Lochte, Murphy Head Florida Contingent For XVI FINA World Championships; Bovell Withdraws From Meet
Courtesy UF Athletics

Lochte, Murphy Head Florida Contingent For XVI FINA World Championships; Bovell Withdraws From Meet

By Sharon Robb

August 1, 2015—With renewed confidence, Ryan Lochte is looking to return to championship form when the XVI FINA World Championships begin Sunday in Kazan, Russia.

Lochte is one of 60 swimmers and four coaches with Florida ties representing 35 countries over the next eight days at Kazan Arena. They are among a field of 2,400 swimmers from 190 countries

Lochte, 30, of Daytona Beach will focus on quality not quantity this time around at a world championship.

Lochte will swim the 200-meter individual medley, which he is three-time defending champion, and 200-meter freestyle. It’s the fewest individual events he has raced at a major international meet in eleven years since his debut on the world stage in 2004.

Lochte will open with the 4×100-meter freestyle relay on Sunday.

Lochte won three gold medals in Barcelona two years ago and has won 15 world gold medals and 23 career medals overall at worlds.

Lochte put 2014, which he calls his “worst year” including last year’s disappointing performance at the U.S. Trials, behind him.

“2014 was one of the worst of my swimming career,” Lochte said during the pre-meet team press conference. “I just wasn’t there mentally or physically. Last year I didn’t do as much as I wanted to do. This year I have been more focused and taking care of my body inside and outside of the pool.”

Lochte called the world championship “a stepping stone” for the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials and Rio Summer Olympics.

“Everything has been moving in the right direction,” Lochte said. “The biggest improvement this year has definitely been my confidence. Now that I am back in shape, I am getting my confidence back and now everything is looking good for 2016.”

Lochte has been fine tuning and told his fans to expect to see some new things in the pool from him in Kazan. He and his SwimMAC coach David Marsh have been working on his turns and underwaters.

“It’s never too late to keep learning and one of the things I’ve changed is my turns,” Lochte said. “I found out I am faster kicking off the wall on my back than on my stomach.

“You are going to see in races I will be kicking off on my back and turning onto my stomach at the last second and hopefully that will work.”

The “other” talented Ryan on the U.S. men’s team is Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, 20, a junior-to-be at University of California and Olympic backstroke hopeful. Murphy has already broken Lochte’s 2007 American record in the 100 backstroke in 1:36.77 during the NCAA Champions. Murphy will take a run at gold medal favorite Ryosuke Irie of Japan in the 200-meter backstroke. Murphy has won medals at the World Junior Championships, Pan American Games and World Short Course Championships.

While Lochte will lead the U.S. men’s team, U.S. Olympian Missy Franklin, competing in her first major meet as a professional, and teenager Katie Ledecky lead the U.S. women’s team. They combined for 10 gold medals at the world championships in Barcelona.

“They are two of the best athletes the world has ever seen,” said U.S. women’s head coach Dave Salo. “They are our really young veterans. Katie only graduated from high school a few weeks ago.”

Franklin, 20, will swim the 100 and 200 freestyles, 100 and 200 backstrokes and relays. Ledecky, 18, will swim the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 freestyles and relays.

“We’re convinced Katie will do her best times here,” Salo said. “And they just happen to be world records.”

Two years ago, the U.S. led the medal table with 34 overall including 29 in swimming and led the gold medal count with 15. This year’s team features 21 Olympians and 13 Olympic gold medalists.

In other world championship news:

Bolles alum George Bovell, representing Trinidad & Tobago, has withdrawn from the world championships.

It’s the second major world meet he has dropped out of. He also did not compete at the FINA World Short Course Championships last December.

Bovell told reporters that he decided instead to focus on his long range goals for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Bovell has already qualified for his fifth Olympics while training in Italy with Andrea Di Nino of ADN Project, a former Coral Springs Swim Club assistant coach.

Another casualty may be China’s 400 IM world record holder Ye Shiwen. According to the Xinhua news agency, Ye is nursing a severe ankle injury. She is scheduled to compete Sunday in the 200-meter individual medley which she is defending champion in. She twisted her foot a year ago and broke a bone but didn’t realize it until recently she told the news agency.

Bolles alum Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace is expected to make history representing the Bahamas. Vanderpool-Wallace has been training with SwimMAC and is in the best shape she’s ever been in on the world stage. The sprinter, competing in the 50-meter freestyle and butterfly, could become the first woman to win a gold medal at worlds for the Bahamas.

South Africa’s two-time Olympian Sebastien Rousseau, 24, of the Gator Swim Club, will compete in the 400 IM and 200 butterfly. Rousseau has been training with Great Britain’s Dan Wallace in Gainesville.

“I always have competition at practice,” Rousseau told reporters. “We had a pretty good training block and pretty good people to train with. I have guys that swim similar races that I do and we are on a similar level. I like the way Coach Gregg Troy does things because you learn new skills and race in different ways.”

Morning prelims are 9:30 a.m. locally in Kazan (2:30 a.m. EDT) and semifinals and finals at 5:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. EDT).

On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., NBC and Universal Sports Network will offer extensive network television coverage. The meet is also being live streamed atLiveStream365.com. Check your local listings.

FLORIDA CONNECTION AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA: Noah Mascoll-Gomez, Azura Florida Aquatics

ARUBA: Jordy Groters, Pine Crest Swimming; Daniella Van Den Berg, Azura Florida Aquatics

BAHAMAS: Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Bolles/SwimMAC; Elvis Burrows, Trinity Prep; Ariel Weech, Trinity Prep.

BARBADOS: Lani Cabrera, Florida Gulf Coast

BELARUS: Pavel Sankovich, Florida State

CANADA: Santo Condorelli, Bolles; Sydney Pickrem, Clearwater

CAYMAN ISLANDS: Shaune Fraser, Bolles/Florida; Brett Fraser, Bolles/Florida.

COLOMBIA: Carolina Colorado, South Florida Aquatic Club; Jorge Murillo-Valdes, South Florida Aquatic Club; Mateo De Angulo, Florida State

COSTA RICA: Esteban Araya, Azura Florida Aquatics

CURACAO: Serginni Marten, Indian River State College

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Jhonny Perez, Azura Florida Aquatics

EL SALVADOR: Marcelo Acosta, Azura Florida Aquatics

GERMANY: Theresa Michalak, Florida

GREAT BRITAIN: Jemma Lowe, Florida; Dan Wallace, Gator Swim Club; Jessica Thielman, Florida

HONDURAS: Karen Vilorio, Florida Gulf Coast

ICELAND: Hilda Luthersdottir, Gator Swim Club; Johanna Gustafsdottir, Florida International University

ITALY: Mitch D’Arrigo, Florida/Gator Swim Club

JAMAICA: Alia Atkinson, South Florida Aquatic Club; Timothy Wynter, South Florida Aquatic Club; Sidrell Williams, St. Andrew’s Swimming; Chris Anderson, South Florida Aquatic Club (Coach)

JORDAN: Lydia Musleh, Pine Crest Swimming

KENYA: Talisa Lanoe, Performance Aquatics; Kathleen Prindle, Performance Aquatics (Coach)

MEXICO: Mateo Gonzalez, Azura Florida Aquatics

NEW ZEALAND: Corey Main, Florida

POLAND: Marcin Cieslak, Florida; Jan Switkowski, Florida

LUCIA: Jordan Augier, Greater Tampa Swim Association

SERBIA: Arkady Vyatchanin, Gator Swim Club.

SINGAPORE: Joseph Schooling, Bolles; Sergio Lopez, Bolles (Coach).

SOUTH AFRICA: Sebastien Rousseau, Florida/Gator Swim Club

SPAIN: Melani Costa Schmid, Florida

SURINAME: Zuhayr Pigot, Miami Swimming; Evita Leter, Florida Gulf Coast; Chinyere Pigot, Metro Aquatics.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Dylan Carter, Plantation American Heritage

RUSSIA: Gregory Tarasevich, Fast Lane (Maitland)

UNITED STATES: Claire Donahue, South Florida Aquatic Club; Ryan Lochte, Daytona Beach/Florida; Elizabeth Beisel, Florida/Gator Swim Club; Becca Mann, Clearwater; Melanie Margalis, St. Petersburg; Conor Dwyer, Florida; Ryan Murphy, Bolles, Sid Cassidy, St. Andrew’s Swimming (Coach, open water).

VENEZUELA: Arlene Semeco, Coral Springs Swim Club; Andreina Pinto, Gator Swim Club; Isabella Paez, Duke/Metro Aquatics Club of Miami; Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics Club of Miami; Alex Gomez, Florida; Anthony Nesty/Florida (Coach).

VIETNAM: Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, St. Augustine

VIRGIN ISLANDS: Rex Tullius, Port Orange

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 

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Florida Swim Network