SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Gets Second Bronze On Day Two Of 2020 FINA Champions Swim Series


By Sharon Robb

SHENZHEN, China, January 15, 2020–Alia Atkinson took home a second bronze medal Wednesday in the season-opening 2020 FINA Champions Swim Series at Shenzhen Universiade Center Swimming Natatorium.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian and short course world record holder finished third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.15. She was seeded in 1:07.06 among a field of four swimmers.

Italy’s national record holder Martina Carraro won her second breaststroke gold in 1:06.85 and China’s Yu Jingyao was second in 1:07.59 on the second and final day of the series’ first stop.

On Tuesday, Atkinson was third in the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.63 behind Italy’s Martina Carraro in 30.38 and American Molly Hannis in 30.49.

Atkinson won $12,000 for two third places.

It was the first leg of the series with the second stop coming up on Jan. 18-19 in Beijing. The meet featured only 70 swimmers (41 men and 29 women). Almost $2 million in prize money is up for grabs at the two stops.

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

SOFLO’s Jennifer Martin Stars At 18th World Police And Fire Games In China; Her Final Event Is Aug. 15 Open Water Two-Miler


By Sharon Robb

CHENGDU, China, August 12, 2019—She came, she saw, she conquered.

Jennifer Martin of South Florida Aquatic Club won five gold medals, three silver medals and broke two world records in her international swimming debut at the 18th Chengdu 2019 World Police and Fire Games.

Martin still has the 2-mile open water swim remaining on Aug. 15 at the Jintang Triathlon venue.

The City of Pembroke Pines Police Sergeant swam five individual events and four relays over three days at the Tian Fu Sports Area pool.

On opening day, Martin broke a 10-year-old world record she has been chasing for four years in the 50-meter butterfly in 30.70. Her 200-meter freestyle relay took silver behind China which broke the Martin’s relay U.S. world record. Her relay lead-off time was 27.88, just off her world record of 27.86. She also took gold in the 100-meter breaststroke.

On the second day of competition, Martin won the 50-meter backstroke in 34.39. She took another silver in the women’s 200-meter medley relay behind China. Her 200-meter mixed freestyle relay took another silver behind China. Her 50-meter relay split was 27.23, another best time.

On her third and final day, Martin took gold in the 50-meter breaststroke and then broke her own world record and won the 50-meter freestyle in 27.70 bettering her previous record of 27.86.

“I dug deep and pulled off my best race of the meet,” Martin wrote.

Her mixed medley relay finished out of the medal hunt placing fourth.

“I’ve made lots of new friends but what I enjoy the most is seeing my old friends,” Martin wrote. “My ladies are some of the strongest, badass women I know. First responders, athletes, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and girlfriends. For one week every two years, we get to catch up on life, love and I get to learn so much about other countries from our chats. I am grateful for our time together, but sad to have to say goodbye…for another two years….until Rotterdam.”

The World Police & Fire Games are held every two years. The 2021 World Police and Fire Games are July 30-August 8 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

“Competing every two years just doesn’t seem enough,” Martin wrote on her Facebook page. “I’ve made so many friends from around the world, and I only get to see them once every two years. I think I love catching up with friends just as much as I love competing. We may speak different languages, but we all have so much in common.”

In her last major international competition, the 2017 World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles, Martin won seven gold medals and one silver and broke five world records over four days of open water and pool racing.

Martin was sponsored by the Broward County PBA (Police Benevolent Association). Toyota of North Miami and several family members and friends also donated to her Blue To Chengdu Go Fund Me.

The World Police and Fire Games is a worldwide sporting event held every two years with more than 10,000 attendees. The games are an Olympic-style competition of policemen and firefighters from 70 countries across the world who compete in 60 sports.

Participants are police officers and firefighters from correction, probation, border protection, immigration, and customs from any country in the world.

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

SOFLO’s Jennifer Martin Ready For International Debut At 18th World Police And Fire Games In China


By Sharon Robb

CHENGDU, China, August 8, 2019—Jennifer Martin of South Florida Aquatic Club will make her international swimming debut in the 18th Chengdu 2019 World Police and Fire Games Friday through Sunday.

The City of Pembroke Pines Police Sergeant will compete in five individual events and four relays over three days at the Tian Fu Sports Area.

On Friday, Martin, 38, will swim the 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly and 200-meter women’s freestyle relay.

The swimming event is divided into two sessions. Martin will swim three events a day.

Her remaining events are the 50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter freestyle, 200-meter medley relay, mixed 200-meter free relay and 200-meter medley relay. She will also compete in the 2-mile open water swim on Aug. 15 at the Jintang Triathlon venue.

“As far as China, I am beyond impressed,” Martin wrote on her Facebook page. “Security is very tight everywhere. I had to bring my passport and register with the police when I got here, but at no point have I not felt safe. The Chinese people are so welcoming and doing everything to make me comfortable. Thank you again everyone for all the support. I’m not really sure how I had the courage to do this, but I am so glad that I’m here.”

Martin is at her optimum fitness and competitive level. In June, she tuned up at the U.S. Police & Fire Championships in San Diego where she won nine gold medals in individual and relay events and broke two meet records over 2.5 hours at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. It was the second consecutive year Martin had won nine gold medals at the meet.

Martin started training seriously a year ago for Chengdu.

“I took my fitness to another level,” she said. She shaved three minutes off her 5K time and started eating healthier while baking brownies and peach cobbler for her work mates.

“Many hours of hard work, sacrifice and overcoming obstacles,” she said. “Hoping that all translates to some fast wins and success in Chengdu.”

The World Police & Fire Games are held every two years. The 2021 World Police and Fire Games are July 30-August 8 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

In her last major international competition, the 2017 World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles, Martin won seven gold medals and one silver and broke five world records over four days of open water and pool racing.

Martin is sponsored by the Broward County PBA (Police Benevolent Association)and Toyota of North Miami. Several family members and friends also donated to her Blue To Chengdu Go Fund Me.

The World Police and Fire Games is a worldwide sporting event held every two years with more than 10,000 attendees. The games are an Olympic-style competition of policemen and firefighters from 70 countries across the world who compete in 60 sports.

Participants can be police officers and firefighters from correction, probation, border protection, immigration, and customs from any country in the world.

More than 6,200 volunteers are working the Games. Longtime actor Jackie Chan is the Ambassador for the 18th World Police & Fire Games.

As the capital of the Sichuan Province and a key southwestern city, Chengdu is an important center for high-tech industry, trade, logistics, and transportation. Being an attractive tourist destination, mostly due to its abundant panda populations, Chengdu is listed on the national registry of historical and cultural cities and won the Best Tourist City award by the World Tourism Organization and the China National Tourism Administration. Additionally, it is recognized by UNESCO as a “City of Gastronomy” and it won the title of “World Excellent Tourist Destination City” by the World Centre of Excellence for Destination (an international organization which promotes sustainable tourism practices).

Chengdu is also one of the best places in China, and thus the world, to see the famous Giant Panda. Within the city, visitors can spend an entire day with them at the Panda Breeding and Research Base, and just a two-hour ride outside the city, there is the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base. Visitors can see all ages of Pandas, sometimes including newborns, and can also get up-close and personal with them.

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

SOFLO’s Jennifer Martin Strikes Gold At U.S. Police & Fire Championships


By Sharon Robb

SAN DIEGO, June 30, 2019—Jennifer Martin passed her first big test with flying colors Saturday at the United States Police & Fire Championships.

The City of Pembroke Pines Police Sergeant and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, tuning up for the Aug. 8-18 World Police and Fire Games, won nine gold medals in individual and relay events and broke two meet records in 2.5 hours at Southwestern College in Chula Vista.

Martin has now won 18 gold medals over two years at the meet.

“I am so very blessed for another great meet, but time to get back to work,” Martin wrote on her Facebook page.

Martin, 38, representing the Pembroke Pines Police Department, won the 50-meter breaststroke in a meet record 32.80, breaking her own record of 33.11 set last year. Her other record was in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.31, breaking the record of 56.50 set in 2010.

Martin also won the 50-meter freestyle in 25.35, 50-meter backstroke in 30.80 and 50-meter butterfly in 28.24, just missing her own record by 1/100th of a second. She and her teammates also won four relays: 200 freestyle, 200 medley, 200 medley mixed and 200 freestyle mixed.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me along this journey,” Martin wrote. “The text messages, the phone calls and support means more than I can ever express in words. My success would not be possible without all the love and support that I get from my friends, family and co-workers.

“Today was a very challenging day. My biggest accomplishment was overcoming a fear that I have hid from for 20 years, the 100 Freestyle. I have let the event beat me mentally and allowed it to hinder my performance and even stopped swimming it. Exhausted, I made the resolution that I would no longer allow my fears and reservations to control me, and I was able to set a new record in that event.

“Coming out of the meet, I am pleased where my performance is and I have a month to fine tune and put in some more work before Chengdu. The journey isn’t over yet, we are just getting started.”

The World Police & Fire Games, held every two years, are in Chengdu, China where Martin will rekindle a few rivalries.

For the second consecutive year, Martin was sponsored by the Broward County PBA (Police Benevolent Association).

At the 2018 USPFC competition in less than three hours, Martin won nine gold medals and broke three meet records including one that stood for 18 years. She competed in three races in less than seven minutes which included two meet-record performances.

Martin won the 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle, 50 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, 50 backstroke and was a member of the winning 200 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay mixed relay and 200 freestyle mixed relay.

She broke meet records in the 50 breaststroke (1990 record of 33.93) in 33.11, 100 breaststroke (1994 record of 1:17.89) in 1:13 and 50 butterfly (2016 record of 28.36) in 28.1.

In her last major international competition, the 2017 World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles, Martin won seven gold medals and one silver and broke five world records over four days of open water and pool racing.

The eight-day United States Police & Fire Championships is an Olympic-style competition with athletes representing law enforcement, firefighters and officers from corrections, probation, border protection, immigration and customs from across the country. It got under way June 22 and ended on Saturday.

Athletes competed in 54 different sports at 33 venues throughout the San Diego county.

It began in 1967 as the California Police Olympics, in 1990 was the California Police Summer Games, in 2000 was the California Police and Fire Games, and since 2012 has been known as the U.S. Police and Fire Championships.

The California Police Athletic Federation is the governing body for the U.S. Police & Fire Championships. Its mission is to promote sport and physical fitness among personnel representing various agencies.

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

SOFLO’s Jennifer Martin Preps For World Games At U.S. Police & Fire Championships On Saturday


By Sharon Robb

SAN DIEGO, June 27, 2019—With the Aug. 8-18 World Police and Fire Games just 41 days away in China, Jennifer Martin will get her first big test Saturday at the United States Police & Fire Championships.

The City of Pembroke Pines police sergeant will compete in the one-day swimming competition at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. The championships got under way on June 2 with various other sports.

Martin, 38, representing the Pembroke Pines Police Department, will compete in nine events including four relays.

When not working full-time, Martin has been training and fine tuning with SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool, where she use to coach with the Comets Swim Team. She has also been cross training in the gym and local road races.

For the second consecutive year, Martin is being sponsored by the Broward County PBA (Police Benevolent Association).

Over three hours, Martin has a Herculean lineup of individual and relay events. She will compete in the 30-39 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly, 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard backstroke. She will also swim four relays: 200 freestyle, 200 medley, 200 medley mixed and 200 freestyle mixed.

“It’s a very challenging day for me,” Martin said.

Martin has been among top athletes in several local, state, national and international competitions. It is the second time she will compete in the United States Police & Fire Championships.

At the 2018 competition in less than three hours, Martin won nine gold medals and broke three USPFC meet records including an 18-year-old record. She competed in three races in less than seven minutes which included two meet-record performances.

Martin won the 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle, 50 butterfly, 100 breaststroke, 100 freestyle, 50 backstroke and was a member of the winning 200 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay mixed relay and 200 freestyle mixed relay.

She broke meet records in the 50 breaststroke (1990 record of 33.93) in 33.11, 100 breaststroke (1994 record of 1:17.89) in 1:13 and 50 butterfly (2016 record of 28.36) in 28.1.

In her last major international competition, the 2017 World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles, Martin won seven gold medals and one silver and broke five world records over four days of open water and pool racing.

The eight-day United States Police & Fire Championships is an Olympic-style competition with athletes representing law enforcement, firefighters and officers from corrections, probation, border protection, immigration and customs from across the country. It got under way June 22 and ends on Saturday.

Athletes compete in 54 different sports at 33 venues throughout the San Diego county.

It began in 1967 as the California Police Olympics, in 1990 was the California Police Summer Games, in 2000 was the California Police and Fire Games, and since 2012 has been known as the U.S. Police and Fire Championships.

The California Police Athletic Federation is the governing body for the U.S. Police & Fire Championships. Its mission is to promote sport and physical fitness among personnel representing various agencies.

The World Police & Fire Games are set for 2019 in Chengdu, China. The World Games are held every two years.

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

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Gold; Two Relay World Records Broken On Day Two Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 12, 2018—Four-time Olympian and world record holder Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and South Florida Aquatic Club followed up her world record in October with a gold medal on Day Two of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

After finishing runner-up three times, Atkinson, 30, seeded first, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.05, a half-second off her world record of 28.56 set on October 6 at the FINA World Cup Series.

Atkinson held off Lithuanian rival and two-time short course gold medalist Ruta Meilutyte who finished second in 29.38. Italian Martina Carraro was third in a national record 29.59.

Meilutyte took the lead with a faster reaction time off the blocks, 0.60 to 0.62. But Atkinson pulled away after a great turn and went on to win her first 50 breaststroke short course title.

In six world short course championships, she has been 17th, sixth and second three times before winning. She now has the most medals (eight) for either a man or woman from the Caribbean at the world short course meet.

No other woman has won as many medals as Atkinson in the 50 breaststroke with four. Meilutyte has three. She is also tied with South African Cameron van der Burgh and Ukraine’s Oleh Lisohor as all-time top medalist in World Championship history in the event.

“It was a sweet swim,” said SOFLO and Jamaican delegation head coach Chris Anderson. “The 50-meter breaststroke has always been a difficult race to start off the World Championships. By having a great turn and solid finish I think it is really going to build confidence for the 100 breaststroke. It was a great swim for her and I’m looking forward to more swimming at worlds.”

In other Wednesday finals:

The U.S. women’s 4×50-meter medley relay team of Olivia Smoliga, Katie Meili, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Mallory Comerford broke the world and championship records in 1:42.38. China was second in 1:44.31 and the Netherlands was third in 1:44.57.

Bolles alum and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy won a close battle in the 100-meter backstroke in 49.23. Current short course meters world record holder Xu Jiayu of China was second in 49.26. Russian junior record holder Kliment Kolesnikov was third in 49.40.

Fifteen minutes after swimming the medley relay, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia finished a close second behind Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu who won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:01.60 edging out Dahlia in 2:01.73, who re-broke her own American record. Japan’s junior world record holder Suzuka Hasegawa was third in 2:04.04.

South African Cameron van der Burgh jumped out to an early lead and held on for the win in the 100-meter breaststroke in a championship record 56.01. Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus was second in 56.10 and Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki was third in 56.13.

American Blake Pieroni led from start-to-finish to win the 200-meter freestyle in 1:41.49. Danas Rapsys of Lithuania was second in 1:41.78 and Aussie Alexander Graham was third in 1:42.28. South African Chad le Clos failed to get out of the semifinals.

The U.S. won its third gold medal of the day in the 100-meter backstroke when American Olivia Smoliga knocked off world and championship record holder Katinka Hosszu, 56.19-56.26. There was a tie for third between Georgia Davies of Great Britain and Aussie Minna Atherton in 56.74.

The U.S. won the mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relay (Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia) in a world and championship record 1:27.89 knocking off world record holder and defending champion Netherlands, second in 1:28.51. Russia was third in 1:28.73. It was a third event for both Dahlia and Comerford.

Other Florida swimmer results:

12. Dylan Carter, Trinidad and Tobago, American Heritage Plantation, 200-meter freestyle, 1:43.74.

15. Isabella Paez, Venezuela, Doral/Miami Metro Aquatics, 200-meter butterfly 2:11.23.

29. Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador, Azura, 200-meter freestye, 1:47.00

69. Abby (Araoluwa) Oyetunji, Nigeria, Somerset/South Florida Aquatic Club, 100-meter freestyle, 1:02.34.

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

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

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

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

Japan’s Daiya Seto Breaks World Record, Knocks Off Chad Le Clos; SOFLO’s Abby Oyetunji Makes Debut, Alia Atkinson Earns Top Seed On Day One Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 11, 2018—On an exciting opening day of upsets and world records at the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships, Daiya Seto of Japan took center stage in his dual against world record holder and defending champion Chad Le Clos of South Africa.

Seto reeled in early leader Le Clos in the final 50 meters of the 200-meter butterfly to break the world record in 1:48.24. Le Clos’ previous record was 1:48.56. Both swimmers came in under world record time and are now one-two in the all-time rankings. Le Clos was second in 1:48.32 breaking his own African national record. China’s Zhuhao Li was third in 1:50.39.

Clay and Bolles alum Caeleb Dressel led off the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay with an American record of 45.66 which buoyed the U.S. to a world record in 3:03.03, breaking the previous mark of 3:03.30 set in 2009. Other relay members were Blake Pieroni, Michael Chadwick and Ryan Held. Russia was second in 3:03.11 and Brazil was third in 3:05.15.

After breaking the Lithuanian national record in morning prelims by four seconds, Danas Rapsys jumped out to an early lead and never wavered to win the 400-meter freestyle in a championship record 3:34.01, again breaking his own national record and third on the all-time list. Henrik Christiansen of Norway was second in 3:36.64 and Gabriele Detti of Italy was third in 3:37.54.

In a thrilling women’s race with three different leaders, Aussie Ariarne Titmus emerged as the winner in 1:51.38. American Mallory Comerford was second in 1:51.81 and Femke Heemskerk of the Netherlands was third in 1:52.36.

Hungary’s Iron Woman Katinka Hosszu won her second 400-meter individual medley world short course title in 4:21.40, close to world record pace for most of the race. St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis was second in a career-best 4:25.84, third-fastest American of all-time. Fantine Lesaffre of France was third in 4:27.31.

In front of his hometown fans, China’s Shun Wang did not disappoint winning the 200-meter individual medley in 1:51.01 and knocking off American Josh Prenot, who was second in 1:52.69. Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori was third in 1:52.73.

The U.S. women won the 4×100-meter freestyle relay knocking off world record and championship record holder Netherlands, 3:78.78 to 3:28.02. U.S. relay members were Olivia Smoglia, Lia Neal, Mallory Comerford and Kelsi Worrell Dahlia.

Four-time Olympian and world record holder Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and South Florida Aquatic Club set herself up to repeat as world champion in the 50-meter breaststroke earning the top seed in 29.54 for today’s final.

SOFLO teammate Abby (Araoluwa)Oyetunji, a Somerset Academy alum, made her world championship debut for Nigeria. She finished 52nd in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:16.23.

Other Florida swimmer results:

13. Anh Vien Nguyen, Vietnam/St. Augustine, 400-meter individual medley, 4:37.28

13. Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador/Azura, 400-meter freestyle, 3:42.74.

35. Patrick Groters, Aruba/NSU University School/Pine Crest Swimming, 200-meter individual medley, 2:02.16.

52. Abby Oyetunji, Nigeria/SOFLO, 200-meter freestyle, 2:16.23.

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

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

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

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