WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
June 25, 2010
CORAL SPRINGS—Eden Cooke was all smiles around the pool deck Friday night at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.
The bubbly 10-year-old led an impressive girls’ contingent of swims for the South Florida Aquatic Club at the Florida Gold Coast Coral Springs Invitational.
Cooke swam back-to-back personal best times in prelims (2:31.44) and finals (2:29.02) to win the 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle event to highlight the night’s action. Her previous best time was 2:32.40.
SOFLO teammate Kelley Heron, 10, was the top seed after morning prelims swimming a career-best 2:30.99 (2:38.46 previous best).
The two pushed each other in finals.
“It helps when you have someone pushing you, it helps you swim faster,” said Cooke, second fastest after morning prelims. “It helped me go faster and pace myself with her.
“I felt good in the water,” Cooke said. “I was excited at the beginning of the race and hoping I would win. I didn’t know if I was going to though. Kelley was really fast. I just knew either way it would be pretty good because she is on the same team as me.”
Heron finished second in 2:29.97, another career-best.
Cooke won two other events and led off SOFLO’s winning 200-meter medley relay team of Heron, Quinn Reeves, 10, and Catharine Cooper, 10, that won in 2:39.07.
Cooke won the 50-meter freestyle in 31.28, again lowering her previous career-best of 32.29 in prelims (32.11) and finals. Heron was second, also swimming back-to-back best times of 32.88 in prelims and 32.74 in finals.
“I set a goal of 31.33 and I got a 31.28 so I was happy,” Cooke said.
Cooke said she surprised herself winning the 100-meter backstroke, again with back-to-back best times in prelims (1:23.05) and finals (1:21.78). Her previous best was 1:24.72.
Heron was second in 1:23.59. Heron bettered her best time of 1:23.58 in prelims in 1:21.56.
“I set goal times for every event except the backstroke because I wasn’t sure how I would swim it,” Cooke said. “I knew that was my stroke so I tried hard.
“I definitely was tired and almost out of breath at the very end but I pushed myself,” Cooke said. “I am very happy. I feel like I am getting faster and my kick is better. I think it’s because I am training harder.
“This is a pretty big meet for me. I guess nationals was the most important meet for me so this would be the second most important.”
More smiles and more best times from Steph Campo, 12, and Linea Cutter, 16.
After winning the 400-meter freestyle on Thursday night, Campo continued her winning ways and time drops in the shorter events.
Campo won the 11-12 200-meter freestyle in a career-best 2:17.49, bettering both her seed time 2:20.56 and prelim time of 2:18.65.
Campo also won the 100-meter backstroke in back-to-back best times of 1:12.89 in prelims and 1:12.21 in finals. Her previous best was 1:14.89.
Campo also led off SOFLO’s winning 11-12 200-meter medley relay with Audrey Mason, 12, Kylie Herman, 12, and Carly Swanson, 12, in a best time 2:22.15.
“My 200 freestyle was really good, I dropped a lot of time from before,” Campo said. “This is just a practice meet. We are trying to see where we are. It helps show us what we need to work on in practice and hopefully get better. Hopefully, at zones, I will have some great races.
“I was happiest with my 100 back,” Campo said. “I didn’t think I would go 1:12 because I practice at a 1:16. I just gave it all that I had in the water. I like to race.”
Cutter, a home schooler who swims for Douglas, turned the corner in the 50-meter freestyle when she broke 28 seconds for the first time in the girls’ 15-and-over event.
Cutter was SOFLO’s top finisher in the event, placing third and more importantly dipping below 28 in 27.71. As soon as Cutter touched the wall, her age group coach Chris Jackson yelled out a cheer and Cutter broke into a wide grin.
Cutter bettered her previous best of 28.24 in prelims with a 28.12.
“I am happy that it’s finally broken,” Cutter said. “I was trying to break it last year but I wasn’t that close. This morning I got closer and so I was happy to break it tonight. Chris told me to just try to break 28 and I tried my hardest.”
Cutter was pushed by a fast field that included SOFLO teammate Tiffany Oliver and Davie Nadadores’ Isabella Arcila and Eunate Garro.
“I was just trying to race and trying my best,” Cutter said. “I’m not sure how many breaths I took. I was trying not to breathe.
“It’s nice to see this result because I have been training hard. I would like to get lower in 27 and do a 26 eventually. I think this is the highlight so far for me.”
British teenager Leonie Davies, 13, coming off the Texas Senior Circuit Meet and Fort Myers Festival Open Water championships, continued to push the envelope. Davies won the 13-14 200-meter freestyle in a season-best 2:17.23. She was also fifth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:16.22
“I am a little tired but it’s just mental, you can do whatever you think you can,” Davies said. “If I come back tomorrow with the same mind I had today I think I can do good. I started feeling the Texas meet on Tuesday. Practice was really hard on Tuesday. I thought about not coming to this meet but why not? Even if I came and didn’t swim best times it would still be a good experience.
“My 200 was a season-best and it was a win so I contributed to my team,” Davies said. “It felt good.”
Emma Lincoln, 14, another one of SOFLO’s youngest swimmers coming off the Texas Circuit Meet, is using this weekend’s meet as a training gauge for zones in Atlanta.
Lincoln was pleasantly surprised with her swims. She was second in the 13-14 50-meter butterfly with back-to-back career-best swims in prelims (30.91) and finals (30.74). Her previous best was 36.31. She was the fastest qualifier in prelims.
Lincoln was also sixth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 3:07.52 and eighth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:17.78. She anchored SOFLO’s wining 13-14 200-meter medley relay team of Davies, Kayla Moodie and Maria Lopez in 2:16.37.
“I am happiest with my 400 IM (swum Thursday night) because I finally dropped and I don’t normally swim that,” Lincoln said. “I’m also pretty happy with my 50 fly because I finally got a time where I am supposed to be. My fly has been feeling pretty good lately. I haven’t swam it in two years.
“This meet is mainly for us to work on our starts and turns, pace and see what else we need to work on,” Lincoln said. “I am really tired but I am happy. Basically, if I am this tired and dropping my times I believe when I am tapered I am going to do a lot better than my times are now.”
SOFLO newcomer Emily Kopas, 13, is fitting in nicely after only a week of training. She won the 13-14 200-meter breaststroke in 2:40.20 after swimming 2:43.90 in prelims. Teammate Jillian Alexander, 13, was second in 2:54.07.
Highlighting SOFLO’s boys’ action was double winner Marco Hosfeld, 14, with back-to-back best times. He won the 13-14 200-meter breaststroke in 2:42.24, bettering his prelim time of 2:43.99. His previous best was 2:51.79.
Hosfeld also won the 200-meter freestyle in 2:03.47. In prelims he bettered his 2:03.76 seed time in 2:02.71. Hosfeld swam second leg on SOFLO’s winning 200 medley relay of Kyle Desrosiers, Blake Kelley and Dylan Sell in 2:11.49.
Other top boys’ finishers:
Alfredo Mesa Jr., 11, was second in the 11-12 200-meter freestyle in 2:23.29 and Raphael Mora, 12, was third in 2:23.66, both swimming best times.
In the 10-and-unders 200 freestyle, Ricardo Roche, 10, was second (2:32.46), Kevin Porto, 10, third (2:34.98) and Jorge Depassier, 10, fourth (2:35.38), all best times.
Zain Qali, 22, was third in the 15-and-over 50-meter butterfly in 26.17. Gustavo Valery, 12, was third in the 11-12 100-meter backstroke in 1:18.75, a career-best.
SOFLO coaches got to show off in the sprint events.
Olympians Biggi Lohberg, Swim America Director for the Coral Springs Swim Club, and Josh Laban, age group coach at Mullins Park, competed in 50-meter events.
Lohberg, 44, was the fifth fastest qualifier in the 50-meter butterfly in 30.25. She scratched from finals to rest for her remaining events.
Laban, 27, finished sixth in the 50-meter freestyle in 24.74 off his seed time of 23.12 but bettering his prelim time of 25.11.
The four-day meet, featuring more than 600 swimmers, continues Saturday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org