Podkoscielny Finishes Sixth At U.S. World Championship Trials; Will Compete At Junior Pan Pacs

By Sharon Robb
Greensboro, N.C., April 28, 2022—Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest Swimming was sixth in the 400-meter individual medley Thursday at the U.S. World Championship Trials at Greensboro Aquatic Center.

Podkoscielny, 17, was sixth in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:47.57. The University of Florida commit was seventh fastest in prelims in 4:48.82. It was the top finish by a Florida Gold Coast swimmer so far in the meet. She will represent the U.S. Junior team at the Junior Pan Pacs in Hawaii in August.

On Wednesday she was 14th in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:13.88 after going 2:13.30 in prelims.

Katie Grimes, 16, of Sandpipers of Nevada pulled away from the field on the freestyle leg to win the 400 IM in a best time 4:36.17. Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant of Sarasota was second in 4:37.22 to also secure a spot on the world championship team.

“It just all goes back to my training,” Grimes said after her race. “Everybody who has seen me train for that race in practice knows that was a long time coming. The past times I’ve swum that race, it really hasn’t worked out like I wanted it to, but it all really came together very nicely. I’ve always loved the 400 IM. I think it’s a really fun race. I think it’s really interesting to watch. There are so many different components that go into it. It’s just a really cool race.”

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmer results:

Josh Zuchowski, 18, of FAST was seventh in the 200-meter backstroke in a best time 1:58.44. He went 1:58.94 in prelims, cracking 2 minutes and bettering his entry time of 2:00.22.

Erika Pelaez, 15, of Eagle Aquatics was 22nd in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.04.

Kaii Winkler, 16, of Eagle Aquatics was 20th in the 100-meter freestyle im 49.95.

In other Thursday races:

Men 400 IM: 1. Carson Foster, Texas 4:09.33, 2. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs 4:10.50.
Women 100 butterfly: 1. Torri Huske, Unattached 56.28, 2. Claire Curzan, TAC Titans 56.35.
Men 100 butterfly: 1. Caeleb Dressel, Gator Swim Club 50.20, 2. Michael Andrew, MA Swim Academy 50.88.
Women 50 breaststroke: 1. Lilly King, Indiana Swim Club 29.76, 2. Kaitlyn Dobler, Unattached 30.34.
Men 50 breaststroke: 1. Michael Andrew, MA Swim Academy 26.52, 2. Nic Fink, MAAC 26.55.
Women 50 backstroke: 1. Katharine Berkoff, NC State 27.12, 2. Regan Smith, Unattached 27.25.
Men 50 backstroke: 1. Hunter Armstrong, Ohio State 23.71, world record in non-Olympic event, 2. Justin Ress, Mission Viejo 23.92.

The International Team Trials that got under way on Tuesday, are serving as the qualifying meet for the 2022 FINA World Championships, Junior Pan Pacific Championships and Mel Zajac Jr. Invitational.

USA Swimming’s qualifying criteria for the 2022 World Championships in Budapest are:

Top-four finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyle events, along with the top-two finishers in the other Olympic events qualify for the U.S. team, as long as they both meet the FINA A standard and maximum roster size isn’t exceeded.

From there, winners of the stroke 50s and fifth and sixth-place finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyles will qualify.

The maximum U.S. roster size for the World Championships is 26 men and 26 women.

The Olympic Channel is live streaming the championship finals on Friday night. CNBC will broadcast Saturday night’s finals session. USA Swimming is streaming all prelims on their website.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Anna Auld Top Florida Gold Coast Finisher At U.S. Open Water National Championships; SOFLO’s Wilson Makes Top 20

By Sharon Robb
FORT MYERS BEACH, April 3, 2022–University of Florida freshman Anna Auld of West Palm Beach was the top Florida Gold Coast finisher at the U.S. Open Water National and Junior Championships this past weekend at Lynn Hall Beach Park.

Despite rough weather conditions, Auld was among the Top 6 American 10K finishers qualifying for the current U.S. Open Water National Team, putting herself in position to qualify for the 2022 FINA World Championships U.S. roster.

Auld was seventh overall in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 50 seconds. With three swimmers from France among the top seven finishers, Auld qualified as fourth American.

Blair Stoneburg of Treasure Coast Aquatics just missed making the U.S. team by 1 minute and 7 seconds and one spot in 2:26:58. She was the seventh top American finisher.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Isabelle Wilson was 19th in the 7.5K in 1:55:56. The only other FGC swimmer, Erin Miller of St. Andrew’s Aquatics was ninth in 1:49:29.

Teenager Katie Grimes of Sandpipers of Nevada and Axel Reymond of France won the 10K titles.

It was Grimes’ first senior-level open water national title. She stayed with the lead pack and finished more than a minute ahead of the field.

“I really had a good time out there today, the conditions were a little rough but I’m learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Grimes said. “I was swimming with a ton of girls so I was really happy with the outcome and I’m excited for the next race.”

Conditions were not ideal with strong winds and choppy water.

Grimes was followed by Indiana University’s Mariah Denigan (2:17:50) and France’s Caroline Jouisse (2:18:34). The top six Americans were:

Grimes (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada), 2:16:40.
Mariah Denigan (Walton, Ky./Indiana University), 2:17:50.
Summer Smith (Agawam, Mass./Bluefish Swim Club), 2:21:07.
Anna Auld (West Palm Beach, Fla./University of Florida), 2:21:50.
Kensey McMahon (Jacksonville, Fla./University of Alabama), 2:22:00.
Brooke Travis (Newark, Del./NC State), 2:25:51.

France’s Axel Reymond (2:02:49) edged U.S. National Team member and University of Florida junior Brennan Gravley (2:02:53) for the top spot. Dylan Gravley, Brennan’s younger brother, finished third (2:03:13), a career-best 10K finish.

“It’s one of my favorite parts of being a USA Swimming athlete,” Brennan said when asked about qualifying for the U.S. Open Water National Team. “I feel like we have a lot of privileges, especially as open water swimmers. It was a fun venue and it was fun to come out here even with intense conditions.”

Added his brother, “I was trying to maintain my position and keep up with Brennan,” Dylan Gravley said. “I’m taking baby steps, it is another year and I was a few places upwards of where I was last year.”

The top-6 American male finishers were:
Brennan Gravley (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada/University of Florida), 2:02:53.
Dylan Gravley (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada/Arizona State University), 2:03:13.
Joey Tepper (Egg Harbor Township, N.J./University of Tennessee), 2:03:39.
Michael Brinegar (Columbus, Ind./Mission Viejo Nadadores/Indiana University), 2:05:44.
Simon Lamar (Sonora, Calif./Harvard University), 2:08:27.
David Heron (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo Nadadores), 2:10:20.

French swimmer Aurelie Muller won the senior 5K title ahead of Joiusse and U.S. pool Olympian Bella Sims of Sandpipers of Nevada, third and top American finisher.

Claire Weinstein of Sandpipers of Nevada won the girls 5K junior national title in 1:06:08.

Samuel Marsteiner of New Wave Swim Team won the boys 5K junior national title in 1:02:40.

The top two finishers qualified for the U.S. roster for the Sept. 1-4 FINA World Junior Open Water Championships Beau Vallon, Seychelles.

On Sunday, 16-year-old Ilya Kharun won the Junior National 7.5K race and led a 1-2 finish for the Sandpipers of Nevada Teammate Luke Ellis, 14, was second.

Please note, the full results have not been posted on usaswimming.org. South Florida Aquatic Club’s Isabelle Wilson, 14, competed in the girls 7.5K race and finished but her time has not been posted as of Sunday night.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.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

Ledecky, Dressel, White Win On Day Seven Of Olympic Trials; Erica Pelaez Top FGC Finisher

By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 19, 2021—Katie Ledecky closed out her third U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials with a win in her signature event Saturday night at CHI Health Center.

Ledecky, 24, of Nation’s Capital Swim Club won the women’s 800-meter freestyle in 8:14.62, her fourth win of the Trials. She also won the 200, 400 and 1500 freestyles breaking the women’s record for most Olympic Trials wins. Ledecky will now try to become the first woman to win three Olympics gold medals in the 800 event.

“I haven’t been super happy with my times, but I still feel like I am in a good spot,” Ledecky said. “The Trials have been fine this week. I am just so excited about this team that’s coming together and getting to be on the team with somebody like Katie (Grimes).”

Ledecky is undefeated in the 800 event since winning the 2012 Olympics at age 15. She has the Top 23 times in the world in the event.

Ledecky will be the fifth U.S. woman to swim in four individual events at an Olympics after Shirley Babashoff, Summer Sanders, Katie Hoff (who did five in 2008) and Missy Franklin.

Ledecky will also be part of the 4×200-meter free relay in Tokyo, giving her the chance to become the first American woman to win five golds at a single Olympics in any sport.

At 15, Katie Grimes of Sandpipers of Nevada became the youngest to make the Olympic team after finishing second in 8:20.36. Swimming in Lane 8, she dropped 11 seconds off her previous best with the third best swim in history for 15-16 year-olds behind Ledecky and Janet Evans.

Coming home in the final 50 meters, 9/100ths of a second separated Grimes with veteran open water swimmer Haley Anderson, third in 8:20.51.

For Ledecky, it was like looking in a mirror. She made her first Olympic team at age 15 in 8:19.78 at Trials. After her race, Ledecky swam over to Grimes’ lane to congratulate her.

Added Grimes, still in a state of disbelief, “I’m just speechless,” Grimes said. “I know I’m only 15, but it’s a lot of work.”

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel, 22, of Gator Swim Club shook off a tough double, winning the 100-meter butterfly in 49.87 and then coming back 30 minutes later to earn the top seed for Sunday night’s 50-meter freestyle final.

Dressel, who holds the world record in 49.50, was on world record pace until the final 20 meters.

Olympian Tom Shields was second in 51.19. Shields was the second fastest qualifier on Friday with his fastest time in five years. In December 2019 he talked about his suicide attempt in 2018 and credited his wife for turning his life around.

In the 50-meter semifinals, Dressel qualified in 21.51 followed by Michael Andrew in 21.55 and sentimental favorite and Olympian Nathan Adrian in 21.78.

Anthony Ervin, at 40 the oldest swimmer at Trials, was eliminated in morning prelims in 22.61 for 23rd place. He won the event at the 2000 and 2016 Olympics.

In the biggest upset of the Trials, 19-year-old world record holder and reigning world champion Regan Smith was knocked out of a spot in the 200-meter backstroke by two 18-year-olds, who were swimming on each side of her.

Rhyan White of Alabama won in 2:05.73 and Phoebe Bacon of Wisconsin Aquatics was second in 2:06.46. Smith was third in 2:06.79. Tokyo will be their first international meet. Smith was already qualified in two events but the 200 backstroke was her best event.

“I just tried to stay focused on my own race,” White said. “I’m excited.”

Added Bacon, “There is a lot of pressure but I raced her before so to me it was just another race.”

In the women’s 50-meter semifinals, Abbey Weitzeil of Cal was top qualifier in 24.27 followed by Torri Huske in 24.45 and Simone Manuel was third in 24.50 and has one final shot to make the team.

In her final event at the Trials, Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics was 20th in the 50-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 25.57, bettering her previous best of 25.83.

The top two finishers of most events will most likely become 2021 US Olympians. Relay only spots go to places 3-6 (though not completely guaranteed for 6th place) of 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. The maximum roster size for Team USA is 26 men and 26 women.

All races 200 meters or shorter have three stages at Trials: a prelim in the morning, followed by a semifinal that evening. The final of the top-8 qualifier will take place on the following night.

Sunday’s events are: (Evening session only), men’s 50-meter freestyle final, women’s 50-meter freestyle final and men’s 1500-meter freestyle.

On opening day of Swimming Canada’s Olympic Trials at the Toronto Pan-Am Sports Centre, former Fort Lauderdale High and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Raphael Marcoux was tenth in the 100-meter butterfly in 54.96 after going 54.59 in prelims.


200-meter backstroke: 1. Rhyan White, BAMA 2:05.73, 2. Phoebe Bacon, WA 2:06.46, 3. Regan Smith, RIPT 2:06.79.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, NCAP 8:14.62, 2. Katie Grimes, Sandpipers 8:20.36, 3. Haley Anderson, MVN 8:20.51.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Caeleb Dressel, Gator Swim Club 49.87, 2. Tom Shields, Cal Aquatics 51.19, 3. Luca Orlando, DART 51.64.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Grimes, Kharun Win USA Swimming 5K Junior National Championships; St. Andrew’s Aquatics’ Erin Miller Sixth; SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Swims Sunday

By Sharon Robb
FORT MYERS BEACH, April 17, 2021—Katie Grimes and Ilya Kharun won the overall titles in the USA Swimming Open Water Junior National 5K Championship titles Saturday at Lynn Hall Park.

Sandpipers of Nevada swimmers dominated the field of 60 swimmers with four men and women finishing among the top three.

Ilya Kharun, 16, of Las Vegas and Sandpipers of Nevada won the men’s title in 1:02:50 closely followed by Alex Ayers, 15, of SwimMAC in 1:02.51 and Luke Ellis, 14, of Sandpipers of Nevada in 1:02:51.

Kharun overtook the lead from early leader Ellis in the final lap to earn a trip to the World 5K title in Seychelles. Ayers touched out Ellis for the second world spot.

“It was very tiring, the last lap got tough with all the waves but I felt good racing with everyone,” Kharun said. “The last lap, I felt more power and I could feel that I was getting with the top two and then I got out ahead of them.”

Sandpipers of Nevada’s Katie Grimes, 15, after winning the 18-and-under national title in 2:05:25 and fourth overall, won the women’s 5K title in 1:04:04. Grimes led at every check point.

Bella Sims, 15, of Sandpipers of Nevada was second in 1:04:46 and Cadence Fort, 15, of Gulf Coast Swim Team was third in 1:04:54. Grimes and Sims earned world 5K team spots.

“It was great,” Grimes said. “It was really hard today. The waves were really big. I have a great time every time I do open water and it was a great field of girls so it was a lot of fun.”

In Sunday’s 7.5K event, Ella Martinez, 17, of St. Andrew’s Swimming is top seed in 16:04.53 and Anna Auld, 17, of East Coast Aquatic Club is seventh in 17:00.81.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mallory Schleicher, 17, will compete in the 5K open water event also on Sunday. In 2019, she was seventh in the 5K. She is the only Florida Gold Coast swimmer in the 5K field.


  1. Katie Grimes, Sandpipers of Nevada 1:04:04, 2. Arabella Sims, Sandpipers of Nevada 1:04:46, 3. Cadence Fort, Gulf Coast Swim Team 1:04:54, 4. Claire Weinstein, Westchester AC 1:06:17, 5. Mary McKenna, Long Island Express 1:08:35, 6. Erin Miller, St. Andrew’s Aquatics 1:09:10, 7. Naomi Furman, Radnor AC 1:09:27, 8. Alexandra Stern, Indian River Aquatics 1:09:56, 9. Mattea Sokolow, Team Santa Monica 1:10:11, 10. Brynn Stoneburg, Treasure Coast Aquatics 1:10:15, 11. Alexa Reyna, Westchester AC 1:10:30, 12. Emma Guglielmello, Mahnolia AC 1:10:56, 13. Carli Cronk, Alamo Area Aquatics 1:11:08, 14. Skylar Bruner, Hilton Head Aquatics 1:11:12, 15. Courtney Watts, Unattached 1:11:29, 16. Lilla Bognar, Team Greenville 1:11:45, 17. Claire Stuhlmacher, Unattached BW 1:11:49, 18. Miko Baron, Rancho San Dieguito 1:12:20, 19. Nalanie Cortez, Unattached Fast 1:13:59, 20. Lauren Gualtieri, Tampa Bay AC 1:14:32, 21. Caitlin Hurley, North Baltimore 1:15:02, 22. Karina Kanary, Longhorn Aquatics 1:15:05, 23. Kait Sweeney, Westchester AC 1:15:09, 24. Kate Anderson, Westchester AC 1:15:12, 25. Hannah Neilly, Radnor AC 1:15:17, 26. Mary King, Unattached LFSC 1:15:23, 27. Caroline Frazier, Magnolia AC 1:16:23, 28. Kai Izquierdo, Unattached 1:16:44, 29. Abigail Miller, Mason Manta Rays 1:16:44, 30. Keira Reid, Nova of Virginia 1:17:28, 31. Nora Brown, CSP Tideriders 1:17:53, 32. Amelia Lester, Rockwell Aquatic 1:23:12, 33. Emily Buening, Washington Towns 1:23:21, 34. Ursula Koch, Stateline Aquatic Team 1:28:27.


  1. Ilya Kharun, Sandpipers of Nevada 1:02:50, 2. Alexander Ayers, SwimMAC 1:02:51, 3. Luke Ellis, Sandpipers of Nevada 1:02.51, 4. Weslee Gettys, Texas Gold 1:04:26, 5. Isaac Fleig, Mission Viejo 1:04:35, 6. Luke Corey, Naval Academy AC 1:05:32, 7. Ryan Turner, Highlander AC 1:06:14, 8. Matthew Boehme, Unattached 1:06:30, 9. Kevin Cunneen, CSP Tideriders 1:06:31, 10. Rylan Anselm, Barrington SC 1:06:37, 11. Max Gerke, Iowa Flyers SC 1:06:45, 12. Tucker Rice, Billings AC 1:06:45, 13. Jackson Scheiber, New Wave ST 1:06:49, 14. Samuel Marsteiner, New Wave ST 1:06:49, 15. Jameson Vanderloo, Snow Swimming 1:07:07, 16. Parker Lenoce, Sarasota Sharks 1:07:09, 17. Matthew Merke, Unattached 1:07:24, 18. Lucas Bucaro, Barrington SC 1:07:36, 19. Alan Shaaban, Team Santa Monica 1:08:14, 20. Connor Carlile, Fishers Area Swimming 1:08:45, 21. Zachary Tower, Team Santa Monica 1:08:46, 22. Nolan Arnholt, Charger Aquatics 1:08:50, 23. Matthew Marsteiner, New Wave ST 1:10:13, 24. Brady Tierney, Radnor AC 1:10:32, 25. Blaise Minckler, Hilton Head Aquatcs 1:11:27, 26. Evan Prabhu, SwimMAC 1:13:00, 27. Brady Beyer, Club Olympia ST 1:14:00, 28. Riley Clinton, Sandpipers of Nevada 1:15:56.


SUNDAY: 5K National Championships (Open), men’s 7:30 a.m., women’s race 7:35 a.m.; 7.5K Junior National Championships (17-18 Age Group), men’s 11 a.m., women 11:05 a.m.

USA Swimming is live streaming and re-playing all events on its website.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com