SOFLO’s Emily Kopas, Vlad Polyakov Named Swimmers Of The Year At CSSC Annual Banquet

SOFLO’s Emily Kopas, Vlad Polyakov Named Swimmers Of The Year At CSSC Annual Banquet

June 5, 2011


The high-voltage energy at the annual Coral Springs Swim Club banquet held June 3rd in the Orchid Ballroom at the Marriott Heron Bay will probably last a year.

Swimmers, parents, coaches and volunteers enjoyed an evening of great awards, speeches, music, dancing and food for more than four hours.

It was bittersweet as CSSC head coach Bruno Darzi and Booster Club president Marianne Goldman ushered out an emotional 2010-11 season and welcomed a promising 2011-12 season full of hope and accomplishments.

It was bittersweet as the club bid farewell to ten of its high school seniors including Brian Arnaud, Gianpaolo Barelli, Katie Brennan, Linea Cutter, Gina Gautieri, Nini Morello, Valerio Rasi, Doug Ramos, Nichole Schein and Ryan Wilkerson.

The high seniors received state-of-the-art CSSC watches, SOFLO caps, roses and graduation mortarboard hats.

The CSSC coaching staff took turns handing out well-deserved awards to its top swimmers.

Polyakov, a two-time Olympian for Kazakhstan, and Kopas, a 2012 Olympic hopeful ranked 88th in the world in the 200 breaststroke, were awarded the club’s highest honor, Swimmers of the Year. Darzi presented Kopas’ award and Swim America’s Biggi Lohberg honored Polyakov, who was mobbed by some of his swimmers for hugs after he received his award.

Brandon Goldman and Lindsey McKnight were awarded the National Team Coaches’ Awards.

Lohberg was all smiles as she watched several of her former Swim America students earn awards.

The fourteen age group swimmers honored for the season were:

RED GROUP: Jeremiah Bang and Nicole Palacios.

GREEN GROUP: Brianna Hanks and Nicholas Montes.

GOLD GROUP: Sebastian Vargas and Katalina Gomez.

SENIOR 1: Linea Cutter and Tomas Kloosterman.

SENIOR 2A: Adrianna Cuevas and Diego Sanguinetti.

SENIOR 2B: Bar Bogoslavsky and Tristan Celestin.

WHITE: Hannah Virgin and Gus Cohn.

BLUE: Collin Burt and Allison Kopas.

More than 300 attended the annual banquet celebration. Many were impressed by the unique golden goggles and black and gold balloon centerpieces created by Ana Tenaglia and her daughter Carina.

Swim dad Tom Nork provided the soulful prayer followed by a great assortment of music and laser show provided by Richard the DJ. CSSC also bid farewell to family members Joe and Val Gautieri and Kim Moodie. Polyakov’s entertaining slide show of the past season was  well-received.

The focal point of the night, however, were the age groupers, dancing and partying the night away with boundless energy. Even CSSC coach Eddie Bernal couldn’t keep up with them on the dance floor.

“It turned out to be a nice evening for the kids, especially the little ones,” Goldman said. “The coaches all did a great job presenting.”

Lohberg and Darzi also gave heartfelt speeches. Lohberg talked about how great the swim club is and the reputation it has built by sending swimmers to every Olympics since 1992.

“It’s not always about winning, it’s about being a better swimmer and better person,” Lohberg said. “Swimming is hard work, the parents should try it once.

“You should all give yourselves a nice pat on the back,” Lohberg said. “We have overcome hurdles. Change is inevitable and important for progress. We are all here for the good of the children. Together we can accomplish our goals.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at