2021 CCCAN Championships Awarded To Puerto Rico

By Sharon Robb
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, May 2, 2021–The Puerto Rican Swimming Federation will host the June 23-27 Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships.

The event was originally set to be hosted by Panama, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic withdrew.

The meet will be held at the San Juan Aquatic Complex that features a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool and separate diving well.

The pool also features a movable floor which makes it possible to vary the water depth from 3-meter deep to zero. The state-of-the-art facility includes a stainless gutter system that maintains the pool water at rim flow at all times thus contributing to a ‘fast’ pool.

The facility can accommodate up to 2,000 spectators but is expected to observe COVID-19 guidelines for fewer spectators and mandatory masks.

Only swimming and open water swimming will be held. Water polo and synchronized swimming are not on this year’s program.

The competition venue for swimming is Natatorio de San Juan and open water swimming Laguna Del Condado.

The Puerto Rican Swimming Federation will oversee the event with help from CCCAN officials. The CCCAN Championships are held every odd year and began in 1960.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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 sha11cats@aol.com

New Date Announced For 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Athletes Now Have Target Date

By Sharon Robb

TOKYO, Japan, March 30, 2020—And now SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson, fellow Olympians and Olympic hopefuls from around the world have a target date.

The Summer Olympics and Paralympics have been rescheduled for nearly one year later with the date set for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympics were rescheduled for Aug. 24-Sept. 5.

The new Olympic dates would conflict with the scheduled world championships in track and swimming, but those events are now expected to also be pushed back. The IAAF World Track Championships are expected to be rescheduled for 2022. No word on the swimming event just yet.

The delay will cost at least $5.8 billion.

“The IOC has had close discussions with the relevant international federations,” organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said. “I believe the international federations have accepted the games being held in the summer.

“It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world.”

Tokyo organizers said Monday the Opening Ceremony will take place July 23, 2021, almost exactly one year after the Games were scheduled to start this year.

“The schedule for the Games is key to preparing for the Games,” Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.”

Last week, the IOC and Japanese organizers postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Mori said a spring Olympics was considered but holding the games later gives more space to complete the many qualifying events that have been postponed by the virus outbreak.

Muto said the decision was made Monday and the IOC said it was supported by all the international sports federations and was based on three main considerations: to protect the health of athletes, to safeguard the interests of the athletes and Olympic sport, and the international sports calendar.

According to FINA, the sport’s international governing body, announced several guidelines on Monday:

*All athletes and teams who already had qualified for the Olympic Games will keep their status for the 2021 Games.

*FINA was informed all test events that were postponedare expected to be rescheduled in 2021.

*FINA will finalize the dates and program for the 2021 World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka.

Atkinson, a four-time Jamaican Olympian and world short course record holder, along with her SOFLO coach Chris Anderson, will be making their fifth historic Olympic appearance for Jamaica. Atkinson is already qualified.

“I think for me it’s just getting back my mindset, not thinking about the short-term goals in five months, but thinking of it in a year,” Atkinson said. “Plus, trying to get back to the things that I was working on without thinking that time is running out. Now I have much more time.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

2020 Summer Olympic Games Postponed, Moved To 2021

By Sharon Robb

TOKYO, Japan, March 24, 2020–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson will have to wait a little longer to make a historic fifth Olympic appearance.

After weeks of speculation, it’s official: the 2020 Summer Olympics, originally scheduled to begin on July 24 in Tokyo, Japan and end Aug. 9, have been postponed to a later date because of the global coronavirus pandemic and will not take place until 2021.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, made what athletes, coaches and parents knew was inevitable official on Tuesday.

This is the first time the Olympic Games have been postponed although the major international event has been canceled three times because of war.

At 31, the four-time Jamaican Olympian was looking forward to competing in her fifth and probably final Olympics. SOFLO aquatics director and head coach Chris Anderson has coached Atkinson at all four Olympics.

“I do believe it was the best choice,” said the short course breaststroke world record holder. “A great majority of athletes across the board were on the same page. There is such a sense of relief.

“I don’t really have mixed emotions,” Atkinson said. “I think you have to consider everything. If every country competed there was a high probability of getting it. If one person has it, everyone in the Athletes’ Village is confined so that would increase the odds of getting it even more. And if the virus had died down in an athlete’s country and that athlete returned home with it, a whole second wave of the virus would start.”

Canadian Olympic swimming hopeful Bill Pisani already knew his country wasn’t going to the Summer Olympics, but it really hit home on Monday when he learned the Games were being postponed.

Pisani, 21, of West Palm Beach received an email from his swim federation on Sunday night that Canada was boycotting the Olympics because of COVID-19.

“For sure I have mixed emotions,” said Pisani, who grew up swimming in the Florida Gold Coast with the Lake Lytal Lightning and graduated from Florida State last year.

“The most emotion came when I was reading the email that it was postponed. I thought ‘oh wow this is the reality now.’ The more I think about it, it was absolutely the right decision.”

Pisani was pleased to see Canada join forces with Australia boycotting the Games and pressuring the International Olympic Committee to postpone the event until 2021.

“As the son of a Canadian who’s working in a hospital right now at the forefront of this invisible war and as an Olympic hopeful who has dedicated so much of his life to chase the Olympic dream, I am more proud than ever to be Canadian,” said Pisani, referring to his country’s boycott.

Pisani’s mom Lisa is a physical therapist. Recently, her hospital, Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, had its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

“I think there was more of a sigh of relief for all athletes around the world,” Pisani said. “There were just too many questions left unanswered. Hosting the Olympics would have put so many people in danger. It makes us as athletes feel more secure and safe.”

The Canadian Olympic Trials were scheduled for March 30-April 5 in Toronto. Pisani was a favorite to at least make a relay.

“Over the past two years, the Olympic dream had become so close to reality for me,” Pisani said. “It was getting exciting as time went on and this year the closer we got to our Olympic trials it was the most excited I have been about swimming. Everything has definitely changed.”

Sid Cassidy of Boca Raton, St. Andrew’s School aquatics director and longtime swim coach, is vice chairman of the FINA technical open water swimming committee. He has been working Olympic events since 2008.

“I think at this point the athletes had it right,” said Cassidy, who was set to serve as referee for the men’s and women’s 10K races.

“It is hard when you see athletics taking a back seat,” Cassidy said. “Of course, I am disappointed they are not going to do it this year, but it certainly seems to be the best decision.

“There is no easy way to redirect your life. A lot of the talk is to be stronger and learn from it but it doesn’t take away any of the pain. This is very different from the 1980 Olympic boycott, this involves the whole world. I am happy for the athletes knowing but not happy with the reality.”

The U.S. swimming trials were scheduled for June 21-28 in Omaha. The pandemic had already disrupted the training of every elite athlete and Olympic hopeful in the U.S.

The postponement and rescheduling to no later than the summer of 2021 will already add to a crowded 2021 schedule that features the 2021 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka, July 16-Aug. 1. Track and field will also have a conflict with its Aug. 6-15, 2021 World Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Florida State swim coach Neal Studd echoed Cassidy’s sentiments after watching his swim program’s NCAA season end early because of COVID-19. The men’s team was expected to finish in the Top 10 for the first time.

FSU had eight swimmers at World Championships and six at University Games. Studd was the 2012 St. Lucia Olympic coach and has coached several student-athletes on the international level.

“If anything this gives it some clarity,” Studd said. “Now we get to re-set and plan accordingly.

“There are bigger problems than sports right now. There is a big picture here and bigger place in the world. Obviously though I would rather be at NCAAs and Canadian trials.”

Mariusz Podkoscielny, two-time Olympian for Poland in 1988 and 1992, now head swim coach at Pine Crest School, said problems were already beginning to surface because of the lack of out-of-competition drug tests during the pandemic.

“There is the aspect that the Olympic competition would not be fair, that the way of preparation is not on a level playing field,” Podkoscielny said. “There are issues of people taking advantage of illegal supplements without conducting the out-of-competition drug testing. It would give athletes a green light to do it.”

Podkoscielny said the COVID-19 is bigger than any sports event including the Olympics.

“The majority of athletes are going to feel relieved,” Podkoscielny said. “These are not the circumstances to get ready for the Olympics or think about the Olympics. People’s lives are changing daily.

“If I were an athlete right now I would be heartbroken not going. There will be disappoitment but it is right thing to do. Everyone agrees with that.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Aussies Set Relay World Record; Dressel Breaks American Record On Day Five Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 25, 2019—Caeleb Dressel held on to defend his 100-meter freestyle and flirted with a 10-year old world record on Day Five of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships Thursday at Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

The University of Florida and Bolles Club alum did break the American record by 2/10ths in 46.96, third fastest in history and only man to dip under 47 seconds. He was only 0.05 seconds off the 10-year-old world record of 46.91 set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo.

“It hurt really bad to be honest,” Dressel said. “You don’t always get that magical feeling every night but you’ve just got to shut the brain off and go.

“It took 100 per cent effort and I had someone right there on my tail for me to race,” Dressel said. “I kind of shut off thinking about the race so that helped a lot and having Kyle (Chalmers) right there.”

It was Dressel’s third gold medal and fourth medal overall.

Dressel’s other golds came in the 50-meter butterfly, a non-Olympic event, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay. He took silver in the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay.

“I know I was just off the world record, but really the goal was just to swim the best race that I could, and if that was the time I got tonight, I was happy,” Dressel said. “I’m going to talk to [Coach Gregg] Troy, and I guarantee you the first thing he’s going to say is what we could have done better.”

After scratching from two events because of illness, five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky returned to the pool to help the U.S. win silver in the 4×200-meter freestyle behind Australia’s world record performance of 7:41.50 with Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon. The previous record was 7:42.08 held by China. It was the first time the Aussies won a world title in the relay event. The U.S. had won three straight world titles.

“I wasn’t thinking about a world record,” McKeon said. “Was it a 2009 record? To break that this year is so exciting. I was hurting a lot but when it comes to a relay you really give it your all. Just touching the wall and seeing the three others celebrate, it made me so excited,” McKeon said.

Ledecky was joined by Katie McLaughlin, Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg and Simone Manuel and finished in 7:41.87. Canada took the bronze.

Outspoken American Lilly King was disqualified from the 200-meter breaststroke prelims. She won the third heat in 2:24.56 but was disqualified for not touching the wall with both hands at the same time at the first turn of the four-lap race.

The U.S. team filed a formal protest which was denied by FINA’s appeals process and also lost a jury of appeal.

In other finals:

Boglarka Kapas out-touched Americans Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot to win the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:06.78.

American Olivia Smoliga won the women’s 50-meter backstroke, a non-Olympic event, in 27.33. She won from Lane Two.

Japan’s Daiya Seto won the men’s 200-meter individual medley in 1:56.14, 0.42 seconds ahead of Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland and 2017 champion Chase Kalisz, ending the Americans’ streak of winning at eight consecutive worlds.

It was the first time a non-American won the event at an Olympics or worlds since 2001, snapping a streak of 12 straight titles among Phelps (seven), Ryan Lochte (four) and Kalisz (one). Kalisz, who swept the IMs at 2017 Worlds, has the 400m IM later this week.

In other news, FINA, the sport’s international governing body, threatened to strip medals and ban swimmers who protest on podiums during the medal ceremonies under a new Code of Conduct provision. Brit Duncan Scott and Aussie Mack Horton failed to acknowledge China’s Sun Yang during two medal ceremonies. Sun is coached by Aussie Denis Cotterell.

Day Six prelims include the men’s 100-yard butterfly, women’s 200-meter backstroke, men’s 50-meter free, women’s 50-meter butterfly, women’s 800-meter freestyle and men’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay.

The world championships has brought together a record 2,620 athletes from 194 countries and territories around the world with 76 sets of medals up for grabs in pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming.

The meet will be streamed and televised by the Olympic Channel and live timing will be available.

TV Schedule: https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/07/17/swimming-world-championships-tv-stream-schedule/

Live Results: http://omegatiming.com

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

South Florida Aquatic Club Among Top Teams At Mesa Arena Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

April 13, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club, after training in high altitude, will compete in the Arena Pro Series Grand Prix that begins Thursday at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa, Ariz.

The three-day meet is one of the last major tests before the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials and is serving as a FINA-approved competition where swimmers can achieve qualifying times for the Summer Olympics.

It is the fourth of seven stops on the Arena Pro Swim Series. A record prize purse of $350,000 is being offered during the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be awarded for first, $600 for second and $200 for third. Nathan Adrian leads the current men’s point standings with 30 and Katie Ledecky leads the women’s with 40.

SOFLO’s ProFlo group has been training in Mesa since Monday after training at the Ora Valley Aquatic Center and Anytime Fitness Gym and hiking in the mountains in Tucson.

ProFlo swimmers competing in Mesa are Monica Alvarez, Alia Atkinson, Kile Aukerman, Carolina Colorado, Claire Donahue and Megan Romano.

Atkinson, three-time Jamaican Olympian and national record holder, is entered in four events: 100- and 200-meter freestyle, 100 and 200-meter breaststroke. Atkinson is seeded second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.93 and seventh in the 200 breaststroke in 2:25.48.

Colorado, Colombian two-time Olympian and national record holder, will swim the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

Donahue, 2012 Olympic relay gold medalist, will swim the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and 50-meter freestyle. Donahue is seeded third in the 100 butterfly in 58.03.

Romano, a former world champion, is entered in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter freestyle and 100-meter backstroke.

Aukerman, a post-college grad, will swim the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley.

Alvarez is competing in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Thursday’s events are the 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 400 individual medley.

SOFLO’s pro swimmers are part of an impressive field that features eight U.S. individual gold medalists including Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps and Ledecky. Ledecky is also coming off altitude training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

In addition to SOFLO, other Florida Gold Coast teams competing are Azura Florida Aquatics led by Marcelo Acosta and Pine Crest Swimming led by Marta Ciesla.

The entire meet will be live streamed at usaswimming.org. Prelims are noon and finals at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

NBC Sports Network will air the meet on next-day delay (6:30 p.m. EST on Friday and midnight on Saturday) while NBC Sports Live Extra will stream the finals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Three More Medals At Hong Kong World Cup

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Three More Medals At Hong Kong World Cup

By Sharon Robb

September 30, 2014—-Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson added another gold and bronze medal along with her first silver at the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup Tuesday night in Hong Kong.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer won her third straight 50-meter breaststroke title in 29.35, much slower than her times (29.12) in Doha and Dubai.

Atkinson, 25, was second in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:24.94 and also took third in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.28.

Atkinson finished the opening leg of the second cluster with two gold medals and two bronze medals. She also won the 100-meter breaststroke and was third in the 50-meter freestyle.

Atkinson picked up $6,000 in Hong Kong and now has $43,000 in prize money earnings to rank third on the FINA circuit.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who won five more events on he second night, totaled $17,000 in Hong Kong and now has $142,000 overall.

While American Tom Shields made the most money among men in Hong Kong with $7,500 he is fourth on the money list. South African Chad le Clos won $6,000 and has $66,500 to lead the men’s list.

Hosszu, the most versatile swimmer on the circuit, won the 100 backstroke, 400 individual medley, 200 butterfly, 400 freestyle and 100 individual medley on the final night. Le Clos won the 100 butterfly in 48.56 and 50 freestyle in 21.17.

The Hong Kong meet had one of the weakest fields assembled. The next FINA World Cup stop is Moscow where Atkinson will not compete.

Other winners were:

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: Hungarian Gergely Gyurta won in 14:38.72. He was never challenged and led from start to finish.

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: Dutch sprinter Inge Dekker won the first of two events in 52.83.

Men’s 200-meter freestyle: Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes won in 1:43.59.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Hungarian Daniel Gyurta held off German Marco Koch to win in 57.35.

Men’s 50-meter backstroke: Aussie Ash Delaney won in 23.73.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Fraser-Holmes won his second event of the night in 1:53.58.

Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: Japan’s Rie Kaneto had no problem winning the gold in 2:19.55 for a five-second margin of victory.

Men’s 200-meter backstroke: Shields won in 1:51.88 ahead of Delaney in 1:52.87.

Women’s 50-meter butterfly: Dekker won her third straight fly title in 25.24, outsprinting Hosszu, second in 25.92.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Carter Wins Trinidad’s First Medals; Groters Breaks Aruban National Record

Carter Wins Trinidad’s First Medals; Groters Breaks Aruban National Record

By Sharon Robb

August 21, 2014—-Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Jordy Groters of Aruba, the future of international swimming, made history on Day Five of the 2014 IOC Youth Olympic Games Thursday night at the Olympic Sports Centre Natatorium in Nanjing, China.

Carter, a Plantation American Heritage alum and frequent trainer in South Florida, won his country’s first medals in swimming at the Games.

The country’s top junior swimmer took a silver medal in the 50-meter butterfly in 23.81, just behind China’s Yu Hexin in 23.69 and added a bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle in 22.53.

After a great start, Carter led the freestyle until the final 20 meters when China’s Yu Hexin surged to win in a junior world record of 22.00. Brazil’s top junior sprinter Matheus de Santana was second in 22.43.

Carter had qualified with a 22.49 in semifinals and got out of the heats with a 24.01.

Missouri-bound Groters of Pine Crest Swimming swam back-to-back lifetime-bests and broke Aruba’s national record in the 50-meter breaststroke in the semifinals.

Groters first broke the national record in his heat in 29.03 and bettered it in the semifinal in 28.90, cracking the 29-second barrier for the first time in his career. He fell short of making it into the final and finished 11th overall.

Groters was happy with his Youth Olympics debut.

He wrote on his Facebook: “Youth Olympic semifinal was a great experience. I am very proud to have been able to represent my home Aruba at such a big stage. I swam another best time and Aruban national record (28.90) and it is the first time I go sub-29. Ended up in 11th place

and was .06 away from a spot in finals. Very satisfied with these results! Thank you everyone for your support.”

AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy tied for fourth in the 50-meter backstroke in 28.91. She tied Canadian Danielle Hanus. The top five finishers were just 55/100ths of a second apart. Smiddy was also fifth in her 50-meter freestyle heat in 26.42 and eighth in her semifinal in 26.39.

Jordan’s Lydia Musleh of Pine Crest Swimming was third in her 50-meter freestyle heat in 27.66.

Suriname’s Zuhayr Pigot of Doral Aquatics and Metro Aquatics was sixth in hi 100-meter freestyle heat in 52.70.

In other finals:

China’s women’s team won the 4×100-meter freestyle relay in 3:41.19.

Egypt won its first medal of the Games when Akram Ahmed won the 800-meter freestyle in 7:54.29.

Maaike de Waard of the Netherlands won the 50-meter backstroke in 28.36.

Host China continues to lead the medal count with 13 medals (8 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze) followed by Russia (6 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and Italy (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze). Team USA is sixth with two gold medals and one bronze.

For swimming, prelims begin 10 p.m. and finals 6 a.m. East Coast time. The swimming competition ends on Friday.

The Youth Olympics are an international multi-sport event held in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee that takes place every four years consistent with the format of the Olympic Games.

The Youth Olympic Games are designed to integrate sport with education and culture, inspiring participants to live by the Olympic values and become ambassadors of the Olympic spirit. It also could provide a dress rehearsal for 2016 Rio Olympic hopefuls.

China is hosting 3,800 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees at the second Youth Olympics. During 13 days of competition in 32 sports, 222 medals events will be spread over 27 competition venues.

NBC, NBCSN and Universal Sports are combining for 54.5 hours of coverage through the Closing Ceremony on August 28.

NBC Sports Live Extra—NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets—will provide streaming coverage of all the Youth Olympic Games appearing on NBC and NBCSN.

For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at nbcsports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available for Apple, Android and Microsoft mobile devices and tablets.

Coverage of the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team can be found at TeamUSA.org and Twitter.com/USOlympic utilizing the #2014YOG hashtag.

For more information on the Games, visit Nanjing2014.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Atkinson Swims In Netherlands On Wednesday

SOFLO’s Atkinson Swims In Netherlands On Wednesday

August 6, 2013

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, looking to regroup after a disappointing world championships, will compete Wednesday and Thursday at the Eindhoven World Cup in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian will compete against many of the swimmers she competed against in Barcelona last week.

The two-day FINA Swimming World Cup 2013 meet which offers prize money, features a deep, competitive short course meters field.

2012 Olympian Claire Donahue, who frequently trains with Atkinson when in South Florida at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines, is one of the few Americans entered in the predominantly international field. St. Petersburg’s Megan Romano is also entered.

On Wednesday, Atkinson will swim the 100-meter breaststroke which she is seeded first in 1:03.80. She is in Lane 4 in the second of two heats and only swimmer in the 1:03s.

Atkinson, 24, is the fastest seed (29.67) in the 50-meter breaststroke and in Lane 4 of the second of two heats on Thursday. She is one of only two swimmers in the 29s. The other is Sweden’s Rebecca Ejdervik.

Also on Thursday, Atkinson will compete in the 100-meter individual medley. She is seeded in the first of three heats. Her seed time is 58.85 and she is expected to final.

The women’s 200-meter breaststroke will have only one heat because of a lack of entries, however, Atkinson is not competing.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, the defending FINA World Cup series champion, has entered an incredible 11 events over two days. Also competing are Aussie James Magnussen, George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago and Vlad Morozov of Russia.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Florida State Fires Swim Coach Neil Harper

Florida State Fires Swim Coach Neil Harper

April 5, 2013

Neil Harper, who coaches South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver and Alex Rodriguez and recently recruited Florida Gold Coast swimmer Jemal LeGrand of Davie, will not be returning to Florida State next season.

FSU athletic director Randy Spetman said Friday a national search for a new coach has begun.

“The decision to make a change in our swimming program was very difficult,” Spetman said in a statement released on Friday. “We believe that our program can be more successful and at this time needs to go in a different direction.”

Harper was at FSU for fourteen years. The Seminoles finished 23rd and 31st nationally in the men’s and women’s championships and were fourth at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.

Kuczynski Finishes Fourth At World Trials

Caroline Kuczynski missed making this summer’s World Aquatic Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Kuczynski, 22, of Pointe-Claire Swim Club after swimming back-to-back lifetime-bests in the 50-meter butterfly (27.33 and27.44) two days earlier, finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly in 59.70 Friday night at the World Championship Trials in Victoria, B.C.

Kuczynski, who trains with the South Florida Aquatic Club when home, had the third fastest time in morning prelims in 59.69.

“At least you can’t tell if I’m crying or if it’s my pink eye infections,” Kuczynski tweeted shortly after her race.

Noemie Thomas had the fastest qualifying time in 58.89, under the FINA standard, and just off the national record of 57.97 of Katerine Savard.

Savard, the second fastest qualifier in 59.13, won the event in 58.06. Thomas finished second in the final in 58.31.

Ryan Cochrane, 24, won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:47.08.

Armstrong Out Of Masters Meet

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was forced to withdraw from the Masters South Central Zone Championships in Texas after FINA voiced its objection to his participation.

Armstrong, banned for life from sanctioned Olympic sport competition because of his performance-enhancing drug use during his pro cycling career, had entered three distance events at the University of Texas meet. He had been cleared by U.S. Masters swimming officials to compete.

Armstrong, 41, was entered in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650-yard freestyle events.

Since USMS falls under the FINA umbrella as a sanctioning body, it must follow the World Anti-Doping Code and bar Armstrong from the meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com