Florida Gold Coast Has Strong Presence At NCAA Men’s Championships

Florida Gold Coast Has Strong Presence At NCAA Men’s Championships

By Sharon Robb

March 26, 2014

A week after the women were in the spotlight, the men will take their turn at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships that begin Thursday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center at the University of Texas in Austin.

In what’s expected to come down to the final event, Florida is seeded first based on the psych sheet followed by Michigan, North Carolina State and University of California at Berkeley.

Florida State is seeded 11th with first-year coach Frankie Bradley, a former Florida Gold Coast swimmer, making his NCAA Championship coaching debut with the Seminoles.

The Florida, Michigan, N.C. State and Cal seedings are based on the Top 16 swimmers if they finished where they are seeded in the psych sheet, which of course, rarely happens, but then that’s why they have meets.

Florida has 391 points and Michigan, which spends time at The Race Club in the Keys training and fishing during holiday breaks, has 376 points. Florida State has 133 points.

If ever there was a year the Gators have a shot at another team title, it’s this year.

The Gators qualified 14 swimmers men and five powerful relays that features four seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.

Leading the Gators is Metro Aquatic Club’s Carlos Omana, one of the mainstays on the team.

Omana will be joined by Arthur Frayler, Sebastien Rousseau, Mitch D’Arrigo, Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez, Marcin Cieslak, Connor Signorin, Corey Main, Matt Elliott, Pawel Werner, Dan Wallace, Matt Curby, Brad deBorde and Jack Blyzinskyj. Christian-Paul Homer will travel with the team as a relay alternate.

The Gators are coming off their second consecutive SEC Championship title.

The Seminoles are led by two-time defending ACC Swimmer of the Meet Pavel Sankovich of Belarus. Sankovich will score most of FSU’s points in the 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke and individual medley as well as the free relays.

The No. 17-ranked Seminoles will have eight swimmers competing in individual events and relays including Florida Gold Coast swimmers Paul Murray, Connor Knight, Jason McCormick and Jason Coombs.

The Wolverines are led by sprinter Bruno Ortiz and Michael Wynalda.

There will be a strong Florida Swimming and Florida Gold Coast presence at the three-day meet.

Also entered in the meet are Dylan Carter of Southern California and Trinidad and Tobago, who trains in South Florida extensively and competes in Florida Gold Coast meets.

Cal’s Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, could score 40 to 50 points on relays and in the backstroke events.

Thursday’s events are 200-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relay.

Prelims are 11 a.m. and finals 7 p.m. Both sessions will be live streamed at Texassports.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SWIMMING ROUNDUP: Former Pine Crest Swimmer Diana Nyad Headed To Dancing With The Stars

SWIMMING ROUNDUP: Former Pine Crest Swimmer Diana Nyad Headed To Dancing With The Stars

By Sharon Robb

March 4, 2014

Open water swimmer Diana Nyad will be among celebrities featured in the 18th season of Dancing With The Stars.

The former Pine Crest swimmer and world record holder will dance with 28-year-old Henry Byalikov, a veteran of Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars.

At age 64, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage last year. She swam from Havana to Key West, a 110-mile swim in her fifth attempt.

Nyad recently took home the ESPN Sports Science Newton Award for Outstanding New Limit.

“Since Day One, nine years ago, I’ve wanted to do DWTS,” Nyad said. “Dance is the expression of joy and freedom that the human race has enjoyed from the beginning of time.

“Henry and I are locked in a rehearsal studio four hours a day,” she said. “What a joy, what a challenge.”

Their first dance will be the Fox Trot when the show begins March 17th on ABC.

Nyad will be joined by Olympic gold medalist ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White; Billy Dee Williams, Candace Cameron Bure, Cody Simpson, Danica McKellar, Drew Carey, James Maslow, NeNe Leakes and Sean Avery.

Nyad won’t be the only swimmer getting national attention out of the pool.

Superstar Michael Phelps will appear in the USA Network series Suits on Thursday, March 6th. It won’t be a stretch since Phelps will play himself when the show returns for its third season. The Olympic swimmer’s storyline is Scottie recruits him as a client to try to impress Harvey. Phelps is a fan of the show which producers first learned when he started tweeting about it.

Marx Makes Conference Finals

SOFLO’s Courtney Marx, a senior at Western Kentucky, qualified for the finals of the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly events at the recent Conference USA Women’s Swimming Championships.

Marx qualified eighth in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:02.19 and finished tenth in 2:03.64. She qualified ninth in the 100-yard butterfly in 55.62 and finished ninth in 55.80 in her final conference meet appearance.

Rice won the team title for the third time in four years after winning 11 of the meet’s events and going five-for-five in relays to total 1,000 points. Florida International University was second with 740 points and East Carolina was third with 700.

FIU senior Sabrina Beaupre was selected C-USA Diver of the Meet after winning the 1-meter springboard and platform titles. She was second on 3-meter.

FIU’s Johanna Gustafsdottir won the 200-yard individual medley in a meet record 1:57.94, an NCAA “B” cut and 200-yard backstroke in 1:55.05, also a “B” cut. Teammate Sonia Perez Arau won the 400-yard individual medley in a meet record 4:12.11, also a “B” cut.

Western Kentucky men won the men’s title with 1,225 points. East Carolina was second with 1,038 and Old Dominion was third with 1,034.50.

Florida Atlantic junior Gregory Cox was the Men’s Diver of the Meet after winning the 3-meter and platform titles and was second on 3-meter.

Western Kentucky’s Bruce Marchionda was selected the Swimming Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. FAU diving coach Michelle Davison-Sandelin was selected Diving Coach of the Year.

Western Kentucky swimmers are frequent visitors to SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool during holiday breaks.

FGC Swimmers Shine At ACC’s

Florida Gold Coast swimmers were among big winners for Florida State at the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

The 200-yard medley relay of Pavel Sankovich, Jared Pike, Connor Knight and Paul Murray set a meet record and earned an NCAA automatic time standard in 1:24.72.

The 800-yard freestyle relay of Kevin Rogers, Connor Knight, Jemal LeGrand and Jason Coombs finished seventh in 6:26.34.

The Seminoles won the 400-yard freestyle relay with Pavel Sankovich, Jared Pike, Connor Knight and Paul Murray.

Murray broke the ACC, conference and school records in the 50-yard freestyle in 19.04. Murray of Coconut Creek turned in the second fastest time in the nation this year. Murray was also second in the 100-yard freestyle in a school record 42.59 after splitting 19.91.

Sankovich was named the Swimmer of the Meet for the second consecutive year. FSU finished fifth with 957.50 points. Virginia Tech won its first ever title in the program’s history with 1,264.50 points. North Carolina State was second with 1,226.

Lochte Competed Too Soon

Olympian Ryan Lochte said he felt pain in his knee after competing at last month’s Orlando Arena Grand Prix. Lochte missed the first two days because of bad weather in North Carolina and now is second-guessing himself about making the trip to compete on the third and final day. Lochte, 29, may have overestimated his ability to recover. He is still rehabbing and training in the pool but listening to his body more.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Florida Gold Coast Well-Represented At NCAA Division I Men’s Championships

Florida Gold Coast Well-Represented At NCAA Division I Men’s Championships

Written by Sharon Robb

March 27, 2013

Florida Gold Coast will be well-represented at the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships that get underway Thursday at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Nicholas Schwab, a senior at Indiana and 2012 Olympian, will compete in the 500-yard freestyle. He is seeded 29th in 4:18.70 and will swim in the opening event on Thursday.

Southern Cal sophomore Cristian Quintero is seeded first in 4:13.37.

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Carlos Omana, a sophomore at University of Florida, is seeded 28th in 4:18.66.

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers entered in the meet are Florida State senior John Jessell and junior teammate Paul Murray.

A field of 235 swimmers from 51 teams will compete over three days.

Michigan is the overwhelming favorite to win the team title. The Wolverines have 510 seeded points. Based on its seeding, the Wolverines have a 211-point advantage over the rest of the field.

Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, Texas and University of Florida are the top challengers.

Florida is led by redshirt junior Sebastien Rousseau who has returned to the team, and top freshman Pavel Werner.

The Gators qualified 14 swimmers and divers, including eight from last year’s meet, for NCAAs. The Gators have finished in the Top 10 for 12 consecutive years and earned 27 All-American honors in 2012.

Florida State may be the meet’s surprise team with the mid-season addition of Pavel Sankovich. The Seminoles relays have also been impressive this season and most recently at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.

Louisville, led by Joao de Lucca, may be another surprise and finish in the Top 10 for the second consecutive year. Former FGC swimmer and three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov is finishing up his first season as assistant coach at Louisville.

In addition to the 500 freestyle, other Thursday events are 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle, 1-meter diving and 400-yard medley relay.

ESPN3 is streaming the event live on Friday and Saturday. Live results can also be found at ncaa.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com