SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Ends Illustrious Career; Dylan Carter Takes Silver At FINA Short Course World Championships


By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 20, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson took her final bow on the world stage Monday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena.

The five-time Jamaican Olympian, after being disqualified earlier in the week in the 50-meter breaststroke semifinals, bounced back to finish fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.03, her signature event and one she shares the world record (1:02.36) with Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte.

In her last hurrah, Atkinson, 33, finished behind China’s Qianting Tang (1:03.47, Asian record), Sweden’s Sophie Hansson (1:03.50) and Ireland’s Mona McSharry (1:03.92) in her final competitive meet. She had won the 100 breaststroke in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

“Not the meet I hoped for but I am happy to say I finished every ounce of swimming talent God gave me, the bottle empty. Many times I wanted to quit or give up, but I saw it through to the end,” Atkinson wrote in a post to social media.

Atkinson said her long run career was “remarkable” and “a rollercoaster of fun and not so fun moments”.

Her advice to up-and-coming swimmers:

  • Make fun memories…they don’t make themselves.
  • Take nothing for granted and enjoy each step both the good and the challenging.
  • Let go of the negatives of the day.
  • Your best changes daily, so do the best you can on that day.

SOFLO teammate Julio Horrego, representing Honduras, was 26th in the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.38 in his final event of the meet.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter, a Plantation American Heritage alum, took silver in the 50-meter butterfly in 21.98, just behind Brazil’s 41-year-old world record holder Nicholas Santos in 21.93. Santos became the oldest swimmer to win a world title. Carter swam the third fastest time in the semifinals in a national time 22.18.

In championship final action:

To kick off the finals, the U.S. and Russian Swimming Federation tied for gold in the 4×50-meter medley relay in 1:30.51. The U.S. relay of Shaine Casas, Nic Fink, Tom Shields and Ryan Held also broke the American short course record.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:04.29.

Canada also won the 4×200-meter freestyle relay won in 7:32.96 with relay swimmers Summer McIntosh, Kayla Sanchez, Katherine Savard and Rebecca Smith, ahead of the U.S. in 7:36.53.

Canada won another gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke when Maggie MacNeil broke the world record of 25.60 in 25.27.

Japan world record holder Daiya Seto led from start to finish to win the 400-meter individual medley in 3:56.26. Runner-up Illia Borodin of the Russian Swimming Federation broke the junior world record in 3:56.47.

The five-day meet concludes 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
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Aussie Ariarne Titmus Knocks Off Katie Ledecky; Peaty, MacNeil, Dressel Win Gold


By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 25, 2021–In a thrilling showdown, Ariarne Titmus of Australia knocked off defending champion and world record holder Katie Ledecky Sunday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Swimming side-by-side in the 400-meter freestyle, the Tasmanian-born Titmus, 20, closed the gap to 2/10ths of a second at the 300-meter mark and pulled ahead in the final 50 meters to win in 3:56.69, an Oceanic women’s record and second fastest time in history.

Titmus, ranked No. 1 in the world, handed Ledecky, 24, her first individual Olympic loss. The American finished in 3:57.36, her second fastest career time. China’s Bingjie Li was third in an Asian record 4:01.88.

“I can’t believe it, I’m trying to contain my emotions,” Titmus said. “This past year I don’t know whether it’s gone fast or slow, but to get here was a relief. To come here and do the job, I’m over the moon.

“I thanked her, I wouldn’t be here without her. She set this incredible standard. I’ve been trying to chase her, it’s really exciting now we have this battle going. It’s really fun to race.

“I tried to stay as composed as I could. Then just tried to stick to my race plan. I can’t believe I pulled it off.”

The Ledecky-Titmus matchup was one of the most anticipated and talked-about Olympic races. Titmus had defeated Ledecky at the 2019 World Championships in South Korea in the 400 freestyle but Ledecky had a severe stomach virus. In June, Titmus had flirted with Ledecky’s world record of 3:56.46 when she went 3:56.90 at her country’s Olympic trials.

Titmus won the first individual gold medal for Australia since Stephanie Rice in 2008.

“I looked at the 300 and saw she was right there,” Ledecky said. “I knew it would be a fight to the finish. I can’t be disappointed. I did my best, I fought tooth and nail. She said she couldn’t have done it without me and I think she pushed me.”

Titmus’ coach Dean Boxall was emotional and animated after watching his swimmer touch first, running and gyrating in the stands.

It ended Ledecky’s quest to win the first of five possible gold medals. The two will meet again in the 200 and 800 freestyles and 4×200 freestyle relay.

In the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay final, anchor leg Zach Apple pulled away with a 46.6 split for a 9/10ths of a second lead to clinch the win for the U.S. in 3:08.97. Italy was second in 3:10.11 and Australia third in 3:10.22.

Floridian Caeleb Dressel led off in 47.2 followed by Blake Pieroni in 47.5 and Bowen Becker in 47.4 who led by 2/10ths after the third leg.

“We knew there was a huge target on our back,” said Dressel, a Clay High School, Bolles Club and Florida alum. “I’d say we dominated that pretty well. We’re never going to doubt ourselves, that’s not how the U.S. team works. We had a couple people rule us out in that event. We’re never going to take that so it feels nice to dominate and have it back on home soil.”

The U.S. men have won two of the last three Olympic 400 relays.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador, fifth in her heat of the 100-meter backstroke in 1:03.75.

Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders, an NSU University School/Pine Crest Club alum, second in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.43.

Azura’s Joaquin Vargas of Peru, third in his heat of the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.93.

In other championship medal finals:

Women’s 100-meter butterfly:
Canadian Maggie MacNeil, in the outside lane, swam the second fastest time in history to win the gold medal in 55.59 ahead of China’s Yufei Zhang in 55.64 and Aussie Emma McKeon in 55.72. American 18-year-old Stanford-commit Torri Huske o f Arlington, Va. missed the podium by 1/100ths in 55.73. MacNeil, World and Pan Pac champion who swims at University of Michigan, is the first Canadian to win the gold medal in the event. Swimming without her contact lenses, it took her a while to focus on the scoreboard and realize she was listed first. World and Olympic record holder Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden, who bounced back from a shattered elbow sustained slipping on ice, was seventh in 56.91.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: Defending champion, world record holder and heavy favorite Adam Peaty of Great Britain won back-to-back Olympic gold in 57.37 ahead of Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands in 58.00, the first medal in the event for his country and Nicolo Martinenghi of Italy in 58.33. American medal favorite Michael Andrew finished out of the medals placing fourth in 58.84.

SUNDAY RESULTS
WOMEN
100-meter butterfly: 1. Maggie MacNeil, CAN 55.59, 2. Yufei Zhang, CHINA 55.64, 3. Emma McKeon, AUS 55.72.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Ariarne Titmus, AUS 3:56.69, 2. Katie Ledecky, US 3:57.36, 3. Bingjie Li, CHINA 4:01.08.

MEN
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Adam Peaty, GBR 57.37, 2. Arno Kamminga, Netherlands 58.00, 3. Nicolo Martinenghi, ITA 58.33.

4×100-meter freestyle relay: 1. United States 3:08.97, 2. Italy 3:10.11, 3. Australia 3:10.22.

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