Podkoscielny, Winkler, Zuchowski Named To USA Swimming Junior Pan Pacific Championship Team

By Sharon Robb
COLORADO SPRINGS, May 15, 2022—Three Florida Gold Coast swimmers were named to the USA Swimming Junior Pan Pacific Championship team, it was announced Monday.

Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest Swimming, Kaii Winkler of Eagle Aquatics and Josh Zuchowski of Flood Aquatics Swim Team (FAST) qualified for the Aug. 24-27 Junior Pan Pacs in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The trio is among 41 of the nation’s top junior swimmers.

Podkoscielny of Fort Lauderdale will swim the 400-meter individual medley. Winkler of Miami will be entered in the 100-meter freestyle and Zuchowski of Jupiter will swim the 100 and 200-meter backstroke events. The events listed are what they qualified in but swimmers will also be allowed to choose additional events. It will be the first international team trip for all three swimmers.

Brent Arckey of the Sarasota Sharks will coach the U.S. team. Arckey coached 2020 Olympic medalist Emma Weyant in the 400 IM. Two members of his team, Gracie Weyant (200 breaststroke) and Michaela Mattes (800/1500 freestyle) also qualified for Pan Pacs.

The only other Florida swimmer named was Kayla Wilson of Tide Swimming and Virginia Beach, Fla. She will swim the 100 and 200 freestyle.

The team is regarded as the best the U.S. will be sending to the meet. USA Swimming’s selection criteria chose the fastest 18-and-unders from the U.S. International Trials in April. The roster features 20 girls and 21 boys.

At the 2018 Junior Pan Pacs, the U.S. led the medal count with 54, including 27 gold medals in 35 events. Australia, Japan, Canada, China and New Zealand were also medalists.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Evelyn Salama Checks Another One Off Bucket List: Kona’s Ironman World Championship

By Sharon Robb

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII—October 15, 2017—Evelyn Herrmann Salama made it to the greatest finish line in the sport of triathlon.

And now she can say there is nothing in the world like it. A day later, she can probably still hear the cheers along the grueling course.

On Saturday, with her family and friends waiting for her at the finish line, the 44-year-old Pembroke Pines wife and mother of two completed the emotionally-charged race in 13 hours, 2 minutes and 51 seconds.

On a brutal day, Salama completed the 140.6-mile journey that is the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit.

She was 79th out of 93 in the women’s 40-44 age group; 439th out of 617 women; and 1,765th out of 2,221 overall finishers.

She completed the 2.4-mile swim in 1:07:44 for 27th in her age group; the 112-mile bike in 6:43:59, 85th in her age group and 4:46:20 in the 26.2-mile run, 72nd in her age group.

Salama qualified for her first Kona appearance at Cabo Ironman 2016 in Cabo San Lucas. After Cabo she ran the Cocoa Beach Marathon and qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon. Kona was her fourth Ironman distance event.

Other South Florida Ironman finishers were:

Cobi Morales, Miami, 40-44, 10:36:32, 127th out of 252 in age group.

Carolina Ponce, Miami, 45-49, 11:20:26, 27th out of 88 in age group.

Jenny Alcorn, Miami, 55-59, 11:20:38, second out of 53 in age group.

Brian Smith, Jupiter, 55-59, 12:25:57, 73rd out of 134 in age group.

Mandi Nilsen, North Miami, 30-34, 12:28:20, 63rd out of 71 in age group.

Fidel Rotondaro, Miami, 75-79, 14:17:56, first out of six in age group.

Leanda Cave, Miami Beach, pro, DNF

Fan favorite Andy Potts, 41, of Colorado Springs was the first American finisher in 8:14:43. He was seventh among 41 male pros. Potts competed in the second Olympic triathlon at the 2004 Summer Olympics less than a year and a half after starting the sport.

German Patrick Lange, 31, came alive late on the run to win the men’s title in a course record in 8 hours, 1 minute and 40 seconds.

Lange, who was third last year, came off the bike more than nine minutes behind Canadian Lionel Sanders and trailed by more than six minutes midway through the run course. With 5K left, he kicked it into another gear to overtake Sanders.

“It’s everything I ever dreamed of,” Lange said. “Oh my God, I cannot believe it. I always, always, always since I was a child dreamed to have this crown.”

Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf won her third consecutive women’s title in 8:50:47. She took the lead late in the bike leg and was never challenged during the run to win by a nine-minute margin of victory.

“It was the hardest I’ve ever had to fight to win,” Ryf said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Evelyn Salama Ready To Take On Kona’s Ironman World Championship Saturday

By Sharon Robb

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII—October 13, 2017—“Look out, I’m just getting started. I am more motivated than ever.”

That was Evelyn Herrmann Salama, then 36, eight years ago after competing in the May 20-23 U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals at Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta where she swam five lifetime-best times.

On Saturday, the 44-year-old Pembroke Pines wife and mother of two will compete in the Ironman World Championship, the granddaddy of all triathlons.

Ever since she earned one of the 40 qualifying slots for her first Kona appearance at Cabo Ironman 2016 in Cabo San Lucas, Salama has been focused on “checking another one off my bucket list.”

It will be her fourth Ironman distance event that features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-bike and 26.2-mile run in challenging winds and hot conditions.

“It is overwhelming,” Salama said from Kona. “I am happy I have such an incredible supportive husband and sponsor to let me come out two weeks ahead of time to get acclimated to the time change and weather. I am a bucket of nerves.”

Salama has been able to get in some pre-event swims, bike rides and runs along the course as well as trying out the local cuisine and now is resting and surrounded by her family including husband Jason, son Gustavo and daughter Eliana, and friends leading up to the big day.

“I am overwhelmed by the athletes, everyone looks fitter than the last person you saw,” Salama said. “I have taken a week to marinate in that and convince myself I belong here. I know now I have earned my spot and I am ready to go.”

Eight years ago, SOFLO age group coach Rose Lockie was Salama’s mentor when she decided to compete in masters swimming. Now she is working with her son Travis Lockie in swimming and her coach Dirk Smeets of West Palm Beach. Smeets of the Netherlands has played an integral role in Salama’s progess and success.

Her proudest accomplishment was representing Team USA in 2015 in the ITU World Triathlon Championship in Chicago in her 40-44 age group.

Her progress has been remarkable in eight years.

“I grew up a little bit,” Salama said. “I came to realize despite all of Rose’s efforts and my tenacity and stubbornness I was never going to compete with people who have been swimming all their lives.”

A friend suggested she try triathlons. Her first was a reverse triathlon on a Huffy bike.

“I got out of the water and I thought I got this easy and then everybody passed me on the bike,” Salama said with a laugh. “I crossed the finish line feeling humbled.”

Now Salama is in Kona eyeing that finish line with a different mindset.

“I didn’t know my mindset at first,” Salama said. “When I qualified I was thinking Top 10 in my head but now I have adjusted my goals. A good friend said to me when I qualified for Kona, it was like being the valedictorian of my high school. Now I am in Kona and it’s like Harvard, everyone is a valedictorian. It’s quite a thing to get here and another thing to compete here. It’s really humbling.”

Salama has become an example for those with very little experience or background in sports to start training and competing. When she started masters swimming she had only swam in fifth, sixth and seventh grade. It helped that Academic Village Pool was less than an hour from her house when she decided to train with Rose Lockie for the masters meet.

The rest, as they say, is history. After Kona she wants to spend more time with her family.

“I will hang up my full Ironman shoes, my kids have had it,” Salama said. “I didn’t expect to get this far. But I also don’t want to look back and see that I was a detriment for my children. My family comes first. I told my daughter, who is a soccer phenom, that this is my World Cup, this is what I trained for.

“I am very lucky that I am checking off everything I had as goals. I qualified for 70.3 worlds. I competed in the Olympic distance at worlds. And now I am here at the mecca.

“At this point I just want to do my best and cross that finish line knowing I gave it everything I had. I will be happy with that. I don’t want to put a time out there. This place is so powerful. I just want to do the best of my ability that day.”

For those wanting to follow Salama on the Ironman website tracker, her number is 1618.

Salama will be among 2,400 age group athletes. The largest international athlete field in race history will have 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents represented.

Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 earned their championship opportunity by having finished among the best at one of more than 40 qualifiers around the world.


WHEN: Saturday, 6:35 a.m., (HST).

WHERE: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

COURSE: 2.4-mile swim starts at Kailua Pier and finishes at Kamakahonu Bay; 112-mile bike along Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Kailua-Kona to the turnaround in Hawi; 26.2-mile run winds through the town before heading out to Ali’i Drive.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Daniela Ryf, Switzerland and Jan Frodeno, Germany.

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY: $650,000 pro purse distributed to the Top 10 men and women finishers.

LIVE COVERAGE: Race coverage can be viewed on Ironman.com. For live tracking, real time results and instant notifications, fans can download the Ironman Tracker app on Google Play and the iTunes App Store. In addition, NBC will air an event special on Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m.

MEN’S TOP PROS: Jan Frodeno, Germany; Sebastian Kienle, Germany; Benjamin Hoffman, U.S.; Patrick Lange, Germany; Timothy O’Donnell, U.S.; Frederik Van Lierde, Belgium; Kyle Buckingham, South Africa; Tim Don, Great Britain; Pete Jacobs, Australia.

WOMEN’S TOP PROS: Daniela Ryf, Switzerland; Sarah Crowley, Australia; Kaisa Sali, Finland; Sarah Piampiano, U.S.; Heather Jackson, U.S.; Michelle Vesterby, Denmark; Susie Cheetham, Great Britain; Anja Bernek, Germany; Michaela Herlbauer, Austria; Linsey Corbin, U.S.; Leanda Cave, Great Britain.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Clearwater’s Aitchison Takes Bronze; Kopas, Evdokimov Make “A” Final At Junior Pan Pacs

Clearwater’s Aitchison Takes Bronze; Kopas, Evdokimov Make “A” Final At Junior Pan Pacs

By Sharon Robb

August 30, 2014—After just missing two medals, Canadian Alexandra Aitchison of Clearwater Aquatics won her first major international medal Friday night at the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships at Kihei Aquatic Center in Maui, Hawaii.

Aitchison won a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 4:11.16. She lowered her previous best time of 4:13.33. Aitchison qualified sixth in morning prelims in 4:15.42.

In the final women’s event of the night, Aitchison anchored her country’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay that finished fourth in 3:45.79.

Aitchison is having a good meet for Canada. She just missed a medal in the 200-meter freestyle placing fourth in a lifetime-best 2:00.81. She was fourth in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:41.90, another lifetime-best.

Aitchison also qualified for the 100-meter freestyle “B” final (57.91) and 400-meter individual medley “A” final (4:55.08) but scratched for her team in order to swim the 800-meter freestyle relay where she swam leadoff for the relay that finished in 8:12.75.

In Saturday morning prelims, Aitchison was the 12th fastest qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle in a best time 26.74, dropping from 26.84 and will swim the “B” final. Aitchison is also the fifth seed in the 1500-meter freestyle.

Also in morning prelims, Swim Fort Lauderdale’s Emily Kopas was the fourth fastest swimmer in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:31.79 and will swim late Saturday night in the “A” final. She was the second U.S. qualifier.

U.S. teammate Alex Evdokimov of Coral Springs Swim Club also made the “A” final, qualifying eighth in a best time 2:17.70, dropping from 2:21.77.

Azura Florida Aquatics’ Mateo Gonzalez, representing Mexico, finished eighth in the 100-meter butterfly in 54.71, another lifetime-best. He qualified in 55.03, lowering his previous best of 55.24.

It was Gonzalez second appearance in the championship finals.

Gonzalez also qualified for the 100-meter backstroke final on opening night in 58.71 and finished eighth in finals in 58.04.

Both Song An and Gonzalez were members of Mexico’s seventh place 4×100-meter freestyle relay team (3:30.82).

Mexican teammate Andy Song An of Bolles was sixth in the 200-meter backstroke in a best time 2:04.37. Song An had qualified sixth in morning in a then lifetime-best 2:04.66, bettering his previous best time of 2:05.25.

In Thursday’s prelims, Song An was 18th in the 100-meter freestyle in 53.25. He was also a member of the 4×200-meter freestyle which finished seventh in 7:53.56.

In Saturday’s prelims, Gonzalez qualified tenth and Song An 16th in the 200-meter individual medley.

In Friday night’s finals,

American Courtney Harnish overtook early leader Tamsin Cook of Australia to win the 400-meter freestyle in a best time 4:09.36, dropping from 4:12.20. Cook took silver in 4:10.91.

Liam Egan of Team USA, winner of the 1500 freestyle on opening night, won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:52.59. He moved ahead of China’s early leader Li Yongwei. American Aidan Burns took silver in 3:53.10 and Aussie Joshua Parrish won bronze in 3:53.85.

Top-seed Suzuka Hasegawa of Japan won the 100-meter butterfly in 58.91. Aussie Christina Licciardi took silver in 59.36 and Japan’s Rikako Ikee took the bronze in 59.50.

American Alex Valente won the 100-meter butterfly in 52.60, just missing the junior world record. U.S. teammate Andrew Seliskar was second in 53.14 and New Zealand’s Bradlee Ashby was third in 53.81.

Japan’s Rio Shirai and Rika Yuhara went one-two in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:11.67 and 2:12.51 respectively. Korea’s Dalin Lee took the brone in 2:13.24.

Americans Connor Green and Corey Okubo went one-two in the 200-meter backstroke in 1:59.60 and 2:01.17. Canadian Markus Thormeyer took the bronze in 2:01.55.

The Aussie women and U.S. men won the 4×100-meter freestyle relays.

The five-day meet continues late Saturday night with the final schedule for pool events. The 10K open water events are Sunday. The Pan Pacific Championships open water events will also be held after being postponed in Australia because of bad weather condition.

Team USA leads a field of eight countries that includes Australia, Canada, China, Fiji, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand. The charter nations are the U.S., Australia, Japan and Canada.

The Jr. Pan Pacs are being live-streamed at usaswimming.org. Results can also be found on Meet Mobile. Finals are 11 p.m. east coast time. The open water events begin 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Florida Gold Coast Swimmers, Bolles Coach Ready For Junior Pan Pacs

Florida Gold Coast Swimmers, Bolles Coach Ready For Junior Pan Pacs

By Sharon Robb

August 26, 2014—Before leaving for their first year of college, breaststrokers Emily Kopas of Swim Fort Lauderdale and Alex Evdokimov of Coral Springs Swim Club will represent the United States at the Junior Pac Pacific Championships.

The five-day meet begins Wednesday at the Kihei Aquatic Center in Maui, Hawaii.

Team USA leads a field of eight countries that includes Australia, Canada, China, Fiji, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand. The charter nations are the U.S., Australia, Japan and Canada.

The meet is for swimmers age 13-18 from non-European federations.

Like last week’s Pan Pacific Championships in Australia, Team USA is expected to dominate the medal count based on the psych sheet.

The rules mirror the Pan Pacs with only two swimmers from each country allowed to advance into the championship final and three for the “B” finals.

Team USA has 23 men and 23 women. They gathered in Los Angeles before leaving for Hawaii.

Bolles coach and Olympian Sergio Lopez is coaching the women’s team. Jaime Lewis of Gator Swim Club is an assistant coach.

Kopas and Evdokimov are the only Florida swimmers on the team.

Kopas, 18, a University School of Nova alum, headed for the University of Michigan, is the fifth seed (1:09.94) in the 100-meter breaststroke on Thursday. U.S. teammate Lilly King of Newburgh Sea Creatures is top seed in 1:08.12.

Kopas is seeded fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:29.53 on Saturday. Japan’s Runa Imai, only 13, is seeded first in 2:24.00. Last year as a 12-year-old she swam 2:25.14. She is one of the youngest swimmers in the meet.

Kopas recently won her first major national title at the USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Championships in the 200-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 2:29.53. It was the first time the junior national team member, high school state champion and All-American cracked the 2:30 barrier.

Cornell-bound Evdokimov, 18, a Taravella graduate, is seeded 12th in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.34. American Connor Hoppe, 17, of Clovis Swim Club is seeded first in 1:01.84. Evdokimov is seeded 14th in 2:21.77. U.S. teammate Cody Taylor, 18, of Donner Swim Club is seeded first in 2:12.73.

At senior nationals, Evdokimov was 24th in 1:04.17 in the final after going a best time 1:03.34 in morning prelims. He was disqualified in the 200 breaststroke and was 67th in the 50 breaststroke in 30.02.

Lopez is one of the nation’s top USA Swimming club and high school coaches. He joined the Bolles staff in 2007. He had 17 swimmers with Bolles ties at the 2012 London Olympics and has coached the high school teams to national and high school titles.

The Pan Pacs 10K, postponed in Southport, Australia because of high levels of E.coli in the water, will be held on the final day of the meet along with the Jr. Pan Pacs events on Sunday at 2 p.m. east coast time. Clearwater’s Becca Mann will compete in the rescheduled Pan Pac women’s race and is a medal favorite after an extra week’s rest.

Wednesday’s events are 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter butterfly, 800-meter freestyle and 1500-meter freestyle.

For those swim fans who wish to remain sleep-deprived after watching last week’s Pan Pacs live-streamed from Australia, the Jr. Pan Pacs will also be live-streamed at usaswimming.org. Results can also be found on Meet Mobile.

Prelims are 3 p.m. and finals are 11 p.m. east coast time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Team USA Dominating Junior Pan Pacs In Hawaii

Team USA Dominating Junior Pan Pacs In Hawaii


August 25, 2012

After the first two days of the Junior Pac Pacific Championships at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Honolulu, it’s clear that next year’s World Championships in Barcelona in July may feature some of the nation’s top young swimmers.

Clearwater Aquatics’ Becca Mann broke Dagny Knutson’s meet record to win the 400-meter individual medley in 4:39.76, ranked 25th in the world this year. It was also a 13-14 U.S. national age group record. Her splits were 1:03.85, 1:13.46, 1:20.99 and 1:01.46.

Mann was also second in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:28.79. U.S. teammate Leah Smith won in 8:28.01.

Mann, 14, a U.S. Olympic trials finalist, also competed in the 200-meter butterfly. Because only the top two from each country advance to the finals, Mann ended up in the B final and swam 2:11.99, three seconds ahead of the field that would have placed her third overall in the event.

In the boys’ 400-meter individual medley, Chase Kalisz of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club won in a meet record 4:12.59 to crack into the world’s top 15 rankings. At the past U.S. Olympic trials no swimmer was able to crack 4:13. Kalisz’ splits were 58.82, 1:06.04, 1:09.21 and 58.52 on freestyle.

With Michael Phelps officially retired and Ryan Lochte out of the 400 IM, Kalisz is a favorite for worlds and 2016 Rio Olympics. Even Phelps congratulated Kalisz on Twitter, “Congrats to Chase Kalisz tonight!!! Awesome job buddy!!!”

U.S. teammate Matt Ellis won the 100-meter freestyle in a meet record 49.24. Earlier, Aussie Regan Leong won the B finals in 49.53 to first break the record. In the girls’ 100-meter freestyle, Simone Manuel won in a best time 54.80, the first time she cracked 55 seconds.

The U.S. girls’ team won the 800-meter freestyle relay of Simone Manuel, Leah Smith, Cierra Runge and Chelsea Chenault in 7:59.06. Japan upset the field in the boys event in 7:18.59.

Looks like Japan has its next Kosuke Kitajima in Akhiro Yamaguchi, who broke the 100-meter breaststroke meet record in prelims in 1:00.64 and won the event dipping under a minute in 59.85, just off his best time of 59.56. Canadian Kierra Smith won the girls 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.54.

After two days, the U.S. leads the combined team scores with 208.5 points. Australia is second with 146.5 and Japan had 146.

More Meet Results

Brazilian Olympian Cesar Cielo won the 100-meter freestyle to highlight action at the Jose Finkel Trophy Short Course Meters Meet in Sao Paulo. He went out in 21.86 and won in a textile-best 45.91.

Aussie Marieke Guehrer won the women’s 100-meter freestyle in 52.76. Guehrer is competing for Cielo’s pro team Flamengo, which leads the competition.

Brazilian Thiago Pereira broke his own Brazilian and South American records in the 200-meter individual medley in 1:52.30, eighth-fastest time in history. Only Phelps and Lochte have gone faster in textile suits. Femke Heemskerk won the women’s 200 IM in 2:10.31.

Lochte On Armstrong’s Lifetime Band

Olympian Ryan Lochte, fresh off trips to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York and preparing to return to practice on Monday, told a celebrity website that Armstrong’s controversy is “a sad time in sports history.”

The seven-time Tour de France winner chose not to contest USADA’s doping charges against him and has been stripped of all seven titles and banned for life from competing in pro cycling.

“None of us all will know, so ultimately none of us should judge,” Lochte said. “There’s always two sides to the story.”

Lochte said there should be “zero tolerance for anything that artificially enhances performance.” But also added that it shouldn’t have taken seven wins for him to be so “heavily investigated.”

Despite his fall from grace and negative publicity, Armstrong plans to still actively support  Livestrong, a cancer care and education charity that has raised nearly $500 million since Armstrong founded it 15 years ago. On Friday, the foundation received 400 donations that totaled $75,000.

Some of his major sponsors including Nike and Anheuser-Busch, plan to stick with him. Trek Bicycles and Radio Shack are still deciding whether they will support Armstrong or not.

Armstrong, who turns 41 next month, does not seem to be deterred from competing. Although it looks like the Hawaii Ironman will not allow Armstrong to compete, Armstrong competed Saturday in the Power of Four Mountain Bike race in Aspen, Colo. Armstrong finished second in the race behind 16-year-old Keegan Swirbul. On Sunday, he planned to run a trail marathon.

“Nobody needs to cry for me, I’m going to be great,” Armstrong said in his first interview a day after his lifetime ban was announced.

More Aquatic News

Olympic champion Missy Franklin will make her movie debut in a cameo appearance in Vince Vaughn’s upcoming comedy The Internship. “I got a cameo in the upcoming movie,” she said. “It’s with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. I am so excited about it.” Franklin will shoot the cameo in the next few months…Franklin also got a chance to meet Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen who Franklin and her U.S. teammates did a video parody of her popular Call Me Maybe song that has since gone viral. The two attended the Arthur Ashe Kids Day, a pre-event for the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in New York…U.S. Olympic teammate Jessica Hardy is working on a swimming technique video in Long Beach, Calif. that will be released soon…

U.S. Masters Swimming has awarded its 2014 and 2015 USMS Spring and Summer Nationals. Santa Clara will host the 2014 Spring Nationals and University of Maryland will host the 2014 Summer Nationals. The 2015 Spring Nationals was awarded to San Antonio and 2015 Summer Nationals to the SPIRE Institute, about 45 minutes east of Cleveland…Former local diver Kassidy Cook has made it official. She will competing at Stanford next year.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com