TYR NOVEMBER GIRL SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Olivia Dinehart


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, December 29, 2021–It was no small feat to win a state title at the Nov. 6 FHSAA State 1A Swimming Championship, one of the fastest meets in state history.

Cutler Bay High School junior Olivia Dinehart stole a little of state powerhouse Jacksonville Bolles’ thunder winning the state title in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:02.28, an automatic All-American time.

The victory capped off a perfect season for the 16-year-old. In addition to her state title, she was third in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:03.61, another All-American time.

“I went into the meet seeded first so there was a little bit more pressure,” Dinehart said. “But then I went into finals seeded third so it kind of took some of the pressure off. I was thinking on the blocks that I worked for this. I was losing for the first 75 and the last 25 I caught up and out-touched the girl next to me. It was an amazing feeling. I had all my teammates cheering for me behind the blocks. That was awesome.”

At the Region 4-1A meet, she was second to U.S. Junior National team member Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest in the 200 IM in 2:04.91 and won the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.06, an All-American time. She won two District 12-1A titles in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:06.79 and 200 IM in 2:10.36. At the GMAC Swimming Championships, she won the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.17 and 200 IM in 2:11.19.

Dinehart has been swimming since she was a baby and competitively since she was 7. She also played soccer for two years in elementary school but scheduling conflicts led her to focus solely on swimming.

“When I was at that age it was my teammates that helped me like the sport so much,” Dinehart said. “But thinking about it at this age it’s just so nice to see when you work hard and then getting to see that pay off later. You can’t really see that with other sports. That reward is probably what’s kept me going this long.”

Dinehart has benefitted from swimming in several ways.

“The discipline and time management has helped me and working with the team is important especially in high school swimming. A lot of people think swimming is an individualized sport. But you learn to think of your team before yourself. If that means going into an event that you don’t usually swim so you can get the team more points, whatever it is. That’s the biggest takeaway for me.”

Dinehart said her favorite event is the 200 breaststroke “on a good day” with the 100 breaststroke a close second.

Now ranked fourth in the state, Dinehart has already verbally committed to Auburn University. She will work with Associate Head Coach Vlad Polyakov, a three-time Olympian, world champion and NCAA champion. The former Florida Gold Coast swimmer at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Coral Springs Swim Club, where he worked under six-time Olympic coach and Hall of Famer Michael Lohberg, joined the staff after nine seasons at Louisville.

Auburn was one of the top women’s teams in the nation last season along with NCAA champion Virginia, Stanford, Indiana and Arizona State.

Dinehart has some lofty future goals.

“I definitely want to place at NCAAs, if not win a breaststroke event,” she said. “That would be an awesome goal. Winning with a team is one of the reasons I picked Auburn. Their selling point was if you’re not willing to work for a team and you’re more individualized then maybe this program isn’t for you. But that’s exactly what I was looking for. Winning a championship with the team would be awesome.”

Before her junior high school season, Dinehart was a two-time finalist at the State 1A High School Swimming Championship in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.87) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:05.16). In 2020, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.79) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:04.19). In 2019, she was a two-time District 12-A and region champion in both the breaststroke and IM events.

Her biggest turning point in swimming came at the Summer Junior Olympics Long Course meet when she was 14. She got her summer junior national cut and everything snowballed after that.

“I realized I had been working for seven years and this is what it led to,” Dinehart said. “I thought if I could keep going I could be potentially really good and that would be amazing.”

There are two other Dinehart siblings in swimming, Olivia’s twin sister Elena and younger sister Elise. Elise Dinehart was the TYR March Girl Swimmer of the Month.

“People are always surprised when I say this but we are not competitive at all,” Dinehart said. “And if we are, it’s in a very healthy, controlled way. My little sister will compare our times when I was her age. I think that’s very normal. We grew up in an atmosphere that was very supportive. We’re just happy for each other whenever we do well.”

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.

SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.

TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology. Among its female-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Ashley Twichell and other elite swimmers Melanie Margalis, Molly Hannis and Kelsi Dahlia.

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

TYR OCTOBER BOY SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Austin Nelson


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, December 1, 2021–Austin Nelson is beginning to see his hard work and dedication in swimming pay off.

The Cutler Bay High School sophomore who trains with longtime coach Lou Manganiello at South Florida Aquatic Club’s Miami training site is coming off an outstanding high school season.

Nelson, 16, dropped his 500-yard freestyle time from 4:56.43 at districts to 4:45.05 at regions to qualify for the FHSAA Class 1A State Meet for the first time in an individual event. His previous best was 4:54.95. He finalled in the 500 at the state meet finishing eighth in 4:43.19.

Nelson also improved his 100-yard backstroke from 57.55 at districts to 54.56 at regions, another state qualifying time. His previous best was 56.88. He also qualified on two relays.

As a freshman, he made his state meet debut as a relay member on the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.

Nelson has been swimming since August 2012. One of his parents’ friends told them about swimming and his mom suggested he give it a try.

“I did and now I’m here,” Nelson said.

Nelson grew up at the Miami pool. He credits Manganiello with his successful rise in swimming.

“Coach Lou has been huge in my swimming,” Nelson said. “He has helped me through a lot of it. He has been there through everything and been a big aspect of my swimming career.”

Nelson has been happy with his swimming at the bigger meets.

“My most accomplished meet would be states,” Nelson said. “My biggest club meet was summer sectionals [at age 15]. I did pretty good there. I swam the 400 free and 200 back and dropped times in both.”

Currently Nelson said he is working towards his Futures cuts in the 100 and 200 backstroke events and 500 freestyle.

“I would like to get at least one Futures cut before the end of the year,” said Nelson, who will go after it at the Dec. 9-12 31st annual Speedo Winter Championships. “After that I would like to keep shaving down times and eventually get to Winter Juniors, Summer Juniors and other big meets.”

Nelson loves to compete when it comes to meets.

“I like the racing aspect, when you’re up on the block and you are getting ready for the racing part,” he said. “I am competitive.

“Swimming is a big part of my life. There’s nine practices a week and that takes up a lot of time. It’s usually two hours and that takes up most of my afternoon. Sometime it’s early in the morning. There’s very minimal room to do out-of-practice activities.

“For me it’s more swimming and school now. In the long run I found that I can get more opportunities with swimming and school than let’s say going out to the movies or going to a party.”

The sport has also helped Nelson budget his time wisely.

“It’s helped me with my time management and discipline. I have more respect for adults due to the high level of respect I have for Coach Lou.

“Coach Lou has been there since Day One. He is still going to be a big aspect for the next two years I will be swimming. He writes the practices that are going to help me get these cuts I want to be getting.”

Nelson is already looking forward to swimming in college. His top three choices are Florida, Texas and Georgia.

“I think for a swimmer to be successful the mental aspect is important,” Nelson said. “You have be mentally fit and determined. It’s also the in-practice effort. You have to show effort in practice and you have to try to come to practice with as positive an attitude as you can get when you see the practice. I train like I compete.”

Nelson said the turning point in his career came when the pandemic first started in March 2020 and swimmers had to quarantine and could not swim in club pools.

“I was thinking a lot of people would be dropping out of the sport,” Nelson said. “I thought it was my time to improve and drop time. I started working hard when we got back into the pool. My turning point would have been the summer of my freshman year.”

Nelson has been fortunate to train with some talented swimmers at workouts. The elite group brings out the best in each other.

“I have a lot of fast teammates down here in Miami,” Nelson said. “They have helped push me through the hard practices, the 500 race-pace practices, those kind of practices.

“In workout I think of my goals,” he said. “Like today in practice I was trying to focus on my Futures cut, just thinking of my goals and where I want to be and where this could take me eventually.”

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.

SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.

TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology. Among its male-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Michael Andrew, Tom Shields, Nic Fink, Townley Haas and Jordan Wilimovsky and other elite swimmers Matt Grevers, Maxime Rooney, Jacob Pebley and Ryan Lochte.

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

SOFLO’s Olivia Dinehart Verbally Commits To Auburn University


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, October 6, 2021—Olivia Dinehart of South Florida Aquatic Club Sharks has verbally committed to Auburn University.

Ranked fifth in the state, the Cutler Bay High School junior announced her choice on social media.

“I am very excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at Auburn University,” Dinehart wrote.

“I can’t wait to be a part of such a special team. I’d like to thank my amazing coaches, my incredible family and my friends. WAR EAGLE.”

Dinehart, 16, Cutler Bay Class of 2023, will work with Associate Head Coach Vlad Polyakov, a three-time Olympian, world champion and NCAA champion. The former Florida Gold Coast swimmer at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Coral Springs Swim Club, where he worked under six-time Olympic coach and Hall of Famer Michael Lohberg, joined the staff this year after nine seasons at Louisville.

Auburn was one of the top women’s teams in the nation last season along with NCAA champion Virginia, Stanford, Indiana and Arizona State.

Dinehart is a two-time finalist at the State 1A High School Swimming Championships in 2019 and 2020.

In 2019, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.87) and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:05.16). In 2020, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.79) and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.19). The 1A state meet that features powerhouse Jacksonville Bolles, is the most competitive of the four classifications in Florida.

In 2019, she was a two-time District 12-A and region champion in the breaststroke and IM events.

In August 2019, she was a finalist in the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Greensboro in the 1500-meter freestyle (17:23.56). She was also a Top 4 finisher in four events at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships including winning the 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.93). Her last major championship was the August Speedo Summer East Championships where she finished in the Top 15 in her events.

Dinehart is one of three sisters who swim. Her twin Elena and Elise also swim.

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