SOFLO’s Julio Horrego Leads Florida Gold Coast 20-Swimmer Contingent For FINA World Aquatics Championships That Begin Saturday

By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 15, 2022–Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego of South Florida Aquatic Club will compete on opening day of the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships Saturday at Duna Arena.

Horrego, 23, will swim the prelims of the 100-meter breaststroke. It is the first of two events he will compete in. He will also swim the 50-meter breaststroke.

Horrego competed in the 2019 World Championships in South Korea, 2019 Pan American Games in Peru and 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan and was flagbearer for his country in the opening parade of nations ceremony.

Horrego will see plenty of familiar faces during the meet with Florida Gold Coast well-represented with 20 swimmers competing on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Azura Florida Aquatics has qualified 14 swimmers.

Heading the group is Uruguayan national record holder Micaela Sierra. The Pompano Beach resident who will start swimming for Auburn University this fall, competed for South Florida Heat in high school.

Other Azura swimmers are: Esteban Nunez Del Prado, Bolivia; Fatima Portillo, El Salvador, open water; Jahir Lopez, Ecuador, open water; Jayhan Odlum-Smith, St. Lucia; Jenebi Benoit, Grenada; Julimar Avila, Honduras; Kito Campbell, Jamaica; Leon Seaton, Guyana; Matheo Mateos, Paraguay; Maximiliano Paccot, Uruguay; Nicole Frank, Uruguay; Steven Aimable, Senegal and Yeziel Morales, Puerto Rico, coming off the PanAm Aquatics Age Group Championships.

Brazil Olympic bronze medalist Bruno Fratus of Coral Springs Swim Club will compete in the 50-meter freestyle.

Patrick Groters, a former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swim Club swimmer now at South Carolina, will represent Aruba in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and 200 individual medley.

Former St. Andrew’s and Florida State swimmer Izaak Bastian, national record holder for the Bahamas, will compete in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes.

Former Plantation American Heritage swimmer Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago will compete in the 50 butterfly, and 50 and 100 freestyles.

University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach and Forest Hill High School and East Coast Aquatic Club alum, will compete in the 5K and 25K open water events for the U.S. team.

The swimming opens Saturday and runs through June 25 with the pool events. The aquatics championships that also features water polo, diving, open water swimming, high diving and synchronized swimming end July 3. NBC Sports will televise the swimming finals only. The FINA facebook page will show the other competitions. Canada’s CBC will also broadcast the swimming.

Saturday’s opening day prelim events are: women’s 200 IM, men’s 400 freestyle, women’s 100 butterfly, men’s 50 butterfly, women’s 400 freestile, men’s 100 breaststroke, men’s 400 IM and women’s and men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Finals will be held in the men’s and women’s 400 freestyle, men’s 400 IM and relays. The opening ceremony will also be held.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

International Swimming League Begins Second Season Friday; SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Leads London Roar

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, October 15, 2020—Despite increased COVID-19 concerns across Europe, the International Swimming League gets under way this weekend.

The five-week season begins Friday in Budapest, Hungary with the league finale set for Nov. 21-22.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 31, one of the oldest swimmers in the pro league, makes her debut with her new team, the London Roar, on Sunday.

On Friday, 10-a.m.-noon and Saturday 2-4 p.m. EST, reigning champion Energy Standard, Cali Condors, LA Current and NY Breakers open the season. On Sunday, 12-2 p.m. and 10 a.m.-noon EST on Monday, Atkinson and her London Roar, DC Trident, Aqua Centurions and Iron begin their title run.

The ISL is taking all COVID-19 safety precautions according to league officials.

ISL officials said a comprehensive medical protocol allowed its swimmers to enter the country.

ISL technical director Apostolos Tsagkarakis said everyone travelling to Budapest underwent two COVID-19 tests prior to departure and another on arrival.

More tests were 48 hours before training could start. There are tests every five days.

Swimmers are staying in single rooms exclusively reserved for them on Margaret Island which houses the ISL Village at Ensana Thermal Hotel on the Danube. It is much like the same bubble format used for the NBA and WNBA seasons in a “bio-secure” environment. Atkinson arrived earlier this week.

The London Roar was runners-up without Atkinson in the inagural season. Atkinson joined London Roar as a free agent. Brit Adam Peaty leads the men’s lineup. The Roar lost its talented Australian swimmers because of COVID-19.

The ISL meets will be broadcast in more than 140 countries by some major networks. The 13-meet season will air on CBS in the U.S. The BBC and Eurosports are carrying it in Europe and CBC in Canada. The Caribbean islands can view Atkinson on ESPN.

The regular season ends on Nov. 10, with the two-meet semifinal on Nov.14-15 and Nov. 15-16, followed by the final a week later.

The 320-swimmer, 10-team professional league, sponsored by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin, is funding its contracted salaried athletes with additional monthly payments of $1,500 from September through the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympics.

The league format differs from other swimming events and takes some getting accustomed to.

Ten teams with four competing in each meet. Each team will have two athletes per event and two squads per relay event.

Each team has 32 swimmers on their roster, 16 men and 16 women, and 28 will compete in each meet.

There will be 32 individual races, five relay events and two skins events.

Each athlete scores points according to their ranking with the winner getting nine points, the runner-up seven points and the third six in descending order with the eighth-placed swimmer taking home one point.

The 2020 schedule:

Oct. 16, 17: Energy Standard, Cali Condors, New York Breakers, LA Current.

Oct. 18, 19: London Roar, DC Trident, Aqua Centurions, Team Iron.

Oct. 24, 25: Aqua Centurions, Tokyo Frog Kings, LA Current, Toronto Titans.

Oct. 26, 27: DC Trident, Team Iron, Cali Condors, New York Breakers.

Oct. 30, 31: London Roar, DC Trident, LA Current, Tokyo Frog Kings.

Nov. 1, 2: Energy Standard, Aqua Centurions, New York Breakers, Toronto Titans.

Nov. 5, 6: London Roar, Tokyo Frog Kings, Cali Condors, New York Breakers.

Nov. 5, 6: Energy Standard, DC Trident, Toronto Titans, Team Iron.

Nov. 9, 0: Energy Standard, Team Iron, Tokyo Frog Kings, Toronto Titans.

Nov. 9, 10: London Roar, Cali Condors, LA Current, Aqua Centurions.

Nov. 14, 15: Semi-Finals.

Nov. 15, 16: Semi-Finals.

Nov. 21, 22: Grand Final.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Two World Records Broken; SOFLO’s Gaby Banks, Pine Crest’s Nicholas Vale Wrap Up 7th FINA World Junior Championships

By Sharon Robb

BUDAPEST, Hungary, August 25, 2019—Croatia and Russia claimed the last two world junior and championship records on the sixth and final day of the 7th FINA World Junior Championships Sunday at Duna Arena.

Croatian teenager Franko Grgic, 16, won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:46.09, both world and championship records. The previous world junior record was 14:51.55 set in 2014.

Grgic’s time was the sixth-fastest in the world this year. He led from start-to-finish and won by more than a half body length.

Russia broke its own world junior record in the 400-meter medley relay by 1.98 seconds. The foursome of Nikolay Zuev (53.84), Vladislav Gerasimento (59.53), Andrei Minakov (50.93) and Aleksandr Shchegolev (48.89) won in 3:33.19. The U.S. was second in 3:33.66.

The Russian Federation ended the United States’ perfect streak in relays on the final night.

Other individual winners:

Russian Andrei Minakov won the 100-meter freestyle in 48.73. The U.S. did not make the medal podium.

Russian teammate Evgeniia Chikunova won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:24.03 ahead of teammate Anastasia Makarova in 2:24.39.

The U.S. finished one-two in the men’s 200-meter backstroke with Wyatt Davis winning gold in 1:58.18 and Carson Foster second in 1:58.47.

American Torri Huske won the 100-meter butterfly in 57.71.

The U.S. went one-two in the 50-meter freestyle with Gretchen Walsh in 24.71 and Maxine Parker in 24.75.

American Luca Urlando won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.02.

Russian Vladislav Gerasimenko won the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.58.

Erika Fairweather won New Zealand’s first gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:57.96.

The U.S. women ended the meet with a gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay in 3:59.13 with Claire Curzan (1:00.75), Kaitlyn Dobler (1:07.51), Torri Huske (57.86) and Gretchen Walsh (53.01).It was the only relay in the field to crazk 4 minutes.

Andrei Minakov of Russia and Lani Pallister of Austrailia were named Swimmers of the Meet.

Minakov, 17, won three gold and four silvers and finished with 13 points. Pallister, 17, won three gold medals sweeping the distance freestyle events and three silver medals for 18 points.

Florida Gold Coast past and present swimmers:

17. Jamaica, 4×100-meter medley relay, Nathaniel Thomas, Cameron Brown, Nicholas Vale, Kyle Sinclair, 4:05.60.

17. Jamaica, 4×100-meter medley relay, Zaneta Alvaranga, Sabrina Lyn, Emily MacDonald, Gaby Banks, 4:44.38.

25. Rodolfo Falcon Jr., Cuba, Azura, 1500-meter freestyle, 16:10.54.

73. Gaby Banks, Jamaica, SOFLO/Cypress Bay, 200-meter freestyle, 2:16.00.

Around 800 young promising swimmers ages between 15-17 (women) 14-18 (men) competed 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.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Gaby Banks, Pine Crest’s Nicholas Vale Will Compete For Jamaica In FINA World Junior Championships That Begin Tuesday

By Sharon Robb

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, August 19, 2019—Gaby Banks of South Florida Aquatic Club and Nicholas Vale of Pine Crest Swimming are among Jamaica’s eight-swimmer contingent in the seventh FINA World Junior Swimming Championships that begin Tuesday.

The six-day meet will feature the world’s best under-18 swimmers competing at the state-of-the-art Danube Arena.

Banks, 16, will compete in four events: 50-meter freestyle (26.65), 200-meter freestyle (2:15.05), 50-meter backstroke (34.29) and 200-meter individual medley.

Banks will be a senior at Cypress Bay High School when the swim season begins.

Vale will compete in five events: 100-meter freestyle (53.87); 200-meter freestyle (1:57.03); 400-meter freestyle (4:14.61); 50-meter butterfly (25.41); and 100-meter butterfly (57.95).

Vale, 18, will be a freshman at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

Other past and present Florida Gold Coast swimmers competing are:

Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, St. Andrew’s alum: 50-meter freestyle (23.18); 50-meter breaststroke (28.20); 100-meter breaststroke (1:02.41); and 200-meter breaststroke (2:18.03).

Rodolfo Falcon, Cuba, Azura: 400-meter freestyle (4:06.27); 800-meter freestyle (8:24.40); and 1500-meter freestyle (16:00.80).

Luis Bucaro, Guatemale, Cypress Bay/TS Aquatics: 50-meter freestyle (26.24); 100-meter freestyle (55.01); 200-meter freestyle (1:57.84); and 400-meter freestyle (4:10.61).

Alex Joachim, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Azura: 50-meter freestyle (26.08); 100-meter freestyle (54.96); 50-meter backstroke (29.35); 50-meter breaststroke (31.44); 200-meter breaststroke (NTA); 50-meter butterfly (NTA); 100-meter butterfly (NTA); and 200-meter butterfly (2:18.15).

The U.S. team features 45 talented swimmers from 39 clubs across 19 different states.

Emerging talents such as U.S. National Team members Luca Urlando (Sacramento, California./DART Swimming) and Chase Travis (Warren, N.J./Somerset Valley YMCA) will look to showcase their talents on the world stage. Urlando and National Junior Team teammate Carson Foster (Montgomery, Ohio/Mason Manta Rays) will have the largest schedule of events competing in five races each.

“As we look at the teams we put together, we see swimmers that are already close to or breaking world junior records,” Team USA men’s head coach Billy Doughty said. “The youth coming up through United States swimming is pretty exciting.”

Added Team USA women’s head coach Crystal Keelan: “There’s a lot of fast kids out there, but some of the swims [by junior athletes] have been a little bit shocking and pretty exciting. We’re looking forward to seeing what they can do in international competition against the world’s best.”


MEN: 50 Free: David Curtiss, USA, 22.25; 100 Free: Andrei Minakov, RUS, 48.50; 200 Free: Luca Urlando, USA, 1:46.51; 400 Free: Jake Mitchell, USA, 3:48.09; 800 Free: Aleksandr Egorov, RUS, 7:52.04; 1500 Free: Franko Grgic, CRO, 14:56.55; 50 Back: Thomas Ceccon, ITA, 25.16; 100 Back: Thomas Ceccon, ITA, 53.60; 200 Back: Jan Cejka, CZE, 1:57.51; 50 Breast: Vladislav Gerasimenko, RUS, 27.77; 100 Breast: Alexander Zhigalov, RUS, 1:00.75; 200 Breast: Shoma Sato, JPN, 2:09.42; 50 Fly: Thomas Ceccon, ITA, 23.46; 100 Fly: Andrei Minakov, RUS, 50.83; 200 Fly: Luca Urlando, USA, 1:53.84; 200 IM: Carson Foster, USA, 1:58.69; 400 IM: Carson Foster, USA, 4:13.39; 4×100 free: Russia, 3:18.11; 4×200 free: United States, 7:16.42; 4×100 medley: Russia, 3:35.17.

WOMEN: 50 Free: Gretchen Walsh, USA, 24.85; 100 Free: Gretchen Walsh, USA, 54.13; 200 Free: Claire Tuggle, USA, 1:58.21; 400 Free: Lani Pallister, AUS, 4:06.57; 800 Free: Lani Pallister, AUS, 8:25.66; 1500 Free: Lani Pallister, AUS, 16:06.84; 50 Back: Daria Vaskina, RUS, 27.51; 100 Back: Daria Vaskina, RUS, 59.46; 200 Back: Rye Ulett, USA, 2:09.70; 50 Breast: Benedetta Pilato, ITA, 29.98; 100 Breast: Kayla van der Merwe, GBR, 1:07.12; 200 Breast: Evgeniia Chikunova, RUS, 2:21.07; 50 Fly: Anastasiya Shkurdai, BLR, 25.87; 100 Fly: Anastasiya Shkurdai, BLR, 57.39; 200 Fly: Lillie Nordmann, USA, 2:07.43; 200 IM: Anastasia Gorbenko, ISR, 2:11.92; 400 IM: Alba Vazques Ruiz, ESP, 4:40.64; 4×100 free: United States, 3:40.20; 4×200 free: China, 7:52.30; 4×100 medley: Russia, 4:01.83.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas Competes Sunday In 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 22, 2017—Marc Rojas is a feel-good success story in swimming.

The 23-year-old South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer has had his share of ups and downs in the sport but continues to enjoy the journey that takes him to the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

On Sunday, the first day of the swimming competition, Rojas, representing the Dominican Republic, will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke. He will swim in the third of eight heats along with another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Pine Crest Swimming’s Jordy Groters of Aruba, now swimming at Missouri.

Rojas will also compete in the 50-meter breaststroke later in the week.

It will be his first long course world championships. In December 2016, he made his international debut at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Windsor, Canada.

“That was suppose to me my last meet supposedly, that was the plan,” Rojas said.

After graduating Florida State, the former high school state champion at Pembroke Pines Charter and junior national champion at Indian River State College wasn’t planning on swimming much longer.

“I was training to make my U.S. Trials cut but I didn’t do it,” Rojas said. “I waited to see if I could represent the Dominican Republic (his father is Dominican) so I kept training through the summer. The paperwork and everything went through giving me the okay for world championships in December.”

Rojas made a lasting impression in his international debut. He finished the 100-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 1:02.18 and national age group short course record for the Dominican Republic.

“That opened the door for me to keep representing the Dominican Republic for the next few years and here I am,” Rojas said.

“I am super excited,” said Rojas, whose mom Elena will watch her son from the stands.

Longtime SOFLO coach Chris Anderson, who has guided his transformation from a gangly teenager to an international swimmer, will coach him in addition to the Jamaican national team without four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, who is training for the FINA World Cup prize money series.

“It’s going to be a great meet to see all these high level competitors with world rankings and Olympic medals,” Rojas said.

After qualifying for worlds at the Dominican Nationals and being selected for the world team, Rojas has settled into a disciplined and structured lifestyle he said is “swimming, working and schooling.” Rojas is taking the prerequisite classes to get into nursing school.

“I want to stay with swimming for a while,” Rojas said. “I put a lot of thought into it. I thought that getting a career is always going to be there. With swimming, if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to pick it up later. I don’t want to look back over the course of the years and think what could have been. I want to jump on this opportunity I have and go for it.”

Most of the world’s top breaststrokers are in the men’s field including Adam Peaty of Great Britain, Felipe Lima of Brazil, Cody Miller and Kevin Cordes of the U.S., Cameron Van Der Burgh of South Africa and China’s Zibei Yan.

“It’s really cool to be here,” Rojas said. “It’s just like Canada. I feel gratitude and very fortunate to be at worlds around this high level of athlete. These are the greatest athletes in the world.

“The most nerve wracking moment is the ready room where all the athletes are going through their little routines and getting in the zone. In Canada that was the first time for me. It was a cool moment to look around and see the world’s greatest swimmers by your side. It was a cool experience and I’m looking forward to it and competing.”

In addition to Groters, other swimmers with Florida Gold Coast ties are: Gulliver Swim Club’s Alicia Mancilla of Guatemala with her Gulliver head coach Chris George; Metro Aquatics/Duke’s Isabella Paez of Venezuela; St. Andrew’s Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands; Pine Crest Swimming’s Mikel Schreuders of Aruba; Azura’s Marcos Lavada of Venezuela and Eisner Barberena of Nicaragua; and Azura alum Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador and Daniella van den Berg of Aruba. Other top Florida swimmers ready to take center stage after making a big splash at the 2016 Rio Olympics are Clay High School alum Caeleb Dressel, 20, and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 22.

Sunday’s opening session features preliminary rounds in eight different events with four finals. The men’s and women’s 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter freestyle relays will bypass semifinals and advance directly into the finals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Cunha Wins Third 25K Open Water Gold Medal; UM Diver Dinsmore Advances To Saturday Final At FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 21, 2017—In the last and most grueling of six open water races, defending champion Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil won the women’s 25K open water race for her third world title on Day 8 of the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships Friday at Lake Balaton.

Cunha, who has frequently trained in South Florida and won the Fort Lauderdale Roughwater event, finished in 5 hours, 21 minutes and 58 seconds, a two-second margin of victory.

She is only the second woman to win three world golds. Dutch swimmer Edith van Dijk won four.

Cunha also won gold at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai and 2015 in Kazan. Cunha has two silver medals and four bronze medals from past world championships. She has made the podium in every individual open water event.

“When it starts, I think of nothing, but toward the end I knew I was the only one in the leading three that had done the 25K course before,” Cunha said. “So I know the pain that would arrive at the end. This experience made the difference.”

Olympic 10K gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands was second in 5:22:00. Arianna Bridi of Italy took the bronze in 5:22:08.

American Becca Mann, a former Clearwater (CAT) swimmer, was seventh in 5:27:06.

France continued its dominance in open water with Axel Reymond winning the men’s 25K by just 6/10ths of a second.

Swimming for more than five hours, the Frenchman defeated Matteo Furlan of Italy (5:02:47).

“When there are 200 meters left, all you think about is touching the board,” Reymond said.

Russian Evgenii Drattcev took bronze in 5:02:49. American Chip Peterson was fifth in 5:03:43.

There were 44 finishers in the race. Five were unable to finish the race. Warm temperatures were also a challenge. The water temp was 75 degrees.


University of Miami redshirt sophomore David Dinsmore finished fourth in men’s 10-meter platform semifinals to qualify for Saturday’s final for Team USA.

Dinsmore, the NCAA national platform champion as a freshman, scored 483.10 points to qualify for his first worlds final.

Dinsmore is ranked behind Aleksandr Bondar of Russia (509.10), Tom Daley of Great Britain (498.65) and Chen Aisen of China (488.55) and will be in the medal hunt on Saturday.

“It’s really exciting,” Dinsmore said. “Last time I had a good meet but there was tough competition and it didn’t work out. Especially this year after the Olympic year, I wanted to come out and dive as best I could and things worked out.”

At the 2015 World Championships, Dinsmore finished 15th in the semifinals. Earlier in the week, Dinsmore earned a bronze medal in the mixed 3-meter/10-meter team event with Krysta Palmer.

Fort Lauderdale’s Jordan Windle finished 26th in the 10-meter prelims in his first worlds competing in an individual event.

Olympic gold medalist Shi Tingmao led China to a one-two finish in the women’s 3-meter springboard final. Shi, the defending champion and Monday’s 3-meter synchro winner, finished first with 383.50 points followed by teammate Wang Han (359.40) to capture China’s ninth consecutive gold medal in the event and seventh in 11 diving events in Budapest. Canadian Jennifer Abel took the bronze medal with 3:51.55 for the second worlds in a row.

“I need to work harder in order to achieve a higher score and win more gold medals,” Shi said.

Chinese divers have won 20 of the last 21 Olympic and world titles in the 3-meter springboard since 1986.

The last two diving finals are scheduled for Saturday.


Russia won the team free title winning its sixth gold medal. Twelve teams were in the final. Russia has been the title holder of the team title since 2007. Russia scored 97.300 points. China took the silver and Ukraine took bronze.


The U.S., Italy, Hungary and Greece all advanced into the women’s quarterfinal round. Italy has won three straight games and earned an automatic berth.

In the men’s tournament, Croatia reached the quarterfinals as expected. Croatia has beaten the U.S., Russia and Japan.


In the medal tally, China leads with 16 total medals including seven golds, Russia has 13, Italy had 8 and France has 7. The U.S. has 5 medals including only one gold.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

French Capture Third Gold In Open Water Swimming At 17th FINA World Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 20, 2017—France won its third gold medal in open water swimming on Day 7 of the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships Thursday at Lake Balaton.

The French won the mixed 5K event with two men and two women each swimming 1.25K in a new relay format. In the last world championships it was only two men and one woman.

Aurelie Muller and Marc-Antoine Olivier have now won two gold and three medals overall. They were joined by teammates Oceane Cassignol and Logan Fontaine on the winners’ podium.

Olivier clinched the win with the second fastest anchor leg. The winning time was 54:05.90. France, turning heads in open water swimming the past week, have now won five medals in open water with the 25K races still to come.

The U.S. team, with a strong anchor leg from Jordan Wilimovsky, took the silver just 12 seconds behind first in 54:18.10. Wilimovsky (12:05) was three second faster than Olivier (12:08) on the final leg.

Wilimovsky was joined by teammates Brendan Casey, Ashley Twichell and Haley Anderson.

Italy finished just ahead of Great Britain for the bronze in 54:31.00 with Federico Vanelli, Mario Sanzullo, Rachele Bruni and Giulia Gabbrielleschi. Defending champion Germany was eighth.


Xie Siyi gave China its sixth diving gold medal in men’s 3-meter springboard scoring 547.10 points ahead of Patrick Hausding of Germany (526.15) and Russia’s Ilia Zakharov (505.90). Olympic champion Cao Yuan of China faded to tenth with 453.70 points. With two days left in diving, China has six of ten diving golds.


Russia’s Svetlana Kolesnichenko won her fourth gold medal of the world championships in the duet free final with partner Alexandra Patskevich. The pair totaled 97.000 finishing ahead of the teams from China and Ukraine.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Open Water Swimming Takes Spotlight At 17th FINA World Championships; French Sweep In First Two Races

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 16, 2017—Despite choppy waters in Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe, Olympic bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier of France won the men’s five kilometer open water swimming race to take center stage at the 17th FINA World Championships.

Olivier won in 54:31.40, just .7 seconds ahead of Italy’s Mario Sanzullo (54:32.10).

It was a European sweep with Great Britain’s Timothy Shuttleworth taking the bronze medal, (54:42.10), 10.7 seconds behind the winning time.

“My goal was to win the gold medal after finishing third in last year’s Olympics in Rio,” Olivier said. “The first 3,000 meters weren’t perfect, but I changed tactics and managed to finish first.”

It was the first world championship medal for all three swimmers.

Top American finisher was David Heron placing tenth in 54:48.20, 16.80 minutes out of first. U.S. teammate Andrew Gemmell, among early leaders, faded to 17th in 54:59.30, 27.90 minutes out of first.

A field of 62 swimmers competed in the first of seven open water events. The women’s 5K is July 19th.

In the women’s 10K event, Frenchwoman and defending champion Aurelie Muller won the gold medal in 2:00:13.70, 3.30 ahead of Ecuador’s Samantha Arevalo in 2:00:17.00.

There was a tie for the bronze medal in 2:00:17.20 between Italy’s Arianna Bridi and Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha, who has trained and competed in South Florida in past years.

Top American finisher was Haley Anderson placing sixth in 2:00:25.90, 12.20 out of first. Teammate Ashley Twichell was tenth in 2:00.41.30, 27.60 off first.


St. Andrew’s Swimming aquatics director and head coach Sid Cassidy was honored by FINA for his contribution in open water swimming. Cassidy received the Gold Pin from FINA for his work in international open water swimming.


Four-time champion U.S. women’s team opened worlds with a 24-2 rout of South Africa. Jamie Neushul scored a game-high six goals. Italy defeated Canada, 10-4, China beat Brazil, 11-4, and Spain topped New Zealand, 10-2.


Four University of Miami divers are competing at the FINA World Championships.

Redshirt sophomore David Dinsmore, alum and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Sam Dorman and senior Briadam Herrera are representing the U.S. Junior diver Marcela Maric is competing for her native Croatia.

Longtime USA Diving and UM coach Randy Ableman is coaching the divers.

On Saturday, Olympic silver medalists Michael Hixon and Dorman placed sixth in the 3-meter synchro event with 409.05 points. In prelims, they qualified third with 410.10. On Sunday, Hixon finished fifth in the 1-meter springboard finals with 439.15. China’s Peng Jianfeng won gold with 448.40. Aussie Maddison Keeney won the women’s 1-meter title and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Ilia Zakharov won the men’s 3-meter synchro title.

Former local diver Kassidy Cook, a 2016 Olympian, was scheduled to compete in 3-meter synchro but withdrew from worlds because of a shoulder injury.

Chinese teenagers Ren Qian and Lian Junjie won the gold medal in the mixed 10-meter platform. The pair of 16-year-olds won with 352.98 in the first final of the worlds. Ren is the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 10-meter platform event.

China also won the women’s 10-meter platform synchro with Ren and Si Yajie with 352.56 points.


Russia’s Svetlana Kolesnichenko, 23, won the first gold medal of the World Championships synchronized swimming competition. She finished the solo competition with 95.2035 points performing to the theme Solveig song. She made history by winning Russia’s 50th medal in the sport’s history at worlds.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

17th FINA World Aquatic Championships Get Under Way Friday In Budapest, Hungary

By Sharon Robb

July 13, 2017—For the next seventeen days, open water swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, diving, high diving and pool swimming will take center stage in Budapest, Hungary.

Opening ceremonies, diving and synchronized swimming will open the schedule on Friday. Open water swimming begins on Saturday followed by water polo on Sunday.

Two cities (Budapest and Balatonfured) and five iconic sport venues will host nearly 3,000 athletes from 181 nations in six disciplines. It is the largest sporting event Hungary has ever hosted.

Swimming and diving will be held in the new state-of-the art Degaly Swimming Complex that was constructed in less than two years.

Pool swimming, that will feature South Florida Aquatic Club’s Marc Rojas of the Dominican Republic making his worlds debut and SOFLO coach Chris Anderson coaching the Jamaican national team without four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson and several other Florida Gold Coast swimmers and coaches, will start on July 23rd followed by three days of high diving.

High diving is increasing in popularity at the world championships. The increased quality of dives from about 66 feet and speeds up to 85 mph and breath taking sport with television appeal and live crowds of 75,000 has attracted the attention of the International Olympic Committee. FINA, governing body for aquatic sports, added men’s and women’s high diving to the world championships in 2013.

Pembroke Pines high diver Steven LoBue is among medal favorites. LoBue’s wife, Lindsay Lowell was a diver for Cooper City High School, Fort Lauderdale Diving Team and Florida International. LoBue, a fan favorite on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, is a TYR athlete.

China won the most medals at the 2015 World Championships with 35 (15 gold, 10 silver, 10 bronze) ahead of the U.S. with 33 medals (13 gold, 14 silver, 6 bronze) and Russia with 17 (9 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze).

The World Championships are held every two years.

FINAtv ( is offering daily live and on-demand streaming of all events. It will be available around the clock on mobile, tablet, desktop and televisions. In the U.S., NBC Universal has the rights to the event. NBC, NBCSN and the Olympic Channel will televise various events. Check your local listings.

Sharon Robb can be reached at