SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Bronze On Final Day Of FINA Champions Swim Series


By Sharon Robb

BEIJING, China, January 20, 2020—Alia Atkinson settled for a bronze medal on the final day of the FINA Champions Swim Series 2020.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s four-time Jamaican Olympian was third out of four swimmers in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.88. China’s Jingyao Yu won in 1:07.18 and Italy’s Martina Carraro was second in 1:07.25.

Atkinson pocketed $6,000 for a third place finish. Atkinson has now won $26,000 in two meets. She won $12,000 for two third places in Shenzhen and $14,000 for a second and third place in Beijing.

The race of the meet was Canadian Sydney Pickrem knocking off Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu in the 200-meter individual medley, 2:09.26-2:09.93.

It broke a 56-final winning streak for Hosszu in long course meters and short course meters. Her last loss in the event in either course came at the 2017 FFN Golden Tour stop in Amiens, France where she swam a 2:15.36 to place third behind Cyrielle Duhamel and Fantine Lesaffre of Hungary.

Hosszu is defending Olympic Champion, 4-time defending World Champion in long course, 3-time defending World Champion in short course, 4-time European Champion in long course and 5-time defending European Champion in short course. She’s World Record holder and won 51-consecutive World Cup swims.

Pickrem won $10,000 for first place. The world championship bronze medalist now has the seventh fastest time of her career in long course.

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

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Will Compete For Team Iron This Weekend In ISL Pro Debut


By Sharon Robb

LEWISVILLE, Texas, October 18, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Olympic superstars Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and Adam Peaty of Great Britain will make their International Swimming League debut this weekend.

The third stop (the first two were in Indianapolis and Naples, Italy) will feature the LA Current, NY Breakers, Team Iron and London Roar will all compete for the first time in league play Saturday and Sunday at LISD Westside Aquatic Center just outside Dallas.

Hosszu, the most dominant medley swimmer in the world, and Peaty, the fastest male breaststroker in the history of the sport, head the elite field. Peaty and the British team are training at Pine Crest in Fort Lauderdale for three weeks.

Hosszu, a captain of Team Iron, is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, a nine-time Long Course World Champion, and holder of six individual world records.

Peaty, a member of the London Roar, is the reigning Olympic champion in the men’s 100 breaststroke, an eight-time World Champion, and world record holder in the 50 and 100 breaststroke.

Atkinson, a world short course record holder and four-time Olympian, will also compete on Hosszu’s Team Iron along with Russian Vladimir Morozov, the best male short course swimmer in the world.

The league features eight teams all competing for a spot in the splashy season finale in Las Vegas.

The four American clubs are Cali Condors, DC Trident, LA Current and NY Breakers. The international teams are Italy-based Aqua Centurions, France-based Energy Standard, Hungary-based Team Iron and London Roar.

“I’m very excited to be part of this huge movement,” said Hosszu, who owns Team Iron. “I know that we are going to change a lot of things in the sport of swimming. For me, it’s more like a double excitement because I’m an owner of Team Iron and a swimmer in Team Iron, so I see how both sides and how everything unfolds.”

There will be no heats. The events will be held over two hours in a 25-meter pool featuring four swimmers per final.

Swimmers will race for team points, with relays worth double. Skins sprints feature three heats, with eight swimmers reduced to four and then a head-to-head of the fastest two. Points earned in skins are worth triple.

The top four finishers in each race are eligible for prize money beyond what they receive from team revenue. The ISL has committed to a 50-50 split of revenue with the teams and swimmers, who receive base salaries as well.

Other ISL stops are in Hungary, Washington, D.C., and London. The top two teams from the U.S. and Europe after the six regular-season meets advance to the finals on Dec. 20-21.

Two aspects the ISL has implemented outside of the pool is a zero tolerance stance on doping (any athlete with a positive test is not allowed to compete) and equal pay between men and women.

Also, every ISL competitor will have access to financial benefits, including substantial prize money, personal insurance and pension plans. Each of them have signed two contracts – one with their team and another with the league – with central revenues, generated through sales of sponsorship, media rights and merchandise, distributed equitably.

Each team will pay its swimmers from a total salary budget of $150,000, with additional cash bonuses offered based on performance.

Ukrainian Konstantin Grigorishin, the ISL’s founder and financier, talks about bringing a “paradigm shift” in swimming, a sport he believes has huge untapped commercial potential but which has suffered from inertia on the part of Fina, which controls the amateur sport.

ESPN will provide live and delayed streaming of the ISL on ESPN3, which can be accessed through the ESPN app. It will also be shown on CBC Sports for Canadian viewers.

ISL 2019 Schedule:

5-6 October 2019 – IU Natatorium, Indianapolis, USA

12-13 October 2019 – Aquatic Swimming Complex, Naples, Italy

19-20 October 2019 – The LISD Westside Aquatic Center, Lewisville, Texas, USA

26-27 October 2019 – Duna Area, Budapest, Hungary

16-17 November 2019 – Natatorium at the Eppley Recreation Center, Maryland, USA

23-24 November 2019 – London Aquatic Centre, Great Britain

20-21 December 2019 – Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, USA

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

Two World Records Broken; SOFLO’s Gaby Banks, Pine Crest’s Nicholas Vale Wrap Up 7th FINA World Junior Championships


By Sharon Robb

BUDAPEST, Hungary, August 25, 2019—Croatia and Russia claimed the last two world junior and championship records on the sixth and final day of the 7th FINA World Junior Championships Sunday at Duna Arena.

Croatian teenager Franko Grgic, 16, won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:46.09, both world and championship records. The previous world junior record was 14:51.55 set in 2014.

Grgic’s time was the sixth-fastest in the world this year. He led from start-to-finish and won by more than a half body length.

Russia broke its own world junior record in the 400-meter medley relay by 1.98 seconds. The foursome of Nikolay Zuev (53.84), Vladislav Gerasimento (59.53), Andrei Minakov (50.93) and Aleksandr Shchegolev (48.89) won in 3:33.19. The U.S. was second in 3:33.66.

The Russian Federation ended the United States’ perfect streak in relays on the final night.

Other individual winners:

Russian Andrei Minakov won the 100-meter freestyle in 48.73. The U.S. did not make the medal podium.

Russian teammate Evgeniia Chikunova won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:24.03 ahead of teammate Anastasia Makarova in 2:24.39.

The U.S. finished one-two in the men’s 200-meter backstroke with Wyatt Davis winning gold in 1:58.18 and Carson Foster second in 1:58.47.

American Torri Huske won the 100-meter butterfly in 57.71.

The U.S. went one-two in the 50-meter freestyle with Gretchen Walsh in 24.71 and Maxine Parker in 24.75.

American Luca Urlando won the 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.02.

Russian Vladislav Gerasimenko won the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.58.

Erika Fairweather won New Zealand’s first gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:57.96.

The U.S. women ended the meet with a gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay in 3:59.13 with Claire Curzan (1:00.75), Kaitlyn Dobler (1:07.51), Torri Huske (57.86) and Gretchen Walsh (53.01).It was the only relay in the field to crazk 4 minutes.

Andrei Minakov of Russia and Lani Pallister of Austrailia were named Swimmers of the Meet.

Minakov, 17, won three gold and four silvers and finished with 13 points. Pallister, 17, won three gold medals sweeping the distance freestyle events and three silver medals for 18 points.

Florida Gold Coast past and present swimmers:

17. Jamaica, 4×100-meter medley relay, Nathaniel Thomas, Cameron Brown, Nicholas Vale, Kyle Sinclair, 4:05.60.

17. Jamaica, 4×100-meter medley relay, Zaneta Alvaranga, Sabrina Lyn, Emily MacDonald, Gaby Banks, 4:44.38.

25. Rodolfo Falcon Jr., Cuba, Azura, 1500-meter freestyle, 16:10.54.

73. Gaby Banks, Jamaica, SOFLO/Cypress Bay, 200-meter freestyle, 2:16.00.

Around 800 young promising swimmers ages between 15-17 (women) 14-18 (men) competed in the six-day competition, which has produced many of today’s swimming stars.

A total of 125 National Federations are represented at Duna Arena, the venue that staged the 17th FINA World Championships in July 2017 and has been the background to many FINA high-profile competitions since then such as the FINA Champions Swim Series and Swimming World Cup.

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

SOFLO’s Gaby Banks, Pine Crest’s Nicholas Vale Will Compete For Jamaica In FINA World Junior Championships That Begin Tuesday


By Sharon Robb

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY, August 19, 2019—Gaby Banks of South Florida Aquatic Club and Nicholas Vale of Pine Crest Swimming are among Jamaica’s eight-swimmer contingent in the seventh FINA World Junior Swimming Championships that begin Tuesday.

The six-day meet will feature the world’s best under-18 swimmers competing at the state-of-the-art Danube Arena.

Banks, 16, will compete in four events: 50-meter freestyle (26.65), 200-meter freestyle (2:15.05), 50-meter backstroke (34.29) and 200-meter individual medley.

Banks will be a senior at Cypress Bay High School when the swim season begins.

Vale will compete in five events: 100-meter freestyle (53.87); 200-meter freestyle (1:57.03); 400-meter freestyle (4:14.61); 50-meter butterfly (25.41); and 100-meter butterfly (57.95).

Vale, 18, will be a freshman at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

Other past and present Florida Gold Coast swimmers competing are:

Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, St. Andrew’s alum: 50-meter freestyle (23.18); 50-meter breaststroke (28.20); 100-meter breaststroke (1:02.41); and 200-meter breaststroke (2:18.03).

Rodolfo Falcon, Cuba, Azura: 400-meter freestyle (4:06.27); 800-meter freestyle (8:24.40); and 1500-meter freestyle (16:00.80).

Luis Bucaro, Guatemale, Cypress Bay/TS Aquatics: 50-meter freestyle (26.24); 100-meter freestyle (55.01); 200-meter freestyle (1:57.84); and 400-meter freestyle (4:10.61).

Alex Joachim, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Azura: 50-meter freestyle (26.08); 100-meter freestyle (54.96); 50-meter backstroke (29.35); 50-meter breaststroke (31.44); 200-meter breaststroke (NTA); 50-meter butterfly (NTA); 100-meter butterfly (NTA); and 200-meter butterfly (2:18.15).

The U.S. team features 45 talented swimmers from 39 clubs across 19 different states.

Emerging talents such as U.S. National Team members Luca Urlando (Sacramento, California./DART Swimming) and Chase Travis (Warren, N.J./Somerset Valley YMCA) will look to showcase their talents on the world stage. Urlando and National Junior Team teammate Carson Foster (Montgomery, Ohio/Mason Manta Rays) will have the largest schedule of events competing in five races each.

“As we look at the teams we put together, we see swimmers that are already close to or breaking world junior records,” Team USA men’s head coach Billy Doughty said. “The youth coming up through United States swimming is pretty exciting.”

Added Team USA women’s head coach Crystal Keelan: “There’s a lot of fast kids out there, but some of the swims [by junior athletes] have been a little bit shocking and pretty exciting. We’re looking forward to seeing what they can do in international competition against the world’s best.”

TOP SEEDS:

MEN: 50 Free: David Curtiss, USA, 22.25; 100 Free: Andrei Minakov, RUS, 48.50; 200 Free: Luca Urlando, USA, 1:46.51; 400 Free: Jake Mitchell, USA, 3:48.09; 800 Free: Aleksandr Egorov, RUS, 7:52.04; 1500 Free: Franko Grgic, CRO, 14:56.55; 50 Back: Thomas Ceccon, ITA, 25.16; 100 Back: Thomas Ceccon, ITA, 53.60; 200 Back: Jan Cejka, CZE, 1:57.51; 50 Breast: Vladislav Gerasimenko, RUS, 27.77; 100 Breast: Alexander Zhigalov, RUS, 1:00.75; 200 Breast: Shoma Sato, JPN, 2:09.42; 50 Fly: Thomas Ceccon, ITA, 23.46; 100 Fly: Andrei Minakov, RUS, 50.83; 200 Fly: Luca Urlando, USA, 1:53.84; 200 IM: Carson Foster, USA, 1:58.69; 400 IM: Carson Foster, USA, 4:13.39; 4×100 free: Russia, 3:18.11; 4×200 free: United States, 7:16.42; 4×100 medley: Russia, 3:35.17.

WOMEN: 50 Free: Gretchen Walsh, USA, 24.85; 100 Free: Gretchen Walsh, USA, 54.13; 200 Free: Claire Tuggle, USA, 1:58.21; 400 Free: Lani Pallister, AUS, 4:06.57; 800 Free: Lani Pallister, AUS, 8:25.66; 1500 Free: Lani Pallister, AUS, 16:06.84; 50 Back: Daria Vaskina, RUS, 27.51; 100 Back: Daria Vaskina, RUS, 59.46; 200 Back: Rye Ulett, USA, 2:09.70; 50 Breast: Benedetta Pilato, ITA, 29.98; 100 Breast: Kayla van der Merwe, GBR, 1:07.12; 200 Breast: Evgeniia Chikunova, RUS, 2:21.07; 50 Fly: Anastasiya Shkurdai, BLR, 25.87; 100 Fly: Anastasiya Shkurdai, BLR, 57.39; 200 Fly: Lillie Nordmann, USA, 2:07.43; 200 IM: Anastasia Gorbenko, ISR, 2:11.92; 400 IM: Alba Vazques Ruiz, ESP, 4:40.64; 4×100 free: United States, 3:40.20; 4×200 free: China, 7:52.30; 4×100 medley: Russia, 4:01.83.

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

SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins Another Gold In FINA World Cup First Leg Finale


By Sharon Robb

SINGAPORE, August 17, 2019–Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club added another gold medal on the third and final stop of the opening cluster of the FINA World Cup Swimming Cup.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian won the 50-meter breaststroke in a season-best 30.31 which moves her up to fifth in the world. She also won the 100 breaststroke on the same stop in 1:07.35. American Breeja Larson was second in 30.98.

The 30-year-old Atkinson swam faster than her fourth place time in the event at the FINA World Championships last month.

Atkinson finished seventh in point standings with 60 points. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and Russian Vladimir Morozov each finished with 156 points.

Hosszu and Morozov were crowned Asian cluster champions. In addition to winning $1,500 each for her three wins in Singapore, the 30-year-old also earned $50,000 bonus for being the cluster champion.

Morozov, 27, won $1,500 each for his nine gold medals across three stops and $50,000 in bonus money.

“It feels amazing, words can’t really describe it,” Morozov said. “That was the plan the whole way, to lead with the first cluster and clinch that win. It wasn’t easy.

“It’ll probably get more difficult (as the series progresses) because a lot of athletes are taking a break now after the world championships, so there’s probably going to be a bit more competition at the European stops. But that’s good, it means we’ll go faster.”

The seven-leg World Cup resumes on October 4-6 in Budapest, Hungary. All legs of the FINA Swimming World Cup 2019 act as qualifying events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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

Hungarian Teenager Breaks Phelps World Record On Day Four Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 24, 2019—Hungarian teenager Kristof Milak broke Michael Phelps’ 10-year-old record in the 200-meter butterfly by nearly 8/10ths of a second Wednesday on Day Four of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships at Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

In front of a deafening crowd on its feet, Milak, 19, won in 1:50.73 to highlight world championship action. Milak had already won his semifinal in 1:52.96 and last year he swam 1:51.71 so he was poised to flirt with the record.

Phelps’ record was 1:51.51 at the 2009 World Championships in Rome during the era of the high-tech super suits.

Milak had the same first half split as Phelps did in 52.88 and went a full 0.78 on the back half after a great turn at the wall to blow away the field. Milak slapped the water in jubilation after he touched.

Milak is the first teenager to win a world title in the event since Phelps at age 18 in 2003.

“It is an amazing feeling,” said Milak who climbed out of the pool to a standing ovation and bowed twice in gratitude. “When I turned back and saw the time, all the pressure, all the tension just got off my back and all the joys came out.

“I tried to switch off everything, and I tried not to think of swimming at all before the race. It’s a tremendous honor to set such a great record.”

“There was a lot of chatter on the deck but this kid is 19…19 years old,” said NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines in a state of disbelief.

Milak’s 3.13-second margin of victory also overtakes Phelps for the largest in history. At the 2007 Championships in Melbourne, Phelps won by 3.04 seconds in 1:52.09 (which broke the world record by 1.62 seconds).

Phelps was asked about the world record performance after the race and said “Records are made to be broken.

“As frustrated as I am to see that record go down, I couldn’t be happier to see how he did it,” Phelps said. “That kid’s last 100 meters was incredible. He put together a great 200 fly from start to finish.”

Phelps owned the world record since 2001. His streak of 18 years was the longest for one men’s event in swimming.

Japan’s Daiya Seto was second in 1:53.86 and South African Chad Le Clos took bronze in 1:54.15. Le Clos was out under world record pace through the first lap before Milak overtook the lead after 150 meters.

“Unbelievable race, really,” Le Clos said. “Probably one of the greatest races ever.”

Phelps, 34, still holds world records in the 100-meter butterfly, which he broke in 2009, and the 400-meter individual medley, which he set in 2008.

In other finals:

Italian Federica Pellegrini, at 31 the oldest swimmer in the final, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:54.22. Without Katie Ledecky in the field, the only swimmer in her way was Aussie 18-year-old Ariarne Titmus. It was her fourth career gold and record eighth consecutive medal in her signature event. Pellegrini is training to make her fifth Olympic team in Tokyo next year.

“I am too old for this,” Pellegrini joked after the race.

Titmus, who knocked off Ledecky earlier in the week, took silver in 1:54.66 and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom was third in 1:54.78. Sjostrum was administered oxygen on the pool deck after the race and later said she had a headache.

Australia came from behind to win the mixed 4×100 medley relay, with Cate Campbell reeling in American Simone Manuel on the final lap.

Mitch Larkin, Matthew Wilson, Emma McKeon and Campbell won in 3:39.08. Caeleb Dressel swam a blistering butterfly leg to haul the Americans from fourth to first before turning it over to Manuel for the anchor leg. But she couldn’t hold off a charging Campbell.

Ryan Murphy, Lilly King, Dressel and Manuel took silver in 3:39.10.

The crowd clapped along to the Italian national anthem for a second time when Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 800-meter freestyle in 7:39.27. Henrik Christiansen of Denmark earned silver and David Aubry of France took bronze.

Brit Adam Peaty cruised to a win in the 50-meter breaststroke, a non-Olympic event. He won in 26.06 seconds, adding to his 100 breast gold medal. Brazilians Felipe Lima and Joao Gomes Junior took silver and bronze.

Among past or current local swimmers results: 100-meter freestyle, 16. Dylan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago 48.77; 39. Renzi Tjon-A-Joe, Suriname 49.85; 200-meter individual medley, 47. Julio Horrego, Honduras 2:11.10 and 48. Patrick Groters, Aruba 2:11.38.

The world championships has brought together a record 2,620 athletes from 194 countries and territories around the world with 76 sets of medals up for grabs in pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming.

The meet will be streamed and televised by the Olympic Channel and live timing will be available.

TV Schedule: https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/07/17/swimming-world-championships-tv-stream-schedule/

Live Results: http://omegatiming.com

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

Peaty, Dressel, Hosszu Among Gold Medalists; SOFLO’s Atkinson Finishes 11th On Day Two Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 22, 2019—A day after breaking his own world record, Adam Peaty of Great Britain sealed the deal by winning the 100-meter breaststroke at the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships on Monday at Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

Peaty, 24, made history on opening day as the first man to break 57 seconds in an astounding 56.88, breaking his own world record by 0.22 sconds. He came back in Monday’s finals to win the gold medal in 57.14, fourth fastest swim in history. Peaty is the first male swimmer to win five world championship medals in the breaststroke events.

Brit teammate James Wilby took silver in 58.46 and China’s Yan Zibei won bronze in 58.63.

In the women’s semifinals, Russian Yuliya Efimova(1:05.56), the fastest woman in the world this year, and Amerian Lilly King (1:05.66) are the top two qualifiers for the 100-meter breaststroke.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Ali Atkinson of Jamaica failed to make it into finals tying for 11th in 1:07.11. The four-time Olympian was a bronze medalist in the event in 2015. Atkinson is also entered in the 50-meter butterfly and 50-meter breaststroke.

Canadian Maggie MacNeil knocked off Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum in the 100-meter butterfly. MacNeil, fifth at the turn, found another gear to win in 55.83. Sjostrum was second in 56.22 and Aussie Emma McKeon was third in 56.61. American Kelsi Dahlia was sixth in 57.11.

Sjostrum saw her win streak snapped. She held all 10 of the all-time top 10 times and was the second woman ever to break 56. Her last defeat dates back to December, 2012. MacNeil is now the second fastest woman in history.

Clay High School, Bolles Sharks and University of Florida alum Caeleb Dressel won the 50-meter butterfly in an American and meet record 22.35. Dressel is the first American man to win this event at the world championships. It was his second gold medal of worlds.

“That’s faster than two years ago and a better place than two years ago,” Dressel said. “It’s good, good for Team USA and I’m glad I can be a part of keeping that ball rolling.”

Russian Oleg Kostin was second in a national record 22.70 and Nicholas Santos of Brazil, at age 39, was third in 22.79.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu started her gold medal campaign with defending her title in the 200-meter individual medley. Hosszu was clocked in 2:07.53 and became the first woman to win four straight titles in an event.

China’s 2012 Olympic champion Ye Shiwen was second in 2:08.60, her first medal since 2011 and best time since 2012. Canadian Sydney Pickrem was third in 2:08.70. American Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg was fourth in 2:08.91.

Among past or current local swimmers results: 100-meter backstroke, 16. Dylan Carter, Trinidad& Tobago 54.03; 100-meter breaststroke, 11. Alia Atkinson, Jamaica 1:07.11; 200-meter freestyle, 53. Jorge Depassier, Chile 1:53.62.

The world championships has brought together a record 2,620 athletes from 194 countries and territories around the world with 76 sets of medals up for grabs in pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming.

The meet will be streamed and televised by the Olympic Channel and live timing will be available.

TV Schedule: https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/07/17/swimming-world-championships-tv-stream-schedule/

Live Results: http://omegatiming.com

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