South Florida Aquatic Club First Florida Gold Coast Club To Receive Safe Sport Recognition


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, January 23, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club reached a milestone by becoming the first Florida Gold Coast Club to receive USA Swimming Safe Sport recognition.

The USA Swimming Safe Sport Program raises awareness about misconduct in swimming, promotes open dialogue, and provides training and resources. USA Swimming is committed to making swimming safe for everyone.

SOFLO and other USA Swimming members will use the policies, guidelines, best practices, strategies and tools to create a safe atmosphere at SOFLO’s home Academic Village Pool and away meets.

USA Swimming put together a Safe Sport handbook which is designed to help USA Swimming members to implement safe sport practices at the local level. The handbook is online and also is mailed to each of USA Swimming’s 2,790 member clubs.

SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson is committed to fostering a fun, healthy and safe sport environment for all its members including swimmers, parents and coaches.

Earlier this week Anderson was informed that SOFLO was the first FGC club to receive Safe Sport recognition.

Trish Hughes, Administrative Assistant for USA Swimming, wrote:

“Congratulations on achieving Safe Sport Recognized status for South Florida Aquatic Club. I hope that you found the process of policy review and education beneficial. I have copied your general chair, Safe Sport chair, and the Southern Zone Safe Sport coordinator on this message, because good work should be celebrated.”

USA Swimming is hosting a Prevention Convention 360, Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at the Colorado Springs Marriott. The conference will explore a holistic approach to abuse prevention in sport and cultivating healthy, positive, and inclusive swim clubs and other youth-serving organizations. Conference speakers will explore the what, why, and how of abuse, survivorship, and safe communities.

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

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SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Second Gold, Dylan Carter Takes Bronze On Day Five Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 15, 2018—Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won her second gold medal Saturday at the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

Atkinson, 30, the top-seed and world record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke, won the event in 1:03.51. She is the first woman to win the event for three consecutive world championships (won gold in 2014 and 2016). It was her third medal after winning the 50-meter breaststroke and third in the 100-meter individual medley.

American Katie Meili took silver in 1:03.63. Meili pulled away from the field along with Atkinson, who had a great start and then held on for the win to out-touch Meili. Aussie Jessica Hansen was third in 1:04.61.

“Done and done,” Atkinson said. “Beyond thankful for God’s calming guidance and keeping me mentally and physically in the game. Two golds and a bronze is the best haul at worlds yet, and to do it at 30 years old makes it even better.”

Other Florida swimmers:

1. prelims, 3. semis, Caeleb Dressel, U.S., Clay/Bolles, 100-meter freestyle, 45.98, 46.09.

5. Melanie Margalis, U.S., St. Petersburg, 200-meter individual medley, 2:07.39.

12. Marcelo Acosta, El Salvador, Azura alum, 1,500-meter freestyle, 14:45.78.

25. Isabella Paez, Venezuela, Dora, Miami Metro Aquatics, 100-meter butterfly, 59.69.

66. Jhonny Perez, Dominican Republic, Azura alum, 100-meter freestyle, 51.03.

In Saturday’s finals seven countries won seven gold medals. No world records were broken.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:03.25 for her third consecutive title in the event which she holds the world and championship record in 2:01.86. It was her fourth gold medal of the meet. The U.S. finished two-three with St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis in 2:04.62 and Kathleen Baker in 2:05.64.

“It’s always nice to race in China,” Hosszu said. “I’ve got many fans throughout the year. I’ve been racing a lot in Beijing and now in Hangzhou. Obviously, I’m very happy with my results over the past couple of days. I’m happiest with this, the women’s medley gold because of the time (2:03.25).

“My training hasn’t changed that much by changing my coach. I’ve had a long swimming career, so I’m pretty aware what I need to do to perform well. Obviously, it’s really good to have a coach who can provide additional value to my training. There are little things I have changed and try to focus on. I do pay attention to recovery and try to do a lot more quality instead of quantity”.

American Olivia Smoliga won the 50-meter backstroke in an American record 25.88 successfully sweeping the sprint backstrokes. It was the only gold medal won by the U.S. on Day 5. Caroline Pilhatsch of Austria was second in a national record 25.99. Australia’s Holly Barratt was third in 26.04.

“It feels like a blur to me, it goes by so quickly,” Smoliga said. “I saw both girls off the side of me at the turn and I knew I had to have a good finish, so I tried my best to get my hands on the wall first. I think the time (25.88) is important. It shows how your training has been going, if you have improved your times from previous years. It shows what you are doing is the right thing”.

Japan’s Daiya Seto won the 400-meter individual medley in 3:56.43. Seto took off and led from start-to-finish. He was within a second of the world record of 3:55.50 held by Ryan Lochte. Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes was second in 4:02.74 and Brazil’s Brandonn Almeida was third in 4:03.71.

Brazilian world record holder Nicholas Santos knocked off South African Chad le Clos in the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record 21.81. Le Clos finished in 21.97 and Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 22.38. He was sixth fastest qualifier for the event. It was the second-ever medal for the Caribbean nation after George Bovell’s bronze in 2012 in the 100 IM.

Russia won the men’s 4×50-meter medley relay in a championship record 1:30.54. The U.S., despite Ryan Murphy leading off with a fast split of 22.73, took silver in 1:30.90 and Brazil won the bronze medal in 1:31.49.

In an exciting finish, China outlasted the U.S., 7:34.08-7:35.30 to take gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Australia took bronze in a national record 7:36.40.

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.

On the sixth and final day, 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

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

FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships Begin Tuesday In China, Monday Night U.S. Time With Strong South Florida Connection


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 9, 2018—Four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and South Florida Aquatic Club is favored to repeat as world champion at the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships which begin Tuesday in China (Monday night in the U.S.).

Atkinson, the defending world champion and record holder, is seeded first in the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.56 among a less than stellar field. Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania is seeded second in 29.36 and American Molly Hannis is third in 29.51. The prelims and semifinals are on opening day and finals the following day.

Atkinson, 29, broke her own world record at the FINA World Cup in Budapest on Oct. 6. She swam 28.56 breaking her previous mark of 28.64 which she set in Tokyo, Oct. 26, 2016.

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.

The World Short Course Championships have always been a meet where Atkinson has taken center stage. She was the first Jamaican swimmer to win a medal when she took silver in the 50 breaststroke in 2012 in Turkey. And, in 2014 she the first Jamaican to win a gold medal at the meet when she won the 100 breaststroke in Doha, Qatar.

SOFLO coach Chris Anderson is serving as the Jamaican team coach. Anderson has coached Atkinson since 2001 and has played a huge role in her success. Jamaican Breanna Roman had also qualified but withdrew because of illness.

SOFLO’s Abby Oyetunji, a Somerset Academy alum, is representing Nigeria in her world short course debut. Oyetunji has been swimming with SOFLO since 2011. She is one of four swimmers competing for Nigeria and one of only two women.

Patrick Groters, a NSU University School alum and Pine Crest Swimming Club swimmer, will represent Aruba. His older brother, Jordy, is graduating from Missouri this week.

American Heritage Plantation alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago will compete in five events. Doral and Metro Aquatic Club alum Isabella Paez will represent Venezuela.

Azura Florida Aquatics will be well-represented with current and alum swimmers coached by NSU University School coach Gianluca Alberani. Current swimmers are Sidrell Williams of Jamaica, Pedro Chiancone of Uruguay and Celina Marquez of El Salvador. Three alumni swimmers are Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, Elisa Funes of El Salvador and Jhonny Perez of the Dominican Republic.

Other swimmers with Florida connections are Clay alum and Bolles Swimming Club swimmer Caeleb Dressel; Bolles alum Ryan Murphy; Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg Aquatics; Vietnam’s Anh Vien Nguyen of St. Augustine Swim Team; Coral Springs Swim Club alum Abbas Qali and Plantation American Heritage alum Yousef Alaskari of Kuwait; and Westlake Prep alum Renzo Tjon-A-Joe of Surinam.

Other meet highlights:

USA Swimming’s five team captains are two-time Olympian Matt Grevers, three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, Madison Kennedy and Leah Smith. The U.S. team features 17 women and 18 men. The only top-seeded American male is Michael Andrew in the 100 IM. Kelsi Worrell Dahlia is the only American woman seeded first in the 100 butterfly. The women’s team will be coached by Brian Smith (Athens Bulldogs) and men’s team Dave Salo (Trojan Swim Club).

The U.S. team arrived in Hangzhou six days ago to give them twice as much time to adjust to the time zone as the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships they had in Tokyo last summer.

American Michael Andrew leads all male swimmers entered in five individual events. Teammate Leah Smith is entered in four women’s races.

Top names missing from the U.S. roster are five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky, seven-time world champion Simone Manuel, two-time world champion Chase Kalisz, two-time Olympic champion Lilly King and Olympic champion Nathan Adrian.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu is entered in eight events, six of which she won at the 2016 Windsor Worlds. She will swim all three backstroke events, 100 and 200 butterfly and all three individual medley races. Hosszu is the world record holder in the short course 100 back, 200 back, 100 IM and 200 IM.

Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang province and its economic, cultural, science and educational center, Hangzhou is one of the central cities in the Yangtze River Delta. It also is a popular City of Scenic Tourism, ranking among the first batch of National Historical and Cultural Cities crowned by the State Council. Located in the southern wing of the Yangtze River Delta, western tip of the Hangzhou Bay, downstream of the Qiantang River, and the southern terminus of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, Hangzhou stands as a vital transport hub in southeast China.

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

Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson Misses Shot At Another Medal In Two Events, Her Commonwealth Games Come To And End


By Sharon Robb

April 8, 2018—-Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson had a rough day at the XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia on Sunday.

After settling for a silver medal in the 50-meter breaststroke, she finished eighth in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.35 seconds at Optus Aquatic Centre.

Aussie Cate Campbell was impressive with the win in 25.59. The Aussies swept the top three spots. Holly Barratt was second in 25.67 and Madeline Groves was third in 25.69.

Less than an hour earlier, Atkinson finished seventh in the 100-meter breaststroke, her signature event in 1:09.83 in the semifinals, failing to make the final. South African Tatjana Schoenmaker was top qualifier in 1:06.65.

It was her final two events of the Commonwealth Games where she took home only one silver medal.

Canadian Kylie Masse won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:05.98 ahead of teammate Taylor Ruck in 2:06.42 and Aussie Emily Seebohm in 2:06.82.

Duncan Scott of Scotland won the 100-meter freestyle in 48.02. Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Aussie Kyle Chambers tied for second in 48.15.

England’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:09.80. Canadian Sarah Darcel was second in 2:11.14 just edging out teammate Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson was third in 2:11.74.

In an exciting 50-meter backstroke final, Aussie Mitch Larkin outsprinted teammate Ben Treffers, 24.68-24.84. Zac Incerti completed the Aussie sweep in 25.06.

Australia remained undefeated in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay final in a Games record of 7:05.97. Relay members were Alexander Graham, Kyle Chalmers, Elijah Winnington and Mack Horton. They are 4-for-4 in relays.

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

SOFLO’s Atkinson Will Try Again For First Gold On Sunday At XXI Commonwealth Games


By Sharon Robb

April 7, 2018—Alia Atkinson has another shot at a gold medal Sunday at the XXI Commonwealth Games at newly-renovated Optus Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast Australia.

Atkinson, who took silver in the 50-meter breaststroke earlier in the week, qualified seventh for the 50-meter butterfly final in a lifetime best 26.84.

Australia took the top three qualifying spots with Madeline Groves, 25.54; Cate Campbell, 25.56; and Holly Barratt, 25.88.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer and four-time Jamaican Olympian will also compete in Sunday’s 100-meter breaststroke prelims, her third and final event and signature event.

In Day Four finals:

South African Chad Le Clos won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:54.00. He led from start to finish to break the Commonwealth Games record and win by nearly two seconds over Aussie David Morgan in 1:56.36.

Aussie Cate Campbell broke her own Commonwealth Games record in the 50-meter freestyle final in 23.78. It is her first international meet since her post-Olympic hiatus. Aussie Bronte Campbell and Taylor Ruck of Canada tied for the silver medal in 24.26.

England’s Adam Peaty won the 100-meter breaststroke in 58.84, just off his Games record. He did complete a four-year unbeaten run in the event since Glasgow in 2014. Brit teammate James Wilby was second in 59.43 and South African Cameron van der Burgh was third in 59.44.

Canadian Kylie Masse won the 100-meter backstroke in 58.63. Aussie Emily Seebohm was second in 58.66 and Ruck was third in 58.97.

South African Tatjana Schoenmaker won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:22.02. England’s Molly Renshaw was second in 2:23.28 and Chloe Tutton of Wales was third in 2:23.42.

Through April 15, more than 70 nations will compete. The Commonwealth Games have been held since 1930, open only to athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, including countries such as Australia, Canada, India and United Kingdom.

While there are only 52 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, 70 countries compete in the Commonwealth Games.

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

SOFLO’s Atkinson Takes Silver At XXI Commonwealth Games


By Sharon Robb

April 6, 2018—Gold medal favorite Alia Atkinson of Jamaica had to settle for silver Friday in her first final at the XXI Commonwealth Games at newly-renovated Optus Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast Australia.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, the fastest qualifier in the 50-meter breaststroke, was second in 30.76 behind gold medalist Sarah Vasey of England in 30.60. Aussie Leiston Pickett took bronze in 30.78.

The four-time Olympian was slower than she was in the semifinal in 30.53, second in the world rankings, which would have won the gold medal. She duplicated her silver medal effort at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Atkinson will also compete in the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter breaststroke.

In other finals:

South Africa’s Chad Le Clos won the 50-meter butterfly in a tight race in 23.37. Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago took silver in 23.67 and Ryan Coetzee of South Africa bronze in 23.73.

Aussie teammates Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton finished 1-2 in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.56 and 1:45.89 respectively. Duncan Scott of Scotland was third in 1:46.30.

Aussie Clyde Lewis won gold in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:13.12. Scotland’s Mark Szaranek was second in 4:13.72 and Lewis Clareburt won New Zealand’s first medal placing third in 4:14.42.

Aussie Mitch Larkin won the 100-meter backstroke in 53.18. Bradley Woodward was second in 53.95 and Markus Thormeyer third in 54.14.

Aussie swept the women’s 100-meter butterfly with Emma McKeon, 56.78, Madeline Groves, 57.19 and Brianna Throssell, 57.30.

Through April 15, more than 70 nations will compete. The Commonwealth Games have been held since 1930, open only to athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations, including countries such as Australia, Canada, India and United Kingdom.

While there are only 52 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, 70 countries compete in the Commonwealth Games.

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