WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
The Coral Springs Swim Club dominated Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympic Championships Friday night at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.
Several of the team’s age group swimmers bounced back from the windy and rain-soaked morning prelims to win individual titles, post career-best times and qualify for the April 10-11 Florida Gold Coast vs. Florida Swimming All-Star meet at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce.
With 34 qualifiers in the four-day meet, Coral Springs made its presence known from the opening 1,000-yard freestyle event.
“I didn’t really expect this good a night,” said Coral Springs age group coach Bruno Darzi. “The first two meets of the season were rough because it was too much fun and games and not so much training. They weren’t mentally prepared but ever since we had a meeting and talked about it, they have improved.
“I am happy with the results so far considering the morning weather,” Darzi said. “It was cold and the kids had a hard time moving but they were still able to swim pretty well and this afternoon was even better.”
Emma Lincoln, 14, competing in only her third 1,000 freestyle race, finished second in a career-best 10 minutes, 26.24 seconds. Her previous best was 10:46.87.
Lincoln came back later in the night to win the 200-yard freestyle, her favorite event, in 1:55.76, another career-best, dropping from 1:57.94.
“I was pretty excited swimming it,” said Lincoln, who has been swimming since age 8. “I was a little nervous before because of the weather but I felt really good in the water. The first 500 I went out a little fast and then I started to feel it but I kept going. I didn’t expect that big a time drop. I see such a big improvement in my swimming. I really love it here.”
Lincoln, a former basketball and soccer player and ballet and tap dancer, qualified for seven JO events.
“I am glad I stayed with swimming, I want to go to the Olympics some day,” she said.
BOISSON-YATES FINE TUNING
Taravella’s Keegan Boisson-Yates, 14, of Trinidad and Tobago is right on schedule in his training for the April 3-6 CARIFTA Aquatics Championships at the National Stadium Pool in Kingston, Jamaica. The Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) event is the annual age group championships for the Caribbean which Boisson-Yates has qualified for the fourth time.
The talented teenager won the 200-yard freestyle Friday night in a career-best 1:48.74, dropping from his previous best of 1:51.29 and was second in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:02.23, another career-best swim, bettering his previous best of 2:06.98.
Boisson-Yates, who has been swimming for six years, and his family moved to South Florida in January.
“I wasn’t horrible when I started swimming but I wasn’t good, I gradually got better and by the time I was 13, I was one of the best in my age group,” Boisson-Yates said.
“I am training for CARIFTA and not at my peak yet,” Boisson-Yates said.
He hopes one day to compete in the Olympics.
“We don’t have many famous swimmers in Trinidad, we have a couple and only one Olympic medalist. I am very motivated. I would like to be the first gold medalist. It was a sacrifice to move here but I am glad we made the move. I love training here. The atmosphere makes me feel like an elite swimmer.”
Boisson-Yates has four remaining events to swim.
Teammate Marco Hosfeld, 13, was second in the 200-yard freestyle in a career-best 1:48.88. “In the beginning when my mom put me in swimming I didn’t like it so much but then I started to work hard and actually succeed a little bit and I wanted to continue,” Hosfeld said. “I was pretty happy with my swim tonight but there is more to come. Hopefully, I can do better.”
CAMPO GAINING EXPERIENCE
At 12, Stephanie Campo, 12, is picking up valuable experience at a young age.
A high school state meet qualifier as a seventh grader at Coral Springs Charter, Campo won the 200-yard backstroke in a career-best 2:13.70. Her previous best was 2:17.65. She also placed second in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.01, another career-best. Her previous best was 2:02.46.
“I was surprised I went that fast, this is my best JOs,” said Campo, who has been swimming since age 4.
“I felt really smooth in the water,” said Campo, who qualified for seven events. “I wasn’t tired. I just kept going and going. I think this is a big breakthrough meet for me. I was happy and satisfied today but I have two more days.”
MOODIE HAS BREAKTHROUGH
After hitting a plateau, Jenna Moodie, 14, swam a career-best 1:56.85 to finish third among a competitive 200-yard freestyle girls field. Her previous best was 1:58.98 she dropped from her 2:00.51 seed time in morning prelims.
“I haven’t really dropped my times in a few years, I was at this plateau because I was growing and stuff,” said the 5-foot-8 Cypress Bay freshman. “It’s finally nice to drop. I have been working hard.”
Moodie, who grew up in Barbados and learned to swim for water safety on the island, has been swimming since age 5. She has six events remaining.
Other top Coral Springs finishers were:
Eden Cooke, 10, third in the 50-yard backstroke in a career-best 33.53. She was also third in the 200-yard freestyle in a career-best 2:12.47.
Kelly Kealty, 12, fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke in a career-best 1:15.01.
Philomena Fiorenzi, 14, tied for fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:11.50
Jenna Diaz, 12, sixth in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:26.21. She swam a career-best 2:25.87 in morning prelims. She was also sixth in the 200-yard freestyle in a career-best 2:07.07.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com