Broward YMCA’s Christopher, Castro, LaFountain Win; Two Records Broken At YMCA Masters Nationals

Broward YMCA’s Christopher, Castro, LaFountain Win; Two Records Broken At YMCA Masters Nationals


April 12, 2012

Deven Christopher, Leticia Castro and Darcy LaFountain of the Broward County YMCA captured individual titles on the opening day of the YMCA Masters Short Course National Championships Thursday at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Christopher, 37, a member of the Coral Springs Masters, won the 1,650-yard freestyle 35-39 age group in 19:44.22, bettering her seed time of 21:17.41. Teammate Suzanne Dearworth, 39, was second in 23:24.32.

Broward YMCA’s Sarah Bennett, 49, was seventh in 24:52.85 bettering seed time of 33:00.

Leticia Castro, 52, of Broward County YMCA won the 50-54 age group race in 20:40.88. Castro was also second in the 1,000-yard freestyle in 12:31.93.

Coral Springs Masters’ swimmer Celia Devanney, competing for the Broward County YMCA, was third in the 1,000-yard freestyle in 12:53.80, below her 13:00 seed time.

In the 55-59 age group, Melinda Mann, 55, of Oshkosh, Wis. won the race in a YMCA meet record in 20:45.01, bettering the previous record of 21:48.44 set by Darcy LaFountain of Broward County YMCA in last year’s meet. LaFountain also broke her own record finishing second in 21:09.25. LaFountain won the 55-59 1,000-yard freestyle in 12:49.63, below her seed time of 13:05.

Cathy Mancino, 62, was second in the 60-64 1,000-yard freestyle in 13:59.61.

In the men’s competition, Mark Drennen, 55, of Sarasota YMCA won the 55-59 1,650-yard freestyle in a meet record 18:21.90. The previous record was 18:22.01 set by Rick Walker, also of Sarasota YMCA in 2010. Walker, 61, won the 60-64 age group title in 18:52.90.

The four-day meet continues on Friday with timed finals at 8 a.m.



Combined team totals: 1. Sarasota Masters 204, 2. YMCA of the Chesapeake 102, 3. South Hills YMCA 99, 4. Broward County YMCA 63, 5. Tri County YMCA 59, 15. Naples 7, 20. YMCA of South Palm Beach 6.

1,650-yard freestyle:

18-24, 1. Mikaela Boley, Chesapeake, Md. 21:07.54; 25-29, 1. Ginny Trimble, Beavercreek, OH. 20:02.04; 35-39, 1. Deven Christopher, Broward YMCA 19:44.22, 2. Suzanne Dearworth, Broward YMCA 23:24.32; 40-44, 1. Nadine Day, Danville, Ill. 19:23.10; 45-49, 1. Fernet Ramnath, Sarasota 19:40.99, 7. Sarah Bennett, Broward YMCA 24:52.85; 50-54, 1. Leticia Castro, Broward YMCA 20:40.88; 55-59, 1. Melinda Mann, Oshkosh, Wis. 20:45.01, 2. Darcy LaFountain, Broward YMCA 21:09.25; 60-64, 1. Carol Mitchell, Sarasota 26:24.74; 65-69, 1. Ann Svenson, South Hills, Pa. 26:16.22; 70-74, 1. Dotty Steenson, South Hills, Pa. 30:33.53; 75-79, 1. Barbara Love, Wilton Family Y 28:08.40.  

1,000-yard freestyle:

18-24, 1. Jessica Looney, Andover, Mass. 11:12.57; 25-29, 1. Caileen Burns, Andover, Mass. 12:01.08; 35-39, 1. Marla Sanchez, South Hills, Pa. 12:27.78; 40-44, 1. Kristi Gutsell, Tri County, Mass. 12:24.04; 45-49, 1. Ellen Bennett, Sarasota 11:31.26; 50-54, 1. Lisa Zedonis, Tri County, Mass. 12:24.29, 2. Leticia Castro, Broward YMCA 12:31.93, 3. Celia Devanney, Broward YMCA 12:53.80; 55-59, 1. Darcy LaFountain, Broward YMCA 12:49.63; 60-64, 1. Meredith Moore, Wilton Family Y 13:39.03, 2. Cathy Mancino, Broward YMCA 13:59.61; 65-69, 1. Jackie Marr, South Hills, Pa., 14:40.54; 70-74, 1. Margit Jebe, Wilton Family Y 16:13.57; 75-79, 1. Patrick Tullman, Sarasota 18:52.20; 85-89, 1. Margaret Menges, South Hills, Pa. 24:43.51. 


Combined team totals: 1. Sarasota Masters 280, 2. YMCA of the Chesapeake 144, 3. South Hills YMCA 111, 4. Tri County YMCA 97, 5. Broward County YMCA 76, 17. YMCA of South Palm Beach 12.

1,650-yard freestyle:

18-24, 1. Brian Kemp, Tri County, Mass. 19:03.29; 30-34, 1. Jason Hill, Beavercreek, OH 18:20.04; 40-44, 1. George Babits, Toronto 19:40.58; 45-49, 1. Arnaldo Perez, Sarasota 17:34.01; 50-54, 1. Jim Barber, Tri County, Mass. 18:00.85; 55-59, 1. Mark Drennen, Sarasota 18:21.90, meet record; 60-64, 1. Rick Walker, Sarasota 18:52.90, 3. David Owen, South Palm Beach 19:44.83; 65-69, 1. Greg Hollub, Oshkosh, WIS 21:38.38; 70-74, 1. Dean Dye, Sarasota 26:15.97; 75-79, 1. Steve Mullins, Danville, ILL. 29:43.02; 80-84, 1. Scott Petrequin, South Hills, Pa. 36:29.16.

1,000-yard freestyle:

25-29, 1. Elliot Miller, Andover, Mass. 12:06.86; 30-34, 1. Thomas Patterson, Ridley, Pa. 11:16.29; 35-39, 1. Adam Dawkins, Tri County, Mass. 10:04.77; 40-44, 1.Ramses Rodriguez, Sarasota 10:32.98; 45-49, 1. Arnaldo Perez, Sarasota 10:29.80, 3. Jonathan Olsen, Broward County YMCA 11:25.26; 50-54, 1. Mark Calvert, Tampa Metro 10:48.69; 55-59, 1. Kevin Scanlan, Buehlee, Ill. 12:05.39; 60-64, 1. Rick Walker, Sarasota 11:29.26, 3. David Owen, South Palm Beach 12:08.15; 65-69, 1. Carl Bromer, Beavercreek, OH 14:13.76; 70-74, 1. Michael Laux, Westport Weston 14:45.87; 75-79, 1. Steve Mullins, Danville, Ill. 17:39.73, 2. Lee Silverstein, Broward County YMCA 24:52.14; 80-84, 1. Burt Bronk, Chesapeake, Md. 18:48.44; 85-89, 1. Warren Foster, Sarasota 22:16.73.


What: YMCA Masters Short Course National Championships

When: Today-Sunday, 8 a.m.

Where: Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, 501 Seabreeze Blvd.

Admission: Free. For information call 954-828-4580 or go to and

Sharon Robb can be reached at




April 11, 2012

Marcus Franco watched his older brothers Max and Mike during swim practice at Academic Village Pool and knew he was going to follow in their footsteps.

“I saw how much fun they were having,” said the third grader. “My two brothers did it and I wanted to swim for the same swim team.”

Franco, 9, started swimming when he was 3 and competing on the Comets Swim Team when he was 6.

“It’s a lot of hard work but it’s fun in the water,” said Franco, who swims five days a week.

The hard work is beginning to pay off for Franco who turned in his finest performance at the Florida Gold Coast Area 3 Developmental Meet in his home team pool in Pembroke Pines.

During the meet, Franco earned four Junior Olympics qualifying cut times and made finals. He now has seven JO cut times for 10-and-unders.

For his outstanding meet and performance, Franco is the Nike Athlete of the Month. The Nike-sponsored SOFLO club award honors a swimmer for outstanding performance and improvement.

Franco gave age group coach Rose Lockie credit for his improvement in the water.

“I really trained a lot for that meet,” Franco said. “That was really a big meet for me. It was my best meet. Coach Rose helped me with every stroke. She was the reason I did so good. She helped me so much.”

Franco hopes to be as good as his older brothers.

Max Franco swam with the Comets since he was 10 and turns 22 in May. He graduates the United States Merchant Marine Academy on June 18 in Kings Point, N.Y. and plans to go on active duty with the Coast Guard.

Mike has been swimming with the Comets since he was 6 and will soon turn 18 and graduate Everglades High School on June 7. He will leave for the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, one of the most prestigious institutions in the U.S., in late July.

“It’s nice to see him follow his brothers,” said his mother Maria. “He enjoys swimming and being with his friends. He swims and plays baseball.”

Asked which brother is the best swimmer, Franco said “It has to be Mikey. He can swim really fast.”

Franco said his favorite stroke is the butterfly.

“I like it because you need to be very strong to swim the butterfly stroke,” Franco said. “You have to stretch your arms a lot to get to first place. Mikey likes the butterfly like me.”

Franco has been playing several positions on his baseball team including pitcher, catcher, first base and third base. His favorite position is pitcher. He likes school and his favorite subject is math. His favorite swimmer is Ryan Lochte who he thinks will “win lots of medals” in London this summer.

“I would like to go to the Olympics some day, I watch them on TV and it looks like fun,” Franco said. “I have to get faster. I have to work hard a few more years. I get faster and faster each year. It’s a lot of work but I like it.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at