SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Gold, Breaks Own National Record On Day One Of FINA/MASTBANK World Cup In Tokyo

By Sharon Robb

October 28, 2014—Alia Atkinson knocked off world record holder Ruta Meilutyte, just missing her world record by a half-second, on Day One of the FINA/MASTBANK World Cup Series Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer won the 100-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best short course time and Jamaican national record in 1:02.86.

It was also the first time Atkinson, now ranked No. 2 on the all-time short course list, had beaten the Lithuanian in any breaststroke event. She earned another $1,500 for the victory.

Meilutyte, coming off a layoff, is returning to heavy training and competition in preparation for the upcoming world championships.

Atkinson was joined by her longtime SOFLO coach Chris Anderson for the two-day Tokyo meet and final stop in Singapore.

“She swam well tonight but is still hungry to improve,” Anderson said. “I am looking forward to some fast breaststroke swimming in the next few days.”

Atkinson was coming off a two gold, one bronze medal and $3,500 performance on the opening leg in Beijing. She is zeroing in on the $30,000 third place spot on the leading points and money list.

Great Britain, which sent a contingent to Tokyo, had one national record broken. Fran Halsall broke the 50-meter backstroke record in 26.42, shaving .03 off the previous mark set in December by Lizzie Simmonds. Halsall now has six national short course records.

In other final events:

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Spain’s Mireia Belmonte-Garcia won in 8:08.57 for her fourth win in the distance event over six stops. She outsprinted Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who was second in 8:09.27. Florida alum Elizabeth Beisel took a bronze in 8:19.32 and $500 in 8:19.32.

Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Daiya Seto of Japan won his second consecutive World Cup race in the event against a good field in 3:59.91, the only swimmer to break the 4-minute mark.

Men’s 100-meter freestyle: Without Chad le Clos of South Africa in the field, the race was wide open and slow. Katsumi Nakamura of Japan won in 47.30, edging Russian Sergei Fesikov (47.31) and German Steffen Deibler (47.35).

Women’s 200-meter fresstyle: Hosszu won her first race of the night and 111th World Cup overall win, in 1:52.45. She has not lost a 200 race since last September.

Men’s 50-meter breaststroke: South African Roland Schoeman won in 26.02 edging Hungarian Daniel Gyurta (26.60). Bolles alum George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago was fourth in 26.85.

Women’s 100-meter butterfly: Inge Dekker of the Netherlands won in 56.11. Hosszu was second in 56.94.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke: American Eugene Godsoe won in 50.49 for his first World Cup win of the season.

Men’s 200-meter butterfly: South African Chad le Clos won in 1:49.20 ahead of Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:49.68).

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Hosszu, who has already clinched the top money spot, won her second event of the night in 2:05.18. American Caitlin Leverenz was second in 2:06.15. Beisel was fifth in 2:08.55.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: South African Myles Brown won in 3:37.96.

Women’s 50-meter freestyle: Brit Fran Halsall upset Inge Dekker to win in 23.80. Dekker was second in 23.89.

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Daniel Gyurta of Hungary won in 2:02.12.

Men’s 100-meter individual medley: Japan’s Kosuke Hagino won in 52.03. Bovell was fifth in 52.89.

Women’s 200-meter backstroke: If anyone thinks Iron Lady is running out of gas, guess again. Hosszu won her third event in 2:01.97, just a second off her national record. Beisel was sixth in 2:05.77.

Men’s 50-meter butterfly: Chad le Clos won his second event in 22.20 ahead of Roland Schoeman in 22.66.

Mixed 200-meter medley relay: Japan clubs swept the top four places with the winning time in 1:40.51.

The competition continues for one more day in Tokyo.

This is the sixth leg of the tour that started in Doha and Dubai in August. The final stop is Singapore (Nov. 1-2).

Swimmers are racing for $1,500 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third. There is also a $10,000 bonus offered for a world record performance swim.

The stakes are high with $300,000 in prize money offered to the sixth highest ranked men and women swimmers.

After the Singapore leg, the men’s and women’s World Cup winners will be awarded $100,000, second place $50,000 and third place $30,000.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins Gold, Bovell Takes Silver; Beisel Makes Debut On Day One Of FINA/MASTBANK World Cup In Beijing

By Sharon Robb

October 24, 2014—Alia Atkinson is now trying to play catch-up at the FINA/MASTBANK Swimming World Cup Friday in Beijing, China.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian of the South Florida Aquatic Club got off to a good start on Friday.

Atkinson, 25, won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.11 and picked up 12 points against a week women’s field. She attacked the first 50 in sub-30 in 29.98 and won the race by more than a second picking up $1500 for the win.

Atkinson is fourth overall in money earnings with $44,500. After not competing in Russia, Atkinson is 21 points behind (171 points) Spain’s Mireia Belmonte of Spain (189 points) and $72,000 in the overall series standings.

Bolles alum George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago took second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.91 behind Roland Schoeman in 26.87.

Bovell won his second silver medal of the night in the 100-meter individual medley in 52.43 and earned $1,000 per medal.

Local fans had something to cheer about after watching China’s Lu Ying and Xu Jiayu break national records in back-to-back races.

Lu Ying lowered her national record in the 100-meter butterfly in 55.95 after knocking off favorite Inge Dekker of the Netherlands. Lu is the first Chinese woman to go under 56 seconds.

Xu Jiayu broke the men’s national record in the 100-meter backstroke in 50.14, shaving 8/10ths off the previous mark set by Sun Xiaolei in 2011.

Most of the Chinese swimming in the meet competed in the Asian Games in late September and national championships in mid-October.

In other final events:

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Hungarian Katinka Hosszu took up where she left off in the second cluster. She won the distant event in a national record and career-best 8:08.41. “Compared with training, I like competition better because it is easier and more relaxed than training,” she said.

Men’s 400-meter individual medley: Daiya Seto of Japan won by nearly five seconds in 4:04.84.

Men’s 100-meter freestyle: South African Chad le Clos had no problem winning in 46.81. He led from start to finish.

Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Hosszu picked up her second win of the day. Florida alum Elizabeth Beisel, making her World Cup finals debut, was seventh in 1:57.28. It was only her second short course meters event.

Women’s 50-meter backstroke: China went one-two with Fu Yuanhui winning in 26.43 and Qiu Yuhan in 26.64.

Men’s 200-meter butterfly: Le Close picked up his second victory in 1:49.73 including 28.9 in the last 50 meters.

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Hosszu picked up her third gold medal of the night in 2:02.13. American Caitlin Leverenz took silver in 2:07.88.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: China’s 2012 Olympic champion Sun Yang won in 3:37.10, the fastest time in the world this year. “It is my first Beijing World Cup meet, I am excited,” Sun said. “I am not in my best shape.”

Women’s 50-meter freestyle: Inge Dekker of the Netherlands won in 23.97.

Men’s 200-meter breaststroke: Hungarian Daniel Gyurta won easily in 2:03.40. He led from start to finish after 50 meters.

Men’s 100-meter individual medley: Russian Sergei Fesikov won with a season-best 52.30.

Women’s 200-meter backstroke: Hosszu won her fourth gold medal in 2:02.71, just edging Aussie Madison Wilson who finished in 2:02.81.

Men’s 50-meter butterfly: Le Clos won his third gold medal in 22.03, second fastest time in the world this year.

4×50-meter mixed medley relay: China won in 1:40.10 followed by Russia and Japan.

This is the fifth leg of the tour that started in Doha and Dubai in August. The final stops are Beijing, Tokyo, Japan (Oct. 28-29) and Singapore (Nov. 1-2).

The Beijing meet has attracted 300 swimmers from 32 countries. Swimmers are racing for $1,500 for first, $1,000 for second and $500 for third. There is also a $10,000 bonus offered for a world record performance swim.

The stakes are high with $300,000 in prize money offered to the sixth highest ranked men and women swimmers. After the Singapore leg, the men’s and women’s World Cup winners will earn $100,000, second place $50,000 and third place $30,000.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Still Golden At FINA World Cup In Dubai

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Still Golden At FINA World Cup In Dubai

By Sharon Robb

August 31, 2014—Three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson won her third gold medal in less than a week at the FINA/Mastbank World Cup Sunday at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer from Jamaica won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.26 and pocketed $1,500.

Atkinson, the top-seed in the event, had no problem distancing herself from Americans Breeja Larson in 1:04.85 and Laura Sogar in 1:06.93.

Atkinson went out in 29.66 and slowed down in the back half in 33.60.

Atkinson was also sixth in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:11.54, an event Katinka Hosszu broke her own world record in.

“It wasn’t a bad swim tonight,” said her longtime SOFLO coach Chris Anderson. “It was a race to get in better shape. She has a big day tomorrow.”

Earlier this past week, Atkinson swept the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke events. On Monday, she has the 50-meter breaststroke, where she is seeded first and 100-meter individual medley, seeded second behind Katinka Hosszu, and 50-meter butterfly left to swim.

In the World Cup Series-opener in Doha, Atkinson won the 50- (29.12) and 100-meter breaststroke (1:03.79) events and pocketed $3,000 in prize money, $1,500 for each win. She also picked up bonus points for second best performance in the sprint breaststroke.

Atkinson is fourth on the prize money and points list with $4,500 and 54 points for the series opening cluster.

Bolles alum George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago won the 100-meter individual medley in 51.79 finishing ahead of Americans Tom Shields (52.14) and Cody Miller (52.46).

Another Bolles swimmer, Carolina Colorado of Colombia, took the bronze in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:06.96.

The Hungarians dominated opening night action on Sunday.

Series points leader Katinka Hosszu and Daniel Gyurta broke world short course records and each picked up $10,000 in bonus money for a world record.

Hosszu has now collected $58,500 in three days. Gyurta leads the men’s earnings list with 14,500.

Hosszu, who broke three world records in Doha, came back and broke her own 200-meter individual medley record in 2:02.13, lowering her previous mark of 2:02.61 she set earlier this past week. She improved her backstroke and freestyle legs for the new record. American Caitlin Leverenz was second in 2:06.76.

Hosszu also won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:52.25, 50-meter backstroke in a national record 26.10 and 200-meter backstroke in 2:01.17, another Hungarian national record.

Gyurta broke his own world record in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:00.48. His previous record was 2:00.67.

In other championship finals on Sunday:

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:04.88, off her world record of 7:59.34. There were only four swimmers in the timed final heat.

Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes flirted with the world record in the 400-meter individual medley before falling off WR pace but winning the gold in a meet record 3:58.69. The old meet record was 3:58.84. Fraser-Holmes also won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:38.22 ahead of Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic in 3:38.32.

South African Chad le Clos won the 100-meter freestyle in 46.24 and won the 50-meter butterfly in 22.02.

Roland Schoeman, also of South Africa, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 26.16. American Cody Miller took the bronze in 26.38.

Inge Dekker of the Netherlands won the 100-meter butterfly in 56.03. She was the only swimmer under 57 seconds. Dekker also won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.95.

Germany’s Christian Diener won the 100-meter backstroke in 50.10 overtaking early leader and American Eugene Godsoe who took the silver in 50.14.

American Tom Shields won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:50.19, just 11/100ths of a second off his American record he set in Doha.

The meet has a field of 235 swimmers from 38 countries. The Dubai stop is the second and last of Cluster One of the FINA World Cup series.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson, Bovell, Other Elite Swimmers In Dubai For FINA World Cup Second Leg

SOFLO’s Atkinson, Bovell, Other Elite Swimmers In Dubai For FINA World Cup Second Leg

By Sharon Robb

August 30, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Golden Girl will resume her medal quest Sunday at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai.

Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will try and add to her medal haul during the second leg of the FINA/Mastbank World Cup.

Atkinson, winner of two gold medals in Doha earlier this week, will compete in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley.

In the series-opener, Atkinson won the 50- (29.12) and 100-meter breaststroke (1:03.79) events and pocketed $3,000 in prize money, $1,500 for each win. She also picked up bonus points and prize money for second best performance in the sprint breaststroke.

On Sunday, Atkinson is the top seed among a 14-swimmer field in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.91, more than 3 seconds ahead of Americans Laura Sogar and Breeja Larson. She is also seeded first in the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.94, nearly 2 seconds ahead of Sogar. She is seeded second behind Hosszu in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.42.

Bolles’ Carolina Colorado of Colombia will also compete in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events. She won two bronze medals and $1,000 in Doha.

Heading the field is Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who broke three short course world records and a suitcase-full of medals of every color. She won ten medals including seven gold.

“I am excited to be back in Dubai,” the Iron Lady said. “I’m happy with how I went in Doha but I want to set more world records. I’m feeling good.

“I missed a couple of world records in Doha so I hope to get them here,” Hosszu said.

Others in the field are South African Chad le Clos, Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli and Gergo Kis of Hungary, Aussie Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Bolles alum George Bovell of Trinidad & Tobago.

It is the fourth time Dubai will host the World Cup Series. A field of 235 swimmers from 38 countries will compete over two days.

The Dubai stop is the second and last of Cluster One of the FINA World Cup three-cluster series.

In other World Cup news, the Guinness Book of World records recognized the United Arab Emirates Al Jasmi brothers, the night before the Dubai meet.

The four brothers Obaid, Saeed, Bakheet and Faisal, competed on the 400-meter freestyle relay together at the 2010 World Short Course Championships in Dubai, a first in swimming. It was the first time a full set of brothers competed on the same relay at a world championship.

The foursome finished 14th out of 15 teams in 3:35.72.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Among Field At FINA/Mastbank World Cup

SOFLO’s Atkinson, Trinidad’s Bovell Among Field At FINA/Mastbank World Cup

By Sharon Robb

August 26, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, coming off the Commonwealth Games, will resume her international schedule Wednesday at the FINA/Mastbank Swimming World Cup at the Hamad Aquatic Centre in Doha, Qatar.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian will compete in the 50-meter breaststroke on Day One and 100-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley on Day Two.

Atkinson will be joined by her longtime SOFLO coach Chris Anderson. The pair have been training at Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines since she brought home a silver and bronze medal in her third Commonwealth Games appearance in Scotland.

Doha is the first stop in the 2014 calendar with the competition moving to Dubai for Cluster One, Hong Kong and Moscow for Cluster Two and Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore for Cluster Three over two months from August to early November.

The field has 150 swimmers from 30 countries including two of the top three men’s finishers and all three women’s finishers on the 2013 World Cup circuit. The competition pool is 25 meters.

Atkinson finished second in the standings behind three-time Hungarian Olympian Katinka Hosszu, reigning World Cup series champion. Hosszu set six world records and won 32 events to total 537 points. Atkinson took home her biggest paycheck in swimming.

Eight Americans, coming off senior nationals and Pan Pacific Championships, are also entered. They are Breeja Larson, Josh Schneider, Mike Alexandrov, Eugene Godsoe, Laura Sogar, Cody Miller and Caitlin Leverenz.

Atkinson and Larson, a former and current Texas A&M swimmer, will go head-to-head in the 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley.

Other top international swimmers entered are reigning World Cup champion Chad le Clos, Steffen Deibler, Roland Schoeman, Inge Dekker, Mireia Belmonte, Daniel Gyurta, Ous Mellouli, Robert Hurley, Marieke D’Cruz, Daryna Zevina and Bolles alum George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mellouli, representing Tunisia, was unable to compete at Pan Pacs because his visa arrived late.

Nearly $2 million in prize money will be distributed during the seven-meet series. First place finishers win $1,500, runner-up earns $1,000 and third place gets $500.

The first cluster that includes Doha and Dubai later this week, will award $300,000 in overall prize money. The money will be distributed among the six highest scoring men and women in each cluster, depending on whether they compete in each meet in that particular cluster.

Each world record swims earns 20 bonus points.

Qatar is pulling out all stops to make sure the meet is successful.

“We have so many fantastic swimmers here,” said Khaleel al-Jabir, president of the Qatar Swimming Association.

“As the first stop in the series we know that swimmers are looking to put their training to the test at our world-class swimming facility. It’s also a great chance for fans around the world to celebrate the sport of swimming and all the hard work these athletes put in.”

FINA officials are using Atkinson’s image in his promotional material for the series including huge posters at the host hotel and pool. She is also featured on the cover of the Team Leaders guide.

The FINA website is live-streaming the meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Begins Gold Medal Hunt Thursday At Commonwealth Games

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Begins Gold Medal Hunt Thursday At Commonwealth Games

By Sharon Robb

July 22—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson is ready to make history at the 20th Commonwealth Games.

The three-time Olympian for Jamaica begins her bid for medal glory when the Games get under way Wednesday with the Opening Ceremonies at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland

Diving is the opening aquatic event. Swimming begins on Thursday and runs through July 29 at Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

Under the watchful eye of her longtime club coach, SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson, who is serving as the Jamaica team coach, Atkinson will attempt to win her country’s first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

“She has three chances at it,” said Anderson, who wrapped up a week-long training camp in Corby, England and arrived in Scotland on Monday with the team.

Atkinson will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events. Her first race is the 50-meter breaststroke on Thursday with the heat and semifinal rounds and final on Friday.

Atkinson, 25, is the first Jamaican to medal at a major international tournament taking a silver in the 50-meter breaststroke at the FINA World Short Course Championships.

“I’m excited that the 200-meter is back, so I am definitely looking forward to trying to medal in the 50, 100 and 200,” Atkinson said. “I just need to get that 100 down and work that second 50.

“I don’t get to compete against Australia and the UK a lot so I am excited for that,” Atkinson said. “Plus, I only have half the world to worry about at the Commonwealth Games.”

At the 2012 London Olympics, Atkinson just missed a medal finishing fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke. Since then she has had a meteoric rise worldwide doing well on both the FINA World Cup and USA Grand Prix series. She also recently signed with Speedo, which is a major sponsor of the Commonwealth Games.

Atkinson is in the best shape of her life. At the USA Grand Prix Mesa, she won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.52, breaking her own national record of 2:28.34 set in February.

“I know it’s been a long time for her 200 to click,” Anderson said. “She is really beginning to understand the patience of the race. That put her in the world rankings, it was a world-class race.

“She is starting to emerge as the best 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke swimmer in the world. She’s getting there.”

Atkinson will be joined by Jevon Atkinson, who came out of retirement to represent Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games. Atkinson (no relation to Alia) trained with Anderson from 2004-2008 and qualified for the 2008 Olympics.

Other Jamaican swimmers are Zara Bailey, Trudi Ann Patrick, Dominic Walter and Timothy Wynter, a rising star in Jamaica who is training with Anderson at SOFLO.

The last Jamaican female swimmer to medal at the Commonwealth Games was two-time Olympian Janelle Atkinson-Wignall (no relation to Alia Atkinson) in 2002 when she took bronze medals in the 400- and 800-meter freestyles. On Monday, Atkinson-Wignall was named head coach at Fairfield University becoming the program’s first-ever woman coach.

Also at the Commonwealth Games, Bolles coach Sergio Lopez will coach the Singapore team including Bolles swimmer Joseph Schooling.

Dylan Carter and George Bovell will represent Trinidad and Tobago.

Carter, 18, is making his Commonwealth Games debut. Carter, a sophomore at University of Southern California, used to train in South Florida with the now-defunct Davie Nadadores and attended Plantation American Heritage.

Bovell, a four-time Olympian, is a 2002 Bolles alum.

Other swimmers with Florida ties:

BAHAMAS: Mckayla Lightbourn, Sarasota and Florida State; Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Bolles alum.

BARBADOS: Lani Cabrera, Miami, Florida Gulf Coast alum, former Davie Nadadores.

CANADA: Sinead Russell, University of Florida.

CAYMAN ISLANDS: Brett Fraser, Florida Alum.

The Commonwealth Games are held every four years (July 23-August 3). The International, multi-sport event is for 4,500 athletes from 70 participating Commonwealth nations competing in 21 different disciplines.

Swimming power Australia is bringing most of its best swimmers. Canada, South Africa and Great Britain will also be strong.

It is the third largest multi-sport event in the world after the Olympics and Asian Games and third time Scotland has hosted the Games (1970, 1986).

The U.S. will not be televising or live streaming the major meet. However, Canada CBC will live stream it on its website and BBC is televising as well along with radio coverage.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SWIM ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Ends Swimming Career As FSU’s Most Valuable Swimmer

SWIM ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Ends Swimming Career As FSU’s Most Valuable Swimmer

By Sharon Robb

April 22, 2014

Longtime Comets and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer Tiffany Oliver ended one chapter of her life and is about to embark on a new journey in law school.

The Florida State Senior and four-year swimmer for the Seminoles was honored at the team’s recent banquet as one of three Most Valuable Swimmers.

Oliver shared honors with Madison Jacobi and Pavel Sankovich.

Oliver’s college legacy includes school records in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.02 and 100-yard freestyle in the 100-yard freestyle. Her best time in the 200-yard freestyle was 1:46.72.

She was also the first Seminole in history to defend her sprint titles at the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. She qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials and three NCAA Championship meets.

Oliver, an honors student, was accepted into FSU’s law school.

“I thought we had a great season,” FSU first-year coach Frankie Bradley said. “All our award winners were picked by the coaching staff and they were very deserving. These athletes had an impact on our program this year.”

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers and divers honored were Mikey Lewark, Jason Coombs, Connor Knight and Jason McCormick.


South Florida Aquatic Club’s Amber Hunter of West Broward High School was among athletes from south area high schools to be honored recently by the Broward County Athletic Association Scholar Athletes Monday at the Signature Grand in Davie.


Freshman Kira Toussaint of Florida Gulf Coast was named Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimmer of the Year. During her first season she broke eight FGCU records including four individual and four relays and also four CCSA records. Toussaint, an All-American, is a teammate of SOFLO swimmer Marcella Marinheiro, who also finished her freshman season.


George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago heads the field for this weekend’s fifth annual TYR JAX 50. All proceeds benefit Planet Swim Foundation with the goal of providing learn-to-swim lessons to in-need children in the Jacksonville area. On Friday night the 100s and 200 individual medley events will be held. Saturday morning the 50s will be held to determine the Top 8 qualifiers in each age group for the three-race bracket challenge. It will be live-streamed by Florida Swim Network.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 111: Trinidad’s George Bovell Makes Successful Return At Inaugural Pro Meet

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 111: Trinidad’s George Bovell Makes Successful Return At Inaugural Pro Meet

November 16, 2011


Three months after a horrific car accident, George Bovell made a successful return to the pool Wednesday night in the inaugural Pro Dual 1 Meet at University of Michigan’s Canham Natatorium.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympian and national record holder won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.77 while competing for the West team.

Bovell, 28, a five-time NCAA champion at Auburn, earned $300 for the win. He also turned in a blistering 22.17 split on the West “A” relay that finished third in the 200-meter medley relay.

Bovell, who graduated from Jacksonville Bolles and was a bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics, was in his BMW when he was hit bya truck on the driver’s side of the car. He was knocked unconscious and suffered several lacerations that required stitches. He was forced to miss the Pan American Games because he was unable to train.

South African Darian Townsend, a double winner in the 200-meter individual medley (2:01.29) and 200-meter freestyle (1:50.14), was the leading prize money winner with $600 followed by Wu Peng and Jason Dunford with $450. Sixteen swimmers cashed in on the opening night of the two-day meet.

Going into Thursday’s second and final night of action, the East squad leads the West, 110.5-92.5.

The lead changed hands three times before the East pulled away starting with Clark Burckle’s win the 100-meter breaststroke, the first of four consecutive East wins.

The 90-minute meet was competitive and entertaining. The race had a corporate sponsor who was introduced before each race.

Both taped music played between races along with live entertainment with the University of Michigan’s men’s Glee Club, The Friars and Wolverines Dance Team. The announcer was knowledgeable and race calls. Attendance was low but few major newspapers or websites publicized the inaugural event. Aside from shouts of “Come On East”  from the stands, the cash register sound effects after completion of each race was a nice touch. Swimmers also held autograph sessions.

Florida Gold Coast was represented by Danielle Tirabassi and Fred Veloso Castro of Davie Nadadores. Castro cashed in for $50 after a third place finish in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:02.75. Tirabassi was fourth in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:53.11. 

The meet concludes tonight with eight more events. Competition begins 8 p.m. and is being webcast live at


EAST 110.5, WEST 92.5
200-meter individual medley: 1. Darian Townsend, West 2:01.29, $300, 2. Wu Peng, East 2:02.11, $150, 3. Nick Brunelli, East 2:08.46, $50, 4. George Bovell, West 2:14.58. West 12, East 9

50-meter butterfly: 1. Jason Dunford, East 23.96, $300, 2. Christopher Brady, West 24.48, $150, 3. Bobby Savulich, East 24.68, $50, 4.Bryan Lundqust, West 24.77. East 24, West 21.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Darian Townsend, West 1:50.14, $300, 2. Charles Houchin, West 1:50.15, $150, 3. Jean Basson, East 1:50.84, $50, 4. Daniele Tirabassi, West/Davie Nadadores) 1:53.11. West 37.5, East 31.5.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Eugene Godsoe, East 54.64, $300, 2. Christopher Brady, West 56.75, $150, 3. Kevin Doak, West 58.02, $50, 4. Nick Brunelli, East 58.03. West 46.5, East 43.5

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Christopher Burckle, East 1:02.15, $300, 2. BJ Johnson, East 1:03.35, $150, 3. Alex Hetland, West 1:03.56, $50, 4. Elliott Keefer, West 1:03.64. East 59.5, West 54.5.

50-meter freestyle: 1. George Bovell, West 22.77, $300, 2. Jason Dunford, East 22.82, $150, 3. Alex Couville, West 22.85, $50, 4. Nick Brunelli, East 23.09. East 69.5, West 68.5.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Wu Peng, East 1:59.62, 2. Charles Houchin, West 2:02.47, 3. Fred Castro, East 2:02.75, 4. Davis Tarwater, West 2:06.75. East 82.5, West 78.5.

200-meter medley relay: 1.  East “A” (Eugene Godsoe, Christopher Burckle, Jason Dunford, Nick Brunelli) 1:40.54, 2. East “B” (Wu Peng, BJ Johnson, Bobby Savulich, David Dunford) 1:41.53, 3. West “A” (Christopher Brady, Alex Hetland, Bryan Lundquist, George Bovell) 1:41.73, 4. West “B” (Kevin Doak, Nelson Westby, Joe Bartoch, Alex Coville) 1:42.23. East 110.5, West 92.5.


Justin Kaisrlik of East Ridge High School is the latest high school senior to sign with University of Florida and will join SOFLO’s Luke Torres and former SOFLO swimmer Lindsey McKnight in the Gators lineup next fall. Kaisrlik is a Class 2A state champion in the 200-yard individual medley. He is also a top 200-yard freestyler…Top-ranked Georgia women’s swimming and diving team tied a school record for consecutive home victories Wednesday night with a 141-96 victory over Emory at Gabrielson Natatorium. The win was the 76th consecutive victory for the

Lady Bulldogs, tying a mark set by the men’s tennis team from 1968-72. The swim team’s streak started in 1995. Georgia is 5-0, has won 18 straight dual meets overall and is 51-1 in its last 52 competitions…Florida sophomore Elizabeth Beisel was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Week for her swims against Stanford and Michigan. The Gators will compete in the three-day Georgia Tech Invitational beginning Nov. 18 against Clemson, Emory, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech…SOFLO’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Seton Hall Pirates (6-1) will compete in the Patriot Invitational Thursday through Saturday in Fairfax, Va. O’Shaughnessy already has five automatic qualifying times for the Feb. 15-18 Big East Championships at Pittsburgh….SOFLO’s Kevin Bandy, 20, of Louisville was 17th in the 400-yard freestyle prelims in 4:12.49 Wednesday at the Tennessee Volunteer Invitational.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 110: SOFLO’s Chris Anderson Elected Florida Gold Coast Chairman

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 110: SOFLO’s Chris Anderson Elected Florida Gold Coast Chairman

November 15, 2011


South Florida Aquatic Club CEO and head coach Chris Anderson was elected General Chairman of the Florida Gold Coast Tuesday night at the annual House of Delegates Meeting at Plantation Central Park.

Anderson, an ASCA Level 5 coach, ran unopposed during the election process.

Anderson took over the role three years ago during a turbulent  time in the Florida Gold Coast, the sport’s local governing body. During his first term, Anderson played a key role in revising by-laws, policies and procedures manual for the Florida Gold Coast.

Anderson recently returned from the Pan American Games where he served as Jamaica coach. He trains SOFLO swimmer Alia Atkinson, who won a silver medal, her first medal at a major competition for Jamaica.

Anderson, 36, has also coached Jamaica at the Olympics and World Championships. He coached three swimmers at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics and was head coach at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.

Other officers during the House of Delegates Meeting re-elected were Allan Williams, Administrative Vice Chairman; Jimmy Parmenter, Senior Vice Chairman; Kirk Peppas, Coaches Representative; Lori Bosco, Secretary; Dick Cavanah, Registration Chair/Treasurer; and Adam Zeichner, Officials Chairman.

The new officers voted in were Jim McCombs of Martin County as Age Group Vice Chairman, succeeding St. Andrew’s Swimming Aquatics Director and coach Sid Cassidy; Finance Committee head Daniel Hammond and Safety Chairman Duffy Dillon.

Pro Swim League Makes Debut

Sixteen Olympians and 14 U.S. national team members are among the elite male field that will make swimming history on Wednesday by competing for prize money at the inaugural Professional Swimming League East vs. West event at Michigan’s  Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The event, called Pro Dual 1, will feature prize money first first ($300), second ($150) and third ($50) place in each of the sixteen races, with eight events each night.

Among the field are former NCAA and world champion Davis Tarwater and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and former world record holder George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago.

It will be Bovell’s first competition since a serious car accident that forced him to take three months off to recuperate.

The 27-year-old was forced to miss the Pan American Games. Bovell has been training with his former coach Mike Bottom at Michigan. Bovell and Bottom worked together at The Race Club in the Keys.

Swimmer Bobby Savulich and Michigan assistant coach Mark Hill are spearheading the groundbreaking event they hope takes off among the swimming world. Eventually, the would also like to add women swimmers.

The format is head-to-head, relay vs. relay and team against team.

The East lineup is Wu Peng, Jason Dunford, Fred Veloso, Jean Basson, Gard Kvale, Sebastian Bodet, Clark Burckle, BJ Johnson, Barry Murphy, Matt Lowe, David Dunford, Nick Brunelli, Savulich, Eugene Godsoe, Ian Hulme and Martyn Forde.

The West squad is Darian Townsend, Chris Brady, Joe Bartoch, Charlie Houchin, Daniele Tirabassi, Adam DeJong, Nelson Westby, Alex Hetland, Elliott Keefer, George Bovell, Alex Coville, Davis Tarwater, Kevin Doak, Greg Pearsall, Bryan Lundquist and Richard Hortness.

The Florida Gold Coast will be represented by two Davie Nadadores, Danielle Tirabassi and Fred Veloso along with Coach Alex Pussieldi.

The competition begins each night at 8 p.m. and will be webcast live at the league’s website


University of Georgia Bulldogs signed Turkish national record holder Ediz Yildirimer, a European junior champion currently training at The Woodlands. He is a foreign exchange student at John Cooper High School in Houston. The distance swimmer has clocked 4:24.22 in the 500-yard freestyle and 15:03.66 in 1,650-yard freestyle. He has gone 8:00 in the 800-meters and 15:25 in the 1500-meter event, Yildirimer has won the last two European junior titles in the 800 and two bronze medals in the 1500…Host Plantation Swim Team coach Jimmy Parmenter announced Tuesday night more than 1,300 swimmers are entered in Winter Championships at Plantation Central Park, making it one of the largest meets in the state.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 66: Ryan Lochte To Appear At Miami Sports Authority On Saturday

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 66: Ryan Lochte To Appear At Miami Sports Authority On Saturday

August 24, 2011


Olympian Ryan Lochte, fresh off a training camp in Colorado and brief vacation at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, will make an appearance in Miami on Saturday.

Lochte, 27, who lives and trains in Gainesville, will appear at the new Sports Authority in midtown Miami at 4 p.m.

The sporting goods giant officially opened on Aug. 5. The 35,000-square foot store is located in the Shops at Midtown at NE 34th St. and North Miami Ave.

Lochte’s last meet was the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Shanghai, China where he won five gold medals, broke a world record and established himself as the swimmer to beat at the 2012 London Olympics.

While Phelps is still the biggest brand in swimming with his endorsements, Lochte is running ahead of Phelps in popularity in and out of the pool including the way he relates to teenagers because of his penchant for fashion, music, teeth grills and funky shoes. While he has a serious side when it comes to training, diet and competing, he also is a free spirit.

Trinidad’s Bovell Recovering After Car Accident

Olympian George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago is recovering at home from a horrific car accident last Friday.

Bovell, who graduated from Jacksonville Bolles and was a bronze medalist in the 200-meter individual medley in the 2004 Olympics, was coming back from practice in Mayaro when his BMW was hit by a truck on the driver’s side of the car. 

Bovell was knocked unconscious and suffered several lacerations that required stitches. He was treated and released from the local hospital. Only quick thinking on his part when he leaned over to the passenger’s side saved him from serious harm.

Bovell, 28, a medal favorite in the 50-meter freestyle for the Pan American Games in October, is now questionable for the Mexico meet. The five-time NCAA champion at Auburn is expected to be out of the water for at least two to three weeks.

Bovell was coming off the FINA World Championships in China where he finished seventh in the 50-meter freestyle in a textile-best 22.04.

Venezuela’s Subirats Reinstated

Venezuelan swimmer Albert Subirats’ one-year ban was lifted by FINA after he won his appeal with the international governing body.

Subirats, a three-time NCAA champion at Arizona, won the gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly at the short course world championships in 2010 but was banned in June for failing to notify anti-doping authorities of his whereabouts during an 18-month period.

Subirats told FINA that he submitted his paperwork to the Venezuelan Federation detailing where he would be in 2010 and 2011 but the federation lost the information.

Lourdes De Goncalves, president of the Venezuelan Aquatic Sports Federation, confirmed to reporters that Subirats can now compete in the upcoming Pan American Games in Mexico and 2012 London Olympics. His name is already on the Pan Am roster.

Had the ban not been lifted, Subirats would have had only two months to swim the Olympic time standard to be able to compete at the 2012 Games. Subirats is currently training with Tucson Ford.

NCAA Woman Of The Year Candidates

Swimmers dominate NCAA’s list of thirty candidates for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award which is presented annually to one female student-athlete based on academic achievement, athletics excellence, community service and leadership throughout their college career.

To be eligible for the 2011 award, an athlete must have graduated by the end of the summer of 2011, have completed their NCAA eligibility by the spring and have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA.

Seven of the 30 candidates are swimmers. They are Division I: Annie Chandler of Arizona and Audra Egenolf of SMU; Division II: Nicole Horn, Henderson State and Kelsey Ward, Drury; Division III: Laura Barito, Stevens Institute of Technology, Haley Emerick of Trinity and Molly Evans of Carnegie Mellon.

Swimmers have won this award nine times in the 20-year history of the award.

The candidates list will be pared to nine and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in Indianapolis on Oct. 16th.


According to British Gas Swimming, more than 3 million people swim at least once a week compared to only 2 million people who play football and 1.8 million who cycle once a week.

Sharon Robb can be reached at