SOFLO Shines At Pompano Beach Piranhas Open Water Extreme Race

By Sharon Robb

September 4, 2017—-South Florida Aquatic Club was well-represented at the Sept. 2 Pompano Beach Piranhas Open Water Extreme Race that featured 5K, one mile, 500-meter and 100-meter swims off Pompano Beach.

SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher continued her winning ways by placing first in the women’s 5-mile 14-and-under category and second overall with a time of 1:21:47.483.

The race was swum in one direction and the entire 5K was against the current. That is part of the challenge of open water racing and what makes it interesting, according to SOFLO coach George Mersinger.

In the 1-mile race, SOFLO swimmers Lucas Porven and his sister Giada both made their open water debut and had amazing results.

Lucas Porven placed fourth among 11-year- olds and 15th in the 14-and-under age group with a time of 24:06.023.

Giada Porven was the youngest competitor in the mile swim at 9 years old and placed first among 10-and-under girls and 14th in the 14- and-under category with a time of 26:34.533.

SOFLO coach George Mersinger also swam the mile and finished in 32:02.477 that placed him fifth in the 60-69 age group and 93rd overall for males.


WOMEN OVERALL: 1. Kensey McMahon 1:17:36, 2. Mallory Schleicher 1:21:47, 3. Blair Stoneburg 1:23:55.

14-and-under, 1. Isabella Taylor 1:29:48, 2. Gaby Chambers 1:30:11, 3. Sarah Acevedo 1:32:06.

15-18, 1. Barbara Bernal 1:27.56, 2. Abigail Bush 1:28.58, 3. Adriana Rodriguez 1:33:52.

19-29: 1. Monica Sita 2:10:42.

30-39: 1. Julie Corpe 1:43:20, 2. Lynda Micheletti 2:24:02.

40-49: 1. Suzanne Dearworth 1:38:04, 2. Lisa Devona 2:09:10, 3. Debra Robenhymer 2:12:53.

50-59: 1. Karl Kolb 1:50:21, 2. Daniel Messinger 1:54:15, 3. Kathleen Casey 2:02:12.

60-69: 1. Cathy Mancino 1:59:58, 2. Karen Lewin 2:15:20.

MEN OVERALL: 1. Ricardo Valdivia 1:14:35, 2. Mattheus Santos 1:14:40, 3. Tyler Zuyus 1:18:01.

14-and-under, 1. Steven Grady 1:25:14, 2. Emilio Barrantes 1:28:23.

15-18, 1. Andres Lares 1:18:10, 2. Andy Rogatinsky 1:24:08, 3. Alex Marquez 1:25:32.

19-29, 1. Cecilio Moreta 1:19:01, 2. Felipe Gomez 1:22.22, 3. Jeffrey Colarusso 1:33:39.

30-39, 1. Francisco Ramos 1:35:20, 2. Edmund Haskins 1:58:30.

40-49, 1. Rob Abcug 1:32:16, 2. Eddie Ames 1:43:30, 3. Matt Sabo 1:52:01.

50-59, 1. David Boudreau 1:34:59, 2. John Adair 1:49:45, 3. Richard Schoenborn 2:06:10.

60-69, 1. Carlos Lloreda 1:38:03, 2. John Peck 1:42:15, 3. Steve Vosilla 1:57:59.

MILE: MEN OVERALL: 1. Raphael Santos 18:47, 2. Santiago Gomez 18:50, 3. Eisner Barberena 19:23; WOMEN OVERALL: 1. Adriana Gooding 21:19, 2. Anabela Shearer 21:23, 3, Nicole Sowell 21:28.

500-METER: MEN OVERALL: 1. Max Fermayer 7:59, 2. Isiah Reilly 8:07, 3. Renzo Nuzzi 8:47; WOMEN OVERALL: 1. Breanna Gonzalez 9:24, 2. Breanna Wood 9:35, 3. Amy Torres 11:31.

100-METER: MEN OVERALL: 1. Liam Fothergill 1:42.177, 2. Benjamin Orna 1:42.327, 3. Christian Baltar 1:55; WOMEN OVERALL: 1. Lexy Bennett 1:32.77, 2. Violette Bennett 1:33.92, 3. Shelby Evans 1:43.00.

Sharon Robb can be reached at
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SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Wins Women’s Open Water Title, Kristen Vlaun Takes Masters Title At Mermaid Mile Swim

By Sharon Robb

August 19, 2017—A week after winning her first 5K open water women’s title, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mallory Schleicher won the women’s title Saturday at the Mermaid Mile Open Water Swim off Spanish River Park in Boca Raton.

Schleicher, 13, of Cooper City, the youngest women’s swimmer in the top five, won in 24:35:96 in the swim series event that featured an out-and-back course. Last weekend, Schleicher won the Swim Miami 5K women’s title in 1:07:42.36.

SOFLO masters swimmer Kristen Vlaun, 44, won the Masters title and was fifth among women in 26:28:59. She was also 15th overall.

Julia Fermayer, 39, won the 35-39 age group title and was 84th overall in 34:00:53. Her son, Max Fermayer, 13, was 13th overall and 10th among men in 26:17:59. He was also fourth in his age group.

Terri Rivera, 58, was second in her age group and 113th 36:19.83.

The swim featured 270 swimmers including Anthony Caserta, at 71, the oldest swimmer in the field in 59:12:14.

In the men’s competition, Mattheus Santos, 16, of Pompano Beach Piranhas won the overall and men’s title in 22:18:67. Trey Seibold, a tennis pro in Fort Lauderdale, won the masters title in 26:31:58.

The Mermaid Club will next host the Sept. 14 South Florida International Mermaid Day Social at 26 Degree Brewing Company at 5 p.m. in Pompano Beach. The fourth annual International Mermaid Day Virtual Run, Bike or Swim is Sept. 16 at 7 a.m.

MEN OVERALL: 1. Mattheus Santos 22:18:67, 2. Raphael Santos 23:09:33, 3. Ethan Roach 23:52:55, 4. Emilio Barrantes 24:00:43, 5. Ariel Freiman 24:33:67.

MEN MASTERS: 1. Trey Seibold 26:31:58, 2. Jeremy Cole 26:52:80, 3. Justin Schnute 26:56:38.

MEN AGE GROUP: 9-10, 1. William Domokos-Murphy 31:40, 2. Gabriel Amorim 38:35, 3. Jason Monaco 38:45; 11-12, 1. Gregory Nordheim 25:42, 2. Jake Schulte 28:27, 3. Bachir Canizares 31:35; 13-14, 1. Emilio Barrantes 24:00, 2. Carson Neidert 26:02, 3. Brennan Binder 26:08; 15-19, 1. Ariel Freiman 24:33, 2. Alex Marquez 25:06, 3. Seth Berke 26:42; 20-24, 1. Justin Gagnon 34:17; 25-29, 1. Raul Nistal 34:51, 2. Jason Baum 42:47; 30-34, 1. Clecio De Sa 33:14, 2. John Watson 33:25, 3. Rene Rodriguez 35:36; 35-39, 1. Chris Perry 30:30, 2. Chris Parks 32:58, 3. Charles-Lee Howard 35:02; 40-44, 1. Packet Casey 29:51, 2. Jarret Streiner 32:07, 3. Louis Haym 32:31; 45-49, 1. Paul Fisher 27:55, 2. Damian Dinan 30:52, 3. Jason Cavanagh 30:53; 50-54, 1. Paul Mellinger 31:19, 2. Dale Bartfay 32:43, 3. David Sabra 33:43; 55-59, 1. Robert Crawford 32:38, 2. Ken Morgan 34:21, 3. Doug Baskley 36:25; 60-64, 1. Carlos Lloreda 28:51, 2. Edward Boaz 29:23, 3. Dave Ragsdale 31:21; 65-69, 1. Stuart Pechter 33:23, 2. Bill Troy 36:33, 3. John Peck 45:20; 70-and-over, 1. Anthony Caserta 59:12.

WOMEN OVERALL: 1. Mallory Schleicher, SOFLO 24:35:96, 2. Ela Freiman 24:37:20, 3. Lydia Musleh 26:10:29, 4. Katie Dodge 26:23:59, 5. Kristen Vlaun, SOFLO 26:28:59.

WOMEN MASTERS: 1. Kristen Vlaun, SOFLO 26:28:59, 2. Ginger Tompkins 27:51:93, 3. Shannon Cutting 28:24:61.

WOMEN AGE GROUP: 9-10, 1. Lilia Blanco 29:53, 2. Emma Caserta 36:58; 11-12, 1. Erin Miller 27:22, 2. Makena Kassatly 28:24, 3. Caroline Perez 29:43; 13-14, 1. Beatriz Amorim 26:57, 2. Madelyn Hebert 28:11, 3. Payton Roy 29:45; 15-19, 1. Mia Marquez 27:48, 2. Alicia Zielinski 31:41; 20-24, 1. Katie Dodge 26:23, 2. Bailey Grabenhorst 26:36, 3. Shelby Pearce 28:32; 25-29, 1. Alice McCall 28:40, 2. Kelley Baum 29:41, 3. Fallon Fitzpatrick 30:24; 30-34, 1. Christina Hitchcock 27:57, 2. Shannon Macdonald 29:21, 3. Sara Windrem 35:37; 35-39, 1. Julia Fermayer, SOFLO 34:00, 2. Paola Espitia 35:17, 3. Cristina Broche 35:22; 40-44, 1. Allison Nygren 35:05, 2. Eva Vela 37:39, 3. Jessica Vanderbrook 38:06; 45-49, 1. Suzanne Dearworth 30:13, 2. Jennifer Hulett 34:58, 3. Debra Robenhymer 35:56; 50-54, 1. Nelly Becerra 33:45, 2. Shelley Flowers 35:26, 3. Molly Ragsdale 35:39; 55-59, 1. Ann Thomas 36:00, 2. Terri Rivera, SOFLO 36:19, 3. Crystal Lewis 38:25; 60-64, 1. Darcy La Fountain 30:49, 2. Janet Siniscalchi 32:59, 3. Jo-Ann Berry 39:53; 65-69, 1. Fran Hare 30:01, 2. Elba Bates 51:37.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Wins 5K Title At Swim Miami; Gulliver’s Alicia Mancilla Wins Mile Race

SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Wins 5K Title At Swim Miami; Gulliver’s Alicia Mancilla Wins Mile Race

By Sharon Robb

August 17, 2017—Mallory Schleicher of South Florida Aquatic Club won her first 5K open water overall title this past weekend.

Schleicher, 13, of Cooper City, won the 5K women’s race at Swim Miami at Miami Yacht Club on Watson Island.

Schleicher finished in 1 hour, 7 minutes and 42.36 seconds. Her mile pace was 21:50. She was the youngest swimmer in the women’s field. Maria Tupayachi Ortiz, 37, of Miami was second in 1:08:50.14.

At JO’s, Schleicher was fifth in the 1500-meter freestyle in 18:19.17 with a huge time drop of 18.55.

SOFLO age group coach George Mersinger, 64, of Miramar was the club’s second top finisher. He was 49th in 28:22.53.

Gina Grant, SOFLO’s newest masters swimmer, made her open water debut. She was 51st overall in 28:40

in the mile, won the female Special Olympics category and was fourth among the nine-swimmer Special Olympics field.

It was Grant’s second swimming event for SOFLO. She was a triple winner in the 1500 freestyle, 400 individual medley and 400 medley relay at the Special Olympics Florida-Broward Swimming County Games at Nova Southeastern.

In the 5K (3.1-miles) men’s race, former University of Alabama All-American Ricardo Valdivia, 52, held on to win the overall title in 55:57.62 just ahead of Blake Manganiello, 22, of Miami in 55:59.62. Both held 18:03 mile pace.

Alicia Mancilla of Gulliver Swim Club, fresh off her FINA World Championships debut in Budapest, Hungary, won the overall title in the Swim Miami Open Water Mile.

Mancilla, 17, topped a field of 160 men and women swimmers to win the race in 19:38.03. She was the only swimmer to crack 20 minutes. She defeated the closest male swimmer, Adam Madarassy, 32, of Miami who finished second in 21:58.95.

At Worlds, Mancilla, representing Guatemala, was the youngest swimmer in the 1500-meter freestyle. She won her heat in a best time 17:15.04 and finished 19th.

Swim Miami is part of the South Florida Swim Series.



OVERALL: 1. Alicia Mancilla, Gulliver Swim Club 19:38.03, 2. Adam Madarassy, Miami 21:58.95, 3. Fabiana Pesce, Tamarac 22:14.42, 4. Sofia Avellaneda, Miami 22:25.61, 5. Cara Cannilla, Florham Park 22:32; SOFLO: 49. George Mersinger, Miramar 28:22; 51. Gina Grant 28:40.


OVERALL: 1. Ricardo Valdivia, Miami 55:57.62, 2. Blake Manganiello, Miami 55:59.62, 3. Nicolas Eymenier, Miami 58:09.37, 4. Roberto Marazzato, Tamarac 1:00:49.12, 5. Claude Lefante, Caracas 1:02.09.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Jennifer Martin Wins Three Golds, Breaks Two World Records At World Police & Fire Games

By Sharon Robb

August 9, 2017–Jennifer Martin of South Florida Aquatic Club dominated the opening day of the swimming competition at the 2017 World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles.

The City of Pembroke Pines police sergeant has won three golds and one silver medal and broke two world records after two days of competition in open water and pool events.

On opening day of pool swimming on Wednesday at the Exposition Park Swim Stadium, Martin, 36, competing in the 35-39 age group, won the 100-meter breaststroke in a world record 1:24.43. The previous record was 1:24.74 set in 2013. She bettered her 2015 bronze medal swim of 1:27.8.

Defending 30-34 butterfly champion won another gold medal in the 35-39 50-meter butterfly in 31.32, just missing the world record of in 30.83.

Martin, competing on a multi-national 200-meter freestyle relay with swimmers from Romania, India and Taiwan, broke a 20-year-old world record in 1:59. The previous world record was 2:02.30 set in 1997.

In Sunday’s 2-mile open water pier-to-pier swim, Martin was second in her division taking a silver medal in 1:08.44 bettering her 2015 bronze medal place.

The World Police & Fire Games feature 8,000 police officers and firefighters from 70 countries competing in 65 different sports. The 11-day biennial Olympics-style competition is for finely-tuned active and retired police officers and firefighters.

Martin is a SOFLO masters swimmer and trains with SOFLO at Academic Village Pool.

The World Police and Fire Games have been held every two years since 1985.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Cunha Wins Third 25K Open Water Gold Medal; UM Diver Dinsmore Advances To Saturday Final At FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 21, 2017—In the last and most grueling of six open water races, defending champion Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil won the women’s 25K open water race for her third world title on Day 8 of the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships Friday at Lake Balaton.

Cunha, who has frequently trained in South Florida and won the Fort Lauderdale Roughwater event, finished in 5 hours, 21 minutes and 58 seconds, a two-second margin of victory.

She is only the second woman to win three world golds. Dutch swimmer Edith van Dijk won four.

Cunha also won gold at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai and 2015 in Kazan. Cunha has two silver medals and four bronze medals from past world championships. She has made the podium in every individual open water event.

“When it starts, I think of nothing, but toward the end I knew I was the only one in the leading three that had done the 25K course before,” Cunha said. “So I know the pain that would arrive at the end. This experience made the difference.”

Olympic 10K gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands was second in 5:22:00. Arianna Bridi of Italy took the bronze in 5:22:08.

American Becca Mann, a former Clearwater (CAT) swimmer, was seventh in 5:27:06.

France continued its dominance in open water with Axel Reymond winning the men’s 25K by just 6/10ths of a second.

Swimming for more than five hours, the Frenchman defeated Matteo Furlan of Italy (5:02:47).

“When there are 200 meters left, all you think about is touching the board,” Reymond said.

Russian Evgenii Drattcev took bronze in 5:02:49. American Chip Peterson was fifth in 5:03:43.

There were 44 finishers in the race. Five were unable to finish the race. Warm temperatures were also a challenge. The water temp was 75 degrees.


University of Miami redshirt sophomore David Dinsmore finished fourth in men’s 10-meter platform semifinals to qualify for Saturday’s final for Team USA.

Dinsmore, the NCAA national platform champion as a freshman, scored 483.10 points to qualify for his first worlds final.

Dinsmore is ranked behind Aleksandr Bondar of Russia (509.10), Tom Daley of Great Britain (498.65) and Chen Aisen of China (488.55) and will be in the medal hunt on Saturday.

“It’s really exciting,” Dinsmore said. “Last time I had a good meet but there was tough competition and it didn’t work out. Especially this year after the Olympic year, I wanted to come out and dive as best I could and things worked out.”

At the 2015 World Championships, Dinsmore finished 15th in the semifinals. Earlier in the week, Dinsmore earned a bronze medal in the mixed 3-meter/10-meter team event with Krysta Palmer.

Fort Lauderdale’s Jordan Windle finished 26th in the 10-meter prelims in his first worlds competing in an individual event.

Olympic gold medalist Shi Tingmao led China to a one-two finish in the women’s 3-meter springboard final. Shi, the defending champion and Monday’s 3-meter synchro winner, finished first with 383.50 points followed by teammate Wang Han (359.40) to capture China’s ninth consecutive gold medal in the event and seventh in 11 diving events in Budapest. Canadian Jennifer Abel took the bronze medal with 3:51.55 for the second worlds in a row.

“I need to work harder in order to achieve a higher score and win more gold medals,” Shi said.

Chinese divers have won 20 of the last 21 Olympic and world titles in the 3-meter springboard since 1986.

The last two diving finals are scheduled for Saturday.


Russia won the team free title winning its sixth gold medal. Twelve teams were in the final. Russia has been the title holder of the team title since 2007. Russia scored 97.300 points. China took the silver and Ukraine took bronze.


The U.S., Italy, Hungary and Greece all advanced into the women’s quarterfinal round. Italy has won three straight games and earned an automatic berth.

In the men’s tournament, Croatia reached the quarterfinals as expected. Croatia has beaten the U.S., Russia and Japan.


In the medal tally, China leads with 16 total medals including seven golds, Russia has 13, Italy had 8 and France has 7. The U.S. has 5 medals including only one gold.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

French Capture Third Gold In Open Water Swimming At 17th FINA World Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 20, 2017—France won its third gold medal in open water swimming on Day 7 of the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships Thursday at Lake Balaton.

The French won the mixed 5K event with two men and two women each swimming 1.25K in a new relay format. In the last world championships it was only two men and one woman.

Aurelie Muller and Marc-Antoine Olivier have now won two gold and three medals overall. They were joined by teammates Oceane Cassignol and Logan Fontaine on the winners’ podium.

Olivier clinched the win with the second fastest anchor leg. The winning time was 54:05.90. France, turning heads in open water swimming the past week, have now won five medals in open water with the 25K races still to come.

The U.S. team, with a strong anchor leg from Jordan Wilimovsky, took the silver just 12 seconds behind first in 54:18.10. Wilimovsky (12:05) was three second faster than Olivier (12:08) on the final leg.

Wilimovsky was joined by teammates Brendan Casey, Ashley Twichell and Haley Anderson.

Italy finished just ahead of Great Britain for the bronze in 54:31.00 with Federico Vanelli, Mario Sanzullo, Rachele Bruni and Giulia Gabbrielleschi. Defending champion Germany was eighth.


Xie Siyi gave China its sixth diving gold medal in men’s 3-meter springboard scoring 547.10 points ahead of Patrick Hausding of Germany (526.15) and Russia’s Ilia Zakharov (505.90). Olympic champion Cao Yuan of China faded to tenth with 453.70 points. With two days left in diving, China has six of ten diving golds.


Russia’s Svetlana Kolesnichenko won her fourth gold medal of the world championships in the duet free final with partner Alexandra Patskevich. The pair totaled 97.000 finishing ahead of the teams from China and Ukraine.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Dutchman Ferry Weertman Edges American Jordan Wilimovsky For Gold At 17th FINA World Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 18, 2017—In a thrilling finish, Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands sprinted to win the gold medal in the men’s 10K open water swimming race on Tuesday at Lake Batalon.

Weertman, the 2016 Olympic champion, won in 1 hour, 51 minutes and 58.5 seconds, finishing just 1/10th of a second ahead of American and defending champion Jordan Wilimovsky, a 2016 U.S. Olympian from Malibu, Calif, who took the silver medal after an incredible swim.

“Last year after my victory at the Olympics, I needed a big rest and many people asked me whether I would continue swimming or not,” Weertman said. “The answer was yes since I love swimming. I worked very hard for this result.

“In the last part of the race I realized that Marc, Jordan and Jack (Burnell) were in the first three places. But I was relaxed knowing that I have a very strong finish.”

Wilimovsky worked his way from 49th place and 31 seconds behind the leader. In the final 2.5, he moved into sixth place and was within seven seconds of the leader.

In the final 200 meters of the race, Wilimovsky was swimming side by side with Weertman and Saturday’s 5K winner Marc-Antoine Olivier of France.

Wilimovsky finished in 1:51:58.6. Olivier took the bronze in 1:51:59.2. Brendan Casey of Santa Monica, Calif., the other American in the field, was ninth in 1:52:18.6.

“I cannot complain about my swim,” Wilimovsky said. “I tried everything I could. There are plenty of very good swimmers in the 10K, so the silver medal is all right.”

A field of 65 swimmers competed in the choppy, warm lake water. The 5K women’s race is Wednesday.

Wilimovsky and Casey qualified for worlds finishing one-two at the U.S. Open Water National Championships at Castaic Lake in May.


The U.S. got its first medal in the mixed 3-meter/10-meter event. In her first international diving competition Nevada grad assistant coach Krysta Palmer and her partner David Dinsmore, a redshirt sophomore at University of Miami, took the bronze medal after scoring 395.90 points. “This event is very new to a lot of eyes,” Palmer said. “To have the opportunity to participate was incredible. We didn’t have many expectations coming into this, but we did it.” The last time Palmer qualified for the world championships was in 2010 in another sport, trampoline. She was unable to compete because of a torn ACL.

China has won five out of seven gold medals. Most recent winners are Chen Aisen and Yang Hao in the men’s 10-meter synchronized platform with 498.48 points. Shi Tingmao and 15-year-old Chang Yani won the women’s 3-meter synchro springboard.

European champions Laura Marino and Matthieu Rosset of France won the first diving title for their country in the mixed team event. The pair came from behind on their final dive to win with 406.40 points for the combined platform and 3-meter event.


Defending champion U.S. women defeated Spain, 12-8, to remain unbeaten. Maddie Musselman and Kiley Neushul each scored three goals. Goalkeeper Gabby Stone had 11 saves. The U.S., Olympic champion and winner of every major competition since the 2013 world championships, leads Group B with maximum points for two games. In other games, New Zealand defeated South Africa, 8-6, and Canada edged China, 9-8…

In men’s water polo, Croatia knocked off the U.S. in its opener. Croatia, which had just beaten the U.S. in a four-match series in California, won 12-7.


Giorgio Minisini and Manila Flamini earned Italy its first world gold medal in the mixed duet technical competition. The edged the Russian duo by 0.034 of a point with 90.2979 points. “Doing 90 in this competition is something unbelievable,” Minisini said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at