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

Dylan Carter Breaks National Record Twice In One Day At FINA Short Course World Championships


By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 17, 2021–Trinidad and Tobago swimmer Dylan Carter broke the national 100-meter butterfly record twice on Friday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena.

The Plantation American Heritage alum’s national record of 49.87 in semifinals fell short of advancing into the final. He was sixth in his semifinal race and finished ninth overall, missing finals by 8/100ths of a second.

Carter broke his own national butterfly record first in prelims in 50.22. His previous record was 50.70. His semifinal time was the first time any swimmer from Trinidad and Tobago cracked the 50-second mark.

Carter, 25, won a bronze medal at the World Swimming Championships in the 50-meter butterfly in Hangzhou, China, in December 2018. The two-time Olympian recently finished his International Swimming League season with the London Roar that finished third in the Final Four playoffs.

In championship final action:

Sweden’s 4×50-yard women’s medley relay tied the world record and meet record of 1:42.38 set by the U.S. in 2018. Louise Hansson broke the national 50-yard backstroke on the opening leg in 25.91. Other relay members were Sophie Hansson (29.07 breast split), world record holder Sarah Sjostrum (23.96 butterfly) and Michelle Coleman (23.44 freestyle).

“We were thinking of a medal, gold was also in the cards but never thought we could set a world record, this is fantastic,” said Sophie Hansson, who added a bronze in the 50-meter breaststroke an hour later.

American Shaine Casas, 21, who missed making the 2020 Olympic team by one spot, won his first world title in the 100-meter backstroke in 49.23, just 2/10ths ahead of Russian and former world record holder Kliment Kolesnikov.

“The only thing that was going through my mind before this race was I needed to redeem myself,” Casas said. “I kind of proved that I’m still around and I’m somebody to mess with in the future.

“Once the race started, I kind of blanked out, spinning my arms as fast as I could and by the time I realized what was going on, we were at the end of the third leg,” Casas said. “I did the dolphin-kicks, after that my legs almost stopped working and I was just going for the wall to hit it first before these guys ran me down. It’s a huge jump after the college scene. These guys are on another level, but it takes practice, some confidence and you figure it out very quickly what to do.”

Casas was third in the 100m back at June’s Olympic Trials, where the top two made the team. He was a pre-meet favorite, ranked second in the nation since the start of 2019.

China’s Yufei Zhang won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:03.01 ahead of American Charlotte Hook in 2:04.35. Hook moved from eighth to second in the back half of the race.

Ilya Symanovich of Belarus won the 100-meter breaststroke in a meet record 55.70. The previous record was 56.01 set in 2018 by South African Cameron van der Burgh.

Anastasia Gorbenko became the first woman from Israel to win a world title, winning the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.34. Top seed and world record holder Alia Atkinson of SOFLO was the gold medal favorite before she was disqualified in the semifinals.

South Korea’s Sunwoo Hwang won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:41.60. American Kieran Smith of University of Florida was a distant fifth in 1:42.29.

Sweden’s Louise Hansson won her second gold medal of the day when she won the 100-meter backstroke in a national record 55.20.

“Oh Gosh, I’m overwhelmed,” Hansson said. “Beforehand, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to swim the 100-meter back. Then I saw some progress in the ISL, so I kept it but never thought I could win it. Oh, what an evening, world record in the relay, then another gold, in backstroke… I can’t believe it.”

With an opening split from 19-year-old Josh Liendo, Canada won the mixed 4×50-meter freestyle relay in 1:28.55. He was joined by teammates Yuri Kisil 20.99, Kayla Sanchez (23.51) and Maggie MacNeil (23.11).

The five-day meet continues Saturday with the pool competition and ends Tuesday, Dec. 21.

FINA is offering a prize money pool of $2.8 million, a 50 percent increase in prize money for individual swimmers. There is also be a $50,000 bonus for any swimmer who breaks a world record.

The top eight individual payoffs for first through eighth place are $10,000, $8,000, $7,000, $6,000, $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000.

There are 943 swimmers from 183 countries competing. The swimming is part of the Aquatics Festival which includes open water swimming, high diving and diving team competition.

Final sessions of the pool swimming will be streamed on NBC Sports’ Olympic Channel. Eurovision Sport’s All Aquatics will air the heats.

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

HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE SWIMMING NOTEBOOK: Jerew, Virgin Commit; Nick Dworet Stroke Clinic Coming Up; Bolles Coach Stepping Down


By Sharon Robb

September 11, 2108—Two top high school and club swimmers, Hannah Virgin and Hailey Jerew, have made verbal college commitments.

Jerew of AquaKids Sharks and recent USA Swimming Futures champion in the 50-meter freestyle, verbally committed to Florida Gulf Coast.

Jerew, a senior at Cutler Bay Academy, a Class 1A school. She is a U.S Open qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle and has a junior national cut in the 100-meter breaststroke. She was a seven-time finalist at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in March.

Florida Gulf Coast won its fourth straight and ninth overall CCSA crown last season. Jerew is expected to compete in the sprint and breaststroke events in college.

Hannah Virgin, a two-time defending state 1A champion in the 100-yard breaststroke at Pine Crest, verbally committed to Virginia Tech. She won a state title as a sophomore in 1:04.06 and junior in 1:03.89.

Virgin competes year-round with Pine Crest. As a club swimmer, Virgin has a U.S. Open time standard in the 100 breaststroke. She competed in both breaststroke events and 200 individual medley at the 2017 Speedo Winter Juniors East meet.

At the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in 2017, she won the 200 breast (2:15.53) and was the runner-up in the 100 (1:04.65). She has dual citizenship competes for Sweden internationally. She is a Swedish age group championship medalist.

NICHOLAS DWORET STROKE CLINIC

The inaugural Swim 4 Nick free swim stroke clinic will be held Sunday, Sept. 30, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. The clinic is for novice and intermediate middle and high school swimmers. Participants should know all four strokes. Registration ends Sept. 25 at http://www.swim4nick.org. The clinic is open to all swimmers from Broward, Dade and Palm Beach to bring swimmers together for a day of learning and help keep Nick’s legacy alive.

The clinic, sponsored in part by Triton Insurance Group and presented by The Nicholas Dworet Memorial Fund, Inc., is a 501c (3) Charity and benefits the fund.

Dworet was killed Feb. 14, 2018 in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting. Dworet started swimming at age 7 and had a scholarship waiting for him at University of Indianapolis this fall and hopes of swimming in the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Dworet was always helping friends and teammates. In his memory, a swim clinic is being held in his honor for swimmers who want to improve through hard work and dedication just as Dworet did through the years.

High school and club coaches will be on hand to work with swimmers. There will be giveaways and raffles.

CIESLA READY FOR SEASON

Pine Crest alum Marta Ciesla is more than ready for her sophomore season at University of Southern California. In the recent Cardinal vs. Gold intraquad exhibition meet, she went 36.40 in a 75-meter race, winning by more than a body length…Clearwater’s Becca Mann, also of USC, earned Pac-12 All-Academic first team honors. Mann, eligible for the award for the first time as a sophomore, earned first team honors with a 3.80 GPA. The U.S. national team open water swimmer, who has already written a book, is majoring in writing for screen and television.

BOLLES COACH STEPS DOWN

Jon Sakovich, a former All-American at Florida, is stepping down as head coach of Jacksonville Bolles in December. He has been at Bolles for 18 years. Sakovich said he is seeking new opportunities. Bolles is beginning a national search for a head coach and aquatics director replacement immediately.

In a prepared statement, Sakovich said: “I am very thankful to The Bolles School for allowing me this amazing opportunity for the last eighteen years and I could not ask for a better place to work. It is time for me to seek a change in my career direction and look for new ways to expand my professional horizons. I am committed to the continued growth and success of our student-athletes and I look forward to working with them through the fall.

“The Bolles School and Bolles Swim Programs will always have a special place in my heart. Without this opportunity, I would not be the person, father and coach I am today,” Sakovich said.

The Bolles boys and girls swimming and diving teams have reached a combined total of 14 national titles. Fifty-nine Bolles students, alumni or Sharks have participated in every Olympics since 1972, representing 28 countries and claiming 20 medals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup Series Continues Tuesday In Tokyo; Sjostrom, Le Clos Lead Series


By Sharon Robb

November 13, 2017—-Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden and Chad Le Clos of South Africa continue to lead the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup rankings going into the seventh leg Tuesday in Tokyo, Japan.

Sjostrom leads the women’s standings with 515 points followed by Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, 404, and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (227).

Le Clos leads the men’s series with 360 points ahead of Vladimir Morozov of Russia with 237 and Kirill Prigoda of Russia with 210.

On the second and final day of the Beijing, China leg on Saturday, four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 28, of SOFLO won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:19.58 against a less than stellar field. On Friday, she won the 50 breaststroke in 29.57.

It was her second gold medal of the meet. She has won 11 gold medals this year and 51 World Cup gold medals overall.

Also in Beijing, Le Clos won three gold medals over two days. Sjostrom also won three events.

American Michael Andrew broke a world junior record in the 100-meter individual medley in 51.86 and was second overall behind Morozov in 50.36, just .06 off his own world record.

The finals of the seventh leg in Tokyo will be live streamed on FINAtv. The series ends Nov. 18-19 in Singapore.

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

Sarah Sjostrom, Chad Le Clos Stars Of FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup; Atkinson Takes Gold, Silver On Final Day


By Sharon Robb

October 6, 2017—Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos continue to lead the point standings after the second and last leg of Cluster Two of the FINA/Airweave Swimming World Cup in Doha, Qatar.

Sjostrom now leads with 446 points and Le Clos has 312. Both finished the second cluster with impressive wins.

Le Clos picked up an added $50,000 for winning Cluster Two along with Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu who won five gold medals.

Sjostrom won five races over two days, the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle and 50- and 100-meter butterfly.

Sjostrom also earned the best female performance of the meet with her 23.28 50-meter freestyle (994 points).

Le Clos won four races, the 200-meter freestyle and 50-, 100- and 200-meter butterfly.

The top three World Cup Leaders are Sjostrom, Hosszu and Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands for the women and Le Clos, Kirill Prigoda of Russia and Russian teammate Vladimir Morozov.

Cluster Three begins in November in Beijing, China, Nov. 10-11; Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 14-15; and Singapore, Nov. 18-19.

In other events at the Hamad Aquatic Centre:

On the final day, four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson of SOFLO won a gold and silver medal on the final day. Atkinson, 28, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.42 and was second in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:26.10 behind Denmark’s Rikke Pedersen.

Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa won the 100-meter breaststroke in 56.11 just ahead of Kirill Prigoda of Russia.

Hosszu won the 100-meter backstroke in 56.27 ahead of Aussie Emily Seebohm in 56.40.

Germany’s Christian Diener won the 50-meter backstroke in 23.58 and 200-meter backstroke in 1:50.96.

China’s Zhang Yufei won the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:07.43.

Prigoda won the 200-meter individual medley in 1:55.57.

China’s Wang Jianjiahe, who set the first world junior record in the women’s 800-meter freestyle, won the 400 freestyle in 4:02.42.

Russian Vladimir Morozov won the 50-meter freestyle in 20.98.

Hosszu won the 100-meter individual medley in 57.26 and finished winning the 400-meter individual medley in 4:27.94.

Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta won the men’s 1500-meter freestyle in 14:41.84.

The Netherlands won another relay, the mixed 200-meter freestyle relay in 1:32.20 in Tom De Boer, Kyle Stalk, Maaike De Waard and Ranomi Kromowidjojo.

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