Caribbean Swimmers Crooks, Carter Make History At FINA Short Course World Championships; Meilutyte Takes Down Atkinson’s World Record In Semifinals

By Sharon Robb
MELBOURNE, Australia, December 17, 2022—It was a historical day for Caribbean swimmers Saturday night at the 16th FINA Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.

University of Tennessee’s Jordan Crooks won the Cayman Islands’ first-ever gold medal at the world championships after winning the men’s 50-meter freestyle in 20.46.

Crooks, who grew up swimming in a 25-meter pool in the Cayman Islands, knocked off British defending champion Ben Proud and Australia’s Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers.

It was the first time since 1999 that a male swimmer from the Caribbean won a World short course gold medal when Rodolfo Falcon of Cuba won the 50 and 100 backstroke in Hong Kong.

Brooks was joined on the podium by another Caribbean swimmer, Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago who took third in 20.72. It was the first medal for the Plantation American Heritage alum at worlds after two other attempts. Carter is only the second swimmer from his homeland to win a medal at worlds.

“I definitely had a bit of fire in me I wanted to come and show my hand in finals and I am very happy with how it played out,” Crooks said.

“I think it means a lot. The Cayman Islands is a very special place. I wouldn’t have grown up in any other place. I am very grateful for everything they have done for me as a person and swimmer.

“I hope it shows any little kid out there that may doubt themselves and may think that because they don’t have a specific resource that they might not be able to do it that it is possible. There is no set way of doing things, you can carve your own path.”

Carter had won this event at all three Swimming World Cup stops. His fellow countryman George Bovell won a bronze medal in the 100 IM in 2012. It was his nation’s fourth medal at worlds.

“I am happy to come away with something coming down here,” Carter said. “It was really fun. Proud of Jordan, you know, to have two Caribbean athletes in the men’s 50 final – that’s brand new. So both of us on the podium…that’s massive for the region and for serving the region, especially in the men’s 50 freestyle, which is, you know, arguably the fastest, well the fastest event in the pool so proud of that.”

Three more world records tumbled on Saturday with Australia and Italy breaking them in the women’s and men’s 4×50-meter medley relay. Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte broke the 50-meter breaststroke world record in the semifinals in 28.37, taking 2/10ths off SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson’s world record of 28.56 set in 2018.

Australia (Mollie O’Callaghan, Chelsea Hodges, Emma McKeon and Madison Wilson) won the women’s relay in 1:42.35, 3/100ths off the 2018 record the U.S. set. The U.S. took silver in 1:42.41 with Claire Curzan, Lilly King, Torri Huske and Kate Douglass.

Italy’s team of Lorenzo Mora, Nicolo Martinenghi, Matteo Rivolta and Leonardo Deplano set the world record at 1:29.72, lowering their own mark of 1:30.14 from last year to become the first team faster than 90 seconds in the relay.

Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri won the inaugural title in the 800-meter freestyle in 7:29.99.

American Hali Flickinger won the 400-meter individual medley in 4:26.51 for her first individual gold of worlds.

Japan’s Daiya Seto also made history with his six-peat in the men’s 400-meter individual medley in 3:55.75, the fastest of any of his six gold medals in the event. His streak began in 2012 when he was only 18.

Aussie Emma McKeon won her second gold medal of the night in the 50-meter freestyle in 23.04, an Oceania record.

In his final appearance at the meet, South Florida Aquatic Club’s 2020 Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego finished the 50-meter breaststroke prelims in 27.71.

The meet, which ends Sunday, is being live streamed on FINA’s YouTube channel. Meet prelims are 7 p.m. EST. Finals each day are 3:30 a.m. EST. Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Three More World Records Broken; SOFLO’s Julio Horrego Swims Final Event; Azura Swimmers Break National Records At FINA Short Course World Championships

By Sharon Robb
MELBOURNE, Australia, December 16, 2022—Three world records fell and Aussie Lani Pallister and Americans Ryan Murphy and Kate Douglass won gold medals Friday at the 16th FINA Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.

France won its first gold medal at worlds when it dominated its mixed freestyle relay broke the world record in 1:27.33, breaking the previous mark of 1:27.89 set by the U.S. in 2018.

The foursome of Maxime Grousset (20.92), Florent Manaudou (20.26), Beryl Gastaldello (23.00), and Melanie Henique (23.15) won by 7/10ths of a second over the Aussies.

“I haven’t been at the top of the podium since 2015,” said Manaudou. “I had 19 major medals and now I have 20. I like the number 20 more. I appreciate all those earlier medals even more today than I did before.

“At the end of the race, I understood that we were going to win, but I was not yet thinking about the world record. When I saw that we were breaking the world record, I exploded with joy.”

Douglass won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:15.77 ahead of U.S. teammate Lilly King in 2:17.13.

Japan’s Daiya Seto won the men’s 200-meter breaststroke in an Asian record 2:00.35. Defending champion Nic Fink took silver in 2:01.60.

Canadian Maggie MacNeil broke her own world record in the 50-meter backstroke with strong underwater kicks in 25.25, lowering her previous record of 25.27.

“I’m ecstatic, I knew it would be hard to swim a best time,” MacNeil said. “I just really wanted to see the improvement, even just a couple of hundredths. Swimming Canada has definitely risen over the past few years and to see this tonight is amazing. It’s great to bring this medal back to Canada.”

Bolles alum Ryan Murphy won the 50-meter backstroke in 22.64 in a bizarre situation. Initially, it was Australia’s Isaac Cooper who touched the wall first, but due to the sound error, the race had to be re-swum an hour later in the session. Cooper finished second to Murphy in 22.73.

“It was definitely an interesting last hour,” Murphy said. “On the first start, we all heard the double beep and you know you just have to go if you are swimming in a world championship final…you just have to finish that race. But after the turn, I hit the wall and I felt that the wedge was still in. I thought “Oh shoot, we have to do that one again.”

Marrit Steenbergen of the Netherlands won the 100-meter individual medley in 57.53 to carry on the rich tradition of the Dutch in the event. Italy’s Thomas Ceccon won the 100 IM in 50.97.

Aussie Lani Pallister won her third gold medal in the 1500 freestyle in 15:21.43. Legendary Dawn Fraser, a three-time Olympic champion in the 100 freestyle, presented Pallister with her gold medal.

The U.S. men’s 4×200-meter freestyle finished the day’s schedule with a world record in 6:44.12. The foursome of Kieran Smith (1:41.04), Carson Foster (1:40.48), Trenton Julian (1:41.44) and Drew Kibler (1:41.16) took nearly three seconds off the world record that Brazil set in 2018 at 6:46.81.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s 2020 Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego swims his second and final event Saturday in the 50-meter breaststroke. He competed in the 100 breaststroke earlier in the week.

Two-time Olympian Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago made it through the semifinal round of the 50-meter freestyle and missed out on a medal in the 50-meter backstroke. The Plantation American Heritage alum finished seventh in the sprint backstroke in 23.12. He was fifth fastest qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle in 20.94 for Saturday’s final. Jordan Crooks of the Cayman Islands was top qualifier in 20.31.

Azura Florida Aquatics had three swimmers set national records. Steven Aimable of Senegal swam 22.42 in the 50 freestyle. Leon Seaton of Guyana swam 26.65 in the 50 freestyle. Nicole Frank of Uruguay swam 2:26.44 in the 200 breaststroke.

The meet, which ends Sunday, is being live streamed on FINA’s YouTube channel. Meet prelims are 7 p.m. EST. Finals each day are 3:30 a.m. EST. Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Australia, Italy Break World Records; Dylan Carter Finishes Second In Butterfly Semifinals On Day One Of FINA Short Course World Championships

By Sharon Robb
MELBOURNE, Australia, December 13, 2022—In front of its hometown crowd, Australia dominated opening day action at the 16th FINA Short Course World Championships Tuesday at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.

Two world records were broken by Australia’s women and Italy’s men relay teams.

Australia women’s 400-meter freestyle relay broke the first world record of the meet with Emma McKeon splitting the fastest 100 ever on anchor leg (in 49.96).

The U.S. was in the lead until the final 50 meters when the Aussies went on to win in 3:25.43. The foursome of Mollie O’Callaghan, Madison Wilson, Meg Harris and McKeon broke the previous record of 3:26.53 set in 2014 by the Netherlands. The U.S. (Torri Huske, Kate Douglas, Claire Curzan, Erika Brown) was second in 3:26.29.

“For me it was just about getting my hand on the wall and then looking to see that we had not only won but also set a world record,” McKeon said.

Added Madi Wilson, “To be able to do this in front of a home crowd was absolutely amazing. Thank you Australia.”

The Italian foursome of Alessandro Miressi, Paolo Conte Bonin, Leonardo Deplano and Thomas Ceccon with a 45.13 anchor split broke the second world record in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay in 3:02.75, lowering the Americans’ record set in 2018. It was the first time the Italians won the event since 2006.

“We talked about the world record and then we went out and swam a world record,” Ceccon said.

Aussie Lani Pallister won the first gold medal of the meet in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:55.04. Her mother, Janelle Elford competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

“My parents are in the stands and winning this first medal in front of a home crowd in Australia is special,” Pallister said.

“It was an amazing day and I was very very nervous this morning. I just wanted to be sure that Australia had a fun night tonight. It was the coolest environment. At the 300 mark I realized that I had legs and I made sure to use them and take a stab at the gold medal.”

American Kate Douglass won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:02.12 ahead of long course world champion Alex Walsh in 2:03.37. Douglass and Walsh train together at University of Virginia.

“It’s definitely nerve wracking to be racing in the first swim of the meet so to be able to swim well is honestly an awesome feeling,” Douglass said.

South African Matthew Sates won the men’s 200-meter individual medley in a national record 1:50.15, second fastest on the all-time list behind Ryan Locjte (1:49.63). American favorite Shaine Casas was a disappointing fourth in 1:51.31.

“I genuinely don’t know what to say,” Sates said. “I’m so pleased with this swim and want to thank everyone for coming out to watch us race. I swam this race, especially for my Mom and I want to thank my friends and my family.”

Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri came from behind to won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:16.88 ahead of Henrik Christinsen.

Plantation American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago, silver medalist in last year’s meet in Abu Dhabi, won his heat and was second fastest qualifier in the men’s 50-meter butterfly semifinals in 22.02. World record holder Szebasztian Szabo was top qualifier in 21.90, just 0.15 off the world record. The finals are early Wednesday morning at 3:30 a.m.

2020 Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego, 24, of SOFLO will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke prelims on Wednesday.

The meet, which ends Sunday, is being live streamed on FINA’s YouTube channel. Meet prelims are 7 p.m. EST. Finals each day are 3:30 a.m. EST. Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Five South Florida, Florida Gold Coast Swimmers Will Compete At Commonwealth Games

By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, England, July 26, 2022–Five swimmers with South Florida and Florida Gold Coast connections will compete in the XXII Commonwealth Games at Sandwell Aquatic Center.

The meet begins Friday and ends Wednesday, August 3.

Azura Florida Aquatics is sending three swimmers: St. Andrew’s School alum Sidrell Williams of Jamaica, Kito Campbell of Jamaica and Jayhan Odlum-Smith of St. Lucia.

Two-time Olympian Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago and Plantation American Heritage alum and St. Andrew’s School alum and Florida State’s Izaak Bastian of the Bahamas will also compete.

Seven reigning world champions will compete including Ben Proud, Elijah Winnington, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Mollie O’Callaghan, Kylie Masse, Kaylee McKeown and Summer McIntosh.

Other notables competing are Adam Peaty, Ariarne Titmus, Emma McKeon, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Duncan Scott and Maggie MacNeil.

The Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place at Alexander Stadium on Thursday with all 72 countries within the Commonwealth. While the Closing Ceremony is scheduled to take place on 8 August 2022, with all 72 countries returning to Alexander Stadium.

Commonwealth Games Federation’s Executive Board has included 3 new sports namely Women’s T20 cricket, beach volleyball, and Para table tennis for the 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games.

ESPN, BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will live stream the events on their platforms. Prelims are 10:30 a.m. local time (5:30 a.m. EST) and finals 7 p.m. (2 p.m. EST).

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Alia Atkinson Named FINA Athletes’ Committee Chair; Dylan Carter Selected For Committee

By Sharon Robb
BUDAPEST, Hungary, June 30, 2022—Five-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson was elected the first-ever chair of FINA’s Athletes’ Committee at the 19th FINA World Aquatics Championships.

The former longtime South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer was among 20 athletes elected by their peers from their aquatic sport with six athletes later appointed and six others named honorary members by FINA, the international swimming federation. The sports represented are synchronized swimming, diving, high diving, open water swimming, swimming and water polo.

Atkinson, a four-time gold medalist at the World Swimming Championships (25-meters), will serve a four-year term. Voting took place by electronic ballots throughout the championships. Atkinson, 33, and six others ran unopposed.

“Today marks another significant step forward for both FINA and all aquatics athletes,” Atkinson said. “The Athletes’ Committee will act as a critical link between athletes and FINA.

“Having the athlete community choose those who represent them in important decisions is critical for the future development of our beloved sport.”

Atkinson’s final competitive meet was the 2021 15th FINA Short Course World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

British diver Jack Laugher, a three-time Olympic medalist, was named vice-chair of the committee.

The elected contingent includes nine other swimmers: former Plantation American Heritage swimmer Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago; Therese Alshammar of Sweden, Ireland’s Shane Ryan, Hong Kong’s Siobhán Haughey, Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan, Australia’s Jessica Hansen, Papua New Guinea’s Ryan Pini, Uganda’s Jamila Nsibambi Lunkuse and Matthew Sates of South Africa.

The second diving representative elected was Maria Polyakova of Russia, a former European champion in the women’s 1-meter springboard.

Synchronized swimming is represented by Egypt’s Nehal Saafan and Bill May of the U.S. Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha, who used to train in Davie, and the Netherlands’ Ferry Weertman will represent open water swimming.

Anna Bader of Germany and Alain Kohl of Luxembourg were elected to represent high diving, along with water polo players Margarita Plevritou of Greece and Felipe Perrone Rocha of Spain.

“Athletes are the heartbeat of aquatics,” said FINA President Husain Al-Musallam. “There is no sport without athletes. This is why I am so proud to be part of these historic elections.

“With equal gender representation and athletes from all six continents across all disciplines, I have no doubt that those elected will strengthen and promote the athletes’ voice for the benefit of the entire aquatics community.”

Britain’s three-time Olympic and eight-time World Championship swimming gold medalist Adam Peaty was among the six current athletes appointed by Al-Musallam to join the Athletes’ Committee. Hungary’s Dániel Gyurta and Italy’s Federica Pellegrini are also set to serve on the panel as elected members of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission.

The Athletes’ Committee is responsible for offering input into the organization of the World Championships and the development of technical rules, and is designed to serve as the “athletes’ voice in aquatics sport”.

This is Musallam’s first World Championships as President, which was marked by FINA’s decision to require transgender athletes to have completed transition by the age of 12 to be eligible for women’s events.

OPEN WATER SWIMMING: Florida’s Anna Auld Seventh In 25K

Brazilian Ana Cunha, who once trained in Davie, won a close race in the women’s 25K at the 19th FINA World Championships in 5:24:15.0. She was followed by Lea Boy of Germany, 5:24:15.2 and Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands, 5:24:15.3. University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach, representing the U.S., was seventh in 5:26:25 among a field of 15 swimmers.

Italy’s Dario Verani won the men’s 25K title in 5:02:21 followed by Axel Raymond of France, 5:02:22 and Hungary’s Peter Galicz, 5:02:35. Azura’s Maximiliano Paccot of Uruguay was unable to finish after swimming for 1:34:08 among a field of 25 swimmers.

In the men’s 10K, Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy’s won in 1:50:56 followed by teammate Domencio Acerenza, 1:50:58 and Germany’s Florian Wellbrock, 1:51:11. Azura’s Jahir Lopez of Ecuador was 46th in 2:03:23 and Maximiliano Paccot of Uruguay was 48th in 2:05:01.

In the women’s 10K, Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands won in 2:02:29.2 followed by Leonie Beck of Germany, 2:02:29.7 and Cunha, 2:02:30. American Katie Grimes was fifth in 2:02:37.

In the men’s 5K, Germany’s Florian Wellbrock won in 52:48 followed by Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, 52:52 and Mykhailo Romanchuk of Ukraine, 53:13. Azura’s Maximiliano Paccot of Uruguay was 41st in 59:43.

In the women’s 5K, Cunha also won in 57:52 followed by Aurelie Muller of France in 57:53 and Italy’s Giulia Gabbreilleschi in 57:54. University of Florida’s Anna Auld of West Palm Beach was 20th in 1:00:57. Azura’s Fatima Portillo, 19, of El Salvador was 37th in 1:04:56.

In the opening event, the 6K mixed relay, Germany (1:04:40), Hungary (1:04:43.0) and Italy (1:04:43.0) were the top three finishers. The U.S. finished seventh in 1:05:50. Twenty-three nations competed.

The historic inaugural Caribbean Games are underway in Guadeloupe. More than 800 athletes from 29 countries began competing on Thursday. Seven sports over five days are being held. The event is being televised on Panam Sports Channel.

Panam Sports President Neven Ilic watched with sport leaders throughout the continent and wished the athletes nothing but success during the Games.

“It’s nice to see the joy of the athletes parading. They are the future of our sport and our work must focus largely on them, on the new generations. We started with the Cali 2021 Junior Pan American Games, then came the Rosario 2022 Youth South American Games and now the Caribbean has its own celebration of U-23 sport. I congratulate CANOC and Guadalupe for this fantastic and historic party and wish much success to the enthusiastic athletes.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Takes Third Win, Carter Wins First ISL Event For London Roar; Energy Standard Wins Match

By Sharon Robb
NAPLES, Italy, September 19, 2021—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson walked away with three wins in two days after the ISL’s season three Match Eight Sunday at Piscina Felice Scandone.

Atkinson, 32, a five-time Jamaican Olympian, won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.93 ahead of Kanako Watanabe of Tokyo Frog Kings in 1:04.70 and a slow field. Atkinson had the only sub-1:04.

London teammate Dylan Carter, an American Heritage alum from Trinidad & Tobago, won the 50-meter butterfly in 22.40 and picked up 10 points.

Energy Standard’s team of Evgeny Rylov, Ilya Shymanovich, Anastasia Shkurdai and Sarah Sjostrom shattered the league record for the mixed 400-meter medley relay by nearly two seconds in 3:31.96 and picked up 38 points. The previous record was 3:33.81 by the LA Current earlier this season.

Atkinson was also a member of the runner-up 400-meter medley relay that finished in 3:34.53 with teammates Guilherme Guido, Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers.

The Energy Standard, leading after Day One, hung on to take the match with 507 points. London was second with 486.5, LA Current, 395.5 and Tokyo Frog Kings, 379.

The London Roar will next compete on Sept. 23-24 in Match 9 and 10 against Energy Standard, Toronto Titans and DC Trident.

In other ISL news, two-time Olympian Madi Wilson of LA Current dropped out of Match 8 after testing positive for COVID-19. She was vaccinated before the Tokyo Olympics. She made the announcement on social media from her Naples hospital bed.

Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel of the defending champions Cali Condors has decided to sit out the remainder of the ISL regular season. According to a team spokesperson, he has not been feeling well and has decided to rest for the playoffs. There are only two matches left in the regular season and play-in match. The Cali Condors and LA Current have already earned spots in the playoffs.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Wins Twice For London Roar On Opening Day Of ISL Match Eight

By Sharon Robb
NAPLES, Italy, September 18, 2021–In the eighth match of the International Swimming League’s third season, SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson opened with a win in the 50-meter breaststroke Saturday at Piscina Felice Scandone.

Atkinson, 32, five-time Jamaican Olympian, won in 29.47 ahead of Benedetta Pilato of Energy Standard in 29.51. Atkinson is the world short course record holder in the event (28.56). It was her seventh 50 breaststroke win.

Atkinson was also a member of the winning 400-meter medley relay that won in 3:48.04, just 1/100th of a second ahead of LA Current in 3:48.05. She was joined by teammates Kira Toussaint, Emma McKeon and Marie Wattel out-touching Abbey Weitzeil on the final leg.

London came up with 30 points winning the 400-meter freestyle relay in 3:05.84 including a second leg split of 45.91 by Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago. Carter was also sixth in the 50-meter backstroke in 23.81.

After opening day action, ISL season one league champion Energy Standard leads with 282 points followed by the London Roar, 260, Tokyo Frog Kings, 182 and LA Current, 180. After three matches, Energy Standard is the only undefeated team in the league.

Second day action continues Sunday at noon-2 p.m. EST.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Atkinson Takes Third, Fourth, Sixth In London Roar’s Sixth Match Of ISL Pro Series

By Sharon Robb
NAPLES, Italy, September 11, 2021–SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson had three top six finishes in the ISL London Roar’s sixth match of the season Saturday at Piscina Felice Scandone.

The five-time Jamaican Olympian was sixth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:22.11. Lilly King of the Cali Condors won in 2:16.83.

Atkinson was fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.82. Arianna Castiglioni of the Centurions won in 29.46. King was second in 29.62.

Atkinson salvaged the day with a third place finish on the 400-meter medley relay in 3:50.43 behind the Cali Condors and Aqua Centurions.

London teammate Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago was a member of the winning 400-meter freestyle relay that won in 3:05.05.

After Day One, the London Roar is first with 277 points followed by reigning ISL champion Cali Condors with 263.5, Tokyo Frog Kings, 187.0 and Aqua Centurions, 181.5. Action will continue on Sunday with the same four teams.

Earlier in the week in the ISL’s fifth match of the season, Alberto Razzetti broke the oldest Italian short course record in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:01.57. The Toronto Titans swimmer broke the previous record if 4:01.71 by Luca Marin at the 2006 European Championships.

Sharon Robb can be reached at