Greek Swimmer Papastamos Breaks World Junior Record; Izaak Bastian, Gaby Banks Post Highest Finishes On Day Five Of The 7th FINA World Junior Championships

By Sharon Robb

BUDAPEST, Hungary, August 24, 2019—Apostolos Papastamos of Greece broke the world junior and championship records in the 400-meter individual medley on Day Five of the 7th FINA World Junior Championships Saturday at state-of-the-art Duna Arena.

Papastamos dominated the field and dropped eight seconds from his prelim time to win in 4:11.93. It was also a Greek national record breaking the previous mark of 4:14.41.

The U.S. won its first gold medal in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay in 3:37.61 with Gretchen Walsh, Torri Huske, Grace Cooper and Amy Tang. The time was just a second-and-a-half off the world junior and championship record.

Other individual winners:

Aussie teenager Lani Pallister, 17, won the 1500-meter freestyle in a championship record 15:58.86. She won the mile by 16 seconds and completed her hat trick after also winning the 400- and 800-meter freestyles.

Italian Thomas Ceccon won his second gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly in 23.27 just ahead of Russian Andrei Minakov in 23.29.

Australia won its second gold of the night with Bronte Job in the 50-meter backstroke in 27.87. Jade Hannah of Canada and Daria Vaskina of Russia tied for the silver in 27.91.

Florida Gold Coast past and present swimmers:

7. Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, St. Andrew’s, Florida State, 50-meter breaststroke, 28.25/semifinals, 9. 28.39, reserve.

19. Jamaica, women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay, 4:00.09, Zaneta Alvaranga, Sabrina Lyn, Gaby Banks, Emily MacDonald.

35. Gaby Banks, Jamaica, Cypress Bay/SOFLO, 50-meter freestyle, 26.87.

78. Luis Bucaro, Guatemala, Cypress Bay/TS Aquatics, 100-meter freestyle, 54.59.

86. Nicolas Vale, Jamaica, Pine Crest Swimming, 100-meter freestyle, 55.40.

“My swims this meet haven’t been great, but I have learned a lot from Junior Worlds, seeing all these fast people swim and all these fast times and how difficult it is to make it to semi-finals and finals,” Vale said.

“It definitely motivates me more to train harder and work more on my details and my techniques and based on what I have learned from the faster swimmers, there are details in my stroke that I can work on.

Around 800 young promising swimmers ages between 15-17 (women) 14-18 (men) are competing in the six-day competition, which has produced many of today’s swimming stars.

A total of 125 National Federations are represented at Duna Arena, the venue that staged the 17th FINA World Championships in July 2017 and has been the background to many FINA high-profile competitions since then such as the FINA Champions Swim Series and Swimming World Cup.

Daily heat sessions are at 9:30 a.m while semifinals and finals are at 5:30 p.m. The championships end Sunday.

All sessions are being live streamed on FINAtv and daily news reports will be available on FINA website. Results are available immediately after each event on FINA website and on FINA mobile app.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Aussies Set Relay World Record; Dressel Breaks American Record On Day Five Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 25, 2019—Caeleb Dressel held on to defend his 100-meter freestyle and flirted with a 10-year old world record on Day Five of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships Thursday at Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

The University of Florida and Bolles Club alum did break the American record by 2/10ths in 46.96, third fastest in history and only man to dip under 47 seconds. He was only 0.05 seconds off the 10-year-old world record of 46.91 set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo.

“It hurt really bad to be honest,” Dressel said. “You don’t always get that magical feeling every night but you’ve just got to shut the brain off and go.

“It took 100 per cent effort and I had someone right there on my tail for me to race,” Dressel said. “I kind of shut off thinking about the race so that helped a lot and having Kyle (Chalmers) right there.”

It was Dressel’s third gold medal and fourth medal overall.

Dressel’s other golds came in the 50-meter butterfly, a non-Olympic event, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay. He took silver in the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay.

“I know I was just off the world record, but really the goal was just to swim the best race that I could, and if that was the time I got tonight, I was happy,” Dressel said. “I’m going to talk to [Coach Gregg] Troy, and I guarantee you the first thing he’s going to say is what we could have done better.”

After scratching from two events because of illness, five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky returned to the pool to help the U.S. win silver in the 4×200-meter freestyle behind Australia’s world record performance of 7:41.50 with Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon. The previous record was 7:42.08 held by China. It was the first time the Aussies won a world title in the relay event. The U.S. had won three straight world titles.

“I wasn’t thinking about a world record,” McKeon said. “Was it a 2009 record? To break that this year is so exciting. I was hurting a lot but when it comes to a relay you really give it your all. Just touching the wall and seeing the three others celebrate, it made me so excited,” McKeon said.

Ledecky was joined by Katie McLaughlin, Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg and Simone Manuel and finished in 7:41.87. Canada took the bronze.

Outspoken American Lilly King was disqualified from the 200-meter breaststroke prelims. She won the third heat in 2:24.56 but was disqualified for not touching the wall with both hands at the same time at the first turn of the four-lap race.

The U.S. team filed a formal protest which was denied by FINA’s appeals process and also lost a jury of appeal.

In other finals:

Boglarka Kapas out-touched Americans Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot to win the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:06.78.

American Olivia Smoliga won the women’s 50-meter backstroke, a non-Olympic event, in 27.33. She won from Lane Two.

Japan’s Daiya Seto won the men’s 200-meter individual medley in 1:56.14, 0.42 seconds ahead of Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland and 2017 champion Chase Kalisz, ending the Americans’ streak of winning at eight consecutive worlds.

It was the first time a non-American won the event at an Olympics or worlds since 2001, snapping a streak of 12 straight titles among Phelps (seven), Ryan Lochte (four) and Kalisz (one). Kalisz, who swept the IMs at 2017 Worlds, has the 400m IM later this week.

In other news, FINA, the sport’s international governing body, threatened to strip medals and ban swimmers who protest on podiums during the medal ceremonies under a new Code of Conduct provision. Brit Duncan Scott and Aussie Mack Horton failed to acknowledge China’s Sun Yang during two medal ceremonies. Sun is coached by Aussie Denis Cotterell.

Day Six prelims include the men’s 100-yard butterfly, women’s 200-meter backstroke, men’s 50-meter free, women’s 50-meter butterfly, women’s 800-meter freestyle and men’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay.

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

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

TV Schedule:

Live Results:

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Aussie Teenager Breaks World Record On Day Four Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson Settles For 100 IM Bronze

By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 14, 2018—Teenager Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off reigning world record holder Wang Jianjiahe of China in the 400-meter freestyle with a world record of her own Friday on Day Four of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

Titmus, 18, winner of the 200-meter freestyle, won the distance event in 3:53.92. Titmus, who was fourth in the event at the 2017 world championships in Hungary, led from start-to-finish. Jianjiahe was second in 3:54.56. China’s Lu Bingjie was third in 3:57.99.

It was the first woman individual world record at the meet after Daiya Seto and Kirill Prigoda broke men’s world records.

“I am a little bit in shock,” Titmus said. “I knew the Chinese girl would go out fast. I was worried she would have a little left in the tank at the end, but I held her off. I put in a lot of hard work since our trials five weeks ago and the turnaround I have had in that time is unbelievable. I dropped six seconds off my 400 and that shows what training hard can do. I can’t believe it, and for it to be a short course world record is something. I am someone who does not pride themselves on speed, but I will take it.”

It has been a breakthrough year for the young Tasmanian, who won three golds at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier in 2018. She only turned 18 in September and has already earned the nickname “Terminator.” Her father calls her “Arnie” and that became Terminator in Australian media after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won her second medal of the meet finishing third in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.11.

Atkinson also earned the top-seed in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal in 1:04.07. She was second fastest in the prelims in 1:04.34.

Another local, Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Plantation American Heritage was the sixth fastest qualifier in the 50-meter butterfly semifinals in 22.62 after going 22.53 in prelims.

In other Friday finals:

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu won the 100 IM, her third gold medal, in 57.26 and her fourth consecutive title in the event. Japan’s Runa Imai was second in 57.85. American Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg was fourth.

“I do feel a bit sore, and I am glad I did not swim the 50 backstroke in the morning,” Hosszu said. “I felt a lot readier this afternoon after having slept in this morning. For me the medley is a fun event. It is all the four strokes together and a sprint, so for me it is just a lot of fun”.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record in 24.47, her second gold medal of the meet. She also won the 100-meter freestyle. The previous record was 24.58. Aussie Holly Barratt took silver in 24.80 and American Kelsi Worrell Dahlia was third in 24.97.

Russian Kliment Kolesnikov won his showdown with Italian Marco Orsi in the 100-meter individual medley in a championship and junior world record 50.63. Orsi finished in 51.03 and Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori took the bronze in 51.53. American Michael Andrew was fourth in 51.58.

In an upset, Russian Vladimir Morozov won his first gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle in 20.33. It was his third medal in the event in three worlds. Fastest qualifier Caeleb Dressel, a Clay and Bolles alum, was second in 20.54. South African Bradley Tandy took the bronze in 20.94 after initial third place finisher Ben Proud of Britain was disqualified for a false start for the second time this year at an international meet.

Russian teammate Evgeny Rylov knocked off American and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy to win the 50-meter backstroke in 22.58. Murphy finished in 22.63.

Ireland’s Shane Ryan won his country’s first medal in the 25-year meet history with a third place in the 50-meter backstroke.

Two other world records were broken in the relay competition.

In the relay competition, the U.S. men’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay of Dressel, Ryan Held, Jack Conger and Michael Chadwick won in a world record 1:21.80.

Brazil broke the third world record in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay in 6:46.81 with Luiz Melo, Fernando Scheffer, Nicholas Santos and Breno Correia.

The U.S. team has 21 total medals (10 gold, 8 silver, 3 bronze). China has 10 (2 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). Russia has 9 medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze).

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries are competing for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

Prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Ledecky Breaks Another World Record, Phelps Takes Gold, Silver On Final Day Of Pan Pacs

Ledecky Breaks Another World Record, Phelps Takes Gold, Silver On Final Day Of Pan Pacs

By Sharon Robb

August 24, 2014—Teenager Katie Ledecky broke her second world record at the Pan Pacific Championships Sunday at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport, Australia.

On the final day of the four-day meet, Ledecky, 17, broke her own 1500-meter freestyle world record in 15:28.36, shaving nearly six seconds off the old record she set in June.

“I knew it was my last race of the meet and last race of the season so I wanted to finish a really good season on a good note,” Ledecky said.

“It was probably one of the most painful races,” Ledecky said. “It was painful, but it pays off in the end, so I’m happy.”

It came a day after she broke her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:58.86. It was also her fifth gold medal. She won the 200, 400, 800 and 1500-meter individual events and anchored the winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay team.

Ledecky holds the world records in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyles and is the first woman since American distance great Janet Evans to hold all three records at the same time.

“I am really enjoying the journey and just enjoying each step,” Ledecky said. “Hopefully, there are a few steps left.”

Added Michael Phelps, “She is a stud, watching her swim is remarkable. She is very talented, she works hard and it shows.”

The eighteen-time Olympic gold medalist Phelps continued his comeback journey by taking a silver medal in the 200-meter individual medley, losing the gold by 2/100ths of a second to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino

Phelps was reeling in Hagino in the final 50 meters after trailing by only 0.66 seconds at the final turn but Hagino, who also won the 400 IM, out-touched Phelps in 1:56.02. It was the identical time Ryan Lochte clocked in the “B” final.

“Today my body was hurting,” Phelps said. “I woke up this morning and my body was in pain. After this morning’s race and a nap, I felt pretty fresh for final. If I would change anything it would probably be to step on the first 100 meters.

“I think for my first real international meet back we accomplished everything we wanted to,” Phelps said. “We were able to find out some of the things that I need to improve on over the next year. I need to work on holding my stroke, to do a comfortable stroke at that high speed and that will come with faster races and faster things in workout.”

Phelps won his second gold medal of the meet as a member of the winning 4×100-meter medley relay in a meet record 3:29.94 with teammates Matt Grevers, Kevin Cordes and Nathan Adrian.

Phelps, 29, also won a gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly in 51.29.

Ryan Lochte lost the final spot in the 200 IM final to Phelps after Tyler Clary qualified with a faster time. Only two swimmers from each country are allowed to compete in finals. Lochte was a silver medalist behind Phelps in the event at the 2012 London Olympics.

In other championship finals:

American Maya DiRado won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:09.93 ahead of Aussie Alicia Coutts in 2:10.25. American Caitlin Leverenz took the bronze in 2:10.67. St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis won the “B” final in 2:11.42. DiRado and Margalis will represent the U.S. at next year’s world championships.

Aussie Cate Campbell won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.96, equalling the world’s fastest time in 2014.

Canadian Ryan Cochrane won the 800-meter freestyle in 7:45.39. American Connor Jaeger was third in 7:47.75.

Brazilian Bruno Fratus won a stacked 50-meter freestyle race in a meet record 21.44. American team captain Anthony Ervin was second in 21.73 and Nathan Adrian was third in 21.80.

Japan swept the 200-meter breaststroke. Kanako Watanabe won the women’s gold in 2:21.41 and Yahuhiro Koseki won the men’s title in 2:08.57.

Australia won the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay in a national record 3:55.49 over the Olympic champion Americans with Cate Campbell, Lorna Tonks, Emily Seebohm and Alicia Coutts.

The Aussie men’s and women’s sprint relay teams knocked off the U.S. for the first time in 12 years. “It’s always good to get one up on the Americans like that,” said Aussie Cameron McEvoy.

As expected, Team USA was the dominant country with 14 gold medals, 12 silver and 14 bronze. Host Australia, in the middle of a resurgence after a disastrous 2012 Olympics, was second with ten gold, eight silver and eight bronze, Japan had seven and South Korea, Canada and Brazil each had one gold medal.

“For us, we just needed to get in there, not get too overwhelmed with the home crowd and use it to the best of our ability,” said Aussie swimmer Tommaso D’Orsogna. “It’s just about developing this team that we’ve got and really moving forward as well as we can towards Rio.”

Rio de Janeiro is host city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Despite back spasms, Missy Franklin will represent the U.S. at worlds in the 100 and 200 freestyle, 100 and 200 backstroke and relays.

The 10K open water events, scheduled for Monday, were postponed because of poor water quality and high levels of E. Coli at two Gold Coast venues. The four charter nations, USA, Japan, Canada and host Australia did not want to risk the health and safety of their athletes.

The event will now be held in conjunction with the Junior Pan Pacs in Maui, Hawaii on August 31. Team USA’s open water swimmers including former Clearwater Aquatics Team swimmer Becca Mann, will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday before heading to Hawaii on Thursday. Mann scratched from the 1500 to focus on the 10K.

Organizers decided to move the event after strong winds and heavy rain caused concerns with the water quality. The heavy rain caused increased pollution in the waterways and lakes.

At a cost of $41.39 million to refurbish the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre with a new competition pool, many coaches, swimmers and fans are questioning why a retractable roof on the venue was not included in the facelift plans. The venue will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Ledecky Breaks World Record; Phelps, Clary Win Gold At Pan Pacs; Murphy, Beisel Grab Roster Spots On World Team

Ledecky Breaks World Record; Phelps, Clary Win Gold At Pan Pacs; Murphy, Beisel Grab Roster Spots On World Team

By Sharon Robb

August 23, 2014—On another dreary weather night in Southport, Australia, Team USA had another big night Saturday at the Pan Pacific Championships at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.

Teenage sensation Katie Ledecky, 17, broke her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle with a blistering 29.30 final split.

The Stanford-bound swimmer took another half second off her world record time of 3:58.86 she swam at nationals earlier this month to win the gold medal in 3:58.37. U.S. teammate Cierra Runge was second in 4:04.55.

Both Ledecky and Runge qualified for the world team.

New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle took the bronze in 4:05.33. Venezuela’s Andreina Pinto of Gator Swim Club was fifth in 4:07.51.

Ledecky now holds at least two of the fastest times in history in the 400, 800 and 1500-meter freestyles. It was Ledecky’s fourth gold medal of the meet.

“It never really gets old, it’s a great feeling,” Ledecky said. “I have some long-term goals. We’re not quite there yet, but we’ll get there. “

Ledecky still has the 1500 to swim.

Eighteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps won his first international gold medal since the 2012 London Olympics in the 100-meter butterfly. It was also his first win since his comeback.

Phelps, 29, won in 51.29 ahead of Ryan Lochte, who finished second in 51.67. Tom Shields did not swim the event, however his time from nationals will hold up and he and Phelps will make the world team.

“It definitely feels good to have that sort of confidence back to be able to do it in an individual event,” Phelps said. “What it does is really just guarantee me a spot on the world championship team next summer. That’s the biggest thing and most important thing.”

The weather has been the biggest topic of conversation during the four-day meet. Even Phelps called it “crazy, sideways rain.”

“There’s no rain underwater so it doesn’t really bother me,” Phelps said with a smile. Phelps has the 200-meter individual medley left to swim on Sunday.

“I know there’s a lot that can happen in a year with training,” Phelps said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Tyler Clary won the 200-meter backstroke holding off Japan’s top-seed Ryosuke Irie to win in 1:54.91. Irie’s time was 1:55.14. Aussie Mitchell Larkin was third in 1:55.27. Clary kept the U.S. tradition alive, with U.S. swimmers never losing the 200 backstroke at twelve Pan Pacs.

Along with Clary, Bolles alum Ryan Murphy qualified for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia with a fourth-place finish time of 1:56.17.

Lochte scratched from the final heat of the men’s 200-meter backstroke after qualifying second in morning prelims.

In other championships finals on a night that featured hail, wind, rain and lots of plastic raincoats in the stands:

Aussie Alicia Coutts won the 100-meter butterfly in 57.64 ahead of China’s Ying Lu in 57.76. American Kendyl Stewart took the bronze in 57.82. Despite a disappointing sixth place in 58.31, Claire Donahue will join Stewart on the worlds team.

Korea’s Park Taehwan won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:43.15. Japan’s Kosuke Hagino took silver in 3:44.56 and American Connor Jaeger took the bronze in 3:45.31.

Aussie Belinda Hocking just missed the meet record in the 200-meter backstroke by .01 seconds winning in 2:07.49. Teammate Emily Seebohm was second in 2:07.61.

University of Florida alum Elizabeth Beisel won the bronze in 2:08.33 and knocked Kathleen Baker off the world team to earn a roster spot. It was a much-needed redemption swim for Beisel who slipped off the start at nationals.

Franklin, still nursing back spasms, was fourth in 2:08.82. Beisel and Missy Franklin will represent the U.S. at worlds.

Australia swept the 4×100-meter freestyle relay gold medals.

The Aussie women’s relay of Cate Campbell, Brittany Elmslie, Melanie Schlanger and Bronte Campbell won in a meet record 3:32.46. The U.S. relay of Simone Manuel, Missy Franklin, Abbey Weitzeil and Shannon Vreeland was second in 3:34.23 and Japan took the bronze in 3:39.06.

The Aussie men’s relay of Tommaso D’Orsogna, James Magnussen, Matthew Abood and Cameron McEvoy won in 3:12.80 ahead of the U.S. team of Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian, Anthony Ervin and Ryan Lochte in 3:13.36 and Brazil in 3:13.59. McEvoy’s anchor split of 47.60 clinched the win over Lochte’s 48.20.

The U.S. picked up three more golds and has 11 for the meet. Australia has eight gold medals.

For those following the Pan Pacs and enjoy being sleep-deprived on the East Coast, prelims are 8 p.m. and finals 5 a.m.

NBC will broadcast highlight races from the Pan Pacs today and Sunday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. each day. In Australia the entire meet is being televised live.

Swimming Australia is live streaming the meet on its website (

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Beisel Wins Gold, Team USA Dominates Day Two Of Pan Pacific Championships

Beisel Wins Gold, Team USA Dominates Day Two Of Pan Pacific Championships

By Sharon Robb

August 22, 2014—On a cold, wet, winter night in Australia, Elizabeth Beisel held off teammate Maya DiRado in an exciting race to win the 400-meter individual medley Friday at the Pan Pacific Championships at Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.

The University of Florida alum dominated the women’s field to defend her 2010 title, winning in a Pac Pacs record of 4:31.99. DiRado was second in 4:35.37 and Aussie Keryn McMaster took bronze in 4:38.84.

In the women’s 400-meter individual medley “B” final, Team USA swept the top four places including former Clearwater swimmer Becca Mann finishing second in 4:39.93 and St. Peterburg’s Melanie Margalis placing fourth in 4:40.94.

Beisel, 22, scratched from the 400-meter freestyle for Day Three to focus on the 200-meter backstroke for her second event at world championships.

After getting shut out in the 100-meter freestyle, Michael Phelps was all smiles after helping Team USA to a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay in 7:05.17 with teammates Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte (fastest split of 1:45.57) and Matt McLean. It is the 29-year-old’s first international meet since coming out of retirement.

“Being able to get back on the podium, it feels amazing,” Phelps said after the race. “It’s a good first day. Good first international meet back.

“There’s no better way to finish this lovely, rainy night then being able to step up with your teammates and win a gold medal,” Phelps said.

Phelps was fourth in his first final event, the 100-meter freestyle in 48.51, but then swam second leg on the winning relay. “I don’t think the 100 was terrible, I am learning all the time,” said the 18-time Olympic gold medalist.

Phelps’ time bumped him ahead of Ryan Lochte for the second individual 100 freestyle spot for world championships.

Aussie Cameron McEvoy won the 100-meter freestyle in 47.82 competing in pouring rain. Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian of Team USA was second in 48.30 and two-time world champion James Magnussen of Australia was third in 48.36.

“I just felt great the whole way,” McEvoy said. “It was an honor to be in a race with such great men, so much those guys have accomplished. What more could I ask for?”

In the women’s 100-meter freestyle, sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell of Australia, coming off the Commonwealth Games, finished one-two. Cate Campbell won in 52.72. Bronte Campbell finished in 53.45. Simone Manuel of Team USA took the bronze in 53.71, her first international medal and junior world record, after holding off teammate Missy Franklin, still nursing back spasms, who was fourth in 53.87.

American women won two more gold medals to end the night. Jessica Hardy held off a hard-charging Kanako Watanabe of Japan to win the 100-meter breaststroke, 1:06.74-1:06.78. American Breeja Larson took bronze in 1:06.99, failing to swim under 1:06.51, unable to make the world championships in the event.

Teenager Katie Ledecky, 17, anchored the winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay with a come-from-behind surge that clinched the win in a meet record 7:46.40 with teammates Shannon Vreeland, Franklin and Leah Smith. Ledecky’s anchor split was 1:54.36.

It was Ledecky’s third gold medal after winning the 200- and 800-meter freestyle double on opening night. She has the 400 and 1500 remaining.

“This is the best feeling ever,” Ledecky said. “It’s great to be here with these girls. This atmosphere, it’s kind of like a classic environment like Friday Night Lights, rain and a relay, so it was pretty fun.”

Japan won two gold medals in the men’s events. At only 5-foot-9, 150-pounds, Kosuke Hagino finessed his way to a win in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:08.31, ahead of Americans Tyler Clary in 4:09.03 and Chase Kalisz in 4:09.62. The medal stand was a sight with Hagino, 6-1 Clary and 6-4 Kalisz.

Yasuhiro Koseki won the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.62. Felipe Silva of Brazil took the silver in 59.82 and Glenn Snyders of New Zealand took bronze in 1:00.18. American Kevin Cordes was disqualified for pulling his water-filled goggles off at the turn. Cordes was the top seed in the event.

Coaches and swimmers from all countries are in agreement that the poor weather is slowing down times. However, Team USA has won eight out of 16 gold medals and 20 of 30 medals overall after two days, midway point of the four-day meet.

Host Australia has already matched its 2010 total of four gold medals and has 13 overall. Japan also has four gold and eight overall.

For those following the Pan Pacs and enjoy being sleep-deprived on the East Coast, prelims are 8 p.m. and finals 5 a.m.

NBC will broadcast highlight races from the Pan Pacs on Saturday and Sunday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. each day. In Australia the entire meet is being televised live.

Swimming Australia is live streaming the meet on its website (

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Bolles Alum Ryan Murphy Takes Bronze At Pan Pacs

Bolles Alum Ryan Murphy Takes Bronze At Pan Pacs

By Sharon Robb

August 21, 2014–The opening night of the Pan Pacific Championships was a mixed bag of results Thursday at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport, Australia.

Ryan Murphy, a Pan Pacs U.S. national team rookie and Bolles alum won his first medal in the 100-meter backstroke, taking bronze in 53.27.

It was the Cal-Berkeley sophomore’s fifth international medal. He took a bronze medal at the 2011 Pan American Games, gold and bronze medals at the 2012 FINA Short Course World Championships and bronze at 2011 Junior World Championships.

With Missy Franklin still nursing back spasms, Olympic silver medalist Emily Seebohm of Australia avenged her loss to Franklin at the 2012 Olympics by winning the 100-meter backstroke in a Pan Pacs record of 58.84, fastest time in the world this year.

Aussie teammate Belinda Hocking was second in 59.78 and Franklin was third in 1:00.30. Franklin had won the event at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships, beating Seebohm each time.

“I felt pretty comfortable in the first 50 meters,” Seebohm said. “Seeing where Missy was out of the corner of my eye, it definitely gave me a bit more on the back 50 which was exactly what I needed.

“I haven’t beaten Franklin and that gives me confidence going through,” Seebohm said. “A win is a win and sometimes you don’t feel fantastic and have to get out there and do your best.”

Franklin struggled through morning prelims. She failed to qualify for the 200-meter freestyle final but made it to the backstroke championship final.

“I was able to get out there and race which is what I wanted to do,” Franklin said. “There’s definitely some discomfort still, but it’s getting much, much better day by day. I’m definitely keeping my head high.”

Despite a miserable weather night at the new outdoor pool at Southport, (cold, windy and scattered showers), it was a great opening night for host Australia.

World-ranked Thomas Fraser-Holmes of Australia topped an impressive field in the 200-meter freestyle to win gold in 1:45.98 ahead of Japan’s Kosuke Hagino in 1:46.08. Aussie Cameron McEvoy took the bronze in 1:46.36.

Americans Connor Dwyer (1:46.45) and Ryan Lochte (1:46.75) were shut out of medals.

“I definitely wanted to go faster, I am still learning to swim this,” Lochte said.

American teenager Katie Ledecky lived up to expectations winning the 200- and 800-meter freestyles in meet record times while again flirting with her own world record in the 800.

Ledecky opened the night winning the 200-meter freestyle by nearly two seconds in 1:55.74. She broke Franklin’s Pan Pac record of 1:56.04 Franklin had just swam to win the “B” final. Aussie Bronte Barratt was second in 1:57.22 and American Shannon Vreeland was third in 1:57.38.

The 17-year-old then won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:11.35, breaking Janet Evans’ meet record of 8:16.22, set in 1989.

New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle took the silver in 8:18.87 and Canadian Brittany Maclean was third in 8:20.02. Former Clearwater swimmer Becca Mann was fourth in 8:22.45. Venezuela’s Andreina Pinto of Gator Swim Club was sixth in 8:30.66.

Cammile Adams won Team USA’s second gold medal of the night in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:06.61. Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi was second in 2:06.78 and American Katie McLaughlin was third in 2:07.08.

Matt Grevers came through for the American men. After breaking the Pan Pacs record in the 100-meter backstroke during prelims, Grevers took a silver in 53.09, just getting out-touched by Japan’s Ryosuke Irie in 53.02.

With American Tom Shields not in the final after being disqualified in prelims, Japan’s Daiya Seto won the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly in 1:54.92. Brazilian Leonardo de Deus was second in 1:55.28 and American Tyler Clary was third in 1:55.42. Japan had four of the top six finishers in morning prelims.

In an exciting distance race, American Connor Jaeger won the men’s team’s first gold medal, winning the 1500-meter freestyle just out-touching Canadian Ryan Cochrane, 14:51.79-14:51.97. Aussie Mack Horton was third in 14:52.78.

For those following the Pan Pacs on the East Coast, prelims are 8 p.m. and finals 5 a.m.

NBC will broadcast highlight races from the Pan Pacs on Saturday and Sunday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. each day. In Australia the four-day meet is being televised live.

Swimming Australia is live streaming the meet on its website (

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Phelps Returns To International Stage, Franklin’s Back Is Questionable At Pan Pacific Championships

Phelps Returns To International Stage, Franklin’s Back Is Questionable At Pan Pacific Championships

By Sharon Robb

August 20, 2014—The Pan Pacific Championships, boasting several top swimmers from Florida including Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, St. Petersburg Aquatics’ Melanie Margalis and former University of Florida swimmers Elizabeth Beisel and Ryan Lochte, begins Thursday at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport, Australia (Wednesday in Florida) with several big question marks.

The biggest shocker from Down Under is the status of Missy Franklin.

The U.S. team got a brief scare when the four-time Olympic gold medalist had back spasms during Tuesday’s practice. Team doctors and therapists worked on her and she was feeling better hours later. She has been resting and rehabbing at the team hotel.

On Wednesday afternoon she tested her back in a local pool and had very little discomfort.

“It was very therapeutic and felt great being back in the water,” Franklin said. “I am praying that I will be ready to race tomorrow. I am feeling drastically better every hour.”

Her status for the scheduled 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke will be determined prior to prelims on Thursday morning.

Michael Phelps, 22-time Olympic medalist will return to international competition after his comeback in the U.S.

The four-day Pan Pacific Championships, created by the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan as an alternative to the European Championships which have already gotten under way, is Phelps first international meet since he won six medals, including four gold, at the London Olympics.

“I’ve really enjoyed competing in Australia,”Phelps said. “The stands and the crowd are always going to be an interesting scene. There’s always so much excitement. I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing what’s going to happen. The goal for this summer was to make Pan Pacs, and we’ll go from there and see what happens.”

The weather could be a factor since the venue is an outdoor pool and cold and rain is expected.

“I’m used to it,” Lochte said. “Growing up in Florida, I swam outside in the rain, so I don’t really have to worry about that. The biggest thing to overcome is probably the wind especially when you are doing the backstroke in an outside pool. You don’t have the ceiling to really focus on.”

Australia, Canada and the U.S. will duke it out in the Pacific Rim meet in a country that loves its swimming and is considered Australia’s national pastime.

In a poll conducted in Australia after the 2012 London Olympics, swimming and soccer were the most popular participation sports among Aussies ages 5-14.

However, Team USA has dominated the medal count in each of the last 11 Pan Pacs and hope to continue the streak.

Murphy and Margalis are among eight men and 12 women who are National Team rookies.

For those following the Pan Pacs on the East Coast, prelims are 8 p.m. beginning Wednesday on the East Coast and finals 5 a.m.

NBC will broadcast highlight races from the Pan Pacs on Saturday and Sunday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. each day. In Australia the entire meet is being televised live.

Swimming Australia will live stream the meet on its website ( beginning 8 p.m. with prelims and 5 a.m. finals (on the East Coast) each day.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Australia Dominates Commonwealth Games, Eyes Pan Pacs On Home Soil; Florida’s Dan Wallace Takes Silver

Australia Dominates Commonwealth Games, Eyes Pan Pacs On Home Soil; Florida’s Dan Wallace Takes Silver

By Sharon Robb

July 29, 2014—The sixth and final day of swimming at the Commonwealth Games was just as exciting as the first five days at Tollcross Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

In one of the most competitive meets, Australia dominated the men’s and women’s events and is brimming with confidence for the August 21-24 Pan Pacific Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport, Australia.

Of course, the Aussies will have stiffer competition in the United States and Japan. Canada is the fourth team in the four-nation meet.

Australia finished with 57 medals including 19 gold, 21 silver and 17 bronze.

England was a distant second with 28 medals (10 gold, 10 silver, 8 bronze).

South Africa had 12 medals (3 golds, 3 silver and 6 bronze). Canada finished with 11 medals (4 gold, 1 silver, 6 bronze) and host Scotland had 10 medals (3 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze).

Australia immediately left the country after the meet and will missing the Closing Ceremony. Swimmers were under an alcohol ban and curfew that prevented them from leaving the Athletes’ Village after their embarrassing showing at the 2012 London Olympics.

In Tuesday’s championship finals:

Women’s 400-meter freestyle: New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle pulled ahead at the 250-meter mark to win her first Games gold medal in a meet record 4:04.47, fourth fastest time in the world this year. Jazz Carlin of Wales took the silver in 4:05.16 and Aussie Bronte Barratt took bronze in 4:06.02.

Men’s 50-meter freestyle: British teenager Ben Proud won the splash-and-dash gold medal to join his 50 butterfly gold medal. Proud just missed a meet record in 21.92. Aussie Cameron McEvoy was second in 22.00 and Aussie James Magnussen was third in 22.10. Trinidad and Tobago’s and Bolles alum George Bovell was fifth in 22.31.

Women’s 50-meter backstroke: Wales Georgia Davies won gold in national record 27.56, second fastest time in the world this year. Brit Lauren Quigley took silver in 27.69 and Canadian Brooklynn Snodgras, a junior at Indiana University, took the bronze in a national record 27.97.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Aussie Daniel Tranter came from behind to knock off Chad le Clos of South Africa and University of Florida’s Dan Wallace of Scotland in a meet record 1:57.83. Le Clos was leading after the butterfly and backstroke but lost the lead on the breaststroke leg. Wallace, who was dressed in a kilt during his walk to the blocks, was second in a national record 1:58.72. Le Clos hung on for the bronze in 1:58.85.

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: Canadian Ryan Cochrane won his second gold medal at the Games. The 25-year-old, competing in his final Games, won in 14:44.03, fastest time in the world this year. He won the gold in 2010 in 15:01.49. Aussie Mack Horton took silver in a best time 14:48.76. Daniel Jervis of Wales was third in 14:55.33.

Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay: The Aussie women swept the relays, winning the final one in a meet record 3:56.23 after a scorching 51.59 split by Cate Campbell. Meet officials said it was believed to be the fastest relay split in history in a textile suit. England was second in 3:57.03 and Canada was third.

Men’s 4×100-meter medley relay: With Adam Peaty swimming anchor, England knocked off Australia to win the gold in a meet record 3:31.51. The Aussies finished in 3:31.21. South Africa took third in 3:34.47.

Cate Campbell said she is going to ban herself from social media at future meets because she was overwhelmed by the fan support. “I was just feeling the pressure a little bit,” Campbell said. “I think I have learned a valuable lesson about social media. Even support can turn into a burden sometimes.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at