Podkoscielny Finishes Sixth At U.S. World Championship Trials; Will Compete At Junior Pan Pacs

By Sharon Robb
Greensboro, N.C., April 28, 2022—Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest Swimming was sixth in the 400-meter individual medley Thursday at the U.S. World Championship Trials at Greensboro Aquatic Center.

Podkoscielny, 17, was sixth in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:47.57. The University of Florida commit was seventh fastest in prelims in 4:48.82. It was the top finish by a Florida Gold Coast swimmer so far in the meet. She will represent the U.S. Junior team at the Junior Pan Pacs in Hawaii in August.

On Wednesday she was 14th in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:13.88 after going 2:13.30 in prelims.

Katie Grimes, 16, of Sandpipers of Nevada pulled away from the field on the freestyle leg to win the 400 IM in a best time 4:36.17. Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant of Sarasota was second in 4:37.22 to also secure a spot on the world championship team.

“It just all goes back to my training,” Grimes said after her race. “Everybody who has seen me train for that race in practice knows that was a long time coming. The past times I’ve swum that race, it really hasn’t worked out like I wanted it to, but it all really came together very nicely. I’ve always loved the 400 IM. I think it’s a really fun race. I think it’s really interesting to watch. There are so many different components that go into it. It’s just a really cool race.”

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmer results:

Josh Zuchowski, 18, of FAST was seventh in the 200-meter backstroke in a best time 1:58.44. He went 1:58.94 in prelims, cracking 2 minutes and bettering his entry time of 2:00.22.

Erika Pelaez, 15, of Eagle Aquatics was 22nd in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.04.

Kaii Winkler, 16, of Eagle Aquatics was 20th in the 100-meter freestyle im 49.95.

In other Thursday races:

Men 400 IM: 1. Carson Foster, Texas 4:09.33, 2. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs 4:10.50.
Women 100 butterfly: 1. Torri Huske, Unattached 56.28, 2. Claire Curzan, TAC Titans 56.35.
Men 100 butterfly: 1. Caeleb Dressel, Gator Swim Club 50.20, 2. Michael Andrew, MA Swim Academy 50.88.
Women 50 breaststroke: 1. Lilly King, Indiana Swim Club 29.76, 2. Kaitlyn Dobler, Unattached 30.34.
Men 50 breaststroke: 1. Michael Andrew, MA Swim Academy 26.52, 2. Nic Fink, MAAC 26.55.
Women 50 backstroke: 1. Katharine Berkoff, NC State 27.12, 2. Regan Smith, Unattached 27.25.
Men 50 backstroke: 1. Hunter Armstrong, Ohio State 23.71, world record in non-Olympic event, 2. Justin Ress, Mission Viejo 23.92.

The International Team Trials that got under way on Tuesday, are serving as the qualifying meet for the 2022 FINA World Championships, Junior Pan Pacific Championships and Mel Zajac Jr. Invitational.

USA Swimming’s qualifying criteria for the 2022 World Championships in Budapest are:

Top-four finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyle events, along with the top-two finishers in the other Olympic events qualify for the U.S. team, as long as they both meet the FINA A standard and maximum roster size isn’t exceeded.

From there, winners of the stroke 50s and fifth and sixth-place finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyles will qualify.

The maximum U.S. roster size for the World Championships is 26 men and 26 women.

The Olympic Channel is live streaming the championship finals on Friday night. CNBC will broadcast Saturday night’s finals session. USA Swimming is streaming all prelims on their website.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Virginia Extends Lead On Day Three Of NCAA Division I Women’s Championships; Berkoff, Douglass Break American Records

ATLANTA, March 18, 2022—University of Virginia is sitting pretty to defend its title after third day action at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships Friday at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Center.

The Cavaliers have all but clinched the title going into the fourth and final day of competition. They lead with 386.5 points ahead of Stanford with 276 and Texas with 257.

Katharine Berkoff of N.C. State broke the 100-yard backstroke American record in 48.74 en route to her second consecutive 100 backstroke NCAA title. She broke Regan Smith’s American record of 49.16 by more than four tenths. Berkoff also broke Beata Nelson’s NCAA record of 49.18. There are now 10 swimmers who have been under the 50-second barrier.

Virginia’s Kate Douglass won the 100-yard butterfly in 49.04, winning her second individual NCAA title of the meet and setting her second American record. Torri Huske of Stanford was second in 49.17, also under the previous American record set by Claire Curzan (49.24).

Stanford’s Taylor Ruck, a two-time Olympian for Canada who returned to Stanford this season after a two-year hiatus, won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:41.12 just ahead of Cal’s Isabel Ivey in 1:41.59. It was Ruck’s first individual NCAA title.

Virginia sophomore Alex Walsh led from start to finish to win the 400-yard individual medley in 3:57.25, the only swimmer under 4 minutes. It was the first time she raced the 400 IM at a major championship. Virginia freshman and Sarasota’s Emma Weyant was fourth in 4:03.17.

Sarah Bacon, a redshirt senior for Minnesota, won her fifth career NCAA title with 409.25 points on the 3-meter board for the second consecutive year.

Three Florida Gold Coast swimmers also competed.

University of Florida junior Kathleen Golding was 29th in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:12.10. She has the 1,650-yard freestyle left to swim on Saturday.

University of Florida freshman Anna Auld was 40th in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:15.09. She will also swim the 1,650-yard freestyle on Saturday.

University of Virginia senior Jessica Nava was 15th in the 100-yard butterfly morning prelims in 51.79. She came back at night to place 14th in 51.88. Nava has the 200-yard butterfly left to swim on Saturday.

The competition concludes Saturday with the Top 16 from prelims in each event advancing to finals. Prelims are 10 a.m., with finals at 6 p.m.

ESPN3 will provide digital broadcast coverage for preliminary and finals sessions through Saturday.

Day 4, Saturday, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, platform diving, 1650 freestyle (3:45 p.m. start), 400 free relay (finals only).

The official website for the women’s championship is http://www.ncaa.com/championships/swimming-women/d1.

As the host college, Georgia Tech’s website also features the Championship Central, where heat sheets and results will be updated each day.

The DI Women’s Swimming & Diving Program can be viewed at http://www.NCAA.com/gameprograms. The program is free to view and can be downloaded and printed.

TEAM TOTALS: 1. Virginia 386.5, 2. Stanford 276, 3. Texas 257, 4. NC State 193, 5. Alabama 177, 6. California 136, 7. Ohio State 131, 8. Louisville 130, 9. Michigan 126, 10. Tennessee 107, 11. Florida 85, 20. Miami 41.5.

400-yard individual medley: 1. Alex Walsh, UVA 3:57.25, 2. Brooke Forde, STAN 4:00.41, 3. Ella Nelson, UVA 4:02.45, 4. Emma Weyant, UVA 4:03.17.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Kate Douglass, UVA 49.04, 2. Torri Huske, STAN 49.17, 3. Maggie MacNeil, MICH 49.18, 14. Jessica Nava, UVA 51.88.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Taylor Ruck, STAN 1:41.12, 2. Isabel Ivey, CAL 1:41.59, 3. Kelly Pash, TEX 1:42.38.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Kaitlyn Dobler, USC 56.93, 2. Alexis Wenger, UVA 56.97, 3. Sophie Hansson, NCS 57.01.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Katharine Berkoff, NCS 48.74, 2. Gretchen Walsh, UVA 49.00, 3. Regan Smith, STAN 49.96.

3-meter diving: 1. Sarah Bacon, MINN 409.25, 2. Kristen Hayden, IU 397.20, 3. Tarrin Gilliand, IU 382.00, 4. Mia Vallee, UM 376.20

400-yard medley relay: 1. Virginia 3:22.34 (Gretchen Walsh, Alexis Wenger, Alex Walsh, Kate Douglass), 2. NC State 3:23.29, 3. Stanford 3:25.63, 20. Florida State 3:31.96, 21. Florida 3:33.03.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Virginia Remains In Lead After Day Two Of NCAA Division I Women’s Championships; Miami Diver Mia Vallee Wins 1-Meter Title, Breaks NCAA Record

ATLANTA, March 17, 2022—Two individual and one relay win enabled defending champion University of Virginia to pull away from the field Thursday on Day Two of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Center.

Virginia leads with 210 points ahead of Texas with 128 and Stanford with 123. University of Florida is tenth with 62 and University of Miami, led by individual champion diver Mia Vallee, is 16th with 27 points.

Vallee, a junior, won the 1-meter springboard title with an NCAA record 365.75 points. UM sophomore teammate Emma Gullstrand was tenth with 328.50 to earn All-American honors.

After breaking the NCAA and American record in the prelims, Virginia’s Kate Douglass came back and did it again to win the 50-yard freestyle.

After breaking the record in 20.87 during prelims, dropping 0.13, Douglass went 20.84 to re-break her own record and gave the Cavaliers their second consecutive NCAA record after Alex Walsh broke the 200 IM record in 1:50.08. The previous 50 freestyle record was 20.90 set by Cal’s Abbey Weitzeil in 2019. Virginia teammate Gretchen Walsh was also sub-21 and finished second in 20.95.

Virginia’s 200-yard freestyle relay won in 1:24.96 with Douglass on leadoff, Alex Walsh, Lexi Cuomo and Gretchen Walsh.

Sarasota’s Emma Weyant, a freshman at University of Virginia, was second in the 500-yard freestyle in a best time 4:34.99, dropping 2.24 seconds off her previous best of 4:37.23.

Penn swimmer Lia Thomas became the first known transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division I title. She won the 500 freestyle in 4:33.24.

Three Florida Gold Coast swimmers competed.

University of Florida junior Kathleen Golding was 37th in the 200-yard individual medley in 1:57.50, a time drop of 0.13 from her previous best 1:57.63. She will compete in the 400 IM on Friday.

University of Florida freshman Anna Auld was 32nd in the 500-yard freestyle in a best time 4:44.37, a time drop of 1.12 from her previous best of 4:45.49. She will also swim the 400 IM on Friday.

University of Virginia senior Jessica Nava was 55th in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.69. She competes Friday in the 100-yard butterfly.

The competition continues Friday with the Top 16 from prelims in each event advancing to finals. Prelims are 10 a.m., with finals at 6 p.m.

ESPN3 will provide digital broadcast coverage for preliminary and finals sessions through Saturday.

Day 3, Friday, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 3-meter diving, 400 medley relay (finals only).

Day 4, Saturday, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, platform diving, 1650 freestyle (3:45 p.m. start), 400 free relay (finals only).

The official website for the women’s championship is http://www.ncaa.com/championships/swimming-women/d1.

As the host college, Georgia Tech’s website also features the Championship Central, where heat sheets and results will be updated each day.

The DI Women’s Swimming & Diving Program can be viewed at http://www.NCAA.com/gameprograms. The program is free to view and can be downloaded and printed.

TEAM TOTALS: 1. Virginia 210, 2. Texas 128, 3. Stanford 123, 4. Alabama 120, 5. NC State 99, 6. Louisville 95, 7. California 89, 8. Ohio State 83, 9. Michigan 66, 10. Florida 62, 16. University of Miami 27.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Lia Thomas, PENN 4:33.24, 2. Emma Weyant, UVA 4:34.99, 3. Erica Sullivan, TEX 4:35.92.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Alex Walsh, UVA 1:50.08, 2. Torri Huske, STAN 1:51.81, 3. Isabel Ivey, CAL 1:53.02.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Kate Douglass, UVA 20.84, 2. Gretchen Walsh, UVA 20.95, 3. Maggie MacNeil, MICH 21.38.

1-meter diving: 1. Mia Vallee, UM 365.75, 2. Sarah Bacon, MINN 356.60, 3. Aranza Vasquez Montano, UNC 354.75, 7. Maha Amer, UF 316.70, 10. Emma Gullstrand, UM 328.50.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Virginia 1:24.96 (Kate Douglass, Alex Walsh, Lexi Cuomo, Gretchen Walsh), 2. Alabama 1:25.47, 3. NC State 1:26.37, 9. Florida 1:27.16 (Ekaterina Nikonova, Talia Bates, Katie Mack, Micayla Cronk).

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Julio Horrego Makes Olympic Debut; Alia Atkinson Begins Medal Quest Sunday; Kalisz, Hafnaoui, Ohashi Win Gold

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 24, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Julio Horrego had his first Olympic moment Saturday.

Despite no fans in the 15,000-seat Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Horrego, 22, swimming the 100-meter breaststroke in Lane 5 in Heat 2, was fourth in his heat and 43rd overall in 1:02.45. He was 29.09 at the turn. Horrego has the 200-meter breaststroke remaining.

SOFLO teammate Alia Atkinson, 32, of Jamaica will make her fifth and final Olympic appearance when she competes in the heats of the 100-meter breaststroke Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m. EST. The short course world champion and national record holder’s mantra for her final Summer Games has been “last swim, fast swim.”

Other local swimmers results:

Former St. Andrew’s Swimming and Florida State’s Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas was eighth in the 100-meter breaststroke heat and 40th overall in 1:01.87.

Peru’s Joaquin Vargas of Azura Florida Aquatics was 25th overall in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:52.94. Vargas competes Sunday in the 200 freestyle and Azura teammate Celina Marquez of El Salvador and Nova Southeastern competes in the 100 backstroke in the opening heats.

University of Miami’s Remedy Rule of the Philippines was 25th in the 100-meter butterfly in 59.68.

In the championship medal finals:

Men’s 400 individual medley: Americans Chase Kalisz and Jay Litherland finished one-two. Kalisz, 27, of Bel Air, Md., a silver medalist in 2016, won gold in 4:09.42. Kalisz pulled away from the field in the breaststroke and was 2.5 seconds ahead going into the freestyle. Litherland came on in the freestyle to clinch the silver in 4:10.28.

“This means the world to me,” said Kalisz, obviously in pain after leaving it all in the pool. “This was the last thing I really wanted to accomplish in my swim career. It’s something that was a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I can’t believe it…I really can’t believe it.”

Men’s 400 freestyle: In a shocker, teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui, 18, of Tunisia, swimming in Lane 8 won his country’s first Olympic medal in the event and only fifth medal in any sport. With an insane kick at the finish, the youngest swimmer in the final won in 3:34.36, out-touching Aussie Jack McLoughlin in 3:43.52. The Tunisian had only qualified eighth by 8/100ths of a second (3:45.68). He is only the second swimmer from Tunisia to make a final. The son of former Tunisia national basketball player, Mohamed Hafnaoui was 12 when he joined Tunisia’s national swimming program. University of Florida junior Kieran Smith, making his Olympic debut, hung on to take the bronze in 3:43.94.

“I just can’t believe it, it is amazing, I am Olympic champion now,” Hafnaoui said. “I don’t know how I did it, I just put my head to the water. I just can’t believe it. “This is a dream that came true.”

Women’s 400-meter individual medley: Japan’s Yui Ohashi won her country’s first gold medal in 4:32.08. She had a two-body length lead during the breaststroke leg. American Emma Weyant, 19, of Sarasota Sharks, fourth going into the backstroke, came back to take silver in her Olympic debut in 4:32.76. U.S. teammate Hali Flickinger was third in 4:34.90. Reigning Olympic, world and European champion and world record holder Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, at 32 the oldest in the field, faded to fifth in 4:35.98. Weyant top seed in the 400 IM after prelims in 4:33.55.

“This is my first (major) international meet,” said Weyant after prelims. “It was really cool to be in the Olympics. I was really just trying to set myself up well for tomorrow morning and execute my race.”

After the final, Weyant said, “I think my mom and dad just fainted. This is just crazy to be a silver medalist and race the best in the world.”

Women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay: Australia broke the first world record in swimming blowing away the field in 3:29.69 with Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Meg Harris. Canada was second in 3:32.78 and the U.S., with Simone Manuel on anchor leg, was third in 3:32.81.

In the biggest upset of the day, world champion and local hero Daiya Seto of Japan missed the final in the 400-meter individual medley, an event he was the heavy favorite. He had the fastest time (4:09.02) of the year. He was fifth in his heat and ninth overall missing the final by 0.32 seconds. After 300 meters he was a full body length ahead and then let it slip away on the freestyle leg. Seto still has the 200 IM left, which he is defending world champion.

Among the limited audience was First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Members of the U.S. swimming team cheered and chanted from the stands for Dr. Biden, who sat across the pool and waved as swimming kicked off.

Without fans, masked teams had ample room to spread out in socially distanced seats above the deck. The U.S. contingent waved tiny American flags and pounded red-white-and-blue Thunderstix, while the Germans spread their large-sized flag over two rows of seats.

NBC is hosting watch parties for parents of Olympians in Orlando.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Yui Ohashi, Japan 4:32.08, 2. Emma Weyant, US 4:32.76, 3. Hali Flickinger, US 4:34.90.

4×100-meter freestyle relay: 1. Australia 3:29.69, 2. Canada 3:32.78, 3. United States 3:32.81.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Chase Kalisz, US 4:09.42, 2. Jay Litherland, US 4:10.28, 3. Brendon Smith, AUS 4:10.38.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Ahmed Hafnaoui, Tunisia 3:43.36, 2. Jack McLoughlin, AUS 3:43.52, 3. Kieran Smith, US 3:43.94.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Kalisz, Smith, Weyant Win On Opening Night Of U.S. Olympic Trials; Alex Evdokimov Top FGC Finisher

By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 13, 2021—Chase Kalisz became the first swimmer to make the U.S. Olympic team Sunday night at the Olympic Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center.

Trailing by three seconds in the 400-meter individual medley going into the breaststroke, Kalisz, 27, of Athens Bulldogs powered his way back to win in 4:09.09, second fastest time in the world this year, and make his second consecutive Olympic team.

Training mate Jay Litherland, a dual U.S. and Japan citizen, reeled in early leader Carson Foster in the final 20 meters to finish second in 4:10.33.

Kalisz was hugged by good friend and legendary Michael Phelps after he climbed out of the pool.

“This is the Olympic Trials, times don’t matter, it’s all about racing,” Kalisz said. “I knew where I needed to be. I made my move right where I needed to make my move and I’m happy how it played out.

“It’s been a rough year, I guess a tough two years, but to make the Olympic team with my teammate Jay who I get to train with every single day, that’s the coolest part.”

In the second final of the night, Kiernan Smith, 21, of University of Florida, not only had to win but had the pressure of having to swim FINA’s “A” qualifying time of 3:46.78. He did just that, winning in a personal-best 3:44.86, fastest time in the world this year. No other swimmer in the field made the qualifying cut.

Smith took it out hard in the first half of the race and had at least a body length lead and was on American record pace for the first 200 meters.

“I knew there was a little pressure to make that time considering no Americans had made it so far this year,” Smith said. “I was confident with myself after a pretty relaxed morning swim. I really just wanted to pounce on the first 200 and stay out there and make it a one-man race if I could.

“All that was going through my head in the last 100 was I am about to be an Olympian,” Smith said. “It sounds incredible to make my first Olympic team. I couldn’t imagine that five years ago when I was first here.”

In a thrilling women’s 400-meter individual medley race, 19-year-old Emma Weyant of Sarasota Sharks making her Trials debut, came on strong in the final 50 meters against two veterans to pull off the shocker and win in a best time 4:33.81 and earn a spot on the team.

Flickinger led after the butterfly and backstroke legs with Weyant in striking distance. St. Petersburg’s Melanie Margalis, down five seconds, surged back into contention after the breaststroke leg. All three were even on the final 50 turn with 1/10th of a second separating them. Weyant turned it on in the final 20 meters with Flickinger just behind her.

“I just put my head down in the last 50, it hurt a lot but having all those amazing girls to race was awesome,” said Weyant, who deferred going to school at Virginia for a year to train for the Trials in Sarasota. “I had to learn about making a race plan and today was just about racing. To hear I am an Olympian is crazy, I can’t even believe it.”

In the women’s 100-meter butterfly semifinal, 18-year-old Torri Huske of Arlington Aquatics broke the American record in 55.78, erasing Dana Vollmer’s mark of 55.98.

In a span of eight hours, Michael Andrew, 22, broke the American record twice in prelims and semifinals of the 100-meter breaststroke. With two explosive starts, Andrew broke Kevin Cordes’ 2017 American record of 58.64 by nearly a half second in 58.19, in morning prelims. He came back at night to break it again in the semifinals in 58.14.

Four of the five qualified Florida Gold Coast swimmers competed on opening day with only one advancing into the semifinals.

In the morning prelims of the 100-meter breaststroke, Alex Evdokimov, 25, of Pinnacle Racing (VA) and formerly Coral Springs Swim Club, finished eighth in a best time 1:00.22 to qualify for the semifinals where he finished fifth in 1:00.64 and failed to make finals by two spots placing tenth. He was seeded tenth in 1:00.47. He has the 200 breaststroke left to swim.

In other Florida Gold Coast results:

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, 20, of University of Florida was 21st in the 400 IM in 4:47.94 off her best time of 4:46.12. She has the 400 freestyle and 200 IM left to swim.

Julia Podkoscielny, 16, of Pine Crest Swimming, was 25th in the 400 IM in 4:48.72, off her best time of 4:44.83. She has the 200 IM and 200 backstroke remaining.

Josh Zuchowski, 17, of FAST, was 37th out of a field of 38 swimmers in 4:32.24, off his best time of 4:25.79. He has the 100 and 200 backstroke events left to swim.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics will start racing on Monday. She has qualified in the 100 backstroke, 50-and 100 freestyles.

Before Sunday’s prelims, 36-year-old Ryan Lochte scratched from the 400 IM. It is the first time since 2000 he has not competed in the event.

Two surprises in morning prelims were Zane Grothe (400 freestyle) and Madisyn Cox (400 freestyle) failing to make finals. Grothe had competed in the event in two World Championships and under 3:46. He struggled to a 3:50.80 to place 11th. Cox was 10th in 4:44.36, off her best time of 4:36.61, that would have placed her second seed in finals.

The top two finishers of most events will most likely become 2021 US Olympians. Relay only spots go to places 3-6 (though not completely guaranteed for 6th place) of 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. The maximum roster size for Team USA is 26 men and 26 women.

All races 200 meters or shorter will have three stages at Trials: a prelim in the morning, followed by a semifinal that evening. The final of the top-8 qualifier will take place on the following night.

Monday’s events are: (Morning Prelims Session), women’s 100 backstroke, men’s 200 freestyle, women’s 100 breaststroke, men’s 100 backstroke, women’s 400 freestyle; (Evening Session), women’s 100 butterfly final, men’s 200 freestyle, women’s 100 breaststroke semifinal, men’s 100 breaststroke final, women’s 400 freestyle final, men’s 100 backstroke semifinal and women’s 100 backstroke semifinal.

Daily finals coverage will be broadcast across NBC channels. Along with live finals coverage, 24 hours of preliminaries will be available on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports App.

For prelims, today through June 19, 11 a.m. on NBC Stream and 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. For finals, today through June 16 on NBC at 8 p.m., June 17 NBC at 10 p.m. and NBCSN at 8 p.m., June 18-19 NBC at 9 p.m. and June 20 NBC at 8:15 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time for South Florida.

Ten months after her father died from a brain tumor, Kaylee McKeown, 19, broke the women’s 100-meter backstroke world record in 57.45. The previous mark was 57.57 set by Regan Smith in 2019. Emily Seebohm, 29, swimming next to her, was second in 58.59 and qualified for her fourth Olympic team.


400-meter individual medley: 1. Emma Weyant, Sarasota Sharks 4:33.81, 2. Hali Flickinger, SUN 4:33.96, 3. Melanie Margalis, SPA 4:34.08.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs Swim Club 4:09.09, 2. Jay Litherland, Dynamo 4:10.33, 3. Carson Foster, RAYSOFH 4:10.86.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Kiernan Smith, UFlorida 3:44.86, 2. Jake Mitchell, CSC 3:48.17, 3. Ross Dant, NCS 3:48.30.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Emma Weyant, Robert Finke Win On Opening Night Of Toyota U.S. Open; SOFLO’s Trio Swims Friday

By Sharon Robb
SARASOTA, November 12, 2020–University of Virginia’s Emma Weyant and University of Florida’s Robert Finke swept the 800-meter freestyle events Thursday on opening night of the Toyota U.S. Open at Selby Aquatic Center.

Weyant, 18, who is taking a gap year in 2020 to train for the U.S. Olympic trials, won the distance event in 8:34.93 in her Sarasota Sharks’ home pool.

Blair Stoneburg, 16, of Treasure Coast Aquatics was second in a best time 8:45.23.

Michaela Mattes, 15, of Sarasota Sharks was third in 8:47.79, also a best time. Mattes got a break when the FHSAA State 1A meet was pushed back to Sunday because of Tropical Storm Eta.

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic sophomore can now compete in the 400 freestyle and 400 individual medley on Friday before heading to Stuart. She will also swim the 200 freestyle.

Anna Auld, 17, the only Florida Gold Coast swimmer in the final, was seventh in 8:58.87. Auld recently committed to University of Florida. After verbally committing in November, 2019, she is the first official signee for the 2021-22 season.

Finke, 21, won the men’s 800-meter freestyle in 7:53.05, the nation’s fastest time this season.

Finke also has the nation’s top time in the 400 IM, 3:50.33, he swam in the season-opener at Georgia. Florida swept the top three spots with Kieran Smith, 20, in 8:00.05 and Alfonso Mestre, 19, 8:00.49.

Joaquin Vargas, 18, of Azura, the only FGC men’s swimmer in the final, was ninth in 8:20.14.

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will begin competing Friday in timed final events.

SOFLO’s Julio Horrego, Lance Lesage and Mallory Schleicher will swim. Teammate Olivia Dinehart was forced to scratch from the U.S. Open because of the rescheduling of the State 1A meet from Friday to Sunday because of bad weather.

The Toyota USA Open is the first major U.S. meet since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down swimming in mid-March.

Horrego, 22, will swim the 200-meter individual medley; 100-meter breaststroke; and 200-meter breaststroke.

Lesage, 18, coming off last weekend’s state 3A runner-up finish, is entered in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter backstroke.

Schleicher, 17, will compete in the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter individual medley.

University of Florida and SOFLO’s Miguel Cancel, 21, who represents Puerto Rico internationally, is also in the men’s field.

Because of COVID-19 travelling and group size restrictions, the USA Open will be held at nine different sites across the United States. The USA Open was originally scheduled for Atlanta in December.

Each site will host a small group of swimmers and will follow the same format. With Thursday’s session complete, there are two sessions on Friday, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and one session on Saturday at 9 a.m. Results will be combined from all nine sites.

In addition to Sarasota, other sites are Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton, Ore.; Wellmark YMCA of Des Moines, Iowa; Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina; Huntsville Aquatics Center in Alabama; Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis; William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif., Swim RVA in Richmond, Va.; and North East ISD Blossom Athletic Complex in San Antonio, Texas. For COVID-19 safety reasons the venues will have limited capacity.

The USA Open will be aired on television. The schedule is Friday, 10 a.m. on NBCSN and 6 p.m., Olympic Channel; Saturday, 10 a.m., Olympic Channel and Sunday, 3 p.m., delayed tape, NBC.


800-meter freestyle: 1. Emma Weyant, Sarasota Sharks 8:34.93, 2. Blair Stoneburg, Treasure Coast Aquatics 8:45.23, 3. Michaela Mattes, Sarasota Sharks 8:44.79, 7. Anna Auld, East Coast Aquatic Club 8:58.87.
800-meter freestyle:
1 . Robert Finke, Florida 7:53.05, 2. Kiernan Smith, Florida 9:00.05, 3. Alfonso Mestre, Florida 8:00.49, 9. Joaquin Vargas, Azura 8:20.14.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com