King, Murphy, U.S. Men’s Relay Win Gold; Coral Springs Olympian Bruno Fratus Loses Swim-Off For Finals At FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 23, 2022–Americans Lilly King, Ryan Murphy and men’s 4×200 relay defied the odds to win gold at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships Thursday at Duna Arena.

Lilly King turned it on in the back half to win gold and her first world title of the meet in 2:22.41. Aussie Jenna Strauch was second in 2:23.04 and U.S. teammate Kate Douglas of University of Virginia was third in 2:23.20. It was King’s ninth career world gold medal and first in the 200. King has now won gold in every breaststroke event at worlds.

King was fifth at the final turn. “I guess I’m a distance swimmer now, which kind of stinks for me,” King said with a smile. “I knew today was about racing and I knew I would have a little bit left so I had to do it. Welcoming this new chapter of my career. I think this was my coach’s master plan all along.

“It’s awesome to win this gold,” King said. “I’m so excited to have this medal. That was a great race but that was all tactical. I think the one who wins the 200 is who can control the tactical part and the pace the best.”

Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 26, won his first-ever individual world gold medal. A year after settling for silver at the Tokyo Olympics, the newly-engaged Murphy won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:54.52, 6/10ths ahead of the field. He was third after the opening 50 and with a 28.4 split took the lead at the 100 and led the rest of the way. Brit Luke Greenback was second in 1:55.16 and U.S. teammate Shaine Casas was third in 1:55.35.

“This one hurt a lot,” Murphy said. “I knew it was going to be a competitive field. This is what I worked for. My first individual title is really cool. Being able to come into something that I have a talent for, try to be the best in the world, that never gets old.

“There’s a ton of work that goes into this, not just on my end but my coaches, my teammates. So to come in, win a medal for myself and for the people who helped me and my country is really special.”

The U.S. ended its dry spell in the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay. The relay of Drew Kibler, Carson Foster, Trenton Julian and University of Florida’s Kieran Smith won in 7:00.24. Australia was second in 7:03.50 and Great Britain was third in 7:04.00. It was the first world title relay win in almost a decade since 2013.

Smith had a full three-body length and more than a 3-second lead heading into the final wall. Foster blew it open on the second leg with a 1:45.04 split and Smith turned in a 1:44.35 on anchor. The U.S. men, fourth at the 2020 Olympics, were not favored.

“Kieran and I were actually just looking at a photo taken right after we touched fourth at the Olympics last year, and it’s a pretty defeating photo,” Kibler said. “We were looking at it just before we came here, like, ‘We’re not going to experience that again.'”

Brazil’s Bruno Fratus, 32, of Coral Springs Swim Club, fastest qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle prelims in 21.71, lost a swim-off by 3/100ths of a second to end his medal hopes.

The Olympic bronze medalist was fourth in the semifinals in 21.83 tying Frenchman Maxime Grousset, 23, who came back to win the swim-off, 21.59-21.62. It was the 100th time in his career Fratus cracked 22 seconds in the event.

Fratus is one of 23 Florida Gold Coast swimmers competing on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Other FGC swimmers who competed on Thursday are:

Dylan Carter, 26, Trinidad & Tobago, (Plantation American Heritage, USC), 50 freestyle, 17th, 22.19.

Esteban Nunez de Prado, 18, Bolivia, (Azura), 100 butterfly, 50th, 55.61.

Jenebi Benoit, 19, Grenada, (Azura), 100 butterfly, 57th, 59.63.

Leon Seaton, 18, Guyana (Azura), 50 freestyle, 70th, 25.07.

Jordan Crooks, 20, Cayman Islands (TS Aquatics), 50 freestyle, 19th, 22.20.

Steven Aimable, 23, Senegal, (Azura), 100 butterfly, 43rd, 54.65.

FGC swimmers who compete on Friday:

Michaela Sierra, 17, Uruguay, (Azura, South Florida Heat, Auburn), 50 breaststroke.

Jahir Lopez, 17, Ecuador, (Azura) 1500 freestyle.

Yeziel Morales, 26, Puerto Rico, (Azura), 50 backstroke.

Jillian Crooks, 15, Cayman Islands (TS Aquatics), 50 freestyle.

In Thursday night’s final events:
WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE:
In an exciting finish, Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan, 18, won her second world title in 52.67. In sixth place at the 50, O’Callaghan surged in the final 10 meters to out-touch world record holder Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, second in 52.80. American Torri Huske, who was leading for the first 90 meters, was third in 52.92. U.S. teammate Claire Curzan was eighth in 53.81.

O’Callaghan was last at the wall before going 25.9 on the back half, outsplitting Sjostrom by 7/100ths of a second. Sjostrom is the first woman 100 free world record holder not to win a world title.

“I had to just trust myself and focus on myself especially for my back end, that is definitely my strongest point, my front end not so much,” O’Callaghan said. “It’s certainly weird at the moment to think that I’m a world champion.

“I was panicking in warm-up, I had a little bit of a cramp in my leg. I was just feeling dizzy, I just felt out of it in warm-up and I started to panic a little. But I had teammates there. I had Madi Wilson, I had the whole team and especially Dean supporting me so I guess that kind of uplifted me for this race.”

O’Callaghan is coached by Dean Boxall at St. Peters Western in Brisbane. Boxall is best known for going nutso in the stands while another one of his swimmers Ariarne Titmus won gold in the 200 and 400 freeestyles at the 2020 Olympics.

MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE: Australia’s Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook won gold with a convincing 2:07.07. He was eighth at the 100 and third at the 150. He is the first Aussie to win a world title in the event. Japan’s Yu Hanaguruma was and Erik Persson of Sweden tied for second in 2:08.38.

In the 50-meter butterfly semifinals, Torri Huske broke the American record in 25.38 and qualified second behind Sjostrom (25.13).

Friday prelim events are women’s 50 freestyle, men’s 50 backstroke, women’s 50 breaststroke, mixed 4×100 freestyle and men’s 1500 freestyle.

The U.S. added six more medals to its tally of 14 gold, 6 silver and 12 bronze for 32. Australia is second with 12 total (4 golds, 7 silver, 1 bronze) and Italy third (4 golds, 1 silver, 3 bronze).

The swimming runs through Saturday with the pool events. The aquatics championships that also features diving, water polo, high diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming end July 3.

The Olympic Channel and Peacock, on the NBC platform, is televising the finals at noon each day. A highlights show will be on NBC at noon on June 26. The FINA facebook page is also posting competition news. Canada’s CBC will also broadcast the swimming.

There are huge cheers for any Hungarian swimmers from spectators at Duna Arena. FINA, the sport’s governing body, has asked fans each day to clap rather than cheer as a precaution against coronavirus infections. There were no other requests or restrictions.

FINALS SCHEDULE
Friday, June 24: 50 women’s fly, 50 men’s free, 100 men’s fly, 200 women’s back, 800 women’s free, 4×100 mixed free relay.

Saturday, June 25: 50 men’s back, 50 women’s breast, 1500 men’s free, 50 women’s free, 400 women’s IM, 4×100 men’s and women’s medley relay.

Sunday, June 26: Open water, 6K team relay.

Monday, June 27: Open water, men’s and women’s 5K.

Wednesday, June 29: Open water, men’s and women’s 10K.

Thursday, June 30: Open water, men’s and women’s 25K.

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

Italian Thomas Ceccon Breaks World Record; Katie Ledecky Wins 17th Title At FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 20, 2022–In an exciting finish, Italy’s Thomas Ceccon pulled off the shocker breaking the world record in the 100-meter backstroke Monday night at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships at Duna Arena.

Ceccon, 21, stunned the field that included the former world record holder by putting on the after burners in the final 25 meters to win in 51.60, bettering the previous record by 0.15 seconds set by American Ryan Murphy at the 2016 Olympics.

“I have no words for this,” Ceccon said. “There is an Olympic champion from 2016 so no I did not expect to win. The world record is not a simple thing. It’s a nice step I’ve taken.

“Yesterday I swam 52.1 very easy,” Ceccon said. “I am feeling good in the water and just doing my race, staying calm and focused on my race. And that’s it.”

Ceccon is only the second Italian to set a world record in long course swimming. Giorgio Lambert was the first in the 200 freestyle.

Murphy finished second, just 0.37 seconds off the winning pace in 51.97. Murphy has yet to win an individual world long course title. U.S. teammate Hunter Armstrong was third, 0.38 seconds behind in 51.98.

“Hats off to Thomas,” said Murphy, a Bolles alum. “That’s a really, really fast time. It’s going to be an exciting couple of years.”

Katie Ledecky of Gainesville won her 17th world title winning her fourth gold medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle. Ledecky led from start-to-finish to win in 15:30.15, just 10 seconds under her world record set in 2018. U.S. teammate Sixteen-year-old American teenager Katie Grimes was second, 14.74 seconds behind her in a best time 15:44.89. Aussie Lani Pallister was third in 15:48.96, also a best time.

“To share this moment with her is really special,” said Ledecky referring to Grimes, her future heir apparent. Grimes is the second youngest medalist in the 1,500 at worlds since Ledecky won it for the first time in 2013.

“It takes a lot of hard work,” said Ledecky, a grad assistant coach at University of Florida. “It’s about doing all the right things in and out of the pool to have that longevity. You can’t get complacent.”

Said Grimes, “I was really nervous leading up to it because it’s my first world championship and Team USA has been doing a great job. I wanted to keep that going.”

South Florida Aquatic Club Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego, 23, was disqualified in the 50-meter breaststroke in his final event at worlds. He has now been disqualified in three of his last four races in the U.S. and Hungary. Earlier in the meet, he was 32nd in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.07.

There are 21 past and present Florida Gold Coast swimmers competing on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Other swimmers who competed on Monday with Florida Gold Coast ties were:

Izaak Bastian, 21, Bahamas (St. Andrew’s, Florida State), 50 breaststroke, 32nd in 28.47.

Kito Campbell, 19, Jamaica (Azura), 50 breaststroke, 39th in 29.06.

FGC swimmers competing on Tuesday are:

Patrick Groters, 23, Aruba, (NSU University School, Pine Crest Swim Club, University of South Carolina), 200 IM.

Dylan Carter, 26, Trinidad & Tobago, (Plantation American Heritage), 100 freestyle.

Esteban Nunez del Prado, 18, Bolivia, (Azura), 200 IM.

Jayhan Odlum-Smith, 20, St. Lucia, (Azura), 100 freestyle.

Jenebi Benoit, 19, Grenada, (Azura) 100 freestyle.

Julimar Avila, 25, Honduras, (Azura), 200 butterfly.

Leon Seaton, 18, Guyana, (Azura), 100 freestyle.

Matheo Mateos, 21, Paraguay, (Azura), 200 IM.

Steven Aimable, 23, Senegal, (Azura), 100 freestyle.

In Monday night’s final events:

200 men’s free: Romania’s David Popovici broke his own world junior record to win gold in 1:43.21, 1.26 seconds ahead of the field. His previous record was 1:44.40. Korean teenager Hwang Sunwoo was second in 1:44.47 and Brit Tom Dean was third in 1:44.98.

100 women’s backstroke: American Regan Smith won gold in 58.22, 0.18 seconds ahead of Canadian two-time world champion Kylie Masse in 58.40. American Claire Curzan took the bronze in 58.67. It was the first time Americans won two medals in the event since the 2008 Olympics.

100 women’s breaststroke: The Italians’ success continued with teenager Benedetta Pilato, 17, winning a tight race in 1:05.93, 0.05 ahead of Germany’s Anna Elendt in 1:05.98 and 0.09 ahead of Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte in 1:06.02 for her first career world title. Pilato is the youngest Italian swimmer to win a gold medal at worlds. American two-time defending world champion Lilly King was fourth in 1:06.07. “It’s really a surprise,” Pilato said. “I’m obviously happy. I really didn’t expect it. It’s been my dream. Before I swam I watched Thomas’ swim and I was crying for him. Then I realized I had to race and ran to the call room.”

Tuesday prelim events are women’s 50 backstroke, men’s 100 freestyle, men’s 200 IM, women’s 200 butterfly and mixed 4×100 medley relay.

The swimming runs through June 25 with the pool events. The aquatics championships that also features diving, water polo, high diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming end July 3.

The Olympic Channel and Peacock, on the NBC platform, is televising the finals at noon each day. A highlights show will be on NBC at noon on June 26. The FINA facebook page is also posting competition news. Canada’s CBC will also broadcast the swimming.

There are huge cheers for any Hungarian swimmers from spectators at Duna Arena. FINA, the sport’s governing body, has asked fans each day to clap rather than cheer as a precaution against coronavirus infections. There were no other requests or restrictions.
FINALS SCHEDULE
Tuesday, June 21: 800 men’s free, 200 women’s free, 200 men’s fly, 50 men’s breast, 4×100 mixed medley relay.

Wednesday, June 22: 200 women’s fly, 100 men’s free, 50 women’s back, 200 men’s IM, 4×200 women’s free relay.

Thursday, June 23: 100 women’s free, 200 women’s breast, 200 men’s back, 200 men’s breast, 4×200 men’s free relay.

Friday, June 24: 50 women’s fly, 50 men’s free, 100 men’s fly, 200 women’s back, 800 women’s free, 4×100 mixed free relay.

Saturday, June 25: 50 men’s back, 50 women’s breast, 1500 men’s free, 50 women’s free, 400 women’s IM, 4×100 men’s and women’s medley relay.

Sunday, June 26: Open water, 6K team relay.

Monday, June 27: Open water, men’s and women’s 5K.

Wednesday, June 29: Open water, men’s and women’s 10K.

Thursday, June 30: Open water, men’s and women’s 25K.

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

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes First, Second On Day One Of London Roar’s ISL Playoff Opener


By Sharon Robb
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands, November 13, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson returned to International Swimming League action Saturday at Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion.

In the second match of the International Swimming League playoffs, Atkinson took a first and second in her events as the Roar dominated the match.

The five-time Jamaican Olympian was second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.54. Imogen Clark of the LA Current won in 29.32, a new British national record, for her second win of the season.

Atkinson was a member of the winning 4×100-meter medley relay that won in 3:47.17 with teammates Kira Toussaint, Marie Wattel and Emma McKeon. Atkinson’s breaststroke split was 1:04.21.

London teammate Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was second in the 50-meter freestyle in 21.11. Carter also anchored London’s winning 4×100-meter freestyle relay with a 45.80 split to win in 3:05.43.

Other London winners were: Emma McKeon, 100-meter butterfly, 55.57; Annie Lazor, 200-meter breaststroke, 2:19.01; women’s 4×100 freestyle relay, 3:28.04; Kyle Chalmers, 50-meter freestyle 21.10; Sydney Pickrem, 200-meter individual medley, 2:06.46; men’s 4×100 freestyle relay; and Kira Toussaint, 50-meter backstroke 25.91.

After missing the regular season, Ryan Murphy returned to the LA Current lineup to make his post-Olympic debut. He won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:48.43, the fastest time in the event this season. Murphy also won the 50-meter backstroke in 22.79. He was a member of the winning 4×100-meter medley relay that won in 3:23.58.

After Day One, London took the lead with 280.5 points followed by LA Current, 246, Toronto Titans, 231.5 and Aqua Centurions, 138. Second day action continues on Sunday.

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

What A Finish! Dressel, Finke, U.S. Men’s Relay Win Gold, Breaks World Record


By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 31, 2021–In an exciting finish to the eight-day swimming competition, the U.S. men came up big Saturday at the Olympic Aquatics Centre.

Caeleb Dressel, 24, won his fifth gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics joining the elite group of Michael Phelps, Matt Biondi and Mark Spitz as the only U.S. swimmers to win five gold medals in a single Olympic Games.

Dressel won the 50-meter freestyle in an Olympic record 21.07 and rallied the underdog 4×100-meter medley relay team to a gold medal and world record 3:26.78 to keep the U.S. team’s undefeated streak alive at 15. Dressel also won gold medals in the 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 4×100 free relay earlier in the week.

After strong relay legs from Ryan Murphy (52.31 split) and Michael Andrew (58.49 split), Dressel gave anchor leg Zach Apple (46.95 split) a half-second lead going into the freestyle leg. Dressel’s relay leg of 49.03 was the fastest in history. The U.S. had never lost the relay but were considered underdogs to Great Britain after barely qualifying for the final by 3/10ths of a second and ending up in Lane One for the final.

The relay broke a 12-year-old world record held by a U.S. team that included Phelps and Aaron Piersol at the 2009 World Championships.

Before the relay, Dressel won his sixth gold overall (in two Olympics) and fourth in Tokyo. With the second-fastest start (0.63), Dressel held off Frenchman Florent Manaudou, who had the quickest start (0.61), to win in 21.07. Manaudou took silver in 21.55.

Brazil’s Bruno Fratus, who trains at Coral Springs Swim Club, took the bronze in 21.57 for his first career Olympic medal at age 32. It was the 91st time Fratus has broken 22 seconds, more than any other swimmer in history.

St. Petersburg’s Bobby Finke did it again. Just as he did in the 800-meter freestyle to win gold, the University of Florida senior turned on the after jets in the final 50 with a 25.7 split to win the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:39.65.

It was the first time a U.S. male won the 1500 event since Mike O’Brien of Mission Viejo 37 years ago at the 1984 Olympic Games.

“This means the world to me,” Finke said. “I was just trying to hold on and get my hand on the wall.”

In the women’s championship medal finals:

Women’s 50-meter freestyle:
Aussie Emma McKeon, 27, won her sixth medal of the Games with an Olympic record time of 23.81 and another gold in the medley relay to become the most decorated Aussie swimmer in a single Olympics. She had the slowest start (0.70) but turned it on in the final 10 meters. Sweden’s world record holder Sarah Sjoestroem, 27, overcame a fractured elbow sustained in February when she slipped on ice, to take home the silver medal in 24.07 and her fourth Olympic medal of her career. She had the second fastest start (0.63). Denmark’s Pernille Blume, who had the fastest start (0.62) and was defending champion after winning in Rio, won the bronze in 24.21. Only 3/10ths of a second separated the field of eight women that had won 28 combined Olympic medals.

Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay: Three teenagers Regan Smith, Lydia Jacoby and Torri Huske and Olympian Abbey Weitzeil, swimming anchor leg, just missed a gold medal by 3/100ths of a second. Australia won in an Olympic record 3:51.60, the eighth gold medal for the Aussies. The U.S. finished in 3:51.73. Canada was third in 3:52.60. The U.S. women had won 10 of the last 14 relay titles.

With the open water events still to come this week, the U.S. finished with 30 medals (11 gold, 10 silver, 9 bronze)and Australia earned 20 (9 gold, 3 silver, 8 bronze). Great Britain was third with 8 medals (4 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze). Twenty one nations managed to win at least one medal in Olympic swimming.

SATURDAY RESULTS
WOMEN

50-meter freestyle: 1. Emma McKeon, AUS 23.81, OR, 2. Sarah Sjoestroem, SWE 24.07, 3. Pernille Blume, DEN 24.21.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. Australia 3:51.60, OR, 2. U.S. 3:51.73, 3. Canada 3:52.60.

MEN
50-meter freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel, US 21.07, OR, 2. Florent Manaudou, FRA 21.55, 3. Bruno Fratus, BRA 21.57.

1500-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, US 14:39.65, 2. Mykhailo Romanchuk, UKR 14:40.66, 3. Florian Wellbrook, GER 14:40.91.

4×100-meter medley relay: 1. US 3:26.78, WR, 2. Great Britain 3:27.51, ER, 3. Italy 3:29.17.

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

South African Tatjana Schoenmaker Breaks First Individual Swimming World Record At Olympics


By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 29, 2021–An emotionally-charged Tatjana Schoenmaker broke the first individual world record in swimming Thursday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The 24-year-old South African set a blistering pace in the final 50 meters of the 200-meter breaststroke to win in a world record time of 2:18.95. The previous world record of 2:19.11 was held by Rikke Moller of Denmark since 2013.

It was the first gold medal won by a South African woman since 1996 and first gold of the Olympics for any South African athlete. Schoenmaker also won silver in the 100-meter breaststroke.

American training partners and good friends Lily King and Annie Lazer finished second and third. King took silver in a breakthrough swim of 2:19.92 and Lazor the bronze in 2:20.84.

“I wouldn’t have done that if she wasn’t next to me,” King said of Lazor. “This is what we were working for.”

King led until the 150-meter turn when Schoenmaker turned on the after jets to touch the wall first.

“My love for swimming makes me want to get up every morning and go to training,” Schoenmaker said. “It’s like my second home. Being fortunate enough to travel the world doing what I love, seeing new places and meeting new people and sports heroes, motivates me a lot. The most important thing every young swimmer should realize is that nothing is impossible. They only need to believe and be prepared to put in the long and hard hours.”

Local swimmers results:

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was second in his 100 butterfly heat in 52.36.

Azura’s Abbas Qali of Kuwait, fourth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.62.

Azura’s Steven Aimable, fifth in his 100 butterfly heat in 53.64.

Azura’s Davidson Vincent of Haiti finished tied for seventh in his 100 butterfly in 54.81.

Qali, Aimable and Vincent all swam in the same heat.

Azura’s Celina Marquez of El Salvador was second in her 200 backstroke heat in 2:14.72.

In other championship medal finals:

Men’s 200-meter backstroke: Russian Evgeny Rylov became the seventh man to win both backstroke events in a single Olympics. He won in an Olympic record 1:53.27. Defending gold medalist and Bolles alum Ryan Murphy took silver in 1:54.15. Luke Greenbank of Great Britain took third in 1:54.72. The U.S. men had won seven consecutive gold medals in the event. “I put myself in a lot of pain,” Murphy said. “I just ran into a very good guy from Russia.”

Women’s 100-meter freestyle: The Aussies took first and third in the event. Emma McKeon, 27, won her first individual gold medal in an Olympic record 51.96 and teammate Cate Campbell was third in 52.52. Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong took the silver in 52.27.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Underdog Shun Wang, 27, of China won the gold in an Asian record 1:55.00. Favorite Duncan Scott of Great Britain took silver in 1:55.28 and Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland won the bronze in 1:56.17. American Michael Andrew, the early leader, faltered in the last 50 and finished a disappointing fifth in 1:57.31.

THURSDAY RESULTS
WOMEN

200-meter breaststroke: 1. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA 2:18.95, WR, OR 2. Lilly King, US 2:19.92, 3. Annie Lazor, US 2:20.84.

100-meter freestyle: 1. Emma McKeon, AUS 51.96, OR, 2. Siobhan Haughey, HKG 52.27, AS, 3. Cate Campbell, AUS 52.52.

MEN
200-meter backstroke: 1. Evgeny Rylov, ROC 1:53.27, OR, 2. Ryan Murphy, US 1:54.15, 3. Luke Greenbank, GB 1:54.72.

200-meter individual medley: 1. Shun Wang, CHN 1:55.00, 2. Duncan Scott, GBR 1:55.28, 3. Jeremy Desplanches, SUI 1:56.17.

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

American Lydia Jacoby Pulls Off Stunner For Olympic Gold In 100 Breaststroke


By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, July 26, 2021–Seventeen-year-old Lydia Jacoby pulled off the biggest upset in the women’s swimming competition Monday at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

After watching the U.S. team get shut out of gold medals in the first three finals of the morning, Jacoby knocked off her teammate, defending champion and world record holder Lilly King and top qualifier Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa.

With a huge surge in the final 20 meters, Jacoby, swimming in Lane 3, won in 1:04.95 out-touching Schoenmaker in 1:05.22 and King in 1:05.54. Jacoby was third at the turn.

After touching the wall, Jacoby turned and took off her goggles to look at the scoreboard. She looked shocked as her mouth dropped open when she realized she won.

It was the first time since 2019 King had lost a 100 breaststroke race. She had won 53 consecutive races.

The most unlikeliest of gold medalists is headed into her senior year at Seward High School in Alaska and part of the Seward Tsunami Swim Club. Alaska has only one 50-meter long course pool in the entire state. She has committed to University of Texas as part of the 2022 recruiting class. Her other college visits were Tennessee, Notre Dame and North Carolina State.

“I was racing for a medal,” Jacoby said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting a gold medal. I don’t know how I pulled it out. I definitely stressed myself out yesterday so I just tried to feel good and happy going into it and I feel like I did that.”

Added King, “We love to keep that gold in the USA family. This kid just had the swim of her life and I’m proud to be her teammate.”

Jacoby is the first-ever Alaska native on the U.S. Olympic team.

Local swimmers results:

Azura’s Nicole Frank of Uruguay, third in her 200-meter individual medley heat in 2:18.93.

Azura Florida Aquatics will have four swimmers compete on Tuesday: Andrew Fowler of Guyana, 100 freestyle; Stefano Mitchell of Antigua & Barbuda, 100 freestyle; Julimar Avila of Honduras, 200 butterfly; and Marcelo Acosta of El Salvador, 800 freestyle.

After three days of racing, it’s obvious the rest of the world has caught up to the U.S. In other championship medal finals:

Men’s 200-meter freestyle:

In a thrilling finish, Great Britain finished one-two. Ranked first and second in the world, Tom Dean won the gold in 1:44.22 and Duncan Scott took silver in 1:44.26. It was the first Olympic gold for Great Britain in the freestyle since 1908. Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer took bronze in 1:44.66. University of Florida’s Kieran Smith, trying to become the first American male to win a medal in the 400 and 200 at the same Olympics, faded to sixth in 1:45.12. The men’s field featured two teenagers.

Women’s 100-meter backstroke:


Aussie world record holder Kaylee McKeown turned it on in the final 20 meters to win the gold in an Olympic record 57.47, second fastest time in history. She is the first Aussie woman to win gold in the event. Canadian Kylie Masse won the silver in 57.72 and American Regan Smith took the bronze in 58.05. Coming into the Olympics, Australia had not won an individual women’s gold medal since 2008 and now they have two.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke:

Russia finished one-two with Evgeny Rylov winning his country’s first gold medal since 1996. Rylov finished in a European record 51.98 and teammate Kliment Kolesnikov took silver in 52.00. American Ryan Murphy, a Bolles alum, was third in 52.19 for his fourth Olympic career medal. “That was the best I had today, hats off to the Russian guys,” Murphy said. The field featured five of seven of the fastest swimmers in world. The U.S. team’s saw its 100 backstroke streak end at seven. The Americans had not lost a backstroke race since 1992.

The women’s 200-meter freestyle final on Tuesday will feature the second matchup between American Katie Ledecky and Aussie Ariarne Titmus.

MONDAY RESULTS
WOMEN

100-meter backstroke: 1. Kaylee McKeown, AUS 57.47, 2. Kylie Masse, CAN 57.72, 3. Regan Smith, USA 58.05.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Lydia Jacoby, USA 1:04.95, 2. Tatjana Schoenmaker, RSA 1:05.22, 3. Lilly King, USA 1:05.54.

MEN
200-meter freestyle: 1. Tom Dean GB 1:44.22, 2. Duncan Scott, GB 1:44.26, 3. Fernando Scheffer, BRA 1:44.66.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Evgeny Rylov, ROC 51.98, 2. Kliment Kolesnikov, ROC 52.00, 3. Ryan Murphy, USA 52.19.

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

Ryan Murphy, Lilly King, Regan Smith, Kieran Smith Punch Their Ticket To Tokyo; SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Top FGC Finisher On Day Three Of Olympic Trials


By Sharon Robb
OMAHA, Neb., June 15, 2021—World record holders and defending Olympic champions Ryan Murphy and Lilly King will return to the Olympics while Kieran Smith and Regan Smith make their debut in Tokyo.

Murphy, King and Regan Smith all punched their ticket to Tokyo while Kieran Smith qualified in his second event Tuesday night at CHI Health Center.

Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 25, of Ponte Vedra, Fla. won the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 52.33. Hunter Armstrong, 20, of Ohio State, seventh after the turn, moved up to finish second in 52.48. 2012 Olympic champion Matt Grevers, 36, was sixth in 53.27.

Murphy was first off the blocks (.50) and led wire-to-wire despite a late surge by Armstrong to return and try to defend his title.

“It’s incredible,” Murphy said. “It means so much to make another Olympic team and do it in front of a crowd and my family. Those guys were fast. The U.S. has always had a lot of really good young backstrokers. They seem to come out of nowhere. What an incredible swim for Hunter. It’s nice going into Tokyo knowing we have two really good guys.”

In the strongest event for the American women, Lilly King, 24, out in 30.34, won the women’s 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.79. King had posted a world-leading 1:04.72 in the semifinals.

Teenager Lydia Jacoby, 17, of Seward, Alaska, fifth at the turn, was a surprise second ahead of Annie Lazor in 1:05.28, second fastest swim in the world this year. Jacoby is the first swimmer from Alaska to make the Olympic swim team. King, Jacoby and Lazor have the top three times in the world this year.

“I think I’ve proven myself over these last five years,” King said. “Now I get to call myself a two-time Olympian so that’s pretty cool. Lydia is awesome. We swim completely different races. I’m glad to have a new partner headed into Tokyo.”

After winning the 400-meter freestyle, Kieran Smith of University of Florida, leading at the halfway mark, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.29. Townley Haas of Nova Aquatics will return to the Olympics after finishing second in 1:45.66. Drew Kibler was third in 1:45.92 and Andrew Seliskar was fourth in 1:46.34 and will make the relay.

“I slept really well last night and I was lucky enough to have the morning off this morning and got some good rest in today,” Smith said. “I tried to put up the best time as possible tonight.”

Former world record holder Regan Smith, 19, won the women’s 100-meter backstroke in 58.35. She was first out in 27.90 and ahead of world record pace but fell off in the final 30 meters. Rhyan White, 21, of Alabama was second in 58.60 ahead of Olivia Smoliga, 26, who was looking to return to the Olympics but finished third in 58.72.

“It started to hurt really bad in the last 25 meters,” Smith said. “I could see girls on both sides of me and I just knew I had to get my hand on that wall as fast as I could. I’m just so happy. That was a lot. It’s very surreal and it hasn’t hit me yet. Maybe it will sink in more later, but I know the 10-year-old me would be so proud. This was her dream.”

In a 400-meter freestyle time trial, Jake Mitchell of Carmel Swim Club swam a best time by more than two seconds in 3:45.86, well under the FINA “A” cut time of 3:46.78 to claim the second spot in the event behind Smith.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding, 20, of University of Florida was 20th in the 200-meter individual medley in a lifetime-best 2:14.93. Her previous best was 2:15.48.

Julia Podkoscielny, 16, of Pine Crest Swimming was 45th in the 200 IM in 2:18.59. She has the 200 backstroke remaining on Friday.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics has the 100 freestyle on Thursday and 50 freestyle on Saturday left to swim.

Josh Zuchowski, 17, of FAST has the 200 backstroke left to swim on Thursday.

Alex Evdokimov, 25, of Pinnacle Racing (VA) and formerly Coral Springs Swim Club, has the 200 breaststroke left to swim on Wednesday.

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.

Wednesday’s events are: (Morning Prelims Session), men’s 100 freestyle prelims, women’s 200 butterfly prelims, men’s 200 breaststroke prelims, men’s 800 freestyle prelims; (Evening Session), men’s 100 freestyle semifinal; women’s 200 freestyle final, men’s 200 butterfly final, women’s 200 butterfly semifinal, men’s 200 breaststroke semifinal, women’s 200 individual medley final, women’s 1,500 freestyle final.

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.

TUESDAY FINAL RESULTS
WOMEN

100-meter backstroke: 1. Regan Smith, RIPT 58.35, 2. Rhyan White, BAMA 58.60, 3. Olivia Smoliga, ABSC 58.72.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Lilly King, ISC 1:04.79, 2. Lydia Jacoby, STSC 1:05.28, 3. Annie Lazor, MVN 1:05.60.

MEN
200-meter freestyle: 1. Kieran Smith, UF 1:45.29, 2. Townley Haas, NOVA 1:45.66, 3. Drew Kibler, TXLA 1:45.92, 4. Andrew Seliskar, CAL 1:46.34.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Murphy, CAL 52.33, 2. Hunter Armstrong, OSU 52.48, 3. Shaine Casas, TAMU 52.76.

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

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins ISL Opening Event For London Roar


By Sharon Robb


BUDAPEST, Hungary, October 18, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson won her first event for her new team London Roar in its International Swimming League opener at Duna Arena on Sunday.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.20 and picked up 10 points. Ida Hulkko of Team Iron was second in 29.45.

Atkinson, 31, was three-for-three in the event last season. Her time on Sunday was the fastest of any of those wins in 2019.

Atkinson was also a member of the winning 4×100 medley relay that won in 3:50.27 with teammates Kira Toussaint, Marie Wattel and Maria Kameneva.

In the 200 backstroke, Amy Bilquist of DC Trident upset backstroke favorite Katinka Hosszu. Bilquist won in 2:02.23 while Hosszu faded to fifth in 2:06.86.

London’s Kirill Prigoda and Adam Peaty finished one-two in the 200 breaststroke in 2:04.60 and 2:05.60 respectively. Peaty was also second in the 50 breaststroke in 26.06.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem of London won the 200 individual medley in 2:07.31 while Hosszu was third in 2:07.74.

The team scores after Day One are: London Roar, 294; Aqua Centurions, 197; Iron, 194; and DC Trident 181. Action in the match continues on Monday.

In the opening matches on Friday and Saturday, the Cali Condors knocked off reigning champion Energy Standard. The Condors were led by Caeleb Dressel, Lilly King, Molly Hannis and Olivia Smoliga.

American Heritage alum and Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter swam the second fastest time of his career in the 100-meter backstroke in 51.28 to finish sixth for the LA Current. The Condors’ Ryan Murphy and Bolles alum won the event in 49.23. Carter also finished seventh in the 50-meter butterfly in 23.25. The Condors’ Caleb Dressel, another Bolles and Clay alum, won in 22.46.

After two days of swimming, Cali Condors won with 567 points followed by Energy Standard, 463; LA Current, 420; and New York Breakers 266.

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

American Lilly King Takes Gold Medal; Ledecky Scratches Two Events On Day Three Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 23, 2019—American Lilly King dominated the field to win the 100-meter breaststroke Tuesday on Day Three of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships at Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

King led from start-to-finish to win in 1:04.93 ahead of Russian rival Yulia Efimova, who was second in 1:05.49. Her splits were 30.29 and 34.64. Italian Martina Carraro took the bronze in 1:06.36.

China’s Sun Yang won his second gold medal of the meet in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:44.93. Yang, who finished second in the race, was awarded the gold medal when Lithuania’s Danas Rapsys was disqualified for a false start. Katsuhiro Matsumoto of Japan took silver in 1:45.22. There was a tie for the bronze medal between Martin Malyutin of Russia and Duncan Scott of Great Britain in 1:45.63.

With Katie Ledecky scratched from the 1500-meter freestyle, the field was wide open for the gold medal. Italian Simona Quadarella won her first major title in a life-time best and national record of 15:40.89. She took the lead early and extended it to more than a full body length.

Germany’s Sarah Kohler was second in 15:48.83, also a national record, and Wang Jianjiahe of China was third in 15:51.00. American Ashley Twichell was fourth in 15:54.19.

Canadian Kylie Masse won the 100-meter backstroke in 58.60. Aussie Minna Atherton was second in 58.85 and American Olivia Smoliga was third in 58.91. Masse is the first woman to repeat in the 100 backstroke since 1975.

Bolles alum Ryan Murphy was shut out of a medal in the 100-meter backstroke. China’s Xu Jiayu won gold in 52.43 in a close finish. Russian Evgeny Rylov was second in 52.67 and Aussie Mitch Larkin was third in 52.77.

Five-time Olympic champion and three-time world champion Katie Ledecky scratched from the 200- and 1500-meter freestyle events, citing medical issues. She lost her first distance freestyle event at an international meet to 18-year-old Aussie Ariarne Titmus. It is the first time Ledecky was not in the 1500 final since 2013.

“Katie has not been feeling well since arriving to Gwangju on July 17 and these precautionary measures are being taken to ensure her well-being and proper recovery, and to allow her to focus her energy on an abbreviated schedule,” USA Swimming national team managing director and former Pine Crest swimmer Lindsay Mintenko said.

In addition to Ledecky, three others scratched from the 200 freestyle: Katinka Hosszu, Emma McKeon and Taylor Ruck.

Among past or current local swimmers results: 100-meter backstroke, 16. Dyan Carter, Trinidad & Tobago, 54.08/16. 54.03; 200-meter freestyle, 53. Jorge Depassier, Chile, 1:53.62; 50-meter breaststroke, Jorge Murillo, Colombia, 28.36; 49. Izaak Bastian, Bahamas, 28.98.

Wednesday’s events include prelims in the women’s 50 backstroke, men’s 100 freestyle, men’s 200 individual medley, women’s 200 butterfly and mixed 4×100 medley relay.

The world championships has brought together a record 2,620 athletes from 194 countries and territories around the world with 76 sets of medals up for grabs in pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming.

The meet will be streamed and televised by the Olympic Channel and live timing will be available.

TV Schedule: https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/07/17/swimming-world-championships-tv-stream-schedule/

Live Results: http://omegatiming.com

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