SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Makes First U.S. Olympic Trials Cut, Makes “C” Final At Phillips 66 National Championships

By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 3, 2019—Kathleen Golding is living her dream.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer rose to the occasion with what her coach Chris Anderson called “a spectacular swim” Saturday at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Avery Aquatic Center.

Golding, 18, competing in only her second senior national championship, made her first U.S. Olympic Trials cut in the 400-meter freestyle in morning prelims.

“This is a dream come true,” said Golding, headed to the University of Florida this fall. “It’s what you work for. I am looking forward to going to college and what’s to come.”

Golding swam a lifetime-best 4:15.31 to earn a trip to the June 2020 Trials and chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

Her previous best was 4:18.14. She was seeded 67th going into the race. She was 24th in prelims and qualified for the “C” final. She dropped 2.83 off her previous best.

And then, to top it off she found another gear and came back at night to better her cut time in 4:14.38 and finish 21st. Her total time drop was 3.76.

“I felt really good and strong in the morning,” Golding said. “I was really surprised it didn’t hurt that bad. I was just trying to win my heat. I wasn’t focused on the time. When I touched the wall I was surprised. I didn’t think I was going to get the Trials cut. It gave me confidence for tonight.

“I tried to come back even faster and work on my back half of the race,” Golding said. “I used my confidence from the morning to swim even faster.”

Even more satisfying was the fact Golding made the Olympic Trials qualifying standard with her longtime coach.

“I’m happy I got it with Coach, he was really happy,” Golding said. “He is the reason I am as good as I am. He’s been with me every single day at practice. It means a lot to get the cut with him.

“I had a little bit of a rough spring season, but over the summer I put in a lot of hard training and had a good section meet. It built my confidence for this meet.”

Her biggest accomplishment came less than a day after getting disqualified in the 400-meter individual medley, one of her signature events. Golding has the 200-meter individual event left to swim on Sunday.

“I honestly didn’t feel like I got disqualified,” Golding said. “I was surprised when they pulled me. It does happen and I just had to put it behind me, not think about it and focus on my other races.”

In her fourth and final event at nationals, SOFLO teammate Mary Smutny, 18, was 58th in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:21.28. Smutny is headed to University of Texas this fall.

In other Saturday races:

Ally McHugh surprised the field that featured early leaders Allison Schmitt and Sierra Schmidt to win the 400-meter freestyle in 4:07.08. McHugh pulled off a 29.77 on her final 50-meter split to reach the wall first after being fourth for most of the race.

Elijah Winnington won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:47.39 to complete his sweep of the middle distance freestyles.

Breeja Larson won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:06.78, her fastest time since 2014.

Devon Nowicki surged in the final 50 meters to win the 100-meter breaststroke in 59.69, just 1/10th of a second ahead of Craig Benson.

Amy Bilquist won the 100-meter backstroke in 59.64, the only swimmer in the final to break one minute.

Shaine Casas won the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 52.72, fifth fastest time in the world this year.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Begins Championship Season Wednesday At Phillips 66 National Championships

By Sharon Robb

IRVINE, Calif., July 24, 2018—Kathleen Golding of South Florida Aquatic Club will be among a star-studded field when the Phillips 66 National Championships begin Wednesday at William Woollett Aquatics Center.

Golding, 17, a senior at Cooper City High School and University of Florida commit, is entered in five events. She will open with the 100-meter freestyle (56.20) on Wednesday, 200-meter freestyle (2:02.28) on Thursday, 400-meter individual medley (4:50.65) on Friday and 200-meter individual medley (2:17.19) and 50-meter freestyle (26.35) on Sunday.

Golding is seeded 45th in the 100 freestyle among 98 swimmers; 83rd in the 200 freestyle among 105; 42nd in the 400 IM among 82 swimmers; 50th in the 200 IM among 110 swimmers and 76th in the 50 freestyle among 81 swimmers.

The meet ends Sunday and after a day break, Golding will also compete in the Speedo Junior Nationals beginning July 31 (Tuesday) at the same pool. She is entered in the 100-meter freestyle and 400-meter individual medley.

The senior championship meet is one of the biggest meets of the summer. The meet is the selection trials for the Aug. 9-12 Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo. The U.S. 2019 FINA World Championship team will be chosen based on combined results from nationals and Pan Pacs.

It’s also a selection meet for Junior Pan Pacs, Pan American Games and World University Games.

The field features Olympic gold medalists, World Championship medalists and World and American record holders. Heading the field are Katie Ledecky, Caeleb Dressel, Simone Manuel, Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy and Missy Franklin.

Dressel is entered in eight events: 50, 100 and 200 freestyle, 50 and 100 breaststroke, 50 and 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. Ledecky has entered all five of the freestyle events from the 100 up to the 1500. Franklin is entered in the 100 and 200 freestyles.

Ryan Lochte, 33, who was entered in four events, will not compete after being suspended for 14 months by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. He will not be allowed to compete until July 2019.

Several current and former Florida Gold Coast swimmers are also entered in seniors nationals including Megan Moroney, Luke Smutny, Kyla Valls, Mary Smutny, Alex Evdokimov, Miguel Cancel and Kelly Fertel.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 6 p.m. Pacific Time, three hours behind South Florida.

The meet will be shown on the webcast of, the Olympic Channel at, NBC and NBC Sports Network.

Sharon Robb can be reached at