SWIMMING NOTEBOOK: SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Awarded Honorary Doctorate

By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, August 23, 2021—Five-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson has added another honor to her never-ending resume.

The South Florida Aquatic Club world short course and national record holder joins comedian Oliver Samuels, poet/author Linton Kwesi Johnson and philanthropist Gary “Butch” Hendrickson as this year’s recipients of honorary Doctors of Letters or Laws from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus in St. Andrew.

They will be honored November 4-5 for their outstanding contributions to regional and international development. Samuels and Johnson will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree while Atkinson and Hendrickson will receive honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

They join a list of more than 450 honorary degree recipients awarded by the regional university since 1965. The awards presentations during the college’s annual graduation ceremony are expected to be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atkinson previously received an Order of Distinction, Commander of Class, from the Government in 2018.


Former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swimming Club swimmer Patrick Groters of Aruba will be competing for the University of South Carolina after spending two seasons at Denver.

“It’s amazing,” Groters said on his Instagram account.

“I am beyond thrilled for the opportunity to continue my college swimming career at University of South Carolina under Jeff Poppell. I know this is my chance to improve, to get to the next level in my races.”

Groters is a 2020 Summit League champion in the 200-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley. He trained with his older brother Jordy for nine months at his club team Giants Aquatics Aruba before transferring.

Groters swam his best time in the 200 IM (2:01.62) at the 2019 U.S. Open. He missed the standard for selection to Aruba’s Olympic Team, but was the only Aruban to swim an Olympic B-standard during the pandemic, in 2:02.95 and 2:01.96 in the 200 IM at the 2021 Bahamas National Swimming Championships.

Groters has qualified for both the 2021 FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi and 2022 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. He will represent Aruba in December at the Junior Pan-American Games in Cali, Colombia in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, 200 and 400 IMs and 400 freestyle.


Five-time Olympic gold medalist and her husband, former University of Texas swimmer Hayes Johnson, announced the birth of their daughter on Instagram.

“She’s more perfect than anything we could have ever imagined,” the post reads. “We love you so much Caitlin.”

Sarah Caitlin Johnson was born on Aug. 11 at 4:17 a.m., a birthday she shares with her grandfather, Franklin’s dad.

Franklin was one of the sport’s biggest stars when she captured four gold medals and a bronze as a 17-year-old high-schooler at the 2012 London Olympics. She competed at the 2016 Rio Games, where she was plagued by shoulder injuries but still managed another gold medal as a relay swimmer.

“I began to realize that my greatest dream in life, more so than Olympic gold, has always been becoming a mom,” Franklin said. “Swimming had been such a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember, but it was not my entire life.”


Four-time Olympian Ryan Lochte, 36, of Gainesville underwent successful knee surgery after he suffered a torn meniscus during an inflatable kids water slide accident while playing with his two kids.

Lochte posted a selfie to his Instagram account from his Orthopaedic Surgery Center hospital bed in which he was giving the thumbs up, underneath the caption which read, ‘Surgery was a success.’ “Hey everyone, surgery went amazing, I’m all good, I feel great right now,” he said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Atkinson Among World Cup Field Racing For Prize Money; Florida Gators Open In South Florida; Poppell, Nesty Make College Head Coaching Debuts

By Sharon Robb

September 27, 2018—After missing the opening cluster, SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will join the 2018 FINA World Cup Series for its second cluster Friday through Sunday in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Both the men’s and women’s fields are larger than the small turnout in Kazan and Doha. The field features 185 swimmers from around the world.

Other swimmers expected to compete are Brazil’s Felipe Lima and Eteine Medeiros, Americans Michael Andrew, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, Molly Hannis, Melanie Margalis and Kathleen Baker, Mitch Larkin, Mack Horton and Emily Seebohm of Australia, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, Yulia Efimova of Russia, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, Japan’s Daiya Seto and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos.

Twelve events will be raced on each of the three days in Eindhoven.

Atkinson will be joined by women’s series leader Sarah Sjostrum of Sweden and men’s leader Anton Chupkov of Russia. Sjostrum earned the maximum points and earned the $50,000 Cluster One bonus after the first two stops of the short course meters series.


After intrasquad and alumni meets the past two weeks, the college dual meet season opens Thursday through Saturday across the nation including South Florida.

University of Florida men’s and women’s teams open their season Thursday at Florida Atlantic in the first meet of the season. The Gators women’s team head further south on Friday to swim University of Miami. The Gators then head to Florida Gulf Coast also on Saturday.

The women’s team begins its first season under head coach Jeff Poppell, former Gulliver Prep head coach and aquatics director. Poppell has been at Florida since 2016 serving as an associate head coach.

The Gators women’s team returns 27 letter winners including All-Americans Sherridon Dressel and Brooke Madden. The Gator men feature 14 freshmen. Anthony Nesty makes his debut as first-year head men’s coach. Nesty has spent the last 20 seasons with the Gators.

Florida International University women’s team heads to University of Miami on Saturday. Florida State is holding an intrasquad meet on Saturday in Tallahassee. Florida Atlantic will host Gardner-Webb and North Florida on Saturday.


Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, 23, is engaged to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson. Johnson proposed at Lake Lanier Islands Resort in Georgia. Johnson swam at University of Texas and was a member of the 2010 NCAA champion team. “Thank you for making this the easiest answer to any question I’ve ever been asked,” Franklin posted on Instagram.


South African Olympic medalist Cameron van der Burgh has relocated to London to train for his fifth FINA World Short Course Championship in Hangzhou, China, Dec. 11-16. Burgh said after 30 years in South Africa it was time to start a new journey. He will continue to compete internationally for South Africa…

American Heritage Plantation alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Award from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago at this year’s Republic Day National Awards Function. Carter was honored for bringing national attention to the tiny island and for putting aquatics at the forefront. Carter was a silver medalist at the Commonwealth Games and won three gold medals at CAC. He is the first and only swimmer to medal at both the Youth Olympic Games and FINA World Junior Swimming Championships…

The 2020 Olympic Trials date were officially set for June 21-28. The Trials will be hosted by Omaha, Nebraska for the fourth time. The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo five weeks after the Trials. The Trials cuts were announced by USA Swimming during Thursday’s U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in Jacksonville and they are all faster than the 2016 cuts. The men’s 800 and women’s 1500 freestyle events will make their debut at the 2020 Trials. The 2018 Winter National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. in late November will be the first meet where swimmers can get their Trials cuts.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Begins Championship Season Wednesday At Phillips 66 National Championships

By Sharon Robb

IRVINE, Calif., July 24, 2018—Kathleen Golding of South Florida Aquatic Club will be among a star-studded field when the Phillips 66 National Championships begin Wednesday at William Woollett Aquatics Center.

Golding, 17, a senior at Cooper City High School and University of Florida commit, is entered in five events. She will open with the 100-meter freestyle (56.20) on Wednesday, 200-meter freestyle (2:02.28) on Thursday, 400-meter individual medley (4:50.65) on Friday and 200-meter individual medley (2:17.19) and 50-meter freestyle (26.35) on Sunday.

Golding is seeded 45th in the 100 freestyle among 98 swimmers; 83rd in the 200 freestyle among 105; 42nd in the 400 IM among 82 swimmers; 50th in the 200 IM among 110 swimmers and 76th in the 50 freestyle among 81 swimmers.

The meet ends Sunday and after a day break, Golding will also compete in the Speedo Junior Nationals beginning July 31 (Tuesday) at the same pool. She is entered in the 100-meter freestyle and 400-meter individual medley.

The senior championship meet is one of the biggest meets of the summer. The meet is the selection trials for the Aug. 9-12 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo. The U.S. 2019 FINA World Championship team will be chosen based on combined results from nationals and Pan Pacs.

It’s also a selection meet for Junior Pan Pacs, Pan American Games and World University Games.

The field features Olympic gold medalists, World Championship medalists and World and American record holders. Heading the field are Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel, Simone Manuel, Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy and Missy Franklin.

Dressel is entered in eight events: 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, 50 and 100 breaststroke, 50 and 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. Ledecky has entered all five of the freestyle events from the 100 up to the 1500. Franklin is entered in the 100 and 200 freestyles.

Ryan Lochte, 33, who was entered in four events, will not compete after being suspended for 14 months by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. He will not be allowed to compete until July 2019.

Several current and former Florida Gold Coast swimmers are also entered in seniors nationals including Megan Moroney, Luke Smutny, Kyla Valls, Mary Smutny, Alex Evdokimov, Miguel Cancel and Kelly Fertel.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. Pacific Time, three hours behind South Florida.

The meet will be shown on the webcast of usaswimming.org, the Olympic Channel at nbcsports.com, NBC and NBC Sports Network.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Manuel, Phelps Make History On Day 6 Of Olympic Games

By Sharon Robb

August 12, 2016—-It was a historical night Thursday at the Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Stanford junior Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic title in swimming.

Manuel, 20, tied Canadian 16-year-old Penny Oleksiak in the 100-meter freestyle for the gold in an Olympic and American record of 52.70.

“This medal is not just for me,” a teary-eyed Manuel said. “It’s for a whole bunch of people that came before me and have been an inspiration to me. It’s for all the people after me, who believe they can’t do it. And I just want to be an inspiration to others that you can do it.”

Both Manuel and Oleksiak knocked off world record holder Cate Campbell of Australia.

Phelps continued his remarkable journey in his final Olympic appearance. Phelps became the first swimmer to win an individual event in four consecutive Olympics.

Phelps won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:54.66 for his 22nd career gold medal. Japan Kosuke Hagino took the silver in 1:56.61.

Phelps also became the most decorated gold medalist in Olympic history. He broke a 2,168-year-old record set by ancient Greek athlete Leonidas Rhodes. Phelps now has 13 individual gold medals, breaking Rhodes’ record of 12 in the hoplitodromos he set in 164 BC.

In what was built up as a much-anticipated showdown between Phelps and longtime rival Ryan Lochte, never materialized. Lochte faded to fifth after leading midway through the race.

“As a kid, I wanted to do something that no one had ever done before and I’m enjoying it,” said Phelps, 31. “I want to finish my career how I want to, so that’s what I’m doing.”

Lochte, who had qualified in only one individual event, said he isn’t ready to decide about his future in swimming. He did say he was moving to California.

“I can’t say this is over,” Lochte said. “If anything, I think especially that race, it helped motivate me. There are a lot of things I need to change in the next four years if I want to come back into the sport. But for right now I think I need a break mentally and physically.”

Bolles alum Ryan Murphy of University of California at Berkeley won his second gold medal with a win in the 200-meter backstroke in 1:53.62 to extend the United States’ remarkable 20-year dominance of the event.

Murphy, 21, took the lead at the 100-meter mark and pulled away from the field.

“The 200 back is an event that I really have to dig deep for,” Murphy said. “That’s the one I wanted really bad.”

In one of the biggest disappointments, world record holder and defending champion Missy Franklin failed to make the final eight in the 200-meter backstroke. She finished in 2:09.74, nearly six seconds slower than her record time.

Franklin, 21, has struggled to regain her winning form of the 2012 Olympics. Franklin broke down and cried in the pool after the backstroke and was comforted by teammate Maya DiRado. In 2012, she won four gold medals and a bronze.

“I really wish I could tell you,” Franklin said. “In my mind, I made the hardest sacrifices I’ve ever had to make this year. I’ve poured myself into this every single day for the whole year and three years leading up to that. For whatever reason it’s just not happening at this meet. ”


AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 50-meter freestyle heats; 12:38 p.m., Men’s 1500-meter freestyle heats; 2:28 p.m., Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay heats; 2:46 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter medley relay heats.

EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke final; 9:12 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly final; 9:20 p.m., Women’s 800-meter freestyle final; 9:44 p.m., Men’s 50-meter freestyle final; 9:56 p.m., Women’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


South Florida Aquatic Club Wins Women’s Team Title At Speedo Southern Zone Sectionals

By Sharon Robb

March 14, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club, with a mix of pro swimmers and elite age group swimmers, captured the women’s team title and finished second overall for the first time in the team’s history Sunday at the Speedo Southern Zone Sectional Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

SOFLO won the women’s team title with 490 points, finishing ahead of Gator Swim Club with 432 and Colorado Stars, featuring Missy Franklin, with 427.5.

SOFLO was runner-up behind the Colorado Stars, 891.5-816 in the combined team standings. Colorado Stars did not win a single event on the final night of swimming. Gator Swim Club was third with 771.5.

SOFLO’s previous best finish was third overall last year.

On the fourth and final day, Alia Atkinson and Kile Aukerman were SOFLO’s top finishers.

Atkinson, a three-time Jamaican Olympian, won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:32.49. She was also ninth in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.52.

Aukerman was second in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:1.9.51.

Claire Donahue was fourth in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:14.90.

Atkinson and Donahue were members of SOFLO’s runner-up 400-meter freestyle relay team that finished in 3:50.75 along with teammates Kathleen Golding and Alina Schulhofer.

The four-day meet attracted 750 swimmers and 80 teams including Franklin and Michael Andrew.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. Colorado Stars 891.5, 2. South Florida Aquatic Club 816, 3. Gator Swim Club 771.5, 4. Azura 712, 5. Blue Dolfins 639, 6. Swim Fort Lauderdale 479.5, 7. Seacoast Swimming 423, 8. Bluefish 363.5, 9. Colorado Springs 362, 10. Arizona Aquatic Club 287.5.

WOMEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. SOFLO 490, 2. Gator Swim Club 432, 3. Colorado Stars 427.5, 4. Seacoast Swimming 323, 5. Blue Dolfins 234.

MEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Azura 630, 2. Colorado Stars 348, 3. Blue Dolfins 299, 4. Swim Fort Lauderdale 296, 5. Gator Swim Club 271.5, 6. SOFLO 266.


200-meter butterfly:

1.Audrey Lacroix, PCS 2:10.55, 2. Isabel Ivey, GSC 2:13.36, 3. Alena Kraus, MAC 2:14.27; SOFLO: 4. Claire Donahue 2:14.90.

100-meter freestyle:

1.Sandrine Mainville, PC 54.81, 2. Penn Oleksiak, PC 55.05, 3. Chantal Van Landeghem, PC 55.32; SOFLO: 9. Alia Atkinson 56.52, 12. Kathleen Golding 57.63.

200-meter breaststroke:

1.Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 2:32.49, 2. Asia Minnes, NEP 2:37.78, 3. Isabel Ivey, GSC 2:39.02; SOFLO: 9. Kathleen Golding 2:43.80, best time, 10. Monica Alvarez 2:45.94.

200-meter backstroke:

1.Erin Voss, Unattached 2:11.33, 2. Fernando Gonzalez, STAR 2:19.05, 3. Ashley Boddiford, BD 2:19.95; SOFLO: 10. Kelley Heron 2:25.37.

400-meter freestyle relay:

1.Colorado Stars 3:47.28, 2. SOFLO 3:50.75 (Kathleen Golding, Alia Atkinson, Claire Donahue, Alina Schulhofer), 3. Gator Swim Club 3:53.02.

800-meter freestyle:

1.Kate Sanderson, Colorado Springs 8:49.61, 2. Kate Magill, SSA 9:06.27, 3. Andrea Santander, Unattached 9:10.22.


200-meter butterfly:

1.Zach Chetrat, Unattached 2:00.79, 2. Maxwell Miranda, ABF 2:04.42, 3. Mason Wilby, GSC 2:05.08; SOFLO: 12. Max Asnis 2:11.31, 20. Rafael Rodriguez 2:15.07, 23. Juan Diaz 2:17.20.

100-meter freestyle:

1.Karl Krug, SA 50.83, 2. Viktor Toth, DBS 51.32, 3. Jhonny Perez, Unattached 51.58; SOFLO: 20. Ryan Capote 54.55.

200-meter breaststroke:

1.Richard Funk, PC 2:14.94, 2. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 2:19.51, 3. Stanley Wu, Unattached 2:22.76; SOFLO: 12. Ervin Marin 2:34.29, 21. Samuel Quintero 2:36.93, 31. Ricardo Roche 2:42.90.

200-meter backstroke:

1.Kevin Lindgren, MART 2:06.06, 2. Quinn Cassidy, Unattached 2:06.25, 3. Zachary Poti, BD 2:07.33; SOFLO: 16. Esteban Diaz-Velasco 2:17.49, 22. Ricardo Roche 2:22.30, 26. Leonardo Mateus 2:18.18, best time.

400-meter freestyle relay:

1.Swim Fort Lauderdale 3:30.48, 2. Azura 3:34.74, 3. Colorado Stars 3:34.96, 10. SOFLO 3:43.55 (Max Asnis, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Ervin Marin, Ryan Capote).

1500-meter freestyle:

1.Marcelo Acosta, Azura 15:35.42, 2. Eric Geunes, GSC 16:00.70, 3. William Haeffner, PC 16:23.03.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO Leads Southern Zone Sectional Championships After Day One

By Sharon Robb

March 10, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club opened the Speedo Southern Zone Sectional Championships Thursday night at Plantation Aquatic Complex with a top five world-ranked time.

The women’s 200-meter medley relay of Carolina Colorado, Alia Atkinson, Claire Donahue and Kathleen Golding won in 1:54.38, the fourth fastest time in the world this year.

The foursome finished ahead of the Colorado Stars relay that finished second in 1:57.70. The relay featured Olympic four-time gold medalist Missy Franklin going head-to-head with SOFLO’s Jamaican three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson.

SOFLO’s “B” relay of Kelley Heron, Ksen Golovkina, Catalina Mendieta and Alina Schulhofer was third in 2:00.29.

Atkinson, Donahue, Colorado and Mendieta finished second in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:46.35.

SOFLO’s Rafael Rodriguez, 14, was third in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:46.04. Rodriguez was the youngest among the top 10 finishers. Marcelo Acosta of Azura won in 8:06.67, a 30-second margin of victory.

Rodriguez was one of three SOFLO swimmers in the Top 10. Max Asnis, 16, was fifth in 8:49.20 and Ricardo Roche, 16, was ninth in a best time 8:52.63.

SOFLO’s men’s relay of Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Kile Aukerman, Juan Diaz and Ryan Capote was third in the 200-meter medley relay in 1:50.50.

SOFLO’s mixed 200 medley relay of Heron, Marc Rojas, Golding and Ryan Capote was third in 1:55.55.

SOFLO leads the combined with 302 points and women’s team standings with 134 after Day One. The men’s team is second with 108.

The four-day meet, which has attracted 750 swimmers and 80 teams, continues on Friday with prelims and finals.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club 302, 2. Colorado Stars 262, 3. Blue Dolfins 216, 4. Azura Florida Aquatics 204, 5. Seacoast Swimming 179, 6. Gator Swim Club 154, 7. Swim Fort Lauderdale 116, 8. Metro Aquatics 96, 9. Bluefish Swim Club 92, 10. Colorado Springs 90.

WOMEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. SOFLO 134, 2. Seacoast 111, 3. Colorado Stars 84, 4. Gator Swim Club 62, 5. Swim Fort Lauderdale 58.

MEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Azura Florida Aquatics 130, 2. SOFLO 108, 3. Metro Aquatics 96, 4. Colorado Stars 62, 5. Blue Dolfins 60.


1500-meter freestyle:

1.Kate Magill, SSA 17:29.99, 2. tie, Irena Putikova, AZAC 17:41.75 and Audrey Mason, PC 17:41.75.

200-meter medley relay:

1.SOFLO A 1:54.38 (Carolina Colorado, Alia Atkinson, Claire Donahue, Kathleen Golding), 2. Colorado Stars 1:57.70, 3. SOFLO B 2:00.29 (Kelley Heron, Ksen Golovkina, Catalina Mendieta, Alina Schulhofer).

200-meter freestyle relay:

1.Colorado Stars 1:44.15, 2. SOFLO A 1:46.35 (Alia Atkinson, Claire Donahue, Carolina Colorado, Catalina Mendieta), 3. Gator Swim Club 1:46.87, 5. SOFLO B 1:51.21 (Kathleen Golding, Ksen Golovkina, Alina Schulhofer, Kelley Heron).

Mixed 200-meter medley relay:

1.Colorado Stars 1:52.64, 2. Gator Swim Cub 1:52.89, 3. SOFLO A 1:55.55 (Kelley Heron, Marc Rojas, Kathleen Golding, Ryan Capote).

Mixed 200-meter freestyle relay:

1.Colorado Stars 1:39.58, 2. Gator Swim Club 1:41.68, 3. Blue Dolfins 1:44.15, 5. SOFLO A 1:46.67 (Marc Rojas, Emiliana Pelaez, Carly Swanson, Ryan Capote).


800-meter freestyle:

1.Marcelo Acosta, Azura 8:06.67, 2. Matthew Strickland, SWIM 8:42.79, 3. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 8:46.04; SOFLO: 5. Max Asnis 8:49.20, 9. Ricardo Roche 8:52.63, best time, 13. Juan Diaz 8:58.03, best time, 14. Leonardo Mateus 8:58.06, best time, 21. Sam Asnis 9:06.31.

200-meter medley relay:

1.Azura 1:46.60, 2. Blue Dolfins 1:49.03, 3. SOFLO 1:50.50 (Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Kile Aukerman, Juan Diaz, Ryan Capote), 11. SOFLO 1:53.53 (Kevin Porto, Marc Rojas, Alejandro Zambrano, Ervin Marin).

200-meter freestyle relay:

1.Azura 1:35.41, 2. Swim Fort Lauderdale 1:36.76, 3. Colorado Stars 1:37.18, 9. SOFLO 1:40.41 (Ryan Capote, Marc Rojas, Alejandro Zambrano, Ervin Marin), 17. SOFLO B 1:44.19 (Max Asnis, Kevin Porto, Ricardo Roche, Rafael Rodriguez).


What: Speedo Southern Zone Sectional Championships

When: Friday-Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second St.

Admission: $5 per session, heat sheets $3. For information call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO, Missy Franklin Head Field For Southern Zone Sectional Championships

By Sharon Robb

March 9, 2016—The Speedo Southern Zone Sectional Championships begin Thursday in Plantation with a star-studded lineup headed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Missy Franklin.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s large contingent, including its ProFlo team, will be among a field of 750 swimmers and 80 teams at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

Franklin is coming off last weekend’s Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Orlando, where she swam her best in-season meet times in the 50-meter backstroke and 400-meter freestyle since 2013. This weekend she is entered in the 50 backstroke and 50, 100 and 400 freestyles.

Franklin, 20, is seeded first in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:14.33; first in the 100-meter freestyle in 53.43; and second in the 50 backstroke in 28.77.

SOFLO’s Megan Romano will race Franklin in the 50-meter backstroke where she is seeded fourth in 29.18 and 50-meter freestyle.

Romano, 25, competing in her first high profile meet since joining SOFLO, is entered in five events. She withdrew from the Orlando meet, opting instead to train with SOFLO coach Chris Anderson.

Romano, a former world champion, is seeded first in the 200-meter freestyle (1:58.99) among 131 swimmers. She will also swim the 50 and 100 freestyles and 100-meter backstroke.

SOFLO’s three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 27, is entered in six events. She is seeded first in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:05.93), 50-meter breaststroke in 30.11 and 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.48.

U.S. Olympic relay gold medalist Claire Donahue, 27 is entered in four events. She is seeded first in the 100-meter butterfly in 58.03 and 50-meter butterfly in 26.09.

Alina Schulhofer is entered in the 50 butterfly and freestyle and 200 freestyle.

Colombian two-time Olympian Carolina Colorado, 28, is swimming five events. She is seeded second in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.06; third in the 200-meter backstroke; third in the 50-meter backstroke in 29.00 and fourth in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:00.48

Kile Aukerman, 23, is entered in three events and seeded third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:22.57 and fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.20.

Teenager Michael Andrew, a pro and national age group record holder in several events, heads the men’s field after a poor Orlando meet. He is entered in eight events.

SOFLO is top seed in the women’s 200-meter medley relay. Franklin’s club team Colorado Stars and SOFLO are seeded first and second in the 200-meter freestyle relay.

Other ProFlo swimmers competing are newcomer Monica Alvarez, three events; Bermuda national record holder Lisa Blackburn, three events; Ksen Golovkina, three events; Catalina Mendieta, five events; and Santago Rivera, four events

Canadian sprinters Chantal van Landeghem and Sandrine Mainville, who train at Pine Crest, are also entered.

Other top SOFLO swimmers competing are:

Kathleen Golding, 15, entered in six events, is seeded second in the 200-meter individual medley and second in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:55.80.

Jessica Rodriguez, 17, entered in three events, is seeded third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:36.88 and fifth in the 50 breaststroke in 35.02.

Marc Rojas, 22, returns to competing for SOFLO unattached in the 100-meter breaststroke. He is seeded eighth in 1:04.86.

Rounding out the contingent are Max Asnis, six events; Sam Asnis, five events; Tyler Bland, four events; Ryan Capote, six events; Isabella Di Salvo, four events; Juan Diaz, six events; Esteban Diaz-Velasco, five events; Tyler Gibson, three events; Kelley Heron, six events; Elise Larin, four events; Luke Lezotte, two events; Ervin Marin, three events; Marcella Marinheiro, two events; Leonardo Mateus, five events; Matthew Menocal, three events; Stephanie Mlujeak, four events; Abby Oyetunji, four events; Emiliana Pelaez, six events; Kevin Porto, three events; Samuel Quintero, six events; Ricardo Roche, six events; Rafael Rodriguez, five events; Juan Serna, three events; Carly Swanson, six events; and Alejandro Zambrano, three events.

Rodriguez, 14, one of the youngest swimmers in the meet, is seeded third in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:44.12. Rodriguez is one of six SOFLO swimmers seeded among the Top 10. The others are Max Asnis, Sam Asnis, Ricardo Roche, Juan Diaz and Leonardo Mateus.

SOFLO also has 24 relays entered, the most ever for a high profile meet.


What: Speedo Southern Zone Sectional Championships

When: Thursday-Sunday

Schedule: Thursday, 5 p.m. timed finals; Friday-Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second St.

Admission: $5 per session, heat sheets $3. For information call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO Trio Among Star-Studded Field For AT&T Winter National Championships

By Sharon Robb

December 2, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented when the three-day AT&T Winter National Championships begin Thursday at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

SOFLO’s U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue, two-time Olympian and national record holder Carolina Colorado of Colombia and Kile Aukerman will represent SOFLO.

Donahue will compete in the 50-meter freestyle on Thursday and 100-meter butterfly on Friday.

Colorado will compete in four events. She will swim the 50-meter freestyle on Thursday; 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke on Friday; and 200-meter backstroke on Saturday.

Aukerman competes in the 200-meter individual medley on Thursday; 100-meter breaststroke on Friday and 200-meter breaststroke on Saturday.

The meet features most of the top names in U.S. Swimming including Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian, Simone Manuel, Allison Schmitt, Matt Grevers, and Conor Dwyer.

The international field is just as impressive with Aussie Grant Hackett, Canadians Santo Condorelli, Ryan Cochrane and Emily Overholt, Russian Yulia Efimova and Arkady Vyatchanin of Serbia.

The meet is a FINA-approved competition where swimmers can achieve qualifying times for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

SOFLO’s three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson originally scheduled to compete has scratched from the meet.

Thursday’s events are the 400-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley and 50-meter freestyle.

The meet will be broadcast on NBC Universal. Check local listings for times in your area. Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. Pacific Time. The meet will also be live streamed at usaswimming.org.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Goes For Second Medal Sunday At XVI FINA World Aquatic Championships

By Sharon Robb

August 8, 2015—Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club will get an opportunity to win another medal when she competes Sunday in the championship final of the 50-meter breaststroke at the XVI FINA World Aquatic Championships at Kazan Arena.

The three-time Jamaican Olympian advanced through the heats and semifinals of the sprint event.

Atkinson is the first Jamaican swimmer to make the finals of the 50-meter breaststroke. At her first world championship in Barcelona in 2013, she did not get past the semifinals.

On Saturday, she was second fastest in 30.27 behind Lithuanian rival Ruta Meilutyte (29.74) in the heats. She was sixth fastest in the semifinal in 30.78. Meilutyte was again fastest qualifier in 29.98. Each race the Lithuanian was the only swimmer under 30 seconds.

In the 50-meter backstroke, Jamaica’s Timothy Wynter of South Florida Aquatic Club was 52nd in 27.21.

In other men’s and women’s events:

Olympian Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach played a key role in a world-record, gold-medal winning performance by Team USA.

Lochte, 31, led off Team USA’s mixed 4×100-meter freestyle relay that broke the world record in 3:23.05 and won gold. Lochte’s split was 48.79.

Lochte was joined by Nathan Adrian on the second leg, Simone Manuel on third leg and Missy Franklin on anchor.

The Netherlands took the silver just 0.05 seconds behind and Canada, with Bolles alum Santo Condorelli leading off (48.19 split), took the bronze in 3:23.59.

Teenager Katie Ledecky made history in her final appearance of the week. The 18-year-old teenager fresh out of high school, broke her own world record in the 800-meter freestyle by 3.61 seconds in 8:07.39 to win her fifth gold medal of the world championships.

Ledecky swept the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle events and swam anchor on the winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

“It’s really neat to say that you’ve done something nobody has done before,” Ledecky said. “I’ll enjoy this for a few days and then I’ll get back to work. Hopefully, there’s more to come.

“It could have been really tiring and it was,” Ledecky said. “But I recovered very well. I did what I needed to do to set myself up well each time that I got up on the blocks. I’m just proud of how I handled my races and how all this week has gone.”

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum won the gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly in a meet record 24.96. Jeanette Ottesen of Denmark took the silver in 25.34 and China’s Lu Ying took the bronze in 25.37.

Aussie Emily Seebohm topped an impressive field to win the 200-meter backstroke in 2:05.81 and sweep the backstroke events. American and defending champion Missy Franklin won the silver in 2:06.34 and Hungarian Katinka Hosszu took the bronze in 2:06.84.

In seven events so far, Franklin has five medals, but no individual gold medals just two years after she won a record six golds in Barcelona.

“I’m just not there at the end yet, and that’s all right,” Franklin said. “I fought my heart out. I went out after it.”

In a historic moment for Singapore, Bolles alum Joseph Schooling won his country’s first-ever medal at the world championships. He took the bronze medal in the 100-meter butterfly in 50.96, breaking his own national record for the third time in two days and Asian record.

It was the first time in his international career that Schooling had qualified for the semifinals in the 100-meter butterfly at either the World Championships or Olympic Games.

Frenchman Florent Manaudou knocked off American Nathan Adrian to win the 50-meter freestyle, 21.19-21.52. Brazilian Bruno Fratus took the bronze in 21.55.

The eight-day meet concludes on Sunday. The women’s events are: 50-meter breaststroke final, 50-meter freestyle final, 400-meter individual medley and 4×100-meter freestyle relay. The men’s events are: 50-meter backstroke final, 400-meter individual medley final, 1500-meter freestyle final and men’s 4×100-meter medley relay final.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Katie Ledecky Wins Fourth Gold Medal On Day Five Of XVI FINA World Aquatic Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson, Colorado Compete Friday

By Sharon Robb

August 6, 2015—Teenager Katie Ledecky added to her gold medal haul Thursday at the XVI FINA World Aquatic Championships at Kazan Arena.

After winning the 200, 400 and 1500-meter freestyle individual events, Ledecky, 18, anchored Team USA’s winning 800-meter freestyle relay.

It was the team’s third straight 800 relay world title, aided mostly by lead-off swimmer Missy Franklin and Ledecky, joined by Leah Smith and Katie McLaughlin.

“We went in and we knew the field would be so-so tough,” Franklin said. “I think we have a lot of confidence in this relay, having this been our third time winning it. We are so grateful and so honored. There was an incredible race out there tonight.”

Ledecky had the fastest split of 1:55.64 to enable Team USA to win by three seconds in 7:45.37. It was Ledecky’s eighth career world title.

Italy took the silver medal in 7:48.41 thanks to a 1:54.73 anchor leg by Federico Pellegrini. China earned the bronze in 7:49.10.

Franklin equaled Katie Hoff’s record of three gold medals in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

Franklin also qualified for the final in the 100-meter freestyle securing the eighth and final spot in 53.92 just ahead of Canadian Chantal Van Landeghem in 53.93.

In performances by swimmers with Florida-ties:

Iceland’s Hilda Luthersdottir of Gator Swim Club tied for eighth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.06 to force a swim-off with China’s Shi Jinglin to advance into finals. Jinglin won the swim-off, 2:23.75-2:25.11.

In championship finals:

Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi won her first world title in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:05.56, third-fastest time in the world. Hoshi teetered between third and fourth for most of the race until she surged down the final stretch. American Cammile Adams won her first world medal, taking second in a best time 2:06.40. China’s Zhang Yufei took the bronze in 2:06.51, also a best time bettering her own world junior record. American Katie McLaughlin, 18, finished sixth in 2:06.95, a new 17-18 U.S. national age group record.

China’s Fu Yuanhui won the gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke in 27.11. She came close to breaking the world record but bumped into the lane line at the finish. Brazilian Etiene Medeiros took the silber in 27.26, a Brazilian and South American record. China’s Liu Xiang took the bronze in 27.58.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, three-time Jamaican Olympian, will go for her second medal when she competes in the 50-meter butterfly heats. SOFLO teammate Carolina Colorado of Colombia and Kenya’s Talisa Lanoe of PAQ will compete in the 200-meter backstroke heats.

Friday women’s events are: 50-meter butterfly heats and semifinals; 200-meter backstroke heats and semifinals; 800-meter freestyle heat; 100-meter freestyle final; and 200-meter breaststroke final.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com