Former St. Andrew’s Swimmer Beats Cancer, To Resume Competing For Florida State, Earn Degree

By Sharon Robb

BOCA RATON, January 6, 2019—-McKenna Keith and her family had plenty to celebrate over the holidays.

The Florida State senior swimmer and St. Andrew’s School All-American alum was given a clean bill of health after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in July.

After undergoing chemotherapy at Lynn Cancer Institute near her home in Boca Raton, Keith is scheduled to have the port in her neck removed in less than a week and is back at FSU where she plans to finish her collegiate swimming career and graduate with her senior class.

“I can already say it’s the best Christmas ever because nothing can top my gift of life this year,” Keith said.

“The results won’t matter to me, I will be happy enough to just be back in that pool again with my teammates.”

Keith was first diagnosed in Germany where she was staying with her boyfriend Fynn Minuth and his family while training with his club team. When she found “a strange lump” on her neck she went to a doctor who told her to get an MRI.

“It was never even a thought in my mind that this was something serious,” Keith said. “The MRI pictures were up on the screen…something I didn’t need a translation for. All I could see was a huge lump on my neck about the size of an apple. When the doctor walked in I could really tell something was wrong. Through a translation, and the help of google, I found out I had cancer. The doctor said she didn’t know what the diagnosis was called in English so we translated it and found out it was lymphoma. I typed it into google and all I had to read was ‘Lymphoma is a type of cancer…’ and my stomach dropped.”

Her boyfriend’s family provided her emotional support but it was the doctor who gave her hope.

“I don’t remember much from that day but I do remember the most comforting and encouraging words from that doctor: ‘You are an athlete who knows how to fight. You have faced challenges in the pool your whole life. Now, you have a new challenge to face and you will fight the same way.’ Those words have stuck with me this entire process and I can’t wait to tell that doctor I just won the fight.”

The eight-hour flight home was “the longest of my life,” Keith said. The next three weeks were filled with endless doctor appointments, three surgeries and preparation tests for chemo.

“From the first chemo to the last I tried to make myself feel as normal as possible,” Keith said. “It was hard seeing all my friends at school and feeling like I was missing out on my senior season but that only gave me motivation to get through treatment and be able to swim in the senior meet in January.”

While undergoing treatment, Keith took two online classes because she wanted to graduate on time. She finished with a 4.0 GPA for the semester.

“The support from my family, friends, teachers, and coaches has kept me afloat and I can truly say I wouldn’t have made it through this journey without them by my side every step of the way,” she said. “From my roommates setting up a GoFundMe to surprise visits from friends throughout treatment, the support I’ve received is unbelievable. My faith in Christ has also kept me assured in His plan for me and has given me a will to fight. Having that crutch to lean on gave me hope when I felt there was nothing left in my tank.

“Overall, this journey has given me a new perspective on life and how precious every moment is. I like to think of this journey as a blessing in disguise because I have never been more grateful for my life and everyone in it than I am today. I now know exactly what I want to do after I graduate.”

Keith plans to attend an accelerated nursing program “so I can help others the way I was gracefully helped by my nurses,” she said.

When Keith got her final pet scan results, she waited until her dad got home from work to share the good news.

“I walked into the kitchen and she said, ‘Dad, guess what? The cancer is gone.

“I just lost it,” Michael Keith said. “I was crying like a baby, hugging her and praising God. It was incredibly overwhelming.”

Keith lettered in swimming and water polo for four years at St. Andrew’s in Boca Raton. She was a three-time All-American in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays and 400-yard medley relay.

She transferred to FSU last season after starting her collegiate career at South Carolina where she swam her freshman and sophomore seasons, competed in four events and had six Top 10 finishes during the regular season. As a freshman she was the team’s top sprinter. She was named to the 2017 Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll.

After her FSU teammates learned of her diagnosis, they set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for her rent payments. She has a lease at her school apartment and was responsible for rent in addition to medical expenses. The page was shut down after raising more than enough money in three days.

Florida State head swim coach Neal Studd said Keith contacted him over the summer.

“She gave me a call and we talked about our swim camps where she was doing a great job,” Studd said. “She was the big sister at the camp. We talked for a few minutes and then she dropped the bomb on me. I couldn’t believe we had this whole conversation about other stuff before she told me. She never made it out to be this big dramatic thing.

“It’s one of those things you hope never happens to one of your kids,” Studd said. “Anyone who knows her knows how special and wonderful she is.”

Studd never filled her spot on the roster. She came to the Seminoles “Think Pink Weekend” at Morcom Aquatics Center in late October and talked to the team. Studd said she inspired them and played a role in their 161-139 victory over Arizona State to remain undefeated.

“It would be ridiculous not to give someone a chance, to give them another shot,” Studd said. “I know she has been doing some light work and swimming already. I want this to be fun for her. I want her to enjoy the process and see where it goes. When she gets back I am not putting any stress on her, she doesn’t need any more stress in the world.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Atkinson Among World Cup Field Racing For Prize Money; Florida Gators Open In South Florida; Poppell, Nesty Make College Head Coaching Debuts

By Sharon Robb

September 27, 2018—After missing the opening cluster, SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will join the 2018 FINA World Cup Series for its second cluster Friday through Sunday in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Both the men’s and women’s fields are larger than the small turnout in Kazan and Doha. The field features 185 swimmers from around the world.

Other swimmers expected to compete are Brazil’s Felipe Lima and Eteine Medeiros, Americans Michael Andrew, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, Molly Hannis, Melanie Margalis and Kathleen Baker, Mitch Larkin, Mack Horton and Emily Seebohm of Australia, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, Yulia Efimova of Russia, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, Japan’s Daiya Seto and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos.

Twelve events will be raced on each of the three days in Eindhoven.

Atkinson will be joined by women’s series leader Sarah Sjostrum of Sweden and men’s leader Anton Chupkov of Russia. Sjostrum earned the maximum points and earned the $50,000 Cluster One bonus after the first two stops of the short course meters series.


After intrasquad and alumni meets the past two weeks, the college dual meet season opens Thursday through Saturday across the nation including South Florida.

University of Florida men’s and women’s teams open their season Thursday at Florida Atlantic in the first meet of the season. The Gators women’s team head further south on Friday to swim University of Miami. The Gators then head to Florida Gulf Coast also on Saturday.

The women’s team begins its first season under head coach Jeff Poppell, former Gulliver Prep head coach and aquatics director. Poppell has been at Florida since 2016 serving as an associate head coach.

The Gators women’s team returns 27 letter winners including All-Americans Sherridon Dressel and Brooke Madden. The Gator men feature 14 freshmen. Anthony Nesty makes his debut as first-year head men’s coach. Nesty has spent the last 20 seasons with the Gators.

Florida International University women’s team heads to University of Miami on Saturday. Florida State is holding an intrasquad meet on Saturday in Tallahassee. Florida Atlantic will host Gardner-Webb and North Florida on Saturday.


Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, 23, is engaged to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson. Johnson proposed at Lake Lanier Islands Resort in Georgia. Johnson swam at University of Texas and was a member of the 2010 NCAA champion team. “Thank you for making this the easiest answer to any question I’ve ever been asked,” Franklin posted on Instagram.


South African Olympic medalist Cameron van der Burgh has relocated to London to train for his fifth FINA World Short Course Championship in Hangzhou, China, Dec. 11-16. Burgh said after 30 years in South Africa it was time to start a new journey. He will continue to compete internationally for South Africa…

American Heritage Plantation alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Award from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago at this year’s Republic Day National Awards Function. Carter was honored for bringing national attention to the tiny island and for putting aquatics at the forefront. Carter was a silver medalist at the Commonwealth Games and won three gold medals at CAC. He is the first and only swimmer to medal at both the Youth Olympic Games and FINA World Junior Swimming Championships…

The 2020 Olympic Trials date were officially set for June 21-28. The Trials will be hosted by Omaha, Nebraska for the fourth time. The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo five weeks after the Trials. The Trials cuts were announced by USA Swimming during Thursday’s U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in Jacksonville and they are all faster than the 2016 cuts. The men’s 800 and women’s 1500 freestyle events will make their debut at the 2020 Trials. The 2018 Winter National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. in late November will be the first meet where swimmers can get their Trials cuts.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

FSU Swimmer, Former St. Andrew’s Swimmer, Water Polo Standout McKenna Keith Diagnosed With Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

By Sharon Robb

TALLAHASSEE, September 6, 2018—McKenna Keith, a St. Andrew’s School All-American swimmer and now a Florida State senior, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The disease is a cancer of the lymphatic system. She is undergoing chemotherapy through December and hopes to return after her treatment is complete.

Keith, whose family lives in Boca Raton, lettered in swimming and water polo for four years at St. Andrew’s in Boca Raton. She was a three-time All-American in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays and 400-yard medley relay.

Keith transferred to FSU last season after starting her collegiate career at South Carolina where she swam her freshman and sophomore seasons, competed in four events and had six Top 10 finishes during the regular season. As a freshman she was the team’s top sprinter. She was named to the 2017 Winter SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Her FSU teammates have set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for her rent payments. Keith has a lease at her school apartment and is responsible for rent in addition to medical expenses.

The page reads “on top of all of the medical costs she is already facing, we do not want rent and utilities to be an extra burden for her family.

“We want McKenna to be able to come back and be able to live in her room in our apartment without any worry about violating or cancelling the lease. The Seminole family is behind her every step of the way as we anticipate her healthy return next semester.”

As of Thursday, $6,175 has been raised.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Atkinson, Carter, Paez Win Gold At CAC Games In Colombia; FSU’s Pisani Makes Canada’s Pan Pacs Team

By Sharon Robb

BARRANQUILLA, COLOMBIA, July 23, 2018—Swimmers who trained and competed at local Florida Gold Coast clubs and high schools are taking center stage at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) at the Eduardo Movilla Aquatics Complex and Canadian Trials in Edmonton.

Plantation American Heritage and former USC Trojan Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago crushed the 50-meter butterfly for a gold medal in a lifetime-best 23.11 which now ranks fourth in the world. He first broke the record in prelims in 23.50.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 29, won a gold medal and broke her second CAC meet record in the 50-meter breaststroke. She won in 30.19, fourth fastest mark in the world this season, bettering the previous record of 31.14 she set in morning prelims. It is the third fastest time of her long career and just .08 what she swam at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan where she took silver.

Atkinson also won a gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.60.

“It was pretty good,” Atkinson told reporters. “I’m starting to feel the effects of the dehydration and heat, so hopefully I can continue and get better as it goes along.

“My race was a bit harder than I thought. It wasn’t as clean as I thought it would have been but hopefully in the future we’ll get it better for the finals. It was more of the effects of the dehydration and tightening of the muscles.”

Atkinson was also fourth in the 100-meter freestyle in 55.41.

Atkinson now has 12 CAC Games gold medals in her career. Atkinson’s three gold medals are the only ones won by Jamaica since the Games opened on Thursday.

Athletes are competing in near 100-degree heat during the day.

Recent Duke University graduate Isabella Paez won the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:11.26, just .01 shy of the Games record. It was her second “A” final of the meet. She also finished fourth in the 50-meter butterfly and was a member of Venezuela’s fourth place in the 800-meter freestyle relay (8:22.92).

The Venezuelan national team member swam for Metro Aquatic Club of Miami and Ronald Reagan Doral High School before earning a scholarship to Duke where she represented the Blue Devils at the NCAA Championships.

Her mom posted on Facebook: “There are no words to see your daughter make the anthem of your country, Bravo Isa, you are a warrior, we love you mucho.”

Held every four years since 1926, the CACs are a multi-sport competition involving countries in Central America, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico and the South American countries of Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.


Florida State senior William Pisani, a Riviera Beach Suncoast alum and Lake Lytal Lightning club swimmer, earned a spot on Canada’s national team for the Aug. 9-12 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

Pisani earned his spot on the 32-roster men’s team with a second-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly in 53.17 at the Canadian Trials in Edmonton, Alberta.

“I am so happy for Will,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “He is a great example of what happens when talent works hard. His improvements here at FSU in the last two years show how well he has focused on what he does every day and making his first national team with two years until the Olympics is great timing. The future looks bright.”

Pisani also took third in the 50-meter freestyle in 22.51, just .04 off the FINA A standard, and fifth in the 100-meter freestyle in 49.92 after swimming a personal best in prelims in 49.59.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

FGC Swimmer Izaak Bastian Wins Second Gold Medal On Final Day Of UANA Swimming Cup

By Sharon Robb

CORAL SPRINGS, January 21, 2018—Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas won his second gold medal on the final day of the UANA Swimming Cup Sunday at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

The Bahamian national team member won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.37 in the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions.

The Florida State-bound and St. Andrew’s swimmer won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.23 on Saturday. Bastian was also eighth in the 50-meter backstroke in 28.47 with a time drop of 2.23 seconds.

Bastian, 17, finished fifth in the 15-17 high point with 25 points. Mexico’s Guillermo Ruben Cruz Zuniga won the high point award with 57 points.

Curacao’s Chade Nersicio of East Coast Aquatic Club took two bronze medals in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:17.02 and 50-meter butterfly in 28.60. She was also 10th in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:00.36. Nersicio was fifth in high point with 24 points. Mexico’s Marie Ximena Conde Merlos won the high point title with 31 points.

Other Florida Gold Coast individual event finishers were:

Simone Vale, Jamaica, Pine Crest Swimming, eighth, 50-meter backstroke, 32.74, time drop; 22nd, 100-meter freestyle, 1:04.23.

Ireyra Tamayo, Panama, Azura, 11th, 50-meter backstroke 32.04, time drop of 0.75; seventh, 100-meter freestyle, 59.57; fifth, 50-meter butterfly, 29.93.

Adriana Gooding, Trinidad & Tobago, Azura, 11th, 50-meter butterfly, 31.38.

Gaby Banks, Jamaica, South Florida Aquatic Club, 15th, 100-meter freestyle, 1:01.47; 19th, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:30.97; 11th, 50-meter butterfly, 30.45, time drop of 0.33.

Annabella Lyn, Jamaica, Pine Crest Swimming, 16th, 50-meter backstroke, 32.73, time drop of 0.08; 12th, 100-meter freestyle, 1:00.76.

Victoria Abad Wood, Ecuador, Plantation Swim Team, 19th, 50-meter backstroke, 33.57; 42nd, 100-meter freestyle, 1:05.81; 27th, 50-meter butterfly, 32.84, time drop of 0.24.

Racine Ross, Trinidad & Tobago, Pine Crest Swimming, 20th, 50-meter backstroke, 33.65; 4th, 50-meter butterfly, 29.73.

Sebastian Lares, Panama, South Florida Aquatic Club, 16th, 50-meter backstroke, 32.09, time drop of 0.03; 10th, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:16.70, time drop of 2.64.

Nicholas Vale, Jamaica, Pine Crest Swimming, ninth, 50-meter backstroke, 28.49; 17th, 100-meter freestyle, 54.87.

Luis Bucaro, Guatemala, TS Aquatics, 20th, 100-meter freestyle, 54.94; 16th, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:17.38.

Gaby Banks of SOFLO and Nicholas Vale of Pine Crest Swimming were members of Jamaica’s fourth place mixed 15-17 4×50-meter freestyle relay that finished in 1:43.70, bettering its seed time of 1:47.40.

Other high point FGC swimmers were: 13-14 Girls, 21. Adriana Gooding, 3 points; 28. Simone Vale, 1; 15-17 Girls, 16. Ireyra Tamayo, Panama 13.50, 23. Racine Ross, Trinidad & Tobago 5 and Gaby Banks, Jamaica, 5; 15-17 Boys, 22. Nicholas Vale, Jamaica 8.

Mexico, early leaders the first two days, clinched the team title with 870 points. Brazil was second with 532 points and Argentina was third with 486.50.

The inaugural Union Americana de Natacion (UANA) meet is an international age group meet featuring swimmers competing in 2,325 individual events and 140 relays. The format is a dual meet between Central America, South America and Caribbean. Neither North Americans or Canadians are allowed to compete.

Each country was limited to a maximum of six girl and six boy swimmers per age group. Swimmers had no limit in event entries but only two swimmers from each country could score.

Swimmers competed in 11-12, 13-14 and 15-17 boys and girls age group categories.

The meet served as one of the qualifiers for the Youth Olympic Games, Pan American Games and FINA World Championships. UANA is the regional governing body for aquatic sports in the Americas and has been in existence since 1948.

The countries participating were Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, the Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Suriname, Turks and Caicos, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and St. Vincent.


COMBINED TOP 10 TEAM TOTALS: 1. Mexico 870, 2. Brazil 532, 3. Argentina 486.50, 4. Colombia 202.50, 5. Barbados 181.50, 6. Bahamas 166, 7. Trinidad & Tobago 158, 8. Peru 155, 9. Cayman Islands 113.50, 10. Honduras 101.


50-meter backstroke:

11-12, 1. Luiza Lima, Brazil 33.30, 2. Keianna Moss, Bahamas 33.71, 3. Emilia Julieta Gutierrez Merino, Mexico 34.16; 13-14, 1. Athena Meneses Kpvacs, Mexico 30.74, 2. Celia Del Rocio Pulido Ortiz, Mexico 30.85, 3. Maria Jose Miranda Gallegos, Mexico 31.97; FGC: 8. Simone Vale, Jamaica 32.74, time drop; 15-17, 1. Andrea Sansores De La Fuente, Mexico 29.73, 2. Valentina Arce Paez, Argentina 30.00, 3. Andrea Marcel Hurtado, Peru 30.33; FGC: 11. Ireyra Tamayo, Panama 32.04, time drop, 16. Annabella Lyn, Jamaica 32.73, time drop, 19. Victoria Abad Wood, Ecuador 33.57, 20. Racine Ross, Trinidad & Tobago 33.65.

100-meter freestyle:
11-12, 1. Perola Santos, Brazil 1:02.25, 2. Sofia Desiree Laureano Perez, Mexico 1:03.17, 3. Luiza Lima, Brazil 1:03.23; 13-14, 1. Athena Meneses Kovacs, Mexico 58.15, 2. Fabiana Pesce, Venezuela 59.24, 3. Logan Watson-Brown, Bermuda 59.79; FGC: 22. Simone Vale, Jamaica 1:04.23; 15-17, 1. Julieta Lema, Argentina 57.12, 2. Delfina Pignatiello, Argentina 58.71, 3. Dalahi Meza Coronado, Mexico 59.11; FGC: 7. Ireyra Tamayo, Panama 59.57, 10. Chade Nersicio, Curacao 1:00.36, 12. Annabella Lyn 1:00.76, 15. Gaby Banks, Jamaica 1:01.47, 42. Victoria Abad Wood, Ecuador 1:05.81.

100-meter breaststroke:
11-12, 1. Emily Santos, Panama 1:16.13, 2. Astrid Caballero, Peru 1:17.68, 3. Perola Santos, Brazil 1:21.67; 13-14, 1. Selene Alborzen, Argentina 1:14.29, 2. Katya Fonseca, Brazil 1:16.52, 3. Micaela Sierra, Uruguay 1:19.97; 15-17, 1. Maria Fernanda Jimenez Peon, Mexico 1:11.61, 2. Valenina Marcantonio, Argentina 1:12.41, 3. Chade Nersicio, Curacao 1:17.02; FGC: 19. Gaby Banks, Jamaica 1:30.97.

50-meter butterfly:
11-12, 1. Sofia Desiree Laureano Perez, Mexico 30.14, 2. Astrid Caballero, Peru 31.42, 3. Zoe Anthony, Trinidad & Tobago 31.44; 13-14, 1. Athena Meneses Kovacs, Mexico 28.18, 2. Celia Del Rocio Pulido Ortiz, Mexico 29.26, 3. Fabiana Pesce, Venezuela 29.27; FGC: 11. Adriana Gooding, Trinidad & Tobago 31.38; 15-17, 1. Lyon Lismar, Venezuela 27.97, 2. Valentina Becerra Quintanilla, Colombia 28.41, 3. Chade Nersicio, Curacao 28.60; FGC: 4. Racine Ross, Trinidad & Tobago 29.73, 5. Ireyra Tamayo, Panama 29.93, 11. Gaby Banks, Jamaica 30.45, time drop, 27. Victoria Abad Wood, Ecuador 32.84, time drop.

Mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relay:
11-12, 1. Brazil 1:50.06, 2. Mexico 1:53.70, 3. Honduras 1:59.34; 13-14, 1. Mexico 1:44.62, 2. Argentina 1:47.56, 3. Brazil 1:48.68; 15-17, 1. Mexico 1:41.38, 2. Colombia 1:42.90, 3. Argentina 1:43.35.


50-meter backstroke:
11-12, 1. Zarek Wilson, Trinidad & Tobago 30.20, 2. Jose Miguel Nangullasmu Arellane, Mexico 31.80, 3. Simon Bermudez, Colombia 32.83; 13-14, 1. Lamar Taylor, Bahamas 28.62, 2. Gabriel Nascimento, Brazil 29.21, 3. Ramiro Faya, Argentina 29.33; FGC: 16. Sebastian Lares 32.09, time drop; 15-17, 1. Jack Kirby, Barbados 26.63, 2. Guillermo Ruben Cruz Zuniga, Mexico 26.73, 3. Matheus Zacharias, Brazil 27.16; FGC: 8. Izaak Bastian, Bahamas 28.47, time drop, 9. Nicholas Vale, Jamaica 28.49.

100-meter freestyle:
11-12, 1. Joao Pierre Campos, Brazil 56.57, 2. Zarek Wilson, Trindad & Tobago 58.30, 3. Emiliano Moreno Viera, Mexico 59.46; 13-14, 1. Victor Manuel Salcedo Carrillo, Mexico 54.00, 2. Gustavo Saldo, Brazil 54.24, 3. Lamar Taylor, Bahamas 54.77; 15-17, 1. Guillermo Ruben CruzZuniga, Mexico 51.17, 2. Santiago Aguilera Gonzalez, Colombia 51.71, 3. Matheus Zacharias, Brazil 51.96; FGC: 17. Nicholas Vale, Jamaica 54.87, 20. Luis Bucaro, Guatemala 54.94.

100-meter breaststroke:
11-12, 1. Nigel Forbes, Bahamas 1:15.07, 2. Breno Baspo, Brazil 1:16.06, 3. Nathaniel Ochoa Neurouth, Mexico 1:18.91; 13-14, 1. Juan Bautista Carroccia, Argentina 1:05.86, 2. Rafael Rached, Brazil 1:07.32, 3. Maximiliano Vega Cuevas, Mexico 1:10.09; FGC: 10. Sebastian Lares, Panama 1:16.70, time drop; 15-17, 1. Izaak Bastian, Bahamas 1:04.37, 2. Kevin Diaz Wurg, Argentina 1:05.51, 3. Jose David Solis, Costa Rica 1:06.02; FGC: 16. Luis Bucaro, Guatemala 1:17.38.

50-meter butterfly:
11-12, 1. Joao Pierre Campos, Brazil 28.08, 2. Gossmann Christiopher, Guatemala 28.36, 3. Nigel Forbs, Bahamas 28.68; 13-14, 1. Gabriel Dias, Brazil 26.46, 2. Lamar Taylor, Bahamas 26.59, 3. Joao Pedro Altoe, Brazil 27.04; 15-17, 1. Guillermo Ruben Cruz Zuniga, Mexico 24.95, 2. Kael Yorke, Trinidad & Tobago 25.52, 3. Mauricio Payne, Curacao 25.74.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Aquatic Club Trio Head To Charlotte Arena Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

May 11, 2016—Three members of South Florida Aquatic Club’s ProFlo group will compete Thursday through Sunday at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, N.C.

Several Olympians and Olympic hopefuls are in the field while others opted to compete in the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet, also this weekend.

The Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center underwent an $8.6 million renovation since the meet was last held last year in May.

Heading SOFLO’s ProFlo group is three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson. She is entered in six events: 50, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, 50- and 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

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

SOFLO’s Jorge Murillo of Colombia will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Atkinson and Murillo have already qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas, a former Florida State swimmer, is trying to get his U.S. Olympic trials cut. He will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

SOFLO’s Claire Donahue and Megan Romano, already qualified for the U.S. trials, scratched from the meet.

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

Floridian Ryan Lochte is entered in seven events and Tyler Clary has entered five. Both are training mates with SwimMAC in Charlotte.

Lochte will compete in the 100- and 200-meter freestyles, 200- and 400-meter individual medley, 100-meter backstoke and non-Olympic events 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly.

Clary is entered in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter butterfly and 100- and 200-meter backstrokes.

Swim Canada is wrapping up a training camp. Canada’s 4×100 medley and 4×100 freestyle relays will compete. They are among 15 Olympic team nominees that have been involved in a four-day training camp in Toronto.

USA Swimming has made special accommodations for Team Canada to compete in relays during time trials between prelims and finals. Bolles alum Santo Condorelli is among the men’s roster.

The long course meters meet begins Thursday with the distance session at 4 p.m. The remainder of the weekend prelims are 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

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

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


World championship medalist Lindsay Vrooman has signed with TYR. A national team member since 2013, Vrooman is a distance swimmer and competes in the 400, 800 and 1500. South Florida Aquatic Club is sponsored by TYR, the leading manufacturer of competitive swim and triathlon gear…

Florida Gulf Coast head coach Neal Studd, who coaches SOFLO’s Melissa and Marcella Marinheiro, turned down the head coaching job at Arkansas and at least an extra $50,000. Studd toured the campus for two days. Studd, 40, did get a raise from athletic director Ken Kavanagh from $73,000 to $87,500, making him the highest paid coach in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association. Kavanagh also gave Studd one more scholarship, now making the program three shy of the NCAA’s limit of 14.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Big Night For SOFLO Swimmers: Rojas Wins Gold, Rodriguez Takes Silver At Inaugural USA Swimming Futures Championships

By Sharon Robb

August 1, 2015—It was a big night for South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers Marc Rojas and Jessica Rodriguez Saturday at the inaugural USA Swimming Futures Championships.

Rojas, 21, a Florida State senior-to-be and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, topped a talented men’s field to win the 200-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 2:18.97.

Rojas shaved 4.09 seconds off his previous best and broke 2:20 minutes for the first time.

Rojas swam the third fastest time in morning prelims in 2:23.06 to better his best time and then poured it on in the final to improve his time for a total drop of 6.94 seconds.

SOFLO’s Jessica Rodriguez, 16, took the silver medal in the 200-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 2:36.88, dropping 0.68. She was top morning seed in 2:37.56. Her previous best time was 2:41.79. Rodriguez was the only other Florida swimmer to finish in the Top 3.

SOFLO’s Marcella Marinheiro, 20, was fifth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:05.37. The Florida Gulf Coast swimmer was fourth seed after morning prelims in a best time 1:05.13, bettering her previous time of 1:06.79.

Florida Gulf Coast-bound and younger sister Melissa Marinheiro, 18, was eighth in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:26.83 after going 4:23.99, the seventh fastest time in morning prelims.

Among the 79-team field, South Florida Aquatic Club is the top Florida team in the combined team standings with 174 points for fourth place. The battle for first is between Boilermaker Aquatics with 317 and Columbia Swim Club with 314. SOFLO women’s team is second with 130 points and men’s team is 15th with 44 points.

Ninety-eight swimmers competed in the girls’ 50-meter freestyle prelims.

The Futures Championships are a trio of meets in Greensboro, N.C., Mt. Hood, Ore. and West Lafayette, Ind.

The meets are designed to bridge the gap between Sectionals and Junior Nationals enabling swimmers not qualified for Junior Nationals to compete in their own meet.

The meet concludes on Sunday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

Results are posted on Meet Mobile under FUTURES West Lafayette 2015.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. Boilermaker Aquatics 317, 2. Columbia 314, 3. Indiana University Swim Team 236.5, 4. South Florida Aquatic Club 174, 5. Rockwood 172, 6. Huntsville 162.5, 7. University of Kentucky Swim Team 160.5, 8. Stingrays 152, 9. Dynamo Swim Club 147.5, 10. Memphis Thunder 144, 11. Highlander 134, 16. Southwest Stars Swim Club (STAR) 78, 19. Swim Fort Lauderdale 62, 27. Area Tallahassee 44, 37. Miami Swimming 33, 39. Gulliver Swim Club 32.

WOMEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Columbia Swim Club 166, 2. South Florida Aquatic Club 130, 3. University of Kentucky 126, 4. Kansas City Blazers 113, 5. Huntsville 109, 8. STAR 78, 12. Swim Fort Lauderdale 62, 15. Highlander 48, 25. Miami Swimming 33.

MEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Boilermaker Aquatics 228, 2. Indiana University Swim Team 159.5, 3. Columbia Swim Club 148, 4. Dynamo 121.5, 5. Memphis Thunder 116, 8. Highlander 86, 15. South Florida Aquatic Club 44, 23. ATAC 26.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Kyla Valls, Miami Swimming 2:14.80, 2. Elaine Zhou, MPSC 2:17.82, 3. Kayla Churman, UKY 2:18.28; FLORIDA: 7. Allison Kopas, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:20.77, 11. Caroline Cooper, Highlander 2:20.06, 13. Emily Cordovi, Gulliver 2:20.45, 24. Amanda Tipton, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:23.12/2:24.10, 25. Alicia Mancilla, Gulliver 2:24.31, 34. Alexa Kalandiak, Miami Swimming 2:26.58, 43. Chloe Hampson, Highlander 2:30.15.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Kaitlyn Schorr, STAR 26.38, 2. Anna Miller, RSCA 26.64, 3. Kobie Melton, HAS 26.66; FLORIDA: 30. tie Catherine Cooper, Unattached 27.56, Dorothy Morgan, Miami Swimming 27.56, 38. Sofia Bernard, STAR 27.68, 38. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 27.68, 40. Paige Hamilton, Highlander 27.69, 42. Abigail Burke, Highlander 27.71, 45. Andie Myers, Highlanders 27.75, 53. Chloe Grimme, FE 27.87, 58. Kelly Harrington, Boca Raton Swim Team 27.94, 63. Kyla Valls, Miami Swimming 28.06, 89. Eleanor Politt, LA 28.90.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Haley Downey, P66 2:34.84, 2. Jessica Rodriguez, SOFLO 2:36.88, 3. Emma Hruby, IFLY 2:37.03; FLORIDA: 9. Pakawadee Sopapong, Tampa Bay 2:41.00, 11. Elizabeth Zubero, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:41.51, 20. Caitlin Ahern, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:43.62, 25. Samantha Schieffelin, STAR 2:45.32, 27. Allison Kopas, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:45.72, 38. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:47.70, 39. Anna Valls, Miami Swimming 2:48.09, 43. Lauren Peavy, ATAC 2:48.83, 46. Coleen Driscoll, Tampa Bay 2:50.39.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Sophia Sorenson, ACAC 1:04.43, 2. Kobie Melton, HSA 1:04.84, 3. Shelby Carrol, IUST 1:05.50; FLORIDA: 5. Marcella Marinheiro, SOFLO 1:05.37, 15. Amanda Tipton, Swim Fort Lauderdale 1:05.67/1:05.88, 26. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 1:06.39, 35. Dorothy Morgan, Miami Swimming 1:07.22, 39. Abigail Burker, Highlander 1:07.47, 40. Spencer Lucas, Highlander 1:07.54, 55. Kaitlyn Schorr, STAR 1:08.34, 58. Megan Schimansky, Coral Springs 1:08.38, 59. Kara Wilkins, Unattached 1:08.39, 68. Emily Cordovi, Gulliver 1:09.51, 82. Eleanor Politt, LA 1:12.23.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Christine Blomquist, KCB 4:19.78, 2. Emily Meckstroth, STAR 4:21.35, 3. Gabrielle Stecker, Unattached 4:22.40; FLORIDA: 8. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 4:26.83, 13. Stephanie Holmes, ATAC 4:26.54, 20. Abigail Burke, Highlander 4:29.81, 23. Alicia Mancilla, Gulliver 4:31.31/4:31.92, 35. Namilla Sanchez, Gulliver 4:35.10, 37. Alixandra Roy, Highlander 4:36.12, 38. Spencer Lucas, Highlander 4:38.03.


200-meter butterfly: 1. Elijah Patrick, NAC 2:04.09, 2. Mitchell Strahlman, HWSA 2:05.18, 3. Jacob Smith, LAK 2:05.33; FLORIDA: 4. Julien Pinon, SOFLO 2:05.56, 5. Nicholas Nord, Gulliver 2:06.67, 16. David Perez, Highlander 2:09.96, 17. Carlos Comenares, Miami Swimming 2:06.58, 23. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 2:10.89, 10. prelims, Joshua Monacelli, Highlander 2:07.83, 32. Matthew Nardozzi, Highlander 2:13.31, 35. Sean Arrington, Unattached 2:17.14.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Justin White, Y2K 23.36, 2. Ben Carter, STAR 23.77, 3. Nathaniel Thomas, BA 23.80; FLORIDA: 11. Corbin Cooper, Highlander 24.17, 29. Alexander Reid, Miami Swimming 24.64, 39. Ryan Capote, SOFLO 24.79, 42. Calvin Lillo, Highlander 24.94.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Marc Rojas, SOFLO 2:18.97, 2. Liam Bell, DYNA 2:19.09, 3. Sam Lida, GTAC 2:20.05; FLORIDA: 9. Joshua Monacelli, Highlander 2:23.90, 27. Jose Pascal, Coral Springs Swim Club 2:28.33, 36. Rafaele Chambasian, ATAC 2:29.91, 42. Jonathan Oliva, Gulliver 2:30.81, 49. Alexander Reid, Miami Swimming 2:31.43.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Ethan King, MTAC 56.42, 2. Tucson Dunn, SCAT 57.09, 3. James Beckman, MSC 57.25; FLORIDA: 24. Derek Peeples, LAS 1:00.45/1:00.94, 26. Calvin Lillo, Highlander 1:00.96, 34. Carlos Colmenares, Miami Swimming 1:01.60, 47. Corbin Cooper, Highlander 1:02.79, 48. Matthew Nardozzi, Highlander 1:02.89.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Michael Dugan, RAYS 3:59.71, 2. Luke Trimmer, BA 4:01.42, 3. Nathan Hopkins, BA 4:01.99; FLORIDA: 13. Hayden Curley, Highlander 4:06.68, 14. Christopher Holmes, ATAC 4:06.64/4:06.97, 16. Brandon Chason, ATAC 4:13.47, 18. John Yambor-Maul, ATAC 4:06.61/4:10.63, 31. Andrew Dupont, Highlander 4:13.79, 32. Nicholas Nord, Gulliver 4:14.00, 35. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 4:16.25, 41. Ervin Marin, SOFLO 4:19.81.

Sharon Robb can be reached at