New Pro Swim League Makes Debut Saturday In Indianapolis; SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Will Compete For Team Iron Next Week In Italy


By Sharon Robb

INDIANAPOLIS, October 4, 2019—The new International Swimming League kicks off on Saturday with some of the biggest names in swimming competing for cash prizes at IU Natatorium.

The league features eight teams with four of them competing on Saturday and Sunday, the first of six meets in the U.S. and Europe culminating with a splashy season finale in Las Vegas.

Americans Lilly King, Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel and Natalie Coughlin along with world record holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, Chad le Clos of South Africa, Ariarne Titmus of Australia, Federica Pellegrini of Italy and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary will compete this weekend.

King will compete for the Cali Condors, one of four American-based clubs in the league. She will be joined by Dressel, Kylie Masse and Olivia Smoliga.

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

On Saturday and Sunday, the Condors will compete against DC Trident, Energy Standard and Italy-based Aqua Centurions.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, 30, a four-time Jamaican Olympian, will compete in the league for Team Iron, led by Iron Woman Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, who owns the team. Atkinson is one of more than 100 Olympians on the eight teams including 41 gold medals from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I’m very excited to be part of this huge movement,” Hosszu said. “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.”

At 37, Natalie Coughlin will compete in her first meet since the 2016 Olympic Trials. She was 12 Olympic medals that equals the most ever by a female swimmer.

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 Italy, Texas, 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 streaminh 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 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

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

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: 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

Caeleb Dressel Shines On Final Night Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships; Hosszu, Le Clos Named FINA Swimmers Of The Year


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 16, 2018—On the sixth and final night of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships, Caeleb Dressel saved his best for last.

The Clay High School and Bolles Swim Club alum won the 100-meter freestyle in an exciting finish against Russian Vlad Morozov, 45.62-45.64. Dressel used his closing speed to out-touch Morozov. South African Chad le Clos took the bronze in 45.89.

It was Dressel’s first individual gold medal and short course world title. He also broke his own American record of 45.66 he set earlier in the meet as leadoff leg of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

“I actually feel alright right now,” Dressel said. “It was a long meet, but I’ve had meets where I was a lot more tired. This went smoothly. I’m happy to be done, don’t get me wrong, but it was a great performance all around from everyone on the team and it was really exciting to be a part of that.”

Dressel was also a member of the winning 4×100-meter medley relay with a split of 48.28. The U.S. men won in a championship record 3:19.98 breaking the old U.S. record of 3:20.99 set in 2010. Russia was second in 3:20.61 and Japan was third in 3:21.07. Dressel was joined by teammates Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, Andrew Wilson and Ryan Held.

“I feel like I’m in really good shape,” Dressel said. “They (his swims) were pretty sloppy to be honest, a lot of them. I feel like I got better as the meet went on because that was faster than the first day of the meet tonight, so I think I was getting better every day. The speed was not quite there, but like I said I think I’m in really good shape. My last 50 was really good in the fly and the free, so I’m not worried about anything and it will be fun year next year at Worlds.”

Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu and South Africa’s Chad le Clos were named 2018 FINA Swimmers of the Year. Hosszu’s new coach, Arpad Petrov, was named the top women’s coach and former Coral Springs Swim Club coach Andrea di Nino and coach of Le Clos, was named men’s coach of the year. They were honored at the FINA World Aquatics Gala on Sunday night.

In the other Sunday finals:

The U.S. women’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay team of Madison Kennedy, Mallory Comerford, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Erika Brown won in a championship record 1:34.03 ahead of world record holder Netherlands (1:34.55) and Australia (1:36.34).

Mykhailo Romanchuk of the Ukraine overtook early leader and world record holder Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy in the final 25 meters of the 1,500-yard freestyle to win in a championship record 14:09.14. Paltrinieri finished in 14:09.87 and Norway’s Henrik Christiansen was third in 14:19.39.

American Annie Lazor won a three-woman race in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:18.32 ahead of teammate Bethany Gelat in 2:18.62 and Belgium’s Fanny Lecluyse in 2:18.85.

Russia’s Evgeny Rylov surged in the final 50 meters to knock off American and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 1:47.02-1:47.34. Poland’s Radoslaw Kawecki and Aussie Mitch Larkin tied for the bronze in 1:48.25.

American Kelsi Worrell Dahlia won the 100-meter butterfly in 55.01, just a half second off her world record. U.S. teammate Kendyl Stewart was second in 56.22 and Brazil’s Daiene Dias was third in 56.31.

South African Cameron van der Burgh won the 50-meter breaststroke in a championship record 25.41 to sweep the breaststroke events. The Olympic gold medalist and world record holder announced his retirement following the meet. Ilya Shymanovich of Belarus took silver in 25.77 and former championship record holder Felipe Lima of Brazil was third in 25.80.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter freestyle in a championship record of 23.19. Teammate Femke Heemskerk was second in 23.67. Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros was third in 23.76.

The U.S. women’s relay team of Olivia Smoliga, Katie Meili, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia and Mallory Comerford won the 4×100-meter medley relay in a championship record 3:45.58. China was second in 3:48.80 and Italy was third in a national record 3:51.38.

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries competed for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

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

Aussie Teenager Breaks World Record On Day Four Of FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson Settles For 100 IM Bronze


By Sharon Robb

HANGZHOU, China, December 14, 2018—Teenager Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off reigning world record holder Wang Jianjiahe of China in the 400-meter freestyle with a world record of her own Friday on Day Four of the 14th FINA World Short Course Championships.

Titmus, 18, winner of the 200-meter freestyle, won the distance event in 3:53.92. Titmus, who was fourth in the event at the 2017 world championships in Hungary, led from start-to-finish. Jianjiahe was second in 3:54.56. China’s Lu Bingjie was third in 3:57.99.

It was the first woman individual world record at the meet after Daiya Seto and Kirill Prigoda broke men’s world records.

“I am a little bit in shock,” Titmus said. “I knew the Chinese girl would go out fast. I was worried she would have a little left in the tank at the end, but I held her off. I put in a lot of hard work since our trials five weeks ago and the turnaround I have had in that time is unbelievable. I dropped six seconds off my 400 and that shows what training hard can do. I can’t believe it, and for it to be a short course world record is something. I am someone who does not pride themselves on speed, but I will take it.”

It has been a breakthrough year for the young Tasmanian, who won three golds at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games earlier in 2018. She only turned 18 in September and has already earned the nickname “Terminator.” Her father calls her “Arnie” and that became Terminator in Australian media after the Arnold Schwarzenegger character.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club won her second medal of the meet finishing third in the 100-meter individual medley in 58.11.

Atkinson also earned the top-seed in the 100-meter breaststroke semifinal in 1:04.07. She was second fastest in the prelims in 1:04.34.

Another local, Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Plantation American Heritage was the sixth fastest qualifier in the 50-meter butterfly semifinals in 22.62 after going 22.53 in prelims.

In other Friday finals:

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu won the 100 IM, her third gold medal, in 57.26 and her fourth consecutive title in the event. Japan’s Runa Imai was second in 57.85. American Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg was fourth.

“I do feel a bit sore, and I am glad I did not swim the 50 backstroke in the morning,” Hosszu said. “I felt a lot readier this afternoon after having slept in this morning. For me the medley is a fun event. It is all the four strokes together and a sprint, so for me it is just a lot of fun”.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record in 24.47, her second gold medal of the meet. She also won the 100-meter freestyle. The previous record was 24.58. Aussie Holly Barratt took silver in 24.80 and American Kelsi Worrell Dahlia was third in 24.97.

Russian Kliment Kolesnikov won his showdown with Italian Marco Orsi in the 100-meter individual medley in a championship and junior world record 50.63. Orsi finished in 51.03 and Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori took the bronze in 51.53. American Michael Andrew was fourth in 51.58.

In an upset, Russian Vladimir Morozov won his first gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle in 20.33. It was his third medal in the event in three worlds. Fastest qualifier Caeleb Dressel, a Clay and Bolles alum, was second in 20.54. South African Bradley Tandy took the bronze in 20.94 after initial third place finisher Ben Proud of Britain was disqualified for a false start for the second time this year at an international meet.

Russian teammate Evgeny Rylov knocked off American and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy to win the 50-meter backstroke in 22.58. Murphy finished in 22.63.

Ireland’s Shane Ryan won his country’s first medal in the 25-year meet history with a third place in the 50-meter backstroke.

Two other world records were broken in the relay competition.

In the relay competition, the U.S. men’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay of Dressel, Ryan Held, Jack Conger and Michael Chadwick won in a world record 1:21.80.

Brazil broke the third world record in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay in 6:46.81 with Luiz Melo, Fernando Scheffer, Nicholas Santos and Breno Correia.

The U.S. team has 21 total medals (10 gold, 8 silver, 3 bronze). China has 10 (2 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). Russia has 9 medals (4 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze).

The short course worlds are swum in short course meters and held in the years when FINA does not hold its world championships (currently this means in even years). The short course championship is swimming-only events where world championships feature all five aquatic disciplines.

A field of 960 swimmers, with several top names missing, from 178 countries are competing for 46 world titles over six days at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center Tennis Centre. The center is uniquely shaped like a lotus bowl with an 8,000-seat capacity.

Prelims are 9 a.m. in China, 8:30 p.m. EST in the U.S. Finals are 7 p.m. in China and 6 a.m. EST in the U.S.

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

Four Double Winners On Day One Of FINA World Cup In Beijing; Atkinson Wins Sprint Event


By Sharon Robb

November 11, 2017—On the opening day of the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Friday in Beijing, China, four swimmers each won two gold medals.

In front of their hometown fans at the National Aquatic Center Water Cube, China’s Xu Jiayu and Zhang Yuei were double winners. World champions Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and Olympic gold medalist Chad Le Clos of South Africa also were double winners.

Xu won the 50-meter backstroke in 23.09 just ahead of Florida State alum Pavel Sankovich of Belarus in 23.11. He was also a member of the winning 4×50-meter medley relay.

Le Clos won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:41.81 and 100-meter butterfly in 49.18.

Hosszu, the Olympic and world champion, won the 100-meter backstroke in 56.34 and 100-meter individual medley in 57.50.

Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 28, of SOFLO won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.57. It was her fifth consecutive win in the event this season. In her second and final event of Day One, she went 1:02.06 in the 100-meter individual medley and failed to medal.

Fifteen-year-old Wang Jianjiahe of China set a world junior record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:59.69.

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.40.

Daiya Seto of Japan broke the meet record in the 400-meter individual medley in 3:58.20. The previous record was 3:58.69.

The 2017 World Cup Series features eight stops with Beijing being the sixth. The last two stops are Tokyo and Singapore. The Beijing competition continues on Saturday.

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