Record Turnout For Comets FGC Open Invitational This Weekend, SOFLO Opens Short Course Season

Record Turnout For Comets FGC Open Invitational This Weekend, SOFLO Opens Short Course Season

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WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

September 23, 2010

An impressive mix of age group and high school, Olympians and Olympic hopeful swimmers will compete in the Comets Florida Gold Coast Open Invitational Friday through Sunday.

With 988 swimmers, the three-day meet is the largest Florida Gold Coast meet the Comets have ever hosted at the newly-refurbished Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines and largest short course meet in the Florida Gold Coast.

The first major Florida Gold Coast meet of the fall, featuring mostly south club teams, begins Friday with one session at 5:30 p.m.

Two sessions, split into 12-and-under and 13-and-over will be held Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The South Florida Aquatic Club, coming off an outstanding summer season that included a FGC Junior Olympic team title and FGC Senior Championships runner-up finish, is among favorites in the 22-team field. Davie Nadadores, Fort Lauderdale Aquatics and Metro Aquatics are also contenders.

Three new SOFLO swimmers will make their FGC meet debut. Grandview Prep exchange students, Valerio Rasi and Gianpaolo Barelli of Italy and Robert O’Gorman, whose family moved from Sweden, will compete.

Barelli, 17, and Rasi, 17, will compete in the 500-yard freestyle along with several other events.

Several of SOFLO’s elite swimmers will compete. Two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan, Olympian Arlene Semeco of Venezuela and Olympic hopeful Loai Tashkandi of Saudi Arabia head the list of world-class swimmers.

Tashkandi, 19, a national record holder, is coming off an outstanding summer highlighted by his three-gold medal and national record-breaking  performance at the GCC Aquatic Championships in Kuwait.

Tashkandi is seeded first in the 200-yard individual medley (1:52) and 50-yard freestyle (22.00).

Keegan Boisson-Yates, 15, and Tyla Martin, 13, who compete internationally for Trinidad and Tobago, head a strong age group contingent for SOFLO that also includes sisters Emily, 14, and Allison Kopas, 12, Ann Kuczynski, 16, Linea Cutter, 17, Eden Cooke, 11, Kelley Heron, 11, Catharine Cooper, 10, Leonie Davies, 14, Marc Rojas, 16, and Carly Swanson, 13.

Several SOFLO swimmers are top-seeded in their events.

Charlotte Hartung, 17, another SOFLO newcomer, is seeded first in the 13-and-under 100-yard backstroke.

Former Florida Atlantic All-American Elle Weberg, 25, is seeded first in the 50-, 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke events.

Polyakov, 26, training for the Nov. 12-27 Asian Games in China and Dec. 15-19 FINA Short Course World Championships in Dubai, is seeded first in the  50-, 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events.

Martin, 13, is seeded first in the 100-yard butterfly. Semeco, 26, is seeded first in the 50-yard freestyle.

Marco Camargo, 21, is seeded first in the 13-and-over 100-yard butterfly. Teammates Vlad Polyakov, Zain Qali and Carlo Morante are the next three seeds.

Gustav Valery, 12, is top-seed in the 50-yard backstroke.

Audrey Mason, 12, is seeded first in the 100-yard breaststroke.

SOFLO also has a record 40 boys and girls relays competing.

Most of the north club teams will compete in the FGC Invitational Friday through Sunday at Martin County.

IF YOU GO

What: Comets Florida Gold Coast Open Invitational

When: Friday-Sunday.

Where: Academic Village Pool, 17189 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines.

Daily schedule: Friday, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. 12-and-unders, 2 p.m. 13-and-over; Sunday, 8:30 a.m. 12-and-unders, 2 p.m. 13-and-over.

Admission: $3 per session, $2 heat sheets.

For information: Call Comets Swim Office 954-538-3721 or email info@swim4comets.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo,com

Five Points Student-Athletes Need To Know To Get Recruited By Colleges

Five Points Student-Athletes Need To Know To Get Recruited By Colleges


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

September 6, 2010

For swimmers and their families, the decision to participate in the college recruitment process can be overwhelming.

Swimmers are constantly worried about how to get noticed by college coaches so they can be recruited. Most don’t understand that they have to be proactive to make this happen.

Student-athletes need to evaluate both their athletic and academic performance and take the necessary steps to make sure they have a chance to pursue a college scholarship and athletic career.

Parents do not have to pay recruiting services thousands of dollars to make this happen. Instead, a little time and effort can make it happen.

Instead of paying a recruiting service that sends information to select colleges on behalf of the athlete, athletes should send their profile to schools they are interested in.

To secure a scholarship to college, athletes need to be flexible. Instead of sending information to three or four schools and limiting your options, send letters out to dozens of schools.

Athletes can go to NCAA.com or the NCAA clearinghouse to get a list of schools and their websites. You can go to each school’s swimming page and fill out a prospective student questionnaire.

Keep your possibilities open by sending questionnaires to Division I, 2 and 3 schools as well as NAIA schools. Students who start early have all the advantages. There are steps that can be taken as early as the freshman year to increase the chances of success. The more athletes and parents know about the process before their senior year, the better prepared they will be for getting the offer from a school they want to attend.

High school swimmers who are members of a swim club have a distinct advantage. College coaches put value in these clubs because they know that means the athlete wants to work hard and get additional training. Teams such as the South Florida Aquatic Club that have a history of athletes being recruited are a great place to start.

The recruitment process can be very confusing and frustrating for students and their parents. There are five tips that can help clear up the myths and misconceptions of the college recruitment process.

They are:

1. The recruitment process does not begin during the athlete’s junior or senior year when a student-athlete is contacted by a college coach. It can start as early as seventh or eighth grade.

2. College coaches don’t just discover talented athletes. The athlete must initiate communication and convey interest to be noticed. Even if a student-athlete is a superstar, they must be prepared to call or write coaches, ask the right questions and take initiative.

3. College coaches do a majority of their initial interest by looking at videos and meet performance times before making in-person visits to games. Student-athletes cannot expect college coaches to have the means to travel to watch swim meets, and any information provided is important for coaches to evaluate.

4. Most opportunities to compete in college athletics are not necessarily NCAA Division I programs. Many athletes and parents feel their only option for collegiate athletic scholarships are Division I schools, but there are over 1,800 colleges and universities that sponsor college athletes and are able to offer financial packages and most are not Division I programs.

5. Student-athletes and their families are ultimately responsible for connecting with college coaches. Student-athletes cannot rely solely on their high school coaches or club coaches to connect to college coaches. Most high school coaches do not have the time or resources to make sure their athletes are recruited so it is up to the athlete and their families to reach out to college coaches.

Since 2000, the National Collegiate Scouting Association has grown to be the leading college recruiting source for more than 35,000 college coaches and more than 200,000 student-athletes from across the country.

With a rate of more than 90 percent of NCSA-verified athletes succeeding to play college athletics, NCSA is the leading educational resource for parents, coaches and athletes who are involved in the recruitment process. The organization has helped more than four million athletes and parents learn the process each year.

Make sure to visit the NCAA website to find out all the rules regarding recruiting as well as the current recruiting calendar.

For more information, educational resources can be found at www.ncaasports.org or www.athleteswanted.org.

Source: National Collegiate Scouting Association and NCAASports.org.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Dara Torres Is Back Training; Will Make Run At 2012 U.S. Olympic Team

SOFLO’s Dara Torres Is Back Training; Will Make Run At 2012 U.S. Olympic Team


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

September 10, 2010

At 9:43 a.m. Friday, September 10, during the nationally-syndicated Live With Regis and Kelly talk show, Dara Torres made it official.

The five-time Olympian will attempt to make her sixth Olympic team and compete in the 2012 London Olympics at age 45.

Torres, 43, of the South Florida Aquatic Club, ended months of speculation about her return to the sport after taking a year off after reconstructive knee surgery.

Torres has returned to training full-time with six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, which has been her home pool since coming out of retirement for the third time after the birth of her daughter Tessa Grace in 2005.

At 41, Torres became the oldest Olympic swimming medalist in history, the only swimmer to win a medal in five Olympic competitions and the oldest American swimmer ever.  Her 12 career Olympic medals ties her with Jenny Thompson for the most by an American female athlete. She owns eight relay medals and four individual medals from her 24-year Olympic career.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she lost a gold medal by just 1/100ths of a second in the 50-meter freestyle, an event she still holds the American record in.

“If Jack Nicklaus can win a Masters at 46 and Nolan Ryan can pitch a no-hitter at 44, why can’t a 41-year-old mom compete in the Olympics? Torres said at the time. “I had the experience. I knew what to expect. I knew how to handle certain situations and young kids don’t have that.”

Still, the idea that someone could swim in the Olympics at 45 is inconceivable to most but not those in the swimming world who have grown up with Torres and understands her steely determination.

“Never underestimate Dara Torres, never count her out,” said U.S. national team head coach Mark Schubert. “Age is not a factor with Dara.”

Torres is excited about the prospect of trying to make her sixth Olympic team. The only question was whether her body was up to the challenge and if her quality of life would improve.

Since the end of 2008, she has had thumb surgery, three knee operations and shoulder procedure and surgery. She’s had more than 15 orthopedic surgeries.

Torres was out of the pool for a year recovering from a state-of-the-art reconstructive and cartilage transplant surgery on her left knee.

The operation was a success and five weeks ago Torres returned to the pool and is “back training with the kids again.”

Looking tan and healthy on the morning talk show, Torres exchanged playful banter with guest co-host Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa, a frequent visitor to South Florida to watch daughter Lola show horses at the Wellington show jumping events.

“She is one of the few women that can rock a swim cap,” Ripa joked.

After talking about Ripa’s hair turning green when she swims, the high-tech suits and shaving to swim faster, Ripa asked Torres “why does Michael Phelps’ suit show the tiniest bit of butt crack.”

“I never noticed that,” Torres replied with a laugh. “It is amazing how fast Michael goes. He is unbelievable and makes it look so easy.”

Cooper then asked Torres about her age.

“A lot of people made the fact that my age was such a big deal and I think that completely worked to my advantage,” Torres said. “I surrounded myself with good coaches and trainers. I knew what to do about nutrition. The thing about any elite athlete is they have to be so careful about what they put in their bodies because of drug tests. I especially get tested all the time. It’s scary, I can’t use Visine.”

And then Cooper asked about the “big announcement.”

“I am 43 years old,” Torres said, “but that’s not the announcement. The announcement is that I just started training for the 2012 Olympics.

“I wanted to get back into swimming on my terms,” Torres said. “I just started training with the kids again and they are all giving me grief and teasing me. I have huge goggles and they asked me if windshield wipers come with them.

“It’s going to be fun being back again,” Torres said. “It depends on what my body dictates. I know that I am more susceptible to injury. Now that I’m a little bit older, it’s going to be even harder than when I was 41.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.

http://www.swim4SOFLO.com

SOFLO MEET AND GREET ON SATURDAY

SOFLO MEET AND GREET ON SATURDAY


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

September 10, 2010

South Florida Aquatic Club, the newest team in the Florida Gold Coast, will host a Meet and Greet With Coaches on Saturday, September 11 at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines.

The Nike-sponsored club is a result of the merging of the Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets Swim Team, two of the most well-respected USA Swimming clubs in the nation.

The team combines more than 450 swimmers including five-time Olympian Dara Torres of Parkland and two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov, and 20 employees including two world-class coaches.

Six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg is the club’s head coach and Chris Anderson is CEO.

The two-hour social, scheduled for 5-7 p.m., will give parents an opportunity to meet their child’s coach and talk about the club and its plans for the future.

The entire coaching staff is expected to attend.

It will also give SOFLO a chance to show off the latest renovations and additions at the Academic Village Pool, located just 10 minutes away from the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

“I think we have a great tradition in swimming and now we will develop something new together and maintain that tradition,” Lohberg said.

“We are working together at all levels–coaching, administration and booster club levels. We will learn and benefit from each other. It will be exciting for everybody.”

All parents at every age group level is welcome to attend.

Drinks and appetizers will be served. The pool is located at 17191 Sheridan St.

SOFLO’s TORRES ON REGIS AND KELLY

Five-time Olympian Dara Torres, who recently returned to the pool after a year off to rehab her reconstructed knee, will appear on Regis and Kelly on FOX, Channel 7 at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 10. Anderson Cooper will fill in for Regis Philbin as guest co-host. Kate Gosselin will also be a guest. Torres is currently in New York with her sister taking in the U.S. Open along with other business commitments. Torres will be texting on her Twitter account before and after the popular morning talk show. “I can’t wait,” Torres twittered Thursday night. “I am hitting the hay. I am on the 23rd floor of my hotel, just high enough not to hear the street noise.” Torres is expected to make a run at a 2012 Olympic berth.

WORLD CUP SERIES KICKS OFF

The seven-meet FINA World Cup kicks off on Saturday, September 11 in Rio de Janeiro. Finals sessions will be broadcast live streaming on UniversalSports.com beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Registration to watch for both days is $3.99.

Each of the seven meets are short course meters. The U.S. will be represented by Randall Bal and Peter Marshall. Other top names competing are Brazilian Cesar Cielo and Therese Alshamar of Sweden. The swimmers will earn points at each stop and prize money.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4SOFLO.com

HIGH SCHOOL MEET OF THE WEEK American Heritage Wins Season Opener, SOFLO’s – McKnight, Torres, Armstrong Victorious

HIGH SCHOOL MEET OF THE WEEK American Heritage Wins Season Opener, SOFLO’s – McKnight, Torres, Armstrong Victorious


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

September 8, 2010

PLANTATION—With a good balance of veteran and young athletes, American Heritage successfully opened its 2010 high school swimming and diving season on Wednesday.

American Heritage swept Archbishop McCarthy, 128-52 to win the girls competition and 108-72 to win the boys competition.

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers Lindsey McKnight, Kaitlin Armstrong and Luke Torres won four individual events, five relays, took one second and a pair of thirds.

McKnight, two-time High School Swimmer of the Year, made her debut for her new American Heritage High School team with victories in the 200-yard individual medley (2:11.08) and 100-yard freestyle (53.68) and was a member of the winning 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays. 

“I really like it here, everyone is so nice and welcoming,” McKnight said. “Today I mainly tried to work on my stroke which is what these meets are most helpful for. I felt pretty good, maybe a little tired from getting back into shape, but I was happy.”

Torres won the 100-yard butterfly (53.34) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.05) and was a member of the winning 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.

“I am happy, I had pretty decent times for my first high school meet,” Torres said. “This summer I did pretty well so I think I am where I should be right now.”

Armstrong, a freshman at Archbishop McCarthy, made her high school debut as a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay (1:54.15). She also finished second in the 100-yard freestyle (1:00.63) and took thirds on both the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.

McKnight and Torres train at SOFLO’s Coral Springs Aquatic Complex and Armstrong trains at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool.

Other girls individual winners for American Heritage were U.S. junior national team member Lauren Driscoll, back from her outstanding summer of national and international meets; Jessica Randolph, Chantal Bouthillier and Dania Banks.

American Heritage boys winners were Juan Gonzalez, Jose Serra, Daniel Spas and Alex Rivas. The boys team wasn’t at full-strength swimming without freshman Yousef Alaskari, who was getting his school physical.

It was more of a get-to-know swimmers meet for American Heritage coach Nobutaka Tan and his coaching staff.

“I saw a lot of kids running around and I said, ‘Who is this?’” Tan said. “It was good to get the first meet out of the way. Some of the kids haven’t swum short course since spring. I gave them a two-to-three week break so last week we seriously started to get back into training.

“I wasn’t sure how our kids would do but I was happy with the start,” Tan said.

Tan said he wants his swimmers to get to know each other and take it “one meet at a time,” and not worry about any high expectations for the post-season.

“These meets are preparation for the large meet coming up,” Tan said. “Along the way, if our leaders on the team like Lauren or Lindsey can bring one person to state with them, somebody new, that makes it something worthwhile. They are going to be great motivators for a lot of the younger swimmers who look up to them.”

One of the meet’s surprise was junior Jose Serra, coming off a shoulder injury. He recently returned to training. “He came back really well, I know that Danny Keegan is a really strong swimmer so for him to leave Danny behind on the freestyle leg (of the 200 IM) was a good job.”

Tan is looking forward to swimming some strong teams early in the season to prepare for districts, regions and states.

“I would rather have our swimmers go and swim with the fast kids so they don’t wait until the last minute,” Tan said. “I remember last year by the second or third meet we were swimming Pine Crest.”

American Heritage will be tested in its next meet next Wednesday at Gulliver Prep. Archbishop McCarthy will compete in Saturday’s Westminster Academy Relays.

Other top SOFLO swimmers at local high school meets were:

Keegan Boisson-Yates of Taravella won the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.33) and 100-yard freestyle (50.71) in the Trojans’ narrow 92-88 loss to South Plantation.

Marc Rojas of Pembroke Pines Charter won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.94) in his team’s 59-42 victory over Fort Lauderdale.

Amie Lunak of Pembroke Pines Charter won the 50-yard freestyle (26.88).

Benjamin Neubauer of Coral Glades won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:13.84 in his team’s losses to Douglas and Monarch.

Marco Hosfeld of Douglas won the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.91) and teammate Josh Cutter won the 100-yard freestyle (56.08) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:12.15) in their team’s wins over Monarch, 127-72 and Coral Glades, 106-72.

Douglas team captain Gina Gautieri won the 500-yard freestyle (5:37.70) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:12.78). Teammates Linea Cutter won the 200-yard freestyle (2:06), Anne Kuczynski won the 200-yard individual medley (2:26.75) and Emily Greenwood won the 50-yard freestyle (27.06) and 100-yard backstroke (1:08.69) in their team’s victories over Monarch, 117-60 and Coral Glades, 130-45.

Katie Brennan of St. Thomas Aquinas won the 500-yard freestyle (5:30.32) and teammate Mia Fiorenzi won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:13.12) in the Raiders’ wins over Fort Lauderdale, 81-27 and Pembroke Pines Charter, 80-24.

Alyssa Hunter of West Broward won the 200-yard freestyle (2:08.34) and 100-yard butterfly (1:05.60). Teammates Leonie Davies won the 200-yard individual medley (2:23.36) and 500-yard freestyle (5:35.74) and Mady Fernandez won the 100-yard backstroke (1:08.95) in West Broward’s wins over Taravella, 136-37 and South Plantation, 113-72.

GIRLS RESULTS

American Heritage 128, Archbishop McCarthy 52

200-yard medley relay: 1. American Heritage (Driscoll, Bouthillier, McKnight, Randolph) 1:53.22, 2. American Heritage 2:07.43, 3. Archbishop McCarthy 2:07.93.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Driscoll, AH 1:56.72, 2. Pacitti, AH 2:08.96, 3. Banks, AH 2:10.09.

200-yard individual medley: 1. McKnight, AH 2:11.08, 2. Rodriguez, AH, 2:29.32, 3. Mila, AM 2:44.65.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Randolph, AH 26.40, 2. Bess, AH 28.81, 3. Tonyan, AH 28.84.

1-meter springboard diving: 1. Clayton, AM 189.60, 2. Walker, AH 160.60.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Bouthillier, AH 1:04.50, 2. Rodriguez, AH 1:05.31, 3. Gomes, AH 1:05.84.

100-yard freestyle: 1. McKnight, AH 53.68, 2. Armstrong, AM 1:00.63, 3. Jeong, AM 1:07.90.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Randolph, AH 5:14.12, 2. Pacitti, AH 5:44.93, 3. Bayerdelle, AM 6:05.18.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Archbishop McCarthy (Plasencia, Mila, Armstrong, Bentacur) 1:54.15, 2. American Heritage 2:20.31, 3. Archbishop McCarthy 2:37.43.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Driscoll, AH 1:00.37, 2. Cooper, AM 1:14.34, 3. Tonyan, AH 1:17.71.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Banks, AH 1:11.46, 2. Bouthillier, AH 1:16.58, 3. Walker, AH 1:24.65.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. American Heritage (Randolph, Driscoll, Bouthillier, McKnight) 3:44.12, 2. American Heritage 4:10.25, 3. Archbishop McCarthy 4:11.75.

BOYS RESULTS

American Heritage 108, Archbishop McCarthy 72

200-yard medley relay: 1. American Heritage (Serra, Torres, Nothard, Spas) 1:43.65, 2. Archbishop McCarthy 1:50.21, 3. American Heritage 1:56.37.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Gonzalez, AH 1:25.87, 2. Bronca, AH 2:02.93, 3. Holowicki, AM 2:03.25.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Serra, AH 2:03.96, 2. Keegan, AM 2:06.18, 3. Mila, AM 2:28.18.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Spas, AH 22.02, 2. Nothard, AH 23.46, 3. Hall, AM 24.34.

1-meter springboard diving: None.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Torres, AH 53.34, 2. Nothard, AH 56.12, 3. Gonzalez, AM 1:01.62.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Spas, AH 48.24, 2. Hall, AM 52.22, 3. Osborne, AH 55.96.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Rivas, AH 6:33.01, 2. Holowicki, AM 5:42.37, 3. Lubic, AM 5:38.25.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. American Heritage (Bronca, Serra, Clark, Nothard) 1:39.68, 2. American Heritage 1:52.15, 3. Archbishop McCarthy 1:52.65.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Serra, AH 1:00.74, 2. Bronca, AH 1:05.68, 3. Wattigney, AM 1:08.71.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Torres, AH 1:04.05, 2. Keegan, AM 1:05.90, 3. Mila, AM 1:15.06.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. American Heritage (Serra, Nothard, Torres, Spas) 3:30.49, 2. Archbishop McCarthy 3:43.40, 3. Archbishop McCarthy 3:46.06.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.

http://www.swim4soflo.com

High School Sports Participation On The Rise, Swimming Ranks In Top 10

High School Sports Participation On The Rise, Swimming Ranks In Top 10


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

September 8, 2010

For the 21st consecutive school year, participation in high school sports increased in 2009-10, eclipsing the 7.6 million mark for the first time in history despite the economy and school cutbacks.

Based on figures from the 50 state high school athletic and activity associations that are members of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), participation for the 2009-10 school year reached a record-breaking total of 7,628,377 participants, according to the 2009-10 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS.

Boys and girls participation figures also reached respective all-time highs with 4,455,740 boys and 3,172,637 girls participating in 2009-10. Boys participation increased by 33,078 this year, while the girls figure increased by 58,546.

“It is a significant achievement for our member state associations that in these difficult economic times, student participation increased,” said NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner.

“This reinforces the values that high school sports provide as part of the education of our students. The NFHS actively promotes participation in, and support for, the programs throughout the nation.”

Based on the survey, 55.1 percent of students enrolled in high schools participate in athletics including swimming and diving, which emphasizes and reinforces the idea that high school sports continue to have a significant role in student involvement in schools across the country.

Outdoor track and field gained the most combined participants in 2009-10, with an increase of 25,561 participants, followed by soccer with 19,597 combined participants and cross country (11,925).

In girls sports, soccer gained the most participants (11,582), followed by outdoor track and field (11,445) and fast-pitch softball (9,290). Outdoor track and field led the way in boys sports with 14,116 additional participants, followed by cross country (8,156) and soccer (8,015).

The top participation sports for boys remained the same from 2008-09: 11-player football led the way with 1,109,278 participants, followed by outdoor track and field (572,123), basketball (540,207), baseball (472,644), soccer (391,839), wrestling (272,890), cross country (239,608), tennis (162,755), golf (157,756), and swimming and diving (131,376).

Outdoor track and field continued to be the leading sport for girls with 469,177 participants. Second was basketball (439,550), followed by volleyball (403,985), fast-pitch softball (378,211), soccer (356,116), cross country (201,968), tennis (182,395), swimming and diving (158,419), competitive spirit squads (123,644) and golf (70,872).

The top 10 states based on combined participation also remained the same from last year’s survey.

Texas led the way with a combined total of 780,721 participants. California was second with 771,465, followed by New York (379,677), Illinois (344,257), Ohio (334,797), Pennsylvania (317,426), Michigan (313,818), New Jersey (253,097), Florida (247,428) and Minnesota (230,043).

The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations.   

 10 MOST POPULAR BOYS PROGRAMS

SCHOOLS      
1. Basketball 17,969    
2. Track and Field – Outdoor 16,011    
3. Baseball 15,786    
4. Football – 11-Player 14,226    
5. Cross Country 13,942    
6. Golf 13,693    
7. Soccer 11,375    
8. Wrestling 10,363    
9. Tennis 9,916    
10. Swimming and Diving 6,820    
 

PARTICIPANTS

 
1. Football – 11-Player 1,109,278
2. Track and Field – Outdoor 572,123
3. Basketball 540,207
4. Baseball 472,644
5. Soccer 391,839
6. Wrestling 272,890
7. Cross Country 239,608
8. Tennis 162,755
9. Golf 157,756
10. Swimming and Diving 131,376
         

10 MOST POPULAR GIRLS PROGRAMS

Schools    
1. Basketball 17,711  
2. Track and Field – Outdoor 15,923  
3. Volleyball 15,382  
4. Softball – Fast Pitch 15,298  
5. Cross Country 13,809  
6. Soccer 10,901  
7. Tennis 10,166  
8. Golf 9,651  
9. Swimming and Diving 7,171  
10. Competitive Spirit Squads 4,879  
 

PARTICIPANTS

   
1. Track and Field – Outdoor 469,177  
2. Basketball 439,550  
3. Volleyball 403,985  
4. Softball – Fast Pitch 378,211  
5. Soccer 356,116  
6. Cross Country 201,968  
7. Tennis 182,395  
8. Swimming and Diving 158,419  
9. Competitive Spirit Squads 123,644  
10. Golf 70,872  
         

Source: National Federation of State High School Association.