SOFLO’s Atkinson Swims World’s Fastest Time At Canada Cup; Quintero Medals In Colombia

SOFLO’s Atkinson Swims World’s Fastest Time At Canada Cup; Quintero Medals In Colombia


November 24, 2012

For the second day in a row, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson broke a meet and Jamaican record at the Canada Cup at Etobicoke Olympium in Ontario, Canada.

Even better, she swam the fastest time in the world this year.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian broke her own meet and Jamaican record in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.87 ahead of Canadian Olympian Martha McCabe.

Atkinson, 23, broke it first in morning prelims in 30.47 and again in finals. She was the only swimmer in the field to break 30 seconds.

Atkinson vaults into the No. 1 spot in the 2012 FINA world rankings ahead of American Olympian Jessica Hardy (29.92), Lithuania’s Rita Meilutyte (29.96) and Japan’s Satomi Suzuki (30.23).

With Atkinson’s five golds, the one-woman team scored 291 points to enable SOFLO to finish sixth among a field of sixty teams with more than one swimmer.

Atkinson, top seed in the 100-meter individual medley in a best time 1:02.80 (bettered her previous best 1:04.65), lowered her time even more winning finals in 59.96 for her fifth gold medal of the two-day meet. She was the only swimmer to break one minute in finals.

One event later, Atkinson, seventh seed in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.98, finished second in 26.85 behind 16-year-old Canadian Noemie Thomas in 25.99.

On Friday, Atkinson had broken the meet and her own Jamaican national record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.69. She also won gold medals in the women’s 200 IM and 50 freestyle.

SOFLO coach Chris Anderson decided to scratch Atkinson from the 200-meter breaststroke final because there wasn’t enough time between her other events, he said. Atkinson earned the top seed in 2:26.37, nearly four seconds ahead of the next fastest qualifier.

“She’s pretty beat up and tired right now,” Anderson said after the opening night. “We’re hoping that she’s going to do some good things in Turkey in December. She set herself up nicely for a medal at worlds at this meet.”

SOFLO’s Endi Babi, 24, was 34th in the 100-meter butterfly in 57.84.

Among other winners at the Canada Cup:

Robert Wise, 20, won the 1,500-meter freestyle in 15:16.79.

Heather MacLean, 20, won the 100-meter freestyle in 54.99.

Dominique Massie-Martel, 22, won the men’s 200-meter freestyle in 1:47.78.

Dillon Perron, 20, won the 100-meter breaststroke by .03 in 1:01.32 edging Warren Barnes

Karyn Jewell, 19, won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:40.36.

Edward Liu, 18, won the 100-meter butterfly in 53.12.

Lauren Lavigna, 23, won the 100-meter backstroke in 1:00.57.

Kelly Aspinall, 22, won the 50-meter backstroke in 24.41, .26 off Ryan Lochte’s 2006 meet record and won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.21.

Katerine Savard, 19, won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.52.

Andrew Ford, 23, won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:59.30.

Savannah King, 20, won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:08.43.

With Atkinson scratching, Martha McCabe, 23, won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.20.

Matthew Myers, 19, won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:58.30.

SOFLO’s Quintero Medals In Colombia

Samuel Quintero, a top age grouper with the South Florida Aquatic Club, finished third in the 400-meter freestyle to bring home a bronze medal at the XXXVI Festival National Age Group Championships in Cartagena.

Quintero turned in a career-best time of 4:59.63.

Quintero has the 50- and 100-meter freestyles remaining in the meet before returning home with his family.


Camille Muffat of France broke the world record in the 400-meter freestyle on Day 3 of the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Chartres, France.

Muffat, after just missing the world mark during the FINA World Cup Series in 3:54.93, broke the record in 3:54.85. The previous record was 3:54.92 set by Joanne Jackson in 2009.

It was Muffat’s second short course world record after breaking the 800-meter freestyle mark by more than two seconds in 8:01.06 at the French Swimming Championships on Nov. 16. The previous record was 8:04.53 held by Italian Alessia Filippi in 2008.

“I really wanted to break that world record and I did,” Muffat told reporters after climbing out of the pool. “I am so happy. It’s a great feeling to win a gold medal again.” She was ecstatic on the medal podium waving the French flag to the crowd.

It was also a meet record breaking Laure Manaudou’s 2006 meet record of 3:56.09.

Muffat was also a member of the winning 200-meter freestyle mixed relay with teammates Fred Bousquet, Florent Manaudou and Anna Santamans that won in 1:29.64. Bousquet had a leadoff split of 20.97 and Manaudou had a 20.35 split. Russia and Finland were second and third.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Muffat won gold in the 400-meter freestyle, silver in the 200 freestyle and bronze as a member of the 4×200 freestyle relay.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:27.78, a three-second margin of victory. It was the fastest time in the world this year and tenth on the all-time list.

“This was really a hard race and I didn’t expect to win it,” Paltrinieri said.

In other races:

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the 100-meter individual medley in 58.83 becoming only the 12th swimmer to dip under 59 seconds. “In the 100 IM there is just one thing to do and that is to swim as fast as you can,” Hosszu said.

Also in the 100 IM, 16-year-old Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain won her first senior international medal with a third place in a best time 59.72.

Laszlo Cseh, also of Hungary, won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:52.11, fifth fastest time this year.

Vlad Morozov of Russia won the 100-meter freestyle in a textile-best world record 45.68.

Laure Manaudou of France won the 50-meter backstroke in 26.78.

Italy’s Fabio Scozzoli won the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.18, out-touching Aleksander Hetland of Norway in 26.20.


According to the American Swimming Coaches Association, nations competing at the 2012 London Olympics featured 82 swimmers from NCAA Division I colleges. The leading teams that placed swimmers on international Olympic swim teams were: Georgia (8), Cal-Berkeley (7), Florida (7), Southern Cal (7) and Texas A&M (7)…Alicia Coutts was named Australia’s Swimmer of the Year during the federation’s Gala Dinner…After a disastrous showing at the London Olympics, Michael Scott resigned as the British Swimming Performance Director.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Breaks Meet Record With Third-Fastest Time In World

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Breaks Meet Record With Third-Fastest Time In World


November 23, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson looks more than ready for next month’s world short course championships after dominating the opening day of the Canada Cup.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian broke the meet record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.69, the third fastest time posted in the world this year and tenth on the all-time list. It also broke her Jamaican national record of 1:06.05.

Atkinson came back to win the 200-meter individual medley in best time 2:11.71, bettering her prelim time of 2:14.88. Her long course seed time was 2:14.75.

Atkinson also won the 50-meter freestyle in 25.35, faster than her 26.12 prelim time. Her seed time was 25.90 long course.

Atkinson was eighth in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:02.35 after swimming the fifth fastest time in prelims in 1:01.39.

In the men’s 200-meter butterfly prelims, SOFLO’s Endi Babi, 24, finished 22nd in 2:10.59 and 49th in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.89.

Atkinson, entered in eight events, is preparing for the Dec. 12-16 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

On Saturday, Atkinson will swim the 50- and 200-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter individual medley.

Other meet winners on the opening day of competition:

University of Florida’s Sinead Russell, 19, coming back from an arm injury that kept her out of the Gators’ fall season, won the 50-meter backstroke in 27.86 ahead of Kristin Steins in 27.90.

Heather MacLean, 20, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:57.31 ahead of Canadian teammate and fellow Olympian Samantha Cheverton, 24, in 1:57.96.

Olympians Alexa Komarnycky, 23, (8:33.08) and Savannah King, 20, (8:33.10) finished 2/100ths of a second apart.

Kelly Aspinall, 22, won the men’s 100-meter freestyle in 48.45 and the 100-meter backstroke in 52.60, just missing Ryan Lochte’s meet record of 52.54. He also won the 50-meter butterfly in 23.46.

Sixteen-year-old Noemie Thomas won the 100-meter butterfly in 58.11, just off her meet record of 58.02 in prelims.

Zach Summerhayes, 22, won the men’s 400-meter individual medley in 4:16.11.

Zack Chetrat, 22, broke his own meet record to win the 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.60.

Dillon Perron, 20, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.05.

Keegan Zanatta won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:49.82.

Andrew Ford edged Jake Tapp in the 100-meter individual medley, 55.25-55.30.

Warren Barnes won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:14.27.

Lauren Lavigna won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:08.70.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 212: SOFLO Swimmers Hit Road For International Meets

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 212: SOFLO Swimmers Hit Road For International Meets

Written By Sharon Robb

November 22, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, teammate Endi Babi and Coach Chris Anderson spent Thanksgiving Day travelling to Canada for the Canada Cup that gets under way on Friday.

The two-day meet is being hosted by Etobicoke Swim Club and features 13 of Canada’s 2012 Olympic swimmers among a field of 325 Canadian swimmers.

The short course meet will include 34 events split evenly over two days at the Olympium. A total of 63 clubs are entered.

Atkinson, a three-time Olympian for Jamaica, will compete in eight events in preparation for next month’s World Short Course Championships in Istanbul, Turkey (Dec. 12-16).

Atkinson, 23, will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard breaststroke; 50- and 100-yard butterfly, 100- and 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle.

Atkinson will have some good competition to fine tune against. Entered in the meet are Olympians Savannah King, Brittany MacLean, Samantha Cheverton, Sinead Russell, Julia Wilkinson and Katerine Savard.

Babi, 24, will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard butterfly events.

Samuel Quintero In Colombia

SOFLO age grouper Samuel Quintero will compete Friday through Sunday in Colombia in the XXXVI Festival National Age Group Championships in Cartagena. It is Quintero’s first international swim meet.

European Championships

A week after breaking the world record in the 400 freestyle, French Olympian Yannick Agnel won the event in 3:37.54, five seconds slower than his record of 3:32.25 Thursday on the opening day of the European Short Course Swimming Championships. Italians Gabriele Detti was second in 3:41.66 and Andrea Mitchell D’Arrigo third in 3:42.32.

In other opening day events:

Poland’s Radowslaw Kaweck won the 200 backstroke in a European and Polish national record of 1:48.51.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, coming off the grueling FINA World Cup Series where she swam 39 events (104 swims including 42 heats and 62 finals), won the first of her seven events in the 200 individual medley in 2:05.78. Britain’s Hannah Miley was second in 2:06.21. Fifteen minutes later, Hosszu won the 200 butterfly in 2:05.78.

Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh won the 200 individual medley in a national record 1:52.74, breaking his own national record of 1:52.85 he set in 2009.

Olympic champion Florent Manaudou of France, top morning qualifier, won the 50 freestyle in 20.70.

France leads the medal table with six medals including three gold. Hungary is second with five.


Olympian Missy Franklin has been nominated for Sports Illustrated’s Most Inspiring Performer for 2012. At 17, Franklin won four gold and one bronze medals in her Olympic debut in London. She is among 15 candidates selected by Sports Illustrated’s editors. The award will be decided by an online fan votes on SI’s facebook page. The voting ballot is open until Nov. 28. The winner will be featured in the Dec. 17 issue of the magazine…Floridian Ryan Lochte and his dog Carter, a 5-year-old Doberman Pinscher, were featured in People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue. Lochte called him his lady magnet. “He is a good wingman because he’s a beautiful dog,” Lochte told People. “Girls come up to me and go, oh my God, where’s Carter, he’s so good-looking.” Lochte spent Thanksgiving in Spain on a promotional visit…

British Swimming withdrew its financial support from the annual Speedo Splash Awards after a disappointing performance at the 2012 London Olympics. The Brits won only three medals. The awards ceremony, equivalent to USA Swimming’s Golden Goggles, honor the achievements of Britain’s top swimmers. Swim officials also envision a lack of funding for the next four years leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. British Swimming is also set to review the team’s poor performance and expects a major shakeup next month on how the sport is run and scheduled…Australia, another swim federation suffering the after-effects of a sub-par Olympic performance, lost its swimming association’s CEO Kevin Neil who resigned. The Aussies, who had their worst Olympic performance in 20 years, are looking at their administrative, sporting and business direction and expect to find a replacement within four months.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 156: U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Countdown Is On

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 156: U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials Countdown Is On


May 26, 2012

With 29 days left until the opening day of the U.S. Olympic Trials, construction on the portable swimming pools got under way this past week at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

About fifty workers are putting in 18-hour days for the next 10 days to assemble the competition and warm-up pools manufactured by Myrtha Pools.

Myrtha manufactured and installed the seven pools that will be used in London. This is the third U.S. trials for Myrtha.

The stainless-steel pools, priced at $2 million each, were designed in Italy and then shipped to Omaha. The pool, held together by 12,500 nuts and bolts, will be filled with 1.7 million gallons of water by June 4th.

The U.S. Trials field will feature 1,700 qualifiers, up from 1,200 in 2008 including Dara Torres of Coral Springs Swim Club, Jessie Alcaide and Tiffany Oliver of SOFLO and former Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Kevin Bandy of University of Louisville.

A new addition to the pool will be the use of Track Start starting blocks. The platform will allow swimmers to start with the back leg at a 90-degree angle. Every detail will try and mirror the conditions in London including 81-degree warm-up pool and 80-degree competition pool.

Meet officials will host a dress rehearsal at the June 8-10 Mutual of Omaha Swim Invitational.

The Trials are set for June 25 to July 2. The top two swimmers in each individual event will make the Olympic team.

Speedo Grand Challenge

Forty-year-old wife and mom Janet Evans was fourth in the 400-meter freestyle on the meet’s opening night at Irvine Novaquatics. Evans was third for most of the race and finished in 4:19.29, slower than her morning prelim time.

“It’s weird how it’s only for four,” Evans told reporters. “It would have been nice to have been in there but it was good. I am tired and happy and looking forward to the 800.” The 800 is expected to be her best chance to make the finals at the Trials

In other races, Rebecca Soni topped Jessica Hardy in the 100-meter breaststroke and Hardy came back to win the 50-meter freestyle. Soni was first in 1:06.57 and Hardy finished in 1:06.81. Hardy won the sprint race in 25.11 in one of her final tuneup meets before the Trials.

Eric Shanteau won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:01.16.

Prize money was also awarded to winners. “I think all meets should have prize money, it’s cool,” said Soni, who won $400 for her win.

European Swimming Championships

At the Debrecen 2012 European Swimming Championships, Jonathan Koplev became the first swimmer from Israel to win a gold medal at the European Championships. He won the 50-meter backstroke in a best time of 24.73 seconds and even got a congratulatory phonecall from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Mazel Tov,” he told the swimmer. “Your achievement is incredible. Keep your head above water and continue breaking records.”

In other notable races:

Serbia’s Milorad Cavic is fully recovered from back surgery and looks ready to give Michael Phelps another go at the Olympics. Cavic knocked off Hungary’s hot swimmer Laszlo Cseh in the 100-meter butterfly in a meet record 51.45. Cseh had already won two gold medals before the butterfly event. Cavic has been training with Club Wolverine, Phelps’ old training site. Cavic had surgery to repair a herniated disk in July 2010, and was unable to qualify for any finals at last year’s world championships in Shanghai. “I’m half-tapered coming in here and that gives me a lot of hope,” Cavic said. “I had my eye on the competition record.”

Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki won the 200-meter backstroke in a meet and national record of 1:55.28.

Italy’s Olympic champion and world record holder Federica Pellegrini won the 200-meter freestyle for her second gold to remain unbeaten in this event since 2008 and after winning the 200-meter individual medley in 1:56.76.

University of Florida’s Sarah Bateman earned a spot on the Iceland Olympic team after swimming the FINA “A” time in a 50-meter freestyle three-swimmer swim-off in 25.24, also a national and school record.

Norway’s two gold medals were dedicated to Alex Dale Oen, the world champion who died suddenly last month during a training camp in Arizona. When Sara Nordenstam won the 200-meter breaststroke she flexed her muscles and pointed to the Norway flag on her cap like Oen did when he won the 100-meter breaststroke at last year’s worlds. After Ingvild Snildal won the 100-meter butterfly she pointed to Oen’s initials on her cap.

Italy’s Filippo Magnini knocked off Olympic champion Alain Bernard in the 100-meter freestyle for his first medal in four years.

Canada Cup

Canadian Scott Dickens broke the meet record in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Mel Zajac Jr. International Canada Cup in Vancouver. Dickens, named to the Olympic team in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, won in 1:01.57, bettering his own meet record in 1:01.88. Also at the meet, three-time Olympic champion Leisel Jones of Australia won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:07.84.

Open water swimming

A field of 2,326 swimmers will compete in the open water swim in the Adriatic Sea in Italy at the June 3-17 FINA World Masters Championships. Because of the large amount of entries, the 3K open water swim field will be divided into age groups and held over two days (June 16-17) based on safety issues according to FINA.


Swimmer Erika Braun, 40, qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle in 26.32. Braun trains with the Marlins of Raleigh at the Pullen Aquatic Center. Braun, director of human resources for Golden Corral and former Georgia Bulldog, joins Torres and Evans as the only other women 40 and older to qualify. Torres is 45…

Speaking of Torres, the Coral Springs swimmer from Parkland made quite a splash on CNN’s Piers Morgan Show this past week. Morgan asked to see Torres’ famous six-pack washboard abs and she obliged lifting her sweatshirt. “Oh my God, they weren’t kidding were they? Morgan said. “You actually have no stomach.”

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong won his first Half Ironman title at the recent Ironman 70.3 Florida in Haines City. On a hot, windy day, Armstrong finished the 1.2-mile swim in 24:52, 56-mile bike in 2:01:13, 10 minutes faster than the field and 1:15:56 in the 13.1-mile run to finish in 3 hours, 45 minutes and 38 seconds. Part-time pro David Kahn was first out of the swim in 23:29. It was Armstrong’s fourth 70.3 event. Armstrong told reporters, “I felt pretty good I must say. Think I finally figured out the nutrition component which has been dogging me.”….

Ted Knapp, an assistant under Skip Kenney for the last 28 years, was named head coach of the men’s swimming and diving team at Stanford. Kenney is retiring after 33 years. Knapp swam for Kenney his junior and senior years…April Woo was hired as an assistant women’s coach at Florida Gulf Coast University after coaching three seasons at Cleveland State. She was nominated as 2011 Assistant Coach of the Year Award…Minnesota men’s and women’s associate head coach Bill Tremel has accepted the head women’s coaching job at Marshall University. Tremel has been with the Golden Gophers for eight seasons. 

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Kuczynski Wins Relay Gold, Phelps Swims World Best At Canada Cup

SOFLO’s Kuczynski Wins Relay Gold, Phelps Swims World Best At Canada Cup

July 3, 2011


Canadian Caroline Kuczynski walked away with a gold medal at the Canada Cup in Montreal.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer was a member of Pointe-Claire’s winning 400-meter medley relay that won in 4:13.76. She was joined by club mates Samantha Cheverton, Ashley McGregor and Alyson Ackman.

Her splits were 28.67 and 1:01.75.

Kuczynski was also fifth in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:01.32.

Kuczynski, 20, tweeted “Swam 100 fly this morning at prelims, 1:01.60, not too bad, kinda hurt the last 25, haha….400-meter medley relay won gold, yayyy!! Not too great of a finals swim, 1:01.32, fifth place, exactly ten seconds slower than PhelpsTheFish (51.32).

Olympic superstar Michael Phelps stole the show on the final night of competition by winning the 100-meter butterfly in 51.32, fastest time in the world this year.

It was just the confidence-booster Phelps, 26, competing for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club was looking for heading into the FINA World Championships later this month in Shanghai, China.

Phelps time bettered the previous world best of 51.65 swam by Benjamin Starke last month. He said he is beginning to feel like his old self.

“I’m really happy with that and I know I need to do more training in the 200-meter races,” Phelps said.

“It’s races like these that I think help me more mentally than anything else. Being able to still see that I can pop a good race here and there gives me a little bit of confidence.”

Other winners were Canadian Katerine Savard in the 100-meter butterfly in 58.68, her third victory of the meet; Matthew Swanston in the 50-meter backstroke in 26.64; Gabrielle Soucisse in the 50-meter backstroke in 29.77; Scott Dickens in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:15.70; Ashley McGregor in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:31.29; Brent Hayden of Vancouver, one of Canada’s top swimmers, in the 50-meter freestyle in 22.59; and Ann Fittin in the 50-meter freestyle in 25.61.

Carter, McLeod Win Gold On Final Day Of CCCAN

Dylan Carter, 14, of Trinidad and Tobago won a gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly and broke a national and CCCAN record in 25.35 on the sixth and final day of the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Teammates Joshua McLeod, 20, won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.25 and 100-meter backstroke in 59.81.

Trinidad and Tobago finished third among countries with 622 points and a record 22 gold medal haul. Puerto Rico won with 1,029.50 and Mexico was second with 997.50.

Trinidad and Tobago also earned the respect of fellow swimmers after the adversity the team went through during the weeklong meet.

The swim team had to be relocated twice during its stay in Puerto Rico. When they originally arrived on Sunday, the accommodations were poor and the team was relocated to a hotel. They were located again when the hotel was booked for the weekend because of July Fourth, forcing them to relocate to Cecader.

Ironman Record Broken

Marino Vanhoenacker won Ironman Austria in a world record time, beating the previous 14-year-old mark by nearly four and a half minutes. Vanhoenacker, 35, finished in 7 hours, 45 minutes and 58 seconds to break the record set by his Belgian countryman Luc Van Lierde in 1997 (7:50.27). American Mary Beth Ellis won the women’s race in a course record 8:43.34 and fastest Ironman debut in history. Race weather, 75 degrees and partly cloudy, was ideal race conditions.

Sharon Robb can be reached at