SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Third At Arena Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

May 13, 2016—Alia Atkinson finished third in the 100-meter breaststroke to lead South Florida Aquatic Club Friday night in the Arena Pro Swim Series at the newly-renovated Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Charlotte, N.C.

The three-time 27-year-old Jamaican Olympian finished in 1:07.81 behind NCAA breaststroke star Lilly King in 1:05.73, second fastest time in the world this year, and Katie Meili in 1:06.54.

Atkinson’s morning prelim time was 1:08.10. Atkinson swam 1:06.84 last month in Mesa for 13th in the world rankings. Atkinson was 36th in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:02.70.

Atkinson has four more events over two days. She will also compete in the 50- and 200-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

Colombian Jorge Murillo, 24, of SOFLO placed sixth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.41. Teammate Marc Rojas was 31st in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:10.35. Both will swim Sunday in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Atkinson and Murillo are already qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.

In Friday’s other action:

Leah Smith, 21, swimming unattached won the 200-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 1:57.26.

Conor Dwyer, 27, of Trojan Swim Club, led the 200-meter freestyle from start to finish to win in 1:46.68.

Cody Miller, 24, of Badger Swim Club, surged in the back half of the race to win the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:00.66.

Ali Deloof, 21, of Club Wolverine won the 50-meter backstroke in 28.03.

Bryce Bohman, 25, swimming unattached and one of the top morning seeds, won the 50-meter backstroke in 25.60.

Dana Vollmer, 28, of Cal Aquatics, just 14 months after giving birth to her first child, led from wire-to-wire to win the 100-meter butterfly in 57.23.

Bolles alum Santo Condorelli, 21, representing Swimming Canada, won the 100-meter butterfly in the only sub-53 second time. He won in 52.53. Condorelli earned his nomination to the Olympic team for Rio at last month’s Canadian swim trials in Toronto going 48.16 in the 100-meter freestyle.

Cammile Adams won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:38.97, nearly an 8-second cushion ahead of second place finished Rose Bi in 4:46.55. St. Andrew’s alum Rachael Bradford-Feldman was sixth in 4:49.40.

Ryan Lochte won the 400-meter individual medley by two seconds in 4:16.92.

The field features 30 national team members and more than 500 swimmers.

A full schedule of long course events are scheduled for Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

Only three Arena Pro Swim Series meets remain including this weekend’s event in Charlotte, Santa Clara and Indianapolis.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream Saturday’s and Sunday’s final sessions live. NBC Sports Network will air tape-delayed television coverage of the meet from noon to 3 p.m. The entire meet will also be live streamed at



200-meter freestyle: 1. Leah Smith, Unattached 1:57.26, 2. Taylor Ruck, Swimming Canada 1:58.84, 3. Siobhan Haughey, Club Wolverine 1:58.90.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Lilly King, Indiana 1:05.73, 2. Katie Meili, SwimMAC 1:06.54, 3. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 1:07.81.

50-meter backstroke: 1. Ali Deloof, Club Wolverine 28.03, 2. Kylie Masse, Swimming Canada 28.11, 3. Kirsty Coventry, SwimMAC 28.24.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Dana Vollmer, Cal Aquatics 57.23, 2. Penny Oleksiak, Swimming Canada 58.25, 3. Kelsi Worrell, Unattached 58.37.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Cammile Adams, SwimMAC 4:38.97, 2. Rose Bi, Club Wolverine 4:46.55, 3. Lindsey Clary, Ohio State 4:46.75.


200-meter freestyle: 1. Conor Dwyer, Trojan SC 1:46.68, 2. Zane Grothe, Badger 1:48.22, 3. Anders Lie Nielsen, Club Wolverine 1:49.18.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Cody Miller, Badger 1:00.66, 2. Miguel De Lara Ojeda, Mexico 1:00.99, 3. Youssef El Kamash, Grand Canyon 1:01.39.

50-meter backstroke: 1. Bryce Bohman, Unattached 25.60, 2. Paul Le, Missouri State 25.75, 3. Bob Glover, Indiana 25.84.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Santo Condorelli, Swimming Canada 52.53, 2. Tim Phillips, SwimMAC 52.83, 3. Matthew Josa, SwimMAC 53.43.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Ryan Lochte, SwimMAC 4:16.92, 2. Tom Peribonio, Ecuador 4:18.92, 3. Michael Weiss, Wisconsin 4:21.81.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Aquatic Club Trio Head To Charlotte Arena Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

May 11, 2016—Three members of South Florida Aquatic Club’s ProFlo group will compete Thursday through Sunday at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, N.C.

Several Olympians and Olympic hopefuls are in the field while others opted to compete in the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet, also this weekend.

The Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center underwent an $8.6 million renovation since the meet was last held last year in May.

Heading SOFLO’s ProFlo group is three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson. She is entered in six events: 50, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, 50- and 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

Atkinson has the world’s 13th best time in the 100-meter breaststroke this year. Katie Meili is the top seed in the event. At last summer’s Pan American Games, Meili took gold while Atkinson settled for the silver.

SOFLO’s Jorge Murillo of Colombia will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Atkinson and Murillo have already qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas, a former Florida State swimmer, is trying to get his U.S. Olympic trials cut. He will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

SOFLO’s Claire Donahue and Megan Romano, already qualified for the U.S. trials, scratched from the meet.

The field features 30 national team members and more than 500 swimmers.

Floridian Ryan Lochte is entered in seven events and Tyler Clary has entered five. Both are training mates with SwimMAC in Charlotte.

Lochte will compete in the 100- and 200-meter freestyles, 200- and 400-meter individual medley, 100-meter backstoke and non-Olympic events 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly.

Clary is entered in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter butterfly and 100- and 200-meter backstrokes.

Swim Canada is wrapping up a training camp. Canada’s 4×100 medley and 4×100 freestyle relays will compete. They are among 15 Olympic team nominees that have been involved in a four-day training camp in Toronto.

USA Swimming has made special accommodations for Team Canada to compete in relays during time trials between prelims and finals. Bolles alum Santo Condorelli is among the men’s roster.

The long course meters meet begins Thursday with the distance session at 4 p.m. The remainder of the weekend prelims are 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

Only three Arena Pro Swim Series meets remain including this weekend’s event in Charlotte, Santa Clara and Indianapolis.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream Saturday’s and Sunday’s final sessions live. NBC Sports Network will air tape-delayed television coverage of the meet from noon to 3 p.m. The entire meet will also be live streamed at


World championship medalist Lindsay Vrooman has signed with TYR. A national team member since 2013, Vrooman is a distance swimmer and competes in the 400, 800 and 1500. South Florida Aquatic Club is sponsored by TYR, the leading manufacturer of competitive swim and triathlon gear…

Florida Gulf Coast head coach Neal Studd, who coaches SOFLO’s Melissa and Marcella Marinheiro, turned down the head coaching job at Arkansas and at least an extra $50,000. Studd toured the campus for two days. Studd, 40, did get a raise from athletic director Ken Kavanagh from $73,000 to $87,500, making him the highest paid coach in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association. Kavanagh also gave Studd one more scholarship, now making the program three shy of the NCAA’s limit of 14.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Colorado, Murillo-Valdes Top SOFLO Finishers At Charlotte Arena Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

May 16, 2015—Two of South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers newest pro swimmers made an impression Saturday night at the 31st annual Arena Pro Swim Series at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in downtown Charlotte, N.C.

Two-time Colombian Olympian Carolina Colorado, 25, made two finals and finished sixth in both.

Colorado, after a good morning swim in 1:01.64, came back to finish sixth in the 100-meter backstroke “A” final in 1:01.63.

Colorado was also sixth in 50-meter butterfly “B” in 27.82.

In the B final of the 200-meter breaststroke, SOFLO’s Jorge Murillo Valdes came from behind on the back half to win in 2:15.35 and finished ninth overall.

Bolles alum Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, a two-time Olympian and national record holder for the Bahamas, was a double winner to highlight third day meet action.

In front of a packed house and national television audience, Vanderpool-Wallace looked impressive sweeping the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly

Buoyed by a great start off the blocks, Vanderpool-Wallace, 25, the top seed, won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.35, third fastest time this year in the world and only 1/100th of a second off her best time. She moved up to third in the world rankings.

Olympian Natalie Coughlin was second in 25.03.

“I just wanted to get off the blocks and go,” said Vanderpool-Wallace, racing in her SwimMAC home pool. “I was really excited to swim tonight. My goal was to get down to 24.3 and that’s what I did. I know people are complaining about no warm-up pool but we are putting up some best times of the world at this meet.”

Vanderpool-Wallace’s lifetime best of 24.34 was turned in at last summer’s Commonwealth Games.

After another perfect start in the 50-meter butterfly, Vanderpool-Wallace pulled away quickly to win in 25.93, a half second faster than morning swim. It was the fifth fastest time in the world. U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue was second in 26.31.

“I wanted to make sure I stayed in control those first four strokes and then sped it up,” she said. “I am super pumped for the summer. I have been excited all year. The Pan American Games are huge for me.”

In other championship finals:

Women 200-meter butterfly: Hungarian Katinka Hosszu led from start to finish to win her third event of the meet in 2:08.00, her best time this season. Cammile Adams, 23, of SwimMAC was second in 2:08.76. Former Clearwater swimmer Becca Mann was fifth in 2:10.95. Isabella Paez of Metro Aquatics was third in the “B” final in 2:13.80.

“This is my first event and all I was focusing on,” Hosszu said. “I touched the wall and tried to breathe and relax a bit. Now I think about my next race and try to get ready for the 100 backstroke.”

Men 200-meter butterfly: With a final split of 30.04, Chase Kalisz, 21, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club, reeled in leader Andrew Seliskar, 18, of Nation’s Capital to win in 1:57.58. Seliskar was second in 1:57.70. Michael Phelps, swimming in Lane 7, struggled after the midway mark and finished seventh in 2:00.77.

“I am trying to play to my strengths as best as possible,” Kalisz said. “I’m not able to go out with the guys at the 100, as much as I’d like to. I just tried to be in striking distance coming home.”

Men 50-meter freestyle: With a lightning quick reaction time off the block, Josh Schneider, 27, of the New York Athletic Club shocked a stacked field including Nathan Adrian, Bruno Fratus, Cullen Jones, Cesar Cielo and Anthony Ervin. He was the only sprinter to break 22 seconds in 21.96. Cielo was second in 22.05. Schneider missed the world team but will compete at the Pan American Games.

“I realized it was an extremely stacked field when I looked at the psych sheet on Sunday,” Schneider said. “I wanted to come out there with a little bit of pop and race these guys. It is a rare opportunity to race a field like this. It just solidifies what I am doing in training is working and just keep going down that path.”

Women 100-meter backstroke: Thirty-five minutes after her last race, Hosszu won her second event in 59.47, her second fastest career time. Kathleen Baker, 18, of SwimMAC nearly reeled her in the last 20 meters to finish second in 59.86. Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks and Club Wolverine won the B final in 1:01.05.

“I think I started off pretty good but my second 50 was really good so I am pretty happy with that,” said Hosszu, who has been training in Fort Lauderdale. “I tried to be aggressive and not really worry about dying which is why I am happy with that second 50.”

Men 100-meter backstroke: Arkady Vyatchinin, swimming for his new country Serbia and New York Athletic Club, won in 53.69. He moved from third after the turn to out-touch clubmate David Plummer, 29, in 53.90. Olympian Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach never threatened in the race and finished fourth in 54.43.

“It is a relief I have a country to swim for now,” said the Olympian who defected from Russia. “I have more purpose in my training now and excited about the next two months. I am pretty satisfied with my training. I am not tapered or shaved and I am tired. I put this suit on and felt some speed tonight.”

Women 200-meter breaststroke: Micah Lawrence, 24, of SwimMAC won in 2:24.61, a two-second lead over Martha McCabe, 25, of Team Ontario. Melanie Margalis, 23, of St. Petersburg was third in 2:27.24.

“I just wanted to improve from my morning time, stick with my race strategy and see what I could do.” Lawrence said. “It’s really great to swim here in my community, they are my family.”

Early leader Emily Kopas, 18, of Club Wolverine and Swim Fort Lauderdale, was second in the B final in 2:31.37.

Men 200-meter breaststroke: Californian Josh Prenot turned it on in the final 70 meters to win in a lifetime-best by more than a second in 2:09.30. It was five seconds faster than his morning time.

Penn Charter 15-year-old Reece Whitley was fourth in a best time by 3 seconds in 2:12.92, which also broke the 15-16 national age group record. The previous record was 2:14.67 set in 2009. Whitley, an African-American at 6-foot-8 and 235 pounds, is a rising star in the sport. Top seed Thiago Pereira of Brazil scratched from the final after going 2:14.58 in prelims.

“I didn’t know I had this much speed for tonight,” Prenot said. “I’m pretty happy with a 2:09. It feels good. I can’t wait until the summer.”

Men 50-meter butterfly: Brazilian Cesar Cielo dominated the field to win in 23.26, just a half second off his lifetime best. He is ranked second in the world in the event.

“It’s so much different than the 50 freestyle,” Cielo said. “It’s much more about power, timing, the kick and the stroke. I was still hurting after the 50 free and had to take two breaths in the 50 fly. Let’s see what I can do this summer at worlds.”

Women 400-meter freestyle

Top seed Leah Smith of Cavalier Swimming had the upset of the night knocking off Denmark’s Lotte Friis in 4:07.45, within a second of her best time. Friis was second in 4:08.29. Hosszu won the B final by 2/100ths of a second in 4:12.15, just 2/100ths ahead of Shannon Vreeland.

“The last 100 hurt quite a bit, it wasn’t as easy as this morning,” Smith said. “I was trying to set a best time, but I am still happy with going only a second off. It was important for me great racing these awesome girls to get experience.”

Men 400-meter freestyle: Connor Jaeger knocked off Conor Dwyer to win in 3:46.30, ninth best in the world. Dwyer finished in 3:47.53. Zane Grothe won the B final in 3:53.48.

“That was a pretty serious race right there,” Jaeger said. “He was always charging the next 50. That was a real good race. I am happy we were able to do that. That’s a good time for me at mid-season. I’ve been riding on good energy with the Michigan guys and girls here and having a lot of fun.”

The Arena Pro Swim Series is the fifth of six stops of the 2014-15 series schedule. The series provides swimmers with the opportunity for competitive racing and twice the prize money as last season on the line.

Swimmers earn five points and $1,000 for a win, three and $600 for second and one and $200 for third place in the Olympic distance events only. Overall male and female winners of the series earn a $10,000 bonus.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals are 6 p.m. The meet is being live streamed at Universal Sports Network will televise the meet on Sunday at 6 p.m. with color analyst Rowdy Gaines.



200-meter butterfly: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 2:08.00, 2. Cammile Adams, SwimMAC 2:08.76, 3. Hali Flickinger, Athens Bulldogs 2:09.07; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 5. Becca Mann, North Baltimore 2:10.95, 11. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 2:13.80, 38. Casey Francis, Unattached 2:21.12.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Adrianna Vanderpool-Wallace, SwimMAC 24.35, 2. Natalie Coughlin, Cal Aquatics 25.03, 3. Chantalle Van Landeghem, Canada 25.05; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 23. Arlene Semeco, CSSC 26.41, 44. Clara Smiddy, Club Wolverine 26.80.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 59.47, 2. Kathleen Baker, SwimMAC 59.86, 3. Kirsty Coventry, SwimMAC 1:00.66; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 6. Carolina Colorado, SOFLO 1:01.63, 9. Clara Smiddy, Club Wolverine 1:01.05.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Micah Lawrence, SwimMAC 2:24.61, 2. Martha McCabe, Canada 2:26.69, 3. Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg 2:27.24; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 7. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 2:30.76, 10. Emily Kopas, Unattached Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:31.37.

50-meter butterfly: 1. Adrianna Vanderpool-Wallace, SwimMAC 25.93, 2. Claire Donahue, Unattached 26.31, 3. Kelsi Worrell, Louisville 26.71; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 14. Carolina Colorado, SOFLO 27.82, 52. Lisa Blackburn,SOFLO 30.07.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Leah Smith, Cavalier Swimming 4:07.45, 2. Lotte Friis, Denmark 4:08.29, 3. Cierra Runge, Unattached 4:10.82; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 4. Becca Mann, North Baltimore 4:11.04.

800-meter freestyle relay: 1. Canada 8:10.70, 2. SwimMAC 8:18.06, 2. Carmel Swim Club 8:31.12.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Chase Kalisz, Unattached North Baltimore 1:57.58, 2. Andrew Seliskar, Nation’s Capital 1:57.70, 3. Jack Conger, Unattached 1:58.23.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Josh Schneider, New York Athletic Club 21.96, 2. Cesar Cielo, Brazil 22.05, 3. Nathan Adrian, Cal Aquatics 22.19.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Arkady Vyatchanin, New York Athletic Club 53.69, 2. David Plummer, New York Athletic Club 53.90, 3. Junya Koga, Club Wolverine 54.42; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 52. Timothy Wynter, SOFLO 59.95.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Josh Prenot, Cal Aquatics 2:09.30, 2. Cody Miller, Badger Swim Club 2:11.63, 3. Nicolas Fink, Athens Bulldogs 2:11.75; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 9. Jorge Murillo Valdes, SOFLO 2:15.35, 26. Juan Sequera, MAC 2:22.29.

50-meter butterfly: 1. Cesar Cielo, Brazil 23.26, 2. Tim Phillips, SwimMAC 23.71, 3. Sean Fletcher, Mason Makos 23.97; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 64. Jorge Murillo Valdes, SOFLO 26.72.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Connor Jaeger, Club Wolverine 3:46.30, 2. Conor Dwyer, Trojan SC 3:47.53, 3. Marwan El Kamash, Unattached 3:50.34.

800-meter freestyle relay: 1. Canada 7:27.78, 2. SwimMAC 7:31.38, 3. Team Ontario 7:50.40.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Friis, Jaeger Win On Day One Of Charlotte Arena Pro Swim Series; SOFLO Swimmers Compete Friday

By Sharon Robb

May 14, 2015—The fifth stop of the Arena Pro Swim Series got under way on Thursday with a light schedule at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in downtown Charlotte, N.C.

Becca Mann, former Clearwater Aquatics Team (CAT) swimmer now with North Baltimore Aquatic Club, was second in the women’s 1500-meter freestyle in 16:05.42, the third fastest time in the world this year.

Mann, 17, nearly reeled in winner and top-seeded Lotte Friis, 26, of Denmark who finished in 16:00.82, the second fastest time in the world this year.

In the men’s 800-meter freestyle, top seed Connor Jaeger, 24, of Club Wolverine won in 8:00.23. He led from wire-to-wire. It was the third straight year he has won the event in Charlotte. Kevin Litherland was second in 8:04.8 and Ryan Feeley was third in 8:05.25.

South Florida Aquatic Club, the largest Florida Gold Coast contingent in the meet, begins competing on Friday with five swimmers.

Alia Atkinson, 26, a three-time Jamaican Olympian and world record holder, looking to fine tune for the July 14-18 Pan American Games and July 24-Aug. 9 World Championships, will open the meet in the 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter backstroke and 100-meter butterfly, the first three of six events she is entered in.

Atkinson will be joined by teammates Lisa Blackburn of Bermuda, Carolina Colorado and Jorge Murillo Valdes, both of Colombia, and Timothy Wynter of Jamaica.

Blackburn and Murillo Valdes will swim the 100-meter breaststroke on Friday. Colorado and Wynter have the 50 backstroke and 100 butterfly.

Earlier in the day, Michael Phelps again confirmed during a press conference that he will relocate to Tempe, Ariz. to continue his training with longtime coach Bob Bowman, recently hired as men’s and women’s head coach at Arizona State.

“It’s going to be different,” Phelps said. “I get my Vitamin D year-round which is nice. I get to be tan all year, which is also nice. I’m somebody who loves changes. If we do the same thing in training month after month, I get sick of it.”

Phelps will move with his fiancé Nicole Johnson.

“It’s 12 months of being on the golf course,” Phelps said. “I’m not nervous about it. I think I’m more excited about it. It’s sort of a new beginning.”

Phelps, entered in six events, will start competing on Friday. Rival Ryan Lochte could face Phelps in as many as five events during the four-day meet.

“I would like to challenge myself to see how much I can put on the line, how much I can force my body to hurt and see what happens,” Phelps said. “What do I have to lose here? Nothing.”

Gator Swim Club’s Elizaberth Beisel, a Florida alum, leads the Arena women’s series standings with 38.5 points. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, Katie Ledecky and Caitlin Leverenz are tied for second with 35 points.

Conor Dwyer leads the men’s series standings with 53 points followed by Tyler Clary with 37 and Nathan Adrian and Michael McBroom tied with 21 points.

The Arena Pro Swim Series is the fifth of six stops of the 2014-15 series schedule. The series provides swimmers with the opportunity for competitive racing and twice the prize money as last season on the line.

Swimmers earn five points and $1,000 for a win, three and $600 for second and one and $200 for third place in the Olympic distance events only. Overall male and female winners of the series earn a $10,000 bonus.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals are 6 p.m. The meet is being live streamed at Universal Sports Network will televise the meet on Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. with color analyst Rowdy Gaines.

Sharon Robb can be reached at