SOFLO’s Atkinson Qualifies For Olympic Final; Wynter Breaks Own Jamaican National Record


By Sharon Robb

August 8, 2016—-South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson made it to Monday night’s Olympic final in the 100-meter breaststroke late Sunday night at Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.

And, this time around she didn’t need a swim-off to get there.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian, looking for her first Olympic medal, qualified fifth in 1:06.52, tying American Katie Meili.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Atkinson needed a swim-off to get into the final where she just missed a medal by placing fourth.

On Monday night Atkinson has a shot at history against a stellar field that includes 19-year-old American Lily King, the fastest qualifier, 2012 Olympic champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania and Russian 2015 world champion Yulia Efimova, who has tested positive twice for banned substances yet was cleared to compete by the IOC on Saturday.

SOFLO teammate Timothy Wynter of Jamaica, making his Olympic debut in the 100-meter backstroke, finished second in the opening heat in a national record 57.20. Wynter was in Lane 5 in the opening heat with a qualifying time of 57.47, his previous best and national record.

On Day Two, three more world records were broken and Michael Phelps won his 19th gold medal and 23rd medal overall as a member of the winning 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

After Caeleb Dressel’s opening leg of 48.10, a personal best, Phelps, in his Rio debut, swam the second leg in 47.12 to enable Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian to finish the task for the U.S. in 3:09.92. The win avenged its 2012 Olympic loss to France which finished second in 3:10.53 and favorite Australia in 3:11.37.

“We wanted to bring it back to American soil,” Phelps said. “That 2012 loss left a sour taste in my mouth. I wanted to try and do as much as I could. It felt good to get the last 400 free relay of my career and this thing around my neck.”

The first world record of the evening was broken by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom. The three-time Olympian who had never won an Olympic medal, not only took gold, but broke her own world record in the 100-meter butterfly in 55.48. Her previous record was 55.64.

“Look at my smile, I am so happy with this,” Sjostrum said.

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty, 21, broke his own world record and won gold in the 100-meter breaststroke in 57.13. Peaty now owns the seven fastest times in the world in the breaststroke. American Cody Miller broke the American record with his third place of 58.87. Defending Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa was second in 58.69.

As expected, American superstar Katie Ledecky, 19, broke her own world record to win the 400-meter freestyle in 3:56.46, improving her previous mark of 3:58.37.

“I felt so comfortable in the morning that I was really confident I would break it tonight,” Ledecky said. It was her third Olympic medal and second individual gold.

Defending Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer, sixteen months after the birth of her first child, got the medal she wanted, taking third in the 100-meter butterfly in 56.65, two seconds faster than she swam a nationals.

“I am so happy with it,” Vollmer said. “All I wanted was to get a medal. To be here again is exciting.”

DAY THREE, MONDAY

AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 200-meter freestyle heats; 12:32 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly heats; 12:54 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley.

EVENING SESSION: 9:12 p.m., Women’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:21 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle final; 9:30 p.m., Women’s 100-meter backstroke final; 9:38 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke final; 9:54 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke final; 10:07 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly semifinals; 10:33 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Murillo-Valdes Breaks Colombian National Record In Olympic Debut; Atkinson Begins Medal Quest Sunday


By Sharon Robb

August 7, 2016—-South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jorge Murillo-Valdes made a great first impression in his Olympic debut.

Murillo-Valdes, 24, broke the Colombian national record in the 100-meter breaststroke in a lifetime-best 59.93 during the heats of opening day swimming action Saturday at Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Barra Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro.

It was the first time Murillo-Valdes cracked the minute barrier.

Late Saturday night, Murillo-Valdes was unable to advance past the semifinals finishing in 1:00.81.

On Sunday, SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson begins her medal hunt in the 100-meter breaststroke in the afternoon heats and late night semifinals.

SOFLO teammate Timothy Wynter, also of Jamaica, will make his Olympic debut in the 100-meter backstroke. He will be in Lane 5 in the opening heat with a qualifying time of 57.47.

Three world records, two individual and one relay, were broken on Day One.

In his first Olympic race, Great Britain’s Adam Peaty, 21, lowered his world record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 57.55.

With a .55 reaction time off the blocks, Peaty was under his own world record by 3/10ths of a second at the turn. In the semifinals, Peaty qualified for Sunday’s final in 57.62. He now owns the six fastest breaststroke times in history.

“I am not very sure how to explain the world record,” Peaty said. “The job is not done yet. You never know what’s going to happen in each race. I felt pretty good and easy.”

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, who trained in Fort Lauderdale during a training camp before the Olympics, got her first career Olympic gold medal while breaking her own world record in an incredible show of sheer strength and speed.

Hosszu won in 4:26.36. She was five seconds ahead of the record halfway through the race. The previous record was 4:28.43 set in 2012.

“I didn’t think I would go 26, but I knew I would be much faster than in the morning,” Hosszu said. “I haven’t been able to process what just happened.”

Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, the race favorite, won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:06.05, the first gold for Japan in this event. Hagino ended the U.S. streak in the 400 IM at five straight Olympic gold medals. Teammate Daiya Seto took the bronze in 4:09.71.

Australia bounced back from a disappointing 2012 London Olympics, winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle and women’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

Mack Horton knocked off China’s defending gold medalist Sun Yang, 3:41.55-3:41.68. Italian Gabriele Detti was third in 3:43.89. Americans Conor Dwyer (3:44.01) and Connor Jaeger (3:44.16) were fourth and fifth respectively.

To cap off an exciting, but late opening night of swimming, the Aussies 4×100-meter freestyle relay broke its own world record in 3:30.65. The previous record was 3:30.98. Relay members were Emma McKeon, Brittany Elmslie and sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell.

The American relay of Simone Manuel, Abbey Weitzeil, Dana Vollmer and Katie Ledecky took the silver in a new American record of 3:31.89. Vollmer was coming off the butterfly semifinals. The Canadians, with Sandrine Manville and Chantal Van Landeghem, who trained at Pine Crest during a camp, took the bronze.

In other events:

American Chase Kalisz of North Baltimore took the silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley in a personal best time of 4:06.75 in his Olympic debut.

U.S. teammate Maya DiRado won silver in the 400-meter individual medley. “It’s unbelievable, I had so much fun in that race,” she said. “It was an unbelievable experience. Kudos to Katinka, she crushed it.”

In a shocker, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell failed to make the final of the 100-meter butterfly. Worrell was long into the finish and was fourth in her semifinal and finished ninth overall in 57.54.

DAY TWO, SUNDAY SCHEDULE:

Afternoon Session: Noon, Women’s 100 backstroke heats; 12:17 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle heats; 12:54 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke heats; 1:14 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke heats; 1:31 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle heats; 2:03 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay heats.

Evening Session: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 100-meter butterfly final; 9:08 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:26 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke semifinals; 9:53 p.m., Men’s 100-meter breaststroke final; 10:01 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle final; 10:09 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:33 p.m., Women’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:54 p.m., 4×100-meter freestyle relay final.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Ready For Olympic Glory


By Sharon Robb

August 4, 2016—No one is more deserving or more ready to hang an Olympic medal around her neck than Alia Atkinson.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer started her journey as a 15-year-old junior at Flanagan High School when she made her first Olympic team.

“I was going to the 2004 Olympics asking myself ‘what is that?’”

Twelve years later, the world-class swimmer will make her fourth Olympic appearance for Jamaica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this weekend.

Atkinson competes Sunday afternoon in the heats of the 100-meter breaststroke, her signature event, at 1 p.m. EST. The semifinals are Sunday night at 10 p.m. and finals Monday night at 10 p.m.

For two weeks at SOFLO’s home base, Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines, Atkinson did her pre-Olympic workouts, 8-10 p.m. instead of the morning to simulate the time change, competition schedule and conditions of Rio de Janeiro.

Atkinson, 27, is among medal favorites and it shows in her attitude and training.

“Now, there is a difference physically and mentally and even bigger difference experience-wise, but I am still going to feel like that little girl in 2004.”

Atkinson is joined by her longtime coach Chris Anderson and SOFLO teammates Timothy Wynter of Jamaica and Jorge Murillo Valdes of Colombia.

Atkinson’s story is the dream of every young swimmer and also prototype for every young swimmer.

Atkinson has been training with SOFLO since she was 13, three years after her family moved to Pembroke Pines. Two years later, she competed at her first Olympics in Athens, Greece for the experience.

After an outstanding high school career at Flanagan she earned a full scholarship to Texas A&M where she won an NCAA title. At 19, she competed at her second Olympics in Beijing, where she finished 25th in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Atkinson became a serious medal contender at the 2012 London Olympics where she won a swim-off to advance into her first Olympic final. She just missed a medal placing fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Now a world short course record holder, World Championship, Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games and World Cup champion, Atkinson could become Jamaica’s first Olympic medalist in swimming.

“I haven’t changed that much since my first Olympics,” Atkinson said. “I definitely look at the Olympics as another meet. I like to keep it simple. I have always been that way.

“Chris is the same way. He never makes it this big, great achievement when I do something in swimming, even with the world record. He will tell me I did a good job or good meet and down plays what I am doing and I appreciate that.”

When the Jamaican swimming federation failed to give her the traditional Olympic ring like every other country does for its athletes, Anderson presented her with one at SOFLO’s banquet.

“I never realized how big a role Chris has played,” Atkinson said. “I have not given him enough credit over the years. I depend on him.”

Atkinson is in the best shape of her life going into the Olympics. She has been working with weight trainer Kenneth Moore “who whipped me into sprinter shape,” she said.

“For the other three Olympics I was still battling physical issues to see where I was strong, whether I was using the correct weights and regimen. My trainer has helped me to fine tune and switched my ideology when it comes to training.”

Atkinson has gained confidence throughout the years. She is mentally tougher than she has been in past Olympics.

“For me I was always battling my own enemies,” she said. “In 2004 and 2008, deep down I didn’t think I was worthy of making the Olympics. I felt like a filler.

“I think I was too hard on myself. I believe in myself now. I made the “A” cut and I am a contender for the podium. This is a big achievement. Now I have the opportunity to be at the top of the top in my country. It is a pretty big deal. There was a time I didn’t feel that way.”

At 27, Atkinson never dreamed she would still be in the sport. She has a handful of sponsors including Speedo, Rainforest Sea Foods and Grace Kennedy Money Services which have helped with the costs of training and travelling to meets.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to still be here, I never thought I would still be swimming,” Atkinson said.

She has become an inspiration in Jamaica and has helped the growth of swimming among youngsters despite the overwhelming popularity of track and field.

“I think the people of Jamaica see what I stand for, they associate with me and feel they have that fighting spirit,” Atkinson said. “I work hard. They see me on the starting block no matter what the obstacles are trying harder.”

With three days to go, Atkinson is eager to race.

“Sometimes my mind runs on the idea that this could be a medal,” Atkinson said. “And then I think, ‘okay, I have gotten medals before.’ But this is Olympic time.

“I don’t want to say I should have done this or should have done that. As an athlete I have to be okay, I have to be content with what I do.

“Months out I was more anxious and then I went through the worried stage and then the confidence stage. Now it’s this meet needs to get over stage. I know I can swim well. It’s that kind of confidence I need to have on race day. I want to touch the wall, think to myself ‘it is done’ and have a sense of relief wash over me.”

BROWARD, DADE OLYMPIC SWIMMERS

Marcelo Acosta, Azura Aquatics, El Salvador

Gianluca Alberani, Azura Aquatics, El Salvador, coach

Chris Anderson, South Florida Aquatic Club, Jamaica coach

Heather Arseth, University of Miami, Mauritius

Alia Atkinson, Flanagan, Jamaica

Dylan Carter, Plantation American Heritage, Trinidad & Tobago

Randy Horner, Florida International, Botswana, coach

Jorge Murillo-Valdes, South Florida Aquatic Club, Colombia

Jhonny Perez, Azura Florida Aquatics, Dominican Republic

Naomi Ruele, Florida International, Botswana

Jay Thomas, Plantation, USA Swimming official

Renzo Tjon-A-Joe, Westlake Prep, Surinam

David Van Der Colff, Nova Southeastern, Botswana

Timothy Wynter, South Florida Aquatic Club, Jamaica

OLYMPIC SWIM SCHEDULE

DAY I, SATURDAY:

Afternoon Session: noon, Men 400-meter individual medley heats; 12:26 p.m., Women 100-meter butterfly heats; 12:46 p.m., Men 400-meter freestyle heats; 2:02 p.m., 1:30 p.m., Women 400-meter individual medley; 2:02 p.m., Men 100-meter breaststroke heats; 2:22 p.m., Women 4×100 freestyle relay heats.

Evening Session: 9:03 p.m., Men 400-meter individual medley final; 9:11 p.m., Women’s 100-meter butterfly semifinal; 9:30 p.m., Men 400-meter freestyle final; 9:49 p.m., Women 400-meter individual medley final; 10:05 p.m., Women 100-meter breaststroke semifinal; 10:24 p.m., Women 4×100-meter freestyle relay final.

DAY 2, SUNDAY:

Afternoon Session: Noon, Women’s 100 backstroke heats; 12:17 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle heats; 12:54 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke heats; 1:14 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke heats; 1:31 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle heats; 2:03 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay heats.

Evening Session: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 100-meter butterfly final; 9:08 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:26 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke semifinals; 9:53 p.m., Men’s 100-meter breaststroke final; 10:01 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle final; 10:09 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:33 p.m., Women’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:54 p.m., 4×100-meter freestyle relay final.

DAY 3, MONDAY:

AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 200-meter freestyle heats; 12:32 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly heats; 12:54 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley.

EVENING SESSION: 9:12 p.m., Women’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:21 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle final; 9:30 p.m., Women’s 100-meter backstroke final; 9:38 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke final; 9:54 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke final; 10:07 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly semifinals; 10:33 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley.

DAY 4: TUESDAY

AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Men’s 100-meter freestyle heats; 12:26 p.m., Women’s 200-meter butterfly heats; 12:48 p.m., Men’s 200-meter breaststroke heats; 1:15 p.m., 4×200-meter freestyle relay heats.

EVENING SESSION: 9 p.m., 100-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:19 p.m., Women’s 200-meter freestyle final; 9:28 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly final; 9:34 p.m., Women’s 200-meter butterfly semifinals; 10 p.m., Men’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinals; 10:29 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley final; 10:38 p.m., Men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay final.

DAY 5: WEDNESDAY

AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 100-meter freestyle heats; 12:23 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke heats; 12:45 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke; 1:07 p.m., Men’s 200-meter individual medley; 1:29 p.m., Women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Men’s 200-meter breaststroke final; 9:09 p.m., Women’s 100-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:25 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals; 954 p.m., Women’s 200-meter butterfly final; 10:03 p.m., Men’s 100-meter freestyle final; 10:08 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinals; 10:55 p.m., Women’s 4×200-eter freestyle relay.

DAY 6: THURSDAY

AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 800-meter freestyle heat, Men’s 50-meter freestyle heats; 12:26 p.m., Women’s 800-meter freestyle heats; 1:14 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly heats; 1:34 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke heats.

EVENING SESSION: 9 p.m., Men’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:17 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke final; 9:26 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke final; 9:32 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:01 p.m., Men’s 200-meter individual medley final; 10:18 p.m., Women’s 100-meter freestyle final; 10:31 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly semifinals.

DAY 7: FRIDAY

AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 50-meter freestyle heats; 12:38 p.m., Men’s 1500-meter freestyle heats; 2:28 p.m., Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay heats; 2:46 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter medley relay heats.

EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke final; 9:12 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly final; 9:20 p.m., Women’s 800-meter freestyle final; 9:44 p.m., Men’s 50-meter freestyle final; 9:56 p.m., Women’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals.

DAY 8: SATURDAY

EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 50-meter freestyle final; 9:11 p.m., Men’s 1500-meter freestyle; 9:49 p.m., Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay final; 10:04 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter medley relay final.

Open water swimming is Aug. 15, Monday, 8 a.m., Women’s 10K; Aug. 16, Tuesday, 8 a.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Timothy Wynter Makes Olympic “B” Standard, Third SOFLO Swimmer Headed To Rio


By Sharon Robb

June 30, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Timothy Wynter of Jamaica made his Olympic “B” cut with three days to spare Thursday night at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships in Nassau.

Wynter, 19, finished second in the 18-and-under 100-meter backstroke in a lifetime-best and national record 56.15, under the “B” cut of 56.26. The “A” cut is 54.36.

Wynter, a freshman at University of Southern California, shaved 0.83 seconds off his previous best of 56.98 and will be joining SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson on the Jamaican Olympic team and SOFLO teammate Jorge Murillo Valdes of Colombia in Rio.

Dylan Carter, 19, of Trinidad and Tobago won the backstroke event in 56.05.

The FINA qualifying period to make time standards for the 2016 Olympics runs from March 1, 2015 through July 3, 2016.

As a refresher on qualifying, for a country to qualify two swimmers in an event, both swimmers must beat the designated “A” cut time.

Otherwise, a country will be held to just one swimmer in the event if one meets the “B” cut, or is brought in on a “universality” placement up to 900 total athletes. Wynter is Jamaica’s best backstroker.

Wynter won the non-Olympic event 50-meter backstroke in 26.47, also a best time, bettering his previous best of 26.52 on Wednesday. Wynter will compete in the 200-meter backstroke on Saturday.

At last week’s RBC Bahamas National Championships, Wynter lowered his national record in 56.28, just .02 of a second off the Olympic standard. His previous mark was 56.98 he swam a month ago at the Validus Bermuda National Championships, where he became the first Jamaican under 57 seconds in the event.

At one point in his career, Wynter held all the records in the 50, 100 and 200-meter backstroke events in the 11-12, 13-14, 15-17 and senior national records.

Wynter has represented Jamaica at the CARIFTA Games, Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships, CCCAN, World Junior Championships, Youth Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games in Canada and World Championships in Russia.

And now he can add the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics to his impressive resume.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO Swimmers Medal On Final Night Of Validus Bermuda National Championships


By Sharon Robb

May 22, 2016—Claire Donahue and Timothy Wynter led South Florida Aquatic Club’s medal haul on the fourth and final night of the Validus Bermuda National Long Course Championships Sunday at the National Aquatic Centre in Hamilton.

Donahue, 27, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, won her signature event, the 100-meter butterfly in 59.93. She was the only swimmer in the field to crack one minute.

Timothy Wynter, 20, of Jamaica won the 100-meter backstroke in 57.42.

Kile Aukerman, 23, took a second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.90 and was third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:25.99.

Alina Schulhofer, 21, of Austria was second in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:07.23.

Bermuda national record holder Lisa Blackburn, 44, was second in a 50-meter time trials in 26.92 and was third in the actual event in 26.89.

The meet was sanctioned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, as one of the last few qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and also served as a final qualifier for the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.

SUNDAY RESULTS

WOMEN

50-meter freestyle time trial:

1. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 26.48, 2. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 26.92.

200-meter freestyle:

1. Kayla Sanchez, Canada 2:06.62, 2. Alina Schulhofer, SOFLO 2:07.23, 3. Octavia Lau, Canada 2:09.86.

100-meter butterfly:

1. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 59.93, 2. Jade Hannah, Canada 1:03.74, 3. Jessica Luo, Canada 1:05.40.

50-meter freestyle:

1. Rebecca Heyliger, Sharks 26.16, 2. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 26.58, 3. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 26.89.

MEN

50-meter breaststroke:

1. Azad Al-Barazi, Trojan Swim Club 28.82, 2. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 29.90, 3. Ethan Daley, Sharks 34.31.

100-meter backstroke:

1. Timothy Wynter, SOFLO 57.42, 2. Ethan Fazekas, Canada 1:04.36, 3. Brett Smith, Harbor Amateur Swim Club 1:09.54

200-meter breaststroke:

1. Azad Al-Barazi, Trojan Swim Club 2:17.66, 2. Julian Fletcher, Sharks 2:21.03, 3. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 2:25.99.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Donahue, Wynter Win, Blackburn Swims Best Times At Validus Bermuda National Championships


By Sharon Robb

May 21, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Claire Donahue was a double winner Saturday night at the Validus Bermuda National Long Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Hamilton.

The 2012 U.S. Olympic gold medalist won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:18.28 and 50-meter butterfly in 28.33.

Jamaican Timothy Wynter won the 200-meter backstroke in a best time 2:06.69.

Kile Aukerman was third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:04.93.

Bermuda six-time long course national record holder Lisa Blackburn, 44, was third in the 100-meter freestyle in 58.52. She swam back-to-back best times in prelims (59.00) and finals. Her previous best was 1:00.12, a 1.60-second drop.

Blackburn was second in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:11.93, also a best time. Her seed time was 1:12.11. She holds the national record in the event in 1:11.27.

At 44, Blackburn is the oldest swimmer in the four-day meet that concludes on Sunday.

The meet has been sanctioned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, as one of the last few qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will also serve as a final qualifier for the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.

Swimmers from Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, Guam, Syria, Jamaica, Austria, El Salvador, Venezuela and U.S. are expected to compete. Nine swim clubs are entered.

SATURDAY RESULTS

WOMEN

400-meter freestyle:

1. Kayla Sanchez, Canada 4:26.54, 2. Octavia Lau, Canada 4:26.66, 3. Jessica Luo, Canada 4:40.07.

100-meter freestyle:

1. Kayla Sanchez, Canada 57.14, 2. Rebecca Heyliger, Sharks 57.58, 3. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 58.52, best time.

200-meter butterfly:

1. Claire Donahue, SOFLO 2:18.28, 2. Maria Far Nunez, LaSalle Swim Team 2:19.29.

200-meter backstroke:

1. Jade Hannah, Canada 2:17.41, 2. Shannon Hassell, Sharks 2:31.09, 3. Emily Quarterly, HASC 3:02.86.

50-meter butterfly:

1. Claire Donahue. SOFLO 28.33, 2. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 29.12, 3. Vanessa Esposito, HASC 30.25.

100-meter breaststroke:

1. Faith Knelson, Canada 1:09.95, 2. Lisa Blackburn, SOFLO 1:11.93, best time, 3. Pilar Shimizu, MSC 1:20.06.

MEN

400-meter freestyle:

1. Ruslan Gaziev, Canada 4:12.04, 2. Mackenzie Flowers, Canada 4:14.25, 3. Joshua Young, Canada 4:16.89.

200-meter backstroke:

1. Timothy Wynter, SOFLO 2:06.69, best time, 2. Brett Smith, HASC 2:24.16, 3. Tai Long Singh, Canada 2:26.75.

100-meter breaststroke:

1. Azad Al-Barazi, Trojan Swim Club 1:01.15, 2. Julian Fletcher, Sharks 1:02.47, 3. Kile Aukerman, SOFLO 1:04.93.

50-meter backstroke:

1. Jesse Washington, Sharks 29.46, 2. Evan Farrow, HASC 32.76. 3. Vaughn Rowse, Sharks 32.91.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO Swimmers Advance Into Three Finals At Validus Bermuda National Championships


By Sharon Robb

May 20, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club had three swimmers qualify for finals Friday night at the Validus Bermuda National Long Course Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Hamilton.

In the 50-meter backstroke prelims, Timothy Wynter, 20, was the top qualifier in 28.00 for Saturday night’s final.

In the mixed 100-meter backstroke qualifying time trial, Wynter was top finisher in 56.98, dropping 0.68 off his entry time of 57.66.

Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue, 27, earned the No. 1 seed in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.71 for Saturday night’s finals.

Alina Schulhofer, 21, of Austria was third-fastest qualifier in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:06.75 behind Kayla Sanchez, 14, (2:05.20) and Octavia Lau, 14, (2:06.61) both of the Canadian National Youth Team. The 200 finals are Sunday.

Two other SOFLO ProFlo swimmers, led by Bermuda national record holder Lisa Blackburn, are also competing in the four-day meet. Blackburn, 44, one of the oldest swimmers in the meet is swimming the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley. American Kile Aukerman, 23, is swimming the 50, 100 and 200-meter breaststroke. Both race on Saturday.

In the highlight event of the night, Rafa Alfaro, 24, of El Salvador and Trojan Swim Club, won the 400-meter individual medley in a best time 4:28.26.

The meet has been sanctioned by FINA, the sport’s international governing body, as one of the last few qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will also serve as a final qualifier for the Caribbean Island Swimming Championships.

Swimmers from Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, Guam, Syria, Jamaica, Austria, El Salvador, Venezuela and U.S. are expected to compete. Nine swim clubs are entered.

FRIDAY FINAL RESULTS

WOMEN

400-meter individual medley:

12-and-under, 1. Taylor White, Harbor Amateur Swim Club 5:58.12; 13-and-over, 1. Kayla Sanchez, Canadian National Youth Team 5:00.11, 2. Faith Knelson, Canadian National Youth Team 5:03.54, 3. Maria Far Nunez, LaSalle Swim Team 5:06.80.

MEN

400-meter individual medley:

12-and-under, 1. Sam Williamson, Sharks 5:44.45; 13-and-over, 1. Rafa Alfaro, Trojan Swim Club 4:28.26, 2. Joshua Young, Canadian National Youth Team 4:41.85, 3. Mackenzie Flowers, Canadian National Youth Team 4:56.24.

Mixed 100-meter butterfly qualifying time trial:

1.Roberto Gomez, Unattached 54.38.

Mixed 100-meter backstroke qualifying time trial:

1.Timothy Wynter, SOFLO 56.98, 2. Brian Desmond, Sharks 1:19.81.

Mixed 50-meter freestyle qualifying time trial:

1.Roy-Allan Burch, Sharks 23.50, 2. Madelyn Moore, Sharks 26.58.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com