WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 7, 2012
Call it March Madness swimming-style.
The month of March is one of the busiest months for South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers, coaches, parents and volunteers.
Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics, NCAA Women’s Division I Championships, training camps in Mexico and Idaho, Speedo Champions Series, All-Star Dual Meet, Canadian Olympic trials, USA Swimming Indianapolis Grand Prix, Purdue Invitational Swim Meet and Comets Open Water Pool Challenge will involve one or more SOFLO swimmer this month.
Led by top-seeds Melissa Marinheiro, Kelley Heron, Rafael Rodriguez, Annita Huang, more than 100 SOFLO swimmers will compete Friday through Sunday in the Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympics at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.
SOFLO is defending champion after winning last year’s team title with 943 points. SOFLO led the meet from opening day.
While the meet is going on, eleven 15-and-older SOFLO swimmers leave Friday for a March 9-18 Training Camp in San Luis Potosi, Mexico with SOFLO Coach Chris Anderson. Joining Anderson is two-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, Amber Hunter, Maria Lopez, Leonie Davies, Marcella Marinheiro, Roger Capote, William Perry III, Edward Kon, sisters Evelin and Daniela Jimenez and Jacob Walters.
Four other swimmers and Age Group Coach of the Year Rose Lockie will leave for Mexico after the JO meet on Monday. They are Melissa Marinheiro, Jordan Colon, and Alex and Bianca Monti.
Fourteen swimmers will participate with Coach Bruno Darzi at a March 10-17 Training Camp in Sun Valley, Idaho. Departing on Saturday are Selina Voelkel, Kristina Brennan, Emma Lincoln, Brandon Goldman, Luke Torres, Anne Kuczynski, Keegan Boisson-Yates, Mauricio Hidalgo and two-time Olympian Sharntelle McLean.
Five other swimmers will arrive in Sun Valley on Sunday. They are Christelle Martin, Jillian Alexander, Audrey Mason, Catharine Cooper and Steph Campo.
SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski, a junior at Arizona State will make her second appearance at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships March 15-17 in Auburn, Alabama. Kuczynski will be joined by SOFLO teammate Tiffany Oliver, a sophomore at Florida State.
Ten days later, Kuczynski will be in Montreal for the March 27-April 1 Canadian Olympic Trials.
Nine SOFLO swimmers are entered in the March 15-18 Speedo Champions Series Sectionals in Orlando. They are Xavier Brown, Luana Cabral, Matthew Gonzalez, Rachel Ling, Ivan Parada, Julien Pinon, Jessica Rodriguez, Marc Rojas and Gustavo Valery.
SOFLO is expected to land swimmers on the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team for the annual All-Star Dual Meet against Florida Swimming March 23-25 at Indian River College.
SOFLO Olympians Alia Atkinson, Dara Torres and Vlad Polyakov will compete in the March 29-31 USA Swimming Indianapolis Grand Prix. Atkinson and Polyakov will be looking for Olympic qualifying cut times in the FINA-approved meet. Torres, who has her U.S. Olympic trials cut in the 50-meter freestyle, will be looking for some good racing.
Because of the popularity of the meet and entry cap being filled sooner than expected and several teams shut out, the March 29-31 Purdue Invitational was created for the surplus of swimmers.
SOFLO has entered twelve swimmers in the meet at Purdue which features a fast pool. The swimmers are Jessie Alcaide, Alia Atkinson, Keegan Boisson-Yates, Brandon Goldman, Emily Greenwood, Emma Lincoln, Maria Lopez, Mariangela Macchiavello, Marcella and Melissa Marinheiro, Sharntelle McLean and Luke Torres.
And last but not least, on March 31 at 9 a.m., the SOFLO/Comets Swim Team and Booster Club will host the Florida Gold Coast Open Water Challenge at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines.
The 50-meter heated outdoor pool will be configured with buoys to resemble a safe controlled open water circuit. Teams and individuals may enter. The distances are 1K, 3K and 5K and will serve as a perfect tuneup for triathlons and April 21 Nike Swim Miami.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com