WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
March 31, 2012
Maria Lopez and her South Florida Aquatic Club teammates are motivated more than ever after competing in the Purdue Invitational at Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind.
Lopez, 16, like most of her teammates, finished on a successful note Saturday night.
In her grand prix debut, Lopez dropped four seconds off her 200-meter butterfly. She posted back-to-back best times, finishing 11th in 2:23.54 after going 2:23.94 in prelims. Her previous best was 2:27.91. She also dropped a second off her 100 butterfly time.
After a successful high altitude training camp in Mexico and quality meet at Purdue, Lopez said she is ready to take her swimming to the next level.
“When we were in Mexico we all wrote out goals on a paper,” Lopez said. “I visualized my goals and splits. I had them memorized and was thinking of the time. That really helped a lot.
“Now my goal is to train harder and work on my finish,” Lopez said. “My arms need to get stronger. I know what I need to do now. I think this meet helped me a lot. I know it helped my confidence.
“I got a cookie for swimming best times. I think our whole SOFLO team deserves a big cookie. We had fun and it was a fun, different meet.”
Lopez said her first altitude training camp opened her eyes.
“I couldn’t breathe at all when we were swimming fast but when I came back home I could breathe and when I was swimming the 200 butterfly here I could feel a difference,” Lopez said. “That was nothing compared to the 35-pound plate we carried on our back while we walked for a mile. Now that was hard.”
SOFLO coach Chris Anderson was pleased with his swimmers’ progress and races throughout the weekend.
“We had a young group break some major barriers,” Anderson said. We had a very successful meet.”
Also on Saturday, Melissa Marinheiro finished sixth in the 800-meter freestyle in 9:07.89. Her previous best time was 9:09.94.
Older sister Marcella Marinheiro, 17, posted a best time in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:07.13 in the final, lowering her prelim time of 1:07.63 and previous best of 1:07.80.
For the second night in a row, SOFLO’s Jessie Alcaide earned her second-ever U.S. Olympic Trials cut.
A night after making her 50-meter freestyle cut in 26.19, Alcaide, 27, made the 100-meter freestyle cut during a time trial in a career-best time of 57.10, under the 57.19 qualifying standard.
“It was so close that last time, I had missed it by .09, I knew I couldn’t miss it again,” Alcaide said. “I am so excited. I definitely rate this No. 1 in my swimming. All the time and energy I put into it…it was all dreams. I just had to keep going. I didn’t think this day would come. Then I think to myself I have so much more work to do.”
SOFLO’s top male swimmer of the night was Brandon Goldman. Despite being sick, Goldman swam back-to-back best times in the 100-meter backstroke and won the “B” final in 59.26, after going 59.74 in prelims to qualify for the USA Speedo Junior National Championships. Goldman dipped well below the qualifying standard of 59.39.
Luke Torres was tenth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.32 after going 1:09.88 in prelims. Torres scratched from the 200-meter butterfly finals after placing 11th in 2:09.70. Emma Lincoln turned in four best times during the three-day meet.
SATURDAY SOFLO PRELIM RESULTS
Women’s 200-meter butterfly: 11. Maria Lopez, 2:23.94 best time, 2:27.91, previous best.
Men’s 200-meter butterfly: 11. Luke Torres 2:09.70.
Men’s 100-meter breaststroke: 15. Luke Torres 1:09.88.
Women’s 100-meter backstroke: 25. Marcella Marinheiro 1:07.63, best time, 1:07.80, previous best.
Men’s 100-meter backstroke: 11. Brandon Goldman 59.74 best time, 1:00.77 previous best, 21. Keegan Boisson-Yates 1:02.85.
Women’s 800-meter freestyle final: 6. Melissa Marinheiro, 9:07.89, best time, 9:09.94 previous best.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com