AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 111: Trinidad’s George Bovell Makes Successful Return At Inaugural Pro Meet

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 111: Trinidad’s George Bovell Makes Successful Return At Inaugural Pro Meet

November 16, 2011


Three months after a horrific car accident, George Bovell made a successful return to the pool Wednesday night in the inaugural Pro Dual 1 Meet at University of Michigan’s Canham Natatorium.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympian and national record holder won the 50-meter freestyle in 22.77 while competing for the West team.

Bovell, 28, a five-time NCAA champion at Auburn, earned $300 for the win. He also turned in a blistering 22.17 split on the West “A” relay that finished third in the 200-meter medley relay.

Bovell, who graduated from Jacksonville Bolles and was a bronze medalist at the 2004 Olympics, was in his BMW when he was hit bya truck on the driver’s side of the car. He was knocked unconscious and suffered several lacerations that required stitches. He was forced to miss the Pan American Games because he was unable to train.

South African Darian Townsend, a double winner in the 200-meter individual medley (2:01.29) and 200-meter freestyle (1:50.14), was the leading prize money winner with $600 followed by Wu Peng and Jason Dunford with $450. Sixteen swimmers cashed in on the opening night of the two-day meet.

Going into Thursday’s second and final night of action, the East squad leads the West, 110.5-92.5.

The lead changed hands three times before the East pulled away starting with Clark Burckle’s win the 100-meter breaststroke, the first of four consecutive East wins.

The 90-minute meet was competitive and entertaining. The race had a corporate sponsor who was introduced before each race.

Both taped music played between races along with live entertainment with the University of Michigan’s men’s Glee Club, The Friars and Wolverines Dance Team. The announcer was knowledgeable and race calls. Attendance was low but few major newspapers or websites publicized the inaugural event. Aside from shouts of “Come On East”  from the stands, the cash register sound effects after completion of each race was a nice touch. Swimmers also held autograph sessions.

Florida Gold Coast was represented by Danielle Tirabassi and Fred Veloso Castro of Davie Nadadores. Castro cashed in for $50 after a third place finish in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:02.75. Tirabassi was fourth in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:53.11. 

The meet concludes tonight with eight more events. Competition begins 8 p.m. and is being webcast live at


EAST 110.5, WEST 92.5
200-meter individual medley: 1. Darian Townsend, West 2:01.29, $300, 2. Wu Peng, East 2:02.11, $150, 3. Nick Brunelli, East 2:08.46, $50, 4. George Bovell, West 2:14.58. West 12, East 9

50-meter butterfly: 1. Jason Dunford, East 23.96, $300, 2. Christopher Brady, West 24.48, $150, 3. Bobby Savulich, East 24.68, $50, 4.Bryan Lundqust, West 24.77. East 24, West 21.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Darian Townsend, West 1:50.14, $300, 2. Charles Houchin, West 1:50.15, $150, 3. Jean Basson, East 1:50.84, $50, 4. Daniele Tirabassi, West/Davie Nadadores) 1:53.11. West 37.5, East 31.5.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Eugene Godsoe, East 54.64, $300, 2. Christopher Brady, West 56.75, $150, 3. Kevin Doak, West 58.02, $50, 4. Nick Brunelli, East 58.03. West 46.5, East 43.5

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Christopher Burckle, East 1:02.15, $300, 2. BJ Johnson, East 1:03.35, $150, 3. Alex Hetland, West 1:03.56, $50, 4. Elliott Keefer, West 1:03.64. East 59.5, West 54.5.

50-meter freestyle: 1. George Bovell, West 22.77, $300, 2. Jason Dunford, East 22.82, $150, 3. Alex Couville, West 22.85, $50, 4. Nick Brunelli, East 23.09. East 69.5, West 68.5.

200-meter butterfly: 1. Wu Peng, East 1:59.62, 2. Charles Houchin, West 2:02.47, 3. Fred Castro, East 2:02.75, 4. Davis Tarwater, West 2:06.75. East 82.5, West 78.5.

200-meter medley relay: 1.  East “A” (Eugene Godsoe, Christopher Burckle, Jason Dunford, Nick Brunelli) 1:40.54, 2. East “B” (Wu Peng, BJ Johnson, Bobby Savulich, David Dunford) 1:41.53, 3. West “A” (Christopher Brady, Alex Hetland, Bryan Lundquist, George Bovell) 1:41.73, 4. West “B” (Kevin Doak, Nelson Westby, Joe Bartoch, Alex Coville) 1:42.23. East 110.5, West 92.5.


Justin Kaisrlik of East Ridge High School is the latest high school senior to sign with University of Florida and will join SOFLO’s Luke Torres and former SOFLO swimmer Lindsey McKnight in the Gators lineup next fall. Kaisrlik is a Class 2A state champion in the 200-yard individual medley. He is also a top 200-yard freestyler…Top-ranked Georgia women’s swimming and diving team tied a school record for consecutive home victories Wednesday night with a 141-96 victory over Emory at Gabrielson Natatorium. The win was the 76th consecutive victory for the

Lady Bulldogs, tying a mark set by the men’s tennis team from 1968-72. The swim team’s streak started in 1995. Georgia is 5-0, has won 18 straight dual meets overall and is 51-1 in its last 52 competitions…Florida sophomore Elizabeth Beisel was named SEC Female Swimmer of the Week for her swims against Stanford and Michigan. The Gators will compete in the three-day Georgia Tech Invitational beginning Nov. 18 against Clemson, Emory, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech…SOFLO’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Seton Hall Pirates (6-1) will compete in the Patriot Invitational Thursday through Saturday in Fairfax, Va. O’Shaughnessy already has five automatic qualifying times for the Feb. 15-18 Big East Championships at Pittsburgh….SOFLO’s Kevin Bandy, 20, of Louisville was 17th in the 400-yard freestyle prelims in 4:12.49 Wednesday at the Tennessee Volunteer Invitational.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

COLLEGE ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Oliver, O’Shaughnessy Win; FSU Women Remain Undefeated

COLLEGE ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Oliver, O’Shaughnessy Win; FSU Women Remain Undefeated

October 29, 2011


Florida State women’ swimming and diving team extended its season winning streak to eight with wins over Virginia Tech, Duke and UNC-Wilmington Saturday in Christiansburg, Va.

The Seminoles (8-0 overall, 3-0 ACC) defeated Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Virginia Tech, 169-129, and Duke, 179-155 and also defeated UNC-Wilmington, 222-76.

FSU sophomore Tiffany Oliver won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.21 and was second in the 100-yard freestyle in a pool record 50.53. Oliver led off the winning 400-yard freestyle relay that also won in a pool record time of 3:26.14.

The Seminoles “A” 200-yard medley relay, with Oliver anchoring, was disqualified for early take-off.

SOFLO’s Ashley Hicks led off the Seminoles “B” 200-yard medley relay that finished fourth in 1:45.48.

Hicks was also fourth in the 100-yard backstroke in 56.94 and 13th in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:07.62.

SOFLO’s Melissa Cooper was third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:04.92.

The Seminole men’s team (5-1, 1-1) defeated Duke, 177-121, and UNC-Wilmington, 211.5-86.5 but lost to Virginia Tech, 182.5-117.5.

SOFLO’s Alex Rodriguez was sixth in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:08.49 and eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.66.

Rodriguez and Paul Murray were members of the disqualified “A” 200-yard medley relay.

Murray was fifth in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.02 and ninth in the 100-yard freestyle in 46.95. Murray was a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay team that was second in a pool record 3:03.72.

For the third straight meet, FSU senior Mateo De Angulo of Colombia won all three of his individual races in the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:22.90), 200-yard freestyle (1:39.17) and 500-yard freestyle (4:32.76). De Angulo is nine-for-nine in first places this season.

“I thought the team did well,” FSU coach Neil Harper said after the meet. “It was a great experience to get a meet in at the pool where ACCs are.

“We need to learn to be tougher on the road and fight through adversity and when things aren’t going our way. We’ll continue to train and do well this year.”

The Seminoles travel to Gainesville to take on University of Florida on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

O’Shaughnessy Leads Seton Hall

SOFLO’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy won two events, one relay and finished second in another individual event to lead undefeated Seton Hall to a 216-84 win over Lafayette and 162-136 victory over Loyola Saturday on the road in Baltimore.

The junior won the 100-yard butterfly in 51.74 and 200-yard individual medley in 1:55.91 and was second in the 100-yard breaststroke in 59.29 just getting out-touched by Lafayette’s Cory Schutz.

He was also a member of the Pirates’ winning 200-yard medley relay that won in 1:36.10.

On Tuesday, Seton Hall will host Iona College and O’Shaughnessy will share the same pool deck with former Coral Springs Swim Club and SOFLO swimmer Justin Grigull of Iona.

Florida Gulf Coast Tops Florida Atlantic

Florida Gulf Coast won seven events to spoil Florida Atlantic University’s season-opener on Saturday.

Princeton also competed but used the meet as a scrimmage meet since Ivy League rules forbid teams to compete before November.

“It was a good team effort and we are working very hard right now,” said Florida Gulf Coast coach Neal Studd, a former FAU coach. “The girls are very tired and sore so all things considered, it was a good day.”

SOFLO’s Eszter Bucz, 20, a national record holder in Hungary, led the Owls with three wins. She won the 400-yard individual medley in 4:28.10, 500-yard freestyle in 4:59.41 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.36.

She was also a member of FAU’s second-place 200-yard medley relay that finished in 1:47.17.

SOFLO’s Anthony Fermin anchored the winning 200-yard medley relay  with the fastest split of 21.06 for the 1:35.37 relay. Fermin also swam second leg on the winning 200-yard freestyle with a 21.14 split and winning time of 1:25.50

Fermin was fifth in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.08 and sixth in the 100-yard freestyle in 48.84.

Fort Lauderdale Aquatics’ Damaris Iriondo, a freshman at Princeton, returned home for the first time for the college meet. She was eighth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:57.52 and fifth in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:09.31.

Florida Gulf Coast travels to Boston this week to face ACC foe Boston College, with SOFLO’s Brittany Williford, and Maine on Friday at 5 p.m.


Former Douglas swimmer Catalina Mendieta of Parkland, a senior at James Madison University, was second in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.68 in her team’s 156-144 win over West Virginia at the WVU Natatorium on Saturday. James Madison won seven events and had nine second place finishes. Mendieta also was a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay (1:36.49) and 200-yard medley relay (1:47.22) teams.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 74: USAS Convention Under Way In Jacksonville

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 74: USAS Convention Under Way In Jacksonville

September 13, 2011


More than 1,000 coaches, officials, athletes, volunteers and staff members from five national governing bodies have converged on the Hyatt Regency in Jacksonville for the annual United States Aquatic Sports Convention.

USAS was formed to become the U.S. member of FINA in 1980, when the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act of 1978 took effect in the United States and required restructuring of many sports organizations.

Coaches and officials from USAS’ five aquatic sports national governing bodies are in attendance including USA Swimming, Inc., USA Diving, U.S. Synchronized Swimming, USA Water Polo and U.S. Masters Swimming.

USAS hosts the annual convention where the five NGBs meet to discuss sport-specific concerns, conduct training sessions and honor outstanding performances and participation in the sport.

Approximately 1,250 representatives from all five governing bodies are in attendance.

SOFLO is represented by CEO and coach and Florida Gold Coast chairman Chris Anderson and Mike McGoun, Director of Aquatic Services for the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Anderson is scheduled to attend the General Chairs’ luncheon on Thursday where there will be table discussions and remarks from U.S. National Team director Frank Busch; and General Chairs’ workshop and LSC leadership workshop, both on Friday.

Olympian Ryan Lochte is also scheduled to make an appearance on Friday for a luncheon and meet-and-greet along with U.S. Olympic coach Gregg Troy.

Also, the R. Max Ritter Award, donated by the Ritter Family, will be presented by USAS to the organization or individual of a FINA member country who has contributed the most to the advancement of understanding and good will among nations through international participation in amateur aquatic sports.

The convention ends on Sunday.

Dylan Carter Shines At Youth Commonwealth Games

Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, who trained at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex for a month, broke his own national record in the 100-meter backstroke at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man.

Carter, who trained and competed with SOFLO’s Keegan Boisson-Yates, also of Trinidad and Tobago, broke the 13-14 boys national record of 55.82 in 55.05, just missing a bronze medal by half of a second.

Carter, the youngest swimmer in the race, also erased the National Open Record of Nicholas Bovell of 55.33 set in February 2007.

It was Carter’s second fourth-place finish in his Games debut. In three day of competition, Carter has accumulated four age group records and one national open record.

Carter is expected to compete in both the 2013 FINA World Junior Championships in Morocco and 2014 Youth Olympics in China.

SOFLO’s O’Shaughnessy, Seton Hall Host Swim Stars

Ryan O’Shaughnessy and his Seton Hall teammates and coaches played host to swimming’s top three stars, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin last week for a Speedo photo shoot on its new line of swimwear.

Seton Hall’s Arthur E. Imperattore Natatorium was the ideal location for Speedo and its staff. It was also an ideal opportunity for Seton Hall to showcase its aquatic facilities.

After a day, Sept. 7, to set up which included installation of cameras and lights above and below the water line of the pool, the athletes were photographed on Sept. 8.

Coughlin, Phelps and Lochte, who have a total of 21 Olympic gold medals between them, spent most of the day shooting video and posing for photos with Speedo’s photo staff.

“The facility was perfect,” said Lochte, who took time to pose with several of Seton Hall’s swimmers including O’Shaughnessy and Seton Hall coach Ron Farina.


University of Florida signed Ashlee Lin of the Sarasota YMCA. The backstroker made her first U.S. Olympic trials cut this past summer in the 200-meter backstroke (2:16.07) that also landed her in the “C” final. She competes in both the 100 and 200 backstroke and 100 and 200 freestyles…Swimming Australia, the country’s governing body in swimming, is reaching out to swim clubs by distributing equipment to more than 50 swim clubs in the 2011 Club Equipment Grant program. Aussie officials, looking to the future, realize that swim clubs are the backbone of the sport and want to make sure every swimmer is given the opportunity to do his or her best in the sport. The goal is more growth in the sport and develop a larger talent pool at the club level.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

College roundup: SOFLO’s O’Shaughnessy, Seton Hall Enjoying Success

College roundup: SOFLO’s O’Shaughnessy, Seton Hall Enjoying Success


January 20, 2011

Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Seton Hall returned to action after a month-long break and took up where they left off.

O’Shaughnessy, a sophomore, finished second in the 400-yard individual medley to contribute to Seton Hall’s 178-117 victory over Big East rival Villanova in Villanova, Pa.

Before the SOFLO swimmer competed in the 400 IM, O’Shaughnessy won the 200-yard breaststroke and finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Seton Hall improved to 8-1 with Connecticut, another conference rival, next up on Saturday in Storrs, Ct.

The Big East Last Chance Invitational is Feb. 4-5 at Syracuse and Big East Championships are Feb. 16-19 at Louisville.

Gator Named Freshman of the Week

University of Florida’s Connor Signorin was named Southeastern Conference Male Freshman of the Week.

Signorin was honored for his three college-best times against four Top-25 teams this past weekend at the SMU Classic in Dallas. He is the first Gator to win the award since Marco Loughran in January 2010.

Signorin swam a best time in the 100-yard backstroke (51.04), 200-yard backstroke (1:49.56) and 400-yard individual medley (3:53.03).

Signorin and the Gators return to action on Friday, January 21, as they hit the road to compete against Auburn.

Hurricanes To Honor Seniors

The University of Miami will honor its seven seniors in the Hurricanes final home meet of the season on Friday, January 21 at 3 p.m. during a dual meet against Florida Atlantic University at the Norman A. Whitten University Center Pool on the UM campus.

It is the first UM recruiting class fifth-year coach Christie Shefchunas signed.

The seniors being honored are swimmers Alicia Casillas, Lauren Jacoby, Annika Saarnak, Ryann Labreche and Deidre Novotny and diver Brittany Viola.

Miami is 6-1. Admission to the home meet is free and open to the public.

Gators Spofforth Gets Funding

University of Florida graduate Gemma Spofforth, a world champion for Great Britain, will be able to live and train in Gainesville after the British Swimming Association approved her funding.

Spofforth was facing a choice of either funding herself or returning to the UK because her sport’s governing body only supports swimmers based in the UK.

Spofforth lived in the U.S. before the Brits 2008 ruling and was granted funding.

“It is amazing what they have done for me and I can now focus on reaching my peak for London 2012,” Spofforth said.

Spofforth works part-time at a crisis center in Gainesville counseling callers to a suicide hotline when not training at UF. She is currently training for the British Championships set for March in Manchester that will serve as the selection trials for the world championships in Shanghai this summer.

Sharon Robb can be reached at