Chad le Clos Back On Top; Dylan Carter Makes Second Final At FINA Short Course World Championships

By Sharon Robb
MELBOURNE, Australia, December 15, 2022—South African Chad le Clos is back on top after winning his 11th title and first in four years at the 16th FINA Short Course World Championships Thursday at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.

Le Clos, 30, who frequently trains in South Florida, broke into tears after touching the wall first in the 200-meter butterfly in a national record 1:48.27 ahead of Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:49.22) and Switzerland’s Noe Ponti (1:49.42). The 2012 Olympic gold medalist came from behind to win.

“This is four years in the making,” said le Clos, just three gold medals away from matching American Ryan Lochte’s record of 14 individual world short-course titles. Le Clos now trains with Dirk Lange in Germany.

“The warrior spirit is back. It was always there but I had to find a way of channel it again. I know winning isn’t everything, but I have taken a lot of losses lately and been written off by people that are close to me.

“I moved to coaches that believed in me. It didn’t matter who was there tonight, I was prepared to die out there… and to remind these guys that I am still here.

“It means so much to me and my family. I have no words, I am just so grateful that I have my coach behind me. I am coming from such a tough place right now, and I am sorry that I am emotional. To be a world champion is like a dream come true again.”

Australia won two more gold medals to continue its domination of the meet. Kyle Chalmers won the 100-meter freestyle in a championship record 45.16 ahead of 17-year-old David Popovici who finished in a world junior record time of 45.64, and then anchored the winning 4×50-meter freestyle relay with teammates Isaac Alan Cooper, Matthew Temple and Flynn Zareb Southam. Chalmers brought them from fifth to first at the wall.

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Emma McKeon delighted the home crowd when she won by 1/100th of a second in the 100 freestyle in a championship record 50.77.

“That was way too close,” McKeon said. “It was a tight finish but what counts is getting your hand on the wall first, that’s everything.”

In a surprise, Americans Dakota Luther and Hali Flickinger duked it out before Luther overtook Flickinger on the back half to win in 2:03.37. Flickinger finished in 2:03.78.

The Americans success continued with double Olympic champion Lilly King winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.67.

“It’s great to be back,” King said. “In 2016, I was at the meet and I thought I was invincible and SOFLO’s Alia (Atkinson) played me like a fiddle and whipped my butt. I have had that sour taste in my mouth for the last six years and its good to get the title back.”

Nic Fink then made it three straight gold medals for the U.S. when he overcame Britain’s three-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty in the 100 breaststroke gold. Fink won in 55.88. Nicolò Martinenghi of Italy picked up silver in 56.07 and Peaty, after six weeks out of the pool with a foot injury, came away with bronze in 56.25.

“I am really happy with this result, this is a good one to start the meet with and I am looking forward to defend the other two (breaststroke) events as well,” Fink said. “I was really happy with the World Cup season and completing the trifecta (50-100-200).”

Added Peaty, “I don’t get bronze that often, so that will be a weird one for Wikipedia. It’s great to be back in the arena, I am just enjoying the sport again. I am disappointed, but I am not going to allow myself to be. I have been putting in a lot of hard work but they just out-skilled me tonight. It is what it is, I am what I am.”

The U.S. won two more gold medals with former Gator Kieran Smith winning the 400 freestyle in 3:34.38 and women’s 4×50-meter freestyle relay in a championship record of 1:33.89 with Torri Huske, Claire Curzan, Erika Brown and Kate Douglass.

“It’s the first time that I have been at the top of the podium so it’s a new chapter in my career,” said Smith, who skipped his final year of NCAA eligibility at Florida to turn pro. “It was an exciting race and I knew that those guys were going to be tough, but I was ready.

“You could tell from my face at the finish that my body was burning. I always like to swim races from the front, it’s the way I swim confidently. I knew that I had to pay the ultimate price in order to win.”

Two-time Olympian Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago has another shot at a medal after missing out in the sprint butterfly. The Plantation American Heritage alum earned the fifth fastest qualifying time in the 50-meter backstroke semifinals in 22.90 to advance into Friday’s final.

The meet, which ends Sunday, is being live streamed on FINA’s YouTube channel. Meet prelims are 7 p.m. EST. Finals each day are 3:30 a.m. EST. Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

King, Murphy, U.S. Men’s Relay Win Gold; Coral Springs Olympian Bruno Fratus Loses Swim-Off For Finals At FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 23, 2022–Americans Lilly King, Ryan Murphy and men’s 4×200 relay defied the odds to win gold at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships Thursday at Duna Arena.

Lilly King turned it on in the back half to win gold and her first world title of the meet in 2:22.41. Aussie Jenna Strauch was second in 2:23.04 and U.S. teammate Kate Douglas of University of Virginia was third in 2:23.20. It was King’s ninth career world gold medal and first in the 200. King has now won gold in every breaststroke event at worlds.

King was fifth at the final turn. “I guess I’m a distance swimmer now, which kind of stinks for me,” King said with a smile. “I knew today was about racing and I knew I would have a little bit left so I had to do it. Welcoming this new chapter of my career. I think this was my coach’s master plan all along.

“It’s awesome to win this gold,” King said. “I’m so excited to have this medal. That was a great race but that was all tactical. I think the one who wins the 200 is who can control the tactical part and the pace the best.”

Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 26, won his first-ever individual world gold medal. A year after settling for silver at the Tokyo Olympics, the newly-engaged Murphy won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:54.52, 6/10ths ahead of the field. He was third after the opening 50 and with a 28.4 split took the lead at the 100 and led the rest of the way. Brit Luke Greenback was second in 1:55.16 and U.S. teammate Shaine Casas was third in 1:55.35.

“This one hurt a lot,” Murphy said. “I knew it was going to be a competitive field. This is what I worked for. My first individual title is really cool. Being able to come into something that I have a talent for, try to be the best in the world, that never gets old.

“There’s a ton of work that goes into this, not just on my end but my coaches, my teammates. So to come in, win a medal for myself and for the people who helped me and my country is really special.”

The U.S. ended its dry spell in the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay. The relay of Drew Kibler, Carson Foster, Trenton Julian and University of Florida’s Kieran Smith won in 7:00.24. Australia was second in 7:03.50 and Great Britain was third in 7:04.00. It was the first world title relay win in almost a decade since 2013.

Smith had a full three-body length and more than a 3-second lead heading into the final wall. Foster blew it open on the second leg with a 1:45.04 split and Smith turned in a 1:44.35 on anchor. The U.S. men, fourth at the 2020 Olympics, were not favored.

“Kieran and I were actually just looking at a photo taken right after we touched fourth at the Olympics last year, and it’s a pretty defeating photo,” Kibler said. “We were looking at it just before we came here, like, ‘We’re not going to experience that again.'”

Brazil’s Bruno Fratus, 32, of Coral Springs Swim Club, fastest qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle prelims in 21.71, lost a swim-off by 3/100ths of a second to end his medal hopes.

The Olympic bronze medalist was fourth in the semifinals in 21.83 tying Frenchman Maxime Grousset, 23, who came back to win the swim-off, 21.59-21.62. It was the 100th time in his career Fratus cracked 22 seconds in the event.

Fratus is one of 23 Florida Gold Coast swimmers competing on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Other FGC swimmers who competed on Thursday are:

Dylan Carter, 26, Trinidad & Tobago, (Plantation American Heritage, USC), 50 freestyle, 17th, 22.19.

Esteban Nunez de Prado, 18, Bolivia, (Azura), 100 butterfly, 50th, 55.61.

Jenebi Benoit, 19, Grenada, (Azura), 100 butterfly, 57th, 59.63.

Leon Seaton, 18, Guyana (Azura), 50 freestyle, 70th, 25.07.

Jordan Crooks, 20, Cayman Islands (TS Aquatics), 50 freestyle, 19th, 22.20.

Steven Aimable, 23, Senegal, (Azura), 100 butterfly, 43rd, 54.65.

FGC swimmers who compete on Friday:

Michaela Sierra, 17, Uruguay, (Azura, South Florida Heat, Auburn), 50 breaststroke.

Jahir Lopez, 17, Ecuador, (Azura) 1500 freestyle.

Yeziel Morales, 26, Puerto Rico, (Azura), 50 backstroke.

Jillian Crooks, 15, Cayman Islands (TS Aquatics), 50 freestyle.

In Thursday night’s final events:
In an exciting finish, Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan, 18, won her second world title in 52.67. In sixth place at the 50, O’Callaghan surged in the final 10 meters to out-touch world record holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, second in 52.80. American Torri Huske, who was leading for the first 90 meters, was third in 52.92. U.S. teammate Claire Curzan was eighth in 53.81.

O’Callaghan was last at the wall before going 25.9 on the back half, outsplitting Sjostrom by 7/100ths of a second. Sjostrom is the first woman 100 free world record holder not to win a world title.

“I had to just trust myself and focus on myself especially for my back end, that is definitely my strongest point, my front end not so much,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s certainly weird at the moment to think that I’m a world champion.

“I was panicking in warm-up, I had a little bit of a cramp in my leg. I was just feeling dizzy, I just felt out of it in warm-up and I started to panic a little. But I had teammates there. I had Madi Wilson, I had the whole team and especially Dean supporting me so I guess that kind of uplifted me for this race.”

O’Callaghan is coached by Dean Boxall at St. Peters Western in Brisbane. Boxall is best known for going nutso in the stands while another one of his swimmers Ariarne Titmus won gold in the 200 and 400 freeestyles at the 2020 Olympics.

MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE: Australia’s Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook won gold with a convincing 2:07.07. He was eighth at the 100 and third at the 150. He is the first Aussie to win a world title in the event. Japan’s Yu Hanaguruma was and Erik Persson of Sweden tied for second in 2:08.38.

In the 50-meter butterfly semifinals, Torri Huske broke the American record in 25.38 and qualified second behind Sjostrom (25.13).

Friday prelim events are women’s 50 freestyle, men’s 50 backstroke, women’s 50 breaststroke, mixed 4×100 freestyle and men’s 1500 freestyle.

The U.S. added six more medals to its tally of 14 gold, 6 silver and 12 bronze for 32. Australia is second with 12 total (4 golds, 7 silver, 1 bronze) and Italy third (4 golds, 1 silver, 3 bronze).

The swimming runs through Saturday 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.

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

SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins; Energy Standard, Cali Condors Will Battle It Out For ISL Title

By Sharon Robb
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands, December 3, 2021—Going into the final day of the International Swimming League championship finals, it looks like defending champion Cali Condors and 2019 champion Energy Standard will battle it out for the title.

After opening day competition on Friday at Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion, Energy Standard leads with 271 points followed by the Cali Condors with 250, London Roar with 206 and LA Current with 171.

SOFLO’s five-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of London Roar won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.15 ahead of Lilly King in 29.44. It tied the fastest swim (by King) this season.

London teammate Dylan Carter, two-time Olympian for Trinidad & Tobago, was sixth in the 50-meter freestyle in 21.15.

Adam Peaty (pay issues) and Kira Toussaint (health issues) not competing hurt London’s chance of being in the hunt for the title.

A costly mistake caused the Cali Condors to get disqualified in the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay with the Energy Standard winning and picking up big points. The relay was disqualified after King had a one-hand touch during the third turn of her breaststroke leg.

The Cali Condors men’s 400-meter medley relay bounced back with a win in an American record of 3:19.64 with Coleman Stewart, Nic Fink, Caeleb Dressel and Justin Ress.

Other winners were:
Former UM swimmer Kelsi Dahlia of Cali Condors won the 100-meter butterfly breaking the short course world record in 54.59. The previous record was 54.61 set by Sarah Sjostrom in 2014.

Tom Shields of LA Current won the 100-meter butterfly in 49.03, finishing ahead of well-rested Caeleb Dressel of Cali Condors in 49.23 and Chad Le Clos of Energy Standard in 49.54.

Beata Nelson of Cali Condors won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:00.33.

Evgeny Rylov of Energy Standard won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:47.88 ahead of Ryan Murphy in 1:48.12.

Lilly King of Cali Condors won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:17.06.

Nic Fink of Cali Condors won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:02.41. He also won the 50-meter breaststroke in an American record 25.72.

Ben Proud of Energy Standard won the 50-meter freestyle in 20.40 ahead of Kyle Chalmers of the London Roar in 20.96. It was the fastest 50 freestyle in British history.

Sarah Sjostrom of Energy Standard won the 50-meter freestyle in 23.27.

Duncan Scott of London Roar won the 200-meter individual medley in a British record 1:51.53.

Sydney Pickrem of London Roar won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:05.79.

Ingrid Wilm of LA Current won the 50-meter backstroke in 26.24.

Ryan Murphy of LA Current won the 50-meter backstroke in 22.56.

Siobhan Haughey of Energy Standard won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:58.80.

Tom Dean of London Roar won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:40.67.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Two Seconds In Showdown With Lilly King; London Roar Wins Big

By Sharon Robb
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands, November 21, 2021-South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson had two second place finishes as her London Roar team knocked off ISL defending champion Cali Condors for a big playoff win Sunday at Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion.

The Roar won the two-day match with 534.5 points followed by the Condors with 474.5, LA Current with 438.5 and Iron with 327.5. There have been four different match winners so far in the playoffs.

In a much-anticipated showdown, Atkinson, 32, a five-time Jamaican Olympian, was second in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.11 behind Lilly King in 1:03.35. King remains undefeated in the event this season.

On Day One, London won eight events including two relays to build a 49.5-point lead and set them up nicely headed into Day Two, 287.5-238.

Atkinson, the world short course record holder, was second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.54 behind King in 29.36.

Atkinson was a member of the Roar’s winning 4×100-meter medley relay that won in 3:46.28 with teammates Kira Toussaint, Marie Wattel and Emma McKeon.

London teammate Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobao was third in the 100-meter freestyle in 46.64. Carter also led off the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay that finished in 3:36.13. He tied for fifth in the 50-meter freestyle in 21.09. He anchored the Roar’s 4×100-meter men’s medley relay that finished second in 3:23.23. Carter led off the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay that finished third in 3:36.13.

Caeleb Dressel returned to ISL competition but is easing himself back into racing. He was third in the 50-meter freestyle in 21.04. He also swam two relays. On Day Two, he won the 100-meter individual medley in 51.67.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

ISL’s London Roar Wins Match Six; Atkinson Takes Third In Breaststroke

By Sharon Robb
NAPLES, Italy, September 13, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson helped the London Roar knock off defending ISL champion Cali Condors Sunday at Piscina Felice Scandone.

On the second day of competition during Match Six, the five-time Jamaican Olympian was third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.05. Lilly King of the Cali Condors won the event in 1:03.54 and Arianna Castiglioni of the Aqua Centurions was second in 1:03.90.

Atkinson, 32, was also a member of the winning 400-meter medley relay with Guilherme Guido, Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers in 3:35.57. Atkinson picked up another $3,700 in prize money.

London teammate Dylan Carter was second in the 50-meter butterfly in 22.42. Carter won $3,875.

Caeleb Dressel did not compete on the second day of competition. Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers returned to the London lineup which added some muscle.

Emma McKeon won the 100-meter freestyle in 51.47. London teammate Duncan Scott won the men’s 100-meter freestyle in 46.53.

London Roar led the final team standings with 529.5 points followed by the Cali Condors with 478.5, Aqua Centurions with 379.5 and Tokyo Frog Kings with 376.5.

“We all came together,” said Roar Coach Ben Higson. “We race hard and we use each match as a stepping stone for the next match.”

The London Roar next competes on Sept. 18-19 against Energy Standard, LA Current and Tokyo Frog Kings.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Atkinson Takes Third, Fourth, Sixth In London Roar’s Sixth Match Of ISL Pro Series

By Sharon Robb
NAPLES, Italy, September 11, 2021–SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson had three top six finishes in the ISL London Roar’s sixth match of the season Saturday at Piscina Felice Scandone.

The five-time Jamaican Olympian was sixth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:22.11. Lilly King of the Cali Condors won in 2:16.83.

Atkinson was fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.82. Arianna Castiglioni of the Centurions won in 29.46. King was second in 29.62.

Atkinson salvaged the day with a third place finish on the 400-meter medley relay in 3:50.43 behind the Cali Condors and Aqua Centurions.

London teammate Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was a member of the winning 400-meter freestyle relay that won in 3:05.05.

After Day One, the London Roar is first with 277 points followed by reigning ISL champion Cali Condors with 263.5, Tokyo Frog Kings, 187.0 and Aqua Centurions, 181.5. Action will continue on Sunday with the same four teams.

Earlier in the week in the ISL’s fifth match of the season, Alberto Razzetti broke the oldest Italian short course record in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:01.57. The Toronto Titans swimmer broke the previous record if 4:01.71 by Luca Marin at the 2006 European Championships.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South African Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks First Individual Swimming World Record At Olympics

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 29, 2021–An emotionally-charged Tatjana Schoenmaker broke the first individual world record in swimming Thursday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The 24-year-old South African set a blistering pace in the final 50 meters of the 200-meter breaststroke to win in a world record time of 2:18.95. The previous world record of 2:19.11 was held by Rikke Moller of Denmark since 2013.

It was the first gold medal won by a South African woman since 1996 and first gold of the Olympics for any South African athlete. Schoenmaker also won silver in the 100-meter breaststroke.

American training partners and good friends Lily King and Annie Lazer finished second and third. King took silver in a breakthrough swim of 2:19.92 and Lazor the bronze in 2:20.84.

“I wouldn’t have done that if she wasn’t next to me,” King said of Lazor. “This is what we were working for.”

King led until the 150-meter turn when Schoenmaker turned on the after jets to touch the wall first.

“My love for swimming makes me want to get up every morning and go to training,” Schoenmaker said. “It’s like my second home. Being fortunate enough to travel the world doing what I love, seeing new places and meeting new people and sports heroes, motivates me a lot. The most important thing every young swimmer should realize is that nothing is impossible. They only need to believe and be prepared to put in the long and hard hours.”

Local swimmers results:

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was second in his 100 butterfly heat in 52.36.

Azura’s Abbas Qali of Kuwait, fourth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.62.

Azura’s Steven Aimable, fifth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.64.

Azura’s Davidson Vincent of Haiti finished tied for seventh in his 100 butterfly in 54.81.

Qali, Aimable and Vincent all swam in the same heat.

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador was second in her 200 backstroke heat in 2:14.72.

In other championship medal finals:

Men’s 200-meter backstroke: Russian Evgeny Rylov became the seventh man to win both backstroke events in a single Olympics. He won in an Olympic record 1:53.27. Defending gold medalist and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy took silver in 1:54.15. Luke Greenbank of Great Britain took third in 1:54.72. The U.S. men had won seven consecutive gold medals in the event. “I put myself in a lot of pain,” Murphy said. “I just ran into a very good guy from Russia.”

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: The Aussies took first and third in the event. Emma McKeon, 27, won her first individual gold medal in an Olympic record 51.96 and teammate Cate Campbell was third in 52.52. Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong took the silver in 52.27.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Underdog Shun Wang, 27, of China won the gold in an Asian record 1:55.00. Favorite Duncan Scott of Great Britain took silver in 1:55.28 and Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland won the bronze in 1:56.17. American Michael Andrew, the early leader, faltered in the last 50 and finished a disappointing fifth in 1:57.31.


200-meter breaststroke: 1. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA 2:18.95, WR, OR 2. Lilly King, US 2:19.92, 3. Annie Lazor, US 2:20.84.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Emma McKeon, AUS 51.96, OR, 2. Siobhan Haughey, HKG 52.27, AS, 3. Cate Campbell, AUS 52.52.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Evgeny Rylov, ROC 1:53.27, OR, 2. Ryan Murphy, US 1:54.15, 3. Luke Greenbank, GB 1:54.72.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Shun Wang, CHN 1:55.00, 2. Duncan Scott, GBR 1:55.28, 3. Jeremy Desplanches, SUI 1:56.17.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

American Lydia Jacoby Pulls Off Stunner For Olympic Gold In 100 Breaststroke

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 26, 2021–Seventeen-year-old Lydia Jacoby pulled off the biggest upset in the women’s swimming competition Monday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

After watching the U.S. team get shut out of gold medals in the first three finals of the morning, Jacoby knocked off her teammate, defending champion and world record holder Lilly King and top qualifier Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa.

With a huge surge in the final 20 meters, Jacoby, swimming in Lane 3, won in 1:04.95 out-touching Schoenmaker in 1:05.22 and King in 1:05.54. Jacoby was third at the turn.

After touching the wall, Jacoby turned and took off her goggles to look at the scoreboard. She looked shocked as her mouth dropped open when she realized she won.

It was the first time since 2019 King had lost a 100 breaststroke race. She had won 53 consecutive races.

The most unlikeliest of gold medalists is headed into her senior year at Seward High School in Alaska and part of the Seward Tsunami Swim Club. Alaska has only one 50-meter long course pool in the entire state. She has committed to University of Texas as part of the 2022 recruiting class. Her other college visits were Tennessee, Notre Dame and North Carolina State.

“I was racing for a medal,” Jacoby said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting a gold medal. I don’t know how I pulled it out. I definitely stressed myself out yesterday so I just tried to feel good and happy going into it and I feel like I did that.”

Added King, “We love to keep that gold in the USA family. This kid just had the swim of her life and I’m proud to be her teammate.”

Jacoby is the first-ever Alaska native on the U.S. Olympic team.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Nicole Frank of Uruguay, third in her 200-meter individual medley heat in 2:18.93.

Azura Florida Aquatics will have four swimmers compete on Tuesday: Andrew Fowler of Guyana, 100 freestyle; Stefano Mitchell of Antigua & Barbuda, 100 freestyle; Julimar Avila of Honduras, 200 butterfly; and Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, 800 freestyle.

After three days of racing, it’s obvious the rest of the world has caught up to the U.S. In other championship medal finals:

Men’s 200-meter freestyle:

In a thrilling finish, Great Britain finished one-two. Ranked first and second in the world, Tom Dean won the gold in 1:44.22 and Duncan Scott took silver in 1:44.26. It was the first Olympic gold for Great Britain in the freestyle since 1908. Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer took bronze in 1:44.66. University of Florida’s Kieran Smith, trying to become the first American male to win a medal in the 400 and 200 at the same Olympics, faded to sixth in 1:45.12. The men’s field featured two teenagers.

Women’s 100-meter backstroke:

Aussie world record holder Kaylee McKeown turned it on in the final 20 meters to win the gold in an Olympic record 57.47, second fastest time in history. She is the first Aussie woman to win gold in the event. Canadian Kylie Masse won the silver in 57.72 and American Regan Smith took the bronze in 58.05. Coming into the Olympics, Australia had not won an individual women’s gold medal since 2008 and now they have two.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke:

Russia finished one-two with Evgeny Rylov winning his country’s first gold medal since 1996. Rylov finished in a European record 51.98 and teammate Kliment Kolesnikov took silver in 52.00. American Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, was third in 52.19 for his fourth Olympic career medal. “That was the best I had today, hats off to the Russian guys,” Murphy said. The field featured five of seven of the fastest swimmers in world. The U.S. team’s saw its 100 backstroke streak end at seven. The Americans had not lost a backstroke race since 1992.

The women’s 200-meter freestyle final on Tuesday will feature the second matchup between American Katie Ledecky and Aussie Ariarne Titmus.


100-meter backstroke: 1. Kaylee McKeown, AUS 57.47, 2. Kylie Masse, CAN 57.72, 3. Regan Smith, USA 58.05.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Lydia Jacoby, USA 1:04.95, 2. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA 1:05.22, 3. Lilly King, USA 1:05.54.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Tom Dean GB 1:44.22, 2. Duncan Scott, GB 1:44.26, 3. Fernando Scheffer, BRA 1:44.66.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Evgeny Rylov, ROC 51.98, 2. Kliment Kolesnikov, ROC 52.00, 3. Ryan Murphy, USA 52.19.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Lazor, Andrew, Murphy, Weitzeil Win; Lochte’s Bid For Fifth Olympics Ends With Seventh Place; Julia Podkoscielny Top FGC Finisher On Day Six Of Olympic Trials

By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 18, 2021—In an emotional storybook ending in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, training partners Annie Lazor and Lilly King finished first and second Friday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center.

It was one race King didn’t mind losing.

Lazor’s father David died two months ago unexpectedly at home. It was King who not only drove five hours to his funeral but promised Lazor’s mother she would look after her, motivate her and do everything it took to get her on the Olympic team.

The two trained together in Bloomington with King’s coach Ray Looze leading up to the Trials. Before stepping on the blocks, King, who had already won the 100 breaststroke and Lazor just missing a spot finishing third, looked over at Lazor and told her she loved her and let’s go get it.

Lazor broke open a close race to win in 2:21.07 and King finished second in 2:21.75. The two immediately hugged and slapped the water in jubilation.

At 26, Lazor is the oldest American woman to qualify for her first Olympic team in 17 years.

“I knew what her plan was and she knew what my plan was and we just wanted to do it together,” a teary-eyed Lazor said. “I’m just overcome with emotion. It’s been a long couple of months for me and I just couldn’t have done it without this girl. She pulled me through practice every day. I am so thankful for her.

“I knew she was going to be out fast. I knew if I could just hang with her and be within striking distance at the 100 I had a chance. It couldn’t have gone any better.”

Added King, “We’re family. Your teammates are always your family especially with the year we’ve been through and last couple of months for her. You have two of the top 200 breaststrokers training every day in practice so good things are going to happen.”

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, world record holder Ryan Lochte, looking to make his fifth Olympic team, saw his hopes end with a seventh place finish in the 200-meter individual medley in 1:59.67.

Lochte was second fastest qualifier in 1:58.48 in prelims and sixth fastest in 1:58.65 in semis but was unable to put the race together that he wanted.

“I really wanted to be on this Olympic team,” Lochte said. “This is probably my most important swim meet that I’ve ever had in my entire career, the one that meant the most to me. So falling short and feeling like I let everyone down was one of the hardest things.

“This ain’t the end of the road, there is a lot more I want to accomplish in swimming whether it’s in the pool or outside the pool making swimming better,” Lochte said. “I’m enjoying it, I’m having fun teaching these kids everything I’ve learned. I’m going to go be a dad now and go hug my kids.”

Michael Andrew, 22, of MA Academy controlled the 200 IM from start to finish to win in 1:55.44. He went out quickly in the butterfly in a 23.77 split and was on world record pace until the final 50. Chase Kalisz was second in 1:56.97.

“The goal this evening was to edge a little closer to the world record,” Andrew said. “I don’t know if it was fatigue or race strategy. I think I was out too fast, and it hurt me on the back end. I was really trying to drive the line, but my arms were shot. In this race, my strategy wasn’t really good. I was just thinking about how far they were behind. It got very sloppy at the finish, all things we can be working on.”

World record holder and reigning Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy, 25, of California Aquatics, swept the backstroke events after winning Friday’s men’s 200-meter backstroke in 1:54.20.

The Bolles alum was 55.31 at the 100 and just blew off the 150-meter wall to extend his lead. It was the second fastest time in the world this year. Bryce Medford of Sierra Marlins was second in 1:54.79. Former Sarasota swimmer Austin Katz of Longhorn Aquatics was third in 1:55.86.

“I accomplished my goals,” Murphy said. “I am so excited to be going back to the Olympics in the 100 and 200 back. I’m obviously ecstatic to make another team in both races but I don’t think the times are necessarily reflective of where I’ve been in practice.

Asked where he is at right now compared to five years ago before going to Rio, Murphy said, “I think I’m certainly better at training. The details are a little sloppy right now but that’s nice. I know exactly where I can improve over these next five weeks to be a little bit better in Tokyo.”

In the women’s 100-meter freestyle, Abbey Weitzeil, 25, found her back speed to win her first Trials event in 53.53. Erica Brown, swimming in Lane 8 after knocking out Simone Manuel for that eighth spot in finals, was second in 53.59. The pair will be joined by Olivia Smoliga (53.63) and Natalie Hinds (53.84) on the 4×100 relay. For Hinds, Tokyo will be her first international trip.

“It means everything,” Weitzeil said. “I was nervous. Taming your nerves is definitely person by person in how you do that. This is the most nervewracking meet I have ever been to. It’s a different meet. Being more confident helps. I’ve learned to get past the negative thoughts.”

Julia Podkoscielny, 16, of Pine Crest Swimming was 43rd in the 200 backstroke in 2:18.07 in her final event of the Trials.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics will swim the 50-meter freestyle on Saturday.

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.

Saturday’s events are: (Morning Session), men’s 50 freestyle prelims, women’s 50 freestyle prelims, men’s 1,500 freestyle prelims; (Evening session) men’s 100 butterfly final, women’s 200 backstroke final, women’s 800 freestyle final, men’s 50 freestyle semifinal, women’s 50 freestyle semifinal.

Daily finals coverage will be broadcast across NBC channels. Along with live finals coverage, 24 hours of preliminaries will be available on and NBC Sports App.

For prelims, today through June 19, 11 a.m. on NBC Stream and 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. For finals, today through June 16 on NBC at 8 p.m., June 17 NBC at 10 p.m. and NBCSN at 8 p.m., June 18-19 NBC at 9 p.m. and June 20 NBC at 8:15 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time for South Florida.

The five-day meet, which begins Saturday, at Toronto’s Pan Am Sports Centre will determine who competes for Canada at the Tokyo Olympics. No fans are allowed in the venue. The meet had been delayed in April and again in May because of pandemic-related restrictions. It is the first time the entire Canadian team has gathered in one place since the 2019 World Championships in South Korea. Five women and one man were named to the Canadian team in January to compete in their best event(s): Kylie Masse (100 and 200 backstroke), Maggie MacNeil (100 butterfly), Penny Oleksiak (200 freestyle), Sydney Pickrem (200 breaststroke, 200 and 400 individual medley), Taylor Ruck (100 freestyle) and Markus Thormeyer (200 backstroke).


200-meter breaststroke: 1. Annie Lazor, Mission Viejo 2:21.07, 2. Lilly King, Indiana Swim Club 2:21.75, 3. Emily Escobedo, COND 2:22.64.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Abbey Weitzeil, Cal 53.53, 2. Erika Brown, Tennessee Aquatics, 3. Olivia Smoliga, Athens Bulldogs 53.63, 4. Natalie Hinds, Athens Bulldogs 53.84.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Murphy, Cal 1:54.20, 2. Bryce Mefford, Sierra Marlins Swim Team 1:54.79, 3. Austin Katz, Longhorn Aquatics 1:55.86.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Michael Andrew, MA Swim Academy 1:55.44, 2. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs 1:56.97, 3. Kieran Smith, UFlorida 1:57.23.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Ryan Murphy, Lilly King, Regan Smith, Kieran Smith Punch Their Ticket To Tokyo; SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Top FGC Finisher On Day Three Of Olympic Trials

By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 15, 2021—World record holders and defending Olympic champions Ryan Murphy and Lilly King will return to the Olympics while Kieran Smith and Regan Smith make their debut in Tokyo.

Murphy, King and Regan Smith all punched their ticket to Tokyo while Kieran Smith qualified in his second event Tuesday night at CHI Health Center.

Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 25, of Ponte Vedra, Fla. won the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 52.33. Hunter Armstrong, 20, of Ohio State, seventh after the turn, moved up to finish second in 52.48. 2012 Olympic champion Matt Grevers, 36, was sixth in 53.27.

Murphy was first off the blocks (.50) and led wire-to-wire despite a late surge by Armstrong to return and try to defend his title.

“It’s incredible,” Murphy said. “It means so much to make another Olympic team and do it in front of a crowd and my family. Those guys were fast. The U.S. has always had a lot of really good young backstrokers. They seem to come out of nowhere. What an incredible swim for Hunter. It’s nice going into Tokyo knowing we have two really good guys.”

In the strongest event for the American women, Lilly King, 24, out in 30.34, won the women’s 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.79. King had posted a world-leading 1:04.72 in the semifinals.

Teenager Lydia Jacoby, 17, of Seward, Alaska, fifth at the turn, was a surprise second ahead of Annie Lazor in 1:05.28, second fastest swim in the world this year. Jacoby is the first swimmer from Alaska to make the Olympic swim team. King, Jacoby and Lazor have the top three times in the world this year.

“I think I’ve proven myself over these last five years,” King said. “Now I get to call myself a two-time Olympian so that’s pretty cool. Lydia is awesome. We swim completely different races. I’m glad to have a new partner headed into Tokyo.”

After winning the 400-meter freestyle, Kieran Smith of University of Florida, leading at the halfway mark, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.29. Townley Haas of Nova Aquatics will return to the Olympics after finishing second in 1:45.66. Drew Kibler was third in 1:45.92 and Andrew Seliskar was fourth in 1:46.34 and will make the relay.

“I slept really well last night and I was lucky enough to have the morning off this morning and got some good rest in today,” Smith said. “I tried to put up the best time as possible tonight.”

Former world record holder Regan Smith, 19, won the women’s 100-meter backstroke in 58.35. She was first out in 27.90 and ahead of world record pace but fell off in the final 30 meters. Rhyan White, 21, of Alabama was second in 58.60 ahead of Olivia Smoliga, 26, who was looking to return to the Olympics but finished third in 58.72.

“It started to hurt really bad in the last 25 meters,” Smith said. “I could see girls on both sides of me and I just knew I had to get my hand on that wall as fast as I could. I’m just so happy. That was a lot. It’s very surreal and it hasn’t hit me yet. Maybe it will sink in more later, but I know the 10-year-old me would be so proud. This was her dream.”

In a 400-meter freestyle time trial, Jake Mitchell of Carmel Swim Club swam a best time by more than two seconds in 3:45.86, well under the FINA “A” cut time of 3:46.78 to claim the second spot in the event behind Smith.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, 20, of University of Florida was 20th in the 200-meter individual medley in a lifetime-best 2:14.93. Her previous best was 2:15.48.

Julia Podkoscielny, 16, of Pine Crest Swimming was 45th in the 200 IM in 2:18.59. She has the 200 backstroke remaining on Friday.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics has the 100 freestyle on Thursday and 50 freestyle on Saturday left to swim.

Josh Zuchowski, 17, of FAST has the 200 backstroke left to swim on Thursday.

Alex Evdokimov, 25, of Pinnacle Racing (VA) and formerly Coral Springs Swim Club, has the 200 breaststroke left to swim on Wednesday.

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 will 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.

Wednesday’s events are: (Morning Prelims Session), men’s 100 freestyle prelims, women’s 200 butterfly prelims, men’s 200 breaststroke prelims, men’s 800 freestyle prelims; (Evening Session), men’s 100 freestyle semifinal; women’s 200 freestyle final, men’s 200 butterfly final, women’s 200 butterfly semifinal, men’s 200 breaststroke semifinal, women’s 200 individual medley final, women’s 1,500 freestyle final.

Daily finals coverage will be broadcast across NBC channels. Along with live finals coverage, 24 hours of preliminaries will be available on and NBC Sports App.

For prelims, today through June 19, 11 a.m. on NBC Stream and 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. For finals, today through June 16 on NBC at 8 p.m., June 17 NBC at 10 p.m. and NBCSN at 8 p.m., June 18-19 NBC at 9 p.m. and June 20 NBC at 8:15 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time for South Florida.


100-meter backstroke: 1. Regan Smith, RIPT 58.35, 2. Rhyan White, BAMA 58.60, 3. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC 58.72.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Lilly King, ISC 1:04.79, 2. Lydia Jacoby, STSC 1:05.28, 3. Annie Lazor, MVN 1:05.60.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Kieran Smith, UF 1:45.29, 2. Townley Haas, NOVA 1:45.66, 3. Drew Kibler, TXLA 1:45.92, 4. Andrew Seliskar, CAL 1:46.34.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Murphy, CAL 52.33, 2. Hunter Armstrong, OSU 52.48, 3. Shaine Casas, TAMU 52.76.

Sharon Robb can be reached at