SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Silver On Day One Of FINA Champions Swim Series, Pockets $8,000

By Sharon Robb

BEIJING, China, January 18, 2020—Alia Atkinson, leading for most of the race, was out-touched by American Molly Hannis on Day One of the FINA Champions Swim Series 2020 on Saturday.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s four-time Jamaican Olympian was leading the 50-meter breaststroke when Hannis made up ground in the final 10 meters to win in 30.34. Hannis won $10,000.

Atkinson was second in 30.44, winning $8,000. Atkinson has now won $20,000 in two meets. She won $12,000 for two third places in Shenzhen.

Italian Maria Carraro was third in 30.79 pocketing $6,000. Carraro was also third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:28.80.

China won five gold medals including three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.55.

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:09.95. She was fourth in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:00.20. Hosszu, 30, was recently named Hungary Sportswoman of the Year for a record seventh time. Hosszu accepted her award via a recorded message since she is in China this week competing at the FINA Champions Series.

Hosszu is the leading money winner so far on the FINA Champions Swim Series with $43,000 after the two-day opener in Shenzhen.

The two-day meet continues on Sunday. Atkinson will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke, seeded in 1:07.76. Only four swimmers are in each event.


Track superstars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tajay Gayle were named RJRGleaner Sports Foundation Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year at a gala ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus in New Kingston Friday night. Atkinson was among six other nominees. Shericka Jackson was women’s runnerup.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Gets Second Bronze On Day Two Of 2020 FINA Champions Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

SHENZHEN, China, January 15, 2020–Alia Atkinson took home a second bronze medal Wednesday in the season-opening 2020 FINA Champions Swim Series at Shenzhen Universiade Center Swimming Natatorium.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian and short course world record holder finished third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.15. She was seeded in 1:07.06 among a field of four swimmers.

Italy’s national record holder Martina Carraro won her second breaststroke gold in 1:06.85 and China’s Yu Jingyao was second in 1:07.59 on the second and final day of the series’ first stop.

On Tuesday, Atkinson was third in the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.63 behind Italy’s Martina Carraro in 30.38 and American Molly Hannis in 30.49.

Atkinson won $12,000 for two third places.

It was the first leg of the series with the second stop coming up on Jan. 18-19 in Beijing. The meet featured only 70 swimmers (41 men and 29 women). Almost $2 million in prize money is up for grabs at the two stops.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Nordman, Urlando, Foster Win Gold For U.S.; Locals Vale, Bucaro Get In More Racing On Day Two Of The 7th FINA World Junior Championships

By Sharon Robb

BUDAPEST, Hungary, August 21, 2019—It was a good day for Team USA on Day Two of the 7th FINA World Junior Championships Wednesday at the state-of-the-art Duna Arena.

Lillie Nordmann, Luca Urlando and Carson Foster won gold medals for the U.S.

Nordmann took the lead at the 150-meter mark and went on to win the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.24 finishing ahead of Hungary’s Blanka Berecz in 2:08.93.

Urlando dominated the men’s field to win the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.97, just missing his best time by a half a second. Sweden’s Robin Hanson was second in 1:47.03.

Foster led from start-to-finish to win the 200-meter individual medley in a championship record 1:58.46, breaking the previous record by .57. Canadian Finlay Knox was second in 1:59.44.

Other individual champions were:

Italy’s Tomas Ceccon won the 100-meter backstroke in a championship record 53.46 ahead of Russian Nikolay Zuev in 53.50.

Italian teammate and event favorite Benedetta Pilato won the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.60. She led from start-to-finish.

Swimming in Lane 7, Russian Vladislav Gerasimenko won the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.97, the only swimmer in the final to break 1 minute.

Canadian Jade Hannah won the 100-meter backstroke in 59.63. She was the only sub-minute backstroke in prelims, semis and finals.

Aussie Lani Pallister pulled away from the field early to win the 800-meter freestyle in a championship record 8:22.49.

The U.S. mixed 4×100-meter medley relay team had no trouble winning the gold in a junior world and championship reord 3:44.84. Relay members were Will Grant, Josh Matheny, Torri Huske and Gretchen Walsh. Russia was a distant second in 3:48.06.

Florida Gold Coast past and present swimmers:

Jamaica’s Nicholas Vale of Pine Crest Swimming was 49th in the 100-meter butterfly in 57.71. He was also 66th in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:02.91.

Guatemala’s Luis Bucaro (Cypress Bay/TS Aquatics) was 49th in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:57.09.

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

A total of 125 National Federations are represented in the state-of-the-art 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.

Daily heat sessions are at 9:30 a.m while semifinals and finals are at 5:30 p.m. All sessions are being live streamed on FINAtv and daily news reports will be available on FINA website. Results are available immediately after each event on FINA website and on FINA mobile app.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Patrick Groters Makes History For Aruba, Several Local Swimmers Shine On Day Two Of XVIII Pan American Games

By Sharon Robb

LIMA, Peru, August 7, 2019—Former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swimming’s Patrick Groters made history Wednesday at the XVIII Pan American Games at Villa Deportiva Nacional.

Groters became the first swimmer from his country to make an “A” final in a Pan American Games competition.

Groters was eighth in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:03.65. He qualified eighth in morning prelims in 2:02.32, fourth in his heat. It was a national record and lifetime-best time.

In the finals, Groters went out fast and had the early lead at 50 meters with a 27.68 split. Groters faded on the back half.

Aruba teammate Mikel Schreuders, also shared the historical moment with Groters. He was third in the 200-meter freestyle heat in 1:49.48, just missing the national record and was seventh in the final in 1:49.92.

There were several familiar faces competing on Wednesday.

Azura Florida Aquatics’ Celina Marquez of El Salvador won the “B” final of the 200-meter backstroke with more than a three-second drop in 2.14.76 and setting a new national record.

American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago won his heat in the 200-meter freestyle morning prelims in 1:49.08. He came back at night to finish fourth in a national record 1:47.78.

Isabella Paez of Venezuela was third in her 100-meter butterfly heat in 1:01.44 and was fourth in the “B” final in 1:01.85.

St. Andrew’s alum Lauren Hew of the Cayman Islands was seventh in her heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 2:14.50.

TS Aquatics alum and Penn State swimmer Carlos Vasquez, representing Honduras, was a “B” finalist in the 200-meter butterfly and swam a best time 2:02.74. He also swam a best time in the 100-meter butterfly in 56.01.

Individual winners on Wednesday night:

Americans Claire Rasmus and Meaghan Raab finished one-two in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:58.64 and 1:58.70.

Brazilians Fernando Muhlenberg Scheffer and Breno Martins Correia were one-two in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.68 and 1:47.78.

American Kendyl Stewart won the 100-meter butterfly in 58.49.

American Tom Shields bounced back to win the 100-meter butterfly in 51.59 just ahead of Guatemala’s Luiz Martinez in 51.63.

American Alex Walsh won the women’s 200-meter backstroke in 2:08.30.

American Daniel Carr won the men’s 200-meter backstroke in 1:58.13.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

U.S., Brazil, Argentina Win Gold, Pine Crest’s Santander Swims First Relay On Day One Of XVIII Pan American Games

By Sharon Robb

LIMA, Peru, August 7, 2019—The U.S., Brazil and Argentina shared the gold medal podium on opening day of swimming Tuesday at the XVIII Pan American Games at Villa Deportiva Nacional.

Pine Crest’s Andrea Santander swam her first event for Venezuela. The relay of Jeserik Andrein Pinto Sequera, Carla Gonzalez, Santander and Fabiana Antonel Pesce Flores finished fourth in 3:53.89 behind the U.S., Brazil and Canada.

Argentina’s Delfina Pignatiello, with her fingernails painted with her country’s light blue and white nails, won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:10.86. She led for most of the race.

American Andrew Abruzzo won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:48.41 after taking the lead at the 300-meter mark. Colombia’s Santiago Corredo was eighth in 3:56.00.

American Annie Lazor, swimming from Lane 7, won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.94.

Brazil’s Joao Gomes knocked off American Cody Miller to out-touch him and win the 100-meter breaststroke 59.51-59.57. American Kevin Cordes was third in 1:00.27. Colombia’s Jorge Murillo, a former SOFLO swimmer, was fifth in 1:00.91.

Argentina’s Virginia Bardach Martin won the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:10.87. American Meghan Small was third in 2:12.51.

Brazil’s Leonardo de Deus won the men’s 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.85 to win his third consecutive gold medal in the event at Pan Ams. American Sam Pomajevich was second in 1:57.35. Early leader Tom Shields faded to eighth in 2:06.65.

The U.S. team overtook Brazil at the 200-meter mark to win the women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay to take the gold in 3:39.59 with Margo Geer, Lia Neal, Claire Rasmus and Meaghan Raab. Brazil was second in 3:40.39.

Brazil came back and knocked off the U.S. to win the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Nathan Adrian anchored the relay with the second fastest split of 47.70.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Gold At FINA Swimming World Cup In Tokyo

By Sharon Robb

TOKYO, Japan, August 4, 2019—After a slow start in the series opener, Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club bounced back to win a gold medal Sunday at the FINA Swimming World Cup.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian and short course world record holder won the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.35. She won $1,500 for her first place.

Satomi Suzuki of Japan was second in 31.09 and Alina Zmushka of Belarus was third in 31.12.

Atkinson still holds the championship record in 30.26, set in November 2015. Atkinson was coming off the FINA World Championships where she finished out of the medal hunt. Her best place was fourth.

Atkinson was also ninth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.87 and 19th in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.57 in the FINA World Cup opener.

“I feel pretty good. I wanted to see if I was faster or slower than at the World Championships, and I am about the same time. So, it was okay. I think my best time is 1:05.9, so I would love to be get back to this result. For that reason, it’s a small stepping stone in that direction,” Atkinson said.

Tokyo is the first stop of the first cluster and site of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, giving Atkinson a sneak preview of the city and Olympic fever. The remaining two stops are Jinan, China Aug. 8-10 and Singapore Aug. 15-17.

Swimmers are competing for prize money. Atkinson is the only swimmer from Jamaica competing.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Dressel, Manuel, Hosszu Make History; SOFLO’s Atkinson Misses Medal On Final Day Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 28, 2019—Caeleb Dressel, Simone Manuel and Katinka Hosszu set medal records on the eighth and final day of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships Sunday at Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

Dressel, a University of Florida, Clay High School and Bolles Club alum, Dressel became the first man to win eight medals at a championship. Dressel won gold in all four of his individual events, six golds and two silver medals overall, and one world record.

Sjostrum won five medals, one gold, two silvers and two bronze medals, tying Missy Franklin for the most medals in world championship history.

For the second consecutive world championships, Dressel and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum were named Swimmers of the Meet. Dressel had 22 points and Sjostrum had 15 points.

Manuel is the first American woman to sweep the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events and became the first woman to win seven medals in a single world championship. She won the 50 on Sunday in 24.05. Sjostrum was second in 24.07.

Hosszu became the first woman and only the second after Michael Phelps to win five world titles in the same event when she won gold in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:32.07. She was 20 when she won her first 400IM in 2009 in Rome.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, the 2015 silver medalist, left worlds without a medal. Her best finish was fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.34 on the final day.

SOFLO teammate and Vietnamese Olympian Vien Nguyen was 19th in 4:47.96 in her third and final event at worlds.

Canada, with former Lake Lytal Lightning and Florida State swimmer Will Pisani, enjoyed its best worlds. After winning a bronze medal and setting a national record in the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay, Canada finished with a record two gold and six bronze medals, all in Olympic events. Swimmers reached 19 finals, two more than in Budapest in 2017 and most finals since 1978.

South African Zane Wadell was an upset winner in the men’s 50-meter backstroke by 0.06 seconds in 24.43 ahead of Russian favorites Evgeny Rylov in 24.49 and Kliment Kolesnikov in 24.51. It was his first world title.

American Lilly King crushed the women’s 50-meter breaststroke field by 0.16 seconds to defend her title in 29.84, the only swimmer to crack 30 seconds. Italy’s 14-year-old sensation Benedetta Pilato was second in 30.00 and Russian Yuliya Efimova was third in 30.15.

“I didn’t know if it was happy tears or sad tears,” King said. “She’s 14, it doesn’t really matter what kind of tears they were, but I was like, ‘It’s OK, you did fine.”’

Germany’s Florian Wellbrock won the men’s 1500-meter freestyle in 14:36.54. Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine was second in 14:37.63 and Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri was third in 14:38.75.

Japan’s Daiya Seto reclaimed the 400-meter individual medley title in 4:08.95. American Jay Litherland was second in 4:09.22 and Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand was third in 4:12.07.

Kelsi Worrell led the U.S. to a world record and gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay along with 17-year-old Regan Smith, Lilly King and Simone Manuel. The foursome won in 3:50.40, bettering the previous record by more than a second.

Great Britain won the 400-meter medley relay in 3:28.10 knocking off the U.S. men’s team with Dressel at anchor in 3:28.45. Russia was third in 3:28.81.

It was the U.S. team’s 14th gold medal for the week. They also had eight silver and five bronze, less than their 2017 showing. There were ten world records broken, 17 championship records, five junior world records, three African, 12 American, six Asian, five European and seven Oceanian records.

Smith’s opening split of 57.57 set a world record and made her the first woman to go under 58 seconds in the 100 backstroke.

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.

Live Results:

Sharon Robb can be reached at