AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 237: Bradley Named FSU Coach; SOFLO’s Oliver Most Valuable Swimmer

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 237: Bradley Named FSU Coach; SOFLO’s Oliver Most Valuable Swimmer


May 8, 2013

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver has a new head coach.

Former Florida Gold Coast swimmer and 1993 St. Thomas Aquinas alum Frankie Bradley returned to his alma mater this week as newly-named head coach of Florida State.

Bradley graduated from FSU in 1997 and started a journey of building an impressive resume that included coaching jobs at Indian River State College, South Carolina and Auburn before returning to FSU.

“I’m thrilled,” Bradley said. “I’ve spent a number of years coaching and I’ve always thought that coming back to Florida State would be awesome. I got the call last week and it was incredible. I’m excited to lead the program.”

Bradley has been one of the most sought after college coaches for several jobs. Bradley replaces Neil Harper whose contract was not renewed after fourteen seasons.

Bradley will be faced with rebuilding the men’s team which graduated three of the four members of their Atlantic Coast Conference record-setting freestyle relays. The men’s team have several top freshmen coming in including Aruba Olympian Jemal Le Grand of Davie Nadadores and Sagemont.

The women’s team, led by SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver, a double ACC sprint champion, lost top butterflier, Elizabeth Pepper to a transfer. The women’s team has top recruit Chelsea Britt coming in.

Bradley has worked with Olympians Mateo De Angulo of Colombia, Gideon Louw of South Africa, Marcelo Chierighini of Brazil, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas, and American Micah Lawrence.

While at St. Thomas, Bradley was a state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1992 and six-time high school All-American. He was a four-year letterman at FSU which including an ACC title in 1995 in the 200-yard individual medley.

Oliver Named Top Swimmer

SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver, who grew up with the Comets program and is now finishing her junior year at Florida State, was named the Seminoles’ Most Valuable Swimmer for the women’s team.

Oliver won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles at the ACC Championships. She qualified for the NCAA Championships and earned All-American honors in the 50 freestyle and 800 free relay.

Oliver holds the FSU records in the 50 and 100 freestyle and as a member of the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relay teams.

“Tiffany really came into her own this year,” said associate head coach Andy Robins after the Seminoles annual awards banquet. “She was such a key asset for us in so many events.”

Charlotte Grand Prix

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, gold medalists Ricky Berens, Cullen Jones, Conor Dwyer, Jessica Hardy and Allison Schmitt head the field for the Arena Grand Prix that begins Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. With 30 swimmers, Charlotte-based SwimMac Carolina is expected to dominate. The meet will serve as a preparation meet for the 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials in Indianapolis, World University Games and World Championships.

Phelps Among Influential

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever with 22 medals, is ranked second behind quarterback Tim Tebow on Forbes Magazine’s list of the Top 10 Most Influential Athletes. He is ranked ahead of several top pro athletes including LeBron James, David Beckham and Peyton Manning. Phelps has done more for the sport of swimming than any other swimmer, male or female, in the history of the sport and Olympics.

FINA Diving Grand Prix

Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex will host 120 divers from 21 countries including 2012 Olympic champions and medalists, for the fourth stop of the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix that begins on Thursday and ends Sunday. The meet will help divers fine tune for World Championships in Barcelona. The events include men’s and women’s 3-meter springboard, 10-meter platform and 3-meter and 10-meter synchro. Powerhouse China is expected to dominate. Olympic gold medalist David Boudia will compete in his first major competition since winning two medals at the London Olympics. U.S. divers will be looking to prepare for the May 15-20 World Championship Trials in Tallahassee.


Five-time Olympian Dara Torres of Boston and Milwaukee-based Koss have launched a new headphone line for women called Koss Fit Series. The line includes FitClips and Fit Buds…U.S. Masters Spring Nationals get underway on Thursday in Indianapolis. GOLD’s Deb Cavanaugh along with eight other local swimmers will compete in individual events only. The age groups did not work for relays, according to Cavanaugh. The meet ends Sunday.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 227: Pedraza, Cunha Win ISHOF Rough Water Swim

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 227: Pedraza, Cunha Win ISHOF Rough Water Swim

By Sharon Robb

January 5, 2013

World champion Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil and Joey Pedraza of Davie won the women’s and men’s overall titles Saturday at the 45th annual International Swimming Hall of Fame Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Mile Swim.

Cunha outsprinted U.S. national team member Emily Brunemann in the last five meters to win the women’s division in 21 minutes and 57.7 seconds.

Pedraza, a Pine Crest and University of Florida alum, won the men’s race in 20:42.4.

Cunha and Pedraza were tuning up for the 50th annual Travessia Mar

Grande Salvador 15K in Brazil on Jan. 13. Cunha, the defending overall champion, is an overwhelming favorite for the coastal swim.

Pedraza will represent the USA Swimming national team along with U.S. teammate Lexie Kelly.

The complete results for the ISHOF events will be released this week at

Orange Bowl Swimming

University of Michigan swept the men’s and women’s titles at the annual Orange Bowl Swimming Classic in Key Largo.

It was the fifth consecutive men’s title for the Wolverines ranked among the nation’s top teams.

Michigan swimmers won all 24 events and broke fifteen individual and two men’s and two men’s Orange Bowl meet records at Jacobs Aquatic Center.

West Virginia was second and George Mason finished third among the eight-team field.


Olympians Ryan Lochte and Connor Dwyer and the University of Florida men’s swim team trained with the 920th Guardian Angels para-rescuers Friday at Patrick Air Force Base. The 10-week training regimen the para-rescuers go through is some of the most grueling conditioning in the armed forces. It included CrossFit training, kettlebell shuttling, group push-ups in sand, pull-ups, beach running and underwater swimming. Lochte told reporters afterwards it was one of the toughest workouts he has ever gone through. “That was officially my hardest workout I have ever done. The hardest part for me was the running, I don’t do much running,” Lochte said. “The whole spraying water in our face, we’re not used to. But the yelling? We get a lot of that with our coach. I knew it was going to be hard. It’s teamwork. I’m used to a lot of the stuff, but some of it was new. This is something I definitely might look into when swimming is all said and done.”…

Olympian Katie Hoff, who is currently taking classes at University of Miami, has made it clear she has not retired from competitive swimming. After her former coach Paul Yetter of T2 Aquatics in Naples told Swimming World Magazine that Hoff’s move to Miami signals the end of her swimming career, Hoff got on Twitter and tweeted, “To clarify, I am not retired. I am taking some time to go to school at the University of Miami and focus on my studies…

Chase Kalisz made a successful college debut Saturday winning three events for Georgia in the Bulldogs’ wins over North Carolina State and Savannah in Savannah, Ga. The No. 12-ranked Bulldogs men’s team (5-1) defeated N.C. State, 144-112 and Savannah, 206-46. The women’s team also swept the tri-meet to improve to 7-0. The No. 3-ranked women defeated N.C. State, 151-99 and Savannah, 178-73. Kalisz won the 200 butterfly in 1:50.33, 200 breaststroke in 1:59.58 and 200 individual medley in 1:48.61. Georgia will meet Texas on Jan. 12 in its final dual meet of the season…

Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin were named Swimmers of the Year by FINA, the sport’s international governing body. It was the second straight year Franklin earned the honors. Wu Minxia and Ilya Zakharov were named Divers of the Year. Stanford’s Maggie Steffens, a member of the 2012 Olympic gold medal water polo team and MVP at the London Games, was named the Best Female Water Polo Player of 2012 by FINA. The freshman scored 21 goals in the Olympic Games including five in the gold medal match. Josip Pavic was named Men’s Player of the Year. 10K Olympian champions Ous Mellouli and Eva Risztov were named Open Water Swimmers of the Year…Aussie Ian Thorpe who failed to qualify for his 2012 Olympic team after coming out of retirement is continuing his training for the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona. “I enjoy what I have been doing, I intend to continue,” Thorpe told reporters.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 193: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Leads Juniors At Florida State Pentathlon

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 193: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Leads Juniors At Florida State Pentathlon


September 15, 2012

Florida State junior Tiffany Oliver won her heats during Friday’s exhibition at the Morcom Aquatics Center in Tallahassee.

Oliver won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.86 and 200-yard freestyle in 1:52.97 as the men’s and women’s swim teams opened the season with a pentathlon at their home pool.

Sophomores Kaitlyn Dressel and Juan Sequera were the top scorers for each of the two teams over the course of five events. Dressel won three events and Sequera went four-for-five.

“I was very pleased with the performance of the team,” said Seminoles head coach Neil Harper. “We’ve really been hitting it hard in the weight room and with dryland as well as in the pool, so it’s very early in the season but the times were very good today.

“There were a lot of winning times that I was encouraged by that stood out and were impressive. They are performing them even when they are beat up and tired.”

Former local swimmer Ashley Hicks tied the pentathlon record in the 100-yard backstroke in 57.15. She also won her heat in the 100-yard butterfly in 58.37.

“As a whole, I was pleasantly surprised and it was a great way to get the pre-season started,” Harper said. “Now we can focus on getting kids in some of their prime events for the Garnet vs. Gold Meet next weekend. It will be a true test after another hard week of work, but today was a good start.”

The Seminoles second exhibition is Friday at 3 p.m. when Garnet competes against Gold.

USAS Convention Winds Down

USA Swimming executive director Chuck Wielgus was upbeat while re-charging coaches and swimmers during the 2012 State of the Sport Address Saturday morning at the United States Aquatic Sports Convention in Greensboro, N.C. that SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson, General Chairman of the Florida Gold Coast, participated in.

Wielgus reviewed the U.S. national team’s golden performance at the 2012 London Olympics and couldn’t help but mention the team’s “Call Me Maybe” video that was released during the team’s pre-Olympic training camp and has already been seen by 12 million viewers.

Wielgus praised Michael Phelps and the all-time greatest Olympian’s affect on swimming. Phelps received the Athlete Appreciation Award and received a standing ovation even though he was not in attendance.

“Michael always said that he wanted to change the sport of swimming and he has done that,” Wielgus said. “Our increased television coverage, our membership growth and increase in boys being drawn to the sport are just some of the direct results of Michael’s influence, exposing the world to swimming.”

USA Swimming now has 2,880-member clubs. Individual memberships grew to 362,700 which includes an increase in year-round athlete members of 17 percent over the past four years.

More than 800 clubs around the country hosted Splash Bash recruiting parties attracting more than 75,000 people to these local club programs and the momentum is expected to continue over the next four years leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The biggest news was USA Swimming’s Safe Sport program which is a proactive wide-ranging program that has stepped up training and enhanced background checks for nearly 36,000 coaches, officials and volunteers. Two years after a sexual abuse scandal rocked the sport, USA Swimming has sanctioned 24 people including banning sixteen for life in the sport.

USA Swimming also plans to host the first Safe Sport Leadership Conference at Colorado Springs in January.

One of the most discussed proposals was voted down by the House of Delegates after a lengthy discussion about adult swim coaches and adult swimmers dating and having romantic relationships when the coach has a coaching responsibility or other position of authority over the swimmer. Several coaches argued that it led to favoritism and animosity within the team.

Another proposal was tweaked but approved. Instead of a blanket ban across all USA Swimming-sanctioned events, meet hosts must declare up front in their meet announcement whether deck changing will be strongly discouraged or prohibited.

USA Swimming’s Board of Directors reversed its decision and has now agreed to pay funding for open water coaches for the FINA World Cup Series.

Fifteen-year-old Katie Ledecky earned the Phillips 66 Performance of the Year after winning Olympic gold in the 800-meter freestyle breaking Janet Evans’ American record in 8:14.63. Among other awards, Haley Anderson and Alex Meyer were named Open Water Swimmers of the Year.


The U.S. Olympic swim team visited the White House on Friday. The President and First Lady made it a point to shake each Olympian’s hand and thirteen members of Team USA blogged about it including Michael Phelps, Ricky Berens, Claire Donahue and Jessica Hardy….Olympian Eric Shanteau celebrated his four-year anniversary of being cancer-free on Saturday…Missy Franklin’s first recruiting trip was to Cal-Berkeley where she confirmed her decision about foregoing millions to pursue a college degree and swimming career. America’s darling after winning five Olympic medals including four gold has an estimated worth of $10 million in endorsement deals her first year if she had gone pro. “I know that the teammates I have in college are going to be my bridesmaids in my wedding,” she told reporters. “I would love to swim professionally one day, but I know right now swimming in college is what my heart really wants to do.” She has other trips scheduled for Georgia, Texas and Southern California. Franklin missed the White House visit because “I have school and I didn’t want to miss it,” she said. Franklin will serve as grand marshal of the 42nd Fiesta Bowl Parade on Dec. 29th in Phoenix. She also served as the Denver Broncos’ honorary team captain during the pre-game coin toss for last weekend’s Denver-Pittsburgh NFL game…Michael Phelps along with his model girlfriend Morgan Rossee visited the Under Armour global headquarters in Baltimore where they took cement imprints of Phelps’ Size 13 Under Armour Spine shoes. Phelps and his gal pal also dined in New York during Fashion Week and while at a rooftop lounge was toasted by patrons. He requested songs from DJ Kieran Taylor and Lil Wayne. Phelps, an avid golfer, is getting ready for his Sept 25th Celebrity Ryder Cup debut in Illinois. Phelps will compete against Justin Timberlake, Bill Murray, George Lopez and former NBA great Scottie Pippen of Fort Lauderdale. Phelps has been perfecting his swing with Hank Haney for the reality show The Haney Project which is set to air in February 2013 on The Golf Channel…Brazilian four-time Olympian Gustavo Borges (1992-95) was inducted into the University of Michigan’s Athletics Hall of Honor. He is already a member of Fort Lauderdale’s International Swimming Hall of Fame inducted in May 2012. Borges is a 24-time All-American and 10-time NCAA champion…Brazilian Cesar Cielo has withdrawn from the Short Course World Championships to rehab his aching knees…Olympic relay champion Clement Lefert of France has quit swimming to return to school. He said he wasn’t able to make a living out of the sport and decided to focus on his studies. “I am not Camille Lacourt, Yannick Agnel or Laure Manaudou,” said Lefert of French swimmers who have been able to land lucrative advertising contracts for more than $1 million…Even NBC’s own Bob Costas is ripping his network over the coverage of the Summer Olympics. NBC was criticized for its various gaffes, editing decisions and delayed broadcasts during the 2012 London Games.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 186: Former Pine Crest Swimmer Diana Nyad Ready For Another Try

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 186: Former Pine Crest Swimmer Diana Nyad Ready For Another Try


August 16, 2012

It looks like it’s a go.

Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad has contacted her crew to gather in Key West on Thursday night in anticipation of beginning her fourth attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida.

Her support boat, Voyager, has left for Cuba to wait for Nyad’s arrival.

If the weather and conditions hold up, Nyad will enter the waters off the Havana shore at 7 a.m. on Sunday, four days before her 63rd birthday.

The former Pine Crest swimmer and International Swimming Hall of Famer holds the record for the farthest unaided open water swim in history from the Bahamas to Florida. Now she is attempting to swim the tricky 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida across the Florida Straits.

The swim will take an estimated 60 hours.

“Red alert, red alert, we are a go,” Nyad tweeted.

The swimmer came up short on her three other bids in 1978 and twice in 2011 because of shoulder pain, asthma, jellyfish stings and ocean swells.

In her last attempt, Nyad had a support crew of 30 people aboard five yachts including shark divers and four kayakers. Her first attempt earlier this year ended with an asthma attached after 29 hours and second attempt after about 40 hours because of extreme pain and partial paralysis from jellyfish stings on her face and body.

This time Nyad also has a new jellyfish-proof wetsuit created by FINIS. The company spent four months researching and developing the suit for Nyad. It was been approved and does not contain any unfair floatation material.


Life after the Olympics seems to agree with 17-year-old Missy Franklin. She got a hero’s welcome at the Denver International Airport on Monday and again at her high school on Thursday where she started her classes in forensic science, advanced dance, economics, philosophy and AP classes in literature and composition class. One of the highlights so far has been her appearance on the Tonight Show Wednesday night. Franklin, winner of four gold medals and one bronze, told Jay Leno that offers to turn pro have poured in since she competed at the Olympics but said “Swimming in college has always been a dream. I love swimming on a team.” She explained her dual citizenship. Her parents are Canadian and she was born in Pasadena, Calif. Her family moved to Colorado when she was just two days old. “This is my country and my home, so it was never really a choice,” she told Leno when he asked about why she decided to swim for Team USA instead of Canada. She also got her Olympic rings tattoo. The first-time Olympian had been talking about it before, during and after the Olympics. She refers to her first tattoo as her “one and only.” Her position choice was on the right hip, a popular pick among woman so it shows when wearing a swim suit…

Michael Phelps is enjoying his post-Olympic rewards. Phelps, who has been vacationing with his guy friends in the Maldives, fishing, boating and relaxing in the sun, is featured on the current box of Wheaties for the second time. He was last featured on the box after the 2004 Olympics. After the 2008 Olympics, Phelps jumped ship to rival Kellogg Co. and was on the cover of Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes. The limited edition boxes will be available nationally starting next month…Phelps was also photographed by famed photographer Annie Lebowitz for a Luis Vuitton ad that has Phelps sitting in a bath tub full of water in his Speedo with a Vuitton satchel next to the tub. The ad is appearing is most of the top magazines…Phelps told Rolling Stone that he amped up during the Games by listening to Lil Wayne, Afrojack and Steve Aoki, Avicii and Young Jeezy…

Ryan Lochte may need a few acting classes. On the set of CW’s 90210, according to Access Hollywood, Lochte said he had trouble memorizing his lines as well as walking and talking at the same time. Producers decided to keep Lochte shirtless for his scene to distract viewers from his awkward line readings. The season premiere is Oct. 8 and Lochte’s episode airs on Monday, Oct. 29th at 9 p.m…

China’s Sun Yang, the first Chinese male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal and break a world record in the 1500-meter freestyle, will be awarded $18 million in endorsements with the stipulation that two-thirds of the money will be given to the country’s swimming federation and Olympic team members. Coca-Cola is the major contributor to the funding. The pay day is the biggest ever for a Chinese Olympic athlete in any sport including diving. The federation will receive $6 million and each of his Olympic teammates will receive $150,000. His Aussie coach, Denis Cotterrell was also paid a $250,000 bonus for his success. Chinese swimmers have been training in Australia for months…

Another Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, is lashing back at doubters. The teenager who won two Olympic gold medals told a Chinese television station in a recent interview that she was disappointed that Fort Lauderdale’s ASCA head and SwimFast coach John Leonard and others suggested that she relied on performance-enhancing drugs to break the world record in the 400-meter individual medley without having any concrete drug testing results. She said that Leonard “was not professional.”…

Tyler Clary will be at the Aug. 24-26 GoPro Grand Prix and will get the chance to get behind the wheel of a race car for some Indy car racing in Sonoma with Mario Andretti. “Dario Franchitti has promised it’ll be a good ride!!” Clary tweeted…

Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen told Access Hollywood she was thrilled with the U.S. Olympic swim team doing a video parody of her song Call Me Maybe. She was particularly impressed with Brendan Hansen’s underwater dancing. She had not seen it until Access Hollywood showed her the video. “Oh wow, she said. “There’s an underwater swimmer. That’s impressive. I said underwater swimmer, I meant dancer. That’s made my day. That’s so rad. It means the world to me. I think it’s just one of those things that you can’t take it in. It’s crazy they know the song and took the time to make their own spin on it. It just makes me really happy.”…

South African Chad LeClos’ 14-year-old brother Jordan is wearing a new t-shirt. It reads “My Brother, My Player, The Phelps Slayer.” LeClos returned to the pool for the South African Short Course Championships this week and has already qualified for world short course in he 200-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly…

Olympic gold medalist diver David Boudia is thinking about competing in both gymnastics and diving at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Boudia competed in gymnastics as a child and is good. He is thinking about the vault and 10-meter platform synchro.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 13: South African Swimmer Admits To Using Illegal Dolphin Kick

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 13: South African Swimmer Admits To Using Illegal Dolphin Kick


August 6, 2012

In a stunning admission, Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa told the Sydney Morning Herald that he used a series of illegal dolphin kicks at the start of the men’s 100-meter breaststroke final which he won.

Van der Burgh said he robbed Aussie breaststroker Christian Sprenger of the gold medal.

“It’s got to the sort of point where if you’re not doing it, you’re falling behind or you’re giving yourself a disadvantage so everyone’s pushing the rules and pushing the boundaries, so if you’re not doing it, you’re not trying hard enough,” van der Burgh told the Herald.

He also said that “99 percent” of the swimmers are taking advantage of the rule allowing dolphin kicks by adding more at the start or implementing them where not allowed.

Video clips have also surfaced to support his claim.

“I’m not willing to sacrifice my personal performance and four years of hard work for someone that is willing to do it and get away with it,” he said.

Van der Burgh won the 100-meter breaststroke in a world record 58.46, one of nine world records set during the swimming in textile suits.

Van der Burgh said the cheating would stop if FINA, the sport’s international governing body, would introduce a system to allow for underwater video judging. Rules do not allow swimmers to use the dolphin kick in the breaststroke except for one dolphin kick each during the underwater pull at the start and after the turn.

Several other swimmers in the prelims and semifinals used illegal dolphin kicks according to van der Burgh.

Swimming notes

The White House announced on Monday that President Barack Obama supports a measure that would exempt U.S. Olympians from having to pay taxes on their Olympic medals. Press secretary Jay Carney said Obama would do everything to support our athletes including signing into law legislation introduced by Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio wants Americans who win medals to keep all of the prizes the U.S. Olympic Committee awards to winners. Olympians who earn gold medals receive $25,000, silver winners get $15,000 and bronze winners earn $10,000…

Ryan Lochte is taking in the sights and sounds of the Olympic Games. On Monday he took in the U.S. men’s basketball game with teammate Conor Dwyer and rapper Ludacris…The media is still following Michael Phelps, this time his personal life. Phelps and his girlfriend of five months, Megan Rossee, were spotted on the red carpet at the Speedo party this past weekend. Rossee, a 25-year-old model based in Los Angeles, accompanied Phelps to both the U.S. trials and Olympic Games.


American Troy Dumais qualified third and Brandon’s Chris Colwill was in seventh place after the preliminary round of six dives in the men’s 3-meter springboard diving at the Aquatic Centre.

Russia’s Ilya Zakharov was top qualifier with 507.65 followed by China’s He Chong with 500.90.

Dumais, who has never finished higher than sixth in the individual event, had 486.60 and Colwill had 461.35. Canadian Alexandre Despatie, who is coming back from a bad diving accident where he hit his head on the board last month, finished ninth with 458.55.

It was less than a perfect opener. Two divers scored all zeroes while two others got low scores for badly executing their dives. Even China diver Qin Kai, the leader after four rounds, dropped to 11th when he missed his forward 4 ½ somersaults tuck worth 3.8 degree of difficulty. He just missed landing on his stomach.

Stephen Feck of Germany landed on his back in the third round and withdrew after feeling faint. Britain’s Jack Laugher slipped off the board and missed his dive. Both earned all zeroes.

The top 18 advance into the semifinals on Tuesday.

Water Polo

At the end of preliminary round play, Croatia and Serbia are the only undefeated teams going into the quarterfinals. Croatia has five wins and Serbia has four wins and one tie.

Croatia will play the U.S. men’s team, the fourth ranked team in its group, in the first game of the quarterfinal round on Wednesday. Serbia will play Australia in another quarterfinal game. In its final group game, the U.S. lost to three-time defending champion Hungary, 11-6, and Serbia trounced Romania, 12-4.

“Serbia and Hungary are two of the best teams in the world and they made us look pretty bad in there, so we are going to have to go home and regroup and get ready for quarterfinals because that’s the only game that really matters,” said Ryan Bailey, a member of the Beijing Olympics silver medal team.

Synchronized swimming

The U.S. duet team of Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva advanced into the diet final on Monday. The team, making their Olympic debut, scored 88.270 points to finish 11th in the free routine and moved into tenth in the overall standings with 176.170 points. The duo scored 87.900 points in Sunday’s technical routine. The top 12 teams advance into Tuesday’s free final. Russia’s Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina are top qualifiers with 196.800 points.

In the aquatics medals table, the U.S. continues to lead with 33 medals (16 gold, 9 silver, 8 bronze) and China is second with 16 (10 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze).

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 12: USA Swimming Leaves Lasting Memories At 2012 London Olympics

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 12: USA Swimming Leaves Lasting Memories At 2012 London Olympics


August 4, 2012

Michael Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, had his last hurrah Saturday on the final day of swimming at London’s Aquatic Centre.

The 27-year-old ended an unprecedented Olympic career with another gold medal after bringing the U.S. team from behind in the 4×100-meter medley relay.

Phelps walked off the pool deck officially retired with 22 career medals including 18 gold medals. At these Games, Phelps won four golds and two silvers, again more medals than any other swimmer.

“I could probably sum it up in a couple words,” Phelps said. “I did it.

“I have been able to do everything I’ve wanted,” said Phelps, who made his Olympic debut as a 15-year-old at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. “I’ve been able to put my mind to the goals that I wanted to achieve. If you can say that about your career, there’s no need to move forward. It’s been an amazing ride. I am taking everything in, the memories I have from this week will never go away.

“It’s time for other things,” Phelps said.

Including a hometown celebration parade already in the works in Baltimore for Phelps and his longtime coach Bob Bowman.

Tweeted Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, “He’s gone somewhere no man has ever been, greatest Olympian athlete ever.”

“Just witnessed the end of an era,” said Ricky Berens. “Honored to say I have been a teammate of Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian ever.”

“I don’t think his shoes will ever be filled,” said Missy Franklin. “Hopefully, I can make little paths next to him.”

Phelps was honored with a special individual ceremony after his final race with a Lifetime Achievement Award. FINA president Julio Maglione presented Phelps with a silver trophy recognizing his achievements.

The U.S. foursome of backstroker Matt Grevers, breaststroker Brendan Hansen, Phelps in the butterfly and freestyler Nathan Adrian won the final men’s relay in a textile-best 3:29.35, nearly two seconds ahead of Japan in 3:31.26 and Australia in 3:31.58.

The U.S. women’s 4×100-meter medley relay performance was even more exciting with a world-record performance from Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt in 3:52.05, ahead of Australia in 3:54.02 and Japan in 3:55.73. The women’s relay record has now been broken in five consecutive Olympic Games.

It was Franklin’s fourth gold medal and second world record, crowning her America’s new swimming queen.

“It was so perfect in absolutely every way,” Franklin said. “That was the most fun relay I’ve ever been on and to finish off with a bang. Watching Michael is so inspiring for me. It gives me so much motivation. I’m so sad it’s all over but I’ve learned so much from this experience.”

Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue, who has trained several times at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool, also walked away with a gold medal after swimming relay prelims.

“Gold medal baby,” Donahue tweeted. “I am an Olympic gold medalist.”

Said her coach Bruce Marchionda, “She had a great experience at this year’s Games and has represented our program and this university exceptionally well. Claire performed on the biggest stage and has made us all very proud.”

In the women’s 50-meter freestyle the race was over at the 15-meter mark as Ranomi Kromowidjojo, 21, of the Netherlands won another gold medal in an Olympic record 24.05. She also won the 100 freestyle earlier in the week. Her .23 second margin of victory in the 50 was one of the most dominant in the event since 1968.

Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia took silver in 24.28 and 33-year-old mom Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands won the bronze in 24.39. Defending champion Britta Steffen of Germany was fourth in 24.46. Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, the first swimmer from the Bahamas to make a final, was eighth in 24.69. American Jessica Hardy was seventh in 24.62.

Despite a few anxious moments in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle, China’s Sun Yang, shaking off an inadvertent false start after hearing a whistle in the stands, shattered his own world record in 14:31.02. Sun was on world record pace early in the race and never relented. Canadian Ryan Cochrane took the silver in 14:39.63 and Tunisia’s defending Olympic champion Ous Mellouli was third in 14:40.31. There are now four men in the mile that are under 14:40.

“My coach said I was in good shape and that I could break my world record,” Sun said.

The U.S. swimming team’s medal total was 30, 16 of them gold. It was the team’s most impressive showing since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Overall, nine world records were broken in the textile era. Only Phelps and Soni were able to successfully defend their Beijing crowns.

Women’s Triathlon

The women’s gold medal came down to a sprint to the finish for Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig to edge Sweden’s Lisa Norden in a photo finish. Spirig, a surprise winner, covered the 1,500-meter swim, 26.7-mile bike and 6.2-mile run course at Hyde Park in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 48 seconds. It was Switzerland’s first medal of the Games. Aussie Erin Densham took the bronze in 1:59:50, edging American Sara Groff who finished in 2 hours.

Reigning world champion Helen Jenkins of Great Britain faded to fifth. On Sunday, former Florida Atlantic University cross country runner and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Manny Huerta of Miami will compete for a medal against a stacked field in the men’s triathlon on the same course. Huerta will be joined by teammate Hunter Kemper, a four-time Olympian.

Laura Reback Bennett, a former North Palm Beach Swim Team swimmer and at 37, the oldest woman in the field, was in the lead pack after the swim and bike but faded on the run to finish 17th in 2:02:17.

“I just don’t think I had the legs for it,” Bennett said. “I didn’t really feel great all day, to be honest, and I don’t really know why. It’s just some days you just don’t show up.”

Bennett’s husband Greg is a top pro triathlete in Australia.

“In Australia, you can become a professional triathlete at 16 and it is acceptable not to go to college and focus on racing and make a profession of it,” Bennett said.

“I think that is why the Australians have dominated. I think that is one of the hiccups in the U.S. We are not getting the athletes until they are out of college.”


China’s Wu Mingxia , the top qualifier for the women’s 3-meter springboard finals, is five dives away from winning a gold medal and clinching her record-tying sixth Olympic diving medal. Mingxia qualified with a 32.30-point cushion ahead of Italy’s Tania Cagnotto, a four-time Olympian. Americans Cassidy Krug was fifth qualifier and teammate Christina Loukas was sixth. The finals are Sunday.

Water polo

Serbia handed the U.S. men’s team its first loss of the Olympics, 11-6. Vanja Udovicic scored three goals for Serbia which jumped out to a 3-0 lead and had an 8-3 lead early in the second half. The U.S. tried to play catch up. Serbia remains unbeaten at 4-0. The U.S. has already secured a spot in the quarterfinals in the group play. Hungary and the U.S. will play in their final group game.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 10: Phelps’ Reign Continues; SOFLO’s Atkinson Competes Friday

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 10: Phelps’ Reign Continues; SOFLO’s Atkinson Competes Friday


August 2, 2012

The 2012 London Olympics was always Michael Phelps’ time. He just let his swimming do his talking.

In the long-awaited 200-meter individual medley final showdown between Phelps and eight-year rival Ryan Lochte on the sixth night of swimming at the Aquatics Centre, Phelps reigned supreme by winning the gold medal to extend his gold medal count to 16 and record total 20. It was his first individual gold medal of the Games.

“Obviously, it’s a relief to win an individual gold, it’s something pretty special,” Phelps said. “Once the Games are over, it is really going to hit me emotionally. It is really emotional for my mother. After Sunday, there will be no more competitive swimming, I will be retired.”

Phelps, the two-time Olympic champion in the event, became the first male swimmer to three-peat in the 200 IM at the Olympic Games.

Phelps looked like his vintage self taking the lead on the first leg and never letting go for the win in 1:54.27, a 0.63 second cushion over Lochte, who took silver in 1:54.90. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh won the bronze in 1:56.22.

Phelps had beaten Lochte in this event at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha.

“Ryan has probably been one of the toughest competitors to swim against,” Phelps said after their final race. “Ryan and I have had a lot of good races. We have had a fun career with one another, we do push each other. He has brought the best out of me many times.”

Lochte was coming off the 200-meter backstroke final where he managed a bronze medal  30 minutes earlier and was upstaged by U.S. teammate Tyler Clary, 23, who put on a late charge to win the gold in an Olympic record 1:53.41. Five different Americans have won the event in five Olympics.

Lochte, the defending Olympic and reigning world champion in the event, finished in 1:53.94, his 12th of 13 races in the Games. Japan’s Ryosuke

Irie took the silver in 1:53.78.

“I don’t really know what to say right now, I am shocked,” said a stunned Clary. “You always think about having a result like that. The first time it happens, it’s incredible. You can wake me up now. That was the perfect race I swam tonight.

“That’s not how I planned on the race playing out at all, but I stuck to my game plan and it worked out for me this time. I knew it was in the realm of possibility but I knew it was going to be a dogfight. I have been taking second and third places for so long, it’s tough sometimes but it also makes moments like these that much more sweet.”

It was Lochte’s final night of competition at the Games. He finished with five medals (two gold, two silver, one bronze) and unfulfilled expectations. He had wanted six golds. “A little bit above average,” he called it. The Games’ biggest cover boy failed to live up to the hype and finished second fiddle to Phelps again.

“Going into every Olympics, I always feel like it’s my time, I always think that I can win every time I go on the blocks,” Lochte said. “I had some ups and downs at these Olympics but for the most part I’m pretty satisfied. I wanted to get all golds in my events but it did not happen. I’m going to have to live with that, move on and learn from it. I am going to try and not make the same mistakes in the next four years for Rio.”

Lochte, who turns 28 on Friday, said he will miss Phelps.

“He is the toughest racer I ever had to deal with,” Lochte said. “Our rivalry has definitely helped out a lot. We have been racing for eight years now. The rivalry that we created has been tremendous for the sport. I’m going to miss racing him.”

In the women’s competition, 25-year-old American breaststroker Rebecca Soni broke her own world record for the second time in two days to defend her title in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Less than a day after breaking the world record in 2:20, Soni came back to break the 2:20 barrier winning the gold in 2:19.59. No woman has won the breaststroke event in back-to-back Olympics.

“I can’t believe it,” Soni said. “I am so excited. I did it. Oh my gosh, I’ve been chasing that for years and years. That was my coach back when I was in high school who told me I was going to go 2:19. I’ve been keeping that to myself as a secret goal. That was my career on the line right there.

“The 200 is tricky because I feel like I have to take it out calmly and slowly, so it’s not like the 100 where you just got it from the beginning,” Soni said. “It’s all about being fluid and getting through the water smoothly. If I try harder I don’t go as fast. I did not really know I was on world record pace. I just wanted to finish strong.”

Japan’s Satomi Suzuki took silver in an Asian record 2:20.72 and Russian Yulia Efimova took bronze in a European record 2:20.92.

In the last final of the day, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, 21, of the Netherlands won her first individual gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle winning in an Olympic record and best time 53.00. Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus took silver in 53.38, the first in Olympic history for Belarus, and China’s Yi Tang took bronze in 53.44. Missy Franklin (fifth) and Jessica Hardy (eighth) were shut out of medals.

On Friday, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson of Jamaica will compete in the prelims of the 50-meter freestyle, her third and final event of her third Olympic Games.

In other races Thursday:

Men’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals: Brazil’s Cesar Cielo and American Cullen Jones tied in the first heat in 21.54 and U.S. teammates Anthony Ervin finished third in 21.62. Brazilian Bruno Frotus was the fastest in the second heat in 21.63 followed by George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago. Aussie James Magnussen failed to qualify placing 11th.

Women’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals: Florida Gator Elizabeth Beisel was the top seed in 2:06.18 followed by 17-year-old Missy Franklin in 2:06.84.

Men’s 100-meter butterfly semifinals: Phelps, who still could win two more medals before the Games end, was top qualifier in 50.86. He is two-time defending gold medalist in the event.

In the aquatics medals table, the United States leads with 26 (11 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze). China is second with 13 (8 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze). Australia has 8 silvers (1 gold, 5 silver, 2 bronze).

Water polo

It took three matches but defending Olympic men’s champion Hungary won its first match of the Games with a hardfought 17-15 victory over Romania. Norbert Madaras scored seven goals for the Hungarians. Hungary had been winless in its first two games.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 9: U.S Wins Two Gold Medals; SOFLO’s Atkinson Eliminated In 200 Breaststroke Prelims

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 9: U.S. Wins Two Gold Medals; SOFLO’s Atkinson Eliminated In 200 Breaststroke Prelims


August 1, 2012

Not since 1988 when Matt Biondi touched the wall first in Seoul, South Korea, has the United States had a gold medalist in the sport’s marquis 100-meter freestyle event.

That is, until Wednesday at the Olympic competition at the London Aquatics Centre when Nathan Adrian knocked off Aussie favorite James Magnussen, out-touching him by 1/100th of a second to win in 47.52.

The field was stacked with not only Magnusson, but Brazilian Cesar Cielo, Yannick Agnel of France and Canadian Brent Hayden, who took the bronze .

Trailing with 25 meters to go, Adrian, in Lane 5, turned it on to get to the wall first with nearly an identical glide as Magnussen. Cielo had the best start but died at the first 50 meters.

When they both turned and looked at the scoreboard, the 23-year-old Adrian had the biggest smile and was then overcome with emotion. Magnussen was noticely upset both in the water and during the medal ceremony.

“Going into tonight, it was more of a matter of swimming my own race,” Adrian said. “I came back fast, was able to conserve that energy and finish strong this time. I knew it was going to take a lot more than I had ever done before to win that race.

“I almost started crying in the water,” Adrian said. “This is something that happens every four years. It’s not who swims the fastest time this year but it’s who can get their hands on the wall first here tonight.”

Added Magnussen, the 2011 world champion, “I gave everything I had and it wasn’t enough. I just felt pretty much bullet proof something into this Olympics and it is very humbling.”

In the women’s 100-meter freestyle, Coral Springs Swim Club’s three-time Olympian Arlene Semeco of Venezuela was eliminated finishing in 56.90 (27.06, 29.84 splits). It was a tuneup for her 50-meter freestyle later this week.

Three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica broke her own national record in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:28.77 (her fifth of the Games) but was eliminated in the preliminaries. She also has the 50-meter freestyle remaining.

Two world records were broken, one in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke final and the other in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinal. A total of five world records have been broken in five days at swimming.

Making his third Olympic appearance, Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta moved into the lead of the 200-meter breaststroke after the first 100 meters and stayed on world record pace to win the gold medal and break the world record in 2:07.28. The previous record was 2:07.31 set at the 2009 worlds by Aussie Christian Sprenger in a now-banned tech suit.

“To win an Olympic medal is totally different from winning a world or European title,” Gyurta said. “It is the biggest achievement of my life. It was a strong final.”

Great Britain’s Michael Jamieson took silver in 2:07.43 and Ryo Tateishi of Japan grabbed the bronze in 2:08.29 beating his countryman Kosuke Kitajima, the early leader and two-time defending Olympic champion, who was denied his third consecutive title and medal.

In the women’s 200-meter butterfly, American top seed Kathleen Hersey was denied a medal. 2011 world champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist Liuyang Jiao of China overcame a slow start to win the gold in an Olympic record 2:04.06.

“I have waited for this gold for four years,” Jiao said. “I thought about giving up. I had to change my technique and that was quite difficult. Tonight I managed to win and it is a dream to stand on the highest part of the podium.”

Spain’s Mireia Belmonte won her country’s second medal ever in women’s swimming and first Spanish athlete at the Games to medal, finishing second in 2:05.25. Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi just edged out Hersey for the bronze in 2:05.48. Hersey was fourth in 2:05.78.

Less than two hours after qualifying third-fastest in the 100-meter freestyle semifinals, Franklin led off the Americans’ winning 4×200-meter freestyle relay team, giving Franklin, Allison Schmitt and Dana Vollmer their second gold medals of the game. Shannon Vreeland won her first gold as a member of the relay. “I am so happy to be a part of all of this,” Vreeland said.

Schmitt, 20, clinched the win coming back from trailing a half second to leading by nearly a full body length in 1.49 seconds to enable the U.S. to break the Olympic record in 7:44.41.

Franklin, 17, said one of the highlights of her Olympics has been receiving congratulatory tweets from two of her favorite singers, Justin Bieber and Scotty McCreery.

In other races:

Women’s 100-meter freestyle semifinals: Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands broke the Olympic record in 53.05 as top qualifier in 53.08. American Jessica Hardy barely qualified eighth.

Men’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals: Ryan Lochte was top qualifier in 1:55.40 in the first heat but Tyler Clary earned the top seed in 1:54.71 in the second heat. Clary and Lochte are the top two seeds.

Women’s 200-meter breaststroke: American Rebecca Soni was the top qualifier reclaiming her world record in 2:20.00 in the second semifinal. “I was very surprised,” Soni said. “I am ecstatic about the time but I am trying not to focus on it. There is more in the tank. I am not ready to celebrate yet.”

On Thursday night, the final showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte will take place in the 200-meter individual medley. Lochte and Phelps finished 1-2 in one semifinal in relatively slow times. They know they have to swim faster in the final. Lochte had the fastest qualifying time in 1:56.13 followed by Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh in 1:56.74 and Phelps in 1:57.11.

Phelps will have the advantage being fully-rested while Lochte will be coming off the 200-meter backstroke final.


American Troy Dumais, 32, finally got his Olympic medal in his fourth appearance at the Games.

The veteran diver teamed with rookie Olympian Kris Ipsen, 19, to take the bronze medal in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard diving final.

The pair totaled 446.70 points for six dives, just 13 points behind Russians Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov who took silver with 459.63.

China won another gold medal and is now four-for-four in diving and could sweep all the gold medals.  Kai Qin, 26, and Yutong Luo, competing in his first Olympics, won the gold medal with a near-perfect list for 477 points.

“It was a moment I will remember forever,” Dumais said. Said Ipsen, “This is truly amazing to come home with a medal. It happened. It’s just amazing.”

Former University of Miami diver Reuben Ross and his partner Alexander Despatie of Canada finished sixth.

Water polo

Hungary’s women’s team knocked off No. 2 world-ranked China, 11-10; the U.S. ended an epic battle with Spain tied, 9-9, and Australia overwhelmed host Great Britain, 16-3.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 6: SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Makes First Olympic Final After Swim-Off

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 6: SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Makes First Olympic Final After Swim-Off


July 29, 2012

It may have taken her an extra race, but South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson will make her first-ever appearance in a championship final at the Olympic Games.

The three-time Olympian and only swimmer for Jamaica advanced into Monday’s women’s 100-meter breaststroke final after winning a rare Olympic swim-off in a lifetime best and national record time of 1:06.79.

After swimming morning prelims and semifinals, Atkinson, brimming in confidence, won a swim-off against Canadian 19-year-old Tera Van Beilen for the eighth and final spot. Van Beilen finished in 1:07.73.

Atkinson finished tenth in morning prelims in 1:07.39, becoming the first Jamaican swimmer to win a heat at the Olympic Games. She advanced into the semifinals where she tied for fourth with Van Beilen in 1:07.48 in the first semifinal, forcing the swim-off 30-minutes after the final event on Sunday’s schedule.

“It was such a good time and I felt so much in control,” Atkinson said. “I now have even more confidence.

“My pull out is usually longer than anybody else’s so I am usually ahead but then they usually catch me up because my stroke rate is a lot quicker, so the plan was to stay ahead and bring it back home in the last 50.

“I was a bit nervous as to how I was going to swim because I haven’t raced like that in probably two months so I was pretty nervous about how that was going to go down. I knew I had to drop some more time to make final which I thought was definitely possible for me.”

Atkinson will compete Monday at 7:50 p.m. London time.

Atkinson, 23, a Flanagan High alum who grew up swimming in Pembroke Pines, was probably feeling the love back home during the final day of the Florida Gold Coast Long Course Swimming Championships in Coral Springs.

Her SOFLO teammates were gathered around SOFLO coach Megan Garland’s I-phone watching her swim-off and let out screams when she qualified.

Head referee Beth Wilkerson announced Atkinson’s result which drew a round of applause from parents, coaches and swimmers including those getting ready on the blocks.

Atkinson’s race just added to another dramatic night of swimming at the Aquatics Centre.

After missing the Beijing Olympics, Californian Dana Vollmer got her gold medal with a world record performance in the 100-meter butterfly. She won in 55.98 seconds, the fastest time ever in the women’s event, giving the U.S. women’s team its first gold medal.

“I was just thinking about all the work so many people around me have put in, and the belief that everyone had in me,” a teary-eyed Vollmer said. “There have been multiple moments in my career where I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep going. I did something that no one’s ever done before and in a way, surely, no one envisioned doing.”

Allison Schmitt took a silver in the 400-meter freestyle with an American record 4:01.77 behind winner Camille Muffat of France and former world record holder Brendan Hansen took a bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke to cap his comeback and add to the U.S. team’s medal haul.

South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh broke the second world record of the day in the 100-meter breaststroke in 58.46. Two-time defending Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima of Japan was shut out of a medal.

The U.S. men’s 4×100-meter relay had to settle for the silver medal behind France when Ryan Lochte seemed to run out of gas in the final ten meters. Nathan Adrian, Michael Phelps and Cullen Jones gave the U.S. what looked to be an insurmountable lead but France’s Yannick Agnel overcame a half-second deficit to reel Lochte in and finish in 3:09.93. The U.S. touched in 3:10.38. Heavily favored Australia was shut out of a medal finishing fourth behind Russia.

Adrian swam a career-best 47.89 on leadoff leg. “We went down fighting,” Adrian said.

“I don’t think Ryan let anybody down, he’s beating himself up already,” Jones said. “He is the type of person who will beat on himself until the next Olympics.”

Said Lochte, “I was just really excited. I think I over-swam the first 50 which kind of hurt me for the last 50. You would think doing distance events I wouldn’t get tired but sprinting definitely takes a lot out of you and the 100 really isn’t my thing.”

Lochte will not win the six gold medals he was seeking in London and Phelps is now one medal shy of being the all-time medal winner in any sport at an Olympic Games.

Former Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Nicholas Schwab, a Douglas alum making his Olympic debut for the Dominican Republic, competed in his first race. He won the first of six heats in the 200-meter freestyle but finished 37th out of 40 swimmers in 1:53.41.

“It probably would have helped a little bit to be in a faster heat,” said Schwab, 21, competing in front of his parents.


The U.S. won its first Olympic medal in 12 years when former University of Miami diver Kelci Bryant and Abigail Johnson took a silver medal in the women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard. They totaled 321.90 points, 24.30 behind China’s Wu Mingxia and He Zi. It was the U.S. team’s first medal since Laura Wilkinson won gold in Sydney and it was Wu’s third straight Olympic synchro gold.

Water polo

The U.S. men topped Montenegro, 8-7, in a hardfought match between two medal contenders. Peter Varellas scored three goals for the U.S. Next up for the U.S. is Romania, which is making its first Olympic water polo appearance since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 3: Let The Games Begin, SOFLO’s Three-Time Olympian Polyakov Swims Saturday

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 3: Let The Games Begin, SOFLO’s Three-Time Olympian Polyakov Swims Saturday


July 25, 2012

Surrounded by the grandeur of historic buildings and pageantry that can only happen every four years at the Summer Olympic Games, Vlad Polyakov, who grew up training at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex with some of the best swimmers in the world, will be the first South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer to compete in London.

The 28-year-old St. Thomas Aquinas High School alum will make his third Olympic appearance for Kazakhstan at the Games. He also competed in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

Polyakov will compete in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke prelims and semifinals on Saturday, the opening day of swimming, one of the most popular events along with track and field, soccer and gymnastics. While he is not a medal favorite, he is favored to make the championship final on Sunday night.

SOFLO teammates Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Arlene Semeco of Venezuela will also compete over eight days of pool swimming in multi events. The open water 10K events are Aug. 9-10.

Several swimmers including Polyakov and Michael Phelps will not march in Friday night’s Opening Ceremonies to rest for Saturday events. Phelps will compete in the 400-meter individual medley.

The Opening Ceremonies are expected to be one of the best in the history of the Games. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has been heard practicing on-stage this past week by several athletes and coaches. Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) is organizing the Opening Ceremonies entitled The Isles of Wonder. The production is expected to be very British, of course, featuring James Bond movie star Daniel Craig and soccer hottie David Beckham. Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali is also expected to have some involvement as well. Ali is in London for the Beyond Sport Ambassadors award ceremony.

On Wednesday, U.S. fencer Mariel Zagunis, a two-time gold medalist in sabre, was named the U.S. flagbearer for Friday night. She was chosen by her peers at the Games and is the first fencer to carry the flag since 1968. In 2004, she was the first American fencer to win an Olympic gold in 100 years. Her parents were 1976 Olympians.

London is the first city to host the modern Olympics there times. In 1908, the Games were reassigned to London from Rome after Mount Vesuvious erupted. After 12 years of Olympic moratorium because of the war, the 1948 Games were held in London.

The Games will feature 10,500 athletes and coaches from 204 nations in 32 sports competing for 302 medals. In addition to Atkinson, Polyakov and Semeco, SOFLO coaches Chris Anderson and Bruno Darzi will be on the pool deck. Former Douglas and Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Nick Schwab will make his Olympic debut for the Dominican Republic.

China, which surpassed the U.S. in gold medals four years ago in Beijing, will again challenge the U.S. for Olympic supremacy, only not in swimming where the U.S. is favored to maintain its longstanding tradition of dominating the sport. Australia and Brazil will win their share of swimming medals.

Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals in 2008, is entered in seven events. If he wins three medals of any color, he will surpass Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina, who won a record 18 medals in 1956-1964 as the most decorated Olympian. Phelps mom, Debbie and two sisters will be cheering him from the stands in what he insists will be his final Olympic Games even though his mom keeps saying she wants to go to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Teenager Missy Franklin is expected to be women swimming’s breakout star of the Olympics. She is already being called the female version of Phelps, only with more of a bubbly personality.

Swimmers have been practicing at Olympic Park Eton Manor, a sports and leisure venue in Leyton, London that features five indoor swimming pools side-by-side-by-side-by-side-by-side, three 50-meter pools and two 30-meter pools.

“Unbelievable pool, warm up was mind blowing…damn, the Olympics is awesome,” tweeted Schwab.

There will be around-the-clock coverage on NBC, NBCSN, NBCSP, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo and live streaming every sport and social media including Twitter. It will be the most media exposure the Olympics has ever had, more than 3,500 hours.  


July 28, Saturday: Morning session, MEN: 100-meter breaststroke, 400-meter freestyle, 400-meter individual medley heats; WOMEN: 100-meter butterfly, 400-meter individual medley, 4×100-meter freestyle relay, heats; Evening session, MEN: 100-meter breaststroke semifinals, 400-meter freestyle final, 400-meter individual medley final; WOMEN: 100-meter butterfly semifinals, 400-meter individual medley final, 4×100-meter freestyle relay final.

July 29, Sunday: Morning session, MEN: 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter freestyle, 4×100-meter freestyle relay heats; WOMEN: 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter breaststroke, 400-meter freestyle heats; Evening session, MEN: 100-meter backstroke semifinals, 200-meter freestyle semifinals, 100-meter breaststroke final, 4×100-meter freestyle relay final; WOMEN: 100-meter backstroke semifinals, 100-meter breaststroke semifinals, 100-meter butterfly final, 400-meter freestyle final.

July 30, Monday: Morning session, MEN: 200-meter butterfly heat; WOMEN: 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley heats; Evening session, MEN: 200-meter butterfly semifinals, 100-meter backstroke final, 200-meter freestyle final; WOMEN: 200-meter freestyle semifinals, 200-meter individual medley semifinals, 100-meter backstroke final, 100-meter breaststroke final.

July 31, Tuesday: Morning session, MEN: 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter breaststroke, 4×200-meter freestyle relay heats; WOMEN: 200-meter butterfly heats; Evening session: MEN: 100-meter freestyle semifinals, 200-meter breaststroke semifinals, 200-meter butterfly final, 4×200-meter freestyle relay final; WOMEN: 200-meter butterfly semifinals, 200-meter freestyle final, 200-meter individual medley final.

August 1, Wednesday: Morning session, MEN: 200-meter backstroke, 200-meter individual medley heats; WOMEN: 100-meter freestyle, 200-meter breaststroke, 4×200-meter freestyle relay heats; Evening session, MEN: 200-meter backstroke semifinals, 200-meter individual medley semifinals, 100-meter freestyle final, 200-meter breaststroke final; WOMEN: 100-meter freestyle semifinals, 200-meter breaststroke semifinals, 200-meter butterfly final, 4×200-meter freestyle relay final.

August 2, Thursday: Morning session, MEN: 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly heats; WOMEN: 200-meter backstroke, 800-meter freestyle heats; Evening session, MEN: 50-meter freestyle semifinals, 100-meter butterfly semifinals, 200-meter backstroke final, 200-meter individual medley final; WOMEN: 200-meter backstroke semifinals, 100-meter freestyle final, 200-meter breaststroke final.

August 3, Friday: Morning session, MEN: 1500-meter freestyle, 4×100-meter medley relay heats; WOMEN: 50-meter freestyle, 4×100-medley relay heats; Evening session, MEN: 50-meter freestyle final, 100-meter butterfly final; WOMEN: 50-meter freestyle semifinals, 200-meter backstroke final, 800-meter freestyle final.

August 4, Saturday: No morning session; Evening session, MEN: 1500-meter freestyle final, 4×100-meter medley relay final; WOMEN: 50-meter freestyle final, 4×100-meter medley relay final.

August 9, Thursday: Women’s Marathon Swimming 10K.

August 10, Friday: Men’s Marathon Swimming 10K.

Sharon Robb can be reached at