SOFLO’s Lares, Mateus Compete Opening Day Of Southern Zones

By Sharon Robb

SOFLO’s Sebastian Lares and Leonardo Mateus, representing Florida Gold Coast, competed on Day One of the five-day Southern Zone Age Group Championships at Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, N.C.

Mateus, 14, was 16th in the 1500-meter freestyle in 17:44.57. Mateus has five events remaining: 200-meter backstroke, 400-meter individual medley, 400-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter butterfly.

Lares, 12, finished 24th in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:56.19. He has five events remaining: 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 50-meter backstroke, 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley.

Paige Lane, 13, will begin competing on Wednesday. Her first event is the 200-meter freestyle. She is also entered in the 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter freestyle, 100-meter backstroke, 50-meter freestyle and 200-meter butterfly.

The zone championships feature top regional swimmers at the senior and age group levels who qualify for these meets within the four designated zones (Eastern, Central, Southern and Western.)


COMBINED TEAM SCORES: 1. Georgia Zone Team 47, 2. Florida Swimming 45, 3. North Carolina Swimming 38, 4. Kentucky Swimming 27, 5. Southeastern Swimming Zone 19, 6. Florida Gold Coast, South Texas 14.

MEN TEAM SCORES: 1. Kentucky 25, 2. Georgia 20, 3. North Carolina 19, 6. Florida Gold Coast 8.

WOMEN TEAM SCORES: 1. Florida Swimming 30, 2. Georgia 27, 3. North Carolina 19, 6. Florida Gold Coast 6.


400-meter freestyle:

11-12, 1. Ana Herceg, South Texas 4:31.62; FGC 16. Rebecca Montero 4:47.48, best time, 19. Kiara Caamano 4:53.70, 22. Riley Botting 4:57.45, best time.

800-meter freestyle:

13-14, 1. Samantha Mobley, GAZ 9:13.30; FGC: 4. Anna Auld 9:17.02, best time, 19. Rachel Botting 9:51.53; 15-18, 1. Ashley Cesario, GAZ 9:08.14; FGC: 8. Marissa Brannan 9:34.32, best time.


400-meter freestyle:

11-12, 1. Braeden Haughey, NCS 4:22.97; FGC: 6. Joshua Zuchowski 4:34.59, best time, 24. Sebastian Lares 4:56.19.

800-meter freestyle:

1.Chase Mattingly, KY 8:38.39.

1500-meter freestyle:

13-14, 1. Neal Wolfram, KY 16:48.73; FGC: 13. Andres Wong 17:35.88, 16. Leonardo Mateus 17:44.57; 15-18, 1. Chase Mattingly, KY 16:22.48; FGC: 5. Andres Lares 17:01.49, best time, 8. Andres Vargas 17:07.65, best time, 19.Cameron Anderson 18:19.49.


The U.S. Open got underway Tuesday in Minneapolis with mostly collegiate and up-and-coming swimmers.

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas, 22, competes Wednesday in the 200-meter breaststroke and SOFLO teammate Claire Donahue, 27, competes Thursday in the 100-meter butterfly.



800-meter freestyle:

1.Ashley Twichell, Unattached 8:25.31, 2. Hannah Moore, NCS 8:28.23, 3. Katy Campbell, PASA 8:37.17.

200-meter butterfly:

1.Hannah Saiz, SSTY 2:10.14, 2. Courtney Harnish, YY 2:12.80, 3. Madison Homovich, MOR 2:13.54.

100-meter freestyle:

1.Shayna Jack, AUS 54.37, 2. Mallory Comerford, CARD 54.46, 3. Eva Merrell, AZOT 55.38.

4×100-meter freestyle:

1.Australia 3:42.98, 2. Wisconsin 3:45.92, 3. Cardinal Aquatics 3:46.81.


1500-meter freestyle:

1.Daniel Jervis, NC 15:03.99, 2. True Sweetser, Gainesville SC 15:04.52, 3. Robert Finke, SPA 15:14.75; 18. Joey Pedraza, RACE 16:15.47.

200-meter butterfly:

1.Zach Harting, CARD 1:57.64, 2. Vini Lanza, IU 1:58.27, 3. Nicholas Brown, AUS 1:58.82.

100-meter freestyle:

1.William Stockwell, AUS 49.84, 2. Cannon Clifton, WA 49.90, 3. Alexander Graham, AUS 49.97.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Phelps Makes History On Day Four Of U.S. Olympic Trials; SOFLO’s Donahue, Auckerman Compete In Second Event

By Sharon Robb

June 29, 2016—Michael Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, made a little more history Wednesday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in front of a sellout crowd at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

Phelps, who turns 31 on Thursday, became the first American male swimmer to qualify for five Olympic teams after winning the 200-meter butterfly in 1:54.84.

After touching the wall, Phelps looked up at the scoreboard and held up five fingers showing the significance of the swim. Phelps’ first Olympics was the 2000 Sydney Olympics when he was 15.

Only 384 athletes in all Olympic sports have made five Olympic teams, including 13 swimmers. Only one other U.S. swimmer, Dara Torres, has made five teams (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2008).

It was Phelps’ fourth consecutive Trials title in the 200-meter butterfly, the longest streak of any individual event winner in U.S. swimming history.

The 18-time Olympic gold medalist said he was happy that his 7-week old infant son, Boomer, was awake to watch the race.

Phelps took the lead at the 50-meter mark and never relinquished it. Tom Shields of Cal Aquatics, who was closing in on Phelps in the final 20 meters, was second in 1:55.81 and made his first Olympic team.

“This race was significant for a lot of reasons, making five Olympics means the most tonight,” Phelps said. “It was my last race on American soil. I was going for my fifth Olympics. And it looked like Boomer was awake for the race which is good. Tonight was all about making the team.”

South Florida Aquatic Club ProFlo teammates Claire Donahue and Kile Aukerman swam their second event of the Trials.

Donahue, competing in her third Trials, was 66th in

the 200-meter butterfly prelims in 2:17.12 ending her bid to make her second Olympic team.

Aukerman, was 37th among 99 swimmers in the 200-

meter breaststroke in 2:17.52. Aukerman, who qualified in three events, has the 200-meter individual medley left.

In other finals:


Katie Ledecky continued to build her Olympic schedule by winning the 200-meter freestyle in 1:54.88. Missy Franklin earned her first individual Olympic berth finishing second in 1:56.18. “It can be tough changing gears to the lower distances, but I put in the training,” Ledecky said. “I knew it was going to be a dogfight tonight. I wanted to get my hand on the wall as fast as I could.”

Said Franklin, “I wanted to get a spot on that relay. It was so important for me to get on the team. That relay is going to be awesome. Last night was really tough and coming back from that, I was telling myself, I’m not done fighting, I’m not done believing in myself.”


Maya DiRado swept the IM events, winning in 2:09.54, third best time in the world this year. Just 45 minutes after racing the 200 freestyle, Melanie Margalis of St. Peterburg just out-touched Caitlin Leverenz by 1/100th of a second in 2:10.11 to finish second and make her first Olympic team. Leverenz took an extra stroke coming into the finish and was third in 2:10.16.

In the semifinals, Kevin Cordes broke the U.S. Open record and earned the top seed going into Thursday’s 200-meter breaststroke final in 2:07.81. Cordes was on world record pace until the final 15 meters. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Alex Evdokimov of Coral Springs Swim Club missed making finals by two spots, placing tenth in 2:14.42.

Cammile Adams of SwimMAC, who had her disqualification in the 200-meter butterfly overturned, is top seed in 2:07.31 for Thursday’s final.

Nathan Adrian of Cal Aquatics is top seed for the 100-meter freestyle in 47.91, second fastest in the world this year. Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel is third seed in 48.53. Ryan Lochte, still bothered by a groin injury, scratched from the semifinal.

Thursday’s events are: women’s 100-meter freestyle prelims and semifinals; men’s 200-meter backstroke prelims and semifinals; women’s 200-meter breaststroke prelims and semifinals; men’s 200-meter individual medley prelims and semifinals; men’s 200-meter breaststroke final; women’s 200-meter butterfly final; and men’s 100-meter freestyle.

NBC is broadcasting finals every night at 8 p.m. EST. USA swimming is live streaming prelims and finals at



200-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, NCA 1:54.88, 2. Missy Franklin, STARS 1:56.18, 3. Leah Smith, Cavaliers 1:56.63, 4. Allison Schmitt, North Baltimore 1:56.71; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 20. Megan Moroney, Cavaliers 2:00.48, 44. Tasija Karosas, Texas 2:02:03, 72. Kyla Valls, Gulliver 2:03.57.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Maya DiRado, Stanford 2:09.54, 2. Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg 2:10.11, 3. Caitlin Leverenz, Cal Aquatics 2:10.16; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 18. Rachael Bradford-Feldman, Kentucky 2:15.88, 67. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:19.65, 69. Kelly Fertel, Gulliver 2:19.74.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Michael Phelps, North Baltimore 1:54.84, 2. Tom Shields, Cal Aquatics 1:55.81, 3. Jack Conger, NCA 1:56.45.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Bolles Alum Murphy Wins; SOFLO’S Aukerman, Donahue Swim Second Events Wednesday At U.S. Olympic Trials

By Sharon Robb

June 28, 2016—Jacksonville-born Ryan Murphy, one of the sport’s rising young stars, has been dreaming about this moment since he was four years old.

The Bolles alum made his first U.S. Olympic team Tuesday night winning the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in front of a packed house at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

Murphy, who turns 21 on July 2nd, is one of 10 first-timers to make the U.S. Olympic team the first three days of the Trials.

Murphy won a tight race in a lifetime-best 52.26, fastest time in the world this year. David Plummer, 30, a father of two, was second in 52.28. Defending Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers, 30, was third in 52.76 and failed to qualify.

“This is a dream come true,” Murphy said. “I started swimming at the age of 4 when this was a dream. To see it come to fruition 16 years later, I don’t know what to say right now. It was my night tonight.”

Murphy and Grevers were under world record pace for the first 50 meters. Plummer put in a late surge down the stretch and caught Grevers.

“This is just unbelievable, I am pretty speechless,” Murphy said. “It hasn’t kicked in yet. Matt Grevers paved the way for me and has been a huge inspiration.”

Plummer, who missed making the 2012 team by 12/100ths of a second, had one chance to make the team since the 100 backstroke was his only event.

“This means everything, it means so much,” Plummer said. “This is the culmination to a long and great career.”

South Florida Aquatic Club teenager Kathleen Golding made her final appearance at the meet in her second event. Golding, 15, one of the youngest in the field, competed in the 200-meter individual medley prelims and finished in 2:19.65.

SOFLO teammates Claire Donahue and Kile Aukerman compete in their second events on Wednesday. Donahue has the 200-meter butterfly and Aukerman swims the 200-meter breaststroke.

In other finals:


In the closest race of the meet so far, Townley Haas, 19, of Nova Aquatics, out-touched Conor Dwyer to win in 1:45.66. Dwyer of Trojan Swim Club, who had already made the team in the 400, was second in 1:45.67. Jack Conger was third in 1:45.77 and Ryan Lochte was fourth 1:46.62. The top four make the team for relays. Less than a second separated the top eight. “It’s still kind of a shock to me,” Haas said. “This is unbelievable. I’m not sure how I feel yet.”


Olivia Smoliga of Athens Bulldogs left Natalie Coughlin, the most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time, and defending Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, in her dust as she won big in 59.02 to make her first U.S. Olympic team. Kathleen Baker, who led at the 50, touched second in 59.29. Clara Smiddy of Michigan, a Florida Gold Coast swimmer with AquaKids Sharks, was sixth in 1:00.12. Franklin finished seventh in 1:00.24 and Coughlin, 12 years older than anyone in the field, was eighth in 1:00.48. “When the Olympics are on the line, it is so hard to stay calm,” said Smoliga, who was fourth at Trials four years ago. “This is so amazing.”


NCAA Swimmer of the Year and short course American record holder Lily King, 19, won in 1:05.20, the fastest time in the world for the last two years. “I am really excited about that time at this stage,” Smoliga said. SwimMac’s Katie Meili was second in 1:06.07. “I am so grateful to so many people who supported me along the way of this journey,” Meili said.

In the 200-meter butterfly semifinals, Michael Phelps, 30, led from start to finish to set himself up nicely for finals. The event’s two-time Olympic gold medalist finished in 1:55.17, sixth fastest time in the world this year. “It was a swim to get in tomorrow’s final,” Phelps said. “I was looking to go faster but that’s how I am, I always want to be better.”

In other semifinals, Maya DiRado was top seed in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:10.09 and Katie Ledecky is top seed in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:55.10. Her 100 split was 56.73.

Wednesday’s events are: men’s 100-meter prelim and semifinal; women’s 200-meter prelim and semifinal butterfly; men’s 200-meter prelim and semifinal breaststroke; women’s 200-meter freestyle final; men’s 200-meter butterfly final and women’s 200-meter individual medley.

NBC is broadcasting finals every night at 8 p.m. EST. USA swimming is live streaming prelims and finals at



100-meter backstroke: 1. Olivia Smoliga, Athens Bulldogs 59.02, 2. Kathleen Baker, SwimMAC 59.29, 3. Amy Bilquist, CAL Aquatics 59.37; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 6. Clara Smiddy 1:00.12, 11. Tasija Karosas, Texas 1:00.79, 24. Megan Moroney, Cavaliers 1:01.80.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Lilly King, Indiana 1:05.20, 2. Katie Meili, SwimMAC 1:06.07, 3. Molly Hannis, Tennessee Aquatics 1:06.65; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 41. Emily Kopas, Michigan/Swim Fort Lauderdale 1:10.17.


200-meter freestyle: 1. Townley Haas, Nova Aquatics 1:45.66, 2. Conor Dwyer, Trojan Swim Club 1:45.67, 3. Jack Conger, NCA 1:45.77.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Murphy, Cal Aquatics 52.26, 2. David Plummer, NYAC 52.28, 3. Matt Grevers, Tucson Ford 52.76; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 27. Brandon Goldman, LSU 55.89.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Donahue Comes Up Short At U.S. Olympic Trials; SOFLO’s Golding Competes In Second Event On Tuesday

By Sharon Robb

June 27, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Claire Donahue gave it all she had but fell short in her first attempt at making her second Olympic team Monday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials.

Swimming in Lane One, Donahue went out fast with the field in the opening 50 meters but was unable to maintain her sprinter speed in the back half of the race.

Donahue, 27, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist making her third Trials appearance, finished fifth in 58.81 at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. Her prelim time was 59.61 and semifinal time was 58.76.

Donahue has another shot when she competes in the opening round of the 200-meter butterfly on Wednesday morning.

Former University of Miami swimmer Kelsi Worrell, who transferred to University of Louisville, won the 100 butterfly and became the Cardinals’ first American Olympian in the program’s history.

Worrell, the American short course record holder, won in a lifetime-best 56.48, bettering her previous best by 4/10ths of a second. It was the second fastest time in the world this year and fifth-fastest all-time.

Vollmer, 28, defending Olympic gold medalist, American record holder, and new mother, was second in 57.21.

Vollmer and Worrell were one-two at the turn, but Worrell had a great turn off the wall and blew past Vollmer down the stretch. Even more amazing is Worrell, the oldest of six siblings, was 37th in 2012.

“This is a dream come true,” Worrell said. “I am in shock for sure. I was not expecting that to happen.”


With the crowd on its’ feet, Katie Ledecky, 19, on world record pace for most of the race, fell short of breaking her own record but won the race and trip to Rio. Ledecky finished in 3:58.98 and Leah Smith was second in a best time 4:00.65, dropping two seconds.

“My coach just told me to go, just race, get up there and go,” Ledecky said. “I couldn’t be happier, I am so happy for Leah. We are going to crush it in Rio.”

Among Ledecky’s incredible credentials is the fact she is 15-for-15 in races for gold medals.


The lights flickered and dimmed as the swimmers took off, but it didn’t seem to bother Kevin Cordes and Cody Miller, two more first-time Olympians. Cordes, who has been working with legendary coach Sergio Lopez in Singapore and training trip at South Florida Aquatic Club, won in 59.18. Miller was second in 59.26.

“I can’t believe it happened, I am so thankful,” Cordes said. “This is a dream come true. I have been working at it for a long time.”

Also in the breaststroke final, teenager Michael Andrew again lowered his national age group and world junior record with a fourth place finish in 59.82.

In the 200-meter freestyle semifinals, Ryan Lochte was third behind Connor Dwyer and Clark Smith in his heat and earned the fifth seed overall in 1:47.58.

Lochte, who missed a berth in the 400 IM on Sunday, had some incredible underwaters to compensate for a pulled groin which he had a pain shot for before he raced.

Dwyer, who is already on the team in the 400 freestyle, earned the top seed in 1:46.96. Jack Conger is the second seed in 1:47.15.

American short course record holder Lilly King earned the top seed for tonight’s 100-meter breaststroke final in 1:05.94. 2012 Olympian Breeja Larson was ninth in 1:07.62 and missed the final.

In the men’s 100-meter backstroke, David Plummer is the top seed for tonight’s final in 52.12, the fastest time in the world this year. Lochte won his semifinal race in 52.28 and is seeded second.

Olivia Smoglia is the No. 1 seed in the 100-meter backstroke in a best time 59.16. Michigan’s Clara Smiddy, longtime Florida Gold Coast swimmer for AquaKids Sharks, is fifth seed in 1:00.11 ahead of Olympic backstroke gold medalist Missy Franklin, seventh in 1:00.45 and 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin in 1:00.46. Former St. Andrew’s swimmer Tasija Karosas missed making finals, placing tenth in 1:00.79. “I didn’t expect to make semis let alone finals,” Smiddy said. “I just wanted to come in and go best times, enjoy the moment and have fun.”

SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding will compete in the 200-meter individual medley prelims on Tuesday, her second event of the Trials.

Tuesday’s events are women’s 200-meter freestyle prelim and semifinal; men’s 200-meter butterfly prelim and semifinal; women’s 200-meter individual medley prelims and semifinal; men’s 200-meter freestyle final; men’s 100-meter backstroke final; and women’s 100-meter breaststroke final.

NBC is broadcasting finals every night at 8 p.m. EST. USA swimming is live streaming prelims and finals at



100-meter butterfly: 1. Kelsi Worrell, Louisville 56.48, 2. Dana Vollmer, Cal Aquatics 57.21, 3. Kendyl Stewart, NCA 58.22; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 6. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 58.81, 35. Harper Bruens, Tenn/BRSC 1:00.28; 54. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 1:00.78, 78. Angela Algee, Hurricanes Swimming 1:01.22

400-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital 3:58.98, 2. Leah Smith, Cavaliers 4:00.65, 3. Cierra Runge, North Baltimore 4:07.04; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 47. Megan Moroney, CAV/St. Andrew’s 4:16.91, 95. Niki Urquidi, Gulliver 4:24.57, 98. Casey Francis, PSU/Pine Crest 4:26.20.


100-meter breaststroke: 1. Kevin Cordes, Foxcatcher 59.18, 2. Cody Miller, Badger 59.26, 3. Josh Prenot, Cal Aquatics 59.81; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 10. Alex Evdokimov, CSSC 1:01.14/12. 1:01.14; 61. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 1:03.00, best time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Donahue Makes Final; Aukerman Swims Best Time On Day One Of U.S. Olympic Trials

By Sharon Robb

June 26, 2016—On an electrifying opening night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Claire Donahue kept her Olympic hopes alive.

Donahue, 27, making her third Trials appearance, advanced into Monday’s final of the 100-meter butterfly Sunday at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist advanced through a nervewracking prelim in 59.61 and much-improved semifinal in 58.76 for the seventh fastest seed in finals.

Four years ago, Donahue was in the same position and ended up qualifying for the team.

“It’s a huge relief to make final,” said Donahue, while soaking in an ice bath. “When you touch the wall, you don’t know because there are two different heats. I was waiting and waiting and feeling the pressure and then found out I was in.”

In morning prelims, Donahue shook off a few pre-race jitters.

“You try to prepare yourself as much as you can but there’s still some nervous energy left there,” Donahue said. “For me I am trying not to get swept up into it. I want to stay calm and relaxed going into finals. I am excited for the race. I know there is a lot on the line.

“I knew there would be about five people right there, I’m not surprised there are more,” Donahue said. “At Trials anything can happen and anything does happen.”

Donahue will also compete in the 200-meter butterfly on Wednesday.

SOFLO teammate Kile Aukerman, making his Trials debut in three events, finished third in his 100-meter breaststroke heat in a lifetime-best time 1:03.00. Aukerman has the 200 breaststroke on Wednesday and 200-meter individual medley on Thursday.

“It feels great, I was looking to go right around three low and maybe even a two high so what I did was pretty good,” Aukerman said.

SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding, 15, of Cooper City High School, one of the youngest swimmers at Trials, finished the 400-meter individual medley in 4:56.96 for sixth place in her heat. Golding also has the 200 IM on Tuesday.

“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Golding said. “Just being here is great. I am here to have fun and see all these great people race and see how it’s done so hopefully next time I can try and make the team. This is the nicest pool I ever swam at. It’s amazing.”

Kevin Cordes, who has been training in Singapore with veteran coach Sergio Lopez and more recently at SOFLO during a training trip in Pembroke Pines, earned the top seed in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinals in an American record time of 58.94.

During morning prelims, Michael Andrew, 17, became the youngest sub-minute breaststroker in U.S. history. Andrew broke his own 17-18 national age group record in 59.96 bettering his previous mark of 1:00.37. He had the fifth fastest time going into semifinals and moved into fourth after semis. “I am blown away going under a minute for the first time,” Andrew said. “It makes me feel world-class because this is legit now.”

In a sign that the guard is changing in swimming, the first six members of the U.S. Olympic team were decided in the men’s and women’s 400-meter individual medley and men’s 400-meter freestyle.

WOMEN’S 400-METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Maya DiRado, 23, of Stanford qualified for her first Olympic team winning in 4:33.73, fifth-fastest time in the world this season. Florida alum Elizabeth Beisel earned the second spot in 4:36.81 to make her third Olympic team. DiRado pulled away from the field after the breaststroke leg. DiRado, who nearly quit the sport, was emotional after making the team. “This is a dream,” she said. “I turned at the 300 and thought I can’t believe this is happening. Am I in the middle of my nap? This is an unbelievable feeling. I am so overjoyed. I don’t know what life I am living, but it’s amazing.” Beisel looked relieved after clinching a spot. “It’s harder the third time around,” Beisel said. “It’s such an honor to make my third team. We are going to do awesome in Rio.”

MEN’S 400-METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Chase Kalisz of North Baltimore and Jay Litherland of Dynamo made their first Olympic team as early leader and injured Ryan Lochte faded to third. “Honestly, the whole thing went by so fast, I feel like I am in a different reality right now,” said Kalisz, who was hugged by longtime friend and training mate Michael Phelps after he got out of the pool.

For the first time since the 2000 Olympics, Lochte will not be competing in the 400 IM. Kalisz won in 4:09.54 and Litherland was second in 4:11.02. Lochte finished in 4:12.02. Lochte took it out fast in the butterfly and backstroke distancing himself from the field by a body length. Kalisz started to reel him in on the breaststroke leg and passed him at the 100-mark. Kalisz pulled away on the freestyle and Litherland caught Lochte down the final stretch.

Lochte, 31, and defending 400 IM Olympic gold medalist, swam finals despite pulling a groin muscle in morning prelims. “I did everything I could in that race,” Lochte said. “It just wasn’t enough. I thought about scratching, but it’s the Olympic Trials.” Lochte has five more opportunities to make the team.

MEN’S 400-METER FREESTYLE: Connor Jaeger of Club Wolverine, trailing after the first 200 and thinking he was out of it, pulled away for the win in 3:43.79. Florida alum Connor Dwyer of Trojan Swim Club was second in 3:44.66.



400-meter individual medley: 1. Maya DiRado, Stanford 4:33.73, 2. Elizabeth Beisel, ABF 4:36.81; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 41. Rachel Bradford-Feldman, St. Andrew’s 4:53.33, 57. Kelly Fertel, Gulliver 4:55.50, 72. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 4:56.96.


400-meter individual medley: 1. Chase Kalisz, North Baltimore 4:09.54, 2. Jay Litherland, Dynamo 4:11.03; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 33. Miguel Cancel, Gulliver 4:26.65, 40. Sam Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks 4:27.51.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Connor Jaeger, Club Wolverine 3:43.79, 2. Conor Dwyer, Trojan Swim Club 3:44.66; FLORIDA GOLD COAST: 53. Blake Manganiello, AquaKids Sharks 3:58.85.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Aukerman, Donahue, Golding Ready For U.S. Olympic Trials That Begin Sunday

By Sharon Robb

June 24, 2016—It’s show time on the big stage for three South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers.

Claire Donahue, Kile Aukerman and Kathleen Golding will compete in the June 26-July 3 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Neb.

Making the Trials is a huge accomplishment in itself. Now they will chase the brass ring trying to make the Aug. 5-21 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

All three have opening races on Sunday: Donahue in her signature event, the 100-meter butterfly, Golding in the 400-meter individual medley and Aukerman in the 100-meter breaststroke.

The talented trio coached by veteran SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson will share the same deck with the sport’s Big Four: Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin for eight days to determine the U.S. men and women’s Olympic teams.

The top two in each final will qualify for Rio, plus up to six finishers in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events for relays. The top six in each event also make the senior national team.

Nearly 2,000 swimmers have qualified for the Trials with the most coming from California, Pacific Coast, North Carolina and Florida. The event at CenturyLink Center is a sell out for the first time with more than 200,000 tickets sold.

Donahue, 27, a 2012 Olympian, is making her third U.S. Olympic Trials appearance and coming off a solid year of training. Donahue won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics as a member of the winning 400-meter medley relay team.

Donahue is seeded fifth in the 100-meter butterfly in 58.03.

“Not just the training aspect but outside factors,” Donahue said. “Recovery. Doing things like yoga. Making sure my diet’s right on. Making sure every aspect of my life is surrounded by swimming, helping me perform and helping me grow in the sport.”

Golding is the only high school swimmer from a South Florida public high school to qualify. At 15, she is also one of the youngest.

Training alongside Olympians and national-caliber swimmers at South Florida Aquatic Club in Pembroke Pines including four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, a Flanagan alum, has helped her improve.

Golding qualified in the 200-meter individual medley (2:18.67) and 400-meter individual medley (4:53.68), two of the sport’s toughest events.

“It definitely helps to watch the older girls and learn from them,” she said. “They are really good.”

Golding is realistic about her expectations for the Trials.

“I am going there for the experience,” Golding said. “I want to see what it’s like and I want to see how I stack up.

“I have been really focused lately, making sure everything I do in practice counts towards trials. My coach and I are pretty confident going into. I have been swimming pretty well.”

Golding would love to advance into the semifinals in one of her events. Despite her age, she is experienced when it comes to competing at big meets.

“I have been to meets with Missy and Michael,” Golding said. “There’s going to be a lot of fast people. I have been training really hard and doing a lot more dryland work. I think I should swim best times. I know after Trials I am going to be really motivated because it’s such a motivating meet. It makes me want to go to the Olympics even more and really enforces how much I want to be better.”

Aukerman is going in with three Trials cuts and lifetime-bests in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:03.38), 200-meter breaststroke (2:17.96) and 200-meter individual medley (2:04.35). All three times he swam at the Tennessee Aquatics Invitational earlier this month.

The 23-year-old Wright State alum is thrilled to be there. After graduating college, Aukerman decided to put his career on hold to train seriously for nearly two years at SOFLO.

“I got some scholarship money and started swimming to get a good education,” Aukerman said. “As the years went on I started improving and had a good senior year. I thought maybe with long course training under my belt I could get better.

“I totally committed myself to going after it. I got my degree and everything and I will be looking for a job after this year. You have the rest of your life to go to school and work. The Trials are once in a lifetime.”

Aukerman is also realistic about the Trials.

“I want to better my time at Trials,” he said. “My goal in my mind these last two years has been I wanted my last meet to be the Olympic Trials. I want to go best times there. If I do that I will be 100 percent fine to say goodbye to swimming. It’s the best possible way to go out swimming at one of the best meets in the world.”


Aukerman: Sunday, 100-meter breaststroke, Wednesday, 200-meter breaststroke, Thursday, 200-meter individual medley

Donahue: Sunday, 100-meter butterfly, Wednesday, 200-meter butterfly

Golding: Sunday, 400-meter individual medley, Tuesday, 200-meter individual medley.

The Trials will be shown exclusively across NBC networks and mobile platforms. Prelims will be live daily at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on the NBC Sports app.

NBC Sports will live stream the Trials including both prelims and finals sessions. It will also be available on NBC Sports online at, or through the NBC Sports app available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.


Miguel Cancel, Gulliver Prep; Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest; Lauren Driscoll, American Heritage Plantation; Anya Egorova, Gulliver Prep; Kelli Fertel, Gulliver Prep; Alex Evdokimov, Taravella; Casey Francis, Pine Crest; Kathleen Golding, Cooper City; Brandon Goldman, St. Thomas Aquinas; Emily Kopas, University School; Austin Manganiello, Miami Palmetto; Blake Manganiello, Miami Palmetto; Lindsey McKnight, Plantation American Heritage; Jessica Nava, Westminster Academy; Carlos Omana, Belen Jesuit; Michael Saco, Miami Palmetto; Juan Sequera, Reagan; Clara Smiddy, South Florida HEAT; Sam Smiddy, South Florida HEAT; Niki Urquidi, Gulliver Prep; Kyla Valls, Ransom Everglades.


Reagan alum Isabella Paez, 20, of Duke will try and qualify for the Venezuelan Olympic team and University School alum Jordy Groters of Missouri will try and make the Aruba team at the June 23-26 RBC Bahamas National Swimming Championships at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex in Nassau. Paez and Groters are former high school district, region and state champions. Foreign swimmers will have a final chance to qualify the following week at the June 29-July 2 Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships, also in the Bahamas.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Aukerman Gets Second Trials Cut; Donahue, Atkinson, Murillo-Valdes Win

By Sharon Robb

June 4, 2016—For the second day in a row, Kile Aukerman of South Florida Aquatic Club got his second U.S. Olympic Trials cut at the Tennessee Aquatics June Invitational.

After making his 200-meter breaststroke cut on Friday in 2:17.96, Aukerman, 23, came back and got his second cut in the 100-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 1:03.38. The cut time is 1:03.69.

Aukerman finished fourth in the event while teammate Jorge Murillo Valdes, 24, won his second event in 1:01.71. Murillo Valdes has already qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games for Colombia.

In other SOFLO swims:

SOFLO finished one-two in the women’s 100-meter butterfly. Claire Donahue, 27, won the event in 59.06 just ahead of teammate Amanda Kendall, 25, in 59.94.

Alia Atkinson, 27, already qualified for her fourth Olympic appearance for Jamaica, won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.48.

SOFLO’s U.S. Olympic hopeful and former world champion Megan Romano, 25, was second in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:01.22 behind Elizabeth Beisel in 2:00.74.

The three-day meet concludes Sunday at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville. The meet features both elite and age group swimmers.

Prelims are 8:30 a.m. and finals are 5 p.m. on Sunday.



100-meter butterfly:

1. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 59.06, 2. Amanda Kendall, SOFLO 59.94, 3. Madeline Banic, Unattached 1:00.99; SOFLO: 19. Cataline Mendieta 1:04.60.

100-meter breaststroke:

1. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 1:06.48, 2. Molly Hannis, TNAQ 1:07.72, 3. Jenny Wilson, GSC 1:10.70; SOFLO: 8. Ksen Golovkina 1:14.20, 10. Monica Alvarez 1:15.31.

200-meter freestyle:

1. Elizabeth Beisel, ABF 2:00.74, 2. Megan Romano, SOFLO 2:01.22, 3. Erica Laning, TNAQ 2:02.16; SOFLO: 8. Alia Atkinson 2:08.94.

400-meter individual medley:

1. Emma Barksdale, DART 4:51.17, 2. Hannah Kastigar, ASC 4:53.00, 3. Sonia Wang, HARV 4:55.51.


100-meter butterfly:

1. Bryce Bohman, CM 53.80, 2. Luis Martinez, AU 54.04, 3. Tyler Mills, Unattached 54.35; SOFLO: 20. Alejandro Zambrano 59.18, best time.

100-meter breaststroke:

1. Jorge Murillo Valdes, SOFLO 1:01.71, 2. Brad Craig, TNAQ 1:02.80, 3. Michael Duderstadt, AU 1:02.98; SOFLO: 4. Kile Aukerman 1:03.38, best time, Trials cut, 17. Santiago Rivera 1:07.99, best time.

200-meter freestyle:

1. Caeleb Dressel, Bolles 1:48.39, 2. True Sweetser, GSC 1:51.71, 3. Trey Freeman, BAY 1:52.51.

400-meter individual medley:

1. Sebastian Rousseau, GSC 4:21.94, 2. Sam McHugh, BAY 4:23.68, 3. Charlie Swanson, NOVA 4:27.77.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Sends Fifteen Swimmers To Tennessee Aquatics Invite

By Sharon Robb

June 2, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club will be one of the largest teams at the Tennessee Aquatics June Invitational.

The three-day meet begins Friday at the University of Tennessee’s Allan Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville. The meet features both elite and age group swimmers.

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson, Megan Romano and Claire Donahue head the field.

Atkinson, 27, already qualified for her fourth Olympic Games for Jamaica, will compete in five events: 50- , 100 and 200-meter freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke. Atkinson is seeded third in the 100 breaststroke.

Romano, 25, fine tuning for the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month in Omaha, will compete in 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke.

Romano is seeded first in the 200-meter freestyle ahead of Eric Laing and Elizabeth Beisel. Romano is seeded second in the backstroke behind Kira Toussaint of Tennessee.

Donahue, 27, also preparing for the Trials, will compete in the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle. Donahue is seeded first in the 100 butterfly and second in the 200 butterfly.

SOFLO teammates Kile Aukerman, 23, and Catalina Mendieta, 26, rested for the meet and will attempt to make their Trials cuts. Aukerman will swim the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley. Mendieta will compete in the 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter butterfly and 50-meter freestyle.

Amanda Kendall, 25, is swimming for SOFLO unattached and is entered in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly.

Other SOFLO swimmers set to compete are Monica Alvarez, 27, Ryan Capote, 18, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, 17, Ksen Golovkina, 26, Luke Lezotte, 15, Jorge Murillo Valdes, 24, Santiago Rivera, 19, Alina Schulhofer, 21, and Alejandro Zambrano, 21.

Murillo-Valdes, already qualified for the Olympics for Colombia, is seeded second in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Prelims are 8:30 a.m. all three days and 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Next weekend Miami Swimming will host a small meet at Ransom Everglades for another chance for SOFLO swimmers to qualify for Olympic Trials or get their cuts.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Medal On Final Night Of Validus Bermuda National Championships

By Sharon Robb

May 22, 2016—Claire Donahue and Timothy Wynter led South Florida Aquatic Club’s medal haul on the fourth and final night of the Validus Bermuda National Long Course Championships Sunday at the National Aquatic Centre in Hamilton.

Donahue, 27, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, won her signature event, the 100-meter butterfly in 59.93. She was the only swimmer in the field to crack one minute.

Timothy Wynter, 20, of Jamaica won the 100-meter backstroke in 57.42.

Kile Aukerman, 23, took a second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.90 and was third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.99.

Alina Schulhofer, 21, of Austria was second in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:07.23.

Bermuda national record holder Lisa Blackburn, 44, was second in a 50-meter time trials in 26.92 and was third in the actual event in 26.89.

The meet was sanctioned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, as one of the last few qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and also served as a final qualifier for the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.



50-meter freestyle time trial:

1. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 26.48, 2. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 26.92.

200-meter freestyle:

1. Kayla Sanchez, Canada 2:06.62, 2. Alina Schulhofer, SOFLO 2:07.23, 3. Octavia Lau, Canada 2:09.86.

100-meter butterfly:

1. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 59.93, 2. Jade Hannah, Canada 1:03.74, 3. Jessica Luo, Canada 1:05.40.

50-meter freestyle:

1. Rebecca Heyliger, Sharks 26.16, 2. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 26.58, 3. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 26.89.


50-meter breaststroke:

1. Azad Al-Barazi, Trojan Swim Club 28.82, 2. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 29.90, 3. Ethan Daley, Sharks 34.31.

100-meter backstroke:

1. Timothy Wynter, SOFLO 57.42, 2. Ethan Fazekas, Canada 1:04.36, 3. Brett Smith, Harbor Amateur Swim Club 1:09.54

200-meter breaststroke:

1. Azad Al-Barazi, Trojan Swim Club 2:17.66, 2. Julian Fletcher, Sharks 2:21.03, 3. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 2:25.99.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Donahue, Wynter Win, Blackburn Swims Best Times At Validus Bermuda National Championships

By Sharon Robb

May 21, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Claire Donahue was a double winner Saturday night at the Validus Bermuda National Long Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Hamilton.

The 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalist won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:18.28 and 50-meter butterfly in 28.33.

Jamaican Timothy Wynter won the 200-meter backstroke in a best time 2:06.69.

Kile Aukerman was third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.93.

Bermuda six-time long course national record holder Lisa Blackburn, 44, was third in the 100-meter freestyle in 58.52. She swam back-to-back best times in prelims (59.00) and finals. Her previous best was 1:00.12, a 1.60-second drop.

Blackburn was second in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:11.93, also a best time. Her seed time was 1:12.11. She holds the national record in the event in 1:11.27.

At 44, Blackburn is the oldest swimmer in the four-day meet that concludes on Sunday.

The meet has been sanctioned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, as one of the last few qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will also serve as a final qualifier for the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.

Swimmers from Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, Guam, Syria, Jamaica, Austria, El Salvador, Venezuela and U.S. are expected to compete. Nine swim clubs are entered.



400-meter freestyle:

1. Kayla Sanchez, Canada 4:26.54, 2. Octavia Lau, Canada 4:26.66, 3. Jessica Luo, Canada 4:40.07.

100-meter freestyle:

1. Kayla Sanchez, Canada 57.14, 2. Rebecca Heyliger, Sharks 57.58, 3. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 58.52, best time.

200-meter butterfly:

1. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 2:18.28, 2. Maria Far Nunez, LaSalle Swim Team 2:19.29.

200-meter backstroke:

1. Jade Hannah, Canada 2:17.41, 2. Shannon Hassell, Sharks 2:31.09, 3. Emily Quarterly, HASC 3:02.86.

50-meter butterfly:

1. Claire Donahue. SOFLO 28.33, 2. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 29.12, 3. Vanessa Esposito, HASC 30.25.

100-meter breaststroke:

1. Faith Knelson, Canada 1:09.95, 2. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 1:11.93, best time, 3. Pilar Shimizu, MSC 1:20.06.


400-meter freestyle:

1. Ruslan Gaziev, Canada 4:12.04, 2. Mackenzie Flowers, Canada 4:14.25, 3. Joshua Young, Canada 4:16.89.

200-meter backstroke:

1. Timothy Wynter, SOFLO 2:06.69, best time, 2. Brett Smith, HASC 2:24.16, 3. Tai Long Singh, Canada 2:26.75.

100-meter breaststroke:

1. Azad Al-Barazi, Trojan Swim Club 1:01.15, 2. Julian Fletcher, Sharks 1:02.47, 3. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 1:04.93.

50-meter backstroke:

1. Jesse Washington, Sharks 29.46, 2. Evan Farrow, HASC 32.76. 3. Vaughn Rowse, Sharks 32.91.

Sharon Robb can be reached at