International Swimmers Shine On Day Five Of Olympic Games

By Sharon Robb

August 11, 2016—-On a day where most of the U.S. swimmers were not in the spotlight, the rest of the international swimming world grabbed the attention on Wednesday at the Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Swimming in Lane 8, Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:07.46. The 21-year-old won his country’s first-ever medal in Olympic swimming history.

American Josh Prenot took the silver in 2:07.53 and Russian Anton Chupkov took the bronze in 2:07.70. 2012 Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta of Hungary failed to qualify in the prelims.

“This is the biggest honor and biggest thing I could have given to my country,” said an emotional Balandin. The last great swimmer from his country was Vlad Polyakov, a former Florida Gold Coast swimmer now coaching at Louisville University.

“I’m very happy that I am the first one,” Balandin said. “The tactics was quite simple, swim fast. I was in an outside lane so I couldn’t see my competitors. This helped me a lot to claim the medal. I haven’t quite processed all of this. This is a great beginning for my country.”

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte won her first Olympic gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:04.85. Aussie Madeline Groves took silver in 2:04.88 and 2015 world champion Natsumi Hoshi of Japan took bronze in 2:05.20.

“It was difficult to control everything during the final,” Belmonte said. “I was very nervous and I was dreaming a lot. I had to control my emotions and nerves. I will remember it for all my life. This is because of many days of training, working hard and many sacrifices.”

Aussie teenager Kyle Chalmers, 18, pulled off a shocker in the 100-meter freestyle winning the gold medal in his Olympic debut in 47.58. Canadian and Bolles alum Santo Condorelli went out too fast and paid dearly fading in the back half. Pieter Timmers of Belgium was second in 47.80 and defending Olympic champion Nathan Adrian of the U.S. had to settle for bronze in 47.85.

“It was pretty special when the Australian flag was raised and when I looked up and saw my family,” Chalmers said. “It was a very special moment I shared with them. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”

American Katie Ledecky won her third gold and fourth Olympic medal overall anchoring the winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay that won in 7:43.03. Ledecky’s split was 1:53.74. She has won the 200 and 400 freestyles and earned silver on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

On Thursday night, Michael Phelps, 31, and Floridian Ryan Lochte, 32, will renew their rivalry for the final time in the 200-meter individual medley championship. The rivals and friends will compete side by side.


EVENING SESSION: 9 p.m., Men’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:17 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke final; 9:26 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke final; 9:32 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:01 p.m., Men’s 200-meter individual medley final; 10:18 p.m., Women’s 100-meter freestyle final; 10:31 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly semifinals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Issue 30, Olympic Tickets Go On Sale, Organizers Celebrate 500-Day Countdown

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Issue 30, Olympic Tickets Go On Sale, Organizers Celebrate 500-Day Countdown



March 25, 2011

As London organizers started the 500-day countdown to the 2012 Olympics, 6.6 million tickets went on sale Tuesday.

London Organizing Committee chairman Sebastian Coe, a former middle distance running great for Great Britain, was among dignitaries including Olympic greats, five-time gymnastics champion Nadia Comeneci and nine-time gold medalist track star Carl Lewis, watched as the clock in central Trafalgar Square began counting down the 500 days before the Olympic torch is lit.

“It’s happening,” said Lewis, who competed in four Olympic Games. “It’s wonderful to get the bid. It’s wonderful to know it’s coming. But today you can actually start your opportunity to be a part of it.”

The Opening Ceremony is July 27, 2012. Great Britain is working with a $15 billion budget.

Olympic fans in Britain and Europe have a 42-day period to check out the official ticket website ( and plan out their itinerary from the 645 sessions for the 26 Olympic sports.

“Members of the public have until April 26 to apply,” Coe told reporters. “Tickets will not be sold on a first-come, first serve basis. There is no need to panic-buying on the first day.”

According to early reports, there were 2.5 million people trying to purchase tickets on the first day. Tickets for many sports start at $32 while the choice seats for the men’s 100-meter final, which hopefully will feature Coral Springs’ own Walter Dix, will go for $1200. Opening ceremony tickets top seats are going for $3,215.

One million tickets are also available to overseas fans through their national Olympic associations.

Co-Sport is the authorized ticket reseller and official hospitality package provider of the U.S. Olympic Committee. Ticket sales are under way in the U.S. and pre-registration is currently open for U.S. residents at

The first phase of ticket sales will be handled exclusively through an online request process which began on Tuesday and will run through April 22.

During the request phase all applicants will have an equal chance of being awarded their requested tickets.

CoSport will begin to fulfill ticket requests from available inventory once this initial request phase has concluded. In the case that ticket requests exceed available inventory for any session, a lottery process will be conducted by CoSport at the end of April.

For the initial U.S. ticket launch, more than 58,000 tickets will be available for purchase. More than 56 percent of tickets offered during this phase will be priced under $150.

CoSport currently plans to have a second phase of sales in June 2011 which will be first-come, first-serve for any tickets unsold during the first phase of sales, and will also include any additional tickets that CoSport acquires from the London Organizing Committee in the future.

The hospitality packages combine hotel rooms with Olympic tickets.

Because Visa is the Olympic Games sponsor, the USOC is only accepting Visa credit cards for London 2012 Olympic Games ticket purchases.

“The London 2012 Olympic Games promises to be one of the most compelling, exciting sporting events of the decade, and we are thrilled that fans will be able to watch the action live and in person by getting tickets through CoSport,” said USOC Chief Communications Officer Patrick Sandusky.

“Early interest in tickets for these Games tells us that America’s athletes will be well-supported in London as they strive to realize their Olympic dreams and represent the U.S. with pride.”

Of course, what would opening day be without a few glitches.

A few hours after tickets went on sale, fans with Visa cards that expire before the end of August were not able to process their orders. Organizers said it was an issue with Visa rather than the ticket website or systems.

The OMEGA countdown clock also suffered a technical issue that had it stopping for several hours less than a day after it went on display. It got stuck on 500 days, 7 hours, 6 minutes and 56 seconds before Omega engineers repaired it.

“It’s one of those windups set to test is, but it’s working again,” Coe said.

Coe said the clock would serve as a “daily reminder to everyone who visits Trafalgar Square that the countdown to the start of London 2012 has well and truly begun and that the greatest show on earth is soon coming to our country.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com