SOFLO’s Dara Torres Betters Her Olympic Trials Cut Time At Masters Meet

SOFLO’s Dara Torres Betters Her Olympic Trials Cut Time At Masters Meet


April 30, 2011

Dara Torres seems to attract a crowd wherever she goes, even a low key masters meet in Fort Myers.

After the five-time Olympian competed in only her second meet since the 2009 Rome World Championships and reconstructive knee surgery, the fans cleared out of the stands and followed her to the warm-down pool for autographs and photos.

Torres was happy to oblige after easily winning the 50-meter freestyle in 25.68 Saturday morning at the Gulf Coast Swim Team Spring Masters Meet at the Lee County/Florida Gulf Coast University Aquatics Center.

She bettered her 2012 Olympic trials qualifying time of 25.90 she swam at the Feb. 19 Missouri Grand Prix where she swam prelims and finals in her signature event.

Torres, who turned 44 earlier this month, is the American record holder in the event with a time of 24.07 she swam at the 2008 Beijing Olympics on Aug. 17.

Torres, who swam for GOLD Coast Masters that has a variety of swimmers from local clubs including Coral Springs, was looking to get in some racing and gauge her training and knee recovery. With no one close to her time in the field, she ended up racing the clock.

“I’m in mid-training so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Torres told the Naples Daily News. “I just needed to start racing. That was the point to come and race. I wanted to go a little bit faster. It’s just a normal reaction. I think everyone always wants to do a little faster than what they go.”

The meet start was delayed for about 45 minutes while the pool was certified in case any age group records were broken in the event.

“Everything is good,” Torres said. “I’m still working on my leg and trying to get it stronger. This was good progress.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Will Be Well-Represented At This Weekend’s Developmental Meet In Davie

SOFLO Will Be Well-Represented At This Weekend’s Developmental Meet In Davie


April 28, 2011

South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented by nearly two hundred swimmers at the three-day Area 2 Developmental Long Course Meters Swim Meet that begins on Friday at the Nova Southeastern University Aquatic Complex in Davie.

Swimmers from SOFLO, Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets will compete in either the 12-and-under or 13-and-over events against an impressive field that includes host team Davie Nadadores and Pompano Beach.

Among SOFLO’s top seeded swimmers are:

Alani Carrasco, 12, 200-meter individual medley, 3:03.13, 50-meter breaststroke, 45.97; 100-meter breaststroke, 1:39.11.

Tyler Gibson, 11, 200-meter breaststroke, 3:55.10.

Maya Hirian, 12, 100-meter butterfly, 1:52.49; 200-meter backstroke, 3:05.42.

Edward Kon, 14, 1500-meter freestyle, 19:43.73.

Rachel Ling, 16, 200-meter individual medley, 2:45.88.

Federico Maeso, 11, 100-meter backstroke, 1:28.62; 200-meter backstroke, 3:15.53; 50-meter butterfly, 41.25.

Matthew Menocal, 11, 50-meter freestyle, 34.50; 400-meter freestyle, 5:51.21.

Alfredo Mesa Jr., 12, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:40.18.

Stephanie Mlujeak, 12, 400-meter freestyle, 5:39.09.

Bianca Monti, 11, 50-meter backstroke, 42.01; 200-meter butterfly, no time available.

Nicholas Perera, 11, 200-meter individual medley, 3:11.12; 100-meter freestyle, 1:14.63.

Monica Rodriguez, 13, 50-meter backstroke, 38.35; 200-meter backstroke 2:55.38.

Rodrigo Rodriguez, 12, 200-meter freestyle, 2:47.14; 200-meter butterfly, no time available.

Teddy Sandoval, 14, 200-meter butterfly, 2:57.29.

Natasha Testa, 12, 50-meter butterfly, 38.30.

Gustavo Valery, 13, 200-meter backstroke, 2:43.82.


What: LCM Area 2 Developmental Swim Meet.

When: Friday-Sunday.

Where: Nova Southeastern University Aquatic Complex, 36th St. and 75th Ave., Davie

Timeline schedule: Friday, distance and individual medley events, 5:30-7:47 p.m.; Saturday, Session 2, 12-and-under races, 8:30-10:53 a.m.; Session 3, 13-and-over races, 12:30-2:36 p.m.; Sunday, Session 4, 12-and-under races, 8:30-10:47 a.m.; Session 5, 13-and-over races, 12:30-2:27 p.m.

Admission: $3, heat sheets $2 per session. For questions, meet director Alex Pussieldi, 954-612-7281. Meet referee Kathleen Fish.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Dara Torres Heads This Weekend’s Masters Meet Field In Fort Myers

Dara Torres Heads This Weekend’s Masters Meet Field In Fort Myers


April 27, 2011

For a change, SOFLO’s Dara Torres will compete against swimmers her own age.

The five-time Olympian, looking to get in a little racing and work on her starts, has entered this weekend’s Gulf Coast Swim Team Spring Masters Meet at the Lee County/Florida Gulf Coast University Aquatics Center.

Torres, who turned 44 last week, will swim only in the 50-meter freestyle on Saturday. She will compete for the GOLD Coast Masters Team, comprised of swimmers from throughout South Florida including the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex where Torres competes.

Torres is seeded No. 1 in the event in 25.90. Kelly Carpenter of Sarasota YMCA Masters is seeded second in 34.00.

Warm-up is 9 a.m. and the meet begins at 10 a.m.

“I was shocked when I got the entry,” GCST club program director Don Henshaw told the Naples Daily News. “We’re pleased to have her come over. It will be neat to see someone with that kind of history.”

Torres has always been welcomed at masters meet. After the birth of her daughter, Tessa Grace, five years ago Torres eased back into competitive swimming on masters relays at Coral Springs before she decided to train for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Torres, a World age group masters record holder, already has her 2012 Olympic trials cut time in the 50 freestyle.

“She’s fun to be around and she likes the relaxed atmosphere of the masters meet,” said GOLD team leader Deb Cavanaugh, an age group record holder.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 32: Open Water 10K National Championships Moved To Fort Lauderdale

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 32: Open Water National Championships Moved To Fort Lauderdale


April 25, 2011

The USA Swimming Open Water National 10K Championship has been moved from Fort Myers Beach to Fort Lauderdale.

The 10K race (6.2-miles) has been re-scheduled for Friday, June 10th after the USA Swimming Board of Directors approved the change in venue following the safety suggestions of the Open Water Commission for future events.

The venue change is to provide the safest possible environment for the event, following the Commission’s recommendations which included that races exceeding the 5K distance should not be held in water above 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because the water temperature in Fort Myers could exceed that temperature, the decision was made to move the event now, rather than potentially having to cancel the race on or near the date.

The Gulf Coast Swim Team-hosted Open Water Festival remaining events, however, will still continue on Fort Myers Beach on the weekend of June 11-12.

On Saturday, June 11th, the Canadian 10K World Trials and U.S. Masters 10K Nationals will be held at 8 a.m. A clinic for the Florida Swimming and Florida Gold Coast All-Stars will be held at 3 p.m. The Crippen Mile,

named in honor of elite open water swimmer Fran Crippen, who tragically died in a FINA-sanctioned event last year and has prompted scrutinized safety measures, is scheduled for 6 p.m. for USA Swimming

and U.S. Masters swimmers.

On Sunday, June 12th, the Florida Swimming Open Water Championships and Florida Swimming-Florida Gold Coast Open Water All-Star Challenge,

featuring several SOFLO swimmers, will begin 10:30 a.m. The 5K distance for the seniors and 13-14-year-olds has been switched to 4K in observance to the safety factors of water and air temperatures.

The 11-12 year-olds will swim a 1.5K swim and 10-and-unders an 800-meter course.

Local open water officials are confident that the venue is one of the safest in the world thanks to the assistance from Lee County Parks and Recreation, Bonita Springs Fire and Rescue, Fort Myers Beach Fire and Rescue, Sanibel Fire and Rescue as well as the Lee County Emergency Operations Center.


The David Posnack Jewish Community Center is looking for Jewish teenagers, ages 13-16, who are interested in competing in the 2011 JCC Maccabiah Games, an Olympic-style event that attracts 5,000 athletes in various sports.

The Broward delegation will represent the David Posnack JCC at the Aug. 14-19 Games in Philadelphia.

Those interested should contact Lori Green at 954-434-0499, ext. 355 or e-mail

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski Makes First World Team; Oliver, Sell Named FSU Rookies Of The Year

SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski Makes First World Team; Oliver, Sell Named FSU Rookies Of The Year


April 23, 2011

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Caroline Kuczynski has been selected to represent Canada in the Aug. 12-23 World University Games in Shenzhen, China.

The Arizona State University sophomore, born in Montreal, Canada, is one of 42 swimmers who will represent Canada.

Kuczynski qualified at the 2011 World Trials in Victoria, British Columbia, where she won her first medal at a major international meet.

Kuczynski, 20, a graduate of Plantation American Heritage, won a bronze medal in the 50-meter butterfly in a career-best 27.27. She also placed fourth in the 100-meter butterfly in 59.95 and competed in the 400-meter freestyle and medley relays with swimmers from her Canadian club team, Pointe-Claire Swim Club.

Kuczynski was coming off her NCAA Division I Women’s Championship meet debut. She was awarded the Hammer Award at ASU’s recent banquet.

Taking place every two years, the World University Games are an international multi-sport event organized for college athletes by the International Sports Federation. The World University Games swimming competition is Aug. 14-19. All athletes must be at least 17 and less than 28 years old.

Oliver, Sell Honored At Banquet

After outstanding freshman seasons, Tiffany Oliver and Tyler Sell, both West Broward alum, were named Swimming Rookies of the Year at Florida State’s annual banquet.

In her first collegiate season, Oliver qualified for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and finished sixth in the 50-yard freestyle (22.61) and 100-yard freestyle (49.58) and was 17th in the 200-yard freestyle (1:47.55).

Among other season highlights was her major role in the Seminoles upset of defending national champion Florida. Oliver was named ACC Performer of the Week after she took first and set a school record in the 100 freestyle (49.26) and second in the 50 freestyle (22.84) against the Gators.

Sell also scored points at the ACC Championships in his debut with a sixth place in the 1,650-yard freestyle (15:12.78). He was also in the top 30 in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.

Sell was the most consistent freshman on the men’s team finishing among the top three against Alabama, Clemson, Georgia Tech and UNC-Wilmington. He was fourth in the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyles in the Seminoles upset of Florida.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Hosts IMX Meet In Pembroke Pines

SOFLO Hosts IMX Meet In Pembroke Pines


April 21, 2011

To help inspire and motivate young swimmers and give coaches an idea of how their athletes stack up, SOFLO will host the IM Xtreme Series Saturday at the Academic Village Pool.

IMX is one of several programs USA Swimming promotes to help swimmers reach the next level in their swimming.

The series is designed to help various age group swimmers compete in multiple events rather than specialize in just one stroke too early in their young careers.

More than one hundred swimmers are expected to compete in the internal meet.

This weekend’s one-day meet features swimmers 8-and-under from the Comets and Coral Springs Swim Clubs and 10-and-under and 11-12 from SOFLO.

Nine-and-under and 10-year-olds will compete in the 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. The 11- and 12-year-olds will compete in the 400 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 100-butterfly and 200 individual medley.

After they compete, each age group swimmer receives power points to calculate. After the points are totaled from a maximum of five events for 9-12-year-olds and maximum of four events for 8-and-unders,  swimmers are then ranked based on their power points.

“The younger kids relate more to points than times,” SOFO CEO and Coach Chris Anderson said. “They understand the points system a little bit better.”

Swimmers not only get the chance to see how they stack up against their teammates but also other swimmers around the country.

“IMX is a great coaching tool,” Anderson said. “Our kids will be well-rounded in the age group program by finishing this. By completing it at the very beginning our kids can look at future meets and adjust what they have to do to get better and increase their IMX score.

“If they have a bad stroke, they can improve it. The point system shows them where they need to improve and they can train off that. They can also compare the scores to the rest of their club, LSC, state, zone and nationally.”

The points will rank swimmers and each club in the IMX and Virtual Club Championship programs.

In addition to SOFLO, Coral Springs and Comets swimmers, a dozen 12-and-under swimmers from the New York-based Nu-Finmen team will compete among the field as unattached swimmers.

The Nu-Finmen, coached by the legendary veteran coach Bob Trotman, have been training at the Academic Village Pool during holiday break and are scheduled to return home after the meet.

Warm-up is 9 a.m. The meet begins 10 a.m. Admission is free.


What: IMX Meet

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Where: Academic Village Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines.

Admission: Free.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

WELCOME BACK COACH TROTMAN, Bob Trotman, Nu-Finmen Team Lead By Example; Road Trip To South Florida Part Of Life Lessons

Bob Trotman, Nu-Finmen Team Lead By Example; Road Trip To South Florida Part Of Life Lessons


Reprinted from 2010

PEMBROKE PINES—Teenagers Bryan Holmes and Camren Cato are reaping the benefits of a solid foundation that legendary coach Bob Trotman started building when he was their age growing up in Harlem.

Holmes, 16, and Cato, 13, are minority youth swimmers enjoying a training road trip to South Florida, away from the biting cold of New York for a week.

What’s become a tradition over Easter and Christmas holiday over the past ten years with the help of Trotman’s longtime friend and SOFLO CEO and Coach Chris Anderson and his staff, several Nu-Finmen swimmers are training twice a day at the Academic Village Pool and dryland facility in Pembroke Pines.

With more than 50 years of experience as both a minority swimmer, lifeguard and coach, Trotman has inspired and guided thousands of children and coaches to pursue swimming in inner cities and suburbs where it seems impossible.

Places like Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Hempstead are turning out swimmers with a 98 percent high school graduation rate.

Now, the entire country has taken notice. Trotman is developing disciplined, work-oriented and well-rounded student-athletes through swimming despite economic, logistical and cultural barriers.

Quadruple bypass heart surgery last summer has not slowed down the Vietnam War and 82nd Airborne veteran.  

The fact that one of his former swimmers, now a cardiologist, helped to save his life, makes his story even more believable for future swimmers hoping to follow in the footsteps of his former students who have gone on to Harvard, Princeton and Tufts and carved out successful careers including coaching swimming like his own son and daughter have.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational Swim Meet that Trotman started 30 years ago and has been held at various venues including the Nassau Aquatic Center in Long Island, Brooklyn College, Hempstead High School and Nassau Community College, is one of the largest MLK meets in the nation.

If Dr. King had “A Dream”, then Trotman had “A Vision” and that was that no child should be denied the right to learn to swim or compete on a swim team because of skin color, economic or social barriers.

“Coach really loves teaching us and what he’s doing,” said Holmes, a high school breaststroker who has been swimming for seven years in Hempstead. “He has been doing this for a long time. He knows what he’s doing.

“He’s done what we are doing now and that motivates us even more because he paved the way. I see the opportunities we have in front of us–college scholarship, possibly the Olympics, working, teaching. He helps us believe in ourselves.”

Said Cato, an eighth grade freestyler from Queens: “I was 5 years old when I started swimming and I enjoyed it. When I joined the team, it had such a positive effect on my life. I looked at the older swimmers as role models. They showed me I can get something out of this sport. Coach is a second father to us, he is passionate about what he does. He puts a lot of work and effort into it. He expects a lot out of us. We expect a lot out of us.”

Trotman said part of the key to his success is educating the parents first and foremost.

“You have to educate the parents, it’s not the kids,” Trotman said. “You have to sit down and explain to them what swimming is about. If their kids have the ability to compete, there are schools that will help those kids financially. Why be a jack of all trades and master of none, when you can develop into a decent swimmer?”

Trotman said it’s “been all positives” since he and his swimmers arrived at the pool.

“We are down here in Florida, we are swimming meters, going two times a day, we are running, we are doing dryland and watching films,” Trotman beamed. “I talk to them all the time. I tear them up when I have to and I build them up when I have to. It’s all positive.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at