SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Wins Swim Miami Beach Open Water Mile

By Sharon Robb

MIAMI BEACH, December 3, 2018—Mallory Schleicher of South Florida Aquatic Club won the second annual Swim Miami Beach Open Water Mile off North Beach Bandshell on Sunday.

After competing in the two-day SOFLO Holiday Classic, Schleicher, 15 won the overall women’s title in 16 minutes and 26 seconds.

Schleicher was eighth overall among a field of 174 men and women swimmers and also won her 15-16 age group. Schleicher is one of the Florida Gold Coast’s top open water swimmers.

At the SOFLO Holiday Classic, she was second in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events and 100-yard backstroke and third in the 100-yard butterfly, all with time drops.

Gina Grant, 20, of Pembroke Pines and SOFLO was second overall among women and second in her age group in 26:08 in the Special Olympics Open Water Mile Swim.

Two other SOFLO swimmers competed in the mile swim. Leonardo Mateus, 16, was sixth overall in 15:47 and Alejandro Mateus, 13, was tenth overall in 16:39. Both won their age groups.

Canadian David Pouliot won the men’s overall title in 14:24 among 123 men and his 19-24 age group title.


Olympian and former Florida Atlantic swimmer Manny Huerta won the 30-34 age group title Sunday at the Ironman South American Championship in Mar del Plata, Argentina. He finished in 8 hours, 29 minutes and 47 seconds. He was 15th among 728 male triathletes and 18th overall among a field of 834. He qualified in his age group for the Kona Ironman World Championship representing Puerto Rico. Michaeil Weiss of Austria won in 7:30:23. Aussie Sarah Crowley won the women’s title in 8:20.17.


1. David Pouliot, Canada 14:24, 2. Nathan Beaudin-Bolduc, Canada 14:54, 3. Edouard Belanger, Canada 14:55, 4. Mathieu Potvin, Canada 14:58, 5. Maxime Gagnon, Canada 15:01, 6. Leonardo Mateus, Miramar 15:47, 7. Ricardo Valdivia, South Miami 15:51, 8. Alejandro Mateus, Miramar 16:39, 9. Xavier Desharnais, Canada 17:08, 10. Diego Lopez, Boynton Beach 17:21.


1. Mallory Schleicher, Cooper City 16:26, 2. Rosalie Davidson, Canada 16:38, 3. Mia Venera Desjarlais, Canada 16:41, 4. Genevieve Louis-Seize, Canada 17:01, 5. Andrea Terriault, Canada 17:06, 6. Alexandra Judith Bougie, Canada 17:07, 7. Liz Dillman, Naperville, Ill. 18:00, 8. Samantha Trodick, Sunrise 19:23, 9. Anabela Shearer, Sunrise 19:26, 10. Merle Liivand, Tallinn 19:35.


13-14, 1. Anabela Shearer 19:26, 2. Megan Smith 20:16.7, 3. Sofia Avellaneda 20:16.9; 15-16, 1. Mallory Schleicher 16:26, 2. Genevieve Louis-Seize 17:01, 3. Samantha Trodick 19:23; 17-18, 1. Rosalie Davidson 16:38, 2. Mia Venera Desjarlais 16:41, 3. Maya Goldstein 24:52; 19-24, 1. Andrea Terriault 17:06, 2. Alexandra Judith Bougie 17:07, 3. Kristen Page 22:25; 25-29, 1. Merle Liivand 19:35, 2. Monica Sita 20:58, 3. Arianna Sunyak 24:42; 30-34, 1. Francesca Smart 20:58, 2. Kelly Tewksbury 23:38, 3. Alise Shoemaker 24:42; 35-39, 1. Liliana Montes 23:57, 2. Sara Edlund 25:00, 3. Jennifer Cotugno 29:20; 40-44, 1. Isabel De La Vega 32:01; 45-49, 1. Maete Porto 21:44, 2. Kathleen Cattie 27:40, 3. Amanda Hunt 29:55; 50-54, 1. Liz Dillman 18:00, 2. Valerie Yaeger 31:21, 3. Kathy Eva 35:14; 55-59, 1. Carin Cohen 23:10, 2. Cafeae Rebecca Brown 26:53, 3. Adrienne Chin-Ogilvie 31:25; 60-64, 1. Carla Albano 23:20, 2. Nancy Famulari 26:53, 3. Sheryl Strasser 28:32; 65-69, 1. Janice Mattson 21:25; 70-and-over, 1. Susan Morris 32:40.


11-12, 1. Lucas Young 21:51, 2. Giovanni Gianfriddo 27:55, 3. Leonardo Moncada 28:13; 13-14, 1. Alejandro Mateus 16:39, 2. Roberto Kassin 20:11, 3. Cesar Rodriguez 28:19; 15-16, 1. Leonardo Mateus 15:47, 2. Diego Lopez 17:21; 17-18, 1. Mathieu Potvin 14:58, 2. Maxime Gagnon 15:01, 3. Brandon Schleicher 19:49; 19-24, 1. David Pouliot 14:24, 2. Nathan Beaudin-Bolduc 14:54, 3. Edouard Belanger 14:55; 25-29, 1. Xavier Desharnais 17:08, 2. Nicholas Ewing 22:35, 3. Caio Pereira 23:07; 30-34, 1. Oscar Fonseca 19:54, 2. Mario Pacitti 23:14, 3. Juan Castaneda 23:18; 35-39, 1. Wesley Hardin 21:23, 2. Jasmel Acosta 22:21, 3. Eduardo Klepacz 22:48; 40-44, 1. Peter Gutenberg 20:46, 2. Alejandro Kaed 22:47, 3. Brian Clay 22:53; 45-49, 1. Andrew Farrell 18:56, 2. Eduardo Tawil 19:07, 3. Luiz Andrade 20:45; 50-54, 1. Ricardo Valdivia 15:51, 2. Jeffrey Moore 17:35, 3. Victor Mestre 20:34; 55-59, 1. Hugo Vila 20:03, 2. John De Olazarra 20:23, 3. Mark Beutler 20:25; 60-64, 1. David Boudreau 20:44, 2. Edward Boaz 20:49, 3. Carlos Lloreda 20:52; 65-69, 1. Robert Strauss 25:37, 2. Frank McCarthy 29:20, 3. Arnaldo Ramos 29:21; 70-and-over, 1. John Peck 33:29, 2. Ron Samson 35:37.


1. Filipp Nosov, Sunny Isles Beach 15:43, 2. Kateryna Honcharova, St. Charles, Mo. 18:06, 3. Peter Vila, Miami 24:26, 4. Gianni Mercado, Hollywood 24:29, 5. Gina Grant, Pembroke Pines 26:08.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 191: Nineteen Florida Gold Coast Swimmers Earn Scholastic All-American Honors

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 191: Nineteen Florida Gold Coast Swimmers Earn Scholastic All-American Honors


September 9, 2012

Nineteen swimmers from the Florida Gold Coast were named to USA Swimming’s 2011-2012 Scholastic All-America Team.

The Scholastic All-American team is made up of high school student-athletes who have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and who have achieved the required time standard in a single event.

There were 630 female swimmers including 460 with a 4.0 GPA and 596 male swimmers including 423 with a 4.0 GPA. The Southern Zone had the second highest number of All-Americans with 332 just three behind the Eastern Zone with 335.

There were a total of 1,226 swimmers from around the country named to the team.

FGC swimmers named to the team were: Emma Lincoln of Coral Springs Swim Club; Francis Casey and Brittany Hammond of Pine Crest; Dani Gomez, Performance Aquatics; Christina Herfurth and Julie Suarez, Lake Lytal Aquatics; Emily Kopas, Jordy Groters, Descartes Holland, Alex Lilley and Lucas Britto, Davie Nadadores; Jessi Randolph, and Dylan Marsolek, Plantation; Clara Smiddy, Sam Smiddy and Derek Chait, AK Sharks; Lance Rutkin, Swim Fort Lauderdale; Daniel Spas, Heritage Aquatics; and Aaron Tam, Metro Aquatics.

Gators Release Schedule

Swimmers got a look at their 2012-2013 schedule that features seven dual meets and three regular season invitationals. The Gators will host five events including the All-Florida Invitational that is scheduled for Sept. 28-30 that kicks off the season. The Gators roster includes Florida Gold Coast swimmers Carlos Omana, Luke Torres, Ryan Rosenbaum and sisters Lindsey and Taylor McKnight.

2012-2013 Schedule: Sept. 28-30, All-Florida Invitational; Oct. 19-20, at SMU Classic (women only); Oct. 25, at Georgia; Oct.26, at South Carolina; Nov. 2, Texas A&M; Nov. 15, at Florida State; Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Ohio State Buckeye Invitational; Jan. 18-19, SMU Classic (men only); Jan. 19, Florida Atlantic; Jan. 26, at Auburn; Feb. 1, Tennessee; Feb. 19-23, SEC Championships at Texas; March 1-2, Bulldog Last Chance Meet; March 10, Gator Last Chance Meet; March 11-13, NCAA Diving Zone, Knoxville; March 21-23, Women’s NCAA Championships, Indianapolis; March 28-30, Men’s NCAA Championships, Indianapolis.


Three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines won the Battle of the Sexes at the RCP Tiburon Sprint Classic in Atherton, Calif. Gaines won the inaugural 50-yard freestyle race in 21.98 seconds. He finished ahead of Bahamian Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, who trains at University of Miami, in 22.33. Vanderpool-Wallace won her heat to advance into the final against Gaines. Other women in the heats were Lara Jackson, Liv Jensen, Emily Silver, Dana Vollmer and Kara Lynn Joyce. Gaines won $2,500 which he donated to the USA Swimming Foundation which he is an ambassador. In the men’s race, Josh Schneider defended his title to win $10,000 against seven of the fastest sprinters in history. Schneider won the 50-yard freestyle in 19.63 ahead of George Bovell in 19.74. In another special race, Tom Jager and Matt Biondi competed against each other for the first time in 20 years with Jager winning in 23.11. Biondi finished in 23.18. Though they have not competed in any meets, both continue to swim regularly…. 

Five-time Olympian Dara Torres, now officially retired from competitive swimming, earned another honor. The 45-year-old mother was named to the 2012-13 United States national team after finishing fourth at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She is the oldest member on the national team roster. Each athlete received a congratulatory letter from Frank Busch, USA Swimming’s national team director. Torres officially retired after just missing qualifying for her sixth Olympic team in the 50-meter freestyle and notified USADA she was no longer competing. Torres has been busy raising her daughter, moving and making several appearances including the U.S. Open with Cullen Jones to help kick off National Childhood Obesity Month in Flushing Meadow, N.Y. The only other South Floridian and Florida Gold Coast swimmer to make the national team was Pine Crest alum Joey Pedraza of Davie Nadadores in the open water 10K…

USA Swimming has cut funding for open water coaches at FINA World Cup races. An email from open water program manager Bryce Elser was sent to all open water swimmers on Thursday. Alex Meyer was one of the first to tweet about it on Twitter. USA Swimming will not be funding coaches who accompany their open water swimmers to FINA 10K events. The decision came after FINA clarified to USA Swimming that at these events there has to be one coach per national team athlete, rather than one coach per country. The next FINA race in the World Cup Series is this weekend in Hong Kong…

Veteran Olympic coach Jon Urbancheck, who recently turned 75, will be joining the staff as a volunteer coach at University of Southern California…

Lance Armstrong, stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life for doping, has been banned from the Oct. 7 Chicago Marathon which he planned to run to raise money for his Livestrong Foundation for cancer survivors. The ban bars participation in any sport or event sanctioned by a sporting body that is under the umbrella of the World Anti-Doping Code including most of the top triathlons…

Miami’s Manny Huerta, competing for the first time since the 2012 London Olympics, finished third at Sunday’s Guatape ITU Triathlon World Cup in Colombia to secure his first career ITU World Cup podium finish. Huerta finished in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 24 seconds on the 1,500-meter swim, 40K bike and 10K run course. It was Huerta’s best career finish on the ITU World Cup circuit. Huerta will compete Saturday in the USA Triathlon Elite National Championship in Buffalo, N.Y…

Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin have been making the post-Olympic rounds from fashion shows in New York City to the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles. Franklin was an honored guest at the music awards show along with gymnast Gabby Douglas. She brought her cousin and wore one of her Olympic gold medals. She was an obvious crowd favorite signing autographs and posing for photos. Lochte, who no longer in the running for The Bachelor, is making the talk show rounds in New York and attending fashion shows. Lochte confirmed he is working on his own fashion line and will have a cameo appearance on the NBC series 30 Rock. Lochte is also attempting to cover New York Fashion Week for E News but receiving lukewarm reviews.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 14: University of Florida Gators Top Rankings At Olympic Games

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 14: University of Florida Gators Top Rankings At Olympic Games


August 7, 2012

During the 2012 London Olympics, ninety-one semifinalists in the swimming competition were either current or former college student-athletes including Elizabeth Beisel and Ryan Lochte.

According to which scored the Olympic races as if it were the NCAA Championships and ranked each school based on their scores, the University of Florida ranked first in both the men’s and women’s categories.

The Gator men would have finished with 91 points edging Auburn with 82. Lochte and seven other current and former Gators advanced into the semifinals and four of them qualified for finals.

In the women’s competition, Florida scored 112 points ahead of California with 100. Beisel and six other swimmers made it to semifinals and five of them moved on to the finals in their events.

The Gator swimmers won 11 Olympic medals, tying them with Japan if Florida was a country in the medal table.

The rankings:

Men: 1. Florida 91, 2. Auburn 82, 3. Michigan 63, 4. California 51, 5. Arizona 43, 6. Texas, 25, 7. Northwestern, N.C. State, tie, 20, 9. Southern California 16, 10. Georgia Tech, UC-Davis, tie, 14, 12. Georgia 9, 13. Stanford, 4.

Women: 1. Florida 112, 2. California 100, 3. Southern California 75, 4. Georgia, Auburn, tie, 60, 6. Texas A&M 55, 7. UNLV 21, 8. Texas, 15, 9. Washington 14, 10. Nebraska, 13, 11. Western Kentucky 12, 12. Drury 7, 13. Arizona, Ohio State, tie, 6, 14. Minnesota 3.

More Swimming Notes

Teenager Missy Franklin made more than $200,000 in Olympic bonus money but it could be caught up in NCAA red tape. The 17-year-old high school senior is awaiting to hear from the NCAA just how much of it she can keep and still maintain her amateur status…Michael Phelps, who is reportedly worth $40 million, will make tens of millions more after his London performance. Phelps could also earn $300,000 in tax-free bonuses from the U.S. Olympic Committee and his eleven endorsers for his medal count alone…Ryan Lochte is lobbying for an invitation to ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.


Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee, 24, won the gold medal, finishing ahead of Spain’s Javier Gomez who collapsed after crossing the finish line next to Brownlee who was also flat on his back. Too exhausted to get up, the pair reached out and shook hands while still lying on their backs. Brownlee’s 22-year-old brother took the bronze.

The course was a 0.9-mile swim, 26.7-mile bike and 6.2-mile run through Hyde Park.

Alistair, a two-time world champion, finished in 1 hour, 46 minutes and 25 seconds including a 29:07 run. Gomez finished 9 seconds back in 1:46:34 and Jonathan finished in 1:46:56. American Hunter Kemper, competing in his fourth Olympic Games, was 14th in 1:48:46.

“Being 36 years old, the leg speed isn’t quite there,” Kemper said. “Sure as heck wasn’t there today. I wish it was. I’m a lot better runner than that.”

U.S. teammate Manny Huerta of Miami was 51st in 1:53:39.

The Brownlee brothers have now shared seven podiums in major international races together, including three since 2011. “I was obviously very, very proud and happy, but my overriding emotion was to get over the line and be over and done with it,” Alistair said.


Russian Ilya Zakharov won the gold medal in the men’s 3-meter springboard final spoiling China’s bid to sweep all eight diving events in London.

With only 1.25 points separating Zakharov and China’s Qin Kai, Zakharov clinched the title on his final dive with 104.50 points on his forward 4 ½ somersault tuck.

“I’m so pleased that I have managed to take away at least one medal from China,” Zakharov said. “After the last dive when I came up to the surface and I heard the noise that’s when the happiness swept over me.”

American Troy Dumais, 32, the only U.S. male diver to compete in four Olympics, finished fifth with a personal best 498.35. Chris Colwill had a tough start, missing one dive and failing to score on another, failing to make finals and finishing 18th. Dumais plans on competing at nationals and world championships and retiring after that.

Water polo

For the third time since 2000, the U.S. women’s team will play for the gold medal on Thursday after beating Australia, 11-9, in overtime on Tuesday. Maggie Steffens scored four goals including the winning goal in overtime. The U.S. will play Spain, 10-9 winners over Hungary. Neither the U.S. or Spain have ever won the gold medal in women’s water polo since the sport was added to the Summer Games in 2000.

Synchronized Swimming

Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina won the gold medal in the duet competition and continued Russia’s domination in the sport. Spain’s Ona Carbonell and Andrea Fuentes edged China’s Huang Xuechen and Liu Ou for the silver medal. They finished with 197.100 points to top a field of 11 teams.  The pair train 10 hours a day in the pool or the gym. “We don’t want to reveal all of our secrets, but standing upside-down in the pool is no joke,” said Ishchenko. The U.S. duet of Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva finished 11th. It was China’s first medal in duet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 158: SOFLO’s Sharntelle McLean Competes This Weekend In Trinidad

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 158: SOFLO’s Sharntelle McLean Competes This Weekend In Trinidad


May 30, 2012

Two-time Trinidad and Tobago Olympian Sharntelle McLean, who has been training at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, will compete this weekend in the ASATT National Open Long Course Championships in her native country.

McLean, one of the more experienced swimmers in the field, is going after her FINA Olympic qualifying time in the 50-meter freestyle.

Dylan Carter, also of Trinidad and Tobago, who has trained in Coral Springs with Keegan Boisson-Yates, is also going after his first Olympic berth.

At 16, Carter is just 1.40 and 1.60 seconds shy of qualifying in the 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter butterfly.

The Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago is hosting the last meet on its local soil for Olympic hopefuls.

The meet is also serving as a qualifier for next month’s Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in Aruba.

The meet begins Thursday at 6 p.m. and ends Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Marlins Swimming Pool in Port of Spain.

West Florida Adds Women’s Swimming

University of West Florida has added a women’s swimming and diving team beginning in the fall of 2013.

A national search for a head coach is under way.

The Division II program in Pensacola has a student body of 12,000 students and 14 varsity sports.

The new team already has a 50-meter indoor pool that underwent a $4.5 million renovation in 2011. The pool already hosts USA Swimming and high school meets.

More college news

College coaches are considering new criteria for NCAA qualifiers that could change the way relays will qualify for future NCAA championships. Currently, entire relays make the national meet by times which means not all of the best swimmers in the country are competing at nationals. A new measure being proposed by the coaches is to limit all relays at nationals to only those who qualify for the meet and the relays would be selected from that talent pool. Most coaches seem to be in favor of the change even though it means that the strongest programs in the national will benefit the most. If the new rule is passed, it would go into effect the 2014-15 season.


Brothers Jason and David Dunford of Kenya are training with Italian coach Andrea Di Nino and ADN Swim Project. Di Nino worked with six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex before moving back to Italy. His swimmers have been training at an altitude camp in Sierra Nevada before heading to the Barcelona leg of the Mare Nostrum Tour, Sette Colli Meet in Rome, Aspria Cup in Milan and Paris Open. The brothers have qualified for London and after graduating from Stanford’s Masters program plane to work in Silicon Valley after the Olympics…

SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski of Arizona State, on a training trip in Scandinavia, has shin splits from walking around Denmark….Newly-minted U.S. Olympians Laura Reback Bennett of North Palm Beach and Manny Huerta of Miami, both former Florida Gold Coast swimmers, compete Saturday in the Dallas ITU Pan American Cup. The event is draft-legal and features a 1500-meter swim, 40K bike and 10K run. Both Bennett and Huerta will race for the first time since qualifying for the men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic teams.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 154: Soni Swims World’s Fastest Time This Year

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 154: Soni Swims World’s Fastest Time This Year


May 12, 2012

Olympic champion Rebecca Soni swam the fastest time of the year Saturday night at the USA Swimming Charlotte UltraSwim Grand Prix.

Soni won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:22.22, the best time in the world beating her own 2:22.73 she clocked at the Austin Grand Prix in January.

Soni had already won the 100-meter breaststroke the night before.

In another exciting race, China’s three-time Olympian Wu Peng, 24, of Club Wolverine turned it on in the final 25 meters to beat Michael Phelps, 26, of North Baltimore to win the 200-meter butterfly in 1:56.69.

Phelps finished in 1:56.87. Sixteen-year old Joseph Schooling of Bolles was eighth in 2:01.70. Schooling will make his Olympic debut for Singapore.

“I feel like these are little quizzes,” Phelps said. “They are like little building blocks.”

Former Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Kevin Bandy, 21, of Cardinal Aquatics finished the 200-meter butterfly in 2:10.24.

In other championship finals Saturday night:

Kathleen Hersey, 22, of Longhorn Aquatics won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.68.

Jessica Hardy, 25, of Trojan Swim Club won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.83.

Josh Schneider, 24, of SwimMAC won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.10.

Elizabeth Pelton, 18, of T2Aquatics and Rachel Bootsma tied to win the 100-meter backstroke in 1:00.25. American record holder Natalie Coughlin, 29, was third in 1:00.83.

Nick Thoman, 26, of SwimMAC won the 100-meter backstroke in 53.77. Ryan Lochte was eighth in 56.43.

Allison Schmitt, 21, of North Baltimore won the 400-meter freestyle in a meet record in 4:05.40. The top three swimmers dipped under the meet record.

Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli, 28, of Trojan Swim Club won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:50.17.

Eric Shanteau, 28, of Trojan Swim Club won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:09.72.

Dana Vollmer, 25, of California won the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 25.80. Claire Donahue, 23, of Western Kentucky, who has been training with SOFLO in Pembroke Pines, was second in 26.69, also a meet record.

Matthew Targett, 26, of Australia won the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 23.11. Six of the top finishers broke the meet record.

Former Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Kevin Bandy, 21, of Cardinal Aquatics finished the 200-meter butterfly in 2:10.24.

SOFLO’s Nick Schwab, 21, of Indiana University, finished the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:28.23.

The meet concludes on Sunday and is being webcast live at

Another FGC Swimmer Makes Olympics

Cuban-born Manny Huerta of Miami, who started out swimming and running cross-country at Florida Atlantic University, qualified for his first Olympics Saturday at the ITU World Triathlon Series San Diego Triathlon.

Huerta joins another FGC swimmer Laura Reback Bennett of North Palm Beach on the U.S. Olympic team. Huerta recently spent time living in a volcano in Costa Rica for high altitude training.

Huerta was ninth in 1:49.31.

“I knew it would come down to the run,” Huerta said. “The past couple of weeks I have been focusing on my run, especially my running off the bike. I did very hard bikes and then I’d come down and do runs. I was pretty much on the last pack on the swim but I stayed positive. I stayed calm. We caught up and then I set myself up in very good position on the bike on the last couple of laps. Then I went out with my heart and then gave everything I had.”

American Hunter Kemper, 36, of Orlando made his fourth Olympic team with his fifth-place finish in 1:49.17. “This is my first race of the year and I am over the moon,” said Kemper, coming back from a broken elbow.

Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee won in 1:48.47.

Americans needed to finish in the top nine in order to earn spots on  their Olympic team. The course was a 1500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10K run.

“I never, never gave up on my dream,” Huerta said. “I battled through so many downs and ups, like many athletes, but I knew that today it was special. I was racing in my new country and I wanted to make my dream come true. For many young Hispanics like me, who come to America with that dream, they stick to their dream and they never give up.”

Norway’s Alexander Dale Oen Laid To Rest

In front of a national television audience in Norway, swimming hero and Olympian Alexander Dale Oen was laid to rest after a two-hour service. Hundreds of mourners turned out for the funeral on Friday. The world champion was Norway’s best swimmer in history and 2012 gold medal hopeful. On April 30, he died suddenly at age 26 of an apparent cardiac arrest during a training trip in Sweden.

Lochte Makes Cover

Floridian Ryan Lochte is featured on the cover of next month’s Vogue Magazine along with soccer player Hope Solo and tennis player Serena Williams in the Olympic hopefuls issue. Lochte is the fourth man to be featured on the cover.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 92: SOFLO’s Polyakov Wins Two More Gold Medals At Asian Championships

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 92: SOFLO’s Polyakov Wins Two More Gold Medals At Asian Championships

October 12, 2011


Two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov won his second and third gold medals at the Asian Age Group Swimming Championships Wednesday in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:15.9. His splits were 30.4, 34.3, 35.2 and 36.0.

Polyakov told his coach Bruno Darzi that he felt good during morning prelims to qualify (2:17.8) but felt tired in the championship final, was sluggish in the water and nearly got out-touched at the finish.

“I think my body is taking a beating and it’s hard to be performing at these conditions,” Polyakov said.

Polyakov was also a member of the winning medley relay.

Polyakov won the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes and was third in the 50-meter breaststroke, but missed making the qualifying times for the 2012 London Olympics.

There are several FINA-sanctioned meets over the next few months Polyakov and other swimmers will compete in to attempt to qualify for his third Olympics.

Polyakov, who represents Kazakhstan internationally, trains at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Local Triathlete Named To Pan Am Team

Former Florida Atlantic University student and triathlete Manny Huerta of Miami was named to the U.S. triathlon team for the Pan American Games that begin in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The former Florida Gold Coast swimmer replaces three-time Olympian Hunter Kemper, who broke his elbow during a bike crash at this past Sunday’s USA Triathlon Elite Race Series Finals in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Kemper, 35, underwent a surgical procedure on Monday and is expected to have more surgery.

Huerta just returned to Costa Rica from Mexico where he finished sixth at the Oct. 9 World Cup event in Huatulco despite 100-degree temperature and humidity. He was treated for dehydration at a local hospital.

Huerta was the U.S. men’s alternate for the Pan Am Games. It is the biggest international meet for the 2012 Olympic hopeful. The men’s triathlon race is Sunday, Oct. 23.

“This will be my first time representing my country at a major games and I’m looking forward to it,” Huerta said.

South Florida will be well-represented in Mexico with SOFLO swimmers Alia Atkinson and Arlene Semeco and beach volleyball player Mark Van Zwieten of Pompano Beach.

College swimming

Florida State’s men’s and women’s teams will host SEC powers LSU, Alabama and South Carolina at the Morcom Aquatics Center in Tallahassee this weekend.

The Seminoles will compete against LSU on Friday and Alabama and South Carolina on Saturday. The FSU women’s swimming and diving team will wear pink caps in honor of the Paint It Pink event honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The weekend will also be Parents Weekend for FSU parents. Several SOFLO swimmers will compete including Tiffany Oliver, Melissa Cooper, Ashley Hicks, Doug Ramos and Alex Rodriguez…

The University of Florida’s SEC meet against LSU on Saturday will be webcast live on Florida Swim Network at 1 p.m…

West Virginia men’s and women’s teams will open the season this weekend by hosting the inaugural West Virginia State Games at the WVU Natatorium. Davis & Elkins, Fairmont State, Marshall, West Virginia Wesleyan, Wheeling Jesuit and host WVU will compete on Friday and Saturday. The meet is the brainchild of WVU coach Vic Riggs. The teams will also be treated to a banquet Friday night at a local golf resort. West Virginia features former Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Kyle Bandy, a junior freestyler and butterflyer…

After a ten-year hiatus, Campbellsville University in Kentucky has reinstated the men’s swim team. Eight current student-athletes will compete as a club team before a full team is built by next fall for the 2012-13 season. Former swimmer and women’s coach Casey Smith will coach the men’s team. Smith plans to spend the next year recruiting high school seniors. Those seniors interested can contact Smith at or 1-270-789-5260.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 52: Diana Nyad In The Water, Swimming To Florida

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 52: Diana Nyad In The Water, Swimming To Florida

August 7, 2011


At 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Diana Nyad, who grew up swimming in Fort Lauderdale, started her second attempt at the Cuba to Key West swim by jumping into the water at Marina Hemingway and swimming off into the sunset.

Nyad, 61, who first tried the swim in 1978 at age 29, was forced out of the water after more than 70 miles of swimming because of poor weather last year.

The former Pine Crest swimmer is in the midst of a 103-mile open water swim without a shark cage expected to take about 60 hours through the Florida Straits.

Nyad told reporters on Sunday morning in Havana that she planned to enter the water that night at Havana’s Marina Hemingway.

“We’re going to get started tonight,” Nyad said. “As you can probably tell, I’m pretty nervous. My adrenaline is flowing, but I’ve been training for two years.”

Nyad, one of the all-time greatest endurance swimmers in the world, was excited to get started.

“All of my life, I dreamed of being the first one ever to swim across without a shark cage,” Nyad said. “When I walk up on those shores of Florida, I want to prove to the AARP crowd that it’s not too late to go back and write that book or adopt that child.”

Nyad has a small armada of five boats accompanying her. Her Xtreme Dream Team has more than 30 people with ten handlers including a doctor taking turns watching Nyad and handling her feeding, hydrating and jellyfish stings. Six ocean kayakers are also switching off paddling kayaks by her side and towing underneath them electronic Shark Shields to discourage sharks and other sea creatures.

CNN has a crew of seven on a boat equipped with a special marine tracking satellite dish to provide live pictures of the swim.

Nyad, a Hall of Famer who said the 60s is the new 40s, started leaving her mark on open water swimming in 1975 when she completed a record-setting swim around the island of Manhattan in 7 hours and 57 minutes.

Four years later, she set a world record for distance when she completed a 102-mile open water swim from Bimini to Florida. 

The one swim that eluded her is the Cuba to Florida trek. Her first attempt in 1978, Nyad was pulled from the water after 76 miles in 49 hours and 41 minutes because of high winds and ocean swells pushed her off course.

Nyad didn’t swim seriously for 31 years after 1979. Nyad has been training in the Caribbean from her base in St. Maarten and was in Key West waiting for favorable weather reports and her window of opportunity which opened on Sunday.

Miami’s Manny Huerta Top American Finisher

Manny Huerta was the top American finisher but it was bittersweet since he failed to qualify for the U.S. Olympic men’s triathlon team with a 25th

place finish in rainy conditions at Hyde Park in London.

Huerta finished the Olympic course distance in 1 hour, 52 minutes and 30 seconds.

Two men’s spots on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team could have been clinched with top nine finishes by the Americans. With no spots secured in London, the next chance to qualify will come at a determined World Cup Series race in the spring of 2012.

“I’m disappointed that I didn’t make the automatic qualification for the Olympics,” Huerta said. “I’m looking forward to getting faster, getting stronger and staying healthy for the next qualifier.”

U.S. favorites Jarrod Shoemaker (crashed on the bike) and Hunter Kemper, who had stomach issues on the run, did not finish.

Great Britain’s Alistair Brownlee won the men’s title in 1:50:09. Russian Alexander Bryukhanov was second in 1:50.34.

Sharon Robb can be reached at