Lochte Wins First Race; SOFLO’s Alcaide Opens Trials In Butterfly On Day One Of Olympic Trials

Lochte Wins First Race; SOFLO’s Alcaide Opens Trials In Butterfly On Day One Of Olympic Trials


June 25, 2012

In their first head-to-head showdown of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials Monday night in Omaha, Ryan Lochte threw the first punch.

The Daytona Beach swimmer beat longtime rival Michael Phelps for the first time in the 400-meter individual medley. Lochte, the top seed after morning prelims in 4:10.66 and defending world champion, came back to win in a career-best 4:07.05.

Phelps, 14-time Olympic gold medalist, became the first male swimmer to make four consecutive Olympics with his second-place finish in 4:07.89. Tyler Clary, who has tonsilities, was third in 4:09.92.

Phelps is the world record holder and has won the 400 IM in the last two Olympics.

Lochte was in Lane 4, Phelps in Lane 5 and Clary in Lane 6. Phelps led the opening butterfly leg in 25.71 and 55.66. The backstroke leg became a three-man race with Clary taking the lead at 1:27.06 and 1:58.04.

Lochte reached for another gear on the breaststroke leg and pulled away for a body length lead on the field. Picking up his turnover he maintained the lead in the freestyle while Phelps held off Clary. 

“The biggest thing and hardest thing for us is making the team,” Phelps said after his race. “They always have deep stacked fields here. Being able to come in, get the first race out of the way and get the monkey off my back is what I wanted to do.

“Ryan and I have had a lot of tough races,” Phelps said. “I will swim this race in London. Tonight was just a baby step. Ryan knows just like I do that the race that counts is in the next couple weeks.”

Said Lochte: “It’s taken years and years of training to beat Michael. Like he said, this is a baby step. The big picture is the U.S. taking over the world. We have the two best swimmers in this race. The first race is always the hardest. I can go out and have fun now.”

Lochte scratched from the 400-meter freestyle.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jessie Alcaide swam the first of her three events on Monday morning. Alcaide finished 97th in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:02.18, off her best time. She went out in 29.17. She has the 100 freestyle on Friday and 50 freestyle on Sunday remaining.

In other races Monday night:

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: In one of the most exciting 400 races ever, Peter Vanderkaay and his Gator Swim Club training meet Conor Dwyer finished 1-2. It will be Vanderkaay’s third Olympics and Dwyer’s first. Charlie Houchin, who has been training at Bolles, took the race out early. Vanderkaay started reeling him in at 150 meters and took the lead at 250 meters and went on to win in 3:47.67. Dwyer came on in the last 50 meters to place second in a best time 3:47.83. 

“I just put my head down like practice, tried to get home and get my hand on the wall,” Dwyer said. “Making my first Olympics is tough to put into words. It’s just a dream come true.”

Said Vanderkaay who moved from Michigan to train in Gainesville said, “I just had a little more experience, that was the difference. Training with Conor all year has been a big asset for me. I am just thrilled.”

Women’s 400-meter individual medley: University of Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel made it look easy winning in 4:31.74, just off the American record. Beisel took off on the backstroke leg and distanced herself from the field. Caitlin Leverenz, fourth at the trials four years ago, was second in a best time 4:34.48. Fourteen-year-old Becca Mann of Clearwater Aquatics Team, seeded sixth, was fifth in 4:41.61.

American record holder Katie Hoff scratched from the event.

“I think everybody has confidence issues and I had a lot coming into this race,” Beisel said. “It’s been a long year. I was surprised with my time but I am happy it’s over now. We are both going to medal at London. I definitely think we can do that.”

“This is amazing,” Leverenz said. “It’s hard to put into words. Four years ago I remember finishing fourth and now I’m second. There is so much emotion, I can’t describe it.”

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: In the only race NBC didn’t televise, Brendan Hansen earned the top seed in the semifinals in 59.71, fourth fastest time in the world. He is the first American to break a minute in a textile suit since he did it in 2006. Scott Weltz, Mark Gangloff, Eric Shanteau and deaf swimmer Marcus Titus also qualified.

Women’s 100-meter butterfly: In the semifinals, Olympian Dana Vollmer went out in 26.42, under the world record pace, to break her own American record in 56.42, fastest time in the world this year to earn the No. 1 seed. In her heat, Claire Donahue took it out fast and finished second behind Natalie Coughlin in her heat and is seeded tied for sixth in 58.53. Vollmer, making her fourth trials appearance since she was 12, broke the U.S. Open and trials record of 56.59 in morning prelims. Donahue, 23, a Western Kentucky alum qualified second in a career-best time of 57.82, ninth fastest time in the world. Donahue trained at SOFLO’S Academic Village Pool leading up to the trials.  Jessica Hardy scratched from the 100 butterfly semifinal. Naples’ Erika Erndl barely missed the final in ninth at 58.87.

The Gators are four-for-four in Olympic spots and three-for-three in event wins. Gators head coach Gregg Troy coached four of the first six swimmers to make the Olympic team.


Women’s 400-meter individual medley: 11. Lauren Driscoll, Swim Fort Lauderdale 4:44.90.

Women’s 100-meter butterfly: 97. Jessie Alcaide, South Florida Aquatic Club 1:02.18; 100. Rhi Jeffrey, Unattached 1:02.26.

Men’s 400-meter individual medley: 17. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 4:23.39; 50. Ryan Rosenbaum, Swim Fort Lauderdale 4:28.26; 109. Sam Smiddy, AK Sharks 4:41.46.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle: 56. Joey Pedraza, Davie Nadadores 3:59.69.

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: 137. Nick Manousos, Davie Nadadores 1:07.11.


Sam Smiddy of AK Sharks was in the same heat as Michael Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley…Forty-year-old Steve West, one the oldest swimmers in the meet, swam 1:03.90 in the 100-meter breaststroke prelims….There are no outside lane lines for lanes one and ten. Swimmers in those outside lanes are up against the wall. Even though the pool was configured for 10 lanes, it wasn’t fitted for outside lane lines even after USA Swimming decided at the last minute to switch prelims from an 8 to 10-lane course….USA Swimming also decided not to have flyover starts to help quicken the pace of morning prelims. Officials wanted to protect the sanctity of the meet as an elite meet and not have it look like an age group meet…Of the record 1,800-plus crowd, 111 swimmers are from Florida…Olympian Amanda Beard has been joined by her husband and son Blaise who went to a College World Series game Monday night in Omaha…A fire alarm at the Hilton, where many swimmers are staying, woke Michael Phelps and Dana Vollmer during their afternoon naps. “Well I have always had a problem with waking up from our naps, but not possible to sleep through that fire alarm,” Phelps posted on Twitter…Kevin Cordes lowered his own 17-18 national age group record in the 100-meter breaststroke semis in 1:00.32.


“Awesome 400 IM, proud mama.”—Debbie Phelps


Morning session: Women’s 100 Backstroke H, Men’s 200 Freestyle H, Women’s 100 Breaststroke H, Men’s 100 Backstroke, Women’s 400 Freestyle H.

Evening session: Women’s 100 Butterfly F, Men’s 200 Freestyle SF, Women’s 100 Breaststroke SF, Men 100 Breaststroke Final, Women 400 Freestyle F, Men 100 Backstroke SF, Women 100 Backstroke SF.


Prelims, 6:30-8:00pm ET, NBCSN Sports 

Finals, 8:00-9:00pm ET, NBC

 Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 177: SOFLO’s Sharntelle McLean Wins At CISC Championship

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 177: SOFLO’s Sharntelle McLean Wins At CISC Championship


June 25, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club two-time Olympian Sharntelle McLean of Trinidad and Tobago won her opening event in the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships at the Betty Kelly-Kenning Aquatic Centre in Savaneta, Aruba.

McLean, 27, won the 50-meter butterfly in 28.24, the only swimmer under 29 seconds.

McLean also won the 100-meter butterfly in 1:04.76, nearly a minute ahead of Jenna Chaplin, 21, of the Bahamas.

McLean was second in the 100-meter freestyle in 58.72 behind Surinam’s Chinyere Pigot, 18, who trains at Metro Aquatics, in 58.36. The pair were the only swimmers under one minute.

Teammate Dylan Carter, who has trained at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, broke the Games record in the 50-meter butterfly in 24.53. The previous record was 25.39 held by Vereance Burrows of the Bahamas.

Carter also won the 100-meter butterfly in 56.31.

Water polo

Former Stanford star Tony Azevedo and Ryan Bailey became the first men in U.S. history to qualify for four Olympics in water polo. Joining them on the team are Layne Beaubien, Peter Hudnut, Peter Varellas and John Mann, the 2006 College Player of the Year, who is making his Olympic debut. The U.S. took a silver medal in Beijing four years ago. Ironically, there will be two Ryan Baileys at the London Games. Ryan Bailey, the track sprinter, finished third in the 100-meter dash to qualify with Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay in Eugene, Ore.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 168: SOFLO’s Polyakov Wins In Bahamas

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 168: SOFLO’s Polyakov Wins In Bahamas


June 16, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan won the 100-meter breaststroke Saturday night at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Bahamas National Swimming Championships.

Polyakov, 28, seeded first with a best time 1:01.48 went 1:01.93 in morning prelims and 1:02.17 in finals to win, holding off Jorge Murillo of Davie Nadadores, second in 1:02.77.

The FINA “A” qualifying breaststroke time is 1:00.79 and “B” invite time is 1:02.92, which Polyakov already has dipped under.

Polyakov already earned his third trip to an Olympic Games with his country’s qualification in the medley relay.

Also at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex, SOFLO’s Sharntelle McLean, 27, of Trinidad and Tobago is attempting to make her third Olympic team in the 50-meter freestyle.

In the 100-meter freestyle, McLean earned a fifth seed in 59.17 during morning prelims. In finals she went after it in the first 50 with a 26.98 split and finished in 1:07.21. The FINA “A” time is 25.27 and “B” time is 26.15 for the 50-meter freestyle.

On Sunday, she will have another chance in the 50-meter freestyle. Polyakov plans on competing in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Former Comets swimmer Natasha Moodie, 21, a member of the 2008 Olympic team for Jamaica, was originally seeded in the meet but did not compete, remaining home in South Florida.

The Olympic-qualifying meet features seven swim clubs and more than 300 swimmers including several swimmers trying for FINA qualifying times for the 2012 London Games before Monday’s FINA deadline.

Sette Colli Meet

Four more meet records were broken on the third and final day of the Seven Hills Trophy Meet in Rome.

Japan’s Aya Terakawa broke her second meet record in two days in the 200-meter backstroke in a career-best 2:07.73.

Japan’s Ryosuke Irie set a record in the men’s 200-meter backstroke in 1:55.05. Irie, the fastest backstroker in the world this year, now has the five fastest times since the 2011 World Championships.

Germany’s Marco Koch broke a meet record in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:08.74, his fastest time of the year. He has now cracked 2:10 at three meets over five weeks.

Brazilian Thiago Pereira bounced back from a disappointing 400 IM to win the 200-meter individual medley in meet record in 1:57.94.

In other races:

In a three-way battle in the men’s 100-meter freestyle, Sebastian Verschuren won in 49.09 ahead of Cuban Hanser Garcia in 49.10 and Fabien Gilot in 49.12.

In a bit of a shocker, Brazilian Cesar Cielo failed to make the medal stand in the 100-meter freestyle. He swam 50.01 in prelims and 49.07 in finals. Italians Luca Dotto and Filipo Magnini also failed to make the “A” final.

Italian Federica Pellegrini won the women’s 200-meter freestyle in 1:56.32 sweeping the middle distance events.

Denmark’s Lotte Friis won the women’s 800-meter freestyle in 8:22.10 followed by South African Wendy Trott in 8:25.71.

Rikke Moller Pedersen of Denmark won in 2:24.35, her fastest time of the season.

Italian teenager Grigorio Paltrinieri, 17, won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:58.33, the first time a swimmer has broken 15 minutes in the world this year. Teammate Gabriele Dette, also 17, was second in 15:02.45.

Japan’s Izumi Kato won the women’s 200-meter individual medley in 2:13.64.


It’s official. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is out of the Ironman. In an emergency meeting called Friday night, the World Triathlon Corporation’s Board of Directors decided to leave in place the anti-doping policy because of the doping investigation of Armstrong by USADA. Because he is being investigated for taking performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career, he is no longer allowed to compete in any Ironman event until the investigation is closed. He is limited to racing in triathlons not owned by the WTC…

Michael Phelps, the sport’s top ambassador, is talking about the importance of kids having access to public pools to enable them to not only learn to swim but flourish as a swimmer, much like he did. “There are a lot of pools being shut down, and kids are not able to come out and enjoy it like I did growing up,” Phelps said. “I think over time, hopefully, I will have the opportunity to make an impact to cities and states all over the world and hopefully, be able to change that.”Added his coach Bob Bowman, “It is like everything else in politics. And it is just not swimming or pools, it is physical education in general. It is crazy to me that we don’t value it more.”…

The first FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships will be held in Welland, Canada, Aug. 16-19…

Olympian Natalie Coughlin seems to be the “It Girl” for the media in swimming. She is featured in the July issue of Marie Claire. Coughlin raises chickens for eggs and grows her own vegetables and herbs and endorses mustard baths for aches and pains. She is also in Vogue Magazine and Glamour.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Vollmer Breaks Meet Record At Santa Clara; Comets Area 2 Meet Resumes On Saturday

Vollmer Breaks Meet Record At Santa Clara; Comets Area 2 Meet Resumes On Saturday


June 1, 2012

It was a mixed bag of results Friday night at the 45th annual Santa Clara International Grand Prix at the George F. Haines International Swim Center.

Two-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club qualified for the championship final in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:34.84, but was disqualified in the final on a controversial call for two fly kicks off the wall.

Atkinson would have finished third in 2:30. She plans to time trial the event on Saturday in addition to competing in the 50-meter freestyle.

SOFLO teammate Marcella Marinheiro, 17, finished the 100-meter freestyle in 1:01.50, just off her best time of 1:00.99. Marinheiro swims the 200-meter backstroke on Saturday

In other finals:

Defending world butterfly champion Dana Vollmer, 24, of California Aquatics won the 100-meter freestyle in 54.38, duplicating her morning prelim time. Eleven-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, 29, of California Aquatics, was second in 54.77 and Aussie teenager Brittany Elmsie, 17, was third in 54.89.

Vollmer and Coughlin went 1-2 again in the 100-meter butterfly. Vollmer swam a meet record 57.03 to win followed by Coughlin in 58.44 and Jasmine Tosky third in 59.63.

South Korea’s Tae-Hwan Park, 22, won his second event of the meet in the 100-meter freestyle in 48.85 followed by Anthony Ervin, 31, of California Aquatics, in the midst of a comeback and Aaron Wayne, 21, was third in 50.04. Park also won the 400-meter freestyle in 3:44.96 followed by Aussie Ryan Napoleon in 3:49.79 and Canadian Ryan Cochrane in 3:50.56.

In morning prelims, Nathan Adrian was top qualifier in the 100-meter freestyle in 48.50 and then scratched from the final so he could make his older brother’s wedding in Washington.

Caitlin Leverenz, 21, of California Aquatics won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:26.46 followed by Katlin Freeman, 25, of Santa Barbara in 2:27.83 and Gainesville Swim Club’s Sarra Lajnef in 2:30.09.

Japan Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima, 29, of Coca Cola Japan won in 2:13.24, slower than his morning time of 2:13.10. Scott Weltz, 25, of Marin Pirates was second in 2:14.27 and Mexico’s Christian Schurr Voight was third in 2:14.35.

The Aussies went 1-3 in the women’s 400-meter freestyle. Bronte Barratt, 23, won in 4:06.13 and Kylie Palmer, 22, was third in 4:09.79. Terrapins Swim Team teenager Chelsea Chenault, 17, was second in 4:08.95.

Japan’s Takuro Fujii won the 100-meter butterfly in 52.79 followed by countryman Takeshi Matsuda in 52.84. Thomas Shields of California Aquatics was third in 53.02.

More SOFLO News

Arizona State All-American butterflyer Caroline Kuczynski, in the midst of a training trip in Sweden, will swim in her first meet since the Canadian Olympic Trials which she just missed making the 2012 team. Kuczynski and some of her teammates are swimming Saturday in the Distrikt Masterskap in Burlov, Sweden. “Just a little training meet for me,” she tweeted. “Nothing I’m rested, shaved or tapered for.”..

Two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov is bypassing the Santa Clara meet in favor of the June 14th Last Chance Meet in the Bahamas. Polyakov said he was ill after his trip to Kazakhstan and decided to get healthy before attempting his Olympic qualifying cuts before the June 18th FINA deadline…

Five-time Olympian Dara Torres of Coral Springs Swim Club will be the guest speaker at the June Luncheon of the Coral Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Professional Women’s Alliance at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 6th at the Marriott Heron Bay, 11775 Heron Bay Blvd. in Coral Springs. To register go to CSChamber.com and click on the event calendar or call 954-752-4242. Torres’ presentation is titled “Age Is Just A Number” and includes lunch. Fee is $25 for members and $40 for guests.

Austin Elite Invitational

During morning prelims, Michael Phelps, fresh off altitude training in Colorado, popped a 53.4 in the 100-meter butterfly at the Austin (Tex.) Elite Invitational. Phelps came back to beat Chinese rival Wu Peng in the final in 52.02. Chris Brady was second in 53.25 and Peng was third in 53.67. It is Phelps last meet before the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month.

“I didn’t swim smart or very well in the 100, and I got beat because of it,” Phelps told reporters afterwards. “I was angry with myself for that and I turned it around a little in the 100 butterfly. Without a doubt, the clock is ticking for the upcoming Olympics and I have to keep working hard to be where I want to be by July 27.”

In other races, North Baltimore’s Allison Schmitt is showing how versatile she is by winning the 100-meter freestyle in 53.94. Schmitt was also coming off altitude training. Megan Romano was second in 54.16 and Missy Franklin third in 54.73.

Texas swimmer Jimmy Feigen won the men’s 100-meter freestyle in 48.63, his fastest time ever in a textile suit. Phelps was second in 49.05. George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 49.84.

Another Texas swimmer, Laura Sogar won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:27.76. Four-time Olympic medalist Brendan Hansen won the men’s race in 2:13.54.

Texas A&M swimmer Sarah Henry, coming back from an ACL injury, won the 400-meter freestyle in a best time of 4:09.16. Missy Franklin swam a best time 4:13.36 in the B final of the 400 freestyle. Matt Patton took the men’s 400-meter freestyle in 3:51.07.

Texas swimmer Kathleen Hersey won the 100-meter butterfly in 58.79.

Comets Area 2 Developmental Meet Rained Out Friday

Bad weather forced the cancellation of Friday’s opening session of the Florida Gold Coast Area 2 Developmental Meet at Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines. The timed final meet will resume Saturday morning with the second session. The 200-meter individual medley makeup event will be the first event on Saturday morning. The 400-meter individual medley will be the first event Sunday morning and 400-meter freestyle the last event on Sunday. The sessions are combined on Saturday and Sunday with the 12-and-under and 13-and-over athletes swimming together.


What: Comets Florida Gold Coast Area 2 Developmental Meet

When: Saturday-Sunday

Where: Academic Village Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines

Schedule: Saturday, 8:30 a.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheet per session. For information call 954-538-3721. Meet director is Luis Soler.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


SOFLO’s Josh Laban Named To FGC Zone Team Coaching Staff

SOFLO’s Josh Laban Named To FGC Zone Team Coaching Staff


April 18, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club age group coach Josh Laban has been named to the coaching staff for the Florida Gold Coast’s Zone All-Star team that will compete in Rockwall, Texas, July 31-August 5.

Laban, 29, will coach the 13-14 boys’ contingent.

Laban, who grew up in St. Croix, is a two-time Olympian for the Virgin Islands (2004, 2008) and worked closely as a swimmer and assistant coach with six-time Olympic coach and SOFLO co-founder Michael Lohberg.

Laban was the Virgin Islands’ flag bearer for the Olympics and Pan American Games.

The sprinter competed in every major championship including the World Championships, Central American and Caribbean Games, two Olympics and two Pan American Games.

Laban swam at the University of Miami and graduated from the University of Georgia. He was a two-time collegiate All-American.

Laban coaches at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines and is expected to have several SOFLO swimmers on the Zone team.

Each age group (11-12, 13-14, and 15-18) will be comprised of an equal number of athletes (8 girls and 8 boys) for the 2012 Southern Zone Age Group Championships.

Florida Gold Coast will select 48 swimmers and up to six swimmers with disabilities to compete in this year’s championships.

Laban will be joined on the coaching staff by Marcello Gatti, 11-12 girls; Cathy Silviera, 13-14 girls; Richard Garza, 15-18 girls; Chadli Fernandez, 11-12 boys; and John Shipman, 15-18 boys.

Julie Smiddy will serve as head coach and team manager.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 126: Janet Evans’ Olympic Comeback Begins At Austin Grand Prix

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 126: Janet Evans’ Olympic Comeback Begins At Austin Grand Prix

January 12, 2012


Three-time Olympian Janet Evans, the former teen queen of U.S. swimming, will begin her comeback at the Austin Grand Prix that starts on Friday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.

The 40-year-old married mother of two has returned to the pool since retiring after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The former world record holder and Olympic gold medalist will compete in her signature events, the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle on Friday and Sunday at the University of Texas.

Evans will gauge her training, body and recovery while competing against swimmers half her age.

The Austin Grand Prix is the start of the Olympic trials countdown for swimmers in their final phase of training.

Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin, the superstars of U.S. swimming, head the field that features U.S. national team members and international swimmers.

Evans has been tweeting about the meet. “Excited to swim against all the fast kids,” Evans tweeted on Thursday before leaving California where she trains with veteran Olympic coach and former Mission Bay coach Mark Schubert.

The Austin Grand Prix seems to be the Comeback Meet of the New Year for swimmers.

Anthony Ervin, a gold medalist in the 50-meter freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics who stopped competing in 2003 and Ed Moses, a gold and silver medalist at the 2000 Games and former short course world record holder in the breaststroke, are also using the meet to make a serious challenge at a comeback.

Evans hopes to make her Olympic trials qualifying cuts. Her 2011 best time of 4:22.87 in the 400 freestyle is seeded 51 for Friday’s prelims. Her 800 freestyle time of 8:59.06 is seeded 38th. The qualifying standard in the 400 is 4:19.39 and 8:50.49 in the 800.

“We hope to get the cuts out of the way for Trials and keep moving forward,” Schubert said. “Her main event is the 800, but we would certainly like to get both events qualified for. I am very confident she will make the Trials.”

Franklin is entered in seven events. The 17-year-old and her coach are still trying to figure out which events she will focus on for the Trials and London Olympics. Phelps will swim six events. Lochte is also entered in six events with three potential races against Phelps in the 100 freestyle on Friday and 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley on Sunday.

It is the second event of the seven-meet 2011-2012 USA Swimming Grand Prix Series. No SOFLO swimmers are entered in the meet.

Oliver, FSU Host Last Home Meet Of Season

SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver and her Florida State teammates will compete in their last home meet of the season against Florida Atlantic University on Friday at 3 p.m. at the Leach Center.

The women are undefeated in the Alantic Coast Conference (3-0) and 8-1 overall. The men are 1-1 in the ACC and 4-2 overall.

Oliver is coming off the Nov. 18-20 Georgia Tech Invite where she lowered her school record in the 100-yard freestyle in 49.08.

After the Owls meet, FSU will travel to Atlanta where they will compete against ACC conference mates Georgia Tech and North Carolina State in the last weekend FSU will compete until the ACC Championships, Feb. 15-18 for the women and Feb. 22-25 for the men in Christiansburg, Va.

Oliver will be joined by SOFLO teammates Ashley Hicks, Melissa Cooper, Doug Ramos and Alex Rodriguez.

Gators Have Busy Weekend

University of Florida’s swim team has three competitions scheduled over the next four days. Several men swimmers will compete in the SMU Classic that begins on Friday. The remaining Gators will host Florida Atlantic University on Saturday at 1 p.m. while post-grads will compete at the Austin Grand Prix. The SMU meet features Michigan, USC, North Carolina and Purdue in addition to the Gators and host SMU.

Thorpe, Klim Compete At Victorian State Championships

Former Australian star swimmers Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim, both in the midst of comebacks and looking to compete in the Summer Olympics, will compete against each other for the first time in six years at the Victorian Open State Championships. Both will compete in the 100-meter freestyle. Klim will also compete in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly and Thorpe will swim the 200 freestyle.

SOFLO’s Phelan, Indiana To Be Televised

Indiana sophomore breaststrokeer Brittney Phelan and junior freestyler Nick Schwab and their Indiana teammates will be televised live in their dual meet against Purdue on Big Ten Network on Jan. 21 at 11:30 a.m. It’s the first time in network history that a dual meet will be televised and first time the Big Ten Network will broadcast a swimming event live. Olympic gold medalist and TV analyst Rowdy Gaines will provide commentary.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


USA Swimming Team Builds Up Steam For 2012 Olympics; Rout Europeans At Duel In The Pool

USA Swimming Team Builds Up Steam For 2012 Olympics; Rout Europeans At Duel In The Pool

December 17, 2011


With the crowd chanting, “USA, USA, USA,” the United State’s obliteration of the European All-Stars continued Saturday at the Mutual of Omaha Duel InThe Pool.

In front of a good crowd at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta and national television audience, Team USA routed the Europe All Star Team, 181.5-80.5 and now holds a commanding 5-0 in meet history dating back to 2003.

“It’s Team USA baby, it’s the greatest country in the world,” said  Garrett Weber-Gale after the U.S. completed the two-day meet with an exciting come-from-behind victory in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay.

The U.S. men and women broke one world record and seven American records in short course meters over two days.

“I think the whole team is in a great position to set itself up for a wonderful Olympic Games,” U.S. team coach Dave Marsh said. “We know the spotlight will be on swimming at the Olympics and this group is embracing that.”

The Olympic Countdown is now at 36 weeks.

Many U.S. swimmers, including Ricky Berens and Kathleen Hersey, who both had a breakout meet, threw their gear in the stands to appreciative swimming fans and loved ones.

The U.S. team looked just as impressive on the second day of the one-sided competition as they did on opening day.

In the individual event second-day action:

Women’s 800-meter freestyle: Denmark’s world champion Lotte Friis set the tone early and led from wire-to-wire to win in 8:04.77. Chloe Sutton was second in 8:14.29 and Grainne Murphy of Great Britain was third in 8:18.03.

Men’s 800-meter freestyle: European Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands distanced himself at the halfway mark to go on and win in 7:36.24 followed by Michael Klueh in 7:39.90 and Mads Glaesner of Denmark in 7:42.27.

Women’s 200-meter freestyle: Teenager Missy Franklin went out fast for a big lead and won in 1:53.19 to lead a U.S. sweep with Dana Vollmer in 1:53.92 and Katie Hoff in 1:54.24.

Men’s 200-meter freestyle: Ricky Berens won his second event of the meet dominating the 200 to win in 1:42.68 and led another U.S. sweep with Matt McLean in 1:44.26 and Conor Dwyer in 1:44.45. 

Women’s 100-meter backstroke: Two-time Olympic champion Natalie Coughlin took the lead early, being chased by Brit Lizzie Simmons who overtook Coughlin in the final 25 meters to win in 56.82. Coughlin finished in 56.92 and Franklin, still wet on the blocks from warming down after the 200 freestyle, was third in 57.49. “I kind of went for it, hoping I had a bit left on the back end,” Simmons said.

Men’s 100-meter backstroke: In a tight race, Matt Grevers (49.85), Nick Thoman (50.13) and Ryan Lochte (50.65) completed another U.S. sweep moving within one point of clinching the meet. Lochte put in a 5K morning practice before competing in the afternoon. “I have to find new ways to get better and new ways to hurt myself,” Grevers said. “It’s going to be an exciting journey to the Trials.”

Women’s 100-meter breaststroke: The U.S. team clinched the meet title in this event, 138.5-46.5. Jessica Hardy went out quickly and was on world record pace early until late in the race but managed to knock off Rebecca Soni by a body length in 1:03.33. Soni, who didn’t have enough time to make up for her start in short course, was second in 1:04.53. Rikke Pedersen of Denmark was third in 1:05.50. “I did it for my entire team, it was so much fun and I am excited,” Hardy said. “That was a blast.”

Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: For the second day in a row, Brendan Hansen knocked off world champion Daniel Gyurta of Hungary to sweep the breaststroke events and win in 57.47. Gyurta was second in 57.62 and American Mike Alexandrov was third in 57.81. “I need more of this, getting on the blocks, in the water and racing  the best in the water,” Hansen said. “That’s what fun is about in this sport and makes this summer that much more fun.”

Women’s 200-meter butterfly: Hometown crowd favorite Kathleen Hersey set her first career American record in 2:03.49. She opened up a solid lead in the final 25 meters. Elaine Breeden moved into second in 2:04.98 and Martina Granstroem of Sweden was third. “I never swam short course meters so to be able to do this is perfect and my favorite scenario,” Hersey said. “Every event, every meet is a stepping stone. To do this six months before the Olympics I am so excited. I also know it’s going to fuel the fire for a lot of people. I did things well in that race but I have things to work on.”

Men’s 200-meter butterfly:  Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh overtook early leader Davis Tarwater to win in 1:51.18. Tarwater faded in the end but still broke an American record to finish second in 1:51.90 among the small five-swimmer field. Hungary’s Bence Biczo was third in 1:55.26. American Tyler Clary was forced to scratch from the meet with an inflamed left rotator cup. Clary will be forced to take time off to rehab which will affect his training.

Women’s 50-meter freestyle: With three great starts, European swimmers swept the event’s top four places. Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands won in 23.43 followed by Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands in 23.61 and Britain’s Francesca Halsall in 23.73. Belarus’ Aliaksandra Herasimenia was fourth in 24.13. Hardy, Coughlin and Amanda Weir faded to the last three places.

Men’s 50-meter freestyle: American Nick Brunelli, who turns 30 on Sunday, won a close race at the end in 21.28. Russia’s Vladimir Morozov was second in 21.29 and Matt Grevers was third in 21.38. Only 6/10ths of a second separated the top eight swimmers.

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Caitlin Leverenz pulled away from the field to win in 2:04.91, an American record and just 3/10ths off the world record. It was the fastest time in the world this year by two seconds. Liz Pelton was second in 2:07.27 and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu was third in 2:07.64.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: In an exciting race, world record holder Ryan Lochte built up a good lead and held on for his third win of the meet in 1:52.98, scoring 16 points overall for the U.S. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh was second in 1:53.31 and Austria’s Markus Rogan was third in 1:53.93. “It’s my time, all the hard work and training I have been doing is paying off,” Lochte said. 

Women’s 400-meter freestyle relay: Europe finishes the meet with its first relay win in 3:27.53, a world best. The time does not count as a world record since the swimmers (Jeanette Ottesen, Halsall, Herasimenia and Kromowidjojo) were from different countries. For the U.S., Coughlin led off and touched second. Hardy trailed by a half body length after her leg. Dana Vollmer, despite a great start, was still trailing when she touched. Missy Franklin took off with a poor start and was body length behind and had too much room to make up. Still, the U.S. finished second in an American record of 3:28.46.

Men’s 400-meter freestyle relay: Grevers gave the U.S. a slight lead (47.0) for second leg swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale who kept the U.S. close (46.9 leg), trailing by 5/100ths of a second. Third leg Nick Brunelli was still behind (47.0) when anchor leg Ricky Berens, after a great start, took unleashed a 46.1 split and pulled away for the U.S. to end the meet with a victory. “I had no idea where the guy (Europe anchor Krisztian Takacs) was,” Berens said. “I put my head down and kicked out and swam as fast as I could.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com