Olympic Coach Gregg Troy Inspires South Florida Aquatic Club Swimmers, Coaches

By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, May 7, 2020—If anyone knows how to accomplish goals, take on challenges and overcome adversity, it’s Olympic coach Gregg Troy.

Troy has worked with some of the greatest swimmers in the world and has pretty much seen and heard everything a swimmer has gone through at the age group, high school, college and international level.

His resume speaks for itself. He was head coach of University of Florida men’s swimming and diving teams from 1999 to 2018, and head coach of the women’s team from 1998 to 2018. Before joining the Gators in 1998, he was head coach at Bolles for 20 years.

Under his guidance, UF athletes won 43 individual national championships, 177 SEC titles and earned 1,145 All-America honors. He also coached 47 Gator Olympians, who had 78 appearances at the last five Olympic Games. Those athletes won 23 medals, including 11 gold.

Troy served as head coach of Team USA at the 2012 London Olympic Games and Team Thailand in 1992, with his other two Olympic stints as assistant coach (1996, 2008).

He now works with individual swimmers for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as high performance coach for the Gator Swim Club. And, of course, waiting patiently to get back on the pool deck with his swimmers.

Recently, Troy spent more than an hour talking with SOFLO swimmers and coaches on the Zoom platform. He covered a multitude of topics from staying in touch with people and reading Richard Bach’s inspiring Jonathan Livingston Seagull to doing various core workouts during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Troy talked about several of his swimmers including Ryan Lochte, Caleb Dressel, Gustavo Borges, Trina Jackson and Elizabeth Beisel and the common thread they shared in swimming.

“They had a tremendous ability to accept challenges through dedication and consistency,” Troy said. He pointed out that Lochte’s first national time standard was in the 1,650 freestyle.

“He made challenges for himself by racing other guys in practice,” Troy said. “He was always trying to look for ways to get better. He was finding ways of making practice exciting and would fall behind teammates five to seven seconds only to catch them. When he got really good the second part of his career, he was always great at the end of his races because of those challenges he gave himself.

“The really great athletes I worked with always liked challenges. ‘What do I need to be better?’ athletes would ask. Those challenges are an important part of what you are doing and right now is a gigantic challenge.

“Were they perfect or great every day at practice? No. But they found ways to make practice fun and stayed focused on what they were doing.

“The really good swimmers had a tremendous sense of resiliency. They took their ups and downs during their journey from age group to college and on. Every one of them had challenges.”

Whether it was distance or sprints, his swimmers shared a common bond.

“It didn’t matter what they worked on in practice, they would challenge themselves,” Troy said. “I told age groupers I work with, all these ingredients–sprinting, breath control, turns, strokes–those are all challenges.

“Everyone has the same ingredients. There are no miracles. The best swimmers in the world have bad swims and best coaches in world have bad swim meets. Every thing you do at practice is important, some things more than others, you choose what’s important.”

Troy talked about how swimmers can choose to communicate with their coach.

“All the great ones would communicate with me,” Troy said. “The more honest they became, the more we got out of practices. It wasn’t quite the same when they were younger. But the older ones gave me the ability to take practice and refine it more and tailor it to them. The time to go and talk to your coach is at the conclusion of a practice or better than that, make an appointment and sit down with your coach. ”

Troy emphasized the three key people in a swimmer’s life.

“Who is the most important person or most invested person in your life? Troy asked. “Some will say their coach or parents but the most important person is you. You are the one most invested in what you do at practice or anything extra you do.

“The next most invested are your parents. They love you immensely. They want the best for you. They don’t know nearly as much as your coach but they love you.

“The third most invested is your coach. Why would anyone want to fight with their coach is a mystery to me. Your coach wants you to do well. It’s his job. It makes no sense to argue with your coach.”

Troy had some suggestions for swimmers while they are in quarantine.

“No. 1, the most important is to get a routine,” Troy said. “Some are better than others but it keeps you from getting bored. The absolute tool of swimming fast is the mind. Mentally practice skills, visualization, where’s our next journey, your first meet back, go to old meets, re-rehearse those and be a better student of the sport. The mind is the most important tool.

“Ride a bike hard for 15 minutes, forcing your heart rate up is really good. Any exercise, dryland, stretching. Take them and make them your own.

“Reading is important. Read about the sport. Keep a log book. The importance of keeping a log book is that it’s a map of where you are going on this journey, where you’ve been and set up where you are going.

“Set two goals for yourself for the week. Your coaches will help with that. Two goals that will make you a better person that also relate to being a better athlete. I have found that what college coaches are looking for is changing more and more in today’s world–good attitude, coach’s recommendation and good grades. They are still looking for swim ability but they want that person who is the best to work with, that’s fun to be around. Those are the real priorities.”

Troy said when he was recruiting college prospects, he would watch to see who showed up early or on time to practice and who was there until the end of practice. On home visits, he would observe how recruits treated their parents. He would look for the most intrinsic values that made for better teammates.

The final subject Troy touched upon were hitting plateaus in swimming. He pointed out that even the great ones like Michael Phelps hit a plateau. From 2004 in Athens until January 2007, Phelps did not swim a best time in any of his best events.

“Then he had a tremendous meet at World Championships in Australia and everything took off again,” Troy said.

“The first thing you realize is that swimming is one of the hardest sports, it’s very unforgiving. The plateaus are part of the sport. You have got to find ways to get off that plateau which takes us back to challenging yourself in practice, what you do, how you do it, watch your nutrition. This is why it is important to keep a log book.

“It’s so important to do things right when you were instructed the first time. As you get older and faster the law of physics work against you. As you get faster, the mistakes you make will hold you back. That’s why people reach plateaus. They got so good doing the wrong things that as they got older they refused to make the necessary changes. It takes time, but stay after making that change.

“It goes back to talking to your coach,” Troy said. “There are very few things your coach tells you that you can not improve.

“When we come out of this (COVID-19), go back to practice and be so excited. Don’t be really good for two or three weeks and then become normal again. You don’t want to be normal. You want to challenge yourself. ”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Aussies Set Relay World Record; Dressel Breaks American Record On Day Five Of 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships

By Sharon Robb

GWANGJU, South Korea, July 25, 2019—Caeleb Dressel held on to defend his 100-meter freestyle and flirted with a 10-year old world record on Day Five of the 18th FINA World Aquatics Championships Thursday at Nambu International Aquatics Centre.

The University of Florida and Bolles Club alum did break the American record by 2/10ths in 46.96, third fastest in history and only man to dip under 47 seconds. He was only 0.05 seconds off the 10-year-old world record of 46.91 set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo.

“It hurt really bad to be honest,” Dressel said. “You don’t always get that magical feeling every night but you’ve just got to shut the brain off and go.

“It took 100 per cent effort and I had someone right there on my tail for me to race,” Dressel said. “I kind of shut off thinking about the race so that helped a lot and having Kyle (Chalmers) right there.”

It was Dressel’s third gold medal and fourth medal overall.

Dressel’s other golds came in the 50-meter butterfly, a non-Olympic event, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay. He took silver in the mixed 4×100-meter medley relay.

“I know I was just off the world record, but really the goal was just to swim the best race that I could, and if that was the time I got tonight, I was happy,” Dressel said. “I’m going to talk to [Coach Gregg] Troy, and I guarantee you the first thing he’s going to say is what we could have done better.”

After scratching from two events because of illness, five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky returned to the pool to help the U.S. win silver in the 4×200-meter freestyle behind Australia’s world record performance of 7:41.50 with Ariarne Titmus, Madison Wilson, Brianna Throssell and Emma McKeon. The previous record was 7:42.08 held by China. It was the first time the Aussies won a world title in the relay event. The U.S. had won three straight world titles.

“I wasn’t thinking about a world record,” McKeon said. “Was it a 2009 record? To break that this year is so exciting. I was hurting a lot but when it comes to a relay you really give it your all. Just touching the wall and seeing the three others celebrate, it made me so excited,” McKeon said.

Ledecky was joined by Katie McLaughlin, Melanie Margalis of St. Petersburg and Simone Manuel and finished in 7:41.87. Canada took the bronze.

Outspoken American Lilly King was disqualified from the 200-meter breaststroke prelims. She won the third heat in 2:24.56 but was disqualified for not touching the wall with both hands at the same time at the first turn of the four-lap race.

The U.S. team filed a formal protest which was denied by FINA’s appeals process and also lost a jury of appeal.

In other finals:

Boglarka Kapas out-touched Americans Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot to win the women’s 200-meter butterfly in 2:06.78.

American Olivia Smoliga won the women’s 50-meter backstroke, a non-Olympic event, in 27.33. She won from Lane Two.

Japan’s Daiya Seto won the men’s 200-meter individual medley in 1:56.14, 0.42 seconds ahead of Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland and 2017 champion Chase Kalisz, ending the Americans’ streak of winning at eight consecutive worlds.

It was the first time a non-American won the event at an Olympics or worlds since 2001, snapping a streak of 12 straight titles among Phelps (seven), Ryan Lochte (four) and Kalisz (one). Kalisz, who swept the IMs at 2017 Worlds, has the 400m IM later this week.

In other news, FINA, the sport’s international governing body, threatened to strip medals and ban swimmers who protest on podiums during the medal ceremonies under a new Code of Conduct provision. Brit Duncan Scott and Aussie Mack Horton failed to acknowledge China’s Sun Yang during two medal ceremonies. Sun is coached by Aussie Denis Cotterell.

Day Six prelims include the men’s 100-yard butterfly, women’s 200-meter backstroke, men’s 50-meter free, women’s 50-meter butterfly, women’s 800-meter freestyle and men’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay.

The world championships has brought together a record 2,620 athletes from 194 countries and territories around the world with 76 sets of medals up for grabs in pool swimming, open water swimming, water polo, diving and synchronized swimming.

The meet will be streamed and televised by the Olympic Channel and live timing will be available.

TV Schedule: https://olympics.nbcsports.com/2019/07/17/swimming-world-championships-tv-stream-schedule/

Live Results: http://omegatiming.com

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK: Atkinson Among World Cup Field Racing For Prize Money; Florida Gators Open In South Florida; Poppell, Nesty Make College Head Coaching Debuts

By Sharon Robb

September 27, 2018—After missing the opening cluster, SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson will join the 2018 FINA World Cup Series for its second cluster Friday through Sunday in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

Both the men’s and women’s fields are larger than the small turnout in Kazan and Doha. The field features 185 swimmers from around the world.

Other swimmers expected to compete are Brazil’s Felipe Lima and Eteine Medeiros, Americans Michael Andrew, Kelsi Worrell Dahlia, Molly Hannis, Melanie Margalis and Kathleen Baker, Mitch Larkin, Mack Horton and Emily Seebohm of Australia, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, Yulia Efimova of Russia, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, Japan’s Daiya Seto and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos.

Twelve events will be raced on each of the three days in Eindhoven.

Atkinson will be joined by women’s series leader Sarah Sjostrum of Sweden and men’s leader Anton Chupkov of Russia. Sjostrum earned the maximum points and earned the $50,000 Cluster One bonus after the first two stops of the short course meters series.


After intrasquad and alumni meets the past two weeks, the college dual meet season opens Thursday through Saturday across the nation including South Florida.

University of Florida men’s and women’s teams open their season Thursday at Florida Atlantic in the first meet of the season. The Gators women’s team head further south on Friday to swim University of Miami. The Gators then head to Florida Gulf Coast also on Saturday.

The women’s team begins its first season under head coach Jeff Poppell, former Gulliver Prep head coach and aquatics director. Poppell has been at Florida since 2016 serving as an associate head coach.

The Gators women’s team returns 27 letter winners including All-Americans Sherridon Dressel and Brooke Madden. The Gator men feature 14 freshmen. Anthony Nesty makes his debut as first-year head men’s coach. Nesty has spent the last 20 seasons with the Gators.

Florida International University women’s team heads to University of Miami on Saturday. Florida State is holding an intrasquad meet on Saturday in Tallahassee. Florida Atlantic will host Gardner-Webb and North Florida on Saturday.


Five-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, 23, is engaged to fellow swimmer Hayes Johnson. Johnson proposed at Lake Lanier Islands Resort in Georgia. Johnson swam at University of Texas and was a member of the 2010 NCAA champion team. “Thank you for making this the easiest answer to any question I’ve ever been asked,” Franklin posted on Instagram.


South African Olympic medalist Cameron van der Burgh has relocated to London to train for his fifth FINA World Short Course Championship in Hangzhou, China, Dec. 11-16. Burgh said after 30 years in South Africa it was time to start a new journey. He will continue to compete internationally for South Africa…

American Heritage Plantation alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Award from the Amateur Swimming Association of Trinidad and Tobago at this year’s Republic Day National Awards Function. Carter was honored for bringing national attention to the tiny island and for putting aquatics at the forefront. Carter was a silver medalist at the Commonwealth Games and won three gold medals at CAC. He is the first and only swimmer to medal at both the Youth Olympic Games and FINA World Junior Swimming Championships…

The 2020 Olympic Trials date were officially set for June 21-28. The Trials will be hosted by Omaha, Nebraska for the fourth time. The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo five weeks after the Trials. The Trials cuts were announced by USA Swimming during Thursday’s U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in Jacksonville and they are all faster than the 2016 cuts. The men’s 800 and women’s 1500 freestyle events will make their debut at the 2020 Trials. The 2018 Winter National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. in late November will be the first meet where swimmers can get their Trials cuts.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Florida’s Caeleb Dressel Wins Three Gold Medals In One Day At FINA World Aquatic Championships

By Sharon Robb

Budapest, Hungary, July 29, 2017—In the span of one hour and 42 minutes, University of Florida’s Caeleb Dressel made history Saturday night at the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships at Duna Arena.

The former Clay High School and Bolles Club swimmer, became the first man to win three gold medals in a single night and first to win the 100 in both the freestyle and butterfly at worlds.

Dressel, 20, won his fourth, fifth and sixth gold medals in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly and 4×100-mixed freestyle relay.

Dressel has already won more gold medals than every other entire national team. Great Britain is second behind him with four golds.

On Sunday, if he wins as a member of the 4×100 medley relay, he will tie Michael Phelps’ all-time record with his seventh gold in a single world championships.

In his first day of the race, Dressel won the 50-meter freestyle in an American record of 21.15. He had the quickest start to top a stacked field of sprinters.

Just 34 minutes later, Dressel won the 100-meter butterfly in 49.86, second fastest on the all-time list and only 4/100ths of a second off Phelps’ world record from 2009.

“Being that close to something feels so good and it was unexpected,” Dressel said. “It is nice to be that close to the record.”

One hour and one awards ceremony later, Dressel finished the night on the winning mixed freestyle relay with Nathan Adrian, Mallory Comerford and Simone Manuel in a world record 3:19.60.

“After the medal ceremony, it is exciting when you have to run to another race,” Dressel said. “It is physically tiring and mentally straining. You gotta take one swim at a time and recover fairly quickly.”

Dressel is the fourth American man to win three individual gold medals at one world championship joining Tim Shaw (1975), Phelps (2003, 2007) and Ryan Lochte (2011).

“There are a lot of young talented guys in USA Swimming,” Dressel said. “Plenty of talent to go around. It is not just all on me.”

Former Bolles swimmer Joseph Schooling of Singapore won his first medal, a bronze in the 100-meter butterfly which he also won at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Schooling tied for third with Great Britain’s James Guy in 50.83.

“It was a fantastic swim, a very close race,” Schooling said. “I feel lucky to have finished third in the end.”

In other races:

American Katie Ledecky won her 14th gold in worlds history in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:12.68, eight seconds slower than her world record.

“I am happy with my gold medals but there is always room for improvement,” Ledecky said. “My time wasn’t as fast as I have been in the past. You take it and it was the end of a long week with lots of ups and downs.”

Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrum won the 50-meter butterfly in a championship record of 24.60.

“I know that I swim really well when I have a warm up race before,” Sjostrum said. “I got a really good start and I could feel I was swimming fast. It felt really good.”

American Kelsi Worrell failed to earn a podium spot but she did break the American record in the 50-meter butterfly in 24.48. She finished fourth among a fast women’s field. She broke the record of 25.50 set by American sprinter Dara Torres in 2009, the supersuit era. Worrell is now tied as the ninth fastest swimmer ever.

Aussie Emily Seebom knocked off Hungarian Katinka Hosszu in the 200-meter backstroke in 2:05.68. Hosszu took silver in 2:05.85, her 12th world medal.


After knocking off Serbia to get to the finals, Croatia didn’t waste its opportunity and defeated crowd favorite Hungary, 8-6, in the gold medal final. It was the first time Croatia won the gold medal in ten years since the world championships in Australia. Croatia jumped out to a 4-0 lead but Hungary rallied for a 4-4 tie. Early in the fourth, Croatia regained its advantage, 7-4 and went on to finish with another goal. Hungary goalkeeper Marton Vamos was named championship MVP. It would have been Hungary’s fourth world title in ten finals. Hungary has a record 11 medals overall—three gold,seven silver and one bronze. Also at Alfred Hajos Pool, outgoing world champion Serbia defeated Greece, 11-8, for the bronze medal.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


SOFLO’s Jessica Rodriguez Signs With University Of Florida

By Sharon Robb

April 7, 2017—Jessica Rodriguez became the first South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer to sign with the University of Florida, one of the nation’s top collegiate women’s programs.

Eight years ago when she joined SOFLO, Rodriguez never dreamed she would be swimming for a Division I program.

The dream came true on Friday when the Hialeah Gardens High School senior officially signed her letter-of-intent in front of family and friends.

Rodriguez, 18, an Academic All-American and junior national qualifier, is the total student-athlete package that Florida coaches were looking to add to their successful program.

She felt comfortable with former Gulliver Prep head coach Jeff Poppell, associate head coach at Florida, who recruited her and good friend Kelly Fertel of Miami and Gulliver Prep alum, who is finishing her freshman season with the Gators.

“I am so excited to go to Florida,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t plan on even applying to Florida. But after visiting the campus and talking to the coaches and Kelly, I really felt comfortable there. There was just something about the coaches that I thought I would do well with them and knew I would fit in there.”

Rodriguez, an honor roll student, was also excited that Florida offers an undergrad program in veterinary medicine, which she plans to pursue.

“I can flow right into grad school after that,” she said.

Rodriguez is expected to compete in both breaststroke events, individual medley and relays.

For SOFLO, it was another milestone.

While SOFLO has had dozens of swimmers commit to Division I, II and III programs, Florida carries a stature all its own in the swimming world.

Rodriguez has been a role model for young swimmers coming up and will continue to be one as she moves on. She has been a team leader and motivator and helped several swimmers with her positivity and work ethic in training including four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica.

“This is all pretty surreal,” Rodriguez said. “It feels like eight years ago was just yesterday and now I am one of the oldest swimmers going to Florida. It doesn’t feel like it is actually happening.

“I am glad to be a role model to those girls,” Rodriguez added. “When you hit 14 or 15 it gets really hard and you get unmotivated as we grow and struggle at times. I want to encourage them to continue their swimming and careers as collegiate swimmers.”

Rodriguez says she is ready for the rigors of a Division I program. She plans on kicking up her dryland and pool training during the summer with SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson.

“I am up for the challenge,” Rodriguez said confidently. “A year ago when I went through a rough spot, I wasn’t sure whether I would keep swimming. Chris helped me so much last year, and encouraged me through it and really helped me come to terms. I was able to become a better athlete.”

Rodriguez plans to visit her mother’s family in the Canary Islands during spring break before returning to SOFLO. She also wants to look into dual citizenship and would love to represent Spain internationally.

Despite his busy schedule, Anderson attended the signing on Friday morning.

“I am super excited for Jessica,” Anderson said. “She is confident she is going to be very happy and that means the most to me. The fact she has worked so hard on academics the last five years and is an Academic All-American speaks volumes.

“I really feel it is a great place as far as the state of Florida for her,” Anderson said. “She is going to be very challenged but she is already starting to make adjustments to prepare herself for the rigorous workouts at Florida.”

Anderson was impressed with her swims at junior nationals and Futures two years ago, but what sets her apart is her role as a team leader.

“Anyone that’s been on a team for eight years and found a way to get to the national group has leadership skills,” Anderson said. “At Senior Championships, she was motivating the freshmen and sophomores on how to be more successful. She took that role on her own.

“She has a stake in one of Alia’s world records because she motivated her in practice and helped her through those bad days every swimmer has and motivated her to do better things. She will continue that tradition when she moves on to Florida.

“She knows how to work and motivate. When she talks, people listen. I would like to think she will continue to be a role model for our club even when she is gone. It’s really nice to have someone at Florida for our club.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Bolles Caeleb Dressel Wins Speedo Junior National Title On Final Day, Ready To Make A Splash At Florida

Bolles Caeleb Dressel Wins Speedo Junior National Title On Final Day, Ready To Make A Splash At Florida

By Sharon Robb

August 3, 2014—Rising swim star Caeleb Dressel won a junior national title on the fifth and final day of the USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Championships at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex in Irvine, California.

Dressel, 17, of the Bolles School Sharks Swim Club dominated the 50-meter freestyle race from start-to-finish to win in a lifetime-best 22.36, an 0.26 drop.

The University of Florida-bound Dressel is one of the nation’s top sprint prospects coming out of high school and was the top-ranked national recruit. He is the national high school record holder in the 50-yard freestyle in 19.29.

The former Clay High School standout holds seven national age group records including three in the 17-18 age group. Some of those records belonged to Michael Phelps.

Now he is ready for the next level at Florida.

“What a great way to finish our individual events,” Bolles coach Sergio Lopez wrote on his Facebook page.

In the 400-meter medley relay, Bolles relay of team of Dakota Mahaffey, James Daugherty, Ariel Spektor and Tyler Rice broke the 15-16 Florida swimming record in 3:50.09 and finished eighth in the final event of the meet.

Palo Alto Stanford Aquatics swept the combined (305 points) and men’s (191) team titles. Carmel Swim Club won the women’s team title with 290 points and was second overall in combined (290). Bolles was sixth in the combined team standings with 163. Bolles was seventh among the women’s teams (76) and 11th among the men’s (87).

Madison Homovich, 14, of North Carolina Aquatic Club and Townley Haas, 17, of NOVA of Virginia Aquatics were high point award winners.

In other championship finals:

Men’s 800-meter freestyle: Townley Haas, 17, of NOVA of Virginia Aquatics won his four junior national title in 8:01.82, just missing the meet record. He also won the 100, 200 and 400 freestyle races. Gainesville High School’s Eric Geunes, 16, of Gator Swim Club was 11th in 8:15.15, a 9.47 drop. Bishop Verot sophomore Santi Corredor, 15, of Swim Florida was 15th in 8:16.54, an 11.10 drop. Also in the 800, Marco Hosfeld of Swim Fort Lauderdale went a best time 8:23.88, an 0.81 drop and Boleck De Pawlikowski, 17, of Metro Aquatics went a best time 8:29.08, a 7:52.26 drop.

Women’s 1500-meter freestyle: Sierra Schmidt, 16, of North Baltimore Aquatic Club swimming unattached won in a best time 16:24.09 for her third title of the week. It was an 8.81 drop for Schmidt. Kendall Brent, 15, of Swim Florida was third in a best time 16:33.87, a 5.02 drop. Katie Duggan, 17 of Highland finished 21st in 16:55.53, dropping 10.25 off her previous best. Emma Layton, 15, of Area Tallahassee was 24th in a best time 16:58.44, a 12.94 drop.

Women’s 200-meter individual medley: Buoyed by a strong final freestyle leg, Kim Williams, 17, of Bellevue Swim Club won in a best time 2:14.58, a 3.22 drop. Williams also won the 400 IM earlier in the week. Bolles Mckenna Debever, 18, was second in the “B” race and tenth overall in a best time 2:18.30, a 1.31 drop.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Curtis Ogren, 18, of Palo Alto Stanford swept the IM events, winning the 200 IM in a best time 2:01.95 by nearly a half-body length and time drop of 0.69. Grant Sanders, 13, of Clearwater Aquatics was 13th in 2:06.32.

Women’s 50-meter freestyle: Amy Bilquist, 16, of Carmel won her third event in 25.28, just 5/100ths off the meet record and fourth all-time in 15-16 rankings. Kasey Smith, 17, of Bolles was sixth in a best time 25.89, an 0.21 drop. Pine Crest’s Marta Ciesla, 15, of Pine Crest finished ninth in a best time 25.83, an 0.23 drop.

Women’s 400-meter medley relay: SwimMAC Carolina won in 4:10.73 edging Y-Spartaquatics in 4:11.97 with relay members Stephanie Nelson, Maija Roses, Caitlin Casazza and Nora McCullagh.

Men’s 400-meter medley relay: Palo Alto Stanford broke the meet record in 3:45.86 to win with Willy Lee, Curtis Igren, Andrew Liang and Albert Gwo.

Melissa Marinheiro, 17, of South Florida Aquatic Club finished 31st in the 1500-meter freestyle in 17:06.46, 1.59 seconds off her best time. It was her fourth event of the meet. SOFLO teammate Kathleen Golding, 13, went 8.06, just off her best time, in the 800-meter freestyle time trial.

Nearly 1,100 of America’s up-and-coming swimmers competed in the five-day long course meet. After a two-day break, the Phillips 66 National Championships, featuring most of the nation’s top swimmers, get under way on Wednesday at the same Irvine, Calif. venue.

The five-day meet will serve as the USA National Team selection for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, 2014 Jr. Pan Pacific Championships, 2015 World Championships, 2015 World University Games and 2015 Pan American Games.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Australia Dominates Commonwealth Games, Eyes Pan Pacs On Home Soil; Florida’s Dan Wallace Takes Silver

Australia Dominates Commonwealth Games, Eyes Pan Pacs On Home Soil; Florida’s Dan Wallace Takes Silver

By Sharon Robb

July 29, 2014—The sixth and final day of swimming at the Commonwealth Games was just as exciting as the first five days at Tollcross Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

In one of the most competitive meets, Australia dominated the men’s and women’s events and is brimming with confidence for the August 21-24 Pan Pacific Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Southport, Australia.

Of course, the Aussies will have stiffer competition in the United States and Japan. Canada is the fourth team in the four-nation meet.

Australia finished with 57 medals including 19 gold, 21 silver and 17 bronze.

England was a distant second with 28 medals (10 gold, 10 silver, 8 bronze).

South Africa had 12 medals (3 golds, 3 silver and 6 bronze). Canada finished with 11 medals (4 gold, 1 silver, 6 bronze) and host Scotland had 10 medals (3 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze).

Australia immediately left the country after the meet and will missing the Closing Ceremony. Swimmers were under an alcohol ban and curfew that prevented them from leaving the Athletes’ Village after their embarrassing showing at the 2012 London Olympics.

In Tuesday’s championship finals:

Women’s 400-meter freestyle: New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle pulled ahead at the 250-meter mark to win her first Games gold medal in a meet record 4:04.47, fourth fastest time in the world this year. Jazz Carlin of Wales took the silver in 4:05.16 and Aussie Bronte Barratt took bronze in 4:06.02.

Men’s 50-meter freestyle: British teenager Ben Proud won the splash-and-dash gold medal to join his 50 butterfly gold medal. Proud just missed a meet record in 21.92. Aussie Cameron McEvoy was second in 22.00 and Aussie James Magnussen was third in 22.10. Trinidad and Tobago’s and Bolles alum George Bovell was fifth in 22.31.

Women’s 50-meter backstroke: Wales Georgia Davies won gold in national record 27.56, second fastest time in the world this year. Brit Lauren Quigley took silver in 27.69 and Canadian Brooklynn Snodgras, a junior at Indiana University, took the bronze in a national record 27.97.

Men’s 200-meter individual medley: Aussie Daniel Tranter came from behind to knock off Chad le Clos of South Africa and University of Florida’s Dan Wallace of Scotland in a meet record 1:57.83. Le Clos was leading after the butterfly and backstroke but lost the lead on the breaststroke leg. Wallace, who was dressed in a kilt during his walk to the blocks, was second in a national record 1:58.72. Le Clos hung on for the bronze in 1:58.85.

Men’s 1500-meter freestyle: Canadian Ryan Cochrane won his second gold medal at the Games. The 25-year-old, competing in his final Games, won in 14:44.03, fastest time in the world this year. He won the gold in 2010 in 15:01.49. Aussie Mack Horton took silver in a best time 14:48.76. Daniel Jervis of Wales was third in 14:55.33.

Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay: The Aussie women swept the relays, winning the final one in a meet record 3:56.23 after a scorching 51.59 split by Cate Campbell. Meet officials said it was believed to be the fastest relay split in history in a textile suit. England was second in 3:57.03 and Canada was third.

Men’s 4×100-meter medley relay: With Adam Peaty swimming anchor, England knocked off Australia to win the gold in a meet record 3:31.51. The Aussies finished in 3:31.21. South Africa took third in 3:34.47.

Cate Campbell said she is going to ban herself from social media at future meets because she was overwhelmed by the fan support. “I was just feeling the pressure a little bit,” Campbell said. “I think I have learned a valuable lesson about social media. Even support can turn into a burden sometimes.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Florida Gold Coast Well-Represented At NCAA Division I Men’s Championships

Florida Gold Coast Well-Represented At NCAA Division I Men’s Championships

Written by Sharon Robb

March 27, 2013

Florida Gold Coast will be well-represented at the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships that get underway Thursday at IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Nicholas Schwab, a senior at Indiana and 2012 Olympian, will compete in the 500-yard freestyle. He is seeded 29th in 4:18.70 and will swim in the opening event on Thursday.

Southern Cal sophomore Cristian Quintero is seeded first in 4:13.37.

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Carlos Omana, a sophomore at University of Florida, is seeded 28th in 4:18.66.

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers entered in the meet are Florida State senior John Jessell and junior teammate Paul Murray.

A field of 235 swimmers from 51 teams will compete over three days.

Michigan is the overwhelming favorite to win the team title. The Wolverines have 510 seeded points. Based on its seeding, the Wolverines have a 211-point advantage over the rest of the field.

Cal-Berkeley, Stanford, Texas and University of Florida are the top challengers.

Florida is led by redshirt junior Sebastien Rousseau who has returned to the team, and top freshman Pavel Werner.

The Gators qualified 14 swimmers and divers, including eight from last year’s meet, for NCAAs. The Gators have finished in the Top 10 for 12 consecutive years and earned 27 All-American honors in 2012.

Florida State may be the meet’s surprise team with the mid-season addition of Pavel Sankovich. The Seminoles relays have also been impressive this season and most recently at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.

Louisville, led by Joao de Lucca, may be another surprise and finish in the Top 10 for the second consecutive year. Former FGC swimmer and three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov is finishing up his first season as assistant coach at Louisville.

In addition to the 500 freestyle, other Thursday events are 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle, 1-meter diving and 400-yard medley relay.

ESPN3 is streaming the event live on Friday and Saturday. Live results can also be found at ncaa.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 208: Gators, Luke Torres Successful On The Road

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 208: Gators, Luke Torres Successful On The Road


October 26, 2012

University of Florida swimmers, including Florida Gold Coast swimmer Luke Torres, opened the dual meet season on a winning note this past week in Athens, Ga. and Columbia, S.C.

The No. 1 nationally-ranked Gators men’s team defeated Georgia, 192-104, on Thursday and South Carolina, 166-128, on Friday.

The women’s team defeated South Carolina, 176-119, and lost to Georgia, 188-110. It was Georgia’s 79th consecutive victory in dual meets. The last time the Georgia women lost was in 1995 to Florida.

Georgia was led by Olympian Allison Schmitt, who redshirted last year to train for the 2012 Olympics where she won five medals including three gold. Schmitt is one of seven Olympians on the Georgia rosters.

Against Georgia, Torres, who made the travel squad as a freshman, swam the second leg of the Gators’ “C” relay that finished sixth in 1:36.61. His split was 27.59.

Torres was sixth in the 100-yard butterfly in 50.43 and seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke in 59.18

Gator sophomore Carlos Omana of Metro Aquatics was second in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:48.15 and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:40.74. Freshman Austin Manganiello was fifth in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:51.72.

Georgia freshman Yousef Alaskari of Davie was seventh in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:53.64 and eighth in the 100-yard butterfly in 51.43.

Against South Carolina, Torres was third in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:07.24; on the fifth place 400-yard medley relay that finished in 3:26.32; sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 59.28; and on the sixth-place 200-yard freestyle relay that finished in 1:27.35. Torres swam lead-off with a 21.95 split, second-fastest on the relay.

Omana was second in the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:13.96. Manganiello was fifth in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:51.99.

The Gator men are 2-0 overall and in the SEC and the women are 1-1.

The Gators return to the pool on Friday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. when they host SEC opponent Texas A&M, making its SEC debut this season.


In Friday’s tri-meet against Texas and Michigan at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, FGC swimmer Nick Schwab, 22, was tenth in the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:38.32, tenth in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:08.53 and tenth in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:07.72. No. 2-ranked Michigan defeated No. 4 Texas, 194-106, and No. 8 Indiana, 223-77, in Austin…

Olympian Ryan Lochte, 28, who is back training in Gainesville, appears as a guest star on the CW drama 90201 on Monday, Oct. 29. Lochte plays himself. “I’m not used to getting in front of a camera and remembering lines or where to stand,” Lochte told this week’s issue of People Magazine. “I just had to accept the challenge and try to do my best without making myself look bad.” Lochte said he would love to star in his own reality show based on his training for the 2016 Rio Olympics that would tie in his clothing line. “My main goal is to make swimming bigger than what it is, doing all those little things to help bring people aware, just bring them into swimming more,” Lochte said. “Honestly, the only time you ever hear about swimming is during the Olympics. Why can’t swimming be like the NBA or NFL? Why can’t we have that attention?”…

Bolles’ Santo Condorelli verbally committed to the University of Southern California. He was a member of the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays that broke the high school national record at the FSPA Meet in Orlando. He also swims the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 207: Florida Men Ranked No. 1, FGC Swimmer Luke Torres Makes Gators Travel Squad

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 207; Florida Men Ranked No. 1, FGC Swimmer Luke Torres Makes Gators Travel Squad


October 25, 2012

University of Florida men’s swimming and diving team have been ranked No. 1 in the nation among NCAA Division I teams in the first College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll.

The Gators, led by Sebastien Rousseau, Marcin Cieslak and Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez were a unanimous pick for the top spot.

The four other teams in the Top five are Michigan, Stanford, Southern California and Texas. Defending men’s national champion California is ranked seventh.

Florida is one of eight Southeastern Conference schools ranked in the Top 25. Another state school that is ranked is Florida State at No. 15.

Of the Gators seven dual meets remaining, they will swim against six who are ranked among the Top 25 including Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Florida State, Auburn and Tennessee.

The Gators are on the road this week. They swim against No. 9 Georgia on Thursday and No. 12 South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. on Friday.

Gator freshman Luke Torres, a Florida Gold Coast swimmer and American Heritage Plantation alum, has made the travel squad in his first year of collegiate swimming.

The rankings will be released on a regular basis throughout the 2012-13 season alternating weeks between a men’s and women’s team rankings.

MEN’S POLL: 1. Florida, 2. Michigan, 3. Stanford, 4. Southern California, 5. Texas, 6. Auburn, 7. California, 8. Indiana, 9. North Carolina, Georgia, 11. Arizona, 12. South Carolina, 13. Minnesota, 14. N.C. State, 15. Florida State, 16. Louisville, 17. Penn State, 18. Purdue, 19. Iowa, 20. Alabama, 21. Texas A&M, 22. LSU, 23. Missouri State, 24. Tennessee, 25. Wisconsin.

More college swimming

Caroline Kuczynski, who trains with SOFLO, will compete in her first meet as team captain on Saturday when the Sun Devils swim against Grand Canyon University and Washington State in their season-opener in Tempe, Ariz…SOFLO’s Marc Rojas and his Indian River State College teammates open the season on Nov. 2 against Tampa in their home opener…Nova Southeastern swept St. Leo College last weekend with a 130-74 win over the men’s team and 159-46 victory over the women’s team. “Our athletes are performing on par to what I expect at this point in the season,” said NSU coach Hollie Bonewit-Cron, expecting her first child. “With the amount of training that we are doing, we still need to make improvements on some technical aspects in our stroke work and our training regimen.” SOFLO swimmer Bianca Muniz was a member of the runner-up 400-yard medley relay (4:07.70) and 200-yard freestyle relay teams (1:43.71), third in the 50-yard freestyle in a best time 25.53, bettering her seed time of 25.81 and third in the 100-yard freestyle in 55.24…Sophomore Linea Cutter, another FGC swimmer, won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.83. She also anchored the winning 400-yard medley relay (4:03.14). She was second in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.00. The Sharks next meet is Saturday, Nov. 3 against Rollins in Winter Park…NSU’s Erin Black of Fort Myers was named Sunshine State Conference Women’s Swimmer of the Week.

Torres Will Host Gator Growl

Five-time Olympian and Class of 1990 University of Florida alum Dara Torres, who now lives in Boston, will emcee this year’s Gator Growl. The show, which is regarded as the largest student-run pep rally in the world, is schedyled for 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The show will also feature country singer Josh Turner and comedian Tracy Morgan as the featured performers. Tickets are $15 for students, $20 for UF faculty and staff and $25 for alumni and guests.


The 2012 Ironman World Championships will be televised on NBC Sports on Saturday from 4-6 p.m. The broadcast includes the event in addition to inspiring athlete stories…Olympian Gary Hall Jr. has been hired as sports marketing director at the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation…Double Olympic champions Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands and Yannick Agnel of France were named European Swimmers of the Year by LEN. Top open water swimmers were Eva Risztov of Hungary and Thomas Lurz of Germany.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com