Winkler Wins Second Relay Gold, Ties For Silver Sprint Medal; Podkoscielny Wins Second “B” Final; Team USA Sweeps Team Titles


By Sharon Robb
HONOLULU, Hawaii, August 28, 2022—Kaii Winkler of Team USA left a lasting impression at the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships at Mark Takai Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center.

On the fourth and final day on Saturday, Winkler, 16, of Eagle Aquatics, won his second gold relay medal of the meet on the 4×100-meter medley relay. Winkler anchored the winning relay that finished in a Junior Pan Pac record 3:36.65 with teammates Daniel Diehl, Zhier Fan and Thomas Heilman just edging the Aussies who finished in 3:36.96. His 100 freestyle split was 49.18. He held off Aussie anchor Flynn Southam who turned in a 47.87 final split.

On Friday, Winkler swam anchor leg on the U.S. boys’ winning 4×100-meter freestyle relay that won in world junior record of 3:15.79. Winkler’s split was 48.95, second fastest on the relay. It was the only world junior record of the meet. Winkler also won the “B” final in the 100-meter butterfly in a best time 53.94.

Also on Saturday, Winkler tied U.S. teammate Diggory Dillingham in the 50-meter freestyle in 22.50 to win his first individual silver medal in a best time. Aussie Flynn Southam won in 22.36. Winkler swam back-to-back best times, 22.74 in prelims, bettering his previous time of 23.03, dropping 0.53 and dipping below 23 seconds for the first time.

U.S. teammate Julia Podkoscielny, 17, of Pine Crest Swimming, won her second “B” final of the meet in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:15.79, just off her best time of 2:15.08. She went 2:16.54 in prelims and came back to win the “B” final and finish ninth overall. She also won the 400 IM “B” final in 4:47.34.

Josh Zuchowski of FAST, two-time silver medalist, was second in the “B” final and tenth overall in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:02.88 after going 2:03.09 in prelims off his best time of 2:01.92. The Stanford-bound Zuchowski, 18, swept the 100 and 200 backstrokes for silver.

The talented trio represented the U.S. internationally for the first time and were among emerging stars from four Pan Pac charter nations (U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia) and other non-European teams New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Singapore.

SATURDAY RESULTS
GIRLS: 1. USA 235, 2. Japan 171, 3. Australia 148, 4. Canada 112, 5. New Zealand 33, 6. Singapore 23, 7. Fiji 8.
BOYS: 1. USA 224, 2. Australia 171, 3. Japan 162.5, 4. Canada 102.5, 5. Singapore 39, 6. New Zealand 17, 7. Fiji 4.

GIRLS
1500-meter freestyle: 1. Michael Mattes, US 16:24.02, 2. Ruka Takezawa, JPN 16:25.19, 3. Tiana Kritzinger, AUS 16:26.63.
200-meter individual medley: 1. Mio Narita, JPN 2:11.22, 2. Ashley McMillan, CAN 2:13.31, 3. Gracie Weyant, US 2:14.36, 9. Julia Podkoscielny, US 2:15.79.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Milla Jansen, AUS 25.19, 2. Anna Moesh, USA 25.32, 3. Erin Gemmell, USA 25.46.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Kotomi Kato, JPN 2:26.55, 2. Yuri Matsumoto, JPN 2:27.46, 3. Piper Enge, USA 2:27.93, 4. Gracie Weyant, USA 2:32.21.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. USA 4:02.14 (Maggie Wanezek, Piper Enge, Alex Shackell, Erin Gemmell), 2. Japan 4:04.01, 3. Australia 4:05.84.

BOYS
800-meter freestyle: 1. Joshua Staples, AUS 7:56.29, 2. Hiroyoshi Miyaki, JPN 7:57.64, 3. Alec Enyeart, US 8:02.92.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Maximus Williamson, USA 1:59.01, 2. Tomoyuki Matsushita, JPN 2:00.64, 3. William Petric, AUS 2:00.82, 10. Josh Zuchowski, USA 2:02.88.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Flynn Southam, AUS 22.36, 2. tie, Diggory Dillingham, USA and Kaii Winkler, USA 22.50.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Asahi Kawashima, JPN 2:11.81, 2. Yamato Okadome, JPN 2:12.19, 3. Nicholas Mahabir, SGP 2:12.50.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. USA 3:36.65 (Daniel Diehl, Zhier Fan, Thomas Heilman, Kaii Winkler), 2. Australia 3:36.96, 3. Japan 3:40.35

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Aussies Win Big; Carter Shut Out Of Medals At XXII Commonwealth Games


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, August 3, 2022—Australia, Canada, England and Scotland took turns winning gold medals on the sixth and final night of the XXII Commonwealth Games Wednesday at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

In the much-anticipated women’s 400-meter freestyle, Aussie world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Ariarne Titmus outdueled Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh to win in a Games record 3:58.06, her third gold medal of the Games. McIntosh, who scratched from the 200 butterfly for a rest day, was second in a national record 3:59.32. Aussie Kiah Melverton was third in 4:03.12.

Scotland’s Duncan Scott won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:56.88 ahead of Tom Dean of England in 1:57.01 and New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt in 1:57.59. It was Scott’s second gold medal of the Games.

Canadian Kylie Masse won the 50-meter backstroke in a Games record 27.31. Aussie Mollie O’Callaghan was second in 27.47 followed by Aussie teammate Kaylee McKeown in 27.58.

Aussie teenager Sam Short, 18, won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:48.54, shaving nine seconds off his career-best. Northern Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen was second in 14:51.79 and England’s Luke Turley was third in 15:12.78.

England broke the Aussies’ relay streak, winning the final men’s relay, the 4×100-meter medley relay in 3:31.80 with Paul Brodie Williams, James Wilby, James Guy and Tom Dean. The Aussies were second in 3:31.88 and Scotland third in 3:35.11.

The Aussie women had no trouble winning the 4×100-meter medley relay in 3:54.44 followed by Canada in 3:56.59 and England in 3:59.44. It was the Aussies ninth consecutive gold in the relay. Relay members were Kaylee McKeown, Chelsea Hodges, Emma McKeon and Mollie O’Callaghan.

The Aussies won gold in 12 out of 19 events including a sweep of all five freestyle events where only one podium finisher out of 12 was a non-Australian and sweep of all three women’s relays.

Two-time Olympian Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago lost his final shot at a medal in the 50-meter freestyle. For the second time in a Games event Carter just missed a medal placing fourth in 22.10. Brit Ben Proud won his third Commonwealth gold in the event in 21.36.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Adam Peaty Bounces Back With Gold; Dylan Carter Makes Finals At XXII Commonwealth Games


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, August 2, 2022—In front of his hometown crowd, redemption was sweet for world record holder Adam Peaty at the XXII Commonwealth Games Tuesday at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

After finishing an unexpected fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke, the 27-year-old Brit came back to win his first Commonwealth career gold medal in the 50-meter breaststroke in a season-best 26.76 and fifth Commonwealth gold of his career. He won silver in the event in 2014 and 2018.

The media was harsh after Peaty suffered his first defeat in his specialty event in his eight-year career. Peaty took time off after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. suffered a broken foot in the gym in May, did not compete at worlds in June and is still not 100 percent. His cast was removed only a month ago.

“I just reverted to who I am,” Peaty said. “Mel [Marshall, his coach] said to me ‘today you wake up and play,’ but I said, ‘No, today I fight.’ And I gave literally absolutely everything in my race. I don’t care about the time. I don’t care about the result. I just care about enjoying that crowd and winning.

“It’s been a tough Games, a very hard Games. I came from literally the lowest point two days ago, and I just said ‘you know what, I am a fighter, I am not going to let just anyone take this and walk it.’ I had to work hard for it. I struggled, to be honest, really, really struggled.”

In other finals:
South African Lara van Niekerk knocked off countrywoman and defending champion Tatjana Schoenmaker in the 100-meter breaststroke to win in 1:05.47. Schoenmaker took silver in 1:06.68 and Aussie Chelsea Hodges won bronze in 1:07.05.

Brit Brodie Williams won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:56.40, just 1/100ths ahead of Aussie Bradley Woodward in 1:56.41 and South African Pieter Coetze in 1:56.77.

Aussie teenager Elizabeth Dekkers, 18, won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:07.26 followed by Brit Laura Stephens in 2:07.90 and Aussie Brianna Throssell in 2:08.32.

Aussie reigning champion Mollie O’Callaghan came from behind against an impressive field to win in 52.63 followed by Shayna Jack of Australia in 52.88 and Aussie Emma McKeon in 52.94.

Canadian Josh Liendo won the 100-meter butterfly in 51.24. James Guy of England and Matt Temple of Australia tied for second in 51.40. South African Chad le Clos was fourth in 51.61.

Aussie defending champion Ariarne Titmus broke her own Games record in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:13.59. It was an Aussie sweep with Kiah Melverton in 8:16.79 and Lani Pallister in 8:19.16

The Aussies continued to dominate the relays winning the mixed 4×100-meter medley in 3:41.30 followed by Canada (3:43.98) and England (3:44.03). The winning foursome was Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Matt Temple and Emma McKeon.

Two-time Olympian Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago has another shot at a medal on Wednesday, the final day of the Games. The Plantation American Heritage alum was the fifth fastest qualifier after the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle in 22.35. Two-time defending champion Ben Proud of England was top qualifier in 21.63.

The meet concludes Wednesday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Aussies Continue To Dominate XXII Commonwealth Games; Dylan Carter Competes Tuesday


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, August 1, 2022—After four days of competition, Australia owns the XXII Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

Kyle Chalmers won the Aussies’ first gold medal to open Monday night action in the 100-meter freestyle in 47.51. Brit Tom Dean took silver in 47.89 and Scotland’s Duncan Scott took bronze in 48.27. It was Scott’s 10th career medal, making him the most decorated Games athlete for Scotland. Chalmers had already broken the Games record in semis in 47.36.

Aussie teammate and reigning Olympic and world champion Kaylee McKeown won the 200-meter backstroke in a Games record in 2:05.60 followed by Canadian Kylie Masse in 2:07.81 and Scot Katie Shanahan in 2:09.22.

Aussie Emma McKeon won the 50-meter butterfly in 25.90. South African Erin Gallagher and Aussie Holly Barratt tied for second in 26.05. It was McKeon’s 12th Commonwealth gold medal.

The Aussies ended the evening with a Games record 7:04.96 to win the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay with Elijah Winnington, Flynn Southam, Zac Incerti and Mack Horton. It was the Aussies’ 13th win in 14 years of the Commonwealth Games. England took silver in 7:07.50 and Scotland took bronze in 7:09.33.

Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh, 15, won her second gold medal of her debut Games after winning the 200-meter individual medley in a best time and world junior record 2:08.70, just ahead of Aussie Kaylee McKeown by 0.82 seconds. Brit Abbie Wood was third in 2:10.68. Earlier, McIntosh won the 400 IM in a Games record.

New Zealand’s Andrew Jeffcoat won the 50-meter backstroke in 24.65 followed by South African Pieter Coetze in 24.77 and Canadian Javier Acevedo in 24.97.

Two-time Olympian and Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter, 25, of Trinidad and Tobago will compete in the 50-meter freestyle heats on Tuesday.

The meet continues Tuesday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.

SPEEDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

IRVINE, Calif.—U.S. junior national team member and Stanford-bound Josh Zuchowski of FAST was fifth fastest qualifier in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:00.71 Monday at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center. Zuchowski is coming off senior nationals. He is prepping for Junior Pan Pacs later this month in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Aussies Break World Record; McKeon Makes History; Peaty Upset In Breaststroke At XXII Commonwealth Games


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, July 31, 2022—Australia crushed the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay world record Sunday at the XXII Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

The foursome of Madi Wilson (1:56.27), Kiah Melverton (1:55.40), Mollie O’Callaghan (1:54.80) and Ariarne Titmus (1:52.82) shattered China’s 2021 world record time of 7:40.33 (set at the Olympic Games) in 7:39.29. Canada took the silver in 7:51.98 and England won bronze in 7:57.11.

Titmus’ anchor leg was the fastest 200 freestyle split in history.

Aussie Olympic champion Emma McKeon made history with a record-breaking 11th Commonwealth Games gold medal by winning the 50-meter freestyle in 23.99, second fastest time in the world this year. Aussies swept the top three spots with Meg Harris (24.32) and Shayna Jack (24.36).

Dylan Carter, 25, of Trinidad and Tobago failed to qualify for Monday’s final in the 50-meter backstroke. He was fourth in his heat in 25.81 failing to advance into the semifinals. He will compete in the 50-meter freestyle heats on Tuesday.

In Sunday finals:
James Wilby of England pulled off the shocker winning the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.25 followed by Aussies Zac Stubblety-Cook (59.52) and Sam Williamson (59.82). World record holder, Olympic champion and pre-meet favorite Adam Peaty lost a 100 breaststroke race for the first time at a major international meet since 2013 and was shut out of a medal. He led at 50 meters but died on the back half to finish fourth in 59.86.

In an exciting men’s race, New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.60 just ahead of South African reigning champion Chad le Clos, 30, in 1:55.89. Brit James Guy was third in 1:56.77.

World record holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:21.96. Aussie Jenna Strauch was second in 2:23.65 and South African teammate Kaylene Corbett was third in 2:23.67.

World record holder Kaylee McKeown of Australia won the 100-meter backstroke in 58.60 ahead of Canadian Kylie Masse (58.73) and Wales’ Medi Harris (59.62).

The meet continues Monday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Dylan Carter Misses Medal By 1/100th On Day Two Of Commonwealth Games


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England—Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, looking for his first medal of the XXII Commonwealth Games, just missed a bronze by 1/100th of a second Saturday at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

The two-time Olympian and Plantation American Heritage alum finished fourth in the 50-meter butterfly in 23.28 just behind bronze medalist Cameron Gray of New Zeland in 23.27. Brit Benjamin Proud won in a Games record 22.81, breaking his own record of 22.93 set eight years ago.

Carter was top local finisher qualifying for the final as third fastest in the semifinals in 23.41 and went 23.59 in his opening heat.

In other finals:
Teenager Lara van Niekerk, 19, of South Africa won the 50-meter breaststroke in a Games record 29.73, breaking her own record from prelims. She was the only swimmer in the field under 30 seconds.

Scotland’s Duncan Scott came from behind on the back half to win the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.02, his second career gold medal. Tom Dean of England was second in 1:45.41 and Aussie Elijah Winnington was third in 1:45.62.

Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand won the 400-meter individual medley in a Games record 4:08.70. Aussie Brendon Smith was second in 4:10.15 and Duncan Scott of Scotland took bronze in 4:11.27.

Canadian Maggie MacNeil won the 100-meter butterfly in a Games record 56.36. Aussie Emma McKeon was second just 2/100ths behind her in 56.38. Aussie Brianna Throssell was third in 57.50.

South African teenager Pieter Coetze, 18, won the 100-meter backstroke in 53.78. Brit Brodie Paul Williams was second in 53.91 and Aussie Bradley Woodward was third in 54.06.

The Aussies swept the women’s and men’s 4×100 freestyle relays with the women winning in 3:30.64 ahead of England in 3:36.62 and men in 3:11.12, just ahead of England in 3:11.73.

Other Florida Gold Coast/South Florida swimmers results:
Kito Campbell, Jamaica/Azura, 100 breaststroke, 2. 1:05.04, heat 2.

The meet continues Sunday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Aussies Dominate; Dylan Carter Qualifies For Sprint Butterfly Final On Day One Of Commonwealth Games


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England—Reigning world champion Elijah Winnington led an Australian sweep in the 400 freestyle on opening day of the Commonwealth Games Friday at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

Winnington, 22, led from start to finish to win the 400-meter distance event in 3:43.06, slower than his world championship time and lifetime-best of 3:41.22. Aussie teammates Sam Short was second in 3:45.07 and Mack Horton was third in 3:46.49.

In other final events:
Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh, 15, broke her own Games and national record to win the 400-meter individual medley in 4:29.01. Her previous best time was 4:29.12.

Aussie Ariarne Titmus won the 200-meter freestyle in a Games record 1:53.89. It was another Aussie sweep with Mollie O’Callaghan (1:54.01) and Madi Wilson (1:56.17).

In an exciting men’s 200-meter breaststroke final, Aussie Olympic champion and world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook overtook early leader Brit James Wilby down the stretch for the gold, 2:08.07-2:08.59.

Australia (William Yang, Kyle Chalmers, Mollie O’Callaghan, Emma McKeon) finished with a gold in the first-ever 4×100-meter mixed freestyle relay in 3:21.18 ahead of England in 3:22.45 and Canada in 3:24.86.

Two-time Olympian and national record holder Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, a Plantation American Heritage alum, was top local finisher qualifying for the final in the 50-meter butterfly. Carter qualified third fastest in semis in 23.41 behind Brit Ben Proud in 23.06 and Singapore’s Tzen Wei Teong. Carter went 23.59 in his opening heat.

Other Florida Gold Coast/South Florida swimmers results:
50 butterfly: Sidrell Williams, Jamaica, Azura, eighth in heat, 25.32.
200 breaststroke: Kito Campbell, Jamaica, Azura, sixth in heat, 2:29.95.

The meet continues Saturday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

U.S. Swimmers Wrap Up FINA World Aquatics Championships With Record Medal Haul; Sarasota’s Emma Weyant Takes Bronze


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 25, 2022–The final night of the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships was an emotional roller coaster for swimmers and coaches Saturday night at Duna Arena.

In a dramatic turn of events, American Justin Ress was disqualified after winning the gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke for being completely submerged at the finish only to be re-instated less than a hour later after a closer review of the race by officials.

U.S. teammate and world record holder Hunter Armstrong gladly returned the gold medal after finishing 2/100ths of a second behind Ress who won in 24.12. Poland’s 17-year-old Ksawery Masiuk took the bronze in a national record 24.49. It was Ress’ first individual long course gold medal.

“It was definitely an emotional roller coaster,” Armstrong said before the ruling was reversed. “I am really proud of Justin. That was a great race. There was only 2/100ths of second separating us.

“I would rather take second and have him with me, then getting the title with a disqualification. It’s not how I wanted it. He is an amazing athlete, completely talented. To have that taken away from him, it sucks.”

Italy came up with two of the biggest upsets of the night.

Veteran distance freestyler Gregorio Paltrinieri, 27, flirting with the world record in Lane 1, pulled away early in the race and never faltered to win in championship and European record time of 14:32.80, second fastest time in history.

University of Florida’s Bobby Finke, the Olympic champion and favorite, could not pull off his patent comeback down the stretch, that’s how far the Italian was ahead. Finke took silver breaking his own American record 14:36.70 and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock was third in 14:36.94.

“I knew that they were coming, but I had quite a big lead, so that was enough for me,” Paltrinieri said. “That was my strategy, actually, to go out fast and try to open a gap with the others. So I’m really glad I did it.”

Ironically, Paltrinieri was the seventh fastest qualifier for the final, just three seconds away from not making the final.

“In the beginning, I was just trying to keep up with him, but he just kept getting farther and farther ahead,” Finke said. “Hats off to Greg. I wasn’t able to run him down. He had a great race, and I’m really proud of him.”

“Greg had a great race, starting from the get go,” Finke said. “I broke the record by three seconds so I’m happy with it. I was just trying the do best I could. I am going away happy after this meet. It was stressful. I have never been in this scenario as expected to take the title again and being reigning Olympic champion.”

The Italian 4×100-meter relay of world record holder backstroker Thomas Ceccon, 100 breaststroke gold medalist Nicolo Martinenghi, Federico Burdisso and Alessandro Miressi upset the U.S. team of Ryan Murphy, Nic Fink, Michael Andrew and Ryan Held, 3:27.51-3:27.79. Great Britain was third in 3:31.31 just ahead of the Aussies in 3:31.81.

There were 23 Florida Gold Coast swimmers that competed on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Four swimmers, including University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach, are entered in open water events which begin on Sunday with the 6K team relay (4×1500) off Lupa Beach. The 5K is Monday, 10K on Wednesday and 25K on Thursday.

In other finals Saturday night:

WOMEN’S 50 BREASTSTROKE: Ten years after winning gold at the London Olympics, Ruta Meilutyte, 25, of Lithuania came out of retirement in 2021 after missing three doping tests and serving a 24-month suspension, started training again and ended up winning another title in 29.70. Italy’s world record holder Benedetta Pilato was second in 29.80 and Lara van Niekerk of South Africa was third in 29.90. American Lilly King was seventh in 30.40.

“It’s nice to be a world champion, I’m super proud of myself,” said Meilutytė, who won her second world title nine years after winning the 100 breaststroke in 2013. “I’m grateful for every step taken in my life, the bad ones and the good ones as well.”

WOMEN’S 400 IM: Canadian teenager sensation Summer McIntosh won her second gold medal, fourth overall and broke her third world junior record en route to the win in 4:32.04. McIntosh, 15, held off another outstanding teenager, American Katie Grimes, 16, second in 4:32.67. Sarasota’s Emma Weyant, who waited all week to swim, took the bronze in 4:36. It’s been 17 years since two Americans won medals in the same race. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu was unable to win her fifth straight gold in the event fading to fourth.

“Since it was the last day, I definitely felt, not the freshest in the water,” McIntosh said. “But I just tried my best to get my hand on the wall first and I’m so happy with the placement.”

50-METER FREESTYLE: Swedish world record holder Sarah Sjostrum won her 20th career gold medal in 23.98. It was her second world title of the meet. Poland’s Katarzyna Wasick took the silver in 24.18 and Meg Harris of Australia and American Erika Brown tied for the bronze in 24.38.

“It means so much to me,” Sjostrum said. “Every journey is different to winning a gold medal. I am super proud of achievening this medal. I came off a broken elbow and struggled with motivation, but now I remember why it was worth putting in all the time.”

WOMEN’S 4×100 MEDLEY RELAY: The U.S. won its third straight world title with Regan Smith, Lilly King, Torri Huske and Claire Curzan in 3:53.78. It was Curzan who broke open a tight race and pulled away on anchor. The U.S. had only qualified seventh and was in the outside lane. Australia was second in 3:54.24 and Canada was third in 3:55.01.

“The faster we finish, the faster we get pizza,” King joked after the race.

The U.S. finished with a record 45 medals (17 gold, 12 silver and 16 bronze. Australia was second with 17 total (6 golds, 9 silver, 2 bronze). Canada was third with its best-ever world finish with 11 (3 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). Italy was fourth with 9 (5 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).

The U.S. team’s 45 medals eclipsed the previous record of 38 medals the U.S. won at the 2017 world championships.

“We have crushed it this whole week,” said Regan Smith, who led off the relay and also won the individual 100 backstroke earlier in the meet. “We’ve had such good energy. This team is really special. It’s like no other team I’ve ever been on.”

The aquatics championships that also feature diving, water polo, high diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming end July 3. Although the pool racing is done action continues with diving and open water swimming, both beginning Sunday. Meanwhile, the water polo tournaments are ongoing.

A highlights show will be on NBC at noon on June 26.

OPEN WATER SCHEDULE
Sunday, June 26: Open water, 6K team relay.
Monday, June 27: Open water, men’s and women’s 5K.
Wednesday, June 29: Open water, men’s and women’s 10K.
Thursday, June 30: Open water, men’s and women’s 25K.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

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.

SUNDAY RESULTS
WOMEN
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.

MEN
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 sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

100-Day Countdown To Tokyo Summer Olympics Begins Wednesday


By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, April 13, 2021—The 100-day countdown for the long-awaited, much-anticipated 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games begins Wednesday.

The 32nd edition of the Summer Olympics were delayed from 2020 to 2021 despite growing worry over the pandemic. A cloud of uncertainty still hangs over the Olympics after a number of Japanese regions have reported a spike in coronavirus cases since the public health emergency was lifted on March 22.

In Tokyo and five other regions authorities have limited the number of spectators in sporting venues to a maximum of 5,000 and reduced the opening hours of bars and restaurants. Several Olympic test events have been postponed until early May and late June or cancelled.

Officials have gone ahead planning for the Games this summer despite objections from many fans, media and Japanese citizens.

The Olympics are scheduled to begin July 23 with the Opening Ceremony and last until Aug. 8.

On Tuesday the Olympic torch relay ran through a mostly empty Osaka City Park. Officials re-routed the relay off city streets and barred the public.

The torch relay began three weeks ago in northeastern Japan, attempting to navigate around the pandemic with a total of 10,000 runners across the country and ending at the opening ceremony.

After last year’s postponement, organizers talked of cancelling the relay to save money. But it was never really considered because of the IOC’s largest sponsors including Coca-Cola and Toyota.

The top sponsors paid the International Olympic Committee $1 billion in the last full Olympic cycle (2013-2016). That number is expected to double when the next cycle is completed with the postponed Tokyo Games.

According to a recent Kyodo News poll, 72 percent of Japanese want the Games cancelled or postponed because of the ongoing pandemic and country’s slow vaccine rollout. In a recent Wall Street Journal story, only one percent of Japan’s population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Olympic organizers have already taken unprecedented measures including not allowing fans to travel to Japan to watch the Games.

Still, the Olympics and Paralympics are expected to attract 15,400 athletes and thousands of judges, officials, judges, coaches and media even though numbers are expected to be scaled back.

Officials released a 33-page playbook detailing the health and safety protocols that will be in place. There are many guidelines in place for athletes, including tracking, tests and mask mandates. Fans will not be allowed to cheer or sing loudly because of the airborne virus, but are allowed to clap.

Officials have asked that athletes get vaccinated before participating, but say they will not require a vaccination before attending.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 31, has already qualified for her fifth Olympics in her signature event, 100-meter breaststroke. She will be accompanied by her longtime coach, SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson, who will also coach the Jamaican swim contingent which features Sarasota resident and Gator Swim Club’s Keanan Dols.

Dols, 22, recently surpassed the “B” qualifying standard of 2:03.26 and set a new national record of 2:02.15 in the men’s 200-meter individual medley at the Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, California. In addition to outpacing the Olympic “B” standard, Dols broke his previous national record of 2:03.74 that he set at the International Swim Coaches Association (ISCA) Senior Cup in St. Petersburg on March 24. His time of 2:02.15 ranks as the sixth-fastest time in the event from the Carifta region.

OLYMPIC NEWS CORNER

Aussies Adjusting Body Time Clocks
When Australia’s top swimmers compete in their national championships that begin on Wednesday, the meet will look just like the Olympic format. The meet begins at night with heats in eight disciplines, followed by finals on Thursday morning. The meet ends with finals on Sunday morning. The swimmers are learning to adjust their routines and body clocks looking ahead to the Olympics.

The morning-final, evening-heat pattern is being used in Tokyo. The distinctive format is a demand of American broadcaster NBC, which wants blockbuster medal races scheduled for prime time in the United States (the same approach was taken for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing).

Aussie officials said the format is crucial. The rest of the world is doing the same format in various sports preparing for the time changes. The swim race times posted at this week’s meet will factor into team selection for the Aussies. The country’s Olympic trials are still scheduled for June in Adelaide unless the pandemic plays a role.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Anyone? Yes Please

The perennial chocolate and peanut butter powerhouse is partnering with three of the greatest U.S. Olympic athletes, Team USA and swimming: Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel.

Phelps, Ledecky and Dressel are joining forces to support Big Orange and form the Ultimate Team Reese’s.

Starting with Phelps, a 23-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist and Reese’s lover, will be the face of the Reese’s brand this summer appearing in a new ad campaign highlighting the newest member of the Reese’s family, Reese’s Ultimate Lovers Cup, a new peanut buttery candy version of Peanut Butter Cups without the chocolate.

“As America’s number one chocolate brand, we couldn’t settle for anything other than the best and that’s exactly why we’ve partnered with these legendary U.S. Olympians,” said Margo McIlvaine, Reese’s Brand Manager. “These three know exactly what it takes to be the ultimate, and we welcome them to the Ultimate Team Reese’s.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com