Florida Gators Defend SEC Men’s Swimming And Diving Title; Tennessee Wins Women’s Crown; Patrick Groters Breaks USC School Record


By Sharon Robb
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., February 20, 2022—University of Florida men’s team won its tenth consecutive Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championship Saturday night at Jones Aquatics Center.

The Gators won with 1,414 points, a 476-point cushion over Tennessee and Alabama. It was the fourth time in team history the Gators cracked 1,400 points.

And the Gators did it without defending SEC champions Bobby Finke and Dillon Hillis, both scratched from the meet because of COVID-19 protocols.

The Gators swept all the men’s relays. In individual events, Olympian and senior Kieran Smith led the Gators’ winning the 400-yard individual medley. Sophomore Adam Chaney won the 100-yard backstroke, breaking Ryan Lochte’s school record in 44.51.

The Gators dominated the final day of competition taking seven of the top nine spots in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

Winning for the Gators were:
200-yard medley relay: Adam Chaney, Dillon Hillis, Eric Friese, Alberto Mester, 1:22.06, SEC record.

800-yard freestyle relay: Kieran Smith, Trey Freeman, Oskar Lindholm, Alfonso Mestre, 6:08.00, SEC record.

200-yard freestyle relay: Adam Chaney, Eric Friese, Kieran Smith, Macguire McDuff, 1:15.18, SEC record.

400-yard individual medley: Kieran Smith, Senior, 3:39.33.

400-yard medley relay: Adam Chaney, Amro Al-Wir, Eric Friese, Kieran Smith, 3:02.61.

1650-yard freestyle: Trey Freeman, Junior, 14:39.74.

200-yard backstroke: Kieran Smith, Senior, 1:39.51.

400-yard freestyle relay: Macguire McDuff, Adam Chaney, Eric Friese, Kieran Smith, 2:46.91.

It was the 43rd overall title for the Gators. Florida is now primed for the March 23-26 NCAA Men’s Championships in Atlanta.

In the women’s competition, Tennessee won its second women’s title in three years. The Volunteers won with 1,313.5 points ahead of Kentucky with 1,043 and Alabama, 1,038. The Gators were fifth with 905 points. It was Tennessee’s highest point total in team history.

Freshman Ellen Walshe became the third woman in the team’s history to win three individual events in a single SEC Championships.

Walshe won the 400-yard individual medley in 4:01.53, second fastest in NCAA history this season, and 100-yard butterfly in 50.34. She also won the 200 IM in 1:52.97. She was a member of the winning 800-yard freestyle relay.

The Vols also picked up a win from freshman Julia Mrozinski in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:35.95, third fastest in the NCAA this season.

The Volunteers won the 800-yard freestyle relay and finished runner-up in the remaining relays. All five relays were under NCAA A cuts.

Other Tennessee winners were:
800-yard freestyle relay: Julia Mrozinski, Ellen Walshe, Trude Rothrock, Tjasa Pintar – 6:56.81, pool record.

100-yard breaststroke: Mona McSharry, 57.50.

1650-yard freestyle: Kristen Stege, 15:42.37.

Among Florida Gold Coast swimmer results:

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, a junior at University of Florida, competed in three events. She was 18th in the 200 IM in a best time 1:57.63, seventh in the 400 IM in 4:11.14 and 21st in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 16:27.95. She dropped 1.32 second off her previous 1:58.95 200 IM.

Florida freshman Anna Auld was 33rd in the 500 freestyle in 4:48.87; 11th in the 400 IM in a best time 4:11.02 and 10th in the 1,650-yard freestyle in a best time 16:16.87, dropping 10.25 seconds.

SOFLO’s Molly Golding and Miguel Cancel did not compete.

In his SEC debut for University of South Carolina, Aruba’s Patrick Groters competed in three events. The former NSU University School and Pine Crest swimmer broke the school record in the 200 IM C-final with a best time of 1:43.77. The previous school record was 1:44.00 by Tomas Peribonio in 2018. Groters finished first in the C-final and was bumped up from 17th to 15th place after two swimmers were disqualified from the A-final. He was 18th in the 400 IM in a best time 3:47.17, dropping 1.12 and 13th in the 200 backstroke in 1:43.24, also a best time dropping 1.93.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SWIMMING NOTEBOOK: SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Awarded Honorary Doctorate


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, August 23, 2021—Five-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson has added another honor to her never-ending resume.

The South Florida Aquatic Club world short course and national record holder joins comedian Oliver Samuels, poet/author Linton Kwesi Johnson and philanthropist Gary “Butch” Hendrickson as this year’s recipients of honorary Doctors of Letters or Laws from the University of the West Indies Mona Campus in St. Andrew.

They will be honored November 4-5 for their outstanding contributions to regional and international development. Samuels and Johnson will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree while Atkinson and Hendrickson will receive honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

They join a list of more than 450 honorary degree recipients awarded by the regional university since 1965. The awards presentations during the college’s annual graduation ceremony are expected to be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atkinson previously received an Order of Distinction, Commander of Class, from the Government in 2018.

GROTERS STARTS CLASSES AT USC

Former NSU University School and Pine Crest Swimming Club swimmer Patrick Groters of Aruba will be competing for the University of South Carolina after spending two seasons at Denver.

“It’s amazing,” Groters said on his Instagram account.

“I am beyond thrilled for the opportunity to continue my college swimming career at University of South Carolina under Jeff Poppell. I know this is my chance to improve, to get to the next level in my races.”

Groters is a 2020 Summit League champion in the 200-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley. He trained with his older brother Jordy for nine months at his club team Giants Aquatics Aruba before transferring.

Groters swam his best time in the 200 IM (2:01.62) at the 2019 U.S. Open. He missed the standard for selection to Aruba’s Olympic Team, but was the only Aruban to swim an Olympic B-standard during the pandemic, in 2:02.95 and 2:01.96 in the 200 IM at the 2021 Bahamas National Swimming Championships.

Groters has qualified for both the 2021 FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi and 2022 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. He will represent Aruba in December at the Junior Pan-American Games in Cali, Colombia in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, 200 and 400 IMs and 400 freestyle.

MISSY FRANKLIN IS A MOM

Five-time Olympic gold medalist and her husband, former University of Texas swimmer Hayes Johnson, announced the birth of their daughter on Instagram.

“She’s more perfect than anything we could have ever imagined,” the post reads. “We love you so much Caitlin.”

Sarah Caitlin Johnson was born on Aug. 11 at 4:17 a.m., a birthday she shares with her grandfather, Franklin’s dad.

Franklin was one of the sport’s biggest stars when she captured four gold medals and a bronze as a 17-year-old high-schooler at the 2012 London Olympics. She competed at the 2016 Rio Games, where she was plagued by shoulder injuries but still managed another gold medal as a relay swimmer.

“I began to realize that my greatest dream in life, more so than Olympic gold, has always been becoming a mom,” Franklin said. “Swimming had been such a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember, but it was not my entire life.”

LOCHTE REHABBING AFTER KNEE SURGERY

Four-time Olympian Ryan Lochte, 36, of Gainesville underwent successful knee surgery after he suffered a torn meniscus during an inflatable kids water slide accident while playing with his two kids.

Lochte posted a selfie to his Instagram account from his Orthopaedic Surgery Center hospital bed in which he was giving the thumbs up, underneath the caption which read, ‘Surgery was a success.’ “Hey everyone, surgery went amazing, I’m all good, I feel great right now,” he said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Lazor, Andrew, Murphy, Weitzeil Win; Lochte’s Bid For Fifth Olympics Ends With Seventh Place; Julia Podkoscielny Top FGC Finisher On Day Six Of Olympic Trials


By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 18, 2021—In an emotional storybook ending in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, training partners Annie Lazor and Lilly King finished first and second Friday night at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center.

It was one race King didn’t mind losing.

Lazor’s father David died two months ago unexpectedly at home. It was King who not only drove five hours to his funeral but promised Lazor’s mother she would look after her, motivate her and do everything it took to get her on the Olympic team.

The two trained together in Bloomington with King’s coach Ray Looze leading up to the Trials. Before stepping on the blocks, King, who had already won the 100 breaststroke and Lazor just missing a spot finishing third, looked over at Lazor and told her she loved her and let’s go get it.

Lazor broke open a close race to win in 2:21.07 and King finished second in 2:21.75. The two immediately hugged and slapped the water in jubilation.

At 26, Lazor is the oldest American woman to qualify for her first Olympic team in 17 years.

“I knew what her plan was and she knew what my plan was and we just wanted to do it together,” a teary-eyed Lazor said. “I’m just overcome with emotion. It’s been a long couple of months for me and I just couldn’t have done it without this girl. She pulled me through practice every day. I am so thankful for her.

“I knew she was going to be out fast. I knew if I could just hang with her and be within striking distance at the 100 I had a chance. It couldn’t have gone any better.”

Added King, “We’re family. Your teammates are always your family especially with the year we’ve been through and last couple of months for her. You have two of the top 200 breaststrokers training every day in practice so good things are going to happen.”

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, world record holder Ryan Lochte, looking to make his fifth Olympic team, saw his hopes end with a seventh place finish in the 200-meter individual medley in 1:59.67.

Lochte was second fastest qualifier in 1:58.48 in prelims and sixth fastest in 1:58.65 in semis but was unable to put the race together that he wanted.

“I really wanted to be on this Olympic team,” Lochte said. “This is probably my most important swim meet that I’ve ever had in my entire career, the one that meant the most to me. So falling short and feeling like I let everyone down was one of the hardest things.

“This ain’t the end of the road, there is a lot more I want to accomplish in swimming whether it’s in the pool or outside the pool making swimming better,” Lochte said. “I’m enjoying it, I’m having fun teaching these kids everything I’ve learned. I’m going to go be a dad now and go hug my kids.”

Michael Andrew, 22, of MA Academy controlled the 200 IM from start to finish to win in 1:55.44. He went out quickly in the butterfly in a 23.77 split and was on world record pace until the final 50. Chase Kalisz was second in 1:56.97.

“The goal this evening was to edge a little closer to the world record,” Andrew said. “I don’t know if it was fatigue or race strategy. I think I was out too fast, and it hurt me on the back end. I was really trying to drive the line, but my arms were shot. In this race, my strategy wasn’t really good. I was just thinking about how far they were behind. It got very sloppy at the finish, all things we can be working on.”

World record holder and reigning Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy, 25, of California Aquatics, swept the backstroke events after winning Friday’s men’s 200-meter backstroke in 1:54.20.

The Bolles alum was 55.31 at the 100 and just blew off the 150-meter wall to extend his lead. It was the second fastest time in the world this year. Bryce Medford of Sierra Marlins was second in 1:54.79. Former Sarasota swimmer Austin Katz of Longhorn Aquatics was third in 1:55.86.

“I accomplished my goals,” Murphy said. “I am so excited to be going back to the Olympics in the 100 and 200 back. I’m obviously ecstatic to make another team in both races but I don’t think the times are necessarily reflective of where I’ve been in practice.

Asked where he is at right now compared to five years ago before going to Rio, Murphy said, “I think I’m certainly better at training. The details are a little sloppy right now but that’s nice. I know exactly where I can improve over these next five weeks to be a little bit better in Tokyo.”

In the women’s 100-meter freestyle, Abbey Weitzeil, 25, found her back speed to win her first Trials event in 53.53. Erica Brown, swimming in Lane 8 after knocking out Simone Manuel for that eighth spot in finals, was second in 53.59. The pair will be joined by Olivia Smoliga (53.63) and Natalie Hinds (53.84) on the 4×100 relay. For Hinds, Tokyo will be her first international trip.

“It means everything,” Weitzeil said. “I was nervous. Taming your nerves is definitely person by person in how you do that. This is the most nervewracking meet I have ever been to. It’s a different meet. Being more confident helps. I’ve learned to get past the negative thoughts.”

Julia Podkoscielny, 16, of Pine Crest Swimming was 43rd in the 200 backstroke in 2:18.07 in her final event of the Trials.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics will swim the 50-meter freestyle on Saturday.

The top two finishers of most events will most likely become 2021 US Olympians. Relay only spots go to places 3-6 (though not completely guaranteed for 6th place) of 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. The maximum roster size for Team USA is 26 men and 26 women.

All races 200 meters or shorter have three stages at Trials: a prelim in the morning, followed by a semifinal that evening. The final of the top-8 qualifier will take place on the following night.

Saturday’s events are: (Morning Session), men’s 50 freestyle prelims, women’s 50 freestyle prelims, men’s 1,500 freestyle prelims; (Evening session) men’s 100 butterfly final, women’s 200 backstroke final, women’s 800 freestyle final, men’s 50 freestyle semifinal, women’s 50 freestyle semifinal.

Daily finals coverage will be broadcast across NBC channels. Along with live finals coverage, 24 hours of preliminaries will be available on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports App.

For prelims, today through June 19, 11 a.m. on NBC Stream and 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. For finals, today through June 16 on NBC at 8 p.m., June 17 NBC at 10 p.m. and NBCSN at 8 p.m., June 18-19 NBC at 9 p.m. and June 20 NBC at 8:15 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time for South Florida.

CANADIAN OLYMPIC TRIALS
The five-day meet, which begins Saturday, at Toronto’s Pan Am Sports Centre will determine who competes for Canada at the Tokyo Olympics. No fans are allowed in the venue. The meet had been delayed in April and again in May because of pandemic-related restrictions. It is the first time the entire Canadian team has gathered in one place since the 2019 World Championships in South Korea. Five women and one man were named to the Canadian team in January to compete in their best event(s): Kylie Masse (100 and 200 backstroke), Maggie MacNeil (100 butterfly), Penny Oleksiak (200 freestyle), Sydney Pickrem (200 breaststroke, 200 and 400 individual medley), Taylor Ruck (100 freestyle) and Markus Thormeyer (200 backstroke).

FRIDAY FINAL RESULTS
WOMEN

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Annie Lazor, Mission Viejo 2:21.07, 2. Lilly King, Indiana Swim Club 2:21.75, 3. Emily Escobedo, COND 2:22.64.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Abbey Weitzeil, Cal 53.53, 2. Erika Brown, Tennessee Aquatics, 3. Olivia Smoliga, Athens Bulldogs 53.63, 4. Natalie Hinds, Athens Bulldogs 53.84.

MEN
200-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Murphy, Cal 1:54.20, 2. Bryce Mefford, Sierra Marlins Swim Team 1:54.79, 3. Austin Katz, Longhorn Aquatics 1:55.86.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Michael Andrew, MA Swim Academy 1:55.44, 2. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs 1:56.97, 3. Kieran Smith, UFlorida 1:57.23.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Caeleb Dressel, Bobby Finke, Hali Flickinger, Nic Fink Win Spots On U.S. Team; Josh Zuchowski Top FGC Finisher On Day Five Of Olympic Trials


By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 17, 2021—Caeleb Dressel of the Gator Swim Club, the next big Olympic star in men’s swimming, qualified for his second Olympics Thursday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials at CHI Health Center.

Dressel, 24, a Clay High School and Bolles Club alum won the glamour event 100-meter freestyle in a U.S. Open and pool record 47.39, second fastest time in the world this year. He was .60 off the blocks and 22.46 after the opening 50 meters.

Dressel, a two time world champion and Olympic gold medalist, is setting himself up nicely for the Tokyo Olympics where he could potentially win seven medals in one Olympics following in the footsteps of Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders,” Dressel said. “I’m excited to get the job done and move forward. It certainly doesn’t get any easier. That hurt real bad but I’m happy with it. My goal was to get my hand on the wall first here so I got the job done.

“You can’t win five, six or seven medals if you don’t qualify for the events. I’m focused on qualifying right now.”

A giant picture of Dressel is on the outside of the downtown arena where the trials are being held.

“All the fluff that comes with it, your name on the building, is cool,” Dressel said. “But it adds a little bit different pressure to it.”

Joining Dressel on the 4×100 relay will be Zach Apple of Mission Viejo, who finished second in 47.72, Blake Pieroni third in 48.16 and newcomer Brooks Curry, 20, of LSU Tigers in 48.19. The top four automatically qualify for the relay.

In the new Olympic men’s event 800-meter freestyle, Bobby Finke, 21, of Clearwater left no doubt controlling the race and winning in 7:48.22 to make his first Olympic team. Michael Brinegar, 21, whose mom Jennifer made the Olympic team 45 years ago, competing in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, came on in the last 50 to surge ahead of Ross Dant to finish second in 7:49.94.

“I don’t even know how this feels to be an Olympian, I can’t come to terms with it yet,” Finke said. “I am so thankful for my friends and my family. This distance is a sprint and I don’t like sprints. It is what it is and it’s part of the program now.”

In a close men’s 200-meter breaststroke, Nic Fink, 27, of Athens Bulldogs won in a best time 2:07.55. Fink has been 17th and seventh in his last two Olympic Trials. Club teammate Andrew Wilson was second in 2:08.32.

“It’s something I can’t really describe,” Fink said. “Relief is only the beginning of what I’m feeling right now. It’s a long journey to come here. This is such an incredible meet with high ups and low downs. I’ve had so much support and help. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and to come back after getting third in the 100.”

In the women’s 200-meter butterfly, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger, 26, won in a best time 2:05.85, a U.S. Open and pool record. She turned on the jets and went 33.1 in the final stretch. She’s joined on the Olympic team by 19-year-old Regan Smith, already on the team in the 100 backstroke. They are the second and fourth fastest times in the world this year.

“I was just having so much fun,” Flickinger said. “Regan and I race each other all the time. It’s always fun to be there with her. We had a race plan in mind and all I wanted to do was execute it for him (her coach Bob Bowman).”

In one of the biggest surprises of the Trials, defending Olympic and world champion Simone Manuel failed to make it out of the 100-meter freestyle semifinals, the event she won a gold medal in at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Manuel was out of the pool for three weeks in April for various reasons including the Black Life Matters movement and pandemic. She finished in 54.17 for ninth, 2/100ths of a second from the finals. Manuel has one more chance to qualify in the 50.

World record holder Ryan Lochte, 36, looking to make his fifth Olympics team, was second fastest qualifier in the 200-meter individual medley in 1:58.48 behind Michael Andrew in 1:56.25 in prelims. He was third in his semifinal heat in 1:58.65 and qualified sixth for Friday’s final. Lochte scratched from the 200-meter backstroke to focus on the 200 IM.

“I know I have a faster swim in me 100 percent,” Lochte said after his semifinal race. “There’s no such thing as perfect races. There’s a lot I have to improve on, especially that race. That was just not a good one. I messed up in a lot of places. I’ll be better.”

Josh Zuchowski, 17, of FAST swims was 24th in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:01.53, off his qualifying time of 2:00.76.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics was 38th in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.19, off her best of 55.51. She has the 50 freestyle left to swim.

Julia Podkoscielny, 16, of Pine Crest Swimming swims Friday in the 200 backstroke.

The top two finishers of most events will most likely become 2021 US Olympians. Relay only spots go to places 3-6 (though not completely guaranteed for 6th place) of 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. The maximum roster size for Team USA is 26 men and 26 women.

All races 200 meters or shorter will have three stages at Trials: a prelim in the morning, followed by a semifinal that evening. The final of the top-8 qualifier will take place on the following night.

Friday’s events are: (Morning Session), women’s 800 freestyle prelims, men’s 100 butterfly prelims, women’s 200 backstroke prelims; (Evening session) women’s 200 breaststroke final, men’s 200 backstroke final, women’s 200 backstroke semifinal, men’s 200 IM final, women’s 100 freestyle final, men’s 100 butterfly semifinal.

Daily finals coverage will be broadcast across NBC channels. Along with live finals coverage, 24 hours of preliminaries will be available on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports App.

For prelims, today through June 19, 11 a.m. on NBC Stream and 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN. For finals, today through June 16 on NBC at 8 p.m., June 17 NBC at 10 p.m. and NBCSN at 8 p.m., June 18-19 NBC at 9 p.m. and June 20 NBC at 8:15 p.m. All times are Eastern Standard Time for South Florida.

THURSDAY FINAL RESULTS
WOMEN

200-meter butterfly: 1. Hali Flickinger, Sun Devils 2:05.85, 2. Regan Smith, RIPT 2:06.99, 3. Charlotte Hook, TAC Titans 2:07.92.

MEN
800-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, St. Petersburg Aquatics 7:48.22, 2. Michael Brinegar, Mission Viejo 7:49.94, 3. Ross Dant, N.C. State 7:50.66.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Nic Fink, Athens Bulldogs 2:07.55, 2. Andrew Wilson, Athens Bulldogs 2:08.32, 3. Will Lincon, Texas Longhorns 2:08.50.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel, Gator Swim Club 47.39, 2. Zach Apple, MVN 47.72, 3. Blake Pieroni, SAND 48.16.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Texas Opens NCAA Division 1 Men’s Swimming And Diving Championship With A Relay Win


By Sharon Robb
GREENSBORO, N.C., March 23, 2021–University of Texas got on the scoreboard first Wednesday in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship at Greensboro Aquatic Center.

The Longhorns won the 800-yard freestyle relay in a pool record 6:07.25 with Drew Kibler, Austin Katz, Carson Foster and Jake Sannem.

Defending national champion California was second in 6:08.68 with Trenton Julian, Daniel Carr, Destin Lasco and Bryce Mefford. Texas A&M was third in 6:10.79.

University of Florida was fourth in 6:10.91 with Kieran Smith, Troy Freeman, Alfonso Mestre and Bobby Finke.

The top four teams all finished under the previous pool record of 6:11.84 set in 2019 by Louisville.

A total of 235 swimmers from 41 teams are competing. California is defending champion and Texas was runner-up in 2019. Before that, Texas won it four consecutive years with California runner-up those four years.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s championships will look a lot different, much like last week’s women’s NCAAs.

Due to the mass gathering restrictions in place in North Carolina, spectators are not allowed to attend the meet including parents, family members and friends.

There is no participant seating on the pool deck. All teams and individuals were assigned seating in the grandstand seating area.

The meet is airing on ESPN3 for both preliminary and finals sessions.

Thursday’s events are 200-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle, 1-meter diving and 400-yard medley relay.

ELSEWHERE

ST. PETERSBURG—Six-time Olympian Ryan Lochte held off Caeleb Dressel in the 200-meter individual medley and won the 100-meter backstroke in the ISCA TYR International Senior Cup Wednesday at North Shore Aquatic Complex.

Lochte, 36, training for his fifth Olympic Games, won the 200 IM in 1:59.72 ahead of Gator Swim Club teammates Dressel was second in 2:00.50. He won the 100 backstroke in 55.92.

Dressel won the 50-meter butterfly in 23.98 and Singapore Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling tied Will Davis for second in 24.08.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics won the 16-and-under 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.88. Cornell grad Ilya Evdokimov, 25, of Pinnacle (Va.) Racing won the men’s 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.04. Evdokimov is a Florida Gold Coast swimmer who competed for Taravella High School and Coral Springs Swim Club.

SOFLO will compete in the ISCA East Elite Showcase Classic March 31-April 3.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Miguel Cancel Wins, Julio Horrego, Lance Lesage Have Top 10 Finishes Against Sarasota Field On Final Day Of Toyota U.S. Open


By Sharon Robb
SARASOTA, November 14, 2020–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Miguel Cancel, Julio Horrego and Lance Lesage got in some good racing on the third and final day of the Toyota U.S. Open Saturday at Selby Aquatic Center.

Cancel, 21, of University of Florida won the 200-meter butterfly in a best time 2:01.58 and finished 15th overall. He dropped 1.13 off his previous best.

Horrego, 22, was seventh in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.25 and 60th overall.

Lesage, 18, was tenth in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:08.22 and 63rd overall.

Twelve-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte was noticeably upset after competing “in my worst meet that I’ve ever had.”

Lochte, 36, finished third in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:01.05 on Friday, behind winner Chase Kalisz in 1:59.72 after all nine meet results were combined.

Lochte was also 26th in the 200 freestyle and 51st in the 100 backstroke. Lochte was 24th in the 200 backstroke on Saturday and scratched from the 100 freestyle.

“I do not like swimming this bad,” said Lochte, seeking to make his fifth Olympic team. “When I get back home, I’m going to start turning it up again. I need to be racing at least once a month with really good competitors. I don’t want to lose that confidence. I don’t know if I’m mentally tired. I know I’m physically tired. I love getting on those blocks and racing again.”

Aspen Gersper of St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton finished fourth in the 100-meter freestyle in 57.43. She will also compete in Sunday’s FHSAA State 1A Meet in Stuart. The meet was moved from Friday because of Tropical Storm Eta.

The Toyota USA Open was the first major U.S. meet since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down swimming in mid-March.

Because of COVID-19 travelling and group size restrictions, the U.S. Open was held at nine different sites across the United States. The U.S. Open was originally scheduled for Atlanta in December.

Each site hosted a small group of swimmers and followed the same format. Results were combined from all nine sites (which are listed below).

In addition to Sarasota, other sites were Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center in Beaverton, Ore.; Wellmark YMCA of Des Moines, Iowa; Greensboro Aquatic Center in North Carolina; Huntsville Aquatics Center in Alabama; Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis; William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine, Calif., Swim RVA in Richmond, Va.; and North East ISD Blossom Athletic Complex in San Antonio, Texas.

For COVID-19 safety reasons the venues had limited capacity.


SATURDAY FINAL SESSION RESULTS
WOMEN

1,500-meter freestyle: 1. Michaela Mattes, SYS 16:51.97, 2. Maria Victoria Yegres, Azura 17:15.94, 3. Anna Auld, ECAC 17:20.51.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Emma Weyant, SYS 2:13.77, 2. Celina Marquez, Azura 2:13.83, 3. Jordan Agliano, HIGH 2:15.21.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Micayla Cronk, BD 55.97, 2. Ella Bathurst, TEAM 56.46, 3. Marina Spadoni, Unattached 56.66, 4. Aspen Gersper, SA 57.43.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Gracie Weyant, SYS 2:32.85, 2. Emma Weyant, SYS 2:34.04, 3. Eliza Brown, Unattached 2:37.23.

200-meter butterfly: 1.Addison Reese, LAKR 2:15.91, 2. Isabel Traba, MIA 2:17.26, 3. Lockett Bowley, BD 2:17.26.

MEN
1,500-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, UF 15:09.14, 2. Liam Custer, SYS 15:35.69, 3. Brennan Gravley, UF 15:36.65, 6. Joaquin Vargas, Azura 16:13.64.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Clark Beach, UF 2:00.21, 2. Yeziel Morales, Azura 2:01.68, 3. Amadeusz Knop, SYS 2:03.41, 5. Ryan Lochte, GSC 2:03.83, 6. Miguel Cancel, UF 2:04.23, time drop (1.91), 10. Lance Lesage, SOFLO 2:08.22.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Jan Friese, UF 49.91, 2. Kieran Smith, UF 49.93, 3. Brett Fraser, NYAC 50.73, 7. Andrea DiArrigo, GSC 51.46, 16. Jayhan Odlum-Smith, Azura 53.19, Ryan Lochte, NS.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Nils Wich-Glasen, GSC 2:15.49, 2. Amro Al-Wir, UF 2:16.10, 3. Kevin Vargas, UF 2:16.50, 7. Julio Horrego, SOFLO 2:23.25.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Miguel Cancel, UF 2:01.58, 2. Mason Laur, T2 2:01.59, 3. Victor Rosado, SPA 2:02.49, 4. Gabriel Araya, Azura 2:02.85.

COMBINED RESULTS
WOMEN

800-meter freestyle: 1. Arabella Sims, Nevada Sandpipers 8:27.01, trials time.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Emma Weyant, Sarasota Sharks 4:10.38, trials cut; 62. Mallory Schleicher, SOFLO 4:27.96.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Madisyn Cox, Longhorn Aquatics 2:10.49, trials cut.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Gretchen Walsh, Nashville Aquatic Club 24.65, trials cut.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Emma Weyant, SYS 4:40.84, 44. Mallory Schleicher, SOFLO 4:59.87.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Clair Curzan, TAC 56.61, 38. Heidi Smithwick, Jupiter 1:01.58.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Paige Madden, UVA 1:57.64.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Anna Elendt, TEX 1:07.50, 80. Heidi Smithwick, Jupiter 1:13.88.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Kathleen Baker, TE 59.82.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Erica Sullivan, SAND 16:04.37, 29. Anna Auld, ECAC 17:20.51.

200-meter backstroke: 1. Phoebe Bacon, Unattached 2:09.16, 10. Celina Marquez, Azura 2:13.83.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Victoria Huske, AAC 54.04.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Madisyn Cox, TXLA 2:27.55.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Regan Smith, RIPT 2:08.61.

MEN
800-meter freestyle: 1. Marwan El Kamash, Indiana Swim Club 7:52.19.

400-meter freestyle: 1. Kiernan Smith, Florida 3:48.78, trials cut.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Chase Kalisz, Athens Bulldogs 1:59.72, trials cut.

50-meter freestyle: 1. Santo Condorelli, Dolphins Swim team 22.27.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Carson Foster, TEX 4:16.51, 16. Miguel Cancel, UF 4:28.00.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Luis Martinez, Unattached 51.50.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Kieran Smith,UF 1:47.29.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Andrew Wilson, Athens Bulldogs 59.58, 3. Ilya Evdokimov, PRVT 1:00.47, 5. Jorge Murillo, TAC 1:00.85, 51. Julio Horrego, SOFLO 1:04.60.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Jack Aikins, SA 54.59, 51. Ryan Lochte, GSC 57.41, 70. Lance Lesage, SOFLO 58.29.

1,500-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, UF 15:09.14, 33. Marcelo Acosta, CARD 16:07.97, 40. Joaquin Vargas, Azura 16:13.64.

200-meter backstroke: 1. William Grant, VS 1:59.52, 24. Ryan Lochte, GSC 2:03.83, 32. Miguel Cancel, UF 2:04.23, time drop, 63. Lance Lesage, SOFLO 2:08.22.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Andrej Barna, CARD 48.75, 59. Andrea D’Arrigo, GSC 51.46.

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Andrew Wilon, ABSC 2:09.83, 6. Jorge Murillo, TAC 2:14.92, 15. Ilya Evdokimov, PRVT 2:16.81, 60. Julio Horrego, SOFLO 2:23.25.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Zach Harting, CARD 1:57.82, 15. Miguel Cancel, UF 2:01.58, time drop.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SWIMMING NOTEBOOK: “In Deep With Ryan Lochte” Docuseries Debuts Wednesday


By Sharon Robb

Ryan Lochte is back in the spotlight again on a docu-series that debuts today.

The 12-time Olympic medalist talks about his 2016 scandal in Rio de Janeiro and one last attempt to make Team USA for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The “In Deep With Ryan Lochte” sports documentary shows the lengths a swimmer goes to achieve greatness, and for Lochte a chance at redemption. The docu-series debuts on NBC Universal’s Peacock platform.

“It was a wake-up call,” Lochte said of the 2016 scandal.

The docu-series, part of NBC Sports Films, relives the fallout of the 2016 Rio Olympics, during which Lochte alleged he and three American swimmers were robbed at gunpoint. The claims proved to be fabricated. He was suspended by USA Swimming from competition for ten months and dropped by a number of major sponsors.

“Because of what happened in Rio and everything, I was in a hole and I was climbing my way out, me and my family,” Lochte said. “And we’re still doing that. We’re still battling some things, but we are doing it together. And you’re definitely going to see that.”

The New York native was a standout as an age grouper all the way through college at University of Florida, where he broke records and took home medals. At the Olympics, he won six golds, three silvers and three bronze in Games in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Now 35, Lochte sees the scandal in Rio as eye-opening. “I never have any regrets in life,” he said. “I definitely am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and it was someone basically slapping me and being like, ‘Wake up.’ Like, ‘Grow up.'”

Lochte says his life really turned around when he and his wife, Kayla Rae Reid, welcomed their first son, Caiden, the next year. “It was, like, no longer am I just watching out for me.” A daughter, Liv, followed in 2019. Lochte since has appeared on TV competing on Dancing With the Stars and Celebrity Big Brother.

“There’s a lot of people out there that have a different perception of who I really am,” Lochte said. “I want to set the record straight. I want people to see how I’ve grown up, how I’ve matured and the person I am today.”

Lochte is the second-most decorated swimmer in Olympic Games’ history, a which has been overshadowed by controversy. If he makes the team for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, Lochte said he will have the chance to prove himself as an athlete again.

“People thought I got to where I was in swimming because of talent, but that’s not it. I busted my ass every day,” he said. “I am 110 percent committed when I step on that pool deck.”

Lochte talks about his chances of making Team USA. He is living and training in Gainesville and is being coached by the legendary Gregg Troy who molded him into the swimmer he is today.

“So good,” Lochte said. “My coach tells me almost every other day, he’s like, ‘What are you doing differently? Times that you’re doing in practice are faster than when you were at your greatest in 2012.’ I’m like, ‘I’m just ready to rock and roll. Let’s do it.’ I’m in a better mindset, a better mood, and I have more determination and fire burning inside of me than I did before.”

Peacock, NBC Universal’s new free streaming proprietary platform, is available on Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices including Android, Android TV devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices; Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; and VIZIO SmartCast TVs and LG Smart TVs. Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, as well as eligible Cox Contour customers.

Peacock is a free, ad-supported option that provides fans with more than 20,000 hours of programming. It includes next-day access to current seasons of freshman broadcast series, complete classic series, popular movies, curated daily news and sports programming including the Olympics, Spanish-language content, select episodes of marquee Peacock originals and tent-pole series, as well as curated Peacock streaming genre channels.

While the platform’s base plan is free, Peacock also offers a premium ad-supported version with more content for $4.99 per month, and an ad-free tier for $9.99 per month.

Sharon Robb can be contacted at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Olympic Coach Gregg Troy Inspires South Florida Aquatic Club Swimmers, Coaches


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, May 7, 2020—If anyone knows how to accomplish goals, take on challenges and overcome adversity, it’s Olympic coach Gregg Troy.

Troy has worked with some of the greatest swimmers in the world and has pretty much seen and heard everything a swimmer has gone through at the age group, high school, college and international level.

His resume speaks for itself. He was head coach of University of Florida men’s swimming and diving teams from 1999 to 2018, and head coach of the women’s team from 1998 to 2018. Before joining the Gators in 1998, he was head coach at Bolles for 20 years.

Under his guidance, UF athletes won 43 individual national championships, 177 SEC titles and earned 1,145 All-America honors. He also coached 47 Gator Olympians, who had 78 appearances at the last five Olympic Games. Those athletes won 23 medals, including 11 gold.

Troy served as head coach of Team USA at the 2012 London Olympic Games and Team Thailand in 1992, with his other two Olympic stints as assistant coach (1996, 2008).

He now works with individual swimmers for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as high performance coach for the Gator Swim Club. And, of course, waiting patiently to get back on the pool deck with his swimmers.

Recently, Troy spent more than an hour talking with SOFLO swimmers and coaches on the Zoom platform. He covered a multitude of topics from staying in touch with people and reading Richard Bach’s inspiring Jonathan Livingston Seagull to doing various core workouts during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Troy talked about several of his swimmers including Ryan Lochte, Caleb Dressel, Gustavo Borges, Trina Jackson and Elizabeth Beisel and the common thread they shared in swimming.

“They had a tremendous ability to accept challenges through dedication and consistency,” Troy said. He pointed out that Lochte’s first national time standard was in the 1,650 freestyle.

“He made challenges for himself by racing other guys in practice,” Troy said. “He was always trying to look for ways to get better. He was finding ways of making practice exciting and would fall behind teammates five to seven seconds only to catch them. When he got really good the second part of his career, he was always great at the end of his races because of those challenges he gave himself.

“The really great athletes I worked with always liked challenges. ‘What do I need to be better?’ athletes would ask. Those challenges are an important part of what you are doing and right now is a gigantic challenge.

“Were they perfect or great every day at practice? No. But they found ways to make practice fun and stayed focused on what they were doing.

“The really good swimmers had a tremendous sense of resiliency. They took their ups and downs during their journey from age group to college and on. Every one of them had challenges.”

Whether it was distance or sprints, his swimmers shared a common bond.

“It didn’t matter what they worked on in practice, they would challenge themselves,” Troy said. “I told age groupers I work with, all these ingredients–sprinting, breath control, turns, strokes–those are all challenges.

“Everyone has the same ingredients. There are no miracles. The best swimmers in the world have bad swims and best coaches in world have bad swim meets. Every thing you do at practice is important, some things more than others, you choose what’s important.”

Troy talked about how swimmers can choose to communicate with their coach.

“All the great ones would communicate with me,” Troy said. “The more honest they became, the more we got out of practices. It wasn’t quite the same when they were younger. But the older ones gave me the ability to take practice and refine it more and tailor it to them. The time to go and talk to your coach is at the conclusion of a practice or better than that, make an appointment and sit down with your coach. ”

Troy emphasized the three key people in a swimmer’s life.

“Who is the most important person or most invested person in your life? Troy asked. “Some will say their coach or parents but the most important person is you. You are the one most invested in what you do at practice or anything extra you do.

“The next most invested are your parents. They love you immensely. They want the best for you. They don’t know nearly as much as your coach but they love you.

“The third most invested is your coach. Why would anyone want to fight with their coach is a mystery to me. Your coach wants you to do well. It’s his job. It makes no sense to argue with your coach.”

Troy had some suggestions for swimmers while they are in quarantine.

“No. 1, the most important is to get a routine,” Troy said. “Some are better than others but it keeps you from getting bored. The absolute tool of swimming fast is the mind. Mentally practice skills, visualization, where’s our next journey, your first meet back, go to old meets, re-rehearse those and be a better student of the sport. The mind is the most important tool.

“Ride a bike hard for 15 minutes, forcing your heart rate up is really good. Any exercise, dryland, stretching. Take them and make them your own.

“Reading is important. Read about the sport. Keep a log book. The importance of keeping a log book is that it’s a map of where you are going on this journey, where you’ve been and set up where you are going.

“Set two goals for yourself for the week. Your coaches will help with that. Two goals that will make you a better person that also relate to being a better athlete. I have found that what college coaches are looking for is changing more and more in today’s world–good attitude, coach’s recommendation and good grades. They are still looking for swim ability but they want that person who is the best to work with, that’s fun to be around. Those are the real priorities.”

Troy said when he was recruiting college prospects, he would watch to see who showed up early or on time to practice and who was there until the end of practice. On home visits, he would observe how recruits treated their parents. He would look for the most intrinsic values that made for better teammates.

The final subject Troy touched upon were hitting plateaus in swimming. He pointed out that even the great ones like Michael Phelps hit a plateau. From 2004 in Athens until January 2007, Phelps did not swim a best time in any of his best events.

“Then he had a tremendous meet at World Championships in Australia and everything took off again,” Troy said.

“The first thing you realize is that swimming is one of the hardest sports, it’s very unforgiving. The plateaus are part of the sport. You have got to find ways to get off that plateau which takes us back to challenging yourself in practice, what you do, how you do it, watch your nutrition. This is why it is important to keep a log book.

“It’s so important to do things right when you were instructed the first time. As you get older and faster the law of physics work against you. As you get faster, the mistakes you make will hold you back. That’s why people reach plateaus. They got so good doing the wrong things that as they got older they refused to make the necessary changes. It takes time, but stay after making that change.

“It goes back to talking to your coach,” Troy said. “There are very few things your coach tells you that you can not improve.

“When we come out of this (COVID-19), go back to practice and be so excited. Don’t be really good for two or three weeks and then become normal again. You don’t want to be normal. You want to challenge yourself. ”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Lochte Wins National Title, SOFLO’s Golding Swims Final Race At Phillips 66 National Championships


By Sharon Robb

PALO ALTO, Calif., August 5, 2019—Ryan Lochte is definitely back.

The six-time Olympic gold medalist, coming off a 14-month suspension, won the 200-meter individual medley on the final day of the Phillips 66 USA National Championships Sunday at Stanford’s Avery Aquatics Center.

Lochte, 35, won in 1:57.76, nearly four seconds slower than his world record set eight years ago. It was his 27th national title.

“This was a lot easier 10 years ago,” said Lochte, who finished 1.07 seconds ahead of silver medalist Shalne Casas. “I’ve got a long ways to go for 2020. This younger generation of swimmers are fast. They are young and I am definitely getting older, but I’m up for the challenge.”

Lochte gave his gold medal to a young fan, saying “I don’t know half the swimmers I’m swimming against. As rewarding as it is for me to win races, I get more satisfaction out of seeing the smiles on kids’ faces when I give them my medals.”

Lochte was pleased with his comeback meet but admitted he wasn’t in top form.

“It didn’t feel good at all,” Lochte said with a laugh. “I just remember years ago it feeling so much easier, but I mean it’s a starting point for me. Especially since my daughter has been born, the past five and a half to six weeks, I haven’t really been at the pool.”

In other championship finals:

Madisyn Cox won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:10.00 ahead of Vanessa Pearl in 2:12.40. Former Gulliver swimmer Kelly Fertel won the “B” final in 2:13.27.

A day after making her first U.S. Olympic Trials cut in the 400-meter freestyle, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, 18, swam the 200-meter individual medley in 2:19.46 in her fourth and final event of senior nationals.

Erika Brown won the women’s 50-meter freestyle in 24.71. Gretchen Walsh was second in 24.85.

Ryan Held won the men’s 50-meter freestyle in 21.87. Bowe Becker and Robert Howard tied for second in 22.00.

Ally McHugh won the women’s 1500-meter freestyle in 16:05.98. McHugh took the lead at 1100 and had a two-body length going into the 1300-mark.

Bobby Finke of St. Petersburg Spa won the men’s 800-meter freestyle in 7:47.58 ahead of Zane Grothe in 7:50.47.

MORE SWIMMING NEWS

Dan Kesler has been named associate head coach with the Florida State swimming program. He replaces Ozzie Quevedo who left for the same position at Alabama. Kesler has coached the last seven seasons at Arizona State. He will work with head coach Neal Studd….

Swim sensation Caeleb Dressel, a Florida, Clay High School and Bolles Swimming Club alum, made a special appearance on NBC’s Today Show to talk about his success at the FINA World Aquatics Championships. Dressel talked about how he reacted to such a successful meet at Worlds, saying the medals were “just pieces of metal.” Dressel also talked about his post-Worlds meals where he was finally able to indulge himself with some unhealthy foods and how he is going to refocus to sustain his success next year for the Olympic Games in Tokyo…

Eleven World Cup records were broken in Tokyo, site of the FINA World Cup Series. The series resumes Thursday in Jinan, China. South Florida Aquatic Club veteran swimmer Alia Atkinson of Jamaica will compete. She won the 50-meter breaststroke in the series opener.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Ryan Lochte Returns To Swimming At Phillips 66 National Championships; SOFLO’s Golding, Smutny Swim First Races


By Sharon Robb

STANFORD, Calif., August 2, 2019—Olympic champion Ryan Lochte returned to the competitive spotlight Wednesday at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatic Center.

On opening day, Lochte swam the fourth-fastest time by an American in the 200-meter individual medley during a time trial and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1:57.88. The time is only 3.88 seconds off his world record time.

“I’m back, woo,” Lochte told reporters after his race. “It’s been a long three years but it’s good to be back, get on those blocks and race again.”

Lochte, 35, a father of two, is coming off a 14-month suspension for receiving an infusion of vitamin B-12 above the allowed limit. During his suspension, he checked himself into a rehab center in Florida for six weeks to fight alcohol abuse.

“I don’t do that much anymore,” Lochte said. “I’ve been splotchy with my swimming. Family trumps everything. Swimming has been my second priority. Nationals, for me, is a stepping stone to see where I’m at in the swimming world. It’s a long journey to next year to see what I can do.”

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mary Smutny and Kathleen Golding got in their first swims on Wednesday.

Smutny, 18, was 49th in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:15.74. Golding, 18, was 97th in the 100-meter freestyle in 57.56.

Wednesday night opening winners were:

Women’s 800-meter freestyle, Ally McHugh, 22, WA 8:26.04.

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle, Bobby Finke, 19, St. Petersburg Aquatics 14:51.15.

Women’s and men’s 200-meter butterfly, Regan Smith, RIPT 2:07.26; Luca Urlando, 17, DART 1:54.92.

Women’s and men’s 100-meter freestyle, Abbey Weitzell, CAL 43.18; Ryan Held, NYAC 47.39, third fastest time this year.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com