Gonzalez Tops Franklin in 50 Back Battle at Plantation Sectionals

2016 Southern Zone South Sectonal Championships

Friday saw the beginning of the meat of the individual events at the 2016 Plantation Sectionals in Plantation, Florida.

It was a quiet day individually for swimming superstar Missy Franklin at the 2016 Plantation, Florida Sectionals meet, with just one entry in a non-Olympic event on the day.

In that one race, the 50 backstroke, she was actually upended by her relatively-new training partner Fernanda Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, who has been training with the Colorado Stars, Franklin, and coach Todd Schmitz since October, swam a 29.14 to pick up the victory. Franklin wasn’t far back in 29.18, and Stanford commit Erin Voss placed as the top junior finisher in 29.43.

The 4th-place finisher in that race is Megan Romano in 30.28. Romano has had a quiet season since leaving her training with Longhorn Aquatics to return home to Florida, and was two-tenths faster than that time in her last meet a month ago.

Romano placed higher, 2nd, in her other swim for the day: the 200 backstroke. She swam a 2:00.91, which marks the first time since the US National Championships last summer. The time ranks her as the 31st-fastest American this year, and is her most encouraging swim of the 2015-2016 season so far.

The race winner was 15-year old Canadian Penny Oleksiak in 2:00.80. That’s a new season-best for her, and is the second-fastest time of her career so far.

In the men’s 200 free, the win went to Costa Rian Marcelo Acosta, who trains in the US at Azura Florida Aquatics, in 1:52.39.

Last weekend, at the Arena Pro Swim Series – Orlando meet, Acosta broke an El Salvadorian National Record in the 1500 free and in the process earned a FINA Automatic Qualifying Time  – the first in his country to ever do so.

His 200 time at that meet was nearly identical to what he swam in Orlando, even though he’s likely back in full training now after earning his spot at the Olympics.

Acosta also won the 400 IM in 4:33.04.

Oleksiak, in her 2nd event of the day, was the runner-up in the women’s 100 fly, swimming 1:00.10. The winner of that event was 2012 U.S. Olympian Claire Donahue, who swam a 58.86. That swim for Donahue is faster than she’s been at any of the Pro Swim Series meets. That’s a significant change in pattern from last season, where she went her two slowest 100 fly times at this same Sectional meet.

Other Event Winners:

  • Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson, 4th at the last Olympics, won the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.82 – 6 seconds clear of the field.
  • Canadian Richard Funk won the men’s 100 meter breaststroke in 1:01.61, beating out Indie Swimming 16-year old Michael Andrew (1:02.10).  That’s a two-tenths improvement for Andrew as compared to Orlando.
  • Andrew won the next event, the 50 backstroke, in 25.66.
  • Canadian Zach Chetrat won the men’s 100 fly final in 55.03, just out-touching Andrew (who was swimming his 3rd event in a row) by .02 seconds.
  • A pair of 15-year olds topped the women’s 400 IM final: Gator Swim Club’s Isabel Ivey won in 4:51.55, and South Florida’s Kathleen Golding took 2nd in 4:53.60. Ivey also placed 3rd in the 100 fly, where she improved her lifetime best by 4 seconds.
  • In the women’s 800 free relay, three Olympians, Tang Yi (2:01.52), Fernanda Gonzalez (2:07.95), and Missy Franklin (2:00.17) were on the winning Colorado Stars relay. The 4th swimmer in that group was talented 13-year old Jada Surrell-Norwood, who swam 2:11.31 as the 2nd leg on the star-studded relay.
  • Azura Aquatics won the boys’ 800 free relay going-away in 7:41.45.

Team Scores

After two days of the meet, local teams are winning on both the men’s and women’s side of the pool.

Women’s Standings

  1. South Florida Aquatic Club – 272
  2. Colorado Stars – 190
  3. Seacoast Swimming Association – 182
  4. Gator Swim Club – 169
  5. Blue Dolfins – 111

Men’s Standings

  1. Azura Florida Aquatics – 278
  2. South Florida Aquatic Club – 188
  3. Blue Dolfins – 145
  4. Colorado Stars – 136
  5. Swim Fort Lauderdale – 133


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Obviously 200 free not 200 back for the runner-up Romano and the winner Oleksiak.
15 year-old Isabel Ivey’s continuos improvements every race she swims are remarkable indeed.

bobo gigi

Oh my god!!!
Glad to see the former system of comments back on swimswam.
I can again post comments! 🙂

Great for Missy to have a good training partner like Fernanda Gonzalez.
But her 50 back performance is awful. 29.18 is a kind of times she used to do at 13 or 14!
Her Australian rivals swim 28 low or better in season.

I see the name of Tang Yi, the Chinese sprinter, 2012 100 free olympic bronze medalist, in the Colorado Stars relay. Does she train with Missy too?


She’s never been good at 50 back. She’s probably swimming tired also.

bobo gigi

Hswimmer, maybe I’m always too worried about her. Maybe because I’m a fan since 2009. I’d really like to see her back at her top level on backstroke and be able to defend her gold medals.
My reaction was probably a bit exaggerated.
Just a precision about the 50 back.
At 15 she swam 28.58.
In 2011 at worlds she won the bronze in that event in 28.01. So it’s not right to say she’s never been good at 50 back.
On the other hand I’ve just seen she was in 29 in season during her best years. So you’re probably right. No panic.
And she swam a very good 59 recently in Orlando. No panic. In Todd Schmitz we trust! 🙂

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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