SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Ends Illustrious Career; Dylan Carter Takes Silver At FINA Short Course World Championships

By Sharon Robb
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, December 20, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson took her final bow on the world stage Monday at the 15th FINA Short Course World Championships at Etihad Arena.

The five-time Jamaican Olympian, after being disqualified earlier in the week in the 50-meter breaststroke semifinals, bounced back to finish fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.03, her signature event and one she shares the world record (1:02.36) with Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte.

In her last hurrah, Atkinson, 33, finished behind China’s Qianting Tang (1:03.47, Asian record), Sweden’s Sophie Hansson (1:03.50) and Ireland’s Mona McSharry (1:03.92) in her final competitive meet. She had won the 100 breaststroke in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

“Not the meet I hoped for but I am happy to say I finished every ounce of swimming talent God gave me, the bottle empty. Many times I wanted to quit or give up, but I saw it through to the end,” Atkinson wrote in a post to social media.

Atkinson said her long run career was “remarkable” and “a rollercoaster of fun and not so fun moments”.

Her advice to up-and-coming swimmers:

  • Make fun memories…they don’t make themselves.
  • Take nothing for granted and enjoy each step both the good and the challenging.
  • Let go of the negatives of the day.
  • Your best changes daily, so do the best you can on that day.

SOFLO teammate Julio Horrego, representing Honduras, was 26th in the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.38 in his final event of the meet.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Dylan Carter, a Plantation American Heritage alum, took silver in the 50-meter butterfly in 21.98, just behind Brazil’s 41-year-old world record holder Nicholas Santos in 21.93. Santos became the oldest swimmer to win a world title. Carter swam the third fastest time in the semifinals in a national time 22.18.

In championship final action:

To kick off the finals, the U.S. and Russian Swimming Federation tied for gold in the 4×50-meter medley relay in 1:30.51. The U.S. relay of Shaine Casas, Nic Fink, Tom Shields and Ryan Held also broke the American short course record.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:04.29.

Canada also won the 4×200-meter freestyle relay won in 7:32.96 with relay swimmers Summer McIntosh, Kayla Sanchez, Katherine Savard and Rebecca Smith, ahead of the U.S. in 7:36.53.

Canada won another gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke when Maggie MacNeil broke the world record of 25.60 in 25.27.

Japan world record holder Daiya Seto led from start to finish to win the 400-meter individual medley in 3:56.26. Runner-up Illia Borodin of the Russian Swimming Federation broke the junior world record in 3:56.47.

The five-day meet concludes Tuesday.

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

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Bronze On Final Day Of FINA Champions Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

BEIJING, China, January 20, 2020—Alia Atkinson settled for a bronze medal on the final day of the FINA Champions Swim Series 2020.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s four-time Jamaican Olympian was third out of four swimmers in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.88. China’s Jingyao Yu won in 1:07.18 and Italy’s Martina Carraro was second in 1:07.25.

Atkinson pocketed $6,000 for a third place finish. Atkinson has now won $26,000 in two meets. She won $12,000 for two third places in Shenzhen and $14,000 for a second and third place in Beijing.

The race of the meet was Canadian Sydney Pickrem knocking off Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu in the 200-meter individual medley, 2:09.26-2:09.93.

It broke a 56-final winning streak for Hosszu in long course meters and short course meters. Her last loss in the event in either course came at the 2017 FFN Golden Tour stop in Amiens, France where she swam a 2:15.36 to place third behind Cyrielle Duhamel and Fantine Lesaffre of Hungary.

Hosszu is defending Olympic Champion, 4-time defending World Champion in long course, 3-time defending World Champion in short course, 4-time European Champion in long course and 5-time defending European Champion in short course. She’s World Record holder and won 51-consecutive World Cup swims.

Pickrem won $10,000 for first place. The world championship bronze medalist now has the seventh fastest time of her career in long course.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson Wins, Nguyen Makes Two “B” Finals On Final Day Of TYR Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

CLOVIS, Calif., June 16, 2019–After a few disappointing finishes, Alia Atkinson won her first race Saturday on the fourth and final day of the TYR Pro Swim Series Long Course Meet at Clovis North Aquatics Complex.

Atkinson, 30, a four-time Olympian for Jamaica, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.69, off her best time of 30.58, that ranks her seventh in the world. She pocketed $1,500 in the race that offered prize money for top three finishes.

Against a less than stellar field, Danielle Hermann of Clovis was second in 31.55 and Melissa Rodriguez of Mexico was third in 31.86.

Atkinson was also eighth in the “B” final of the 100-meter freestyle in 58.47.

SOFLO teammate Vietnamese Olympian Vien Nguyen, 22, was fourth in the “B” final of the 200-meter individual medley in 2:21.31 and seventh in the “B” final of the 200-meter backstroke in 2:24.76.

Other event winners were:

Eighteen-year-old Erica Sullivan of Sandpipers of Nevada won the 1500-meter freestyle timed final in 15:55.25, nearly a minute ahead of Mackenzie Padington of HPC Vancouver in 16:56.58. It was a career-best time for the teenager and first time she cracked 16 minutes.

Egypt’s Akaram Mahmoud pulled away in the final 100 meters to win the men’s 1500-meter freestyle in 15:26.12. Chris Weiser of Dart Swimming was second in 15:29.67.

Canadian Sydney Pickrem won her fourth event of the meet, this time in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:11.78. She won her signature event by nearly two seconds. Emily Overholt of HPC Vancouver was second in 2:13.45.

Teenager Luca Urlando of Dart Swimming won the men’s 200-meter individual medley in 2:00.12, a lifetime-best. Another teenager, Jarod Arroyo, was a distant second in 2:03.29.

Sixteen-year-old Isabelle Stadden of Aqua Jets won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:08.67 ahead of Pickrem in 2:13.17.

Canadian Trials champion Markus Thormeyer won the 200-meter backstroke in 1:59.24, the only swimmer below 2 minutes. Andy Song of Mexico was second in 2:02.73.

Brandon Fischer of Livermore Aquatics won the 50-meter breaststroke in 27.26, second fastest time for a U.S. swimmer this year. It was his third lifetime-best.

Mallory Comerford of Louisville won the 100-meter freestyle in 53.90. Kelsi Worrell Dahlia of the Cardinals was second in 54.56.

Michael Chadwick of Team Elite won the 100-meter freestyle in 48.70 ahead of Cristian Quintero of Trojan Swim Club in 49.43.

Cody Miller and Olivia Smoliga won the 2019 Pro Swim Series title winning $10,000 each for the top FINA point swims of the tour. Michael Andrew led all money winners during the series with $25,750. Atkinson was 44th on the list with $3,500.

SOFLO is a TYR-sponsored club. It was the second year TYR was the title sponsor of the pro series. It was the Arena Pro Swim Series for the first three years.

The series offered prize money for first, second and third place finishes. First place earned $1,500, second $1,000 and third place $500. All prize money was distributed by USA Swimming.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Third, Vien Nguyen Fourth On Day Two Of TYR Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

CLOVIS, Calif., June 14, 2019–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson and Vien Nguyen saw their first action Thursday in the TYR Pro Swim Series Long Course Meet at Clovis North Aquatics Complex.

Atkinson, 30, a four-time Olympian for Jamaica, faded to third after a slow start in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. She lost ground in the first 25 meters and finished in 1:08.00.

Canadian record holder Sydney Pickrem won in the last 25 meters in 1:07.20 and Mexico’s Melissa Rodriguez was second in 1:07.32. Pickrem bettered her personal best from the 2019 Canadian Championships.

In morning prelims, Atkinson led a tight field in 1:09.14 to earn the top seed. Three other swimmers were within a half second behind her: Melissa Rodriguez of Mexico in 1:09.23, Breeja Larson of New York Aquatic Club in 1:09.24 and Pickrem in 1:09.61.

Atkinson has four events left: the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter butterfly on Friday and 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter freestyle on Saturday.

Vietnamese Olympian Nguyen, 22, was fourth in the women’s 400-meter individual medley in 4:50.33. Pickrem won her second event in 4:40.64 and Overholt was second in 4:44.23.

Nguyen was fourth fastest in the 400-meter individual medley prelims in 4:52.42. The top seed was Evie Pfeifer of Texas in 4:46.86 who finished third in 4:44.51.

Nguyen also swam the 200-meter freestyle and finished 15th in 2:05.32 and qualified for the “B” final. She came back at night to finish second in the “B” final in 2:02.16.

Nguyen has four events left: the 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter breaststroke, 200-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke.

Other event winners were:

Leah Smith of Tucson Ford Aquatics, women’s 200-meter freestyle, 1:57.40, just ahead of Mallory Comerford of Louisville in 1:57.93 and Emily Overholt of HPC Vancouver in 1:57.97.

Trey Freeman of Baylor Swim Club won the men’s 200-meter freestyle in 1:48.00. Markus Thormeyer of HPC Vancouver was second in 1:49.33 and Townley Haas of Nova of Virginia was third in 1:49.83.

American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Team Elite was fourth in 1:50.01. Carter is building up for the July 12-19 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea and July 26-Aug. 11 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Thirty-year-old Brandon Fischer of Livermore won the men’s 100-meter breaststroke in 59.86. He was the only swimmer to break 1 minute. Devon Nowicki of Michigan Lakeshore was second in 1:00.97 and Miguel de Lara Ojeda of Mexico was third in 1:01.15.

Ali DeLoof of Team Elite won the women’s 50-meter backstroke in 28.05 followed by Amy Bilquist of Scottsdale Aquatics in 28.44 and Isabelle Stadden of Aquajets in 28.64.

Justin Ress of Wolfpack Elite won the men’s 50-meter backstroke in 25.05 followed by Olympian Matt Grevers of Tucson Ford Aquatics in 25.21 and Chris Staka of Aptos Cabrillo in 25.57.

Louise Hansson of Trojan Swim Club won the women’s 100-meter butterfly in 57.36, just ahead of Kelsi Worrell Dahlia of the Cardinal Aquatics in 57.45 and Kendyl Stewart of Team Elite in 58.35.

Gianluca Urlando of Dart Swimming won the men’s 100-meter butterfly in 52.20. Giles Smith of Phoenix Swim Club was second in 52.63 and Ryan Coetzee of Tennessee Aquatics was third in 53.57.

Puerto Rico’s Jarod Arroyo of Pitchfork Aquatics won the men’s 400-meter individual medley in 4:21.65. Erick Gordillo of Guatemala was second in 4:27.00 and Brodie Young of UBC Thunderbirds was third in 4:28.18.

The four-day meet continues Friday with prelims and finals.

SOFLO is a TYR-sponsored club. It is the second year TYR is the title sponsor of the pro series. It was the Arena Pro Swim Series for the first three years.

The series offers prize money for first, second and third place finishes. First place earns $1,500, second $1,000 and third place $500.

Cash prizes were increased by at least 50 percent for each prize and a new prelim swim bonus of $1,500 was added for the top swim in prelims for both a male and female. All prize money is distributed by USA Swimming.


What: TYR Pro Swim Series

When: Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m. prelims, 5 p.m. finals, PST.

Where: Clovis North Aquatics Complex, 2770 E. International Ave., Fresno, Calif.

TV/Webcast schedule: June 14, noon and 8 p.m., EST,; 8 p.m.,; June 15, noon, EST, and 8 p.m., or

Of note: This is the fifth and final meet in the 2019 series….the meet is sanctioned by USA Swimming….the meet is capped at 450 swimmers….it is a long course meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at