SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Makes First U.S. Olympic Trials Cut, Makes “C” Final At Phillips 66 National Championships

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 3, 2019—Kathleen Golding is living her dream.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer rose to the occasion with what her coach Chris Anderson called “a spectacular swim” Saturday at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Avery Aquatic Center.

Golding, 18, competing in only her second senior national championship, made her first U.S. Olympic Trials cut in the 400-meter freestyle in morning prelims.

“This is a dream come true,” said Golding, headed to the University of Florida this fall. “It’s what you work for. I am looking forward to going to college and what’s to come.”

Golding swam a lifetime-best 4:15.31 to earn a trip to the June 2020 Trials and chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

Her previous best was 4:18.14. She was seeded 67th going into the race. She was 24th in prelims and qualified for the “C” final. She dropped 2.83 off her previous best.

And then, to top it off she found another gear and came back at night to better her cut time in 4:14.38 and finish 21st. Her total time drop was 3.76.

“I felt really good and strong in the morning,” Golding said. “I was really surprised it didn’t hurt that bad. I was just trying to win my heat. I wasn’t focused on the time. When I touched the wall I was surprised. I didn’t think I was going to get the Trials cut. It gave me confidence for tonight.

“I tried to come back even faster and work on my back half of the race,” Golding said. “I used my confidence from the morning to swim even faster.”

Even more satisfying was the fact Golding made the Olympic Trials qualifying standard with her longtime coach.

“I’m happy I got it with Coach, he was really happy,” Golding said. “He is the reason I am as good as I am. He’s been with me every single day at practice. It means a lot to get the cut with him.

“I had a little bit of a rough spring season, but over the summer I put in a lot of hard training and had a good section meet. It built my confidence for this meet.”

Her biggest accomplishment came less than a day after getting disqualified in the 400-meter individual medley, one of her signature events. Golding has the 200-meter individual event left to swim on Sunday.

“I honestly didn’t feel like I got disqualified,” Golding said. “I was surprised when they pulled me. It does happen and I just had to put it behind me, not think about it and focus on my other races.”

In her fourth and final event at nationals, SOFLO teammate Mary Smutny, 18, was 58th in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:21.28. Smutny is headed to University of Texas this fall.

In other Saturday races:

Ally McHugh surprised the field that featured early leaders Allison Schmitt and Sierra Schmidt to win the 400-meter freestyle in 4:07.08. McHugh pulled off a 29.77 on her final 50-meter split to reach the wall first after being fourth for most of the race.

Elijah Winnington won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:47.39 to complete his sweep of the middle distance freestyles.

Breeja Larson won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.78, her fastest time since 2014.

Devon Nowicki surged in the final 50 meters to win the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.69, just 1/10th of a second ahead of Craig Benson.

Amy Bilquist won the 100-meter backstroke in 59.64, the only swimmer in the final to break one minute.

Shaine Casas won the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 52.72, fifth fastest time in the world this year.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Dahlia, Weyant, Finke, Rooney Come Up Big On Day Three Of Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 3, 2019–It was a short but exciting night of racing on Day Three of the Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships Friday at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatics Center.

Emma Weyant came from behind midway through the race and held on to win the 400-meter individual medley in 4:35.47, best time in the U.S. this year. Weyant put in a final surge in the last 50 meters to edge Brooke Ford, second in 4:36.06.

Bobby Finke of St. Petersburg Aquatics won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:13.15, just edging out Carson Foster in 4:13.39, a world junior record. Finke reeled in Foster in the final 50.

Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, in sixth place at the 50-meter mark, won the 100-meter butterfly in 57.35 ahead of Amanda Kendall in 57.51.

Maxime Rooney went out fast and held on to win the 100-meter butterfly in 51.09. Jack Conger was second in 51.70.

Sixteen-year-old Torri Huske broke one of the oldest national age group records in the books. Huske finished just off the podium in 57.80, splitting 26.80/31.00, and breaking Mary Meagher‘s record of 57.93 from 1981.

Dana Vollmer, a seven-time Olympic medalist, swam the final race of her career Friday. She finished 32nd overall in the 100-meter butterfly preliminaries, clocking a time of 59.94 and failing to advance to the final.

The 31-year-old mother of two had announced that the race would be her last. She remains the American record holder in her signature event. Vollmer will retire with 10 long-course and six short-course World Championships medals in addition to her seven Olympic medals.

On an unusual day for South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers, both Kathleen Golding, 18, and Mary Smutny, 18, were disqualified in their events during morning prelims.

Golding was disqualified in the 400-meter individual medley for two butterfly kicks on her breaststroke pullout and Smutny was disqualified in the 100-meter butterfly. Both will swim the 400-meter freestyle on Saturday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Olympian Allison Schmitt Returns In Winning Form; SOFLO’s Smutny Races Second Event

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif.—After nearly a two-year hiatus, three-time Olympian Allison Schmitt is back in the water and looking good.

The eight-time Olympic medalist won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:56.97 at the Phillips 66 National Championships Thursday at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatic Center.

It was 1.3 seconds faster than she swam at world championships where she placed a disappointing 14th. Thursday’s swim was her fastest since August 2018.

Ever since I decided I was going to get back into the pool, eyes were set on 2020,” said Schmitt. “It’s definitely still a day-by-day process, has its ups and downs. But, as a whole, it’s been a good journey, and like I said, I’m really looking forward to this upcoming year.”

Schmitt, at 29, is the only woman left from the 2008 U.S. Olympic swim team who is going for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Her American record from winning the 200-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games remains one of the few marks that Katie Ledecky hasn’t crushed.

Also in the women’s 200-meter freestyle, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mary Smutny, 18, went 2:03.92.

In other Thursday events:

Madisyn Cox won the women’s 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.84, a personal best by 1.78 seconds.

Cal sophomore Reece Whitley, at 6-foot-9 one of the sport’s tallest swimmers, won his first national 200-meter breaststroke title in a personal-best 2:09.69.

Texas junior Austin Katz won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:55.72, which would have earned a bronze medal at worlds.

Asia Seidt won the women’s 200-meter backstroke in 2:08.90. Regan Smith, the 17-year-old who broke the world record at worlds, did not to race this event at nationals.

Aussie teenager Elijah Winnington won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.19.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Ryan Lochte Returns To Swimming At Phillips 66 National Championships; SOFLO’s Golding, Smutny Swim First Races

By Sharon Robb

STANFORD, Calif., August 2, 2019—Olympic champion Ryan Lochte returned to the competitive spotlight Wednesday at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatic Center.

On opening day, Lochte swam the fourth-fastest time by an American in the 200-meter individual medley during a time trial and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1:57.88. The time is only 3.88 seconds off his world record time.

“I’m back, woo,” Lochte told reporters after his race. “It’s been a long three years but it’s good to be back, get on those blocks and race again.”

Lochte, 35, a father of two, is coming off a 14-month suspension for receiving an infusion of vitamin B-12 above the allowed limit. During his suspension, he checked himself into a rehab center in Florida for six weeks to fight alcohol abuse.

“I don’t do that much anymore,” Lochte said. “I’ve been splotchy with my swimming. Family trumps everything. Swimming has been my second priority. Nationals, for me, is a stepping stone to see where I’m at in the swimming world. It’s a long journey to next year to see what I can do.”

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mary Smutny and Kathleen Golding got in their first swims on Wednesday.

Smutny, 18, was 49th in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:15.74. Golding, 18, was 97th in the 100-meter freestyle in 57.56.

Wednesday night opening winners were:

Women’s 800-meter freestyle, Ally McHugh, 22, WA 8:26.04.

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle, Bobby Finke, 19, St. Petersburg Aquatics 14:51.15.

Women’s and men’s 200-meter butterfly, Regan Smith, RIPT 2:07.26; Luca Urlando, 17, DART 1:54.92.

Women’s and men’s 100-meter freestyle, Abbey Weitzell, CAL 43.18; Ryan Held, NYAC 47.39, third fastest time this year.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Smutny, Mateus Top 20 Finishers On Day Two Of Southern Zone Age Group Championships


CARY, N.C., August 2, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Maddie Smutny and Alejandro Mateus finished among the Top 20 Wednesday at the Southern Zone Age Group Championships at Triangle Aquatic Center.

Smutny, 14, finished 16th in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:12.86, 12th in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:06.78 and was a member of the Florida Gold Coast’s seventh-place 400-meter medley relay in 4:35.41 with teammates Nicol Bellardi, Michelle Fenandez and Mariana Cote.

Mateus, 14, was 17th in the 100-meter butterfly in a best time 1:02.67 with a time drop 0.67.


200-meter freestyle:
11-12, 1. Ellery Eward, NCS 2:09.18; FGC: 5. Emma Herrera 2:12.80, time drop, 0.53; 13-14, 1. Kaylee Wu, STX 2:06.58; 15-18, 1. Amy Riordan, GA 2:07.59.

50-meter breaststroke:
11-12, 1. Savannah Branon, FL 35.42.

200-meter breaststroke:
13-14, 1. Delaney Franklin, SC 2:39.69; 15-18, 1. Isbella Gaskey, NCS 2:42.08.

100-meter butterfly:
11-12, 1. Ella Freeman, NTX 1:05.89; FGC: 3. Sidney Araton 1:07.26, time drop 1.56, 8. Emma Herrera 1:08.43; 13-14, 1. Ava Whitaker, NTX 1:02.72; 15-18, 1. Payton Smith, GA 1:04.26.

400-meter medley relay:
11-12, 1. North Texas 4:31.66, 6. Florida Gold Coast 4:46.94 (Carolyn Powell, Bianca Nieto, Emma Herrera, Sidney Anton); 13-14, 1. Florida Swimming 4:26.07, 7. Florida Gold Coast 4:35.41 (Nicol Bellardi, Michelle Fernandez, Maddie Smutny, Mariana Cote); 15-18, 1. North Carolina 4:29.84.


200-meter freestyle:
11-12, 1. Maximus Williamson, NTX 2:04.71; 13-14, 1. Colton Rasmussen, FL 1:57.20; 15-18, 1. Nicholas Eunice, FL 1:56.70.

50-meter breaststroke:
11-12, 1. Ruihan Zhu, NTX 33.24; FGC: 3. Giulan Martin 33.47, 0.75 time drop, 8. Alessandro Pereira 35.47, 3.56 time drop.

200-meter breaststroke:
13-14, 1. Britton Spann, 2:28.39; FGC: 5. Dylan Smiley 2:32.79, time drop 2.52; 15-18, 1. Jackson Bates, GA 2:22.26.

100-meter butterfly:
11-12, 1. Max Osman, NCS 1:03.82; FGC: 5. Lucas Bailey 1:06.75, time drop 0.48; 13-14, 1. Andrew Bleuez, GA 57.82; 15-18, 1. Lucas Thomas, KY 58.26.

400-meter medley relay:
11-12, 1. North Texas 4:24.92, 5. Florida Gold Coast 4:36.72 (Dylan Ferguson, Giulian Martin, Lucas Bailey, Riley Brisco); 13-14, 1. South Texas 4:05.87, 4. Florida Gold Coast 4:10.77 (Hudson Bishop, Dylan Smiley, Agustin Rodriguez, Mason Taylor); 15-18, 1. Team Georgia 4:02.32.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Aquatic Club Ends Successful Southern Zone South Sectional Championships With Highest Finish, More Time Standards

By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, July 14, 2018—South Florida Aquatic Club had its most successful Speedo Championship Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships in team history at University of Florida’s O’Connell Center Pool.

On Sunday, the Sharks finished third among combined teams, third (682 points) among men’s teams and fifth (576 teams) among women’s teams in the four-day, 61-team meet. South Florida Aquatic Club was the highest Florida Gold Coast finisher. Host Gator Swim Club defended its titles.

Lance Lesage, 16, picked up his second Summer Junior National qualifying standard. On Saturday, he got his first junior national cut in the 100-meter backstroke in 58.60 and on Sunday he made his 200-meter backstroke cut with a fifth-place finish in a lifetime-best time of 2:06.42, shaving 2.77 seconds off his previous best of 2:09.19. He finished with 68 points in high point.

Mallory Schleicher, 15, earned her time standard in the 200-meter backstroke to qualify for the USA Swimming Futures Championships in 2:24.54, dropping 3.30 seconds. Schleicher finished with 65 points in high point.

Kathleen Golding, 18, won the 800-meter freestyle in a best time 8:49.37, dropping 18.78 seconds. She finished with 83 points in high point.

Other top SOFLO finishers were:

SOFLO’s 400-meter freestyle relay was second in 3:56.87 with Mary Smutny, Kathleen Golding, Paige Lane and Mallory Schleicher.

Mary Smutny, 18, was third in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:16.36. She finished with 80.5 points in high point.

Schleicher was also fifth in the 800-meter freestyle in a best time 9:08.45, dropping 4.92 off her previous best of 9:13.37.

Rafael Rodriguez, 17, was ninth in the 200-meter butterfly in a best time 2:06.05, dropping 1.20 seconds off his previous best of 2:07.25.

Molly Golding, 16, was 11th in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:43.75. She finished 31 points in high point.

Dominic Bono, 16, dropped 13.74 seconds off his 1500-meter freestyle time in 16:38.08. His previous best was 16:51.80.

In addition to SOFLO, other top teams entered were host and defending champion Gator Swim Club, Bolles, Sarasota YMCA, Azura, Gulliver Swim Club, Club Seminole, Westminster Academy, Trinity Prep, Metro Aquatics, Swim Florida, Highlander and Hurricane Aquatics.

At last year’s event, SOFLO finished fifth (1,050 points) among combined teams behind host Gator Swim Club (3,007), Bolles (1,453), East Coast Aquatic Club (1,169) and Swim Florida (1,061) among 60 teams. SOFLO men finished fourth (481) and women (491) were fifth.

The Speedo Sectionals Series showcases some of the top swimming talent across the U.S. The series has several stops in various zones.

: 1. Gator Swim Club 1,724, 2. Bolles 726, 3. South Florida Aquatic Club 682, 4. Metro Aquatics 596, 5. St. Petersburg Aquatics 502, 8. St. Andrew’s Swimming 319.5, 12. Azura Florida Aquatics 218, 19. FAST 122, 20. TS Aquatics 116, 35. YMCA of SOuth Florida 52, 41. East Coast Aquatic Club 35, 52. Jupiter 17, 57. Wahoos of Wellington 11.

WOMEN’S TEAM TOTALS: 1. Gator Swim Club 1,562, 2. Blue Dolfins 949.5, 3. Sarasota Sharks 934.5, 4. Bolles 601, 5. South Florida Aquatic Club 576, 7. East Coast Aquatic Club 310, 11. Hurricane Aquatics 231, 13. Metro Aquatics 209.5, 14. St. Andrew’s 186, 22. TS Aquatics 101, 23. Azura 97, 26. North Palm Beach 86, 27. Gulliver 76, 32. Eagle Aquatics 54, 35. Jupiter 42, 52. Golden Panthers Aquatics 15, 57. FAST 9, 60. Wahoos of Wellington 2.


200-meter butterfly:
1. Nikki Miller, GSC 2:14.88, 2. Caroline Cooper, HIGH 2:16.22, 3. Mary Smutny, SOFLO 2:16.36, 27. Sarah Acevedo, SOFLO 2:26.97.

100-meter freestyle:
1. Isabella Garofalo, GSC 56.43, 2. Micayla Cronk, BD 56.47, 3. Talia Bates, GSC 56.98, 14. Mary Smutny 59.04, 25. Paige Lane, SOFLO 1:00.13.

200-meter breaststroke:
1. Vanessa Pearl, Unattached 2:32.05, 2. Gracie Weyant, SYS 2:36.36, 3. Adrianna Deboer, GSC 2:37.54, 11. Molly Golding, SOFLO 2:43.75, 28. Sally Golding, SOFLO 2:51.40, time drop 0.64.

200-meter backstroke:
1. Caitlin Brooks, GSC 2:11.32, 2. Rosie Zavaros, Unattached 2:14.31, 3. Emma Weyant, SYS 2:15.84, 19. Mallory Schleicher, SOFLO 2:24.54, time drop 3.30.

400-meter freestyle relay:
1. Gator Swim Club 3:56.40, 2. SOFLO A 3:56.87 (Mary Smutny, Kathleen Golding, Paige Lane, Mallory Schleicher), 3. Blue Dolfins 3:57.09, 18. SOFLO B 4:18.89 (Jacqueline Lugo, Molly Golding, Sara Quintero, Sarah Acevedo).

800-meter freestyle:
1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 8:49.37, time drop 18.78, 2. Savanna Faulconer, GSC 8:56.06, 3. Alixandra Roy, HIGH 9:04.83, 5. Mallory Schleicher, SOFLO 9:08.45, time drop 4.92.


200-meter butterfly:
1. Sterling Crane, EAJ 2:01.08, 2. Miguel Cancel, Unattached 2:02.71, 3. Mason Laur, T2 2:04.35, 9. Rafael Rodriguez. SOFLO 2:06.95, time drop 1.02.

100-meter freestyle:
1. Isabella Garofalo, GSC 56.43, 2. Micayla Cronk, BD 56.47, 3. Talia Bates, GSC 56.98, 14. Mary Smutny, SOFLO 59.04, 25. Paige Lane 1:00.13.

200-meter breaststroke:
1. Vanessa Pearl, Unattached 2:32.05, 2. Gracie Weyant, SYS 2:36.36, 3. Adrianna Deboer, GSC 2:37.54, 11. Molly Golding, SOFLO 2:43.75, 28. Sally Golding 2:51.40, time drop 0.64.

200-meter backstroke:
1. Kiernan Smith, RA 2:02.38, 2. Brett Saunders, TEAM 2:05.05, 3. Josh Zuchowski, FAST 2:05.08, 5. Lance Lesage, SOFLO 2:06.42, time drop 2.77, 19. Marco Cabrera Duarte, SOFLO 2:10.94.

400-meter freestyle relay:
1. Gator Swim Club 3:30.43, 2. Bolles 3:32.44, 3. Metro Aquatics 3:35.64, 7. SOFLO A 3:39.07 (Robert Wilson, Rafael Rodriguez, Lance Lesage, Miguel Sierra), 13. SOFLO B 3:43.53 (Philopatier Ibrahim, Sebastian Lares, Juan Colmenares, Marco Cabrera Duarte).

1500-meter freestyle:
1. Nicholas Sweetser, GSC 15:30.27, 2. Arik Katz, SRQ 15:33.92, 3. Matthew Anderson, GSC 15:49.40, 16. Dominic Bono, SOFLO 16:38.08, time drop 13.74.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Atkinson, Smutny Get In Some Racing At TYR Richmond Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

RICHMOND, Va., April 13, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson and Mary Smutny are getting in some racing against a strong field in the TYR Richmond Pro Swim Series at Collegiate School Aquatics Center.

The 30-year-old Atkinson’s best finish has been two ninth places in the 100-meter breaststroke in a season-best 1:08.55 and 50-meter butterfly in 27.53 in the B finals.

In the breaststroke, her splits were 32.36 and 36.19 easily winning the B event that would have placed her fifth in the championship final.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian also bettered the Pan American Games A standard time of 1:11.11 and was under the World Championships B standard of 1:09.79.

She was also 28th in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:03.53 and 46th in the 50-meter freestyle in 31.72.

Smutny, entered in six events, will swim her final two on Saturday, the 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter freestyle.

Earlier in the meet, Smutny, 18, was 25th in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:04.38; 28th in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:02.96; tenth in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:15.42 and 13th in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:19.61.

Among winners on Friday night: Hali Flickinger, 200-meter butterfly, 2:07.03; Bulgarian Antani Ivanov, 200-meter butterfly, 1:56.34; Olivia Smoglia, 50-meter freestyle, 24.83 and 100-meter backstroke, 58.73; Caeleb Dressel, 50-meter freestyle, 21.69; Ryan Murphy, 100-meter backstroke, 53.47; Annie Lazor, 200-meter breaststroke, 2:23.22; Josh Prenot, 200-meter breaststroke, 2:11.51; Farida Osman, 50-meter butterfly, 25.65; Caleb Dressel, 50-meter butterfly, 23.43; Katie Ledecky, 400-meter freestyle, 4:01.50; and Anton Ipsen, 400-meter freestyle, 3:48.22.

The four-day meet ends on Saturday. Atkinson’s final event is the 50-meter breaststroke. The action is being live streamed on USA Swimming’s website (prelims and finals) and NBC Sports (finals).

Sharon Robb can be reached at