WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

June 8, 2011

Allison Kopas’ trophy, plaque and ribbon collection keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Kopas, 12, a sixth grader at University School, was named the team’s Most Valuable Swimmer for the season.

Kopas competed in two individual events and two relays and played a key role in her team’s surprising victory at the May 11 Middle School Swimming and Diving Championships at the Nova Southeastern University Aquatic Center.

The Suns, with only 17 swimmers and divers, topped a field of eleven schools and 189 athletes from Broward and Palm Beach counties to win the overall team title for the second year in a row. The boys team, led by divers Dane Gailitis, finished undefeated for the first time in school history.

The team lived up to its motto that Coach Sally Hansell came up with: We Train, We Swam, We Won.

It was Kopas’ first middle school team title coming on the heels of the State 1A meet last fall. She was one of the county’s youngest swimmers in her first year of high school swimming.

“I was excited about Most Valuable Swimmer because I didn’t know I was going to get that,” said Kopas, also honored recently as a top age group swimmer in her Blue Group at South Florida Aquatic Club/Coral Springs Swim Club annual banquet.

“We didn’t think we would win because the team is so small,” Kopas said. “Most of the swimmers on middle school team are club swimmers. We won because a lot of the boys and girls won some events and we came together as a team.”

Kopas took two seconds in both her events, the 50-yard butterfly and 100-yard individual medley. She also competed on the 200 medley and freestyle relays. During the regular season, she dominated her events.

“Our team is really close,” Kopas said. “We are best friends. We feel like sisters. We cheer for each other and have a lot of fun.”

This weekend, Kopas will make her open water debut as a member of the Florida Gold Coast Open Water All-Star Team that will compete off Fort Myers Beach. She is one of 12 SOFLO swimmers on the team.

“I am excited, I’ve never done it before,” Kopas said. “I wanted to do it.”

Kopas is also training for this summer’s JOs and zones.

“I am happy with my swimming,” Kopas said. “My strokes have improved a lot. Vlad (Polyakov) is one of the main people who helped me improve my strokes.”

MIDDLE SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS

Held May 11 at NSU Aquatic Center, Davie

GIRLS

200-yard medley relay: 1. St. Andrew’s 2:00.73, 2. Westminster Academy 2:13.25, 3. University School 2:17.82; 100-yard freestyle: 1. Megan Moroney, SA 55.95, 2. Taylor Early, NBP 1:01.14, 3. Kaley Creighton 1:06.69; 50-yard butterfly: 1. CJ McCartin, SA 28.88, 2. Allison Kopas, US 28.97, 3. Chelsea Scuderi, SA 29.87; 50-yard breaststroke: 1. Julianna Carbone, SA 35.53, 2. Gianna Ramos, HF 35.65, 3. Laryssa Bedley, US 35.77; 200-yard freestyle: 1. Caroline Nava, WA 2:01.67, 2. Courtney Bober, SA 2:06.22, 3. Alexandra Pacitti 2:06.42; 50-yard backstroke: 1. Megan Moroney, SA 28.69, 2. Morgan McKeown, NB 33.65, 3. Brinton Coombs, SA 33.72; 50-yard freestyle: 1. Caroline Nava, WA 26.08, 2. Alexandra Pacitti, AH 27.05, 3. CJ McCartin, SA 27.14; 100-yard individual medley: 1. Courtney Bober, SA 1:06.49, 2. Allison Kopas, US 1:06.50, 3. Camryn Hudson, HFMS 1:10.11; 200-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Andrew’s (CJ Martin, Chelsea Scuderi, Brinton Coombs, Megan Moroney) 1:47.11; 2. Westminster Academy 1:57.66, 3. BMST 2:04.00; 1-meter springboard diving: 1. Carson Knaby, US 133.45, 2. Tamara Outler, US 101.65, 3. Kate Cassidy, SA 101.60.

BOYS

200-yard medley relay: 1. University School 2:00.06, 2. AHSM 2:02.72, 3. AHPL 2:02.74; 100-yard freestyle: 1. Julian Ortega, AHSM 58.79, 2. Connor Predmore, BMST 59.82, 3. Grant Besner, US 1:00.56; 50-yard butterfly: 1. Chris Garcia, AHPL 27.07, 2. Julian Ortega, AHSM 29.38, 3. John Silvera, US 29.99; 50-yard breaststroke: 1. John Silvera, US 34.53, 2. Quinn Lacoursiere, AHSM 35.08, 3. Ian Olsson, AHPL 35.11; 200-yard freestyle: 1. Matthew Lyn, US 1:58.50, 2. Tanner Fuller, SA 2:03.63, 3. Grant Besner, US 2:19.37; 50-yard backstroke: 1. Max Landau, AHSM 33.76, 2. Gabriel Louvet, BMST 34.54, 3. Carlos Samaniego, SA 36.03; 50-yard freestyle: 1. Jason Woodburn, WA 26.05, 2. James Rivera, BM 26.22, 3. Max Landau, AHSM 26.40; 100-yard individual medley: 1. Matthew Lyn, US 1:01.80, 2. Chris Garcia, AHPL 1:02.23, 3. Tanner Fuller, SA 1:04.87; 200-yard freestyle relay: 1. University School 1:45.02, 2. AHPL 1:47.32, 3. AHSM 1:49.24; 1-meter springboard diving: 1. Alex Warters, WA 130.80, 2. Dane Gailitis, US 106.70, 3. Henry Furman, BM 70.85.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4soflo.com

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