Italian Thomas Ceccon Breaks World Record; Katie Ledecky Wins 17th Title At FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 20, 2022–In an exciting finish, Italy’s Thomas Ceccon pulled off the shocker breaking the world record in the 100-meter backstroke Monday night at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships at Duna Arena.

Ceccon, 21, stunned the field that included the former world record holder by putting on the after burners in the final 25 meters to win in 51.60, bettering the previous record by 0.15 seconds set by American Ryan Murphy at the 2016 Olympics.

“I have no words for this,” Ceccon said. “There is an Olympic champion from 2016 so no I did not expect to win. The world record is not a simple thing. It’s a nice step I’ve taken.

“Yesterday I swam 52.1 very easy,” Ceccon said. “I am feeling good in the water and just doing my race, staying calm and focused on my race. And that’s it.”

Ceccon is only the second Italian to set a world record in long course swimming. Giorgio Lambert was the first in the 200 freestyle.

Murphy finished second, just 0.37 seconds off the winning pace in 51.97. Murphy has yet to win an individual world long course title. U.S. teammate Hunter Armstrong was third, 0.38 seconds behind in 51.98.

“Hats off to Thomas,” said Murphy, a Bolles alum. “That’s a really, really fast time. It’s going to be an exciting couple of years.”

Katie Ledecky of Gainesville won her 17th world title winning her fourth gold medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle. Ledecky led from start-to-finish to win in 15:30.15, just 10 seconds under her world record set in 2018. U.S. teammate Sixteen-year-old American teenager Katie Grimes was second, 14.74 seconds behind her in a best time 15:44.89. Aussie Lani Pallister was third in 15:48.96, also a best time.

“To share this moment with her is really special,” said Ledecky referring to Grimes, her future heir apparent. Grimes is the second youngest medalist in the 1,500 at worlds since Ledecky won it for the first time in 2013.

“It takes a lot of hard work,” said Ledecky, a grad assistant coach at University of Florida. “It’s about doing all the right things in and out of the pool to have that longevity. You can’t get complacent.”

Said Grimes, “I was really nervous leading up to it because it’s my first world championship and Team USA has been doing a great job. I wanted to keep that going.”

South Florida Aquatic Club Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego, 23, was disqualified in the 50-meter breaststroke in his final event at worlds. He has now been disqualified in three of his last four races in the U.S. and Hungary. Earlier in the meet, he was 32nd in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.07.

There are 21 past and present Florida Gold Coast swimmers competing on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Other swimmers who competed on Monday with Florida Gold Coast ties were:

Izaak Bastian, 21, Bahamas (St. Andrew’s, Florida State), 50 breaststroke, 32nd in 28.47.

Kito Campbell, 19, Jamaica (Azura), 50 breaststroke, 39th in 29.06.

FGC swimmers competing on Tuesday are:

Patrick Groters, 23, Aruba, (NSU University School, Pine Crest Swim Club, University of South Carolina), 200 IM.

Dylan Carter, 26, Trinidad & Tobago, (Plantation American Heritage), 100 freestyle.

Esteban Nunez del Prado, 18, Bolivia, (Azura), 200 IM.

Jayhan Odlum-Smith, 20, St. Lucia, (Azura), 100 freestyle.

Jenebi Benoit, 19, Grenada, (Azura) 100 freestyle.

Julimar Avila, 25, Honduras, (Azura), 200 butterfly.

Leon Seaton, 18, Guyana, (Azura), 100 freestyle.

Matheo Mateos, 21, Paraguay, (Azura), 200 IM.

Steven Aimable, 23, Senegal, (Azura), 100 freestyle.

In Monday night’s final events:

200 men’s free: Romania’s David Popovici broke his own world junior record to win gold in 1:43.21, 1.26 seconds ahead of the field. His previous record was 1:44.40. Korean teenager Hwang Sunwoo was second in 1:44.47 and Brit Tom Dean was third in 1:44.98.

100 women’s backstroke: American Regan Smith won gold in 58.22, 0.18 seconds ahead of Canadian two-time world champion Kylie Masse in 58.40. American Claire Curzan took the bronze in 58.67. It was the first time Americans won two medals in the event since the 2008 Olympics.

100 women’s breaststroke: The Italians’ success continued with teenager Benedetta Pilato, 17, winning a tight race in 1:05.93, 0.05 ahead of Germany’s Anna Elendt in 1:05.98 and 0.09 ahead of Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte in 1:06.02 for her first career world title. Pilato is the youngest Italian swimmer to win a gold medal at worlds. American two-time defending world champion Lilly King was fourth in 1:06.07. “It’s really a surprise,” Pilato said. “I’m obviously happy. I really didn’t expect it. It’s been my dream. Before I swam I watched Thomas’ swim and I was crying for him. Then I realized I had to race and ran to the call room.”

Tuesday prelim events are women’s 50 backstroke, men’s 100 freestyle, men’s 200 IM, women’s 200 butterfly and mixed 4×100 medley relay.

The swimming runs through June 25 with the pool events. The aquatics championships that also features diving, water polo, high diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming end July 3.

The Olympic Channel and Peacock, on the NBC platform, is televising the finals at noon each day. A highlights show will be on NBC at noon on June 26. The FINA facebook page is also posting competition news. Canada’s CBC will also broadcast the swimming.

There are huge cheers for any Hungarian swimmers from spectators at Duna Arena. FINA, the sport’s governing body, has asked fans each day to clap rather than cheer as a precaution against coronavirus infections. There were no other requests or restrictions.
FINALS SCHEDULE
Tuesday, June 21: 800 men’s free, 200 women’s free, 200 men’s fly, 50 men’s breast, 4×100 mixed medley relay.

Wednesday, June 22: 200 women’s fly, 100 men’s free, 50 women’s back, 200 men’s IM, 4×200 women’s free relay.

Thursday, June 23: 100 women’s free, 200 women’s breast, 200 men’s back, 200 men’s breast, 4×200 men’s free relay.

Friday, June 24: 50 women’s fly, 50 men’s free, 100 men’s fly, 200 women’s back, 800 women’s free, 4×100 mixed free relay.

Saturday, June 25: 50 men’s back, 50 women’s breast, 1500 men’s free, 50 women’s free, 400 women’s IM, 4×100 men’s and women’s medley relay.

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

SOFLO’s Julio Horrego Competes Saturday At FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 17, 2022–Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego of South Florida Aquatic Club competes in his first event Saturday at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships at Duna Arena.

Horrego, 23, will swim the prelims of the 100-meter breaststroke. It is the first of two events he will compete in. He will also swim the 50-meter breaststroke on Monday.

Horrego competed in the 2019 World Championships in South Korea, 2019 Pan American Games in Peru and 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan and was flagbearer for his country in the opening parade of nations ceremony.

Horrego is one of 21 Florida Gold Coast swimmers competing on one of swimming’s biggest international stages. At 15, TS Aquatics’ Jillian Crooks of the Cayman Islands is the youngest local swimmer to compete at worlds. She will swim the 50 and 100 freestyles.

Other swimmers competing on opening day with Florida Gold Coast ties are:

Izaak Bastian, 21, Bahamas, 100 breaststroke. (St. Andrew’s School and Florida State)

Dylan Carter, 26, Trinidad & Tobago, 50 butterfly. (Plantation American Heritage)

Jayhan Odlum-Smith, 23, St. Lucia, 50 butterfly. (Azura)

Julimar Avila, 25, Honduras, 100 butterfly. (Azura)

Kito Campbell, 19, Jamaica, 100 breaststroke. (Azura)

Matheo Mateos, 21, Paraguay, 400 IM. (Azura)

Nicole Frank, 18, Uruguay, 200 IM. (Azura)

After twice being postponed, Budapest stepped in to host the 19th edition. Now, 130 days later, at the opening press conference on Friday, FINA President Husain Al-Musallam said these championships will show the world “that sport is back and sport brings hope.”

After the original 19th FINA World Championships were twice postponed (first, to avoid overlapping with the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, and again, in January 2022 when highly contagious Covid-19 variants extended the global health crisis), 2022 was shaping up to be a year without a major aquatic championship. Until Budapest stepped in.

The U.S. team, heavy favorites to dominate, will have several stories to follow.

No male swimmer has won three consecutive world championships in the same three events. Michael Phelps, a 23-time Olympic gold medalist, won the 100- and 200-meter butterfly in three consecutive world championships from 2007 to 2011, but never the three same individual events in three consecutive worlds.

Caeleb Dressel has that chance in his third worlds appearance. He is the two-time defending champion in the men’s 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly. He is also the defending world champ in the 50 fly. The Clay High School and Bolles Club alum is coming off the Olympics where he won five gold medals, including the 50 free, 100 free and 100 butterfly.

Claire Weinstein, a 15-year-old from White Plains, New York, is the youngest among a contingent of American teenagers on the women’s roster. She will compete in the 200-meter freestyle. Joining her are a pair of 16-year-olds, Katie Grimes of Las Vegas, and Leah Hayes of Sugar Grove, Illinois. Also in the teen group are 17-year-olds Bella Sims of Henderson, Nevada, and Claire Curzan of Cary, North Carolina.

Two-time Olympians Ryan Murphy and Dressel were among the five team captains selected for the 41-member U.S. team. They were also team captains at the Tokyo Games. Natalie Hinds, a 2020 Olympian, and Lilly King, a two-time Olympian, will make their debuts as captains for the women’s team. Also named as captain was 2016 Olympian Leah Smith, who served in the same role for the 2019 world championships.

The swimming runs through June 25 with the pool events. The aquatics championships that also features diving, water polo, high diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming end July 3.

The preliminary rounds of synchronized swimming got under way on Friday.

The Olympic Channel and Peacock, on the NBC platform, will televise the finals at noon each day. A highlights show will be on NBC at noon on June 26. The FINA facebook page will show the other competitions. Canada’s CBC will also broadcast the swimming.

Saturday’s opening day prelim events are: women’s 200 IM, men’s 400 freestyle, women’s 100 butterfly, men’s 50 butterfly, women’s 400 freestile, men’s 100 breaststroke, men’s 400 IM and women’s and men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Finals will be held in the men’s and women’s 400 freestyle, men’s 400 IM and relays. The opening ceremony will also be held.

Finals Schedule
Saturday, June 18: Opening Ceremony, 400-meter men’s and women’s freestyle, 400 men’s IM, 4×100 men’s and women’s free relays.

Sunday, June 19: 100 men’s breaststroke, 100 women’s butterfly, 50 men’s fly, 200 women’s IM.

Monday, June 20: 200 men’s free, 1500 women’s free, 100 women’s and men’s backstroke, 100 women’s breast.

Tuesday, June 21: 800 men’s free, 200 women’s free, 200 men’s fly, 50 men’s breast, 4×100 mixed medley relay.

Wednesday, June 22: 200 women’s fly, 100 men’s free, 50 women’s back, 200 men’s IM, 4×200 women’s free relay.

Thursday, June 23: 100 women’s free, 200 women’s breast, 200 men’s back, 200 men’s breast, 4×200 men’s free relay.

Friday, June 24: 50 women’s fly, 50 men’s free, 100 men’s fly, 200 women’s back, 800 women’s free, 4×100 mixed free relay.

Saturday, June 25: 50 men’s back, 50 women’s breast, 1500 men’s free, 50 women’s free, 400 women’s IM, 4×100 men’s and women’s medley relay.

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

SOFLO’s Horrego, Roche Compete This Week At TYR Pro Swim Series


By Sharon Robb
MISSION VIEJO, Calif., May 31, 2022–The fourth and final TYR Pro Swim Series meet of the 2022 season begins Wednesday at the newly-renovated Marguerite Aquatic Center.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Julio Horrego and Ricardo Roche will compete in the four-day meet that ends Saturday.

Horrego, 23, a 2020 Honduran Olympian, will compete in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke. He is seeded third in the 100 in 1:01.18 and fourth in the 200 in 2:17.35. It is his last tuneup meet before the 19th FINA World Championships, June 18-July 3 in Budapest, Hungary.

Roche, 22, will compete in the 200-meter backstroke and is seeded 21st in his yards time of 1:48.24.

The field also features U.S. Olympians, U.S. National Team members and U.S. National Junior Team members. The final day of the meet overlaps with the day that Team USA’s world championship team departs for Croatia for a training camp.

The meet will be televised on the Olympic Channel Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday it will be televised on CNBC taped-delay at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. In addition to Olympic Channel and CNBC’s coverage from Mission Viejo, daily prelims (Wednesday-Saturday at noon ET) as well as Wednesday and Saturday’s live finals can be streamed on http://www.usaswimming.org/watch.

The meet was capped at 500 swimmers. Mask mandates will follow local guidelines. Everyone attending the event as a participant, coach, staff, or contractor must take a COVID test within 72 hours prior to arriving at the venue. Anyone testing positive should not enter the venue. Anyone representing USA Swimming (i.e. staff, contractors, and officials) must be vaccinated).

FLORIDA SWIMMERS HEAD MEET

Eagle Aquatics’ Erika Pelaez, a member of the USA Swimming junior national team, will compete in the 57th Mel Zajac Junior International Swim Meet Friday through Sunday at the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver, Canada. She will swim the 100-meter backstroke.

Pelaez is one of 19 U.S. swimmers who qualified. Sarasota Sharks’ Addison Sauickie will compete in the 200-meter freestyle. Treasure Coast Aquatics Blair Stoneburg will swim the 800- and 1500-meter freestyles and club teammate Mitchell Ledford will swim the 100-meter butterfly.

SOFLO is sponsored by TYR, a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories. One of the nation’s top companies, TYR was created by athletes and named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology.

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

Julio Horrego Top SOFLO Finisher On Final Day Of USA Swimming Southern Zone South Sectionals; Sarasota Sharks, Azura Win Team Titles


By Sharon Robb
ORLANDO, February 13, 2022–Julio Horrego of South Florida Aquatic Club wrapped up a successful meet Sunday at the USA Swimming Southern Zone South Sectional Championships at Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympian for Honduras was second in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:17.35, off his best time of 2:16.40 swum in 2018. U.S. Olympian Michel Andrew won in 2:14.98.

The 23-year-old finished with a first in the 100 breaststroke, second in the 200 IM, third in the 50 breaststroke, sixth in the 200-meter medley relay and 33rd in the 50 freestyle. Horrego scored 70 points.

SOFLO teammates Izzy Wilson was eighth in the 1500-meter freetyle in a best time 17:44.32, with an impressive time drop of 6.13. Maddy Smutny was eighth in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:20.01. Olivia Dinehart was sixth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:40.90. Elena Dinehart was tenth in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:23.17. Wisthon Rendon was tenth in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.37.

SOFLO’s women’s 400-meter freestyle relay was third in 4:03.36 with Elena Dinehart, Olivia Dinehart, Mallory Schleicher and Maddy Smutny.

Winners on the final day:
Katie Ledecky, swimming unattached for the Gator Swim Club, finished her perfect showing with a win in the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:40.63.University of Florida’s Aryan Nehra, swimming unattached, won the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:54.17.

University of Alabama-bound Lockett Bowley won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:13.61, three seconds ahead of Michaela Mattes of Sarasota Sharks.

Bolles Martin Espernberger, a finalist in the Austrian Euro Junior Championships, won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:01.25.

Marina Spadoni won the 100-meter freesyle in 56.53 ahead of Addison Sauickie of Sarasota Sharks in 56.65 and Blair Stoneburg of Treasure Coast Aquatics in 57.28.

Stanford-bound Andres Dupont Cabrera of Bolles won the 100-meter freestyle in 50.94.

Gracie Weyant of Sarasota Sharks won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:33.10.

Canadian Megan Wheeler won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:15.21.

Azura’s Yeziel Morales, a Puerto Rican national record holder, won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:01.83 to finish a sweep of three backstroke events.

Sarasota Sharks won the combined team title (609.5) and women’s team title (360.5). Azura Florida Aquatics won the men’s team title (310.5).

Two-time defending champion SOFLO finished fifth in combined with 215 points, sixth in the men’s competition and eighth in the women’s competition.

SOFLO made club history in 2021 winning back-to-back Southern Zone South Sectional Championships. In February, SOFLO won the combined team title, was second among women and third among men. In July, SOFLO won the combined team title and boys team titles and girls were second.

SOFLO had 34 swimmers qualify in 151 individual events and has 20 relay teams in 10 relay events.

SUNDAY RESULTS
COMBINED TEAM TOTALS
: 1. Sarasota Sharks 609.5, 2. Azura 542.5, 3. Bolles 462, 4. Gator Swim Club 302, 5. South Florida Aquatic Club 215, 6. Trinity Prep 197, 7. Sarasota Tsunami 171, 8. Academy Aquatic Club 165, 9. Blue Dolfins 161.5, 10. St. Andrew’s Aquatics 137.

WOMEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Sarasota Sharks 360.5, 2. Azura 232, 3. Nepean Kanata Barracudas 184, 4. Bolles 155, 5. Blue Dolfins 118.5, 6. Gator Swim Club 111, 7. St. Andrew’s Aquatics 93, 8. South Florida Aquatic Club 84, 9. Academy Aquatic Club 76, 10. Unattached Gator Swim Club 60.

MEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Azura Florida Aquatics 310.5, 2. Bolles 307, 3. Sarasota Sharks 249, 4. Trinity Prep 195, 5. Gator Swim Club 191, 6. South Florida Aquatic Club 131, 7. Sarasota Tsunami 113, 8. Academy Aquatic CLub 89, 9. Rocoa Rockets 81, 10. Olympus Swimming Club 45, 11. St. Andrew’s Aquatics 44.

WOMEN
1500-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, UN 15:40.63, 2. Michaela Mattes, SYS 16:29.86, 3. Blair Stoneburg, TCA 16:53.33; SOFLO: 8. Isabelle Wilson 17:44.32, time drop 6.13; FGC: 15. Jessica Smith, WOW 18:09.26, 16. Siena Griffiths, SAS 18:18.36, 19. Fatima Portillo, Azura 18:29.05, 21. Corley Smith, FKSC 18:56.20.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Lockett Bowley, BD 2:13.61, 2. Michaela Mattes, SYS 2:16.33, 3. Isabella Lojewski, BD 2:17.11; SOFLO: 8. Maddy Smutny 2:20.01, 21. Elena Dinehart 2:24.06; FGC: 6. Julimar Avila, Azura 2:18.74, 7. Heidi Smithwick, JUP 2:19.26; 9. Gabriela Robles Cortes, Azura 2:21.42, 22. Mariana Cote, MWA 2:26.23.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Marina Spadoni, UN 56.53, 2. Addison Sauickie, SYS 56.65, 3. Blair Stoneburg, TCA 57.28; SOFLO: 21. Olivia Dinehart 59.95; FGC: 11. Sirena Rowe, Azura 58.74.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Gracie Weyant, SYS 2:33.10, 2. Emily Santos, MVA 2:35.90, 3. Julie Brousseau, NKB 2:36.36; SOFLO: 6. Olivia Dinehart 2:40.90, 23. Sabrina Osorio 2:50.13, time drop 0.36; FGC: 9. Reese Andres, SAS 2:42.90, 18. Kate Kaplan, CC 2:47.30.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Megan Wheeler, NKB 2:15.21, 2. Brooke Manning, UN 2:17.78, 3. Sarah Sensenbrenner, SYS 2:18.64; SOFLO: 10. Elena Deinhart 2:23.17, 17. Mallory Schleicher 2:24.47, time drop 0.79; FGC: 13. Brynn Stoneburg, TCA 2:25.96, 19. Erin Miller, SAS 2:26.97.

400-meter freestyle relay: 1. Azura 3:56.46 (Nicole Frank Rodriguez, Sirena Rowe, Michaela Sierra, Julimar Avila), 2. Nepean Kanata Barracudas 3:59.27, 3. SOFLO A 4:03.36 (Elena Dinehart, Olivia Dinehart, Mallory Schleicher, Maddy Smutny), 10. SOFLO B 4:11.32 (Nat Gembicki, Sally Golding, Gabriella DeLuna, Ana Villamil).

MEN
1500-meter freestyle: 1. Aryan Nehra, UN 15:54.17, 2. Advait Page, UN 16:04.59, 3. Ryan Erisman, LAK 16:18.93; SOFLO: 18. Ivan Grass 17:21.83, 20. Mateo Shearer, HAT 17:29.98, 23. Hashan Ekanayake 17:46.01.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Martin Espernberger, Bolles 2:01.25, 2. Gage Hulbert, Bolles 2:02.10, 3. Michael Mullen, Bolles 2:03.71; SOFLO: 10. Wisthon Rendon 2:08.37, 20. Enrique Rodriguez 2:13.27; FGC: 4. Dario Martin 2:05.63, 6. Gabriel Araya, Azura 2:07.04, 9. Landon Kyser, HAT 2:06.77, 23. Alfredo Dominguez, BMHG 2:14.96, 24. Nikita Efimov, OSC 2:17.17.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Andres Dupont Cabrera, Bolles 50.94, 2. Leif Bouwman, UN 52.41, 3. Jack Hall, Bolles 52.93; FGC: 9. Jayhan Odlum-Smith, Azura 53.10, 10. Esteban Nunez Del Prado, Azura 53.23, 15. Chase Foulds, SAS 54.19.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Michael Andrew, MASA 2:14.98, 2. Julio Horrego, SOFLO 2:17.35, time drop 0.16, 3. Dario Martin, OSC 2:22.03; SOFLO: 17. Javier Colmenares 2:27.54; FGC: 5. Giulian Martin CANE 2:23.26, 18. Lucas Young, CANE 2:28.60, 22. Gabriel Navarro, NMST 2:32.97.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Yeziel Morales, Azura 2:01.83, 2. Amadeusz Knop, SYS 2:04.21, 3. Luigi Granco, TPA 205.71; SOFLO: 19. Wisthon Rendon 2:14.54, 20. Austin Nelson 2:15.25, time drop 2.87; FGC: 4. Carlos Cobos, UN 2:05.92, 7. Patrick Doyle, SUN 2:10.93.

400-meter freestyle relay: 1. Azura A 3:32.26 (Davidson Vincent, Esteban Nunez Del Prado, Gabriel Araya, Yeziel Morales), 2. Trinity Prep 3:35.91, 3. Academy AC 3:37.98, 5. SOFLO A 3:43.56 (Alex Golding, Enrique Rodriguez, Javier Colmenares, Aldo Zepeda).

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

SOFLO’s Julio Horrego Wins On Day Two Of USA Swimming Southern Zone South Sectionals


By Sharon Robb
ORLANDO, February 11, 2022—Julio Horrego of South Florida Aquatic Club had no problem winning his signature event Friday at the USA Swimming Southern Zone South Sectional Championships at Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center.

Horrego, 23, a 2020 Tokyo Olympian for Honduras, won in 1:02.23 ahead of Luca Pfyffer, 26, swimming unattached in 1:03.48 and Dario Martin, 17, of Olympus Swimming Club in 1:04.43. Like Katie Ledecky, he also swam faster then he did in Tokyo where he went 1:02.45 in the early heats.

On opening day, Horrego was third in the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.42 behind U.S. Olympians Michael Andrew (27.79) and Caeleb Dressel (28.22). He has the 200 IM, 50 freestyle and 200 breaststroke left to swim.

SOFLO teammates Olivia Dinehart finished eighth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:14.60 and Mallory Schleicher was ninth in the 400 IM in 5:01.34. Enrique Rodriguez, 17, had a nice drop of 4.73 seconds in the 400-meter individual medley to finish 15th in 4:46.53. His previous best was 4:51.26.

In only her second meet since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Katie Ledecky did it again. Ledecky, 24, swimming unattached for Gainesville Swim Club where she trains and coaches, swam and won the 200-meter freestyle in a faster time than she did at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After going 1:56.09 in morning prelims, she went 1:54.66 in finals. Her Olympic finish was 1:55.21. Ledecky also won the 400 IM in 4:39.68, her first appearance in the event since 2019.

Ledecky has the 400 and 1500 freestyle left to swim.

In other finals:
Olympian Caeleb Dressel won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.96 and 100-meter butterfly in 51.95. It was his first time swimming the events since Tokyo.

Virginia-bound Zoe Skirboll won the 100-meter breaststoke in 1:10.47 just ahead of Azura’s Nicole Frank in 1:10.87.

In her only event of the meet, Canadian Olympian Summer McIntosh won the 100-meter butterfly in 59.28, the only swimmer to go under 1 minute. It was her first time cracking 1 minute.

Bolles’s Michael Mullen led from start-to-finish to win the 400 IM in 4:29.68.

Sarasota Sharks won the women’s 800-meter freestyle relay in a meet record 8:20.60 with Gracie Weyant, Addison Sauickie, Michaela Mattes and Bailey O’Regan. SOFLO was fifth in 8:41.58 with Elena Dinehart, Olivia Dinehart, Maddy Smutny and Mallory Schleicher. Bolles won the men’s relay in 7:45.42 ahead of Azura in 7:48.11.

The Speedo Championship Series four-day meet continues Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m., time trials at 1:30 p.m. and finals at 5 p.m.

SOFLO has 34 swimmers qualified in 151 individual events and has 20 relay teams in 10 relay events.

Defending champion SOFLO made club history in 2021 winning back-to-back Southern Zone South Sectional Championships. In February, SOFLO won the combined team title, was second among women and third among men. In July, SOFLO won the combined team title and boys team titles and girls were second.

FRIDAY RESULTS
WOMEN

200-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, UN 1:54.66, 2. Natalie Hinds, UN 2:00.60, 3. Addison Sauickie, SYS 2:00.91; SOFLO: 18. Maddy Smutny 2:06.99; FGC: 5. Blair Stoneburg, TCA 2:03.33, 7. Ella Martinez, SAS 2:04.65, 13. Julimar Avila, Azura 2:06.40, 19. Heidi Smithwick, JUP 2:07.68, 21. Brynn Stoneburg, TCA 2:08.72, 22. Mariana Cote, MWA 2:09.46.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Zoe Skirboll, RXA 1:10.47, 2. Nicole Frank Rodriguez, Azura 1:10.87, 3. Gracie Weyant, SYS 1:11.87; SOFLO: 8. Olivia Dinehart 1:14.60; FGC: 5. Micaela Sierra, Azura 1:12.94, 17. Heidi Smithwick, JUP 1:15.26, 21. Kate Kaplan, CC 1:16.85.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Summer McIntosh, Canada 59.28, 1. Addison Reese, LAK 1:01.08, 3. Addison Sauickie, SYS 1:01.36; SOFLO: 21. Elena Dinehart 1:04.94; FGC: 6. Julimar Avila, Azura 1:02.68, 11. Nicole Aguilar, WOW 1:03.79, 12. Sofia Jorge, MAC 1:04.10.

400 IM: 1. Katie Ledecky, UN 4:39.68, 2. Michaela Mattes, SYS 4:48.33, 3. Megan Wheeler, NKB 4:50.22; SOFLO: 9. Mallory Schleicher 5:01.34, 21. Olivia Dinehart 5:12.78; FGC: 7. Nicole Frank Rodriguez, Azura 4:59.12, 10. Mariana Cote, MWA 5:03.88.

800 freestyle relay: 1. Sarasota Sharks 8:20.60, 2. Bolles 8:37.63, 3. Nepean Kanata Barracudas 8:38.62, 4. Azura 8:41.36, 5. SOFLO 8:41.58, 15. SOFLO B 9:07.43.

MEN
200-meter freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel, GSC 1:49.96, 2. Andres Cabrera, Bolles 1:52.51, 3. Kayden Lancaster, Bolles 1:54.45; FGC: 11. Gabriel Araya, Azura 1:57.02, 19. Landon Kyser, HAT 1:57.00, 22. Kyle Korvick, GRSC 1:58.14, 23. Esteban Del Prado, Azura 2:00.70.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Julio Horrego, SOFLO 1:02.23, 2. Luca Pfyffer, UN 1:03.48, 3. Dario Martin OSC 1:04.43; SOFLO: 15. Javier Colmenares 1:08.03; FGC: 5. Giulian Martin, CANE 1:05.06, 16. Chase Foulds, SAS 1:08.07.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Caeleb Dressel, GSC 51.95, 2. Mitchell Ledford, TCS 54.35, 3. Martin Espernberger, Bolles 54.63; FGC: 4. Davidson Vincent, Azura 55.14, 6. Yeziel Morales, Azura 55.60, 8. Esteban Del Prado, Azura 59.20, 9. Leif Bouwman, UN 56.18, 10. Jayhan Odlum-Smith, Azura 56.26, 12. Gabriel Araya, Azura 57.07, 18. Landon Kyser, HAT 58.06.

400-meter IM: 1. Michael Mullen, Bolles 4:29.68, 2. Amadeusz Knop, SYS 4:30.57, 3. Mark Szarnek, GSC 4:31.30; SOFLO: 15. Enrique Rodriguez 4:46.53, 4.73 time drop, 22. Adrian Hernandez 4:53.05, 23. Javier Colmenares 4:53.07; FGC: 4. Dario Martin, OSC 4:33.36, 10. Alessandro Pereira, Azura 4:41.11, 21. Nikita Efimov, OSC 4:52.63.

800-meter freestyle relay: 1. Bolles 7:45.42, 2. Azura 7:41.11, 3. Trinity Prep 7:51.08, 9. SOFLO A 8:11.21 (Alex Golding, Wisthon Rendon, Javier Roman, Enrique Rodriguez) 11. SOFLO B 8:18.31 (Aldo Zepeda, Adrian Hernandez, Austin Nelson, Ivan Grass).

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

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Ends Illustrious Career; Dylan Carter Takes Silver At FINA Short Course World Championships


By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 20, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson took her final bow on the world stage Monday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena.

The five-time Jamaican Olympian, after being disqualified earlier in the week in the 50-meter breaststroke semifinals, bounced back to finish fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.03, her signature event and one she shares the world record (1:02.36) with Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte.

In her last hurrah, Atkinson, 33, finished behind China’s Qianting Tang (1:03.47, Asian record), Sweden’s Sophie Hansson (1:03.50) and Ireland’s Mona McSharry (1:03.92) in her final competitive meet. She had won the 100 breaststroke in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

“Not the meet I hoped for but I am happy to say I finished every ounce of swimming talent God gave me, the bottle empty. Many times I wanted to quit or give up, but I saw it through to the end,” Atkinson wrote in a post to social media.

Atkinson said her long run career was “remarkable” and “a rollercoaster of fun and not so fun moments”.

Her advice to up-and-coming swimmers:

  • Make fun memories…they don’t make themselves.
  • Take nothing for granted and enjoy each step both the good and the challenging.
  • Let go of the negatives of the day.
  • Your best changes daily, so do the best you can on that day.

SOFLO teammate Julio Horrego, representing Honduras, was 26th in the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.38 in his final event of the meet.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter, a Plantation American Heritage alum, took silver in the 50-meter butterfly in 21.98, just behind Brazil’s 41-year-old world record holder Nicholas Santos in 21.93. Santos became the oldest swimmer to win a world title. Carter swam the third fastest time in the semifinals in a national time 22.18.

In championship final action:

To kick off the finals, the U.S. and Russian Swimming Federation tied for gold in the 4×50-meter medley relay in 1:30.51. The U.S. relay of Shaine Casas, Nic Fink, Tom Shields and Ryan Held also broke the American short course record.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:04.29.

Canada also won the 4×200-meter freestyle relay won in 7:32.96 with relay swimmers Summer McIntosh, Kayla Sanchez, Katherine Savard and Rebecca Smith, ahead of the U.S. in 7:36.53.

Canada won another gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke when Maggie MacNeil broke the world record of 25.60 in 25.27.

Japan world record holder Daiya Seto led from start to finish to win the 400-meter individual medley in 3:56.26. Runner-up Illia Borodin of the Russian Swimming Federation broke the junior world record in 3:56.47.

The five-day meet concludes Tuesday.

FINA is offering a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There is 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

SOFLO’s Atkinson, Horrego Race Monday; U.S. Men Break American Relay Record At FINA Short Course World Championships


By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 19, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson redeemed herself and will have one last shot at a medal in her final career 100-meter breaststroke race on Monday.

The five-time Jamaican Olympian, after being disqualified earlier in the week in the 50-meter breaststroke semifinals, earned the fourth fastest seed in the semifinals Sunday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena.

Atkinson, 33, qualified fourth in 1:04.26 behind China’s Qianting Tang (1:03.99), Sweden’s Sophie Hansson (1:04.17) and Ireland’s Mona McSharry (1:04.22).

SOFLO teammate Julio Horrego, representing Honduras, will also swim on Monday in the 50-meter breaststroke prelims.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter, a Plantation American Heritage alum, swam the third fastest time in the semifinals of the 50-meter butterfly in a national time 22.18 and is in medal contention going into the final.

In championship final action:

The U.S. men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay broke the American record to win gold in 6:47.00 with relay members Kieran Smith, Trenton Julian, Carson Foster and Ryan Held. Julian had the fastest split of 1:41.35. The previous record was 6:49.58 set in 2010.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 24.44, second fastest women’s 50 butterfly of all-time. American 17-year-old Claire Curzan broke the world junior record in 24.55 and took the bronze.

Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Swimming Federation won his first gold medal of the meet, winning the 100-meter individual medley in 51.09. Less than a hour later, he won the 50-meter backstroke in 22.66. Christian Diener of Germany and Lorenzo More of Italy tied for the silver in 22.90.

Israeli teenager Anastasia Gorbenko continued her outstanding meet winning her second gold medal in the 100-meter individual medley in a best time 57.80. She overtook the lead on the breaststroke and led for the remainder of the race.

China’s Li Bingjie won her second gold of the meet in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:55.83, a day after winning the 800 freestyle.

Great Britain’s Ben Proud won the 50-meter freestyle in 20.45, just 0.05 shy of his national record.

In a hotly-contested race, Italy won the 4×50-meter men’s freestyle relay in 1:23.61, just ahead of the Russian Swimming Federation in 1:23.75 and the Netherlands in 1:23.78.

The five-day meet continues Monday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday.

FINA is offering a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There is 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

Americans Fink, White Win Gold; SOFLO’s Atkinson Swims Final Event At FINA Short Course World Championships


By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 18, 2021–The U.S. team rebounded with two gold medals Saturday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena.

Nic Fink, in fourth place with a lap to go, rallied to win the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:02.28 to win his first gold medal of the meet and second overall. He took bronze in the 100 breaststroke. He was just 0.08 seconds off his American record he set while competing in the International Swimming League.

U.S. teammate Rhyan White won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:01.58. White and Canadian Kylie Masse took turns in the lead before White came on with a 30.86 split on the last lap.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, 33, will go after her final chance at a medal in her final career meet when she competes in the 100-meter breaststroke heats. The five-time Jamaican Olympian was disqualified in the 50-meter breaststroke semifinals. SOFLO teammate Julio Horrego, representing Honduras, has the 50-meter breaststroke on Monday.

In championship final action:

Hong Kong’s Siobahn Haughey won her second gold medal of the meet, winning the 100-meter freestyle in a meet record 50.98. She also won the 200 freestyle earlier in the meet in world record time.

Italy’s Matteo Rivolta won the 100-meter butterfly in 48.87 ahead of South African Chad le Closs in 49.04.

With American Katie Grimes out of the race because of COVID-19 protocols, China’s Li Bingjie won the 800-meter freestyle in a meet record 8:02.90.

The Netherlands won the mixed medley 4×50-meter relay in a meet record 1:36.20 ahead of the U.S., second in 1:37.04, with relay members Kira Toussaint, Arno Kamminga, Thom de Boer and Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

Also on Saturday, Olympic teammates Lydia Jacoby and Katie Grimes withdrew from the meet due to COVID-19 protocols.

Jacoby, the Alaskan who won the 100-meter breaststroke in Tokyo, was the only individual U.S. Olympic gold medalist entered in short course worlds. Grimes, the youngest athlete on the U.S. Olympic team at age 15, was fourth in the 800-meter freestyle in Tokyo.

The five-day meet continues Sunday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday.

FINA is offering a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There is 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

Siobhan Haughey Breaks World Record; SOFLO’s Atkinson Disqualified In Semis At FINA Short Course World Championships


By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 16, 2021–In a wild start to the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena, a world record was broken, a relay finish tied for gold and several swimmers were disqualified including world record holder Alia Atkinson.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s five-time Jamaican Olympian was disqualified in the 50-meter breaststroke semifinals. Atkinson, 33, the top seed and defending champion in the event, was disqualified for a downward dolphin kick before her first place finish in 29.55. Atkinson had won gold in the event in 2018 in China and still holds the world record of 28.56.

In an unprecedented call, thirteen other swimmers were disqualified in the women’s 50 breaststroke and men’s 100 breaststroke prelims. According to meet officials, all disqualifications were called by underwater cameras and not one specific lane judge.

Atkinson has the 100-meter breaststroke left to swim on Sunday with opening heats.

SOFLO teammate Julio Horrego, 23, representing Honduras, was 25th overall in the 100-meter breaststroke heats in 58.80 and fell short of making the semifinal round.

In championship final action:

Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong took down the world record and course record in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:50.31. Her opening split was 53.81. She earned $50,000 in world record bonus money in addition to $10,000 for first place. The previous record was 1:50.43, set by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom in 2017.

Felix Auboeck of Austria won the 400-meter freestyle in a national record 3:35.90. It was his first gold medal in the event.

Italy’s Alberto Razzetti won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:49.06 ahead of Switzerland’s Noe Ponti in 1:49.81 and Olympic gold medalist Chad le Clos of South Africa in 1:49.84.

Canadian Tess Cieplucha won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:25.55. It was her first world title in the event. American Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg took the bronze in 4:26.63.

In an exciting race, Daiya Seto of Japan won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:51.15 followed by American Carson Foster in 1:51.35 and Italian Alberto Razzetti in 1:51.54.

In another exciting race, the U.S. and Canada tied for gold in the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle rely in 3:28.52. Sweden took bronze in 3:28.80. The Canadian foursome of Kayla Sanchez, Margaret MacNeil, Rebecca Smith and Katherine Savard broke the national record. The U.S. relay members were Kate Douglass, Claire Curzan, Katherine Berkoff and Abbey Weitzeil.

Russia (Kliment Kolesnikov, Andrei Minakov, Vladislav Grinev and Aleksandr Shchegolev) won the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay in 3:03.45. Italy was second in 3:03.61 and U.S. (Ryanb Held, Hunter Tapp, Shaine Casas, Zach Apple) was third in 3:05.42.

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

FINA is offering a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There is 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

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