Aruba’s Patrick Groters Wins Second Gold Medal, Breaks Second Junior Pan American Games Record Twice

By Sharon Robb
CALI, Colombia, November 30, 2021–Patrick Groters of Aruba won his second gold medal and broke his second meet record at the Junior Pan American Games Tuesday at Hernando Botero O’Byrne Swimming Pool.

On the fifth and final night of the inaugural competition, Groters, 22, won the 200-meter individual medley with an exciting finish in 2:02.09, holding off Guatemala’s Erick Gordillo in 2:02.47.

Groters broke his second Junior Pan American Games record in morning prelims in 2:03.93 and came back to break it again in finals in 2:02.09.

The former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swim Club swimmer, now at University of South Carolina, finished with two gold medals, two meet records, two national records, one silver medal and three World Championship qualifying times.

Nicole Frank, 17, of Uruguay and Azura Florida Aquatics, won her first gold medal of the meet in the 200-meter individual medley. She won in a best time 2:17.46, a drop of 0.78. She was second fastest in morning prelims in 2:21.61.

Brazil swept the men’s and women’s team titles.

Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca, hosted the first-ever edition of the Junior Pan American Games.

It was a key event in the lead-up to the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and Paris 2024 Olympics, allowing up-and-coming athletes a new level of competition they didn’t have in past years.

Approximately 3,000 volunteers, 1,400 technical officials and 1,142 other officials participated along with 4,806 athletes from 41 countries and territories affiliated with Panam Sports in 39 sports. The meet was for ages up to 22.

Neither the U.S. or Canada, the region’s most successful countries, sent swim teams to the event although they competed in other sports. Brazil (25), Colombia (25), and Mexico (26) had the largest delegations of swimmers.

The Games were initially scheduled to begin on June 5 but were postponed to September 9 to 19. It was further delayed because of COVID-19 before moving to late November and early December.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Karen Durango Restrepo, Colombia 17:18.34, 2. Maite Gonzalez Rodriguez, Cuba 17:35.28, 3. Michelle Jativa, Ecuador 17:45.32.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Nicole Frank, Uruguay 2:17.46, 2. Maria Selene Alborzen, Argentina 2:18.99, 3. Fernando De Groeij, Brazil 2:19.32.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Gerald Hernandez Huerta, Nicaragua 16:44.64, 2. Juan Jose Bolanos, Costa Rica 16:50.44, 3. Miguel Siwady, Honduras 16:52.42.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Patrick Groters, Aruba 2:02.09, 2. Erick Gordillo, Guatemala 2:02.47, 3. Matheo Mateos, Paraguay 2:04.53.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Aruba’s Patrick Groters Wins, Breaks First Record At Junior Pan American Games Twice; SOFLO’s Gaby Banks Swims Best Time

By Sharon Robb
CALI, Colombia, November 27, 2021–Patrick Groters of Aruba made history at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games Saturday at Hernando Botero O’Byrne Swimming Pool.

Groters, 22, broke the first Pan American junior record in the 200-meter backstroke prelims in 2:03.55, the fastest morning qualifier. He came back at night to break it again and win the event in a best time 2:01.78, a 0.54 drop.

Groters, now at University of South Carolina, swam at NSU University School and Pine Crest Swim Club. He is a member of Aruba’s national team and 2024 Olympic hopeful. He has the 100 backstroke, 400 IM and 200 IM left to swim.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Gaby Banks, 18, of Florida State who represents Jamaica internationally, was 22nd in 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:13.26, dropping 0.04.

Uruguay’s Nicole Frank, 17, who trains with Azura Florida Aquatics, was seventh in the 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:05.90, a 0.57 drop. She qualified seventh in 2:06.77.

In the men’s 200 freestyle, Joaquin Vargas of Peru was fifth fastest qualifier in 1:53.92; Gabriel Araya of Chile was seventh fastest in 1:54.82; and Miami’s Brandon Vives of the Dominican Republic was 18th in 200 freestyle in 1:58.02. Vargas came back in finals to place fourth in 1:50.86; Araya finished seventh in 1:53.64; and Vives was 12th in 1:56.64. Vives was also 26th in the 100 butterfly in 59.21.

Maria Munoz, 22, of Peru and Azura, was 13th in the 100 butterfly prelims in 1:03.95 and 12th in finals in 1:03.42.

Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca, is hosting the first-ever edition of the Junior Pan American Games.

It is a key event in the lead-up to the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and Paris 2024 Olympics, allowing up-and-coming athletes a new level of competition they didn’t have in past years.

Approximately 3,000 volunteers, 1,400 technical officials and 1,142 other officials are participating along with 4,806 athletes from 41 countries and territories affiliated with Panam Sports in 39 sports. The meet is for ages up to 22.

Neither the U.S. or Canada, the region’s most successful countries, sent swim teams to the event although they are competing in other sports. Brazil (25), Colombia (25), and Mexico (26) have the largest delegations of swimmers.

The Games were initially scheduled to begin on June 5 but were postponed to September 9 to 19. It was further delayed because of COVID-19 before moving to late November and early December.

200-meter freestyle:

  1. Ana Carolina Vieira, Brazil 2:02.15, 2. Maria Yegres Cottin, Venezuela 2:02.16, 3. Karen Durango Restrepo, Colombia 2:03.09.

100-meter butterfly:

  1. Clarissa Maria Rodrigues, Brazil 1:00.19, 2. Luana Alonso, Paraguay 1:00.30, 3. Valentina Becerra, Colombia 1:00.82.

200-meter backstroke:

  1. Athena Meneses Kovacs, Mexico 2:15.64, 2. Jimena Leguizamon Leal, Colombia 2:16.85, 3. Fernando De Goeji, Brazil 2:17.94.

200-meter freestyle:

  1. Breno Martins Correia, Brazil 1:47.46, 2. Juan Manuel Morales Restrepo, Colombia 1:49.70, 3. Santi Corredor, Colombia 1:49.80.

100-meter butterfly:

  1. Kayky Marquart Mota, Brazil 52.81, 2. Matheus Ferreira De Moraes Gonche, Brazil 52.83, 3. Jorge Eliezer Otaiza Hernandez, Venezuela 53.76.

200-meter backstroke:

  1. Patrick Groters, Aruba 2:01.78, 2. Diego Salgado, Mexico 2:02.29, 3. Erick Oswaldo Gordillo Guzman, Guatemala 2:03.00.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Heads Field For UANA Tokyo Qualifier That Begins Thursday In Clermont

By Sharon Robb
CLERMONT, April 28, 2021—Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson heads a fast field for the UANA Tokyo Qualifier that gets under way Thursday at Orlando Health National Training Center.

The four-day meet, hosted by Azura Florida Aquatics and Montverde Academy Swimming, has attracted 300 swimmers and 74 teams from 60 nations.

As a FINA-approved event, swimmers who participate will be eligible to qualify for the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympic Games; Sept. 9-19 Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia; Dec. 15-20 FINA SCM World Championships in Abu Dhabi and May 13-29, 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

“The UANA Tokyo Qualifier is a significant opportunity for swimmers throughout the world to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Dale Neuberger, newly-named FINA Treasurer. “With athletes from over 60 countries competing, the state of Florida has established itself as an important and desirable location for international competition.”

UANA (Union Americana de Natación) is the international governing body in the Western Hemisphere for amateur aquatics. UANA is one of five continental regions within FINA.

Recently, Atkinson was named an an athlete member to the UANA Technical Committee for swimming through 2023.

Atkinson, 32, one of the oldest swimmers in the meet, has already qualified for her fifth Olympics in Tokyo in her signature 100-meter breaststroke event.

In addition to the 100-meter breaststroke, Atkinson is also entered in the 50-meter butterfly, 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter butterfly. She is seeded first in the 50-meter butterfly (26.61) and breaststroke (30.58) events, second in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.00) and third in the 100-meter butterfly (1:00.87).

She will be joined by four other SOFLO teammates: Mariangela Cincotti Serafini, 17, and Andrea Santander, 19, both of Venezuela; Julio Horrego, 22, of Honduras and Leo Mateus, 19, of Colombia.

All five swimmers are representing SOFLO.

Horrego is entered in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events and is an Olympic hopeful. Horrego represented Honduras at the Central American and Caribbean Games where he was fifth in the 200 breast in 2:16.40 and eighth in the 200 IM in 2:05.40. At the 2018 CCCAN meet he won the 100 breast (1:03.30); 200 breaststroke (2:20.87) and 200 IM (2:04.85). He was a two-time high school state champion at Mater Academy and former Florida State swimmer.

Cincotti Serafini, headed to Drexel University in the fall, will swim the 100, 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events. She will graduate from Nova Southeastern University School where she qualified for the state meet as a junior and broke school records in the 200 and 500 freestyles. She is a member of Venezuela’s national team and has competed in the Pan American and South American Games. In 2018, she qualified for the Open Water Junior World Championships in Eilat. She is a member of two Venezuelan national age group relay records.

Santander, a former Broward County High School Swimmer of the Year and state champion for Pine Crest, earned a scholarship to University of Southern California her senior year. As a junior, she represented Venezuela in international meets including the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires at age 16. She has competed in five international meets, her first three 17-18 meets and junior worlds. Santander is entered in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyles and 200-meter individual medley.

Mateus, an Everglades High School alum currently enrolled at Yale, swims for the Colombian Swimming Federation and has limited international experience. He is entered in the 200-meter backstroke and breaststroke events and 200- and 400-meter individual medleys.

Miguel Cancel, who trains at SOFLO when he’s not attending and swimming at University of Florida, is competing unattached for Florida. Cancel, a Gulliver Prep alum where he won four individual state titles, has competed on the international scene for Puerto Rico. Among his events are the 50 butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke sprints and 200 and 400 IM.

Also competing are SOFLO’s Juan Colmenares, 17, and Javier Colmenares, 14, representing Venezuela and competing for international meet experience.

There will be several other familiar faces with Florida ties in the meet.

Aruba’s Patrick Groters, 22, coached by his brother Jordy, is a NSU University School alum. Their mother is UANA President Maureen Croes.

“I am extremely pleased with the event that UANA, together with Azura, Montverde, Orlando Health National Training Center and Greater Orlando Sports Commission, put together in a very short time,” Croes said.

“Organization of any sporting event during the pandemic is very challenging and requires more attention to details to ensure our athletes and coaches are able to do what they do best safely. I am grateful to all involved, as cooperation and willingness to support has been beyond my wildest dreams.”

Pine Crest will have a talented group of swimmers led by 16-year-old U.S. Olympic trials qualifier Julia Podkoscielny.

Host Azura has a large contingent entered led by El Salvador Olympian Marcelo Acosta, 24. He was the first swimmer from El Salvador to qualify for the Olympics with an “A” cut in 2016.

St. Andrew’s alum Izaak Bastian, 20, swimming unattached for Florida State, is representing the Bahamas as a member of the national team and national record holder.

On Thursday timed finals session begins 5 p.m. Events are women’s 1500-meter freestyle, men’s 800-meter freestyle and men’s and women’s 50-meter butterfly, 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter breaststroke. Friday through Sunday, prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 5 p.m.

The meet is being shown on the Pan Am Sports TV channel available on an app which can be downloaded for free on various devices.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Murillo-Valdes Ends Olympic Journey; Phelps, Ledecky, Team USA Come Up Big

By Sharon Robb

August 10, 2016—-South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jorge Murillo-Valdes competed in his final event Tuesday at the Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Murillo-Valdes, 24, competed in the 200-meter breaststroke finishing 28th overall in 2:12.81.

Earlier in the week, he broke the Colombian national record in the 100-meter breaststroke and finished 14th in 59.93. It was the first time he ever advanced past the preliminary round.

“Today ends for me this great experience of my first Olympic Games,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “National record, semifinal and a lot of things to improve. Today I close my cycle. Rio 2016 opens up the new with very good expectations for Tokyo 2020.”

The United States continued to dominate particularly Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.

In their first meeting since the 2012 London Olympic final of the 200-meter butterfly which Phelps lost to South African Chad Le Clos, Phelps reclaimed his gold medal in 1:53.36. Phelps led after the first 100 meters.

It was Phelps 20th gold medal and 24th Olympic medal overall since his debut in Athens, Greece as a teenager. It also his third victory in the event, also winning in 2004 and 2008. It was his first individual medal of the Games after opening with a relay victory.

Phelps, 31, held off Japan’s Masato Sakai who silvered in 1:53.40. Phelps also won another gold medal as a member of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay for his 21st gold and 25th medal overall.

The butterfly race was won by 4/100ths of a second, the smallest margin of victory ever in the history of the race.

“I was pretty far up after that individual race,” Phelps said. “It was the race I wanted back. I did everything to win the race. I don’t care about the time. I just wanted to win. That event was my bread and butter. That was the last time I’ll ever swim it.

“It was a challenging one tonight. It is mind blowing to talk about everything that Bob and I have achieved for the sport. I think we can call it mission accomplished.”

Phelps was joined on the winning 4×800 relay by Connor Dwyer, Townley Haas and Ryan Lochte who won in 7:00.66.

“That was probably one of my most challenging doubles,” Phelps said. “Doing a double like that is a lot harder than it once was.”

After breaking her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle, Ledecky was pushed to the limit before winning the 200-meter freestyle in 1:53.73 ahead of favorite Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden.

Ledecky has yet to lose an international race since her debut at the 2012 Olympics.

“I just let it happen,” Ledecky said. “I saw I had the lead. I wasn’t going to let it go. I had to dig deep. That was the closest I have come to throwing up in a race. Every part of my body hurt at the end of the race.”

In other events:

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu withdrew from the 200-meter butterfly heats to save her energy for the 200-meter individual medley which paid off in another gold medal in 2:06.58, her third of the Games. American Maya DiRado took the bronze in 2:08.79.

“Amazing, I honestly can’t believe I have three golds,” Hosszu said. “I am very excited. I can’t believe I have three gold medals.”


AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 100-meter freestyle heats; 12:23 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke heats; 12:45 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke; 1:07 p.m., Men’s 200-meter individual medley; 1:29 p.m., Women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Men’s 200-meter breaststroke final; 9:09 p.m., Women’s 100-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:25 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals; 954 p.m., Women’s 200-meter butterfly final; 10:03 p.m., Men’s 100-meter freestyle final; 10:08 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinals; 10:55 p.m., Women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Murillo-Valdes Breaks Colombian National Record In Olympic Debut; Atkinson Begins Medal Quest Sunday

By Sharon Robb

August 7, 2016—-South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jorge Murillo-Valdes made a great first impression in his Olympic debut.

Murillo-Valdes, 24, broke the Colombian national record in the 100-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 59.93 during the heats of opening day swimming action Saturday at Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.

It was the first time Murillo-Valdes cracked the minute barrier.

Late Saturday night, Murillo-Valdes was unable to advance past the semifinals finishing in 1:00.81.

On Sunday, SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson begins her medal hunt in the 100-meter breaststroke in the afternoon heats and late night semifinals.

SOFLO teammate Timothy Wynter, also of Jamaica, will make his Olympic debut in the 100-meter backstroke. He will be in Lane 5 in the opening heat with a qualifying time of 57.47.

Three world records, two individual and one relay, were broken on Day One.

In his first Olympic race, Great Britain’s Adam Peaty, 21, lowered his world record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 57.55.

With a .55 reaction time off the blocks, Peaty was under his own world record by 3/10ths of a second at the turn. In the semifinals, Peaty qualified for Sunday’s final in 57.62. He now owns the six fastest breaststroke times in history.

“I am not very sure how to explain the world record,” Peaty said. “The job is not done yet. You never know what’s going to happen in each race. I felt pretty good and easy.”

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who trained in Fort Lauderdale during a training camp before the Olympics, got her first career Olympic gold medal while breaking her own world record in an incredible show of sheer strength and speed.

Hosszu won in 4:26.36. She was five seconds ahead of the record halfway through the race. The previous record was 4:28.43 set in 2012.

“I didn’t think I would go 26, but I knew I would be much faster than in the morning,” Hosszu said. “I haven’t been able to process what just happened.”

Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, the race favorite, won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:06.05, the first gold for Japan in this event. Hagino ended the U.S. streak in the 400 IM at five straight Olympic gold medals. Teammate Daiya Seto took the bronze in 4:09.71.

Australia bounced back from a disappointing 2012 London Olympics, winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle and women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

Mack Horton knocked off China’s defending gold medalist Sun Yang, 3:41.55-3:41.68. Italian Gabriele Detti was third in 3:43.89. Americans Conor Dwyer (3:44.01) and Connor Jaeger (3:44.16) were fourth and fifth respectively.

To cap off an exciting, but late opening night of swimming, the Aussies 4×100-meter freestyle relay broke its own world record in 3:30.65. The previous record was 3:30.98. Relay members were Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie and sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell.

The American relay of Simone Manuel, Abbey Weitzeil, Dana Vollmer and Katie Ledecky took the silver in a new American record of 3:31.89. Vollmer was coming off the butterfly semifinals. The Canadians, with Sandrine Manville and Chantal Van Landeghem, who trained at Pine Crest during a camp, took the bronze.

In other events:

American Chase Kalisz of North Baltimore took the silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley in a personal best time of 4:06.75 in his Olympic debut.

U.S. teammate Maya DiRado won silver in the 400-meter individual medley. “It’s unbelievable, I had so much fun in that race,” she said. “It was an unbelievable experience. Kudos to Katinka, she crushed it.”

In a shocker, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell failed to make the final of the 100-meter butterfly. Worrell was long into the finish and was fourth in her semifinal and finished ninth overall in 57.54.


Afternoon Session: Noon, Women’s 100 backstroke heats; 12:17 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle heats; 12:54 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke heats; 1:14 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke heats; 1:31 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle heats; 2:03 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay heats.

Evening Session: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 100-meter butterfly final; 9:08 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:26 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke semifinals; 9:53 p.m., Men’s 100-meter breaststroke final; 10:01 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle final; 10:09 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:33 p.m., Women’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:54 p.m., 4×100-meter freestyle relay final.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Bolles Alum Condorelli Wins Again At Arena Pro Swim Series; Murillo, Atkinson Among Top 10

By Sharon Robb

May 14, 2016—Jacksonville Bolles alum Santo Condorelli won his second event Saturday night in the Arena Pro Swim Series at the newly-renovated Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in Charlotte, N.C.

Condorelli, competing for Canada, won the 50-meter butterfly in 23.82, the only swimmer to crack 24 seconds. In morning prelims, he went 23.77 to earn the top seed.

On Friday, Condorelli, 21, posted the lone sub-53 second time to win the 100-meter butterfly in 52.53.

“I’m working on specific things at this event and trying to fine-tune my performance in preparing for the Olympics,” Condorelli said.

South Florida Aquatic Club three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson scratched from the C final of the 200-meter breaststroke to focus on the B final of the 50 butterfly.

Atkinson finished 10th in the 50-meter butterfly final in 27.17. In morning prelims, Atkinson finished 22nd in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:36.26. In morning prelims, she was 16th in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.92.

SOFLO teammate Jorge Murillo, 24, of Colombia was eighth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:20.68.

In Saturday’s other action:

Cammile Adams won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.14, her best time of the year.

Mexico’s Jonathan Gomez won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:57.36.

Canadian Chantal Van Landeghem won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.43.

Kylie Masse of Canada turned in the only sub-minute 100-meter backstroke to win in 59.98.

Arkady Vyatchanin won the 100-meter backstroke in 54.80 ahead of Ryan Lochte, second in 55.22.

Anne Lazor won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:24.96.

Cody Miller won the men’s 200-meter breaststroke in 2:12.22.

Dana Vollmer, looking stronger than ever, won the 50-meter butterfly in 25.87 just ahead of Penny Oleksiak in 25.97.

Leah Smith won the 400-meter freestyle in a pool record in 4:05.21. The four-year record was held by Allison Schmidt in 4:05.40.

Conor Dwyer, training in altitude the last two months, led from wire to wire to win the 400-meter freestyle in 3:47.37.

Anthony Ervin, who recently relocated to SwimMAC, won the 50-meter freestyle in the only sub-22 in 21.98. Condorelli was second in 22.15.

The field features 30 national team members and more than 500 swimmers. The top three finishers win $1,000, $600 and $200. The meet is also a FINA-approved competition where swimmers can achieve qualifying times for the Olympics.

A full schedule of long course events are scheduled for Sunday, the meet’s final day, with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

Only three Arena Pro Swim Series meets remain including this weekend’s event in Charlotte, Santa Clara and Indianapolis.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream Sunday’s final sessions live. NBC Sports Network will air tape-delayed television coverage of the meet from noon to 3 p.m. The entire meet will also be live streamed at



200-meter butterfly: 1. Cammile Adams, SwimMAC 2:08.14, 2. Jen Marrkand, Unattached 2:09.89, 3. Hannah Saiz, SSTY 2:10.75.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Chantal Van Landeghem, Swimming Canada 24.43, 2. Madison Kennedy, SwimMAC 24.53, 3. Farida Osman, Unattached 25.00

100-meter backstroke: 1. Kylie Masse, Swimming Canada 59.98, 2. Kirsty Coventry, SwimMAC 1:00.12, 3. Ali Deloof, Michigan 1:00.41.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Anne Lazor, AU 2:24.95, 2. Kierra Smith, Swimming Canada 2:25.06, 3. Lilly King, Indiana 2:25.13; SOFLO: 22. Alia Atkinson 2:36.26.

50-meter butterfly: 1. Dana Vollmer, Cal Aquatics 25.87, 2. Penny Oleksiak, Swimming Canada 25.97, 3. Farida Osman, Unattached 26.11; SOFLO: 10. Alia Atkinson 27.17.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Leah Smith, Unattached 4:05.21, 2. Lindsay Vrooman, Badger 4:07.71, 3. Gillian Ryan, Michigan 4:10.33.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Jonathan Gomez, SCAR 1:57.36, 2. Tyler Clary, SwimMAC 1:58.68, 3. Zach Harting, Louisville 1:59.68.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Anthony Ervin, Unattached 21.98, 2. Santo Condorelli, Swimming Canada 22.15, 3. Josh Schneider, NYAC 22.16.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Javier Acevedo, Swimming Canada 56.38, 2. Markus Thormeyer, Swimming Canada 56.41, 3. Carter Griffin, UMIZ 56.45.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Cody Miller, Badger 2:12.22, 2. Mauro Castillo Luna, TAMU 2:15.28, 3. Luis Jasso, Mexico 2:15.48; SOFLO: 8. Jorge Murillo 2:20.68, 37. Marc Rojas 2:34.68.

50-meter butterfly: 1. Santo Condorelli, Swimming Canada 23.82, 2. Matthew Josa, SwimMAC 24.10, 3. Tim Phillips, SwimMAC 24.12.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Connor Dwyer, Trojan SC 3:47.37, 2. Zane Grothe, Badger 3:48.40, 3. Connor Jaeger, Club Wolverine 3:48.62.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Atkinson, Murillo, Rojas Compete Friday At Arena Pro Series

By Sharon Robb

May 12, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will begin competing Friday in the Arena Pro Swim Series at the newly-renovated Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

Three-time Jamaican Olympian Atkinson opens with the 100-meter breaststroke and 100-meter butterfly.

Atkinson has the world’s 13th best time in the 100-meter breaststroke this year. Katie Meili is the top seed in the event. At last summer’s Pan American Games, Meili took gold while Atkinson settled for the silver.

Atkinson has an ambitious schedule with six events over three days. She will also compete in the 50- and 200-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

Colombian Jorge Murillo and Marc Rojas swim the 100-meter breaststroke. Both are also entered in the 50- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Atkinson and Murillo are already qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero. Rojas is trying to make his U.S. Olympic trials cut.

In Thursday opening day distance action:

Marcelo Acosta, 19, of Azura Florida Aquatics was top Florida Gold Coast finisher, placing third in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:05.79.

Connor Jaeger, 25, of Club Wolverine won the 800-meter freestyle in 7:54.49.

Ashley Twichell, 26, ofCal Aquatics won the 1500-meter freestyle in 16:11.19.

Cammile Adams, 24, of SwimMAC won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:33.79. She was also sixth in the 1500 in 16:44.84.

The field features 30 national team members and more than 500 swimmers.

A full schedule of long course events begin on Friday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

Only three Arena Pro Swim Series meets remain including this weekend’s event in Charlotte, Santa Clara and Indianapolis.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream Saturday’s and Sunday’s final sessions live. NBC Sports Network will air tape-delayed television coverage of the meet from noon to 3 p.m. The entire meet will also be live streamed at



1500-meter freestyle:

1.Ashley Twichell, Cal Aquatics 16:11.19, 2. Kristel Kobrich, CHI 16:16.15, 3. Gillian Ryan, Michigan 16:32.21.

800-meter freestyle:

1.Cammile Adams, SwimMAC 8:33.79, 2. Verity Abel, Duke 8:49.52.


800-meter freestyle:

1.Connor Jaeger, Club Wolverine 7:54.49, 2. Zane Grothe, Badger 7:57.00, 3. Marcelo Acosta, Azura 8:05.79.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Countdown To Rio Summer Olympics: 100 Days To Go

By Sharon Robb

April 27, 2016—It just got real for fourteen South Florida Aquatic Club elite swimmers and other athletes around the world training for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Wednesday marked the 100-day countdown for the Aug. 5-21 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, the first time the multi-sport event will be held in South America at a cost of $7.4 billion.

SOFLO already has two swimmers who qualified for the Olympics and several others working toward the same goal.

Jamaican Alia Atkinson qualified for her fourth Olympic appearance in the 100-meter breaststroke. The world record holder has competed in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and has yet to medal.

Colombian Jorge Murillo qualified for his Olympic debut in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Four other international swimmers training at SOFLO are potential Rio qualifiers: Lisa Blackburn, Bermuda, 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke; Alina Schulhofer, Austria, 800 freestyle relay; Raiz Tjon-A-Joe, Suriname, 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke; and Monica Alvarez, Colombia, 100-meter breaststroke.

Three SOFLO swimmers have qualified for the U.S. trials in Omaha: teenager Kathleen Golding, 200 and 400 individual medleys; 2012 Olympic relay gold medalist; Claire Donahue, 100 and 200 butterfly; and former world champion Megan Romano, 50, 100 and 200 freestyles; 100 and 200 backstroke.

Four other SOFLO swimmers are working on trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials: Marc Rojas, 100 and 200 breaststroke; Kile Aukerman, 100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 individual medley; Ksen Golovkina, 100 breaststroke and Catalina Mendieta.

Approximately 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are expected to compete for 306 medals over 17 days. The Rio Olympics will feature 136 women’s medal events, 161 men’s events and nine mixed events.

Rugby and golf are the two new sports added to this summer’s Games. The last time golf was included in the Olympics Games was 112 years ago. Rugby was last included in 1924 and the United States won gold that year.

The only sports that have been included in every Summer Olympics are swimming, track and field, cycling, fencing and gymnastics.

American Michael Phelps, who first competed in the 2004 Olympics, holds the record for most medals won by any man or woman with 22, including 18 gold medals. He also set a record for most gold medals won at one Olympics with eight in 2008.

Nine different venues will comprise the Olympic Park, seven of which will be maintained after the Games.

A total of 7.5 million tickets are available. Tickets to the more popular events, like swimming, start at $100 and can run up to $350 for finals. According to NBC, the most popular tickets sold so far have been soccer, basketball, volleyball and handball.

Fans interested in purchasing tickets to the Games can go to Tickets are available individually or in packages with hotel bookings and hospitality offerings.

The Olympic torch relay began April 21 in Olympia, Greece, the Games’ birthplace. The torch will begin its 95-day journey through Brazil on May 3. The Rio Olympic torch will travel through 329 Brazilian towns and cities.

While Rio Olympics publicity has focused on raw sewage, dirty water, the Zika virus, political unrest and building delays, the Games main focus will always be the athletes and will go on and are still the greatest sporting event ever to be involved in.


SOFLO’s Lisa Blackburn, a Bermuda national record holder training to make her Olympic cuts, competed in the recent nationals in Puerto Rico. Blackburn won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:13.19, was third in the 100-meter freestyle in 58.95 and fourth in the 50-meter freestyle in 27.40.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Wraps Up AT&T Winter National Championships; Swimmers Resume Training For Trials, Rio Olympics

By Sharon Robb

December 6, 2015—The most decorated Olympian ever said it best at the conclusion of the AT&T Winter National Championships late Saturday night at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

“It seems like a long time before Olympic trials, but it will be here before you know it,” said Michael Phelps, who took home his third national title in the 200-meter butterfly on the final night of competition.

Phelps won the event in 1:56.11 ahead of North Baltimore Aquatic Club training partner Chase Kalisz in 1:57.19. Phelps also won the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley.

Phelps now has 62 national titles in his career.

Phelps and Missy Franklin earned the national high point awards. Phelps finished with 60 points and Franklin totaled 72 points.

Two of SOFLO’s three pros at the meet competed on the final day of competition.

Two-time Colombian Olympian Carolina Colorado was 23rd in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:16.15.

Kile Aukerman was 41st in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:22.57.

In other championship finals:

Five-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:07.87, her second national title of the meet.

Simone Manuel won the 100-meter freestyle in 53.98.

Reigning Olympic silver medalist Haley Anderson of Trojan Swim Club won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:29.32 and 200-meter butterfly.

Lily King won the 200-meter breaststroke and broke the 15-year-old 17-18 national age group record in 2:24.47. The previous record was held by Amanda Beard.

Michael McBroom won the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:10.31, an eight-second margin of victory.

Matt Grevers won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:57.24, holding off Patrick Mulcare in 1:57.34.

Bolles alum and Canadian Santo Condorelli knocked off Nathan Adrian in the 100-meter freestyle in 48.05. Adrian finished third in 48.60.

The meet was a FINA-approved competition where swimmers could achieve qualifying times for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.



200-meter backstroke: 1. Missy Franklin, Colorado Stars 2:07.87, 2. Maya DiRado, STAN 2:08.28, 3. Hilary Caldwell, ISC 2:10.05.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Simone Manuel, Unattached 53.98, 2. Lia Neal, STAN 54.01, 3. Abbey Weitzeil, CANY 54.11.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Lily King, IU 2:24.47, 2. Kierra Smith, UN 2:24.60, 3. Molly Hannis, TNA 2:25.81.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Haley Anderson, Trojan 2:10.85, 2. Andreina Pinto, GSC 2:10.95, 3. Taylor Pike, HAWG 2:11.52.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Haley Anderson, Trojan SC 8:29.32, 2. Lindsay Vrooman, BAD 8:29.70, 3. Gillian Ryan, MICH 8:31.97.


200-meter backstroke: 1. Matt Grevers, FORD 1:57.24, 2. Patrick Mulcare, UN 1:57.34, 3. Arkady Vyatchanin, NYAC 1:57.43.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Santo Condorelli, CANY 48.05, 2. Vladimir Morozov, Trojan 48.51, 3. Nathan Adrian, CAL 48.60.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Carlos Claverie, VEN 2:11.53, 2. Nick Schafer, UN 2:12.23, 3. sam Tierney, UN 2:12.49.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Michael Phelps, NBAC 1:56.11, 2. Chase Kalisz, NBAC 1:57.19, 3. Dakota Hodgson, NAC 1:59.09.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Michael McBroom, TWST 15:10.31, 2. PJ Ransford, MICH 15;18.46, 3. True Sweetser, GSC 15:26.57.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

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SOFLO Sends Three Swimmers To Colombian Nationals


By Sharon Robb

November 17, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club will have three swimmers competing when the XX Colombian National Aquatic Championships begin on Wednesday in Antioquia, Colombia.

Olympian Carolina Colorado, Jorge Murillo-Valdes and Catalina Mendieta, all medal hopefuls, will represent SOFLO at the 11-day event that features all aquatic sports.

Colorado, 28, is a two-time Olympian and national record holder in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter backstroke events, 50-meter butterfly and relays.

Murillo-Valdes is a national record holder in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events and relays.

Murillo-Valdes broke the 100 (1:00.53) and 200 (2:11.62) national records at this past summer’s Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. He also is qualified in the 200 for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Mendieta, a Douglas High School alum, is ranked among the top five in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly and 50- and 100- meter freestyle in Colombia.

The trio are members of SOFLO’s pro team.


SOFLO swimmer Kylie Herman of Brandeis University was named University Athletic Association Swimmer of the Week for her performance in the team’s season-opener.

In her collegiate debut against Wheaton College, the freshman won two events–the 200-yard freestyle in 2:03.24 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:26.35. She was also second by less than a second in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:18.01.

Herman is a Cypress Bay High School alum and lives in Weston.


SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding, a freshman at Cooper City High School, is among top-ranked swimmers on the annual Florida Swim Network Mythical High School State Championship list.

The list is the network’s annual compilation of all four classes (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A) held at the Pinch-a-Penny FHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships in Stuart to determine the ultimate champion.

Golding is ranked second in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:00.40, just 1/100th behind Tampa Catholic’s Christin Rockway. Golding is also ranked eighth in the 100-yard butterfly in 55.18.

SOFLO teammate Jessica Rodriguez, a junior at Hialeah Gardens, is ranked fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.63 ranked behind Caroline White of Trinity Prep (1:01.68), Kelly Fertel of Gulliver Prep (1:03.29) and Isabella English of Winter Park (1:03.31).

Jacksonville Bolles boys and Gainesville Buchholz girls just edged out Gulliver Prep for top team honors.

The full list can be found posted on the Florida Swim Network website.

Sharon Robb can be reached at