Aussies Continue To Dominate XXII Commonwealth Games; Dylan Carter Competes Tuesday


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, August 1, 2022—After four days of competition, Australia owns the XXII Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

Kyle Chalmers won the Aussies’ first gold medal to open Monday night action in the 100-meter freestyle in 47.51. Brit Tom Dean took silver in 47.89 and Scotland’s Duncan Scott took bronze in 48.27. It was Scott’s 10th career medal, making him the most decorated Games athlete for Scotland. Chalmers had already broken the Games record in semis in 47.36.

Aussie teammate and reigning Olympic and world champion Kaylee McKeown won the 200-meter backstroke in a Games record in 2:05.60 followed by Canadian Kylie Masse in 2:07.81 and Scot Katie Shanahan in 2:09.22.

Aussie Emma McKeon won the 50-meter butterfly in 25.90. South African Erin Gallagher and Aussie Holly Barratt tied for second in 26.05. It was McKeon’s 12th Commonwealth gold medal.

The Aussies ended the evening with a Games record 7:04.96 to win the men’s 4×200 freestyle relay with Elijah Winnington, Flynn Southam, Zac Incerti and Mack Horton. It was the Aussies’ 13th win in 14 years of the Commonwealth Games. England took silver in 7:07.50 and Scotland took bronze in 7:09.33.

Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh, 15, won her second gold medal of her debut Games after winning the 200-meter individual medley in a best time and world junior record 2:08.70, just ahead of Aussie Kaylee McKeown by 0.82 seconds. Brit Abbie Wood was third in 2:10.68. Earlier, McIntosh won the 400 IM in a Games record.

New Zealand’s Andrew Jeffcoat won the 50-meter backstroke in 24.65 followed by South African Pieter Coetze in 24.77 and Canadian Javier Acevedo in 24.97.

Two-time Olympian and Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter, 25, of Trinidad and Tobago will compete in the 50-meter freestyle heats on Tuesday.

The meet continues Tuesday with prelims at 5:30 a.m. EST and finals 2 p.m. EST.

SPEEDO JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

IRVINE, Calif.—U.S. junior national team member and Stanford-bound Josh Zuchowski of FAST was fifth fastest qualifier in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:00.71 Monday at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center. Zuchowski is coming off senior nationals. He is prepping for Junior Pan Pacs later this month in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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

U.S. Swimmers Wrap Up FINA World Aquatics Championships With Record Medal Haul; Sarasota’s Emma Weyant Takes Bronze


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 25, 2022–The final night of the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships was an emotional roller coaster for swimmers and coaches Saturday night at Duna Arena.

In a dramatic turn of events, American Justin Ress was disqualified after winning the gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke for being completely submerged at the finish only to be re-instated less than a hour later after a closer review of the race by officials.

U.S. teammate and world record holder Hunter Armstrong gladly returned the gold medal after finishing 2/100ths of a second behind Ress who won in 24.12. Poland’s 17-year-old Ksawery Masiuk took the bronze in a national record 24.49. It was Ress’ first individual long course gold medal.

“It was definitely an emotional roller coaster,” Armstrong said before the ruling was reversed. “I am really proud of Justin. That was a great race. There was only 2/100ths of second separating us.

“I would rather take second and have him with me, then getting the title with a disqualification. It’s not how I wanted it. He is an amazing athlete, completely talented. To have that taken away from him, it sucks.”

Italy came up with two of the biggest upsets of the night.

Veteran distance freestyler Gregorio Paltrinieri, 27, flirting with the world record in Lane 1, pulled away early in the race and never faltered to win in championship and European record time of 14:32.80, second fastest time in history.

University of Florida’s Bobby Finke, the Olympic champion and favorite, could not pull off his patent comeback down the stretch, that’s how far the Italian was ahead. Finke took silver breaking his own American record 14:36.70 and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock was third in 14:36.94.

“I knew that they were coming, but I had quite a big lead, so that was enough for me,” Paltrinieri said. “That was my strategy, actually, to go out fast and try to open a gap with the others. So I’m really glad I did it.”

Ironically, Paltrinieri was the seventh fastest qualifier for the final, just three seconds away from not making the final.

“In the beginning, I was just trying to keep up with him, but he just kept getting farther and farther ahead,” Finke said. “Hats off to Greg. I wasn’t able to run him down. He had a great race, and I’m really proud of him.”

“Greg had a great race, starting from the get go,” Finke said. “I broke the record by three seconds so I’m happy with it. I was just trying the do best I could. I am going away happy after this meet. It was stressful. I have never been in this scenario as expected to take the title again and being reigning Olympic champion.”

The Italian 4×100-meter relay of world record holder backstroker Thomas Ceccon, 100 breaststroke gold medalist Nicolo Martinenghi, Federico Burdisso and Alessandro Miressi upset the U.S. team of Ryan Murphy, Nic Fink, Michael Andrew and Ryan Held, 3:27.51-3:27.79. Great Britain was third in 3:31.31 just ahead of the Aussies in 3:31.81.

There were 23 Florida Gold Coast swimmers that competed on one of swimming’s biggest international stages.

Four swimmers, including University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach, are entered in open water events which begin on Sunday with the 6K team relay (4×1500) off Lupa Beach. The 5K is Monday, 10K on Wednesday and 25K on Thursday.

In other finals Saturday night:

WOMEN’S 50 BREASTSTROKE: Ten years after winning gold at the London Olympics, Ruta Meilutyte, 25, of Lithuania came out of retirement in 2021 after missing three doping tests and serving a 24-month suspension, started training again and ended up winning another title in 29.70. Italy’s world record holder Benedetta Pilato was second in 29.80 and Lara van Niekerk of South Africa was third in 29.90. American Lilly King was seventh in 30.40.

“It’s nice to be a world champion, I’m super proud of myself,” said Meilutytė, who won her second world title nine years after winning the 100 breaststroke in 2013. “I’m grateful for every step taken in my life, the bad ones and the good ones as well.”

WOMEN’S 400 IM: Canadian teenager sensation Summer McIntosh won her second gold medal, fourth overall and broke her third world junior record en route to the win in 4:32.04. McIntosh, 15, held off another outstanding teenager, American Katie Grimes, 16, second in 4:32.67. Sarasota’s Emma Weyant, who waited all week to swim, took the bronze in 4:36. It’s been 17 years since two Americans won medals in the same race. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu was unable to win her fifth straight gold in the event fading to fourth.

“Since it was the last day, I definitely felt, not the freshest in the water,” McIntosh said. “But I just tried my best to get my hand on the wall first and I’m so happy with the placement.”

50-METER FREESTYLE: Swedish world record holder Sarah Sjostrum won her 20th career gold medal in 23.98. It was her second world title of the meet. Poland’s Katarzyna Wasick took the silver in 24.18 and Meg Harris of Australia and American Erika Brown tied for the bronze in 24.38.

“It means so much to me,” Sjostrum said. “Every journey is different to winning a gold medal. I am super proud of achievening this medal. I came off a broken elbow and struggled with motivation, but now I remember why it was worth putting in all the time.”

WOMEN’S 4×100 MEDLEY RELAY: The U.S. won its third straight world title with Regan Smith, Lilly King, Torri Huske and Claire Curzan in 3:53.78. It was Curzan who broke open a tight race and pulled away on anchor. The U.S. had only qualified seventh and was in the outside lane. Australia was second in 3:54.24 and Canada was third in 3:55.01.

“The faster we finish, the faster we get pizza,” King joked after the race.

The U.S. finished with a record 45 medals (17 gold, 12 silver and 16 bronze. Australia was second with 17 total (6 golds, 9 silver, 2 bronze). Canada was third with its best-ever world finish with 11 (3 gold, 4 silver, 4 bronze). Italy was fourth with 9 (5 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).

The U.S. team’s 45 medals eclipsed the previous record of 38 medals the U.S. won at the 2017 world championships.

“We have crushed it this whole week,” said Regan Smith, who led off the relay and also won the individual 100 backstroke earlier in the meet. “We’ve had such good energy. This team is really special. It’s like no other team I’ve ever been on.”

The aquatics championships that also feature diving, water polo, high diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming end July 3. Although the pool racing is done action continues with diving and open water swimming, both beginning Sunday. Meanwhile, the water polo tournaments are ongoing.

A highlights show will be on NBC at noon on June 26.

OPEN WATER SCHEDULE
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

Marchand, U.S. Women’s Relay Win; Dressel Drops Out Of Meet; Azura’s Morales Top FGC Finisher At FINA World Aquatics Championships


By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 22, 2022–It was a crazy day at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships Wednesday at Duna Arena.

In the biggest news of the day, Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Caeleb Dressel withdrew from the rest of his events on the fifth day of the eight-day meet, a day after scratching out of the 100 freestyle for unspecified medical grounds.

“After conferring with Caeleb, his coaches and medical staff, a decision has been made to withdraw him from the FINA World Championships,” according to a USA Swimming. “Our priority is and will always be the health of our athletes and we will continue to give Caeleb the assistance he needs to recover quickly.”

Dressel, a Clay High School and Bolles Swim Club alum and 15-time world champion who won five golds at the Tokyo Olympics, scratched out of Tuesday’s 100 freestyle semifinals. He was also expected to race in Tuesday’s mixed 4×100 medley relay final before withdrawing. He didn’t have any events scheduled Wednesday.

Now, Dressel will also miss the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle, events that start Thursday, and two more relays he was expected to be a part of (mixed 4×100 free and men’s 4×100 medley).

The top Florida Gold Coast finisher was Azura’s Yeziel Morales of Puerto Rico. He was 16th in 1:59.77 in the 200-meter backstroke morning prelims to advance into the semifinal round where he finished eighth in 2:01.47 in his semi and 16th overall. Swimming in Lane 8, Morales had the second fastest start (0.54) in the first semifinal.

In her world championship debut, Cayman Islands national record holder Jillian Crooks, who turns 16 on June 27, tied for 29th in the 100-meter freestyle in 57.24 with Peru’s Rafaela Erazo. The home schooler and TS Aquatics swimmer has the 50 freestyle left to swim on Friday.

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

FGC swimmers who competed on Wednesday:

Patrick Groters, 23, Aruba (NSU University School, Pine Crest Swim Club, University of South Carolina), 200 backstroke, 28th, 2:05.90.

Michaela Sierra, 17, Uruguay (South Florida Heat, Azura), 200 breaststroke, 27th, 2:39.05.

Jillian Crooks, 15, Cayman Islands (TS Aquatics), 100 freestyle, tied for 29th, 57.24.

Yeziel Morales, 26, Puerto Rico, (Azura), 200 backstroke, 16th, 1:59.77 in prelims; in the semifinals he was eighth in 2:01.47 and 16th overall.

FGC swimmers competing on Thursday are:

Olympic bronze medalist Bruno Fratus, 32, Brazil, (Coral Springs Swim Club), 50 freestyle.

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

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

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

Leon Seaton, 18, Guyana (Azura), 50 freestyle.

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

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

In Wednesday night’s final events:

200 WOMEN’S BUTTERFLY: Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh, 15, topped three Olympic medalists and broke her own world junior record to win in 2:05.20. She is the first Canadian to win the event at worlds. American Hali Flickinger was second in 2:06.08 and reigning Olympic champion Zhang Yufei was third in 2:06.32.

MEN’S 100 FREESTYLE: Romanian teenager David Popovici, 17, won in 47.58 out-touching Frenchman Maxime Grousset in 47.64 and Canadian Josh Liendo was third in 47.71. It was his second win of the meet.

WOMEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE: In a tight finish Canadian national record holder Kylie Masse won gold in 27.31. American Katharine Berkoff took silver in 27.39 for her first world medal. Frenchwoman Analia Pigree was third n 27.40, the first-ever French woman medalist in the event. American Regan Smith was fifth. 16/100ths of a second separated the top six swimmers.

MEN’S 200 IM: Frenchman Leon Marchand, 20, of Arizona State, swept the medley events, winning in a best time and national record 1:55.22. He also won the 400 IM earlier in the week. Marchand was third going into the breaststroke where he overtook the early leaders. American Carson Foster was second in 1:55.71 and Japan’s 2019 world champion Daiya Seto was third in 1:56.22.

“It’s a dream for me because five years ago, I was watching this race, and I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s amazing,'” Marchand said. “And now, I can win two titles, so it’s amazing.”

WOMEN’S 4×200 FREE RELAY: With two veterans and two youngsters, the U.S. women’s team pulled off an upset win in a championship record 7:41.45. Katie Ledecky swam third leg to pick up her 18th worlds gold medal, the most of any woman in meet history. Bella Sims, 16, swam anchor leg. Claire Weinstein, 15, and Leah Smith swam the first two legs. Australia was second in 7:43.86 and Canada third in 7:44.76.

“I think we always find a way to be in the mix,” Ledecky said. “I knew that going into tonight that no matter who’s going to be on that relay, no matter who makes those spots, they’re going to step up and swim well. This was awesome. It’s so easy to get up for these relays, to not think and go. I had so much trust in these three. I think we’re always counted out, and we always deliver so I’m proud of this group.”

In the 200 breaststroke semifinals, middle schooler Sua Moon of Korea was 16th in the semis in 2:26.64. The 13-year-old also swam 1:08.50 in the 100 breaststroke heats.

Thursday prelim events are men’s 100 butterfly, women’s 200 backstroke, men’s 50 freestyle, women’s 50 butterfly, women’s 800 freestyle and men’s 4×200 free relay.

The U.S. added four more medals to its tally of 11 gold, 6 silver and 9 bronze for 26. Australia is second with eight total (2 golds, 5 silver, 1 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
Thursday, June 23: 100 women’s freestyle, 200 women’s breaststroke, 200 men’s backstroke, 200 men’s breaststroke, 4×200 men’s freestyle 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