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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com