SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins Gold On Day Two Of FINA/Airweave World Cup Series In Doha


By Sharon Robb

November 3, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson bounced back after a slow start in Tokyo to win a gold medal Tuesday on the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series tour.

Atkinson, 26, a three-time Jamaican Olympian, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.55 and pocketed $1,500 in prize money at the Hamad Aquatic Center in Doha, Qatar. It was the sixth fastest time of the year and her 32nd World Cup gold medal.

Atkinson also won silver in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:07.83 on opening day.

In other championship finals:

Aussie Melanie Wright won the 100-meter freestyle in 53.87. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu was second in 54.40 and American Felicia Lee was third in 55.22, her second fastest time this year.

Brit James Guy won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:47.06.

South African Cameron Van der Burgh won the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.68.

Chad Le Clos of South Africa won the 100-meter butterfly in 51.44, the only swimmer to turn in a sub-52. American Tom Shields was second in 52.10.

Aussie Emily Seebohm won the 100-meter backstroke in 58.34, second fastest time of the year. Hosszu was second in 59.35.

American David Plummer and Aussie Mitch Larkin tied for first in the 50-meter backstroke in 24.70.

Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.47. American Cassidy Bayer was third in 2:09.98.

Japan’s Keita Sunama won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:00.48.

New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:06.48, her second distance medal of the meet.

Brazilian Bruno Fratus, making his World Cup meet debut, won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.28. American Anthon Ervin was second in 22.47.

Japan went one-two in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke with Rie Kaneto in 2:23.45 and Runa Imai in 2:24.24.

Aussie Mitch Larkin won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:53.80, his third fastest time of the year.

Switzerland’s Alexandra Sasha Touretski won gold in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.81.

In an exciting 1500-meter freestyle race, the top two finishers touched less than a second apart. Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine won in 15:07.06 and Damien Joly of France was second in 15:07.97.

Hosszu won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:36.39.

This is the third and final cluster that winds up in Dubai on Friday and Saturday. Prelims are 3 a.m. EST and finals 11 a.m. EST. The World Cup events are being live-streamed for free on FINATV.

The full eight-leg World Cup is being held in long course leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The top three finishers in each event earn $1,500, $1,000 and $500. There is also a $10,000 payout for world records and cluster bonuses awarded from $50,000 to $5,000 among the top six.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Atkinson Takes Gold, Bronze On Final Day Of FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup In Singapore


By Sharon Robb

October 4, 2015—The skies cleared and haze burned off just in time for South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson to pick up another gold medal on the final day of the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Sunday in Singapore.

After races were cancelled on Saturday because of dangerous PSI levels, the three-time Jamaican Olympian won the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.74. She also tied for third in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.78. She just missed a medal in the 200-meter breaststroke placing fourth in 2:35.76.

SOFLO teammate and two-time Colombian Olympian Carolina Colorado was fifth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:02.51 and tenth in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.96.

It was the fifth stop of the eight-leg World Cup Series and final stop of Cluster 2 which also featured stops in Hong Kong and Beijing. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and South African Cameron Van der Burgh were the winners of Cluster 2 and won an extra $50,000 in prize money.

In other Sunday races:

Aussie reigning world champion Emily Seebohm won the 100-meter backstroke in her eighth sub-59 time this year, winning in 58.72. Seebohm is one shy of 20 career sub-59s. Hosszu was second in 1:00.07 and four-time U.S. Olympic champion Missy Franklin was third in 1:00.73.

Hosszu won medals in all five of her races including gold medals in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:37.30 and 400-meter freestyle in 4:12.00.

In the battle of the sisters, Cate Campbell won the 100-meter freestyle in 53.09 ahead of Bronte Campbell in 53.58. Hosszu was third in 54.23.

South African Olympic gold medalist Cameron van der Burgh won the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.38 ahead of Kevin Cordes in 1:00.81. Cordes is currently training in Singapore.

Australia’s Ashley Delaney won the men’s 50-meter backstroke in 25.30 and was second in the 200-meter backstroke in 1:58.66.

Japan’s Yuki Shirai won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:57.96.

American Micah Lawrence won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.89.

Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.47.

Aussie Daniel Smith won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:48.15.

Masato Sakai of Japan won the men’s 100-meter butterfly in 53.53.

Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark won the 50-meter butterfly in 25.84.

Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.65.

Russian Semen Makovich won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:01.76

Atkinson and Colorado will remain in Singapore to participate in an Oct. 5-10 indoor training camp with Swimming Singapore national team high performance coach and former Bolles coach Sergio Lopez.

The World Cup resumes with Cluster 3 in Tokyo on Oct. 28-29 followed by Doha and Dubai in November.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

Air Quality In Singapore Alters FINA/Airweave World Cup Schedule


By Sharon Robb

October 2, 2015—The organizing committee of the final leg of the second cluster of the FINA/Airweave World Cup in Singapore have been forced to make adjustments because of serious air pollution.

The meet is being held outdoors at the OCBC Aquatic Center, the country’s top swim center.

The pollutant standards index has registered alarming levels which has forced officials to eliminate the distance events and adjust the schedule for both swimmers and spectators.

The women’s 800-meter freestyle and men’s 1500-meter freestyle were cancelled to protect the health of the athletes, according to FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu.

“Our No. 1 priority is the health of the athletes,” Marculescu said during a pre-meet press conference.

Swimmers including South Florida Aquatic Club athletes Alia Atkinson and Carolina Colorado will compete in hazy conditions when the opening day events get underway on Saturday.

At the team leaders meeting, officials decided the events with 25 or more swimmers will run with heats in the morning, set for an hour later than previously scheduled, and finals at night. The events with less than 25 swimmers will be contested as timed finals. The 10 fastest swimmers will swim at night with the remainder in morning heats.

Meet officials said they will continue to monitor the PSI and update swimmers and coaches on an hourly basis should the competition be suspended or cancelled.

Atkinson said it is just another factor to deal with and said everyone is facing the same problem.

“It’s another factor that’s in the sport,” Atkinson said. “You have many things that will happen. Your suit may tear, your cap might tear. There’s many different circumstances outside of your control that will happen in a race.”

When the cluster concludes on Sunday, Atkinson, Colorado and SOFLO Coach Chris Anderson will remain to participate in an Oct. 5-10 indoor training camp with Swimming Singapore national team high performance coach and former Bolles coach Sergio Lopez.

The full eight-leg World Cup is being held in long course leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics to attract a larger entry of star swimmers but failed to attract the large star-studded field they hoped for. Katinka Hosszu, Missy Franklin and Cameron van der Burgh are the top attractions.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Another Gold At FINA/Airweave World Cup In Beijing


By Sharon Robb

September 30, 2015—Alia Atkinson won her sixth World Cup gold medal this year on Wednesday in the FINA/Airweave World Cup at the Beijing National Aquatics Center.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer won the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.65 against a weak field. Atkinson has won 12 gold medals including 10 in her last 11 swims.

Atkinson was also fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:32.96 after qualifying sixth in 2:37.78. She was also eighth in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.59.

SOFLO teammate and two-time Colombian Olympian Carolina Colorado was sixth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:02.50 after earning the fourth seed in 1:02.05. She was also 12th in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.99.

Atkinson and Colorado are training through the meet.

In other Wednesday races:

Aussie Cate Campbell won the 100-meter freestyle in 52.96 just .02 ahead of her sister Bronte Campbell. The pair were also one-two in the 50 freestyle.

Aussie Dan Smith won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.70.

South African Cameron van der Burgh won the 100-meter breaststroke, his eight World Cup medal this year, in 59.76.

Japan’s Masato Sakai won the 100-meter butterfly in 53.52.

Aussie Emily Seebohm won the 100-meter backstroke in 58.59 finished ahead of Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in 1:00.26.

China’s Xu Jiayu won the 50-meter backstroke in 24.65.

Hungarian Zsuzsanna Jakabos won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:09.90.

Hungarian teammate David Verraszto won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:01.72 to sweep the IM events.

China’s Guo Junjun and Shao Yiwen went one-two in the women’s 400-meter freestyle in 4:08.46 and 4:10.19. Hosszu took the bronze in 4:10.22.

Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura won the men’s 50-meter freestyle in 22.27.

China’s Zhang Xinyu won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:27.17.

Yuki Shirai of Japan won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:57.98.

Denmark’s Jeanette Ottesen won the 50-meter butterfly in 25.81.

Japan’s Masato Sakai led from start to finish with no challengers to win the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:29.46.

Hosszu finally won a gold medal in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:39.40. It was her 19th 400 IM World Cup title.

The cluster winds up on Saturday and Sunday in Singapore where Atkinson, Colorado and SOFLO Coach Chris Anderson will remain to participate in an Oct. 5-10 training camp with Swimming Singapore national team high performance coach and former Bolles coach Sergio Lopez.

The full eight-leg World Cup is being held in long course leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics to attract a larger entry of star swimmers. Several world-class swimmers opted not to compete and turnout of swimmers has been disappointing.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Gold On Day One Of FINA/Airweave World Cup Opener In Hong Kong


By Sharon Robb

September 25, 2015—Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won a gold medal on opening day of the FINA/Airweave World Cup in Hong Kong.

Atkinson, 26, won the 100-meter breaststroke without having to push the pace at the Victoria Park Swimming Pool.

Atkinson won in 1:07.91 against a slow, lackluster field and pocketed $1,500. Russia’s Vitalina Simonova took silver in 1:09.63 and China’s Lui Xiaoyu grabbed the bronze in 1:09.87. Atkinson was the only star breaststroker in the women’s field.

Atkinson is ranked fourth in the world in her signature event in 1:06.21. Atkinson is training through the meet. With her two wins during the first cluster, Atkinson has won $4,500.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, three-time defending World Cup champion, stole the spotlight on Day One. The Iron Lady competed in six events, winning five golds and one bronze medal.

In Friday’s championship finals:

Katsumi Nakamura of Japan won the 100-meter freestyle in 49.48 just ahead of Aussie Kenneth To in 49.52. To is coming off back surgery. The field was missing several top swimmers including Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Mehdy Metella of France.

Hosszu won her first gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:55.81, her fastest time of the year. Missy Franklin took the silver in 1:58.38.

South African Cameron Van der Burgh won the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.23. It was his 35th

gold medal at a World Cup meet.

Hosszu won her second event in the 100-meter butterfly in 59.31 just 30 minutes after her first race.

Japan’s Yuki Shirai won the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 54.39.

Aussie world champion Emily Seebohm won the 50-meter backstroke in 27.90, the only swimmer under 28 seconds. Hosszu took a bronze in 28.49 and Franklin was fifth in 28.87.

Japan’s Masato Sakai won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:56.25.

Hosszu won the third gold medal of the night and 23rd World Cup gold in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:11.78. It was also her 17th consecutive World Cup win in the event.

Aussie Dan Smith won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:52.68.

In the battle of the Campbell sisters, Aussie Cate Campbell won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.60 just touching out sister Bronte in 24.94.

Akihiro Yamaguchi of Japan won the 200-meter breaststroke in the most exciting race of the night. Yamaguchi won in 2:13.13 just 1/100th of a second ahead of countryman Ippei Watanabe.

Hosszu won her fourth gold medal against a stacked field in 2:08.61 in the 200-meter backstroke. Seebohm took silver in 2:09.77 and Franklin settled for the bronze in 2:11.23. Franklin has now lost more 200 backstroke races this year than in all the previous years of her career combined.

Japan took another gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly with Geoff Cheah, coming off a long layoff, took gold in 24.23.

Hosszu won her fifth and final gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:42.88.

Hungarian David Verraszto won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:18.06.

The second cluster of the 2015 FINA/Airweave World Cup is Sept. 25-26 in Hong Kong, Sept. 29-30 in Beijing and Oct. 3-4 in Singapore where Atkinson, Colorado.

The full eight-leg World Cup is being held in long course leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics to attract a larger entry of star swimmers but officials and sponsors said the plan backfired since several world-class swimmers opted not to compete.

The second day of the Hong Kong leg is Saturday with prelims at 9:30 p.m. and finals at 6 a.m. EST. The action is being live-streamed for free on FINAtv.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

South Florida Aquatic Club Swimmers Kick Off Season, Focus Shifts To Olympic Countdown


By Sharon Robb

August 24, 2015—After a summer full of travel and competing in U.S. and international meets, South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers are ready for the next chapter.

On Monday, swimmers of all levels from the SOPRO group of post-grads and Olympians to age group swimmers returned to the friendly confines of Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines to resume training.

Several U.S. swimmers are training for the U.S. Olympic Trials. International swimmers are trying to make their countries’ Olympic qualifying standards. Others are training for junior and senior nationals, the high school season and age group meets.

SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson and SOFLO Performance Consultant Bruce Marchionda welcomed swimmers back on Monday before hitting the pool for workout.

SOPRO is comprised of six pro swimmers including three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, a world short course record holder and gold medalist; U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue; Colombian two-time Olympian and national record holder Carolina Colorado; Colombian national record holder Jorge Murillo Valdes; Bermuda national champion Lisa Blackburn and Wright State alum and school record holder Kile Aukerman.

“It was wonderful getting Alia and Claire in a training environment,” Anderson said. “It really feels like we have started training in a pre-season mode.

“There’s a vibe that they accomplished something great over the summer and now they are focused on next summer and focusing on the trials and Olympics.”

The SOPRO post-grad group started training Monday morning and national group in the afternoon.

“I think everybody is really excited about being home,” Anderson said. “There is a sense of relief to start training and start getting better again.”

SOPRO swimmers competed in the Pan American Games, FINA World Championships and first two legs of the FINA World Cup. For the various age group levels there was also Senior Championships, Junior Olympics, Junior Nationals, Futures, Southern Zone Seniors and Age Group meets.

“These past few months have been a learning experience for everyone,” Anderson said. “Everyone is getting more comfortable in executing their plans for the various competitions from overseas to local meets.

“At least we all have a clear picture of what has to be done…whether it’s making the U.S. Olympic trials, an Olympic standard for a country or tweaking something to get to that next step. Everyone has a clear picture. We have never done that before. Now we know what we have to do to actually succeed.”

With a success-breeds-success attitude, Anderson would like the SOPRO group to increase to 15 swimmers over the next few weeks. The pro swimmers are training for the second cluster of the FINA World Cup in Asia while the age group team, with nearly 200 swimmers, is training for the Sept. 25-27 IMX Ready and Distance Challenge Open Invitational.

“We want to create an atmosphere of high quality training,” Anderson said. “We have some of the finest athletes in the world training in our pool and that creates a culture of success. This is the most excited I’ve been since I have been here.”

The SOFLO coaching staff has already met six times and plan to raise the bar this season with their individual groups.

“We are doing a good job and now we need our staff to take more of a role and think above and beyond the kids they have in their groups,” Anderson said.

Anderson is coaching the pros and running the senior kids program. Marchionda, who started his new SOFLO job earlier this month, is coaching the gold and national group and helping with the pro group.

“It seems to be working well,” Anderson said.

Pembroke Pines Charter School’s high school team with head coach Rose Lockie, SOFLO’s head age group coach, is also training at Academic Village Pool.

In addition to pool training, there is dryland featuring gym work, yoga and cardio.

Anderson and Marchionda plan to talk with potential new SOPRO and post-grad swimmers over the next three weeks hoping to finalize the roster by the end of the month for the eight-month journey to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

Atkinson Wins Second Gold On Final Day Of FINA/Airweave World Cup Series In Chartres, France


By Sharon Robb

August 16, 2015—Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won her second gold medal Sunday at the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series second stop at the L’Odyssee Complex in Chartres, France.

Atkinson, 26, making her FINA World Cup Series debut, won the 50-meter breaststroke just out-touching American Katie Meili by .10 in 30.85, well off her third-ranked season best of 30.11 at world championships.

It was Atkinson’s 11th win in the 50-meter breaststroke on the FINA World Cup circuit. Atkinson last loss in the event was in 2014 to Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte in Tokyo.

Atkinson was also seventh in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.01. SOFLO teammate Claire Donahue was fourth in 26.74 and finished with $1,750 from her Moscow showing. Atkinson pocketed $3,000 for her two wins in Chartres. Atkinson did not compete in Moscow.

On Saturday, the three-time Jamaican Olympian won the 100-meter breaststroke, her signature event, in 1:07.03, a second off her fourth-ranked season-best of 1:06.21 at world championships.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu leads the women’s prize money list with $65,500. Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa leads the men’s prize money list with $56,000.

The overall points leaders: (MEN) Cameron van der Burgh, 96; Chad Le Clos, 81; Nic Fink, 54; (WOMEN) 1. Katinka Hosszu, 162; 2. Emily Seebohm, 111; 3. Katie Meili and Vitalina Simonova, 42.

Swimmers competed for $1,500 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third in addition to a $10,000 bonus check for a world record performance. A prize purse of $92,000 is offered at each FINA stop.

The FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup comprises eight legs distributed over three clusters with eight different events held separately in Moscow, Paris-Chartres, Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo, Doha and Dubai.

SUNDAY RESULTS

WOMEN

100-meter freestyle: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 54.30, 2. Missy Franklin, USA 54.34, 3. Charlotte Bonnet, France 54.49.

50-meter breaststroke: 1. Alia Atkinson, South Florida Aquatic Club/Jamaica 30.85, 2. Katie Meili, USA 30.95, 3. Breeja Larson, ISA 31.06; FLORIDA: 5. Melanie Margalis, USA/St. Petersburg 31.48.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Emily Seebohm, Australia 58.91, 2. KAtinka Hosszu, Hungary 1:00.05, 3. Missy Franklin, USA 1:00.47; FLORIDA: 7. Carolina Colorado, Colombia/SOFLO 1:02.57.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Franziska Hentke, Germany 2:06.58, 2. Cammile Adams, USA 2:06.73, 3. Zsuzsanna Jakabos, Hungary 2:07.11.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Lindsay Vrooman, USA 4:07.16, 2. Lauren Boyle, New Zealand 4:07.80, 3. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 4:09.31.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Vitilina, Ussia 2:25.26, 2. Breeja Larson, USA 2:26.36, 3. Lisa Zaiser, Austria 2:30.16.

50-meter butterfly: 1. Beryl Gastaldello, France 26.35, 2. Marie Wattel, France 26.46, 3. Sasha Touretski, Switzerland 26.60; FLORIDA: 4. Claire Donahue, USA/SOFLO 26.74, 7. Alia Atkinson, Jamaica/SOFLO 27.01.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary 4:35.80, 2. Zsuzsanna, Hungary 4:37.63, 3. Vien Nguyen, Vietnam/St. Augustine 4:42.53.

MEN

200-meter freestyle: 1. Daniel Smith, Australia 1:46.50, 2. Devon Brown, South Africa 1:47.55, 3. Jeremy Stravius, France 1:48.11.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Cameron Van Der Burgh, South Africa 58.97, 2. Nic Fink, USA 1:00.00, 3. Cody Miller, USA 1:00.21.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Chad Le Clos, South Africa 51.04, 2. Tom Shields, USA 51.27, 3. Tim Phillips, USA 52.10.

50-meter backstroke: 1. Camille Lacourt, France 24.75, 2. Pavel Sankovich, Belarus/FSU 25.17; 3. Zheng Wen Quah, Singapore 25.22.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Hiromasa Fujimori, Japan 1:59.39, 2. Ganesh Pedurand, France 2:01.73, 3. David Verraszto, Hungary 2:02.92.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Josh Schneider, USA 22.11, 2. Clement Mignon, France 22.40, 3. Tommaso D’Orsogna, Australia 22.44.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Chad Le Closs, South Africa 1:57.81, 2. Keita Sunama, Japan 1:58.57, 3. Ashley Delaney, Australia 1:59.24.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 15:04.98, 2. Jan Micka, Czechoslavakia 15:07.75, 3. Damien Joly, France 15:08.07.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com