Atkinson, Carter, Paez Win Gold At CAC Games In Colombia; FSU’s Pisani Makes Canada’s Pan Pacs Team


By Sharon Robb

BARRANQUILLA, COLOMBIA, July 23, 2018—Swimmers who trained and competed at local Florida Gold Coast clubs and high schools are taking center stage at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatics Complex and Canadian Trials in Edmonton.

Plantation American Heritage and former USC Trojan Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago crushed the 50-meter butterfly for a gold medal in a lifetime-best 23.11 which now ranks fourth in the world. He first broke the record in prelims in 23.50.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 29, won a gold medal and broke her second CAC meet record in the 50-meter breaststroke. She won in 30.19, fourth fastest mark in the world this season, bettering the previous record of 31.14 she set in morning prelims. It is the third fastest time of her long career and just .08 what she swam at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan where she took silver.

Atkinson also won a gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.60.

“It was pretty good,” Atkinson told reporters. “I’m starting to feel the effects of the dehydration and heat, so hopefully I can continue and get better as it goes along.

“My race was a bit harder than I thought. It wasn’t as clean as I thought it would have been but hopefully in the future we’ll get it better for the finals. It was more of the effects of the dehydration and tightening of the muscles.”

Atkinson was also fourth in the 100-meter freestyle in 55.41.

Atkinson now has 12 CAC Games gold medals in her career. Atkinson’s three gold medals are the only ones won by Jamaica since the Games opened on Thursday.

Athletes are competing in near 100-degree heat during the day.

Recent Duke University graduate Isabella Paez won the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:11.26, just .01 shy of the Games record. It was her second “A” final of the meet. She also finished fourth in the 50-meter butterfly and was a member of Venezuela’s fourth place in the 800-meter freestyle relay (8:22.92).

The Venezuelan national team member swam for Metro Aquatic Club of Miami and Ronald Reagan Doral High School before earning a scholarship to Duke where she represented the Blue Devils at the NCAA Championships.

Her mom posted on Facebook: “There are no words to see your daughter make the anthem of your country, Bravo Isa, you are a warrior, we love you mucho.”

Held every four years since 1926, the CACs are a multi-sport competition involving countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico and the South American countries of Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.

CANADIAN TRIALS

Florida State senior William Pisani, a Riviera Beach Suncoast alum and Lake Lytal Lightning club swimmer, earned a spot on Canada’s national team for the Aug. 9-12 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

Pisani earned his spot on the 32-roster men’s team with a second-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly in 53.17 at the Canadian Trials in Edmonton, Alberta.

“I am so happy for Will,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “He is a great example of what happens when talent works hard. His improvements here at FSU in the last two years show how well he has focused on what he does every day and making his first national team with two years until the Olympics is great timing. The future looks bright.”

Pisani also took third in the 50-meter freestyle in 22.51, just .04 off the FINA A standard, and fifth in the 100-meter freestyle in 49.92 after swimming a personal best in prelims in 49.59.

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

Atkinson, Carter Win Gold On Opening Night Of CAC Games


By Sharon Robb

BARRANQUILLA, COLOMBIA, July 20, 2018—Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson opened the 23rd Central American and Caribbean(CAC)Games successfully Friday at the newly-built Complejo Acuatico.

Atkinson, the oldest member of the Jamaican swim team, won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.38. Her splits were 30.85 and 35.98.

Atkinson broke the previous CAC Games record of 1:07.99 set in prelims by Byanca Rodriguez Villanueva of Mexico.

Atkinson was also a member of Jamaica’s 4×100-meter mixed relay which failed to medal, placing fifth in 4:01.90.

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago won the 100-meter freestyle in 48.95, also a CAC Games record. The previous record was 49.00 set in 2014 by Cuba’s Hanser Garcia.

Colombia leads in the gold medal count with 10 and 22 overall medals. Mexico has 23 overall medals including six golds.

More than 5,800 athletes are competing in 36 sports in the quadrennial event that features athletes from Central America, Caribbean and South America.

Fifteen other Jamaican swimmers are currently training in China as part of the Jamaica China Technical Cooperation Project on Sports Coaching. According to the Jamaican Swimming Federation, it is part of a three-year project (2018-2020).

FRIDAY RESULTS
WOMEN

100-meter breaststroke:
1. Alia Atkinson, JAM 1:06.83, 2. Byanca Melissa Rodriguez, MEX 1:07.80, 3. Esther GonzalezCentral, MEX 1:10.60.

400-meter freestyle:
1. Joanna Evans, Bahamas 4:11.15, 2. Allyson Macias Alba, MEX 4:14.74, 3. Helena Moreno Hernandez, CR 4:15.51.

50-meter backstroke:
1. Isabella Arcila Hurtado, COL 28.11, 2. Maria Gonzalez Ramirez, MEX 28.57, 3. Laura Jean, GLP 28.60.

MEN

Mixed 4×100-meter medley relay:
1. Mexico 3:49.61, 2. Colombia 3:50.40, 3. Venezuela 3:53.58.

200-meter butterfly:
1. Jonathan David Gomez Noriega, COL 1:57.03, CAC record, 2. Hector Ruvalcaa Cruz, MEX 1:59.13, 3. Luis Vega Torres, CUBA 1:59.23.

100-meter freestyle:
1. Dylan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago 48.95, 2. Mikel Schreuders, Aruba 49.17, 3. Jorge Iga Cesar, MEX 49.28, 5. Renzo Tjon A Joe, Surinam 49.38.

4×200-meter freestyle relay:
1. Venezuela 7:24.18, 2. Mexico 7:26.94, 3. Puerto Rico 7:27.29.

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

Defending Champion SOFLO Heads Field For This Week’s FGC Long Course Junior Olympics


By Sharon Robb

STUART, July 18, 2018—South Florida Aquatic Club will try and build on its winning tradition and legacy at this week’s Florida Gold Coast Long Course Junior Olympics.

The four-day meet begins Thursday at Sailfish Splash Water Park.

SOFLO is going after its ninth consecutive JO long course team title and tenth overall in club history. SOFLO has also won back-to-back short and long course JO titles five times.

In March, SOFLO won the FGC 14&Under Short Course JOs for a record eighth consecutive and ninth overall in the club’s 18-year history.

SOFLO, defending champion in combined and boys team titles, has qualified 58 individual swimmers in 329 events. SOFLO has also entered 40 relay teams in 22 relay events where it will rely on its depth to pick up points against talented but less deep FGC teams.

Last year SOFLO won the combined team title with 661 points, nearly 200 points ahead of runner-up Gulliver Swimming. SOFLO boys won with 442, more than double Gulliver with 202. Gulliver won the girls title with 289. SOFLO girls were fourth with 219.

Competing in their final JO long course meet are 14-year-olds Sarah Acevedo, Brennan Binder, Jenna Marie Brames, Juan Colmenares, Mark Andre De Gracia, Alex Golding, Sally Golding, Manuel Melendez, Yannai Michael, Sara Quintero, Anthony Robaina, Moises Rodriguez, Javier Roman, Mallory Schleicher and Emma Twombly.

The younger contingent is led by Kaitlyn Barrios, 12, 11 events; Javier Colmenares, 12, 11 events; Fiorella Di Salvo, 10, nine events; Zackary Harris, 13, 10 events; Derek Hau, 10, nine events; Jonathan Lozano, 11, 11 events; Diego Nazario-Vazquez, 12, 11 events; Alessandro Pereira, 11, events; Lucas Porven, 12, 11 events; Enrique Rodriguez, 13, 11 events; Christian Tijero, 12, 11 events; Ava Kuznik, 12, 10 events; and Valerie Vank, 12, 11 events.

Among SOFLO top seeds are: Alexis Christensen, 12, in the 1500 freestyle in 19:32.88 and Mallory Schleicher, 14, in the 1500 freestyle, 18:04.44 and 400 freestyle, 4:34.30.

It is the third time the meet will be co-hosted by FGC clubs Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Club at Sailfish Splash Water Park, site of the annual FHSAA State High School Swimming and Diving meet for the past five years.

IF YOU GO

What: 14&Under Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

When: Thursday-Sunday

Schedule: Thursday, timed finals 6 p.m.; Friday, prelims, 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.

Where: Sailfish Splash Water Park, 931 SE Ruhnke, Stuart.

Defending 2017 champions: Combined, SOFLO; Boys, SOFLO; Girls, Guliver Swimming.

Of note: Admission is $5 per session. Heat sheets for prelims $3 per session and finals $3 per session. Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Club are co-hosting the meet. Well-respected Scott Boggs will serve as head referee. Results are available on Meet Mobile or http://www.martincountyswimming.org. For more information call Jim McCombs, 772-485-3239.

ELSEWHERE: ATKINSON REPRESENTS JAMAICA IN CAC Games

Four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson will be among Jamaica’s contingent of 186 competing athletes in the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games that will take place in Barranquilla, Colombia Thursday through August 3.

The CAC Games, which are the oldest continuing games in the region, were first held in Mexico in 1926 and Jamaica had the privilege of hosting the games in 1962 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Atkinson will not be alone this time in representing in swimming. She will be joined by Keanan Dols, Luke Gunning, Michael Gunning, Laura Lim-Sang, Emily McDonald, and Bryanna Renaurt. Atkinson is among four co-captains of the team.

Yona Knight Wisdom, who has represented Jamaica at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games in diving will have company in Pele Julien. Both men will competed in the 1- and 3-meter springboard.

The sports that will be contested are athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, diving, fencing, football, hockey, rugby, shooting, squash, swimming, beach volleyball, with additions, karate, water polo and wrestling.

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

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Issue 27, SOFLO’s Doug Ramos, Alex Rodriguez Sign With Florida State

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Issue 27, SOFLO’s Doug Ramos, Alex Rodriguez Signs With Florida State


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

February 3, 2011

The South Florida Aquatic Club is becoming a pipeline for Florida State.

Doug Ramos and Alex Rodriguez will join SOFLO swimmers Tiffany Oliver, Ashley Hicks and Tyler Sell, all freshmen, this fall in Tallahassee.

Ramos, a senior at Miami Columbus High School, is a five-time state qualifier. This past season the rising breaststroker was state runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke in a career-best All-American time.

Ramos is rated No. 17 in Florida on the collegeswimming.com website.

“Doug is a late bloomer and has a great breaststroke and IM,” said FSU coach Neil Harper. “He is a great student-athlete and had the opportunity to go to some Ivy League schools, but wanted to stay in the state.

“He wanted to come train with our breaststroke group and I think he can really develop here at Florida State.”

Ramos won the state 100-yard breaststroke title as a junior. Ramos finished his high school career with three seconds, one first and 11th place in eighth grade, his first year of high school swimming.

Since August, Ramos has been working with six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg and training with SOFLO at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

“Coming to Michael’s team changed my swimming a lot. He made my stroke a lot smoother, before it was really jerky and wasn’t very efficient. Now every stroke I take is efficient in my races. I did dryland every day and lost a lot of weight. He really helped me get to this point.”

Rodriguez also turned around his swimming career with Lohberg’s help with the breaststroke and as a result has a second chance at collegiate swimmimg.

The SOFLO swimmer has made remarkable progress  training with Lohberg and several world-class swimmers including two-time Olympians Vlad Polyakov and Alia Atkinson.

Rodriguez has become more focused in and out of the water since a disappointing freshman season at Florida Atlantic University. He has three years of college eligibility remaining.

“Quitting never went through my mind,” Rodriguez said. “I am always looking to improve. I just thought I needed something else to get to that next level.”

Atkinson Competes In Jamaica This Weekend

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson is returning to compete in her native land Jamaica for the first time in ten years.

The two-time Olympian will compete in the 16th annual LIME/Y Speedos Karl Dalhouse International Swim Meet Friday through Sunday at Jamaica’s National Stadium Pool.

For the first time in meet history it will serve as a FINA World Swimming Championships qualifier.

Atkinson is entered in six events. The multi-national short course and long course record holder in Jamaica, will also conduct two clinics for Jamaica’s junior swimmers.

“She is very excited about competing here and we believe some great times are in store for us,” said meet director Dr. Brian James.

The 22-year-old was runner-up for the 2010 Sportswoman of the Year Award behind track star Veronica Campbell-Brown at the recent 2010 Sports Foundation Awards. It is the highest honor she has received in her swimming career.

Atkinson, a Texas A&M graduate, was the first Jamaican swimmer to qualify for two world championship finals at the world short course championships in Dubai. She also won four gold medals in record-performance at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Puerto Rico.

This weekend’s meet will serve as a tuneup for Atkinson who is also scheduled to compete in the Feb. 18-21 USA Swimming Grand Prix in Missouri.

Gators Continue To Reap Honors

The University of Florida swimming and diving team became only the second school in Southeastern Conference history to sweep all four weekly swimming honors.

Conor Dwyer was named SEC Male Swimmer of the Year for a record fifth time this season. The senior captain was also named the Counsilman-Hunsaker National Collegiate Male Swimmer of the Week on Thursday.

Freshman Elizabeth Beisel earned SEC Female Swimmer of the Week honors for a record fourth time.

Newcomers Marcin Cieslak of Poland and Hilda Luthersdottir of Finland were named SEC Male and Female Freshman of the Week.

Bryant, Watson Win National One-Meter Titles

Kelci Bryant and Brandon Watson won the 1-meter springboard titles at the USA Diving Winter National Championships in Iowa City.

Bryant, a 2008 Olympian, defended her title with 283.90 points to win her eighth national title. She clinched the win on her final dive.

“My first dive went pretty well but then I missed two in a row, so I knew the pressure was on,” Bryant said. “I knew I had to go for it and do a great last dive and it worked.”

University of Miami’s Brittany Viola was 14th with 235.20 points.

Watson won the men’s title with 443.20, edging Aaron Fleshner (442.95). His come-from-behind victory was his second career national title.

“I couldn’t be happier, it was an intense competition and God really blessed me to do well today,” Watson said. “I felt like there was a little pressure on me having won a title before.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Invited To Compete In Jamaica, First Time In Ten Years

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Invited To Compete In Jamaica, First Time In Ten Years


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

January 26, 2011

Alia Atkinson is a role model not only in South Florida at the Academic Village Pool and Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, but in her native country Jamaica.

Atkinson has been invited to compete in the 16th annual LIME/Y Speedos Karl Dalhouse International Swim Meet Feb. 4-6 at Jamaica’s National Stadium Pool.

The telecommunications firm LIME is sponsoring the event for $500,000 which is expected to add to the prestige of the meet. The “Y” Speedos Swim Club is host club.

For the first time in meet history it will serve as a FINA World Swimming Championships qualifier.

It is the first time in ten years that the two-time Olympian who represents Jamaica internationally will return to compete in a local meet.

Atkinson is entered in six events.

Atkinson, a multi-national short course and long course record holder in Jamaica, will also conduct two clinics for Jamaica’s junior swimmers.

“She is very excited about competing here and we believe some great times are in store for us,” said meet director Dr. Brian James. “This year at Karl Dalhouse, Jamaica will be introduced to its intelligent, articulate. gentle, humble and patriotic swimming champion and they cannot help but fall in love with her. That’s my personal guarantee.

“Alia decided that while she is in Jamaica for the swim meet she will conduct two clinics for Jamaica’s junior swimmers. She is determined to help strengthen Jamaican swimming by sharing some of her skill and experience with younger aspirants.”

The 22-year-old was runner-up for the 2010 Sportswoman of the Year Award behind track star Veronica Campbell-Brown at the recent 2010 Sports Foundation Awards. She told reporters it was the highest honor she has received in her swimming career.

“This is the first major award that I got outside of swimming, so it’s unbelievable to even imagine that I was even nominated for it much less place runner-up,” Atkinson said.

“I didn’t think my performance at world championships was good but I guess other people felt it was higher, so to make runner-up was amazing.”

Atkinson, a Texas A&M graduate, was the first Jamaican swimmer to qualify for two world championship finals at the world short course championships in Dubai. She also won four gold medals in record-performances at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Puerto Rico.

“Y” Speedos president Martin Lyn expects more than 350 swimmers and seven clubs in the field.

“This swim meet features top-class competition and hopefully record-breaking times and we again look forward to a successful staging,” Lyn said.

Joining Atkinson are Jamaican teammates Victoria Ho, who trains with Gordon Andrews at Lake Lytal in West Palm Beach, Kendese Nangle, Timothy Wynter and Alexia Royal Eatmon.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Alia Atkinson

SOFLO ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Alia Atkinson


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

January 1, 2011

Alia Atkinson smiled when asked whether she was the “Queen of Swimming” in Jamaica.

“I think I am still a princess,” Atkinson said. “I have a ways to go.

“There is a responsibility to my country. The time I set is dwindling. I told them I wanted to make a medal. That is still my goal, however far it is or however close, I really don’t know.

“Reality hits sometimes. That time frame is going down. I only have two years. Each meet is getting more and more important to drop my time standard and ranking.”

The two-time Olympian and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer is definitely a member of Jamaica’s royalty in swimming and one of the most accomplished swimmers in her country’s history.

“I have confidence in my swimming and confidence in myself,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson is stepping up her training for the next two years. She is changing her stroke (kick, pull and head position) and trying new things.

“It is nice, except I am in that little nervous phase,” Atkinson said. “I think it will be good. It will get me to the next level.”

Now that she has graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in child psychology, her focus is stepping up her training and getting to the next level.

“That was the idea coming out of college,” Atkinson said. “Swimming is the focus now, re-directing myself, training and focusing. It is good. I didn’t think how hard it was going to be to motivate myself by myself. I hear about everybody moving on. Almost half of my college friends that graduated with me are already married and finding jobs.”

Atkinson, who turned 22 on December 11, is her own worst critic at times.

“I am hard on myself,” Atkinson said. “At the Olympics I said I wanted to make semifinals and when I didn’t it just seemed I shouldn’t be setting myself goals and limits. I really don’t want to be stuck in prelims anymore, that phase of my life should be finished. This is a whole new me.”

Atkinson was recently nominated for Sportswoman of the Year in Jamaica . The winner will be announced on January 21.

Looking at her accomplishments in a jam-packed 2010, Atkinson was the overwhelming choice for SOFLO’s inaugural Athlete of the Year.

In March, Atkinson went out a champion at Texas A&M after becoming only the second Aggies swimmer in school history to win an NCAA title. Atkinson won the 200-meter breaststroke title on the final night of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Purdue University’s Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind. Seeded second going into the event, she won in a pool record 2 minutes, 7.38 seconds.

The All-American is the third fastest breaststroker in NCAA history and finished her collegiate career with a long list of honors and accomplishments.

The journey was just beginning in 2010 for Atkinson who then focused on international competition for her beloved Jamaica.

At the Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico, Atkinson broke the CAC Games record in the 200-meter breaststroke in morning prelims (2:33.63) and broke it again in the final (2:30.99).

She broke more meet records in a gold-medal 200-meter individual medley swim (2:17.31), 100-meter breaststroke in a meet record 1:10.25 and 50-meter breaststroke in 31.91, bettering her own meet record she broke in morning prelims (32.98).

Atkinson walked away with four gold medals and seven meet records.

A few months later at the Commonwealth Games in India, Atkinson, despite being ill for the first 36 hours after arriving in New Delhi where several athletes and coaches were stricken with “Delhi Belly,” qualified for the 50-meter breaststroke final and finished eighth in her first championship final at the Commonwealth Games. She broke her national record twice in the event (32.24 and 32.13) and moved into the Top 50 world rankings.

She just missed making the 200 breaststroke final, placing tenth in 2:34.32, finished 11th in the 100-meter breaststroke and was 12th in the 200-meter individual medley.

In early December, Jamaica’s Olympic Association awarded Atkinson with an elite scholarship to enable her to train through the 2012 London Olympics. She was one of six Jamaican athletes and the only swimmer selected for the elite scholarship worth about $84,000 (or $1,000 per month).

She finished out the year at the Dec. 15-19 FINA World Swimming Short Course Championships in Dubai, where she became the first Jamaican swimmer to qualify for two championship world short course finals. She finished sixth in the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.22 and finished eighth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.49.

Her longtime coach Chris Anderson, who helped to mold Atkinson into a world-class swimmer since she arrived at the Academic Village Pool at age 13 in August 2002, has resumed training her along with six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg. The Flanagan graduate is one of the Comets program’s greatest success stories.

“Obviously, she is a great role model,” Anderson said. “I don’t think I will ever really take a picture of that (her legacy) until she is done. She is extremely special, she is a part of our program. It is a pleasure to work with her on a daily basis. She has improved me as a coach as I think I have at least helped her improve as an athlete.

“If anybody can get more of out swimming, she can. If anybody would, she would. At this point, she knows how to get there.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.

 http://www.swim4soflo.com

Atkinson Leads SOFLO Contingent At Short Course World Championships In Dubai

Atkinson Leads SOFLO Contingent At Short Course World Championships In Dubai


 

WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

December 13, 2010

Two-time Olympians Alia Atkinson and Vlad Polyakov head South Florida Aquatic Club’s contingent for the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships that begin Wednesday in Dubai.

Atkinson will represent Jamaica and Polyakov will compete for Kazakhstan. They will be joined by teammates Leo Andara of Venezuela and Loai Tashkandi of Saudi Arabia.

The foursome will be among 780 athletes, including world champions and record holders, from 148 countries competing at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, a 15,000-seat indoor arena.

In addition to the United States, top names from Sweden, Great Britain, Brazil, Italy and France are entered.

“The fact that top-class athletes are racing in Dubai is wonderful for the championships,” said vice director Dr. Khalid Al Zahed, who added this is the most athletes ever to compete in the short course meet. “It is great to see all these world-class swimmers from many different countries swimming in our new state-of-the-art venue.”

Swimmers are already comparing the venue to Madison Square Garden and said the pool, described as the “pearl in the desert” is fast.

Atkinson, coming off the Commonwealth Games in India, will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Polyakov, coming off the Asian Games and Short Course Nationals, will also compete in all three breaststroke events. His best shot at a medal is in the 200-meter breaststroke, where he is seeded fifth (2:05.02).

Andara is entered in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Tashkandi, a national record holder and triple gold medalist at the GCC Aquatic Championships in Kuwait, is entered in the 100- and 200-meter individual medley and 100- and 200-meter freestyles.

It is the first time the world championships are being held in the Middle East.

During the long course season in 50-meter pools, no world records were broken since the return of the textile suit. Standards are expected to drop during the short course meet in the 25-meter pool.

American Olympian Aaron Peirsol has withdrawn from the five-day meet enabling Nick Thoman to move into his backstroke spot.

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte will be the busiest U.S. swimmer among the 37-swimmer contingent. He is entered in five individual events, the 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter backstroke, 100-, 200- and 400-meter individual medley and two relays.

Lochte is one of 20 U.S. Olympians competing. Three-time Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin leads the U.S. women’s team. It will be Coughlin’s short course worlds debut.

The toughest individual schedules belong to Americans Tyler Clary and teenager Missy Franklin. Clary is swimming all three IMs as well as the 200 backstroke and butterfly events. Franklin, 15, is swimming the 100 and 200 IMs and all three backstroke races.

In honor of Fran Crippen, who tragically died Oct. 23 during an open water 10K FINA event just 60 miles away in Fujairah, U.S. swimmers will wear Crippen’s initials on their dress sweats and t-shirts.

Italy’s Federica Pellegrini, like Lochte, will also be busy competing in the 200-, 400- and 800-meter freestyles. The Olympic and world 200-meter freestyle champion is favored in all three events.

One of the most-anticipated women’s races is American Rebecca Soni and Australian Leisel Jones in the breaststroke events.

“It’s a very good rivalry,” Soni said. “I really respect Leisel and I think she respects me so that’s always a good thing.”

In the men’s races, the 50-meter freestyle with Frederick Bousquet of France, Olympic and world sprint king Cesar Cielo of Brazil and American Nathan Adrian.

Each day more than 1,500 school children from Dubai’s schools will be in attendance for free.

UniversalSports.com will have daily highlight shows during the world championships.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 http://www.swim4soflo.com