OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 16: Women’s 10K Open Water Gold Comes Down To A Sprint

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 16: Women’s 10K Open Water Gold Comes Down To A Sprint


August 9, 2012

The women’s 10K open water swimming gold medal came down to a sprint in the Serpentine at Hyde Park.

Eva Risztov of Hungary outsprinted American Haley Anderson by 4/10ths of a second to win in 1 hour, 57 minutes and 38.2 seconds on the 1.6K loop course lined with an estimated crowd of 30,000.

It was Hungary’s second medal of the Games.

Martina Grimaldi of Italy took the bronze 3.6 seconds behind the winner and Great Britain favorite and two-time world champion Keri-Anne Payne was fourth, .4 seconds out of a medal.

Risztov, 26, took it out hard early in the race and remained in control of the race. As Risztov and Anderson entered the finish chute they were nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. Anderson veered off to the left while Risztov kept on swimming straight and touched first.

The six loop splits were 19:22, 19:47, 20:00, 19:49, 19:33 and 19:05 during the physical race that featured five yellow cars and referee whistle warnings.

“I decided to make it a very clean race,” Risztov said. “This is the toughest way to win. If I am leading, they can’t say I did anything. This was my tactic.”

The three-time Hungarian Olympian had retired in 2005 after competing in the 2004 Olympics but decided to make a comeback in open water swimming in 2009.

It was Anderson, 20, a senior at University of Southern California, who out-touched Risztov in the June Olympic qualification race in Portugal by 1.4 seconds.

“I usually start off in the back and work my way up,” Anderson said. “I was towards the front from the beginning, so it wasn’t rough. I put in a good race. It took a lot of energy to catch up to Eva. I gave it everything I had. I’m really happy with the results. She had a really good race.”

Anderson’s sister Alyssa won a gold medal as part of the U.S. 800-meter freestyle relay during the pool swimming.

The men’s 10K event is Friday. Among the field is American Alex Meyer.


Nineteen-year-old Chen Ruolin got China back on the gold medal winning track capturing the women’s 10-meter platform title at Aquatic Centre, completing a sweep of platform events for the second consecutive Olympics.

Only China’s Fu Mingxia and Americans Dorothy Poynton-Hill and Patty McCormick have won individual 10-meter titles at consecutive Games.

Chen finished with 422.30 points during the five-dive final finishing with a 55.80 margin of victory. She also won the platform synchro gold medal.

“I feel very pleased to have another gold medal for China, the more, the better,” Chen said. “I was very relaxed. It’s like it’s not the Olympic Games. I didn’t feel any pressure.”

Aussie Brittany Broben took silver. Broben is 16 competing in her first Olympics. She finished with 366.50 points. At 16, she is also Australia’s youngest Olympian in London.

“Please don’t pinch me because I never want to wake up,” Broben said. “It’s amazing. My coach was holding his breath on the last dive.”

Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia took the bronze with 359.20. It was her country’s first Olympic medals in diving and first in any sport besides badminton.

Former University of Miami diver Brittany Viola didn’t make it out of the semifinals. Viola finished 15th in the semifinals with 300.50 points. U.S. teammate Katie Bell also failed to advance with a 16th place with 296.80 points. Viola started strong but had less than stellar dives in later rounds.

“My mind felt right, my body felt right, it just didn’t come together,” Viola said. “Still, to be here was just incredible. I’m going to celebrate this journey. I never thought I’d be here.”

Water polo

For the first time in the sport’s history, the U.S. women’s team won the gold medal. The top-seeded Americans defeated Spain, 8-5, in the championship final.

After the first 15 minutes of the game, the U.S. dominated. Stanford freshman Maggie Steffens scored five goals in the final to finish with 21 goals for the tournament. She put the U.S. in the lead, 3-2, with 5:36 left in the half. The U.S. led the remainder of the game.

The U.S. was 8-for-17 on shots compared to Spain’s 5-for-28 and dominated despite losing ground on time of possession, 16:58 to 15:02.

The U.S. men’s team failed to reach the semifinals after losing to Croatis in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 15: Miami’s Brittany Viola Advances Into Diving Semifinals

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 15: Miami’s Brittany Viola Advances Into Diving Semifinals


August 8, 2012

With her parents looking on, University of Miami alum Brittany Viola finished 14th in the  women’s 10-meter platform preliminaries on Wednesday and moved into the semifinal round at the London Aquatic Centre.

The top 18 advanced into Thursday morning’s semifinals followed by finals at night.

Viola, 25, who still trains in Miami with longtime Miami Diving coach Randy Ableman, finished with 322.05 points in her Olympic debut.

Viola was sixth after two rounds before falling behind when she over-rotated on her fourth dive and finished with a splash on her entry.

U.S. teammate Katie Bell rallied from 24th to finish ninth.

“I greatly enjoyed myself,” Viola said. “It’s so cool to be here. I’d like to do my third and fourth dives better than I did. I know I can hit my dives.”

Frank Viola, the MVP of the 1987 World Series, was among 20 family members and friends cheering Viola on.

China’s Chen Ruolin leads the women’s point standings with 392.35 points for a five-dive list. She is the defending champion and won both the individual and synchro platform titles in Beijing when she was 15.

China has won five of the six diving golds so far in London including the women’s platform synchro with Wang Hao and Chen.

Pandelela Pamg of Malaysia was second with 349.00 and Christin Steuer of Germany was third with 341.75. Steuer was an alternate called up when teammates Nora Subshinski withdrew with a neck injury.

Water polo

Italy ended Hungary’s longtime domination at the Olympic Games, knocking off the three-time defending champions, 11-9, to move into Friday’s semifinals against gold medal favorite Serbia, 11-8 winners over Australia earlier in the day at the Water Polo Arena.

Italian leading scorer Maurizio Felugo iced the win with a long distance goal late in the fourth quarter for a two-goal margin with 58 seconds to go.

“We played against one of the strongest teams ever, we played at the highest level to beat them,” said Felugo, the team’s captain.

In the other semifinal, Montenegro, 11-9 winners over Spain, will play Croatia, who dismantled the U.S. 2008 Olympic silver medalist, 8-2. The U.S. will now play Spain and Hungary plays Australia in the classification round for places fifth through eighth.

The U.S. ended up losing three straight and lopsided matches to Serbia, Hungary and Croatia. “We never found our rhythm and probably the belief in ourselves either,” said U.S. head coach Terry Schroeder.

Serbia, which came back from an 8-5 deficit to the Aussies, is looking for its first Olympic gold medal as an independent country.

Open water swimming

The 10K open water swimming races for women is Thursday and men on Friday at the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park. Twenty five swimmers are in each elite field. It’s only the second time open water swimming is being held at the Olympics.

Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain, a silver medalist in Beijing and reigning world champion, is the gold medal world champion.

Italy’s Martina Grimaldi and Marianna Lymperta of Greece are also among medal favorites. Haley Anderson is the top American.

Five-time world champion Thomas Lurz of Germany, a 2008 Beijing bronze medalist, is the gold medal favorite.

American Alex Meyer is the sentimental favorite. Meyer is swimming in the memory of Fran Crippen, who tragically died in a FINA-sanctioned open water swim in United Emirates In October 2011 at age 26. Crippen was a U.S. Olympic hopeful for London.

Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece and Ous Mellouli of Tunisia, who already won the bronze medal in the 1500 meter freestyle, could also win medals. Mellouli is the first swimmer to take part in both the Olympic pool and open water events.

Olympic Notes

According to an Olympic statistician, 51 percent of the male Olympic gold medalists sang their national anthems compared to 35 percent of female winners….About 16 percent of the 129 gold medal winners so far cried during the medal ceremony. China cries the least at 7 percent…Great Britain had the most weepers with 37.5 percent…Another 16 percent either bit or kissed their medal…The U.S. Olympic swim team’s Call Me Maybe video was tweeted 745 times during the swimming competition. It already has more than one million hits on YouTube.

Olympic Tweets

“Taper time is over, time to do the little things that help keep me in shape on break like the stairs.”—Dana Vollmer, U.S. Olympic gold medalist and world record holder

“Four years ago I left Beijing to fight cancer, now I am leaving London to celebrate my gold medal.”—Eric Shanteau

“Last night I was met in the airport by family, friends and all three news stations. Then had two police escorts home from the airport. Also had a very nice lunch with the mayor, director of utilities board and director of parks and recreation. It’s been an amazing day.”—Claire Donahue, Olympic gold medalist who trains at SOFLO

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Miami’s Brittany Viola Qualifies For First U.S. Olympic Diving Team

Miami’s Brittany Viola Qualifies For First U.S. Olympic Diving Tea,


June 24, 2012

Brittany Viola slowly climbed out of the pool, covered her face and began to cry.

Eight years of trials and tribulations ended for the former University of Miami diver who qualified for her first U.S. Olympic diving team on women’s 10-meter platform Sunday at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

On her third attempt to make the team, Viola, 25, is one of six new Olympians on the 11-diver team.

Her Olympic dreams fell short the first two times. In 2004, she finished second at the trials, which would have been good enough to make the team had it not been for a rule change that awarded two spots to synchro diving and only one to the winning platform diver.

In 2008, she finished fourth.

Then came two ankle surgeries and doubt whether she would return to champion form. She did and then some with the help of University of Miami Diving coaches Randy Ableman and Dario DeFazio, the first two to hug her after she regained her composure.

“Long time coming,” Ableman whispered in her ear.

“It’s unbelievable,” a beaming Viola said. “I am so thankful. I had a wonderful time. The Lord was with me. He filled me and satisfied me with everything.

“My emotions are just years of having so much love and support around me while going through adversity. It’s taken a long time to just get there and it is so worth it. All of it is worth it.

“Many times I didn’t think I would be in this sport anymore or still be here in 2012. Now I am going to London. It is unbelievable. It is a gift to be able to do what I’m doing now. For me, it’s just a miracle.”

Her dad, Frank Viola, told the Savannah Morning News, “I’m more nervous over this than pitching in a World Series. This is something she’s wanted since she was a little girl.”

Her mom Kathy, a horse breeder and trainer, was crying as much as her daughter, watching from the stands. Her dad couldn’t be at the trials because the former Mets pitcher is a pitching coach for the Mets Class A team Savannah Sand Giants. He was watching on the clubhouse television.

“I knew he would be watching every moment,” Viola said.

The former Cy Young Award winner and World Series MVP has gotten special permission from the Mets’ organization to go to London.

Viola plans to train in Miami for the next two weeks before joining the team at a pre-Olympic camp.

Katie Bell of Ohio State Diving was a surprise second-place finisher after a close battle with two other divers for the second and final spot on the team. Bell finished with 1,024.40.

“I am in shock, this is unreal,” said Bell after a big bear hug from her coach Vince Panzano. “I was nervous. I knew that I needed to stay consistent and dive like I do in practice.”

Indiana University senior Amy Cozad placed third just 20.40 points behind Bell with 1,004.00.

Olympian Haley Ishimatsu of Trojan Diving was fourth. She was in the battle until missing her fourth dive.

In a thrilling finish to the men’s 3-meter springboard final, Chris Colwill of Brandon, Fla. climbed his way back from third place to win and clinch a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.

Colwill, 27, of Georgia Diving, topped the 12-diver field with 1,457.45 points to make his second trip to the Olympics. He was three points down entering the final six rounds,

Going into the final round, only 2.4 points separated the top three divers.

Colwill, who is hearing-impaired, turned in a flawless list to climb his way back. Smiling and relaxed, Colwill and his longtime coach Dan Laak were emotional after the contest. “You’re going to London dude,” Laak said to Colwill.

“The scoreboard is pretty big so it was hard to miss seeing how close it was,” Colwill said with a smile. “I’m happy. I took it one dive at a time, and that took a lot of patience.

Veteran diver Troy Dumais, 32, edged his synchro partner, Kris Ipsen, to clinch the second and last spot on the men’s team. Dumais, who made his first Olympic team twelve years ago, finished with 1,448.35.

“I was more worried about this meet than the Olympics,” Dumais said. “I moved my second dive to the end of my list because I wanted to end on a dive I knew I could hit. I knew I was going to have to get 9s and 9.5s.”

Dumais’ coach Matt Scoggin called him “a warrior” after he clinched.

Ipsen, the early leader who dropped to third after missing his fifth round reverse 3 ½ tuck dive, had 1,447.10, a 1.25 margin. The first to hug Ipsen after the competition was former local diver Kassidy Cook who missed the team by a narrow margin. Ipsen was already on his first Olympic team for synchro.

“It was a pretty insane contest,” Ipsen said. “The reverse is always a dive I’ve struggled with but it’s getting better. I’m glad I ended strong. I knew it was going to come down to that last dive. I thought I’d made it.

“I’m trying to think of it as a blessing because going into international meets I get really nervous. Only doing synchro gives me just one thing to focus on. I’ll use this as a learning experience.”

Thomas Finchum, 22, competed in his final meet before retiring to devote full-time to his country music career with his band Northern Nights while attending Nashville’s Belmont University.

“After thirteen years my diving career is finally over,” Finchum said. “Now it’s time to chase some new dreams.”


1. Chris Colwill, Georgia Diving Club 1,457.45

2. Troy Dumais, Longhorn Aquatics 1,448.35

3. Kris Ipsen, Stanford Diving 1,447.10

4. Thomas Finchum, Unattached 1,255.50

5. Justin Dumais, YCF Diving 1,233.05

6. Dwight Dumais, Longhorn Aquatics 1,212.40

7. Aaron Fleshner, Alabama Diving 1,148.70

8. David Bonuchi, Mizzou Diving 1,143.65

9. Bradley Christensen, GC Diving 1,139.40

10. Bryce Klein, GC Diving 1,116.25

11. Brandon Watson, Unattached 1,116.25

12. Michael Wright, Tennessee Diving 1,105.55


1.Brittany Viola, University of Miami Diving 1,081.50

2.Katie Bell, Ohio State Diving 1,024.40

3.Amy Cozad, Indiana Diving Club 1,004.00

4.Haley Ishimatsu, Trojan Dive Club 995.65

5.Victoria Lamp, Tennessee Diving 948.25

6.Amy Korthauer, Indiana Diving 939.00

7.Samantha Bromberg, Ohio State Diving 938.45

8.Anna James, City of Midland 921.95

9. Jessica Parratto, Unattached 917.50

10.Gracia Leydon-Mahoney, Duke Aquatics 868.05

11.Laura Ryan, Unattached 860.45

12.Katrina Young, FSU Tomahawk Diving 825.10

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 172: Miami’s Brittany Viola Closing In On Olympic Berth At U.S. Trials

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 172: Miami’s Brittany Viola Closing In On Olympic Berth At U.S. Trials


June 21, 2012

Miami Diving’s Brittany Viola, brimming with confidence from the opening round, is two steps closer to making her first Olympic team.

Viola, 25, a University of Miami alum took a commanding lead after prelims and semifinals of the women’s 10-meter platform Wednesday night to advance into Sunday’s final of the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

In front of a nationally-televised audience, Viola opened with a 10 on her opening dives in both prelims and semis and remained in the lead despite Katie Bell and 2008 Olympian Hailey Ishimatsu trying to close the gap during the five-round semifinals.

“I am just enjoying this experience, every dive is a joy,” Viola said. “I just trusted my body and my strength. I want to enjoy every moment of this opportunity in Sunday’s finals.”

Viola finished with 734.30 points followed by Bell with 703.75 and Ishimatsu, who moved up from seventh after prelims to third with 674.05 points.

Florida State’s Katrina Young also made the final cut of 12 divers placing tenth with 589.10. Young is coach by former Fort Lauderdale diver and Olympian Patrick Jeffrey.

With Viola looking like a lock for the team, the battle will come down to the second berth for the London Olympics.

Viola, 25, the daughter of 1987 World Series MVP Frank Viola, is competing in her third trials. She finished fourth in the 2008 trials. At the 2004 trials at age 17 she finished second but the selection committee chose another diver.

“There’s been a lot of lessons, a lot of them have been very challenging,” Viola said. “My body feels very good. I’m so thankful. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

In prelims, Viola led after the opening round with 380.55 points. She wasted no time as establishing herself as the leader among a field of 32 divers by scoring a 10 on her first dive, a forward 3 ½ somersaults.

“To start off like that is wonderful, but it’s a reminder to go on to the next one,” Viola said. “I just had a blast. I’m really enjoying the competition. I’m in a very peaceful place.”

Viola maintained the lead through four rounds with 308.55 points ahead of Bell with 260.85, Laura Ryan with 257.40, Amy Korthauer with 255.90 and Anna James with 244.90.

After the men’s 3-meter springboard prelims and semifinals, synchro partners Kris Ipsen, 19, seeking his first Olympic berth, and veteran Troy Dumais, 32, seeking his fourth, finished 1-2.

“It really is a battle, there are so many good competitors,” Ipsen said. “They are all so talented.”

Ipsen finished with 993.80 points. Only 3.05 points separates Dumais, second with 954.20 and Chris Colwill of Brandon with 951.15. Thomas Finchum, competing on springboard for the first time at trials, is fourth with 836.85.

“This is really a stressful environment,” Ipsen said. “This is tough, but I’m not nervous. I feel like my technique is getting better. Every list is like a final every single time.”

The top 12, including three Dumais brothers, Justin, Troy and Dwight, advanced into Sunday’s final. Justin Dumais, 33, returned to diving after his Iraq deployment. He is coached by his former 2004 Olympic teammate Mark Ruiz.

Ipsen, Dumais and Colwill, who is hearing-impaired, separated themselves from the rest of the field in the opening round of semis. Colwill moved into second in the third round with a great forward 2 ½ somersault for 88.40 while Dumais faltered on his back 2 ½ somersault for 64.50.

Dumais bounced back in the fourth round scoring 86.70 on his inward 3 ½ somersault and barely stayed second for the remainder of his list.

During prelims, Ipsen totaled 511.90 points for his six-dive list and Dumais had 465.70. They were among 18 divers who advanced into Wednesday night’s semifinals. Olympian Chris Colwill was third with 458.90.

Drew Livingston dropped from eighth to 17th place and failed to advance after a failed dive in the sixth round.

On Thursday, it’s championship finals time when the first Olympians are selected in the women’s 3-meter synchro and men’s 10-meter synchro at 10 p.m. televised on NBCSN. Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson is color commentator.

NBCOlympics.com will live stream finals on Saturday and Sunday.


Move over Diana Nyad. Aussie Hall of Fame marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey and her crew are in Fort Lauderdale preparing for her 103-mile Cuba-to-Florida Swim. Palfrey, who turns 50 next month, expects to enter the water in Havana between June 23-30 depending on weather. She was successful with her Bridging the Cayman Islands Swim finishing in a world record 67.25 miles. The budget for her latest attempt is about $166,000….

Two-time Olympian and former Fort Lauderdale Diving Team elite diver Jenny Keim Johansen was named new diving coach for North Carolina’s women’s swimming and diving team. She replaces Kevin Lawrence who retired. She had been diving coach at N.C. State since 2008….Olympian Lars Jorgensen has been hired as associated head coach at University of Kentucky. Prior to that Jorgensen had been Tennessee men’s interim head coach and was head coach at Toledo, leading them to the first Mid-American Conference Championship during 2009-2010. Jorgensen will join 21-coaching veteran Gary Connelly at Kentucky. Jorgensen will replace John Brucato who left in May to coach the new program at Bellarmine…Auburn coach Brett Hawke will serve as Bahamian head coach…Florida Gulf Coast University and former Florida Atlantic University assistant coach Neal Studd was named head coach of St. Lucia for the Olympics. He will coach his swimmer, national record holder Danielle Beaubrun…Yahya Radman was hired as diving coach at Wyoming…Even The Weather Channel is catching Olympic fever interviewing Olympic legend Rowdy Gaines on the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, London Olympics and breaking a Guinness World Record for the largest swimming lesson last week.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK: U.S. Olympic Diving Trials Begin Sunday, Miami’s Viola Heads Olympic Hopefuls

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK: U.S. Olympic Diving Trials Begin Sunday, Miami’s Viola Heads Olympic Hopefuls


June 16, 2012

Local diver Brittany Viola is among the favorites at the U.S. Olympic diving trials that begin Sunday in Federal Way, Wash.

The 25-year-old University of Miami alum and daughter of former Minnesota Twins pitcher and 1987 World Series MVP Frank Viola heads the women’s field on 10-meter platform.

“I’ve been training my mind, body, spirit, soul, everything has been in my training,” Viola said. “I want to be at Olympics Trials and I want to be at the Olympics.”

Fourteen Olympic spots will be filled. The top two divers in each individual event and one synchro team (cumulative scores from prelims, semifinals and finals) earn berths in next month’s London Olympics (July 27-August 12).

The U.S. qualified to compete in London in seven of the eight events. The Americans will not have a women’s 10-meter synchro team at the Olympics.

For the first time since 2000, the Trials feature no Olympic medalists. However, there are Olympic veterans in all four individual events.

Viola is a two-time NCAA champion (2008 and 2011), won two U.S. national titles and finished tenth at last year’s World Championships.

“It’s something she has always dreamed about since she was a little kid, to wear the red, white and blue of the United States,” said Viola, a pitching coach for the New York Mets’ Class A farm team in Brooklyn.

“She’s worked so hard and come so close over the years. To see how far she’s come, it’s amazing.”

At 17, the gymnast-turned diver qualified for the U.S. team for the 2004 Athens Olympics with a second place finish on platform but the selection committee chose another diver.

Viola is no stranger to adversity. She battled an eating disorder (between 2004 and 2008) and spent 45 days in a treatment center in 2006. She underwent two surgeries for a foot injury and missed the 2010 season.

She climbed her way back to win two national titles and an NCAA crown. She was fourth on platform at the 2008 Olympic trials.

Viola, an eight-time U.S. national team member, and her coach Randy Ableman of Miami Diving, an Olympic veteran coach, said she is diving better than ever. She will battle contenders 2008 Olympian Haley Ishimatsu, Jessica Parratto, Amy Cozad, Anna James and Katie Bell.

“Both of my Olympic Trials experiences were very unique,” Viola said. “My first one was when I was 17 and a junior in high school. I was just ecstatic to be going and blown away at the opportunity and experience. Even though I just missed, it didn’t matter.”

Said NBC analyst Cynthia Potter, “Brittany Viola, even though she has not been on an Olympic team, has been to the world championships. She’s very popular and a good leader.”

Florida State’s Nick Klein will compete in the men’s 10-meter synchro, Ariel Rittenhouse in the 3-meter springboard and Katrina Young in women’s platform.

One of the more interesting storylines is 13-year-old Jordan Windle, an adopted Cambodian, the youngest Olympic diving hopeful in the field and youngest ever to qualify for the trials.

Windle grew up in Fort Lauderdale honing his skills at Fort Lauderdale Diving with Dave Burgering and Pine Crest with Janet Gabriel before his parents moved to Indianapolis to enable him to train at the USA Diving National Training Center. Diving legend Greg Louganis, who was also adopted, is one of Windle’s mentors. At age 10, he won his first international title.

Windle was featured on Disney Channel’s Getcha Head in the Game.

At 32, Troy Dumais is attempting to be the first U.S. male diver to make four Olympics. He is competing on 3-meter and 3-meter synchro with Kris Ipsen, who have won six straight national titles together.

Other divers to watch:

Men’s platform: Nick McCrory, David Boudia, Thomas Finchum

Men’s 3-meter springboard: Chris Colwill, Kris Ipsen

Women’s 3-meter springboard: Christina Loukas, Kelci Bryant, Cassidy Krug, Kassidy Cook

NBC Sports Network will televise prelims, semifinals and synchro competition from Tuesday through Friday. NBC will air all four individual finals live June 23-24.

More diving

Canadian Reuben Ross, also from the University of Miami, was fourth on 3-meter springboard at the fourth stop of the diving Grand Prix Circuit in Madrid, Spain. He missed the podium by just over a point with 465.30 points, scoring at least two 8s on each of his six dives in the final. “It was a solid performance, probably one of my best in international competition,” Ross said. “I did all my dives really well and it was a pretty exciting performance for me. The only disappointment is just coming so close to the podium.”


June 19, Tuesday, Midnight-2 a.m., NBCSN, men’s platform semifinals

June 20, Wednesday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., NBCSN, men’s 3-meter semifinals, women’s platform semifinals

June 21, Thursday, 10 p.m.-midnight, NBCSN, women’s 3-meter synchro and men’s platform finals

June 22, Friday, 11 p.m.-midnight, NBCSN, men’s 3-meter synchro

June 23, Saturday, 4-6 p.m., NBC, men’s platform finals

June 24, Sunday, 3-6 p.m., NBC, men’s and women’s 3-meter and women’s platform finals

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Let The Countdown Begin: 100 Days To Opening Day Of The London Olympic Games

Let The Countdown Begin: 100 Days To Opening Day Of The London Olympic Games


April 17, 2012

SOFLO’s Arlene Semeco of Venezuela and Nick Schwab of the Dominican Republic have already stamped their ticket to the Summer Olympics.

Several more including Olympians Dara Torres of the U.S., Alia Atkinson of Jamaica, Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan and Sharntelle McLean of Trinidad and Tobago are working toward that goal.

Wednesday marks the 100-day countdown to the July 27 opening for South Florida Aquatic club athletes and coaches training for Olympic glory at the 2012 London Games.

The $14.7 billion extravaganza will feature 10,500 athletes including 575 Americans from 204 nations competing in 26 sports and 300 events.

London organizers are putting the finishing touches on venues and city officials are preparing for fans and athletes from around the world training for their big moment in the spotlight.

It’s been a labor of love for Sebastian Coe, head of the London Organizing Committee, for seven years centered around turning the deprived industrial area in east London into Olympic Park.

Because of the Olympics, a large shopping mall, the athletes’ village will be turned into apartments, a new school will be built and other improvements are being planned.

“One hundred days means something to people,” Coe told reporters. “When you are talking about seven years, six years, five years, four years, that’s one thing, but actually you’re talking about days. It’s really very close.”

Olympic Fever will begin in earnest when the Olympic flame arrives in Land’s End on the westernmost tip of England on May 19, kicking off the start of the 70-day, 8,000-mile torch relay across the United Kingdom.

The next round of Olympic ticket sales will take place in May with 2.5 million tickets available. Those who were unable to secure tickets in previous rounds will get a 24-hour window before the remaining tickets go on sale on a first-come, first-serve basis.

On Wednesday, 73 athletes including swimmer Missy Franklin, diver Brittany Viola and water polo player Tony Azevedo, will gather in Times Square in New York City for the Road to London Celebration. Olympic legends will also be in attendance including divers Micki King and Greg Louganis and swimmers John Naber and Gary Hall Sr.

For those younger SOFLO swimmers, just a reminder the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games are right around the corner.


Olympian and five-time Olympic medalist Greg Louganis, who grew up training in South Florida, one of his former coaches Sammy Lee and former University of Miami diver and U.S. Olympic hopeful Brittany Viola rang the closing bell at NASDAQ Tuesday during a ceremony to ring in the Olympic Countdown. Louganis also turned on the switch that lights the Empire State Building in red, white and blue colors…McDonald’s is promoting “Champions of Play,” a program geared for kids ages 6 to 14 and built around physical activity and nutrition. It includes fliers in 70 million Happy Meals encouraging kids to earn activity points by doing such things as cartwheels or running or swimming with a friend and logging the activities online. The website goes live on June 4 with a preview launching on Wednesday. McDonald’s has signed up several well-known athletes including Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres, Shawn Johnson, Dwight Howard, Antonio Rossi, Fernando “Xuxa” Scherer and several others to help motivate the kids and participate in chat rooms.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 33: Gemmell, Gorman Win Fran Crippen SafeSwim 10K In Fort Lauderdale

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 33: Gemmell, Gorman Win Fran Crippen SafeSwim 10K In Fort Lauderdale


May 9, 2011

Over the weekend, the legacy Fran Crippen left behind in open water swimming was never more evident as many of his friends competed in  the warm, choppy waters off Fort Lauderdale beach.

The inaugural Fran Crippen SafeSwim Festival 10K, part of the four-day  festivities surrounding the International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies, went off without a hitch much to the delight of organizers, support crews and lifeguards.

It was one of many swims around the country named after Crippen, who tragically died last October while competing in an unsafe, FINA-sanctioned open water event in United Arab Emirates.

Because of the six-time U.S. national champion’s senseless death, an  expert panel has come up with improved safety standards for open water swimming and helped raise awareness for the sport.

The invitation-only 10K swim was won by American long distance swimmer Andrew Gemmell, the 2009 World 10K silver medalist and USA Open Water Swimmer of the Year, who topped an impressive field of Americans, Canadians and Australians to win $1,000 in prize money.

With 2K to go, Gemmell overtook the lead from national champion Chad LaTourette by averaging 96 strokes per minute.

Sergiy Fesenko, a week after competing in the FINA World Cup 10K in Cancun, was second. The three-time Olympian from Azerbaijan trains at Indiana University. LaTourette finished third.

On the women’s side, world 5K champion Melissa Gorman of Australia won the race just ahead of Christine Jennings and Eva Fabian in a close five-woman race.

Jennings was in the lead on the last lap and last buoy turn until Gorman started dolphining earlier than Jennings and moved ahead of her running up the beach. Jennings finished second and Fabian was third.

In the One Mile Dash For Cash, featuring Olympic gold medalists Aaron Peirsol and Peter Vanderkaay, Aussie Travis Nederpelt finished ahead of Vanderkaay to the finish line on the beach. American Conor Dwyer was third. Nederpelt won $300, Vanderkaay $200 and Dwyer $100.

National team swimmer Chloe Sutton won the women’s race and finished fifth overall.

The 10K event was held on the same course as the American and Canadian national championships in June.

Crippen’s sisters Maddy and Teresa helped run a clinic alongside several of the swimmers who participated in the race. The clinic attracted all ages from 10 to 56.

The festival, staged by ISHOF, the City of Fort Lauderdale and The Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation, hopes to return next year.


Nineteen-year-old Austria national team member Jakub Maly will think twice about jumping into holes at the beach after his life-threatening experience on Pompano Beach on Sunday.

After three weeks of training at the Pompano Beach Aquatic Center, the Austrian 14-swimmer contingent had the day off and decided to spend it at the beach at the 700 block of North Ocean Boulevard.

Maly, who spent the day digging a 7-foot deep by 6-foot wide hole with his teammates, jumped in the hole as a joke but was immediately buried in sand up to his neck when the sides collapsed. The pressure from the sand made it difficult for Maly to breathe. It took 60 rescue personnel nearly three hours to dig him out.

Maly could have been crushed by the pressure of the sand, rescuers said. He was taken to North Broward Hospital as a precaution and released. Maly, a breaststroker who shares the Austrian national short course record in the 4×50 medley relay, and his team boarded a plane Monday for home.

UM’s Viola Qualifies For Diving Worlds

University of Miami graduate Brittany Viola, 24, continued her remarkable comeback from two foot surgeries by qualifying for this summer’s FINA World Aquatic Championships in Shanghai, China during the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale.

Viola qualified on platform from her winter national title and 324 points she earned in prelims at the Fort Lauderdale meet. “Everything has been so unexpected,” Viola said.

Fifteen-year-old Aussie Brittany Broben, despite a sore knee, won her international debut in the platform competition by knocking off Olympic gold medalist Chen Ruolin of China.

China dominated most of the four-day meet winning five of the eight titles at stake, including all the men’s events. The U.S. divers won one gold, two silvers and four bronze.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com