CORAL SPRINGS—Despite a rain-soaked morning, the Pembroke Pines Comets rose to the occasion on Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.


CORAL SPRINGS—Despite a rain-soaked morning, the Pembroke Pines Comets rose to the occasion on Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

The Comets shook off poor weather conditions during morning prelims to bounce back and shine in the finals on Friday night.

In two days, the Comets have qualified nine swimmers for the April 10-11 Florida Gold Coast vs. Florida Swimming All-Star meet at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce.

It is the most the Comets have qualified for the annual All-Star meet in two days.

And, with two days remaining, age group coach Rose Lockie said the Comets could add a few more names to the list of qualifiers.

Lockie and the entire Comets’ coaching staff were impressed at how the young swimmers handled the adversity of rain, wind and cold. 

“The morning was hard for them,” Lockie said. “It was wicked cold and just miserable. A lot of them battled with the conditions in the morning and then came back in the evening and did very, very well.”

Lockie said the difference between prelims and finals was like night and day. A little pep talk from the coaches helped between sessions.

“Their attitudes changed so much,” Lockie said. “They were pumped up and so excited to have the chance to make the All-Star team. It was really nice to see them come back and have such a positive attitude. We definitely could see a change from the morning. They were smiling more. They seemed happier. It showed they were ready to swim in finals.”

Lockie was concerned at early weather reports for even worse conditions Friday night. Despite a temperature drop, the heavy rains and wind held off for finals.

“They realized they couldn’t control the weather and that it was bad for everybody in the morning,” Lockie said. “The kids coming back for finals were talking about the All-Star meet. It was such a great motivator.  They talked amongst each other and knew it was a big thing to place in the Top 6.”

Lockie said the team’s “hard training” for JOs  paid off in the races.

The Comets had 12 swimmers qualify for the finals—seven boys and five girls.

Among the Comets’ top six finishers were:

Boys 1,000-yard freestyle: Raphael Mora, 11, third, career-best 12:04.41; Alejandro Patino, 12, fourth, 12:26.99; Austin Iglesias, 12, fifth, career-best 12:45.19.

Boys 100-yard butterfly: Javier Menchaca, 14, fifth, career-best 57.63.

Boys 200-yard freestyle: Jorge Depassier, 10, third, career-best 2:14.25; Ricardo Roche, 10, fifth, career-best 2:14.65.

Girls 1,000-yard freestyle: Carly Swanson, 12, third, career-best 11:52.06; Leonie Davies, 13, fifth, career-best 10:57.63.

Girls 50-yard backstroke: Kelley Heron, 10, fourth, 34.08; Zoey Chilcote, 10, sixth, career-best 35.60.

Girls 100-yard butterfly: Maria Lopez, 14, fourth, career-best 58.76; Alvena Walpole, 9, fifth, career-best 1:15.02.

Girls 200-yard freestyle: Kelley Heron, 10, fifth, 2:14.93.

Girls 200-yard backstroke: Amber Hunter, 14, sixth, career-best 2:19.09.

“The young swimmers swam incredibly well,” Lockie said. “It took a lot of hard training. I anticipate a few more good swims over the next two days and we could have some more on the All-Star team. We’re not done yet.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Author: South Florida Aquatic Club - SOFLO Swimming

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