WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
June 2, 2011
The vision six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg and CEO Chris Anderson shared when they ushered in the merger of the Comets and Coral Springs Swim Teams has materialized.
The South Florida Aquatic Club is now the largest club in the Florida Gold Coast with 497 swimmers and 582 swimmers overall including its two sister clubs for 8-and-under teams (85 athletes).
Fort Lauderdale Aquatics is second with 460 swimmers.
SOFLO, the largest program in the history of the Florida Gold Coast, features several Olympians, national record holders and outstanding age group swimmers and talented coaching staff.
The club is only a little more than a year old after ushering in a new era of swimming on May 1, 2010.
“This is something I promised Michael we would do,” Anderson said referring to the legendary coach who died on April 4 after a lengthy battle with aplastic anemia.
“It’s something we talked about and knew was possible and set a goal. This is a small step towards being one of the elite swim teams in the nation. These stepping stones do not come very often.”
With 203 athletes entered, SOFLO heads the 500-swimmer field for this weekend’s FGC Comets Long Course Invitational at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines.
It is the most participants in a single meet ever for SOFLO whose swimmers are entered in 1,083 individual events.
The Comets Invitational begins on Friday with the 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter individual medley and 400-meter freestyle.
Several SOFLO/Coral Springs swimmers will miss Friday’s action to attend their annual banquet at the Marriott Heron Bay where swimmers, parents and coaches will honor its seniors and top swimmers in a festive atmosphere.
The SOFLO team will be at full-strength on Saturday and Sunday.
SOFLO two-time Olympian Alia Atkinson heads the field and will be joined by Lindsey McKnight, Emily Kopas, Melissa and Marcella Marinheiro, Julie Stupp, Marco Hosfeld, fresh off his USA Swimming Zone Camp trip to Louisville, Marc Rojas, Dylan Sell, Loai Tashkandi and Luke Torres.
IF YOU GO
What: Florida Gold Coast Comets Long Course Invitational
Schedule: Friday, Session 1, 5 p.m.; Saturday, Session 2, 8:30 a.m., Session 3, 2 p.m.; Sunday, Session 4, 8:30 a.m., Session 5, 2 p.m.
Where: Academic Village Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines
Teams: (12) Blue Marlins of Hialeah Gardens, Comets, Coral Springs Swim Club, Devilrays, Flying Fish, Hialeah, Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County Aquatics, Miami Swimming, Rockway Swimming, South Florida Aquatic Club, Unattached.
Admission: $3 per session, heat sheets $3 per session. For information call 954-538-3721.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com