U.S. Swimmers Wrap Up FINA World Aquatics Championships With Record Medal Haul; Sarasota’s Emma Weyant Takes Bronze


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 25, 2022–The final night of the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships was an emotional roller coaster for swimmers and coaches Saturday night at Duna Arena.

In a dramatic turn of events, American Justin Ress was disqualified after winning the gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke for being completely submerged at the finish only to be re-instated less than a hour later after a closer review of the race by officials.

U.S. teammate and world record holder Hunter Armstrong gladly returned the gold medal after finishing 2/100ths of a second behind Ress who won in 24.12. Poland’s 17-year-old Ksawery Masiuk took the bronze in a national record 24.49. It was Ress’ first individual long course gold medal.

“It was definitely an emotional roller coaster,” Armstrong said before the ruling was reversed. “I am really proud of Justin. That was a great race. There was only 2/100ths of second separating us.

“I would rather take second and have him with me, then getting the title with a disqualification. It’s not how I wanted it. He is an amazing athlete, completely talented. To have that taken away from him, it sucks.”

Italy came up with two of the biggest upsets of the night.

Veteran distance freestyler Gregorio Paltrinieri, 27, flirting with the world record in Lane 1, pulled away early in the race and never faltered to win in championship and European record time of 14:32.80, second fastest time in history.

University of Florida’s Bobby Finke, the Olympic champion and favorite, could not pull off his patent comeback down the stretch, that’s how far the Italian was ahead. Finke took silver breaking his own American record 14:36.70 and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock was third in 14:36.94.

“I knew that they were coming, but I had quite a big lead, so that was enough for me,” Paltrinieri said. “That was my strategy, actually, to go out fast and try to open a gap with the others. So I’m really glad I did it.”

Ironically, Paltrinieri was the seventh fastest qualifier for the final, just three seconds away from not making the final.

“In the beginning, I was just trying to keep up with him, but he just kept getting farther and farther ahead,” Finke said. “Hats off to Greg. I wasn’t able to run him down. He had a great race, and I’m really proud of him.”

“Greg had a great race, starting from the get go,” Finke said. “I broke the record by three seconds so I’m happy with it. I was just trying the do best I could. I am going away happy after this meet. It was stressful. I have never been in this scenario as expected to take the title again and being reigning Olympic champion.”

The Italian 4×100-meter relay of world record holder backstroker Thomas Ceccon, 100 breaststroke gold medalist Nicolo Martinenghi, Federico Burdisso and Alessandro Miressi upset the U.S. team of Ryan Murphy, Nic Fink, Michael Andrew and Ryan Held, 3:27.51-3:27.79. Great Britain was third in 3:31.31 just ahead of the Aussies in 3:31.81.

There were 23 Florida Gold Coast swimmers that competed on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Four swimmers, including University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach, are entered in open water events which begin on Sunday with the 6K team relay (4×1500) off Lupa Beach. The 5K is Monday, 10K on Wednesday and 25K on Thursday.

In other finals Saturday night:

WOMEN’S 50 BREASTSTROKE: Ten years after winning gold at the London Olympics, Ruta Meilutyte, 25, of Lithuania came out of retirement in 2021 after missing three doping tests and serving a 24-month suspension, started training again and ended up winning another title in 29.70. Italy’s world record holder Benedetta Pilato was second in 29.80 and Lara van Niekerk of South Africa was third in 29.90. American Lilly King was seventh in 30.40.

“It’s nice to be a world champion, I’m super proud of myself,” said Meilutytė, who won her second world title nine years after winning the 100 breaststroke in 2013. “I’m grateful for every step taken in my life, the bad ones and the good ones as well.”

WOMEN’S 400 IM: Canadian teenager sensation Summer McIntosh won her second gold medal, fourth overall and broke her third world junior record en route to the win in 4:32.04. McIntosh, 15, held off another outstanding teenager, American Katie Grimes, 16, second in 4:32.67. Sarasota’s Emma Weyant, who waited all week to swim, took the bronze in 4:36. It’s been 17 years since two Americans won medals in the same race. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu was unable to win her fifth straight gold in the event fading to fourth.

“Since it was the last day, I definitely felt, not the freshest in the water,” McIntosh said. “But I just tried my best to get my hand on the wall first and I’m so happy with the placement.”

50-METER FREESTYLE: Swedish world record holder Sarah Sjostrum won her 20th career gold medal in 23.98. It was her second world title of the meet. Poland’s Katarzyna Wasick took the silver in 24.18 and Meg Harris of Australia and American Erika Brown tied for the bronze in 24.38.

“It means so much to me,” Sjostrum said. “Every journey is different to winning a gold medal. I am super proud of achievening this medal. I came off a broken elbow and struggled with motivation, but now I remember why it was worth putting in all the time.”

WOMEN’S 4×100 MEDLEY RELAY: The U.S. won its third straight world title with Regan Smith, Lilly King, Torri Huske and Claire Curzan in 3:53.78. It was Curzan who broke open a tight race and pulled away on anchor. The U.S. had only qualified seventh and was in the outside lane. Australia was second in 3:54.24 and Canada was third in 3:55.01.

“The faster we finish, the faster we get pizza,” King joked after the race.

The U.S. finished with a record 45 medals (17 gold, 12 silver and 16 bronze. Australia was second with 17 total (6 golds, 9 silver, 2 bronze). Canada was third with its best-ever world finish with 11 (3 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). Italy was fourth with 9 (5 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).

The U.S. team’s 45 medals eclipsed the previous record of 38 medals the U.S. won at the 2017 world championships.

“We have crushed it this whole week,” said Regan Smith, who led off the relay and also won the individual 100 backstroke earlier in the meet. “We’ve had such good energy. This team is really special. It’s like no other team I’ve ever been on.”

The aquatics championships that also feature diving, water polo, high diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming end July 3. Although the pool racing is done action continues with diving and open water swimming, both beginning Sunday. Meanwhile, the water polo tournaments are ongoing.

A highlights show will be on NBC at noon on June 26.

OPEN WATER SCHEDULE
Sunday, June 26: Open water, 6K team relay.
Monday, June 27: Open water, men’s and women’s 5K.
Wednesday, June 29: Open water, men’s and women’s 10K.
Thursday, June 30: Open water, men’s and women’s 25K.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Italy Wins First Gold Medal At FINA Short Course World Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson, Horrego Race Thursday


By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 15, 2021–Italy won the inaugural open water mixed team relay Wednesday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Yas Bay.

It was the first time the new open water event was held at the championships.

Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy led his relay team in the 6K event. His split of 15:49.1 was the fastest of the nine teams that competed. He was 3.2 seconds faster than Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky, who challenged him in the final lap.

“It was a tough race,” Paltrinieri said. “Since Tokyo, I have been focusing on pool training, mostly on the 1500 meters. Today was a race in the sea, but it was also a 1500-meter race so I decided to swim the relay.

“Relays are always fun. I won’t be swimming the 10K Thursday. I battled with Kristof for the last 200 meters and he was trying to stay close to me. After the last buoy I gave it everything I had and he wasn’t able to pass me.”

Hungary was second in 1:06.51 and Germany was third in 1:07.29. The Italian team will split $20,000 in prize money. Hungary earned $16,000 and Germany $12,000.

Martina De Memme led off the Italian relay in 17:23.8 and was the sixth fastest lead-off swimmer in the event. De Memme was also the oldest swimmer on the Italian relay at age 30. Giulia Gabrielleschi, 25, the youngest Italian swam the second leg in 17:24.60 and was fifth fastest swimmer in the second leg. Domenico Acerena swam the third leg in a time of 16:10.6, second-fastest third leg swimmer.

Longtime St. Andrew’s Aquatics director and coach Sid Cassidy of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee directed the open water event.

The five-day meet continues Thursday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday, Dec. 21.

SOFLO and Florida Gold Coast will be well-represented. SOFLO Olympians Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Julio Horrego of Honduras will represent their countries. Both will compete Thursday. Atkinson, the world record holder in the 50-meter breaststroke, is seeded second in 28.88. Horrego will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke. His entry time is 1:01.18, seeded 37th.

Other FGC swimmers competing are:

Steven Aimable, Senegal, Azura.
Julimar Avila, Honduras, Azura.
Nicole Frank, Uruguay, Azura.
Yeziel Morales, Puerto Rico, Azura.
Maria Fe Munoz, Peru, Azura.
Kerry Ollivierre, Grenada, Azura.
Joaquin Vargas, Peru, Azura.
Sidrell Williams, Jamaica, Azura.
Dylan Carter, Trinidad and Tobago, American Heritage Plantation alum.
Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, Florida State, St. Andrew’s alum.
Miguel Cancel, Puerto Rico, University of Florida, Gulliver Prep alum.

FINA will offer a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There will also be a $50,000 bonus for any swimmer who breaks a world record.

The top eight individual payoffs for first through eighth place are $10,000, $8,000, $7,000, $6,000, $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

There are 943 swimmers from 183 countries competing. The swimming is part of the Aquatics Festival which includes open water swimming, high diving and diving team competition.

Final sessions of the pool swimming will be streamed on NBC Sports’ Olympic Channel. Eurovision Sport’s All Aquatics will air the heats.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Germany’s Florian Wellbrock Wins Men’s Olympic 10K Open Water Swim


By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, August 4, 2021—Florian Wellbrock was determined not to let his third race of the Tokyo Olympics slip away.

The 23-year-old German world 10K champion won the Olympic men’s 10K open water gold medal by 25 seconds in 1 hour, 48 hours and 33.7 seconds at Odaiba Marine Park.

The victory more than made up for his fourth place in the 800-meter freestyle after leading until the last 50 meters only to finish fourth and settling for a bronze medal in the 1500 meters.

Wellbrock had the lead for most of the 6.2-mile race, trailing France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier briefly. Going into the seventh and final lap, six swimmers were together but it was Wellbrock who surged after making the final turn around a red buoy at the far end of the course and broke away for the win. No one was going to catch him on Wednesday.

Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky took the silver medal in 1:48.59, just edging out Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri in 1:49.01.1. Defending champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands was seventh. American Jordan Wilimovsky, 27, was tenth in 1:51.40.2. He was the only U.S. entry.

Wellbrock was the second German to win a medal in the 10K, held in the Olympics for just the fourth time after making its debut at the 2012 London Games. Thomas Lurz won bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012.

The temperature was 81 degrees with 80 percent humidity. The water temperature was 84 degrees. The stifling heat forced two swimmers to drop off including France’s David Aubry. Great Britain’s Hector Pardoe also was unable to finish.

WEDNESDAY OPEN WATER MEN 10K RESULTS

  1. Florian Wellbrock, Germany 1:48.33.7
  2. Kristof Rasovszky, Hungary 1:48.59.0
  3. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 1:49.01.1
  4. Matan Roditi, Israel 1:49.24.9
  5. Athanasios Kynigakis, Greece 1:49.29.2
  6. Marc-Antoine Olivier, France 1:50.23.0
  7. Ferry Weertman, Netherlands 1:51.30.8
  8. Michael McGlynn, South Africa 1:51.32.7
  9. Hau-Li Fan, Canada 1:51.37.0
  10. Jordan Wilimovsky, USA 1:51.40.2

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Swimmers Among Field For Senior Long Course Sectional Qualifier In Plantation


By Sharon Robb

February 6, 2020–South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will compete Friday and Saturday in the Florida Gold Coast Senior Long Course Sectional Qualifier at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

SOFLO has 42 swimmers (22 girls and 20 boys) competing in 196 individual events and one relay event in timed finals.

Among SOFLO swimmers are Paige Lane, Mallory Schleicher, Philopatier Ibrahim, Miguel Sierra, Sebastian Lares, Gaby Banks, Alex Golding, Molly Golding, John Paul Handal, Robert Wilson, Rafael Rodriguez and Nicolas Rossi.

SOFLO teammates Maddie Smutny and Sarah Acevedo are seeded one-two in the 200-meter butterfly.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson is seeded first in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:05.59. SOFLO teammate Olivia Dinehart is seeded second in 1:13.03.

Atkinson is also seeded first in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.65 and 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.45.

Italian swimmers dominate the top seeds including Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri. He is seeded first in the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:34 and 800-meter freestyle in 7:39.

The meet begins 4:15 p.m. on Friday with the 800-meter freestyle in Session I. Two sessions are scheduled for Saturday at 8:45 for the 400-meter individual medley, 10 a.m. for the 1,500-meter freestyle and 3:45 p.m. for the 400-meter freestyle, all timed finals.

In addition to SOFLO, the field features a mix of international swimmers and Florida Gold Coast teams including Azura, Pine Crest, East Coast Aquatic, SwimFast, North Palm Beach, Metro Aquatics, Flood Aquatics, Boca Raton Swim Team, Eagle Aquatics, Jupiter Dragons, TS Aquatics and Italy.

IF YOU GO

What: FGC Senior Long Course Sectional Qualifier

When: Friday-Saturday

Schedule: Friday, Session I, 4:15 p.m.; Saturday, Session II, 8:45 a.m. and 10 a.m., Session III, 3:45 p.m.

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second Street, Plantation

Of note: Admission is $5 per person, per session. All sessions passes are available. Heat sheets will be posted online and Meet Mobile. For more information, call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com.

Paltrinieri, Cunha Capture 10K National Championship Titles; SOFLO’s Schleicher, Bono Compete Saturday In 5K Junior National Championships At Miami Marine Stadium


By Sharon Robb

May 3, 2019—Jordan Wilimovsky, David Heron, Ashley Twichell and Haley Anderson were the top U.S. finishers Friday in the USA Swimming National Open Water 10K Championship.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, 24, won the men’s race in 1:49:25 followed by Wilimovsky, 25, in 1:50:57, Mario Sanzullo, 25, of Italy in 1:51:41 and Heron, 24 in 1:52:22 among a field of 35 swimmers.

Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha, 27, won the women’s race in 2:00:00.17 followed by Twichell, 29, in 2:00:00.67 and Anderson, 27, in 2:00:01 among a field of 21 swimmers. Former Florida swimmer Becca Mann, 21, was sixth in 2:00:14. Anna Auld of East Coast Aquatic Club was 16th in 2:11.47.

The top two U.S. men and women in the 10K races qualified for the 18th FINA World Championships in July in Gwangju, South Korea where they can qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a Top 10 finish. The 10K has been an Olympic event since 2008.

On Saturday, SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher and Dominic Bono will compete in the 5K Junior National Championships 16-and-under races. The boys race is 8 a.m. and girls race at 8:05 a.m.

The 5K national championships are Sunday. The men’s race is 7:30 a.m. and women’s race is 7:35 a.m.

On Sunday, Swim Miami 2019 returns to Miami Marine Stadium. The course is an amazing pristine, generally calm water environment that will definitely allow all ages and abilities to enjoy the open water event.

Four races will be held in Sunday’s Swim Miami 2019: 800-meters, Miami Mile, 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles). There is also the K-9 Krawl World Championships, a human and dog duathlon where owner and dog swim 200 yards and run 400 yards.

Swim Miami is the longest-standing open water swim on the East Coast and one of the largest in the U.S.

SOFLO has entered 24 age group swimmers (17 girls and 7 boys) and three masters swimmers.

The age group swimmers are Sophia Bedoya, 16, mile; Alexander Blandon, 17, mile; Alexis Christensen, 13, mile; Elena Dinehart, 14, 5K; Elise Dinehart, 10, mile; Olivia Dinehart, 14, 5K; Pilar Duranti, 11, 800; Genesis Escobar, 11, 800; Sophia Grubbs, 14, 5K; Anastasia Lutz, 12, mile; Alejandro Mateus, 13, mile; Leonardo Mateus, 17, mile; Sabrina Osorio, 14, mile; Sofia Osorio, 14, mile; Martin Petkov, 10, 800; Rafael Rodriguez, 16, 5K; Lucy Smutny, 16, 5K; Lydia Smutny, 10, mile; Madeline Smutny, 13, 5K; Ventura Torres, 17, mile; Victoria Torres, 14, mile; Juan Vallmitjana, 10, 800; Olivia Ware, 15, 10K; and Isabelle Wilson, 12, 5K.

The masters swimmers are Emmanuel Butmankiewicz, 33, in the mile; Hawaii Ironman Evelyn Salama, 45, 5K; and Kristen Vlaun, 46, 10K.

SOFLO coach Chris Anderson will also be involved in the event. His boat will serve as the officials’ boat for every race throughout the weekend.

The course is one lap for the mile, three laps for the 5K and six laps for the 10K.

The finish time limits are: 10K Swim: 4 hours; 5K Swim: 2 hours; Miami Mile: 1 hour and 800 meters: 30 minutes.

Proceeds benefit the H2Os Foundation. The H2Os Foundation through grants, generous donations, events, and strategic corporate partnerships offers children and youth a unique opportunity to learn a lifesaving skill, and more importantly a life-long commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Live coverage of each race from Miami will be available each morning at usaswimming.org. The webcast schedule is Friday at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.; Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com