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:

Live Results:

Sharon Robb can be reached at

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 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

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

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 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 and utilizing the #2014YOG hashtag.

For more information on the Games, visit

Sharon Robb can be reached at

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

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

SOFLO’s Atkinson Just Misses Second Medal, Qualifies For Breaststroke Final; Lochte Breaks WR

SOFLO’s Atkinson Just Misses Second Medal, Qualifies For Breaststroke Final; Lochte Breaks WR


December 14, 2012

Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club just missed winning her second medal on the third day of the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships Friday in Istanbul, Turkey.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian finished fourth in the 100-meter individual medley in a career-best and Jamaican national record 58.85.

Atkinson was the top seed going in the championship final at the Sinan Erdem Arena with a semifinal qualifying time of 58.94, lowering her seed time and previous best of 59.96.

Atkinson was eighth (27.62) after the first 50 meters of the butterfly and backstroke and came on in the final 50 of the breaststroke and freestyle.

“Fourth, seems like this happened before,” Atkinson tweeted referring to her fourth place finish at the 2012 London Olympics in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, the fourth seed, overcame the breaststrokers to win the 100 IM in a meet record 58.49. Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania was second in 58.79 and China’s Zhao Jing was third in 58.80. All eight finalists were under a minute.

Hosszu had scratched from the 400-meter freestyle to be fresh for the 100 IM.

Also on Friday, Atkinson competed in the heat and semifinal of the 100-meter breaststroke, her strongest event. After swimming 1:05.26 in her heat, she finished in 1:04.99 in the semifinal to earn the third seed for Saturday night’s final. Her best time is 1:04.69.

Atkinson is seeded behind Denmark’s Rikke Moeller Pedersen and Lithuanian teenage sensation Ruta Meilutyte.

The British announcers at the meet continued to praise Atkinson. “She is a very determined Jamaican swimmer,” said Stuart Storey who is providing both TV and radio commentary.”I have been very impressed by Alia Atkinson.”

Another called Atkinson “one of the championships’ revelations.”

Atkinson has already won Jamaica’s first medal ever at the world championships, a silver in the 50-meter breaststroke and $3,000 in prize money.

On another night of exciting racing on Friday:

Ryan Lochte, the new face of American men’s swimming leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, broke the world record in the 200-meter individual medley and won his fourth gold medal and fifth medal overall in three days.

It was the first world record of the championships.

Lochte broke his own world record in 1:49.63 and became the first swimmer to go under the 1:50 mark. His previous record was 1:50.08 set in Dubai.

“Any time you break the world record it’s amazing” Lochte said. “I swam my best time, of course. I wanted to do something that no one else did here. I didn’t know I was going that fast anyway.”

It is the fifth consecutive world championship meet that Lochte has broken the 200 IM world record since Manchester in 2008. Lochte was under world record pace for the first 100. His splits were 23.71, 27.03, 31.74 and 27.15.

After Lochte won the 200 IM, the song “I’m Sexy and I Know It” played.

After the medal ceremony, Lochte gave his gold medal to a young fan, 9-year-old Arda Cakmak sitting in the stands. Cakmak wore the medal around his neck and showed off to friends and photographers. It was the second time this week Lochte gave his medal to a fan.

“To see that smile on that little face means everything to me,” Lochte said. “If I took the medal, it would end up in a sock drawer. If I give it to a fan, they are going to treasure it. It will make their day.”

Lochte later tweeted, “Can’t really sleep, the adrenaline in me is going off from getting a world record in the 200 IM.”

U.S. teammate Conor Dwyer was fifth in 1:53.99.

Lochte earned $20,000 in prize money for the IM performance including $15,000 in world record bonus money and $5,000 for first. Nearly $250,000 out of a possible $400,000 has been awarded to swimmers so far.

In addition to the world and meet record, four other meet records were broken. Brazil’s Nicholas Santos broke the 50-meter butterfly record twice in the heats in 22.40 and semifinals in 22.23. Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta broke the 200-meter breaststroke record in 2:01.35 and Hosszu’s 100 IM record in 58.49.

Russian Vladimir Morozov knocked off an impressive field to win the 50-meter freestyle in 20.55. French Olympic champion Florent Manaudou was second in 20.88. U.S. Olympian Anthony Ervin was third in 20.99.

“I was with some fast company on that podium,” Ervin tweeted. “I’m thankful to all of you who have been with me on this journey.”

Germany’s Britta Steffen won the 100-meter freestyle in 52.31 and Paul Biedermann won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:39.15.

Spain’s Melanie Costa Schmid won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:01.08.

China’s Ying Lu won the 50-meter butterfly in 25.14.

Daryne Zevina, 18, of the Ukraine won the women’s 200-meter backstroke in 2:02.24.

The U.S. women’s 4×100-meter medley relay of Smoliga, Hardy, Donahue and Romano finished third in 3:51.43. Denmark won the gold medal in 3:49.87, its first win in any short course relay in either gender. Australia took second in 3:50.88.

The U.S. team leads the medal count with 17 (7 gold, 4 silver, 6 bronze). China is second with eight medals (1 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) and Hungary is third with seven (three gold, one silver and three bronze) tied.

Sharon Robb can be reached at