High school: Monarch
College: University of Florida
Sofia Gonella took her first swim lessons in Argentina where she and her family lived until they moved to South Florida in 2003.
After a break, she signed up at the YMCA of Boca Raton where she swam until she joined the Coral Springs Swim Club last year.
“I wanted a more competitive environment and I wanted to swim more hours,” Gonella said. “I loved it the first day of practice.
“I always liked swimming since I was 9 years old,” said Gonella, who also played indoor volleyball for four years. “I totally fell in love with the sport in eighth grade. I liked the social aspect of making friends, I became more organized and I liked competing.”
Swimming wasn’t as popular in high school as it was at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex with the club swimmers.
“By nature I am a competitive person,” Gonella said. “I always wanted to improve for my high school team.”
Gonella competed in the 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley, 200 freestyle and all three relays.
Despite taking five Advance Placement classes, Gonella was able to improve her final season of high school.
“I was able to do a lot of things in high school and still keep swimming,” Gonella said. “I think swimming helped me be a more competitive person and more understanding of other people.
“I never missed a day of practice unless I had too many tests in one day. Academics were really important to me. I applied for every scholarship my senior year. I am going to major in industrial engineering at Florida and would like to see if they have club swimming because I would like to swim on my own.”
Gonella said she will miss her high school 200 medley relay teammates the most.
“They are all juniors and upset that I am leaving,” she said. “I swam the 50 fly on the relay and that was my favorite event. That relay was such a team effort. For me, that’s the best moment that stands out in my mind.”
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com