Former Gator Wins Swim For Alligator Lighthouse Open Water Swim

ISLAMORADA, September 14, 2022—Defending champion Connor Signorin topped a field of 450 swimmers from around the nation to capture his second consecutive Swim for Alligator Lighthouse, an 8-mile open-water swim held off the Florida Keys on Saturday.

Signorin, 30, of the Tampa Bay area and former University of Florida swimmer, finished the race in 3 hours, 7 minutes and 8 seconds. Last year he won in 3:05:37.

The five time All-American and the rest of the field swam to Alligator Reef Lighthouse off Islamorada, rounded the beacon, and swam back to the start and finish points at Amara Cay Resort.

Islamorada’s Corley Smith, 17, of Coral Shores High School and Florida Keys Swim Club, coached by two-time Olympian Jon Olsen, won the women’s race in 3 hours, 43 minutes and 13 seconds.

In other divisions, Greg Hodson and Joan Wheeler had the fast two-person relay time of 4:05:44.

Lynnette Hennessey and Kolby Minckler of Hilton Head, S.C. and Joe Green from Bluffton, S.C. won the three-person class in 4:08:13.

The winning four-person team was Marty Berman, Andrew Freeman, Keith Kessler and Michael Miller of Ponte Verde in 4:27:46.

The annual swim was created by Florida Keys artist “Lighthouse Larry” Herlth to raise awareness for the need to preserve the 150-year-old Alligator Reef Lighthouse and five other aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys.

The swim also raises money for college scholarships for Keys students interested in competitive swimming.

Alligator Reef Lighthouse is named after the USS Alligator, a U.S. Navy schooner that ran aground on the reef in 1822 and sank. Despite misconceptions, there are no alligators around the lighthouse since those reptiles primarily live in fresh water.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Swim4Nick Swim Clinic Set For August 21 At Plantation Aquatic Complex

By Sharon Robb
PLANTATION, August 10, 2022—The fifth annual Swim4Nick Swim Clinic is set for Sunday, August 21 at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

The free clinic, that benefits the Nicholas Dworet Memorial Fund, Inc., is for novice and intermediate, middle and high school swimmers. It is a clinic and not a swim lesson. Participants should know all four strokes. The clinic is 9 a.m.-noon.

The clinic is meant to help local swimmers improve their swim strokes as well as bring swimmers from different high school and club swim teams together for a day of fun and remembering Nicholas Dworet and to help keep his legacy alive.

Dworet was killed Feb. 14, 2018 in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting. Dworet started swimming at age 7 and had a scholarship waiting for him at University of Indianapolis the fall of 2018 and hoped to swim in the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics.

Dworet was always helping friends and teammates. In his memory, the swim clinic is held in his honor for swimmers who want to improve through hard work and dedication just as Dworet did through the years.

High school, college and club coaches will be on hand to work with swimmers. Swimmers will be coached on all four swim strokes and will move from station to station to get tips from the coaches.

There will be giveaways and raffles. Swimmers will receive a welcome gift. After the clinic swimmers will enjoy a pizza lunch and raffle where every swimmer will receive a prize.

Since it was started, the clinic has hosted nearly 300 swimmers of all ages. The Nicholas Dworet Memorial Fund, Inc. has given away more than $18,000 in scholarships and aid to local swimmers.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Ana Frable was among scholarship recipients this year. Other recipients were Alejandro Huerta, Tristan Bragg, Joshua Cajuste, Maggie Carlson and Giulianna Garcia.

Registration closes Friday, August 19. To register go to or email No children under 8 years old will be allowed to participate. The Nicholas Dworet Fund, Inc. Swim4Nick is a 501C(3) charity.

The second annual Swim With Nick Ocean Race, presented by Salty Sports Society, is Oct. 1 at 7:30 a.m. at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park in Dania Beach. Distances are 500 yards, 1.2 and 2.4 miles. Presenting sponsor is Broward Health Coral Springs. To register go to

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Alia Atkinson Named FINA Athletes’ Committee Chair; Dylan Carter Selected For Committee

By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 30, 2022—Five-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson was elected the first-ever chair of FINA’s Athletes’ Committee at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships.

The former longtime South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer was among 20 athletes elected by their peers from their aquatic sport with six athletes later appointed and six others named honorary members by FINA, the international swimming federation. The sports represented are synchronized swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, swimming and water polo.

Atkinson, a four-time gold medalist at the World Swimming Championships (25-meters), will serve a four-year term. Voting took place by electronic ballots throughout the championships. Atkinson, 33, and six others ran unopposed.

“Today marks another significant step forward for both FINA and all aquatics athletes,” Atkinson said. “The Athletes’ Committee will act as a critical link between athletes and FINA.

“Having the athlete community choose those who represent them in important decisions is critical for the future development of our beloved sport.”

Atkinson’s final competitive meet was the 2021 15th FINA Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

British diver Jack Laugher, a three-time Olympic medalist, was named vice-chair of the committee.

The elected contingent includes nine other swimmers: former Plantation American Heritage swimmer Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago; Therese Alshammar of Sweden, Ireland’s Shane Ryan, Hong Kong’s Siobhán Haughey, Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan, Australia’s Jessica Hansen, Papua New Guinea’s Ryan Pini, Uganda’s Jamila Nsibambi Lunkuse and Matthew Sates of South Africa.

The second diving representative elected was Maria Polyakova of Russia, a former European champion in the women’s 1-meter springboard.

Synchronized swimming is represented by Egypt’s Nehal Saafan and Bill May of the U.S. Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha, who used to train in Davie, and the Netherlands’ Ferry Weertman will represent open water swimming.

Anna Bader of Germany and Alain Kohl of Luxembourg were elected to represent high diving, along with water polo players Margarita Plevritou of Greece and Felipe Perrone Rocha of Spain.

“Athletes are the heartbeat of aquatics,” said FINA President Husain Al-Musallam. “There is no sport without athletes. This is why I am so proud to be part of these historic elections.

“With equal gender representation and athletes from all six continents across all disciplines, I have no doubt that those elected will strengthen and promote the athletes’ voice for the benefit of the entire aquatics community.”

Britain’s three-time Olympic and eight-time World Championship swimming gold medalist Adam Peaty was among the six current athletes appointed by Al-Musallam to join the Athletes’ Committee. Hungary’s Dániel Gyurta and Italy’s Federica Pellegrini are also set to serve on the panel as elected members of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission.

The Athletes’ Committee is responsible for offering input into the organization of the World Championships and the development of technical rules, and is designed to serve as the “athletes’ voice in aquatics sport”.

This is Musallam’s first World Championships as President, which was marked by FINA’s decision to require transgender athletes to have completed transition by the age of 12 to be eligible for women’s events.

OPEN WATER SWIMMING: Florida’s Anna Auld Seventh In 25K

Brazilian Ana Cunha, who once trained in Davie, won a close race in the women’s 25K at the 19th FINA World Championships in 5:24:15.0. She was followed by Lea Boy of Germany, 5:24:15.2 and Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands, 5:24:15.3. University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach, representing the U.S., was seventh in 5:26:25 among a field of 15 swimmers.

Italy’s Dario Verani won the men’s 25K title in 5:02:21 followed by Axel Raymond of France, 5:02:22 and Hungary’s Peter Galicz, 5:02:35. Azura’s Maximiliano Paccot of Uruguay was unable to finish after swimming for 1:34:08 among a field of 25 swimmers.

In the men’s 10K, Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy’s won in 1:50:56 followed by teammate Domencio Acerenza, 1:50:58 and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock, 1:51:11. Azura’s Jahir Lopez of Ecuador was 46th in 2:03:23 and Maximiliano Paccot of Uruguay was 48th in 2:05:01.

In the women’s 10K, Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands won in 2:02:29.2 followed by Leonie Beck of Germany, 2:02:29.7 and Cunha, 2:02:30. American Katie Grimes was fifth in 2:02:37.

In the men’s 5K, Germany’s Florian Wellbrock won in 52:48 followed by Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, 52:52 and Mykhailo Romanchuk of Ukraine, 53:13. Azura’s Maximiliano Paccot of Uruguay was 41st in 59:43.

In the women’s 5K, Cunha also won in 57:52 followed by Aurelie Muller of France in 57:53 and Italy’s Giulia Gabbreilleschi in 57:54. University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach was 20th in 1:00:57. Azura’s Fatima Portillo, 19, of El Salvador was 37th in 1:04:56.

In the opening event, the 6K mixed relay, Germany (1:04:40), Hungary (1:04:43.0) and Italy (1:04:43.0) were the top three finishers. The U.S. finished seventh in 1:05:50. Twenty-three nations competed.

The historic inaugural Caribbean Games are underway in Guadeloupe. More than 800 athletes from 29 countries began competing on Thursday. Seven sports over five days are being held. The event is being televised on Panam Sports Channel.

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic watched with sport leaders throughout the continent and wished the athletes nothing but success during the Games.

“It’s nice to see the joy of the athletes parading. They are the future of our sport and our work must focus largely on them, on the new generations. We started with the Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games, then came the Rosario 2022 Youth South American Games and now the Caribbean has its own celebration of U-23 sport. I congratulate CANOC and Guadalupe for this fantastic and historic party and wish much success to the enthusiastic athletes.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Compete This Weekend At Southern Zone Open Water Championships

By Sharon Robb
DeLEON SPRINGS, Fl., May 13, 2022—After checking in, swimmers got a chance to warm up Friday for the Southern Zone Open Water Championships Saturday and Sunday at Camp Winona YMCA.

South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented on the Florida Gold Coast zone team with seven swimmers in the two-day event hosted by Hydro4 Swimming and Florida Swimming.

Florida Swimming has won the event for the past three years followed by North Carolina, Gulf Swimming and South Texas Swimming.

On Saturday at 8:15 a.m. the 11-12 2K, 13-14 5K and Senior Open and 15-16 5K races will be held.

Sunday’s events at 8:45 a.m. feature the 11-12 2K Team Pursuit Race; 13-14 2K Team Pursuit Race; 15-16 2K Team Pursuit Race and Open 2K Team Pursuit Race.

The 5K course is a rectangular shape with multiple buoys placed on the course to identify the course boundaries. The start and finish are in-water. The races are being live streamed on YouTube. Results will be posted on Florida Swimming’s open water swimming page.

The water depth off the dock is 15 feet and water temperature is expected to range from 72-78 degrees.

SOFLO’ top qualifier is Natalie Gembicki, 17, who was SOFLO’s top girls’ finisher in the FGC local qualifier placing second in the 17-and-over 5K in 1 hour, 13 minutes and 22 seconds for the 3.1 course off Pompano Beach Pier.

Other SOFLO swimmers are: Juan Vallmitjana, 13, Alexander Miller, 16, Jemma Baldwin, 12, Izzy Wilson, 15, Amelie Bicerne, 15, Ivan Grass, 17 and Ryan Harries, 13.


11-12, 1. Cali Jerabek, 2. Gia Euseppi, 3. Alina Rodriguez, 4. Jemma Baldwin, SOFLO.
13-14, 1. Erin Reid, 2. Frankie Ninova, 3. Kalina Gitchev, 4. Allison Connors.
15-16, 1. Izzy Wilson, SOFLO, 2. Lily Blanco, 3. Evelyn Balog, 4. Amelie Bicerne, SOFLO.
Open, 1. Leslie Dame, 2. Natalie Gembecki, SOFLO, 3. Samira Zambrano.

11-12, 1. Caleb Camponera, 2. Luke Reid.
13-14, 1. Andreas DaSilva, 2. Juan Vallmitjana, SOFLO, 3. Ryan Harries, SOFLO, 4. Kavon Clarke.
15-16, 1. Billy Connors, 2. Caleb DaSilva, 3. Lucas Young, 4. Michael Grenier.
Open, 1. Giuliano Brunetti, 2. Fernando Collazo, 3. Ivan Grass, SOFLO, 4. Kolby Hardin.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Seven SOFLO Swimmers Make Open Water Zone Team; SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Wins Open Water 2K

By Sharon Robb
POMPANO BEACH, May 1, 2022—South Florida Aquatic Club had seven swimmers qualify for the zone team Friday at the Florida Gold Coast Swimming Open Water Championships off Pompano Beach Pier.

Natalie Gembicki, 17, was SOFLO’s top girls’ finisher placing second in the 17-and-over 5K in 1 hour, 13 minutes and 22 seconds for the 3.1 course.

Juan Vallmitjana, 13, and Alexander Miller, 16, were SOFLO boys’ top finishers, both placing their in their age groups. Vallmitjana finished in 1:10:15 for 13-14 and Miller finished in 1:10:19 for 15-16.

Joining Gembicki, Vallmitjana and Miller on the FGC zone team are Jemma Baldwin, 12, Izzy Wilson, 15, Amelie Bicerne, 15, and Ivan Grass, 17.

Mallory Schleicher, 19, was SOFLO’s lone winner in the girls 2K in 16:27, nearly three minutes ahead of Coral Springs’ Reese Maxwell in 19:25.

The Southern Zone Open Water Championship is May 14-15 at Camp Winona YMCA in DeLeon Springs.


13-14, 1. Erin Reid, SAS 1:33.49, 2. Frankie Ninova, CANE 1:39:54, 3. Kalina Gitchev, CANE 1:46:46.
15-16, 1. Lilia Blanco, PB 1:11:29, 2. Evelyn Balog, PB 1:15:43, 3. Amelie Bicerne, SOFLO 1:20:12; SOFLO: 6. Gabriela Avila 1:36:21, 7. Dahlia Hirsh 1:38:09.
17-and-over, 1. Fatima Portillo, Azura 1:11:28, 2. Natalie Gembicki, SOFLO 1:13:22, 3. Samira Zambrano, MWA 1:15:30.
13-14, 1. Andreas DaSilva, WOW 1:06:31, 2. Dillon Metz, WOW 1:07:30, 3. Juan Vallmitjana, SOFLO 1:10:15; SOFLO: 4. Ryan Harries 1:19:53.
15-16, 1. Billy Connors, WOW 1:07:01, 2. Caleb Dasilva, WOW 1:08:04, 3. Alexander Miller, SOFLO 1:10:19; SOFLO: 4. Jaden Amores 1:10:53, 5. Hashan Ekanayake 1:12:43, 9. Derek Hau 1:21:38, 10. Abraham Penaloza 1:21:40, 11. Garrett Garcia-Stoddard 1:26:52.
17-and-over, 1 Maximiliano Paccot, Azura 1:00:16, 2. Abraham Flores, Azura 1:02:40, 3. Elias Segovia, Azura 1:02:41; SOFLO: 6. Ivan Grass 1:10:06.
12-and-under, 1. Cali Jerabek, NPB 17:29, 2. Gia Euseppi, NPB 17:40, 3. Alina Rodriguez, PB 17:41, 4. Jemma Baldwin, SOFLO 17:44.
13-14, 1. Nikki Wood, PB 17:50, 2. Lucia Blanco, PB 17:51, 3. Rose Seniuk, SOFLO 18:30.
17-and-over, 1. Mallory Schleicher, SOFLO 16:37, 2. Reese Maxwell, CSSC 19:25.
12-and-under, 1. Elan Becker, SAS 18:32, 2. Alejandro Bahos Andrade, WOW 19:05.
13-14, 1. Becket Menacho, PB 16:37, 2. Ethan Persten, CSSC 17:45, 3. Alistair Bass, SFTL 17:56.
15-16, 1. Andrew Smith, PB 17:37, 2. tie, Everhart Fergus, WOW 17:43 and Adriano Brunetti, PB 17:43.
17-and-over, 1. Nick Potter, PB 16:34, 2. Lee Scharf, PB 21:47.


11-12, 1. Cali Jerabek, 2. Gia Euseppi, 3. Alina Rodriguez, 4. Jemma Baldwin, SOFLO.
13-14, 1. Erin Reid, 2. Frankie Ninova, 3. Kalina Gitchev, 4. Allison Connors.
15-16, 1. Izzy Wilson, SOFLO, 2. Lily Blanco, 3. Evelyn Balog, 4. Amelie Bicerne, SOFLO.
Open, 1. Leslie Dame, 2. Natalie Gembecki, SOFLO, 3. Samira Zambrano.
11-12, 1. Caleb Camponera, 2. Luke Reid.
13-14, 1. Andreas DaSilva, 2. Juan Vallmitjana, SOFLO, 3. Ryan Harries, SOFLO, 4. Kavon Clarke.
15-16, 1. Billy Connors, 2. Caleb DaSilva, 3. Lucas Young, 4. Michael Grenier.
Open, 1. Giuliano Brunetti, 2. Fernando Collazo, 3. Ivan Grass, SOFLO, 4. Kolby Hardin.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Schleicher, Wilson Among Nation’s Best At U.S. Open Water National And Junior Championships

By Sharon Robb
FORT MYERS BEACH, March 31, 2022–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mallory Schleicher and Isabelle (Izzy) Wilson will compete this weekend in the U.S. Open Water National & Junior Championships.

The nation’s top open water swimmers will compete for several roster spots at various meets.

The competition begins Friday and runs through Sunday at Lynn Hall Beach Park.

According to the psych sheet, Schleicher, 17, a University of Florida commit, will compete in the 5K National Championship and Wilson, 14, will swim the 7.5K Junior National Championships.

Other local swimmers entered are University of Florida’s Anna Auld, 17, (10K/5K); Blair Stoneburg, 16, (10K/5K) of Treasure Coast Aquatics; Brynn Stoneburg, 15, of Treasure Coast Aquatics (7.5K Junior).

Among top seeds are 2020 Olympians Erica Sullivan, Michael Brinegar and Katie Grimes. Joining them are Open Water National Team members Mariah Denigan, Leah DeGeorge and brothers Dylan and Brennan Gravley.

Open Water champion David Heron heads the field. In last year’s event, he finished first in both the 5K and 10K. It was the first time in nine Open Water National Championships appearances where he won both events.

The top finishers will make the upcoming U.S. Open Water National Team and U.S. Open Water National Junior Team, 2022 FINA Open Water World Championships U.S. team and 2022 FINA World Junior Open Water Championships U.S. teams.

The 2022 U.S. Open Water National Team, which will be active May 1-October 31, 2022, will be based on the top six male and top six female finishers in the 10K event at the 2022 Open Water National Championships held at 8 and 10:30 a.m.

Selection to the 2022-23 U.S. Open Water National Team, which will be active November 1, 2022-May 1, 2023, will be decided based on a results-based points system across two domestic and four international open water competitions. At the conclusion of these competitions, the top six male and top six female swimmers with the most points will be named to the 2022-23 U.S. Open Water National Team.

Selection to the U.S. roster for the 2022 FINA Open Water World Championships, which takes place June 26-30 in Budapest, Hungary, will follow a similar points-based system. Points will be distributed to top finishers from the 2022 Open Water National Championships 5K and 10K events, as well as top finishers in the events at the 2022 FINA Marathon Swim World Series in Portugal, which takes place May 28-29, 2022. Following the results of the two competitions, the six male and six female swimmers with the most points will represent the U.S. at the 2022 FINA Open Water World Championships.

The U.S. Open Water National Junior Team will be comprised of the top two male and top two female finishers in the 10K at the Open Water National Championships, the top finishing male and female from a 10K race to be held in October, the top finishers from the junior 7.5K event at the Open Water Junior National Championships and any male or female individual medalist at the 2022 FINA Open Water World Junior Championships.

Selection for the 2022 FINA World Junior Open Water Championships, which will take place September 1-4 in Beau Vallon, Seychelles, will be based off the following age-group finishers from the 2022 Open Water National Junior Championships:
Top two male, top two female finishers from the 5K Junior Nationals (14-15 Age Group).
Top two male, top two female finishers from the 7.5K Junior Nationals (16-17 Age Group).
Top two male, top two female finishers from the 10K Nationals (18-19 Eligible Athletes).

All additional information will be updated to the competition’s event page. The action is being streamed each morning on

RACE START TIMES (There has been a change to the National 5K start time)

10K National Championships (Open + 19&U)
    Friday, April 1, 2022-  Women’s Race 8:00 am - Men’s Race 10:30 am 
5K Junior National Championships (15-U Age Group) 
    Saturday, April 2, 2022 Men’s Race 8:00 am -  Women’s Race 8:05 am  
5K National Championships (Open) ** Please Note this is different than what is posted in the meet information
    Sunday, April 3, 2022 Men’s Race 8:00am - Women’s Race 8:05am  
7.5K Junior National Championships (16-17 Age Group)
    Sunday, April 3, 2022 Men’s Race 10:00am - Women’s Race 10:05am

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Italy Wins First Gold Medal At FINA Short Course World Championships; SOFLO’s Atkinson, Horrego Race Thursday

By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 15, 2021–Italy won the inaugural open water mixed team relay Wednesday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Yas Bay.

It was the first time the new open water event was held at the championships.

Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy led his relay team in the 6K event. His split of 15:49.1 was the fastest of the nine teams that competed. He was 3.2 seconds faster than Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky, who challenged him in the final lap.

“It was a tough race,” Paltrinieri said. “Since Tokyo, I have been focusing on pool training, mostly on the 1500 meters. Today was a race in the sea, but it was also a 1500-meter race so I decided to swim the relay.

“Relays are always fun. I won’t be swimming the 10K Thursday. I battled with Kristof for the last 200 meters and he was trying to stay close to me. After the last buoy I gave it everything I had and he wasn’t able to pass me.”

Hungary was second in 1:06.51 and Germany was third in 1:07.29. The Italian team will split $20,000 in prize money. Hungary earned $16,000 and Germany $12,000.

Martina De Memme led off the Italian relay in 17:23.8 and was the sixth fastest lead-off swimmer in the event. De Memme was also the oldest swimmer on the Italian relay at age 30. Giulia Gabrielleschi, 25, the youngest Italian swam the second leg in 17:24.60 and was fifth fastest swimmer in the second leg. Domenico Acerena swam the third leg in a time of 16:10.6, second-fastest third leg swimmer.

Longtime St. Andrew’s Aquatics director and coach Sid Cassidy of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee directed the open water event.

The five-day meet continues Thursday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday, Dec. 21.

SOFLO and Florida Gold Coast will be well-represented. SOFLO Olympians Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Julio Horrego of Honduras will represent their countries. Both will compete Thursday. Atkinson, the world record holder in the 50-meter breaststroke, is seeded second in 28.88. Horrego will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke. His entry time is 1:01.18, seeded 37th.

Other FGC swimmers competing are:

Steven Aimable, Senegal, Azura.
Julimar Avila, Honduras, Azura.
Nicole Frank, Uruguay, Azura.
Yeziel Morales, Puerto Rico, Azura.
Maria Fe Munoz, Peru, Azura.
Kerry Ollivierre, Grenada, Azura.
Joaquin Vargas, Peru, Azura.
Sidrell Williams, Jamaica, Azura.
Dylan Carter, Trinidad and Tobago, American Heritage Plantation alum.
Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, Florida State, St. Andrew’s alum.
Miguel Cancel, Puerto Rico, University of Florida, Gulliver Prep alum.

FINA will offer a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There will also be a $50,000 bonus for any swimmer who breaks a world record.

The top eight individual payoffs for first through eighth place are $10,000, $8,000, $7,000, $6,000, $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

There are 943 swimmers from 183 countries competing. The swimming is part of the Aquatics Festival which includes open water swimming, high diving and diving team competition.

Final sessions of the pool swimming will be streamed on NBC Sports’ Olympic Channel. Eurovision Sport’s All Aquatics will air the heats.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Olympian Brooke Bennett Women’s Winner At Swim For Alligator Lighthouse Open Water Challenge

By Sharon Robb
KEY WEST, September 12, 2021—Three-time Olympic gold medalist Brooke Bennett was the top women’s finisher and third overall Saturday at the Swim For Alligator Lighthouse Open Water Challenge.

Bennett, 41, of Clearwater won the 8-mile open water swim in 3 hours, 19 minutes and 20 seconds.

The distance swimmer won three Olympic gold medals during her career, in the 800-meter freestyle in 1996 and 2000, and 400-meter freestyle in 2000.

Former University of Florida swimmer and five-time All-American Connor Signorin, 29, of Tampa won the overall race in 3 hours, 5 minutes and 37 seconds.

In other divisions, Tampa residents Andrew Lashlee and Robert Skaggs had the fastest two-person relay time at 4:03:58. Miami’s Christine Coppola and Jacquelyn Schwartz of Full Circle Coaching won the two-person female team division in 4:34.21.

Swimmers Michelle Dalton, Sara McLarty and Misty Bacerra, all of Clermont, won the three-person relay in 4:15:32.

The winning four-person team was a mixed relay of male and female competitors from Fort Lauderdale. Tim Shead, Harold Wagner, Serge Wenzel and Ann Kilpatrick won in 3:34:42.

Lake Lytal Lightning coach Gordon Andrews, 61, of West Palm Beach was 23rd out of 100 overall and 14th among 62 male finishers in 4:26:34.

Jeff Strump of Pembroke Pines was 35th overall and 23rd among 62 men in 4:41.33.

Eddie Ames, 51, of Miami was 45th overall and 31st among 62 men in 4:57:12.

More than 460 national and international swimmers competed in the ocean waters off the Florida Keys. Athletes swam to Alligator Reef Lighthouse off Islamorada, rounded the beacon and came back to the start and finish points at Amara Cay Resort.

The event was created by Florida Keys artist “Lighthouse Larry” Herlth, the annual race is staged to raise awareness about the need to preserve the almost 150-year-old Alligator Lighthouse and five other aging lighthouses off the Florida Keys. The event also raises college scholarship funds for Keys students interested in competitive swimming.

Recently, the Islamorada community-based organization that hosts the annual swim was approved to take ownership of the lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. Restoring it is likely to take five to seven years and cost up to $9 million, according to organizers. Fundraising efforts have already begun at

The next Swim For Alligator Lighthouse in Sept. 10, 2022. Registration is under way. The event will be capped at 490 swimmers. The race is expected to sell out.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Germany’s Florian Wellbrock Wins Men’s Olympic 10K Open Water Swim

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, August 4, 2021—Florian Wellbrock was determined not to let his third race of the Tokyo Olympics slip away.

The 23-year-old German world 10K champion won the Olympic men’s 10K open water gold medal by 25 seconds in 1 hour, 48 hours and 33.7 seconds at Odaiba Marine Park.

The victory more than made up for his fourth place in the 800-meter freestyle after leading until the last 50 meters only to finish fourth and settling for a bronze medal in the 1500 meters.

Wellbrock had the lead for most of the 6.2-mile race, trailing France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier briefly. Going into the seventh and final lap, six swimmers were together but it was Wellbrock who surged after making the final turn around a red buoy at the far end of the course and broke away for the win. No one was going to catch him on Wednesday.

Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky took the silver medal in 1:48.59, just edging out Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri in 1:49.01.1. Defending champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands was seventh. American Jordan Wilimovsky, 27, was tenth in 1:51.40.2. He was the only U.S. entry.

Wellbrock was the second German to win a medal in the 10K, held in the Olympics for just the fourth time after making its debut at the 2012 London Games. Thomas Lurz won bronze in 2008 and silver in 2012.

The temperature was 81 degrees with 80 percent humidity. The water temperature was 84 degrees. The stifling heat forced two swimmers to drop off including France’s David Aubry. Great Britain’s Hector Pardoe also was unable to finish.


  1. Florian Wellbrock, Germany 1:48.33.7
  2. Kristof Rasovszky, Hungary 1:48.59.0
  3. Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 1:49.01.1
  4. Matan Roditi, Israel 1:49.24.9
  5. Athanasios Kynigakis, Greece 1:49.29.2
  6. Marc-Antoine Olivier, France 1:50.23.0
  7. Ferry Weertman, Netherlands 1:51.30.8
  8. Michael McGlynn, South Africa 1:51.32.7
  9. Hau-Li Fan, Canada 1:51.37.0
  10. Jordan Wilimovsky, USA 1:51.40.2

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha Wins Olympic Gold Medal In Women’s 10K Open Water Swim

By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, August 3, 2021—In one of the closest open water finishes, Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha finally won her Olympic medal in the 10 kilometer open course marathon swim Tuesday night.

Making her third Olympic appearance, Cunha, 29, the five-time world champion had won every major title in her sport except an Olympic medal.

Cunha, who has trained and competed in South Florida, held off late surges by defending champion Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands and Australia’s Kareena Lee to win the seven-lap race in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 30.8 seconds at Odaiba Marine Park in the oppressive Tokyo heat.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she was fifth as a 16-year-old and at the 2016 Rio Games she was 10th. She didn’t qualify in 2021.

“It means four Olympic cycles, a lot of years working,” Cunha said when asked what winning a gold medel means to her. “It’s my third Olympic Games.

“In 2008 I had no chance, in 2012 I didn’t qualify and Rio 2016 was not the result my coach and I expected.

“We arrived here wanting, as much as you can, this medal and around 10 days ago, I said to my coach to win this race will be very difficult for my opponents because I want it so hard, so much and I’m really well prepared.”

With very little wind and current, the race was a test of endurance and tactics as the top medal contenders hung back in the beginning and gradually picked up the pace in the later stages of the swim.

Late in the race, air temperature was 86 degrees with 74 percent humidity. The water temperature was 84 degrees, under the allowable limit of 88 degrees.

At the end of lap six (8.6K), Leonie Beck of Germany was leading the race, 2.6 seconds ahead of Cunha, with just 5.5 seconds separating the top five. By the 9.5K mark, Cunha took the lead and led the rest of the way.

In the last 500 meters, Cunha put in a surge opening a gap of 0.7-seconds between her and van Rouwendaal. Beck dropped to third place and eventually fifth while Lee moved from fifth to fourth, 3.5 seconds behind, and eventually finished third.

“I think I did the best race possible,” van Rouwendaal said. “I was one of the favorites here and that’s really, really hard in open water because everybody’s looking at you, and every round I couldn’t come up a little bit more in the front.”

Before her Olympic swim, Cunha said, “I always liked swimming outdoors in rivers, at the beach. I always loved it. When you have clear goals, it is easier to train and swim behind them. Therefore I believe in taking it step by step.”

There was a 32-second gap between the lead group of seven swimmers and the rest of the 25-swimmer field.

In what is expected to be the final race of her swimming career, American Ashley Twichell finished seventh in 1:59:37.9, just behind U.S. teammate Haley Anderson, sixth in 1:59.36.9.

Twichell swam in the lead for much of the race and was in second place at the start of the final lap but slipped out of medal contention in the final stretch as swimmers with closing speed surged past her.

At 32 years old, Twichell became the second-oldest American woman to swim in the Olympics, trailing only Dara Torres.

Alice Dearing, 24, of Great Britain was 19th in 2:05:03.2, 5:32.4 out of first place. She made history by becoming the first black woman to swim in the Olympics for her country in the marathon event. She looked strong for the first two-thirds of the event but faltered in the later stages.

On Wednesday, the men will compete with defending champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands leading the field. His challengers include 2012 London Champion Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, German world champion Florian Wellbrock and 2016 Rio bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier.


  1. Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil 1:59:30.8
  2. Sharon vam Rouwemdaal, Netherlands 1:59:31.7
  3. Kareena Lee, Australia 1:59:32.5
  4. Ana Olasz, Hungary 1:59:34.8
  5. Leonie Beck, Germany 1:59:35.1
  6. Haley Anderson, United State 1:59:36.9
  7. Ashley Twichell, United State 1:59:37.9
  8. Xin Xin, China 2:00:10.1
  9. Lara de Villele Grangeon, France 2:00:57.3
  10. Finnia Wunram, Germany 2:01:01.9
    Sharon Robb can be reached at