philippines was sixth in her heat and 15th overall in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:12.23 and also qualified for the semifinals. Rule was the first Philippine swimmer to make it out of prelims at the Olympics. She was eighth in semis in 2:12.89.

Azura’s Andrew Fowler of Guyana was fourth in his 100-meter freestyle heat in 55.23.

Azura’s Stefano Mitchell of Antigua & Barbuda was fourth in his 100-meter freestyle heat in 51.64.

NSU University School/Pine Crest Swimming Club alum Mikel Schreuders of Aruba was fourth in his 100-meter freestyle heat in 49.31.

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was third in his 100-meter freestyle heat in 48.66.

St. Andrew’s Swimming and Florida State’s Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas was fifth in his 200-meter breaststroke heat in 2:17.40.

Azura’s Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador was second in his 800-meter freestyle heat in 8:03.01.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 200-meter freestyle:
With 15 meters left, Aussie Ariarne Titmus surged ahead of the field to win her second gold medal in an Olympic record 1:53.50. Early leader Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong, a former Michigan swimmer, won her country’s first-ever medal in swimming placing second in an Asian record 1:53.92. Canadian Penny Oleksiak was third in 1:54.70. Katie Ledecky was never in the race and finished out of the medals in fifth in 1:55.21.

Men’s 200-meter butterfly: Hungarian world record holder Kristof Milak, 21, won his country’s first medal in the event in an Olympic record 1:51.25, third-fastest time in history. Japan’s Tomoru Honda took silver in 1:53.73 and Italian Federico Burdisso was third in 1:54.45. South African Chad Le Clos was fifth in 1:54.93.

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Japan’s Yui Ohashi swept the IM events, winning her second gold in the 2:08.52 after winning the 400IM. Longtime friends and U.S. teammates Alex Walsh was second in 2:08.65 and Kate Douglass was third in 2:09.04. Hungarian world record holder Katinka Hosszu was never in it and placed seventh in 2:12.38.

Men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay: Powerhouse Great Britain knocked off defending champion U.S., winner of the last four Olympic gold medals with Michael Phelps, to win in a European record 6:58.58. Russia was second in 7:01.81 and Australia third in 7:01.84. The U.S. was fourth in 7:02.43.


200-meter freestyle: 1. Ariarne Titmus, AUS 1:53.50, 2. Siobhan Haughey, HKG 1:53.92, 3. Penny Oleksiak, CAN 1:54.70.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Yui Ohashi, JPN 2:08.52, 2. Alex Walsh, U.S. 2:08.65, 3. Kate Douglass, U.S. 2:09.04.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, U.S. 15:37.34, 2. Erica Sullivan, U.S. 15:41.41, 3. Sarah Kohler, GER 15:42.91.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Kristof Milak, HUN 1:51.25, 2. Tomoru Honda, JPN 1:53.73, 3. Federico Burdisso, ITA 1:54.45.

4×200-meter freestyle relay: 1. Great Britain 6:58.58, 2. Russia 7:01.8, 3. Australia 7:01.84.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

American Lydia Jacoby Pulls Off Stunner For Olympic Gold In 100 Breaststroke

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 26, 2021–Seventeen-year-old Lydia Jacoby pulled off the biggest upset in the women’s swimming competition Monday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

After watching the U.S. team get shut out of gold medals in the first three finals of the morning, Jacoby knocked off her teammate, defending champion and world record holder Lilly King and top qualifier Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa.

With a huge surge in the final 20 meters, Jacoby, swimming in Lane 3, won in 1:04.95 out-touching Schoenmaker in 1:05.22 and King in 1:05.54. Jacoby was third at the turn.

After touching the wall, Jacoby turned and took off her goggles to look at the scoreboard. She looked shocked as her mouth dropped open when she realized she won.

It was the first time since 2019 King had lost a 100 breaststroke race. She had won 53 consecutive races.

The most unlikeliest of gold medalists is headed into her senior year at Seward High School in Alaska and part of the Seward Tsunami Swim Club. Alaska has only one 50-meter long course pool in the entire state. She has committed to University of Texas as part of the 2022 recruiting class. Her other college visits were Tennessee, Notre Dame and North Carolina State.

“I was racing for a medal,” Jacoby said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting a gold medal. I don’t know how I pulled it out. I definitely stressed myself out yesterday so I just tried to feel good and happy going into it and I feel like I did that.”

Added King, “We love to keep that gold in the USA family. This kid just had the swim of her life and I’m proud to be her teammate.”

Jacoby is the first-ever Alaska native on the U.S. Olympic team.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Nicole Frank of Uruguay, third in her 200-meter individual medley heat in 2:18.93.

Azura Florida Aquatics will have four swimmers compete on Tuesday: Andrew Fowler of Guyana, 100 freestyle; Stefano Mitchell of Antigua & Barbuda, 100 freestyle; Julimar Avila of Honduras, 200 butterfly; and Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, 800 freestyle.

After three days of racing, it’s obvious the rest of the world has caught up to the U.S. In other championship medal finals:

Men’s 200-meter freestyle:

In a thrilling finish, Great Britain finished one-two. Ranked first and second in the world, Tom Dean won the gold in 1:44.22 and Duncan Scott took silver in 1:44.26. It was the first Olympic gold for Great Britain in the freestyle since 1908. Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer took bronze in 1:44.66. University of Florida’s Kieran Smith, trying to become the first American male to win a medal in the 400 and 200 at the same Olympics, faded to sixth in 1:45.12. The men’s field featured two teenagers.

Women’s 100-meter backstroke:

Aussie world record holder Kaylee McKeown turned it on in the final 20 meters to win the gold in an Olympic record 57.47, second fastest time in history. She is the first Aussie woman to win gold in the event. Canadian Kylie Masse won the silver in 57.72 and American Regan Smith took the bronze in 58.05. Coming into the Olympics, Australia had not won an individual women’s gold medal since 2008 and now they have two.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke:

Russia finished one-two with Evgeny Rylov winning his country’s first gold medal since 1996. Rylov finished in a European record 51.98 and teammate Kliment Kolesnikov took silver in 52.00. American Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, was third in 52.19 for his fourth Olympic career medal. “That was the best I had today, hats off to the Russian guys,” Murphy said. The field featured five of seven of the fastest swimmers in world. The U.S. team’s saw its 100 backstroke streak end at seven. The Americans had not lost a backstroke race since 1992.

The women’s 200-meter freestyle final on Tuesday will feature the second matchup between American Katie Ledecky and Aussie Ariarne Titmus.


100-meter backstroke: 1. Kaylee McKeown, AUS 57.47, 2. Kylie Masse, CAN 57.72, 3. Regan Smith, USA 58.05.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Lydia Jacoby, USA 1:04.95, 2. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA 1:05.22, 3. Lilly King, USA 1:05.54.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Tom Dean GB 1:44.22, 2. Duncan Scott, GB 1:44.26, 3. Fernando Scheffer, BRA 1:44.66.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Evgeny Rylov, ROC 51.98, 2. Kliment Kolesnikov, ROC 52.00, 3. Ryan Murphy, USA 52.19.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Aussie Ariarne Titmus Knocks Off Katie Ledecky; Peaty, MacNeil, Dressel Win Gold

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 25, 2021–In a thrilling showdown, Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off defending champion and world record holder Katie Ledecky Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Swimming side-by-side in the 400-meter freestyle, the Tasmanian-born Titmus, 20, closed the gap to 2/10ths of a second at the 300-meter mark and pulled ahead in the final 50 meters to win in 3:56.69, an Oceanic women’s record and second fastest time in history.

Titmus, ranked No. 1 in the world, handed Ledecky, 24, her first individual Olympic loss. The American finished in 3:57.36, her second fastest career time. China’s Bingjie Li was third in an Asian record 4:01.88.

“I can’t believe it, I’m trying to contain my emotions,” Titmus said. “This past year I don’t know whether it’s gone fast or slow, but to get here was a relief. To come here and do the job, I’m over the moon.

“I thanked her, I wouldn’t be here without her. She set this incredible standard. I’ve been trying to chase her, it’s really exciting now we have this battle going. It’s really fun to race.

“I tried to stay as composed as I could. Then just tried to stick to my race plan. I can’t believe I pulled it off.”

The Ledecky-Titmus matchup was one of the most anticipated and talked-about Olympic races. Titmus had defeated Ledecky at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea in the 400 freestyle but Ledecky had a severe stomach virus. In June, Titmus had flirted with Ledecky’s world record of 3:56.46 when she went 3:56.90 at her country’s Olympic trials.

Titmus won the first individual gold medal for Australia since Stephanie Rice in 2008.

“I looked at the 300 and saw she was right there,” Ledecky said. “I knew it would be a fight to the finish. I can’t be disappointed. I did my best, I fought tooth and nail. She said she couldn’t have done it without me and I think she pushed me.”

Titmus’ coach Dean Boxall was emotional and animated after watching his swimmer touch first, running and gyrating in the stands.

It ended Ledecky’s quest to win the first of five possible gold medals. The two will meet again in the 200 and 800 freestyles and 4×200 freestyle relay.

In the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay final, anchor leg Zach Apple pulled away with a 46.6 split for a 9/10ths of a second lead to clinch the win for the U.S. in 3:08.97. Italy was second in 3:10.11 and Australia third in 3:10.22.

Floridian Caeleb Dressel led off in 47.2 followed by Blake Pieroni in 47.5 and Bowen Becker in 47.4 who led by 2/10ths after the third leg.

“We knew there was a huge target on our back,” said Dressel, a Clay High School, Bolles Club and Florida alum. “I’d say we dominated that pretty well. We’re never going to doubt ourselves, that’s not how the U.S. team works. We had a couple people rule us out in that event. We’re never going to take that so it feels nice to dominate and have it back on home soil.”

The U.S. men have won two of the last three Olympic 400 relays.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador, fifth in her heat of the 100-meter backstroke in 1:03.75.

Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders, an NSU University School/Pine Crest Club alum, second in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.43.

Azura’s Joaquin Vargas of Peru, third in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.93.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 100-meter butterfly:
Canadian Maggie MacNeil, in the outside lane, swam the second fastest time in history to win the gold medal in 55.59 ahead of China’s Yufei Zhang in 55.64 and Aussie Emma McKeon in 55.72. American 18-year-old Stanford-commit Torri Huske o f Arlington, Va. missed the podium by 1/100ths in 55.73. MacNeil, World and Pan Pac champion who swims at University of Michigan, is the first Canadian to win the gold medal in the event. Swimming without her contact lenses, it took her a while to focus on the scoreboard and realize she was listed first. World and Olympic record holder Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden, who bounced back from a shattered elbow sustained slipping on ice, was seventh in 56.91.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Defending champion, world record holder and heavy favorite Adam Peaty of Great Britain won back-to-back Olympic gold in 57.37 ahead of Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands in 58.00, the first medal in the event for his country and Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy in 58.33. American medal favorite Michael Andrew finished out of the medals placing fourth in 58.84.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Maggie MacNeil, CAN 55.59, 2. Yufei Zhang, CHINA 55.64, 3. Emma McKeon, AUS 55.72.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Ariarne Titmus, AUS 3:56.69, 2. Katie Ledecky, US 3:57.36, 3. Bingjie Li, CHINA 4:01.08.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Adam Peaty, GBR 57.37, 2. Arno Kamminga, Netherlands 58.00, 3. Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA 58.33.

4×100-meter freestyle relay: 1. United States 3:08.97, 2. Italy 3:10.11, 3. Australia 3:10.22.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson’s Medal Quest Ends In Final Olympic Swim

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 25, 2021–Alia Atkinson, the most decorated swimmer in Jamaica, competed in her final Olympic race Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Making her fifth Olympic appearance, the longtime South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer saw her medal hopes end in her opening heat of the 100-meter breaststroke.

Atkinson finished third in 1:07.70, falling short of the semifinal round of 16. She had a slight lead at the halfway mark in 31.48 after an 0.67 reaction time off the blocks, but faded down the finish with a split time of 36.22.

The fastest event qualifier was South African Tatjana Schoenmaker, who broke American Lilly King’s five-year old Olympic record in 1:04.82. The women’s final is Monday.

Atkinson, at 32, one of oldest swimmers in the field, was hoping to add an Olympic medal to her already impressive swimming resume that includes three short course world records, 26 international medals including four short course World Championship gold medals, 14 long course and 11 short course national records.

“Not gonna lie, I may have teared up on this,” Atkinson wrote on her Facebook page.

“It’s funny. Looking back, the years went by so fast and before I realized it, I was looking at the end of it,” Atkinson said after her race.

“Would I give it all up for an Olympic medal?” and honestly, I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. All the ups and downs has made me who I am today ( though at times it feels like there were more downs than ups), but it taught me how to get up and God taught me how to smile through it all.

“My x5 Olympic journey ends here, but the Olympic medal is still waiting for some Jamaican girl/boy to claim it. I know you can you, so keep pushing.

“I hope the road was/is less rocky for you; if so, then I have indeed succeeded. We have waited a long time for you, so thank you for staying true and carrying the fly high.”

After her race, she was deluged with appreciative fan mail on Facebook: “Proud of you Alia, thanks for representing us…your effort is always appreciated…well done on your long and illustrious career representing Jamaica…you have always given it your all…thank you for always representing Jamaica with humility and grace. You’ve had an amazing career. We are very proud of all you have done…You have been an awesome ambassador of Jamaica…one luv.”

It was a record fifth Olympic appearance for both Atkinson and her longtime SOFLO coach Chris Anderson. Atkinson will continue to swim in FINA World Cups, FINA World Championships in Doha, Qatar and International Swimming League for the UK-based London Roar in the pro league’s third season that opens Aug. 26 in Naples, Italy.

At the 2012 London Summer Olympics she was only the second Jamaican swimmer to place in the top four at an Olympic Games, finishing fourth in the 100 breaststroke. In 2016, she was eighth in the Rio Olympics.

In 2014, she was the second woman to swim a 1:02.36 in the short course 100-meter breaststroke tying the world record in the event. In 2016, Atkinson set a new world record in the short course 50-meter breaststroke. Two years later, in 2018, she set a new world record in the short course 50-meter breaststroke for the second time.

Martin Lyn, president of the Aquatics Sports Association of Jamaica, praised Atkinson to the local media before she raced.

“The fact is that her legacy is already set, she has done incredibly well for Jamaica,” Lyn said. “She has put Jamaica on the world stage, not just in what she has achieved, but basically in her performances as well.

“She has excelled in a sport that predominantly consists of Caucasians or Europeans. She has done extremely well, holding world records. Her name is already set and is secure in the annals of swimming history.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Julio Horrego Makes Olympic Debut; Alia Atkinson Begins Medal Quest Sunday; Kalisz, Hafnaoui, Ohashi Win Gold

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 24, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Julio Horrego had his first Olympic moment Saturday.

Despite no fans in the 15,000-seat Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Horrego, 22, swimming the 100-meter breaststroke in Lane 5 in Heat 2, was fourth in his heat and 43rd overall in 1:02.45. He was 29.09 at the turn. Horrego has the 200-meter breaststroke remaining.

SOFLO teammate Alia Atkinson, 32, of Jamaica will make her fifth and final Olympic appearance when she competes in the heats of the 100-meter breaststroke Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. EST. The short course world champion and national record holder’s mantra for her final Summer Games has been “last swim, fast swim.”

Other local swimmers results:

Former St. Andrew’s Swimming and Florida State’s Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas was eighth in the 100-meter breaststroke heat and 40th overall in 1:01.87.

Peru’s Joaquin Vargas of Azura Florida Aquatics was 25th overall in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:52.94. Vargas competes Sunday in the 200 freestyle and Azura teammate Celina Marquez of El Salvador and Nova Southeastern competes in the 100 backstroke in the opening heats.

University of Miami’s Remedy Rule of the Philippines was 25th in the 100-meter butterfly in 59.68.

In the championship medal finals:

Men’s 400 individual medley: Americans Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland finished one-two. Kalisz, 27, of Bel Air, Md., a silver medalist in 2016, won gold in 4:09.42. Kalisz pulled away from the field in the breaststroke and was 2.5 seconds ahead going into the freestyle. Litherland came on in the freestyle to clinch the silver in 4:10.28.

“This means the world to me,” said Kalisz, obviously in pain after leaving it all in the pool. “This was the last thing I really wanted to accomplish in my swim career. It’s something that was a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I can’t believe it…I really can’t believe it.”

Men’s 400 freestyle: In a shocker, teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui, 18, of Tunisia, swimming in Lane 8 won his country’s first Olympic medal in the event and only fifth medal in any sport. With an insane kick at the finish, the youngest swimmer in the final won in 3:34.36, out-touching Aussie Jack McLoughlin in 3:43.52. The Tunisian had only qualified eighth by 8/100ths of a second (3:45.68). He is only the second swimmer from Tunisia to make a final. The son of former Tunisia national basketball player, Mohamed Hafnaoui was 12 when he joined Tunisia’s national swimming program. University of Florida junior Kieran Smith, making his Olympic debut, hung on to take the bronze in 3:43.94.

“I just can’t believe it, it is amazing, I am Olympic champion now,” Hafnaoui said. “I don’t know how I did it, I just put my head to the water. I just can’t believe it. “This is a dream that came true.”

Women’s 400-meter individual medley: Japan’s Yui Ohashi won her country’s first gold medal in 4:32.08. She had a two-body length lead during the breaststroke leg. American Emma Weyant, 19, of Sarasota Sharks, fourth going into the backstroke, came back to take silver in her Olympic debut in 4:32.76. U.S. teammate Hali Flickinger was third in 4:34.90. Reigning Olympic, world and European champion and world record holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, at 32 the oldest in the field, faded to fifth in 4:35.98. Weyant top seed in the 400 IM after prelims in 4:33.55.

“This is my first (major) international meet,” said Weyant after prelims. “It was really cool to be in the Olympics. I was really just trying to set myself up well for tomorrow morning and execute my race.”

After the final, Weyant said, “I think my mom and dad just fainted. This is just crazy to be a silver medalist and race the best in the world.”

Women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay: Australia broke the first world record in swimming blowing away the field in 3:29.69 with Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Meg Harris. Canada was second in 3:32.78 and the U.S., with Simone Manuel on anchor leg, was third in 3:32.81.

In the biggest upset of the day, world champion and local hero Daiya Seto of Japan missed the final in the 400-meter individual medley, an event he was the heavy favorite. He had the fastest time (4:09.02) of the year. He was fifth in his heat and ninth overall missing the final by 0.32 seconds. After 300 meters he was a full body length ahead and then let it slip away on the freestyle leg. Seto still has the 200 IM left, which he is defending world champion.

Among the limited audience was First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Members of the U.S. swimming team cheered and chanted from the stands for Dr. Biden, who sat across the pool and waved as swimming kicked off.

Without fans, masked teams had ample room to spread out in socially distanced seats above the deck. The U.S. contingent waved tiny American flags and pounded red-white-and-blue Thunderstix, while the Germans spread their large-sized flag over two rows of seats.

NBC is hosting watch parties for parents of Olympians in Orlando.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Yui Ohashi, Japan 4:32.08, 2. Emma Weyant, US 4:32.76, 3. Hali Flickinger, US 4:34.90.

4×100-meter freestyle relay: 1. Australia 3:29.69, 2. Canada 3:32.78, 3. United States 3:32.81.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Chase Kalisz, US 4:09.42, 2. Jay Litherland, US 4:10.28, 3. Brendon Smith, AUS 4:10.38.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Ahmed Hafnaoui, Tunisia 3:43.36, 2. Jack McLoughlin, AUS 3:43.52, 3. Kieran Smith, US 3:43.94.

Sharon Robb can be reached at