By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, December 27, 2022–Olivia Dinehart’s work ethic has gotten her to where she is today in swimming.

“It’s just nice to see when you work hard and then getting to see that pay off later,” Dinehart said. “That reward is probably what’s kept me going this long.”

Of course, there were tough days in training and meets as well.

“The hardest part in swimming is when you’re not dropping obviously,” Dinehart said. “It’s so much fun when you are dropping and doing really well. But it gets hard when you hit that almost like a plateau. It gets harder and harder to drop as you get faster.

“I think it’s really important not to get discouraged in practices. Just wait until you get to college. It’s going to get very exciting.”

Her talented teammates she trains with has helped her motivation through the years.

“They are very easy to make myself motivated,” Dinehart said. “I think we are all very competitive in practice and we all motivate each other mentally. Being at this level it’s easier to have other people at this level. If I didn’t have them with me it would probably be a lot more difficult because it’s harder to be motivated if you’re not surrounded by people at the same level as you. It’s nice to have people with the same goals and same ambitions and who want the same things.”

Her turning point in the sport came at the Summer Junior Olympics Long Course meet when she was 14. She got her summer junior national cut and everything snowballed after that.

“I realized I had been working for seven years and this is what it led to,” she said. “I thought if I could keep going I could be potentially really good and that would be amazing.”

Dinehart, 17, defended her state title in the 100-yard breaststroke in November for Cutler Bay High School. Winning one title in the Class 1A meet is hard enough when the field features the likes of Bolles, St. Andrew’s and Pine Crest, but winning two straight titles is a huge accomplishment. She was a state runner-up in the event her freshman and sophomore seasons.

“There was definitely more pressure,” Dinehart said. “I didn’t feel a lot of pressure my junior year because I honestly didn’t expect to win. I went in hoping for the best. It came as a little bit of a surprise. I was really happy about that.

“It was different this time because the kids at school don’t know how swimming works so they expect you to come in first again. It’s a little more difficult than that. I was looking out for people who would give me a little more competition than last year.”

As a junior she won in 1:02.28 and this year she went 1:01.60, leading from start-to-finish.

“The second time was sweeter because I was so anxious,” she said. “We had more people from my high school team there behind the blocks and it was really nice. It was bittersweet as well because it was the last time we were swimming at states. As I look back I have had a successful state career. I’m happy how this turned out.

“It was definitely the highlight of the year for me since it was the last state meet. It is such a special meet. It was nice that we had our high school coach (Marshall Ruffo) there. It may be normal to some of us but when our coach gushes over us it makes you realize how exciting it is for our school.”

Dinehart verbally committed to Auburn University in October 2021 and signed earlier this fall. She visited Indiana, University of North Carolina and Auburn.

“I went in expecting UNC to be my favorite and I loved it there, but when I went to Auburn I thought this is totally different,” Dinehart said. “It felt like a home away from home. I immediately felt comfortable with the coaches, swimmers, dorms, the team was amazing. It all came together perfectly. I’m really happy with everything.”

Dinehart is excited to be working with Associate Head Coach Vlad Polyakov, a three-time Olympian, world champion and NCAA champion. Polyakov is a St. Thomas Aquinas alum. Auburn is one of the top women’s teams in the nation.

“I think he is doing amazing things,” Dinehart said. “Watching the breaststrokers drop almost every time they swim gives me hope. I think yes, I picked the right school. I watched a few of their practices. They all trust him and speak so highly of him. I am very excited.”

Dinehart is currently training for the Feb. 9-12 Southern Zone Sectionals in Orlando and March 1-4 TYR Pro Series in Fort Lauderdale.

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Dinehart joins SOFLO teammates Isabella Callaway Coy (October), Jianna Amores (September), Carolina Carrera (August), Lydia Smutny (July), Amber Connor (June), Eva Ortiz (May), Sally Golding (April), Natalie Gembicki (March), Sofia Lugo (February) and Valentina Remmele (January) as 2022 Swimmers of the Month.

SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.

TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology. Among its female-sponsored athletes are ESPY Sportswoman of the Year Katie Ledecky, 2020 Olympians Simone Manuel, Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Ashley Twichell and other elite swimmers Melanie Margalis, Molly Hannis and Kelsi Dahlia.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Olivia Dinehart Verbally Commits To Auburn University

By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, October 6, 2021—Olivia Dinehart of South Florida Aquatic Club Sharks has verbally committed to Auburn University.

Ranked fifth in the state, the Cutler Bay High School junior announced her choice on social media.

“I am very excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at Auburn University,” Dinehart wrote.

“I can’t wait to be a part of such a special team. I’d like to thank my amazing coaches, my incredible family and my friends. WAR EAGLE.”

Dinehart, 16, Cutler Bay Class of 2023, will work with Associate Head Coach Vlad Polyakov, a three-time Olympian, world champion and NCAA champion. The former Florida Gold Coast swimmer at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Coral Springs Swim Club, where he worked under six-time Olympic coach and Hall of Famer Michael Lohberg, joined the staff this year after nine seasons at Louisville.

Auburn was one of the top women’s teams in the nation last season along with NCAA champion Virginia, Stanford, Indiana and Arizona State.

Dinehart is a two-time finalist at the State 1A High School Swimming Championships in 2019 and 2020.

In 2019, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.87) and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:05.16). In 2020, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.79) and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.19). The 1A state meet that features powerhouse Jacksonville Bolles, is the most competitive of the four classifications in Florida.

In 2019, she was a two-time District 12-A and region champion in the breaststroke and IM events.

In August 2019, she was a finalist in the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Greensboro in the 1500-meter freestyle (17:23.56). She was also a Top 4 finisher in four events at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships including winning the 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.93). Her last major championship was the August Speedo Summer East Championships where she finished in the Top 15 in her events.

Dinehart is one of three sisters who swim. Her twin Elena and Elise also swim.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

St. Thomas Aquinas Alum Vlad Polyakov Named Auburn Associate Head Swim Coach

By Sharon Robb
AUBURN, Ala., May 11, 2021–Three-time Olympian and former world champion Vlad Polyakov was hired as associate head swimming coach at Auburn University.

Polyakov, a St. Thomas Aquinas and Alabama alum, will join head coach Ryan Wochomurka’s staff this fall. He spent nine years at Louisville as an assistant coach and men’s recruiting coordinator.

Polyakov will coach with Wochomurka for the second time in his career. Wochomurka was associate head coach at Louisville when he was hired in 2012.

Polyakov, 37, grew up in South Florida competing at St. Thomas Aquinas where he was a state breaststroke champion and in the Florida Gold Coast for Coral Springs Swim Club, where he was mentored by six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg. He is married to another former FGC swimmer, Mhyria Miller, who competed for Florida Keys Swim Club and is a former All-American at Georgia. They have two sons.

“I am very excited to welcome Vlad, Mhyria, Liam and Maksim to the Auburn family,” Wochomurka said. “Vlad brings an unequalled positive energy to the pool deck and is one the most genuinely well-liked and respected individuals in the industry.

“He is one of the brightest and most innovative technical coaches I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He also brings a tenacious and studious approach to recruiting and is one of the very best at identifying talent domestically and internationally. Vlad’s experience as an elite level athlete on the SEC, NCAA, and international stage allows him a unique opportunity to guide our student-athletes in their own elite level pursuits.”

In Polyakov’s nine seasons at Louisville, the Cardinals earned eight top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships, five women and three men. The Cardinals had 12 individual titles and one relay title at the NCAA Championships in his tenure, and three swimmers combined for six selections as ACC Swimmer of the Year. The 2020-21 season saw Louisville’s men match their program-best finish with a fifth-place showing at NCAAs and won the ACC Championship for the first time.

“My family and I are very excited to become part of the Auburn family,” Polyakov said. “Auburn swimming and diving was an undisputed standard of excellence during my college years. Auburn athletes that I raced against were tough and fierce competitors, and Auburn coaches of that era are still considered some of the greatest coaches in the world of swimming today.

“Auburn’s legacy is undeniable. I am honored to have the opportunity to be associated with one of the richest traditions in swimming and diving history. I share Ryan’s vision for the program and look forward to empowering our Auburn athletes to perform at the highest level of their ability both academically and athletically.”

Polyakov has extensive international experience and a long list of accomplishments in college and pro swimming. The 2007 Alabama alum and Hall of Famer was a five-time SEC Champion, two-time NCAA Champion and two-time US National Champion. He competed professionally for five years.

Polyakov was named Academic All-SEC four times and was also a four-time Coaches Association Academic All-American. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 he was named to the ESPN Academic All-American At-Large Team. He was given an Individual Academic All-American Award by the CSCAA in 2005. Polyakov was given the “Most Valuable” Award for Most Dedicated Student-Athlete of the Year in 2005 and 2006. During the 2006 season Polyakov was named the SEC Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year and also received the Coaches Award from the Crimson Tide team.

He was a three-time Olympian having swam in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and 2012 Olympics in London for his native Kazakhstan. In 2004, he was a finalist in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter breaststroke. In other international competition, Polyakov was a 2004 FINA World Championship bronze medalist in the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes and in 2006 was a FINA World Championship gold medalist in the 200-meter breaststroke.

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

SOFLO’s Oliver Finishes 10th; Georgia, Tennessee Leaders On Day One Of NCAA Women’s Championships

SOFLO’s Oliver Finishes 10; Georgia, Tennessee Leaders After Day One Of Women’s NCAA Championships


March 21, 2013

On the opening night of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Georgia took the lead as expected with surprise runner-up team Tennessee close behind.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver, a junior at No. 22-ranked Florida State, was tenth in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.23.

Oliver also led off the Seminoles 17th place 200-yard freestyle relay that finished in 1:30.28 with teammates Kaitlyn Dressel, Katie Cook and Grace Hoffman.

Tennessee opened with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:27.14 for its first-ever win in the event in the program’s history.

Winning relay members were senior Caroline Simmons, freshman Faith Johnson, junior Lindsay Gendron and senior Kelsey Floyd.

Southern Cal’s Haley Anderson repeated as NCAA champion in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:34.66. During the race, seven swimmers were in contention but it was Anderson who had the fastest last 50 yards.

Olympian Allison Schmitt, who has won the 500 title her first three years at Georgia before red-shirting last year to train for the Olympics, finished sixth in 4:36.73.

California swept the top two spots in the 200-yard individual medley. Olympian Caitlin Leverenz defended her title winning in 1:53.39 and freshman teammate Elizabeth Pelton was second in 1:53.82.

Arizona junior Margo Greer won her first NCAA title in the 50-yard freestyle in a season-best 21.73. Megan Romano of Georgia was second in 21.88. Another Arizona junior, Samantha Pickens won the 1-meter diving title with 348.445 points. University of Miami’s Carrie Dragland and Kara McCormack finished 12th and 13th.

Tennessee finished the night with another relay win, this time in the 400-yard medley relay in 3:28.51 with Lauren Solernou, Molly Hannis, Kelsey Floyd and Lindsay Gendron. Florida was eighth in 3:33.61.

On the opening day of prelims and finals, more than 80 percent of swimmers in individual events were slower than their seed time for the meet. According to head coach Arthur Albiero of Louisville, three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov is an assistant coach, only 45 out of 231 individual swims in morning prelims were faster than their seed times.


Two-time all-county swimmer Jemal LeGrand, an Olympian for Aruba his senior year, verbally committed to Florida State. Legrand, a state runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle, is expected to sign on April 17th when the regular signing period opens for swimming.


TEAM TOTALS: 1. Georgia 163, 2. Tennessee 150.5, 3. Arizona 127, 4. California 102, 5. Stanford 90.5, 6. Southern Cal 90, 7. Florida 74, 8. Texas A&M 72, 9. Texas 65, 10. Minnesota 41, 21. University of Miami 9, 23. Florida State 7.

200-yard freestyle relay:

1.Tennessee 1:27.14 (Caroline Simmons, Faith Johnson, Lindsay Gendron, Kelsey Floyd), 2. Georgia 1:27.38, 3. Arizona 1:27.51, 8. Florida 1:28.93 (Ellese Zalewski, Natalie Hinds, Sinead Russell, Lindsey McKnight), 17. Florida State 1:30.28 (Tiffany Oliver, Kaitlyn Dressel, Katie Cook, Grace Hoffman).

500-yard freestyle:

1.Haley Anderson, SOCAL 4:34.66, 2. Amber McDermott, Georgia 4:34.86, 3. Shannon Vreeland, Georgia 4:35.95, 47. Lauren Driscoll, California 4:47.95.

200-yard individual medley:

1.Caitlin Leverenz, California 1:53.39, 2. Elizabeth Pelton, California 1:53.82, 3. Maya Dirado, Stanford 1:53.86, 56. Lindsey McKnight, Florida 2:01.25, 61. Eszter Bucz, Florida Atlantic 2:01.84.

50-yard freestyle:

1.Margo Geer, Arizona 21.73, 2. Megan Romano, Georgia 21.88, 3. Faith Johnson, Tennessee 21.89, 10. Tiffany Oliver, Florida State 22.23, 24. Harper Bruens, Tennessee 22.49.

1-meter springboard diving

1.Samantha Pickens, Arizona 348.45, 2. Margaret Keefer, Minnesota 338.20, 3. Jodie McGroarty, Tennessee 335.75, 12. Carrie Dragland, Miami 314.20, 13. Kara McCormack, Miami 308.25, 27. Lindsay Lester, Miami 268.75.

400-meter medley relay:

1.Tennessee 3:28.51 (Lauren Solernou, Molly Hannis, Kelsey Floyd, Lindsay Gendron), 2. Arizona 3:28.83, 3. California 3:29.47, 8. Florida 3:33.61, 23. Arizona State 3:36.90 (Taylor Wohrley, Alexandra Popa, Caroline Kuczynski, Shannon Landgrebbe).

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Shines At ACC Championships

SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Shines At ACC Championships


February 26, 2013

Tiffany Oliver of South Florida Aquatic Club walked away from last week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships with two gold medals in individual events and unwavering confidence for the upcoming NCAA Division I Championships.

The Florida State junior won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events finishing ahead of Olympian and 2012 ACC Swimmer of the Year Lauren Perdue of Virginia.

In the 100-yard freestyle, Oliver came from behind to overtake Perdue to win in a school record and lifetime best 48.19, just two days after winning the 50-yard freestyle in 22.17, another school record and best time.

Oliver trailed Perdue at every turn during the four-lap race before surging to the wall in the final ten yards.

“She is gaining confidence,” FSU coach Neil Harper said. “She had success in the 50 earlier in the meet and she swam well in relays so we knew it was coming. It was just a great performance and she paced herself well throughout the race and just took off in the end to win it.”

On the final night, Oliver won a silver medal and broke another school record in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Swimming anchor leg, Oliver closed the gap and reeled in Perdue again to take a silver. Oliver’s split was 47.24. The relay finished in 3:16.54 with Kaitlyn Dressel, Kelsey Buckley, Katie Cook and Oliver.

Oliver also swam 1:46.77 in the 200-yard freestyle prelims.

Oliver earned All-ACC Conference honors.

Florida State, ranked No. 22 in the nation, finished fourth as a team with 497 points behind defending champion Virginia (832), Virginia Tech (536) and North Carolina (508).

“That was one of the best team efforts and success we’ve had in about six or seven years,” Harper said. “The team points don’t quite measure up to the success we had with our “A” cuts and school records and lifetime best times we got.”

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, FSU junior Ashley Hicks, swam a lifetime best 1:56.98 in the 200-yard backstroke to finish sixth.

The men’s ACC competition is Feb. 28-March 2 in Greensboro, N.C. FSU is ranked No. 15 in the nation and features FGC swimmers Paul Murray, who will compete in the 50- and 100-yard meter and Connor Knight in the 100-yard butterfly.

Kuczynski Makes Final PAC-12 Meet Appearance

Caroline Kuczynski, who frequently trains with SOFLO during college breaks, will make her final appearance in the four-day PAC-12 Championships that begin Wednesday in Federal Way, Wash.

Kuczynski, Arizona State team captain, is among favorites in the butterfly events. Kuczynski is a 2016 Canadian Olympic hopeful. ASU is ranked No. 25 in the nation.

ASU will compete against No. 1 USC, No. 2 California, No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona and No. 14 UCLA.

Back-to-back national champion California is the favorite despite losing to Arizona and No. 1 ranked USC in dual meets.

PAC-12s are the last chance for swimmers to make NCAA cuts.

Schwab Competes In Big 10 Championships

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, 2012 Olympian Nick Schwab and his Indiana teammates will host the Big 10 Men’s Championships Wednesday through Saturday at Indiana University’s Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington, Ind.

Nine out of the 12 individual winners from the 2012 Championships return to defend their titles including four from defending team champion Michigan.

Indiana is ranked No. 8 in the nation.

Last weekend Minnesota won the Big 10 women’s team title for the second consecutive year and fifth overall. Minnesota won with 831.5 points and Indiana was second with 671.5.

Minnesota coach Kelly Kremer was named Women’s Coach of the Year. Lindsay Vrooman of Indiana was named Swimmer of the Meet and Brooklyn Snodgrass of Indiana won Freshman of the Year.

Florida Gators, Georgia Win SEC Championships

University of Florida men’s team broke Auburn’s streak of 16-straight SEC Championships, the third longest streak in SEC sports history, won the men’s title with 1,408 points.

The Gators won four individual events and one relay.

“It’s great for the guys,” Gators coach Gregg Troy said. “We have been chasing Auburn and nipping at their heels every year and we have been close a couple of them. I think this kind of takes us over the top from the standpoint that it gets the monkey off our back.

“It’s a good building point towards the NCAA meet and it’s not an end in itself but it certainly is a good conference win.”

Junior Marcin Cieslak won two events in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly.

The Gator women’s team finished third with 1,190.5 points. Georgia won its fourth straight SEC team title and Texas A&M was second.

Olympian Elizabeth Beisel won the 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke for the third consecutive year. Freshman Natalie Hinds won the 100-yard butterfly.

Florida Gold Coast swimmer Luke Torres made his SEC debut as a freshman a memorable one. Torres made his NCAA “B” cut in the 200-yard butterfly, winning the “B” final in 1:46 and also swam a best time in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:00.87 to finish 22nd.

Several other Florida Gold Coast swimmers competed for the Gators including Carlos Omana, Ryan Rosenbaum and Lindsey McKnight. Omana was fifth in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 14:55.53. Rosenbaum, a freshman, was 31st in the 1,650 in 15:42.37. Torres posted a lifetime-best in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:00.87 to finish 22nd.

Three U.S. Olympians set two American records during the meet. Olympic gold medalists Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt along with Georgia teammates Megan Romano and Jordan Mattern set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA and SEC record in the women’s 800-yard freestyle in 6:52.40.

Olympian Breeja Larson of Texas A&M set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA and SEC record in the 100-yard breaststroke in 57.43.

Hinds was named SEC Female Freshman Swimmer of the Year; Beisel won the Commissioner’s Trophy Award for high point winner and Troy was named SEC Men’s Coach of the Year.

Grigull Medals At MAAC Championships

Florida Gold Coast swimmer Justin Grigull of Iona College finished third in the 100-yard freestyle in 45.98 at the MACC Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. He was also third in the 200-yard freestyle in a lifetime-best 1:40.80, qualifying for ECAC “A”. On the opening day, he was third in the 500-yard freestyle in 3:34.50, another ECAC “A” time. Iona finished ninth among teams. Grigull, a junior, was a member of the seventh place 400-yard freestyle relay.

Polyakov Makes Coaching Debut; O’Shaughnessy Competes At Big East Championships

Three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov and former Florida Gold Coast Swimmer of the Year, in his first year as assistant coach at Louisville, will make his coaching debut at the Big East Conference Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium Wednesday through Saturday.

Another FGC swimmer, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, a senior breaststroker at Seton Hall, is among favorites.
O’Shaughnessy is coming off a successful tri-meet against Georgetown and Villanova on Feb. 9. He was third in the 100-yard butterfly in 53.39 and third in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:14.41. He also was a member of the third-place 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.

O’Shaughnessy is one of 17 swimmers at the Big East meet.

Notre Dame and Louisville head the nine-team field. Former Pine Crest swimmer Austin Evenson, a freshman, will compete in the distance events for Georgetown. Joao de Lucca is Louisville’s top sprinter and will swim the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyles. Louisville’s Kameron Chastain and Addison Bray are the top two seeds in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Florida Gulf Coast Wins CCSA Team Title

Florida Gulf Coast women’s team won the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimming and Diving Championships for the fifth consecutive year. The Eagles won with 712 points.

Emma Svensson of FGCU was named Most Outstanding Freshman Performer of the Meet after winning the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke including two with NCAA “B” cut times. She was also a member of the winning 200- and 400-yard medley relays.

FGCU head coach Neal Studd was named Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the third time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 218: Marinheiro Competes In Opening Event At Speedo Winter Junior Nationals

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 218: Marinheiro Competes In Opening Event At Speedo Winter Junior Nationals


December 6, 2012

Melissa Marinheiro of South Florida Aquatic Club finished among the Top 50 in the 500-yard freestyle on the opening day of the Speedo Winter Junior Nationals.

Marinheiro, 15, was 43rd in 4:56.32 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She was seeded 24th in 4:51.88 among a field of 104 swimmers.

The West Broward High School sophomore still has the 200-yard freestyle (1:50.71) and 1,000-yard freestyle (9:07.32) to swim during the three-day meet. She swims the 200 on Friday.

Lindsey Engel, 16, of the Orange County Waves won the girls 50-yard freestyle in a meet record 22.24 to highlight opening night action. The previous record was 22.63 set in 2010.

Brett Ringgold, 17, of North Texas Nadadores won the boys 50 in 19.73, also a meet record. The previous record was 19.83 set in 2009. Dylan Carter, 16, of Davie Nadadores and Trinidad and Tobago was third in 19.94 cracking the 20-second mark he just missed in prelims,  and Jason McCormick of FLA Aquatics was sixth in 20.47.

In other finals:

Bolles won the boys 4×50-yard freestyle relay of Caeleb Dressel, Santo Condorelli, Emiro Goossen and Joseph Schooling in a meet record 1:19.03, breaking its own record of 1:19.82 set in 2011.

Leah Stevens, 16, of Lakeside won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:43.25.

Jonathan Roberts, 17, of North Texas came back with a strong second half to win the 500-yard freestyle in 4:21.33.

Kathleen Baker, 15, won the 200-yard individual medley in a meet record 1:56.53, following Meaghan Raab’s meet record of 1:57.86 in prelims which broke former CSSC swimmer Lindsey McKnight’s record of 1:58.03.

Steven Stumph, 18, of Orinda won the 200 IM in 1:46.79.

In Florida Gold Coast results:

Texas-bound Tasija Karosas, 17, of St. Andrew’s Swimming won the “B” final and finished ninth overall in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:00.18 that would have placed her seventh in finals.

St. Andrew’s teammate Quinn Cassidy, Florida-bound, was 16th in the

boys 200 IM in 1:52.06 after going a U.S. Open cut of 1:49.47 in a swim-off.

St. Andrew’s relay of Karosas, Darby Goodwin, Brenna Ruth and Megan Moroney finished fifth in the 4×50-yard freestyle relay in 1:34.18 ahead of Bolles in 1:34.46. Pine Crest’s Carolina Nava, Marta Ciesla, Casey Francis and Brittany Hammond were 16th in 1:36.25.

St. Andrew’s boys were tenth in the 4×50-yard freestyle relay in 1:24.91 with Cassidy, Gage Kohner, Luke Hayhoe and Shawn Warner.

Megan Moroney of St. Andrew’s was 20th in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:52.27; Casey Francis of Pine Crest, 38th, 4:55.44; Melissa Marinheiro of SOFLO, 43rd, 4:56.32; Clara Smiddy of AK Sharks, 49th, 4:57.17; Isabella Paez of Metro Aquatics, 95th, 5:06.44.

Kent Haeffner of Pine Crest was 19th in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:31.58.

Rachael Bradford-Feldman, 15, of St. Andrew’s was 30th in the 200 IM in 2:03.90. Casey Francis of Pine Crest was 58th in 2:04.87. Darby Goodwin of St. Andrew’s was 98th in the 200 IM in 2:06.82. Brittany Hammond, Pine Crest, 115th in the 200 IM in 2:07.71. Tyla Martin, Pine Crest, 120th, 200 IM, 2:08.07; Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics, 139th, 200 IM, 2:09.17.

Julian Radice, 17, of Metro Aquatics was 52nd in the 200 IM in 1:52.55.

Marta Ciesla, 14, of Pine Crest Swimming was 28th in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.58. Caroline Nava, 15, of Pine Crest was 55th in 23.84. Megan Moroney was 61st in 23.87.

Julian Ballestas, 18, was 19th in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.00.

College Rankings

University of Florida is ranked No. 7 in this week’s College Swimming Coaches Association NCAA Division 1 Men’s Swimming and Diving poll.

The Gators are undefeated overall (4-0) and in the Southeastern Conference (3-0).

Florida State is the only other Florida team ranked in the Top 25 with a No. 13 ranking with a 5-2 overall record and 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference record.

Michigan remains on top with the No. 1 ranking, 4-0 overall record and 3-0 Big Ten record.

Arizona State women’s team, with local swimmer Carolina Kuczynski, is ranked 18th, tied with Florida State led by SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver, coming

off a record-breaking weekend. The Seminoles are 10-0 overall and 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. ASU is 2-2 and 1-2 in the PAC 12.

Southern California is ranked No. 1 with an undefeated 5-0 overall record and 4-0 in the PAC 12. Texas A&M is ranked second with a 4-0 overall record and 2-0 SEC record. The Gator women, 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, are ranked ninth. Louisville women are ranked 17th with a 2-1
overall record and 1-0 record in the Big East.

MEN’S POLL: 1. Michigan 4-0, 2. California 2-0, 3. Arizona 3-1, 4. Texas 1-2, 5. Southern California 3-0, 6. Ohio State 4-0, 7. Florida 4-0, 8. Stanford 1-0, 9. Auburn 3-0, 10. Indiana 4-2, 11. Minnesota 2-1, 12. Georgia 3-1, 13. Florida State 5-2, 14. Missouri 3-1, 15. Virginia 4-1, 16. Louisville 1-2, 17. Virginia Tech 6-1, 18. Iowa 1-1, 19. LSU 2-1, 20. Notre Dame 5-0, 20. Penn State 2-2, 22. North Carolina 3-0, 23. UNLV 3-2, 24. Georgia Tech 1-2, 25. Denver 1-2.

WOMEN’S POLL: 1. Southern California 5-0, 2. Texas A&M 4-0, 3. Georgia 5-0, 4. California 4-0, 5. Texas 3-1, 6. Arizona 4-2, 7. Stanford 2-1, 8. Virginia 3-0, 9. Florida 1-3, 10. Tennessee 5-0, 11. Auburn 3-0, 12. Penn State 3-1, 13. UCLA 8-0, 14. Minnesota 5-0, 15. Ohio State 4-1, 16. North Carolina 2-1, 17. Louisville 2-1, 18. Florida State 10-0, 18. Arizona State 2-2, 20. Missouri 3-2, 21. Notre Dame 1-3, 22. Indiana 2-4, 23. SMU 1-1, 24. Michigan 1-3, 25. Arkansas 3-1.


Bieber Fever is allowed by the NCAA, go figure! A day after Olympian Missy Franklin told media outlets that she returned all the swag that Justin Bieber sent her over the summer when he found out that she was a fan and loved his music. She was worried about it affecting her NCAA eligibility when she begins California next fall. Not so, said an NCAA official spokesperson on Thursday. “We applaud Missy Franklin’s commitment to amateurism but Bieber Fever is allowed under NCAA rules,” spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said. Bieber is known for giving fans gifts and was never suspected of giving her special treatment or recruiting her for any college…

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte has volunteered his services as a coach to help raise money for Hurricane Sandy Relief victims. Lochte has joined in the Hurricane Sandy Relief auction, organized by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue Magazine. The winning bidder and a guest will receive a one-hour lesson with Lochte and lunch with him afterwards. The starting bid is $4,000. Though no bids have been made the auction still has 12 days left.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 214: AT&T Winter Championships Begin Thursday In Austin

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 214: AT&T Winter Championships Begin Thursday In Austin

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 214: AT&T Winter Championships Begin Thursday In Austin

Written by Sharon Robb

November 28, 2012

Seventeen members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team head the field for USA Swimming’s AT&T Winter National Championships that begin Thursday at the University of Texas.

Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky will compete among a field that includes top high school, college and club swimmers.

Franklin and Lochte are coming off the Minneapolis Grand Prix.

The three-day meet marks the fall return of most of the Olympic swimmers including Ledecky, the Breakout Performer of the Year; Haley Anderson, Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers, Jimmy Feigen and Jessica Hardy.

Olivia Smoliga, a high school swimmer from Illinois, will get a chance to swim against Olympic veterans in the 50 freestyle. Two weeks ago, Smoliga became the first woman to go under 22 seconds in high school competition.

Several swimmers are swimming through nationals preparing for the Dec. 12-16 Short Course World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.

The meet ends Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Highlights from the meet will air on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.

College Swimming

Coral Springs Swim Club’s three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov, now an assistant coach at Louisville, will be coaching in the Atlantic Coast Conference beginning in the 2014-15 season. The Big East Conference’s last major football team decided to join the ACC which means all its sports including swimming and diving will follow. Louisville is the nation’s fastest-rising swim program under head coach Arthur Albeiro, who is producing NCAA champions and All-Americans. The school’s Ralph R. Wright Natatorium is a national-caliber pool and is a candidate to host the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials…University of Florida coach Gregg Troy made it official on Wednesday announcing ten early high school signees including Quinn Cassidy of St. Andrew’s and Daniel Spas of American Heritage Plantation…Olympian Katie Hoff has been accepted to the University of Miami and will begin classes in January. She is not expected to swim for the Hurricanes since she is a pro and has accepted prize and appearance money.

Franklin Makes Decision

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin will compete for her high school team, Regis Jesuit in Aurora, Colo. in her senior year. Franklin said she loves her school and her teammates but had wrestled with the decision the past few weeks for several reasons including comments from opposing teams and parents. The high school swimming season begins this week. Franklin will join her team after the New Year. She plans on competing in a handful of meets, league and state championships. Franklin will go after a few national high school records during the season. Her state meet is Feb. 8-9.


Former University of Florida All-American Omar Pinzon, Colombia’s top swimmer, tested positive for cocaine. After graduating from Florida as a 12-time All-American in 2010, he trained with Dave Salo at USC. He holds South American national records in the 200-meter backstroke. He faces at least a two-year ban…Olympian Ryan Lochte is on GQ Magazine’s 25 Least Influential People list of 2012. The list also includes Mitt Romney and Lance Armstrong. The magazine called the list “a collection of people so uninspiring that we should round them all up and stick them on an iceberg.”…Olympian Martha McCabe was named Canada’s Female Swimmer of the Year at the swimming federation’s Big Splash Awards in Toronto. Last week she was selected Breaststroke Female Swimmer of the Year. Ryan Cochrane was chosen as Male Swimmer of the Year and was named Distance Freestyle Male Swimmer of the Year last week. Jozsef Nagy of the National Swim Centre Vancouver was named Coach of the Year for female swimmers. Randy Bennett of the Victoria Academy of Swimming was named Coach of the Year for male swimmers.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 194: SOFLO’s Oliver Wins Two Events At FSU’s Garnet & Gold Meet

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 194: SOFLO’s Oliver Wins Two Events At FSU’s Garnet & Gold Meet


September 22, 2012

In Florida State’s annual Garnet and Gold swimming battle on Friday, Garnet defeated the Gold, 146-114 in the men’s competition and 139-121 in the women’s events.

Junior Tiffany Oliver of the South Florida Aquatic Club won two events in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.06 and 100-yard freestyle in 50.22 for the Garnet.

Two other swimmers who competed in the Florida Gold Coast, Paul Murray won the 100-yard freestyle in 45.97 and Connor Knight won the 100-yard butterfly in 49.76.

“I thought we did well today,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “We had another week of hard work and today we forced them to race each other.

“By dividing them in half, you can see who you can count on, who loves to race and who is going to be able to push through adversity. The main thing is we had some great races today. I like where we are and I look forward to unifying and going against our next opponent.”

FSU will compete in the Sept. 28-30 All-Florida Invitational in Gainesville.

More College Swimming

Vlad Polyakov is getting ready to begin a new chapter in his swimming career. The three-time Olympian for Kazakhstan has been hired at the University of Louisville as an assistant coach and recruiter.

Polyakov will reunite with senior Kevin Bandy, a former Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer and Douglas graduate who used to train with Polyakov and six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg. Bandy, whose family now lives in Georgia, competes in the freestyle, backstroke and butterfly.

The St. Thomas Aquinas High School and University of Alabama alum has an extensive swimming resume. He was a five-time SEC champion, two-time NCAA champion and two-time U.S. national champion and was inducted into the Alabama Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame. He holds the school record in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke. He has competed professionally the past five years in the U.S. and internationally.

Polyakov, who will be 29 on Nov. 30th, competed in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. In 2004, he finaled in both the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events in the Athens Olympics. The same year he won a bronze medal in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events at the world championships and two years later won gold in the 200 breaststroke.

“I am thrilled to rejoin Arthur and look forward to this incredible opportunity,” said Polyakov.  Polyakov also coached age group swimmers at CSSC before resuming training for the 2012 Olympics.

“We have always had a great level of understanding and respect for each other,” Polyakov said. “I’ve always appreciated his professional attitude and individual approach towards his athletes. What he has been able to accomplish at Louisville within such a short period of time, really tells you a lot about this organization and its vision.

“It is a true honor to be part of a program that has shown consistent record of success in the past years, both academically and athletically. I think the sky is the limit for this program and I can’t wait to contribute to its future success.”…

Olympic relay gold medalist Claire Donahue, who trains at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool part-time, was part of the christening for the Claire Donahue Aquatic Center in her hometown of Lenoir City, Tenn. The city, with a population of 6,000, decided to name its six-lane, 25-yard city pool after their hometown hero.

More Miscellaneous Swimming News

Nine Olympians including Ricky Berens and girlfriend Rebecca Soni were among more than 700 swimmers raising $85,000 by competing in cancer survivor Eric Shanteau’s  SwimForYourLife open water swim at Lake Lanier Islands. Aaron Piersol, Amanda Weir, Jimmy Feigen, Kathleen Hersey, Mark Gangloff and Dominik Meichtry also competed. Berens won the 1K swim in 13:30 followed by Hersey (13:44), Gangloff (14:12) and Shanteau (14:24)…

Great Britain’s Olympic gold medalist and former world record holder Rebecca Adlington, 23, said she will not be competing in Rio for the 2016 Olympics and is toying with the idea of quitting swimming altogether. “I’ll be 27 then and swimming, especially for distance swimmers, is a young person’s game,” she said. “Do I want to carry on and not get any faster? The answer is no.” Adlington finished third behind 15-year-old American record holder Katie Ledecky in the 800 meter freestyle. Adlington may still hold on for next summer’s world championships in Barcelona, Spain…British teammate and former world champion Gemma Spofforth has officially retired from swimming at age 24 saying that she cannot top the experience of competing at a home Olympics. She was a four-time Olympic finalist and finished fifth in the 100-meter backstroke in London. The University of Florida alum plans to work with under-privileged children.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 5: Swimming Takes Center Stage At Olympics, SOFLO’s Atkinson Competes Sunday

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 5: Swimming Takes Center Stage At Olympics, SOFLO’s Atkinson Competes Sunday


July 28, 2012

Reigning world champion Ryan Lochte won his first gold medal of the 2012 London Olympics Saturday night to highlight a dramatic night of swimming at the steamy Aquatics Centre.

Lochte, 27, of Daytona Beach, won the 400-meter individual medley, the first of two highly-anticipated races against rival Michael Phelps. Lochte pulled away during the backstroke and won in 4:05.18, a textile-best.

Phelps, the two-time defending Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, was fourth in 4:09.28, 34/100ths out of medal contention.

It was the first gold medal for the U.S. team and first time Lochte beat Phelps in an Olympic final.

“I think I am in shock right now,” Lochte said. “Going into these Games I knew I was capable of getting the win. I’m happy that I was able to do that. I am ready to rock. This is going to be an Olympics to remember.

“I heard the fans screaming all throughout the race and definitely had my family there. It definitely helped me out a lot.”

Lochte was his laidback self before the race and on the medal podium. He wore new bright green shoes and put his diamond Stars and Stripes grill across his top front teeth for photographers. Lochte was not allowed to wear his grill on the podium. An IOC official told him he would not get his gold medal if he did.

“It’s just a unique way of showing my personality,” Lochte said.

Three-time Olympian Thiago Pereira of Brazil took the silver, his first-ever Olympic medal, in 4:08.86 and 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino of Japan finished with the bronze in 4:08.94. Hagino, who won the 200 IM at last year’s FINA Junior World Championships, was not expected to reach an Olympic final.

The race was no contest with Lochte leading from start-to-finish and crushing the men’s field. Lochte, who has six Olympic medals including three golds in his lifetime, had flirted with world record pace for the first 350 meters.

“I know he gave it everything he had,” Lochte said of the 16-time medal winner. “That’s all you can really ask. I’m going to talk to him and see how he feels about that.”

Phelps had barely made it into the final, qualifying eighth just out-touching Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh. Lochte, who said he didn’t feel good in the morning prelim, was third fastest qualifier.

“I was lucky to get in,” Phelps said. “I had a chance to put myself in a spot to start off on a good note and didn’t do it. Ryan had a good race.”

It is the first time since 2000 when Phelps was 15 that he has missed a medal in an Olympic event. It was the 400 IM that Phelps kept saying he would never race again after 2008 because it was too painful. But inexplicably decided to race it at trials.

“It was just a crappy race,” Phelps said. “They swam a better race than me, they swam a smarter race than me and that is why they are on the podium. It’s just really frustrating to start off on a bad note like this. It’s pretty upsetting.

“The biggest thing now is to try and get past this and move forward,” Phelps said. “I have a bunch of races and hopefully we can finish this a lot better than we started.”

On Wednesday, the two go head-to-head for the second and final time in the 200-meter individual medley, an event Phelps has won in each of the last two Olympics.

Meanwhile, China dominated the remainder of the swimming.

Sun Yang, 20, won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in an Olympic record 3:40.14, eclipsing Ian Thorpe’s Olympic record set in 2000. Olympic defending champion Tae-Hwan Park of South Korea, after being disqualified in morning prelims for a false start and then reinstated by FINA, was second in 3:42.06. American Peter Vanderkaay, who relocated to Gainesville to train for the Olympics, took the bronze in 3:44.69.

“I am very glad to have won the gold, it means a lot to me,” Yang said. “It is a reward for the many years of effort. Tonight, I did a good race. If I had won the gold without Park swimming in the final, maybe the Korean media would have said that it was a medal not gained well enough. To have Park in the race was a very good challenge for me.”

China’s 16-year-old Ye Shiwen won the women’s 400-meter individual medley in a world record time of 4:28.43, knocking off American Elizabeth Beisel of University of Florida, who was second in 4:31.27. China’s Xuanxu Li took bronze in 4:32.91.

The Aussies looked unbeatable on the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay with Alicia Coutts, 24, Cate Campbell, 20, Brittany Elmslie, 18, and Melanie Schlanger, 25, winning in an Olympic record 3:33.15. Schlanger held off the Netherlands, the defending Olympic champion that finished second in 3:33.79. The U.S. took bronze with Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt. Neal became the first African-American woman to swim in an Olympic final.

Natalie Coughlin, 29, as a member of the U.S. relay that swam prelims along with Amanda Weir and qualified, tied for most career Olympic medals with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres of the Coral Springs Swim Club with 12. Coughlin, who did not qualify in an individual event, is now done for the week and will be a team cheerleader, she said.

“I really have no idea what to think of it so far,” Coughlin said. “I’ll have to let that one sit and I’ll have to take it all in. I’m very proud of it but I’ve never been on a morning relay before.”

If the Florida Gators swimmers were a country, they would be tied with China for Olympic swim medals with three.

SOFLO three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov was eliminated in the morning prelims of the men’s 100-meter breaststroke, his only event in London.

Polyakov finished 34th in 1:02.15. His splits were 29.06 and 33.09. Suriname’s Diguan Pigot of Metro Aquatics was 43rd in 1:05.55.

In the men’s breaststroke semifinals, which were crazy fast, South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh broke 59 seconds for the second time in his career to earn the top seed in an Olympic record 58.83, breaking Kosuke Kitajima’s Olympic mark of 58.91 set in 2008. American Brendan Hansen barely qualified for finals with the eighth fastest time in 59.78.

American Dana Vollmer set an Olympic, American and textile-best in prelims of the 100-meter butterfly prelims in 56.25 and earned the top seed after semifinals in 56.36.

On Sunday, SOFLO’s three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica will compete in the prelims of the 100-meter breaststroke, the first of three events she is entered in.

The swimming attracted its share of VIPs including Queen Elizabeth for the morning session and First Lady Michelle Obama for the evening session.

NBC, with its mega hours and channels of coverage, is not making any friends by showing the swimming finals on tape-delay especially in this social media era where followers know who won immediately after races. Twitter lit up with complaints about it and NBC’s sub-par live streaming which kept cutting in out and out online on the first full day of competition.

The U.S. swim team’s “Call Me Maybe” video parody has now hit 2 million viewers on YouTube.

Water polo

Hungary will put its 17-match unbeaten Olympic streak on the line Sunday as it begins its quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. Hungary opens up against gold medal favorite Serbia on opening day of the water polo competition. The U.S. team, 2008 Olympic silver medalist, opens up against Montenegro.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com