Let The Countdown Begin: 100 Days To Opening Day Of The London Olympic Games

Let The Countdown Begin: 100 Days To Opening Day Of The London Olympic Games


April 17, 2012

SOFLO’s Arlene Semeco of Venezuela and Nick Schwab of the Dominican Republic have already stamped their ticket to the Summer Olympics.

Several more including Olympians Dara Torres of the U.S., Alia Atkinson of Jamaica, Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan and Sharntelle McLean of Trinidad and Tobago are working toward that goal.

Wednesday marks the 100-day countdown to the July 27 opening for South Florida Aquatic club athletes and coaches training for Olympic glory at the 2012 London Games.

The $14.7 billion extravaganza will feature 10,500 athletes including 575 Americans from 204 nations competing in 26 sports and 300 events.

London organizers are putting the finishing touches on venues and city officials are preparing for fans and athletes from around the world training for their big moment in the spotlight.

It’s been a labor of love for Sebastian Coe, head of the London Organizing Committee, for seven years centered around turning the deprived industrial area in east London into Olympic Park.

Because of the Olympics, a large shopping mall, the athletes’ village will be turned into apartments, a new school will be built and other improvements are being planned.

“One hundred days means something to people,” Coe told reporters. “When you are talking about seven years, six years, five years, four years, that’s one thing, but actually you’re talking about days. It’s really very close.”

Olympic Fever will begin in earnest when the Olympic flame arrives in Land’s End on the westernmost tip of England on May 19, kicking off the start of the 70-day, 8,000-mile torch relay across the United Kingdom.

The next round of Olympic ticket sales will take place in May with 2.5 million tickets available. Those who were unable to secure tickets in previous rounds will get a 24-hour window before the remaining tickets go on sale on a first-come, first-serve basis.

On Wednesday, 73 athletes including swimmer Missy Franklin, diver Brittany Viola and water polo player Tony Azevedo, will gather in Times Square in New York City for the Road to London Celebration. Olympic legends will also be in attendance including divers Micki King and Greg Louganis and swimmers John Naber and Gary Hall Sr.

For those younger SOFLO swimmers, just a reminder the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games are right around the corner.


Olympian and five-time Olympic medalist Greg Louganis, who grew up training in South Florida, one of his former coaches Sammy Lee and former University of Miami diver and U.S. Olympic hopeful Brittany Viola rang the closing bell at NASDAQ Tuesday during a ceremony to ring in the Olympic Countdown. Louganis also turned on the switch that lights the Empire State Building in red, white and blue colors…McDonald’s is promoting “Champions of Play,” a program geared for kids ages 6 to 14 and built around physical activity and nutrition. It includes fliers in 70 million Happy Meals encouraging kids to earn activity points by doing such things as cartwheels or running or swimming with a friend and logging the activities online. The website goes live on June 4 with a preview launching on Wednesday. McDonald’s has signed up several well-known athletes including Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres, Shawn Johnson, Dwight Howard, Antonio Rossi, Fernando “Xuxa” Scherer and several others to help motivate the kids and participate in chat rooms.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


With Four Meets, FGC Banquet Busy Weekend For SOFLO Swimmers

With Four Meets, FGC Banquet Busy Weekend For SOFLO Swimmers


April 17, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers, parents and coaches will be busy this weekend.

Swimmers will either participate in the Comets Sizzler, Sunrise Sizzler, IMX Challenge or Swim Miami 2012 on Friday and Saturday.

Thirty of the club’s top swimmers will be honored at the annual Florida Gold Coast Age Group Awards Ceremony on Sunday.

Swim Miami 2012 presented by Nike is one of the top events of the open water swimming circuit along the east coast.

The multi-race event features distances of 800 meters, 1 mile, 5K and 10K and attracts swimmers of all ages from 10-and-under to 60-and-over at every level from newcomers to Olympians at the Miami Yacht Club off Watson Island in Biscayne Bay.

The event, scheduled for Saturday for Florida Gold Coast teams only, will have an in-water start and beach finish.

Two race courses will be used.

For the 800-meter race, swimmers will proceed from the Miami Yacht Club Beach, around the T-Dock and straight along the shore west towards Jungle Island Beach.

In the one mile, 5K and 10K events swimmers will follow a rectangular course totaling 1,665 meters per loop. A feeding station will be provided and the use of feed sticks by coaches will be permitted.

SOFLO has nine boys and seven girls competing. The girls are Lilliana Calero, 13; Leonie Davies, 15; Kylie Herman, 14; Andrea Melendez, 15; Clarisa Melendez, 15; Stephanie Mlujeak, 13; and Samantha Stinemire, 13.

SOFLO’s Leonie Davies was recently added to the Florida Gold Coast All-Star roster for the April 27-28 Open Water Festival in Fort Myers.

The boys are Roger Capote, 16; Ryan Capote, 14; Jack Davies, 13; Estaban Diaz-Velasco, 12; Matthew Gonzalez, 17; Alexander Monti, 13; Julien Pinon, 13; Daniel Reyna, 16; and Marc Rojas, 18.

One of the more inspiring athletes entered is Hector Picard of Fort Lauderdale. Picard is a double arm amputee who competes in swims, triathlons and road and bike races. Picard is entered in the 5K.

The top three male and female finishers will receive awards for overall. Medals will be awarded for first through third in all age groups.

Proceeds benefit the H20S (Helping Others To Swim) Foundation, a non-profit organization.


What: Swim Miami 2012 presented by Nike

When: Saturday, 8 a.m. 800 meters; 8:15 a.m. Miami Mile; 8:30 a.m., 5K; 8:45 a.m., 10K.

Where: Miami Yacht Club, 1001 MacArthur Causeway, Miami.

Admission: Free to the public. Parking is $5 per car at Jungle Island. For questions call 305-273-1129 or email thesportspromoters@swimgym.net.

IMX Challenge

Top seeds Ricardo Roche, 12, Isabella Pittinger, 12, Sarah Schimansky, 8, Joshua Hanks, 8, Kelley Heron, 12, Kevin Porto, 12, and Rafael Rodriguez, 10, head a large field of more than 100 SOFLO, Comets and Coral Springs Swim Club swimmers for Saturday’s in-house 12-and-Under IMX Challenge at Academic Village Pool.

All heats will be mixed girls and boys in the fun meet.

The relays will also be mixed girls and boys and mixed age groups. Instead of the coaches picking the relays, it will be up to the swimmers to select the relay members. It’s a way for the swimmers to socialize and get to know each other.

The IMX Challenge is a motivational program that allows swimmers across the nation to compare themselves to the thousands of other athletes in their age group.


What: IMX Challenge

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. Warm-up is 9 a.m.

Where: Academic Village Swimming Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines

Admission: Free. Heat sheets will be posted around the pool. For information call 954-538-3721 or email info@swim4comets.com.

Comets Sizzler

The Comets Swim Team and Booster Club will host the Broward County Sizzler for south Broward and Dade County teams Friday at 5:30 p.m.

The meet is fun and also a learning experience for young swimmers learning stroke technique, pacing and breathing during races. It’s a way for coaches to gauge how their swimmers are learning the sport during practice sessions.

The meet also introduces what swim meets are all about to swimmers in a non-competitive environment.

Events include 25-yard butterfly, 25-yard backstroke, 25-yard breaststroke, 25-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle relay.

SOFLO has 21 swimmers entered. The girls are Daniela Barreto, 8, Marcela Bucaro, 7, Marli Crichton, 7, Jena Legaspi, 8, Isabella Lizarazo, 8, Gretchen Montgomery, 8, Sara Quintero, 8, and Analucia Raimont, 8.

The boys are Fernando Barreto, 6, Jake Cavanagh, 7, Dennis Dale, 8, Mark Andre De Gracia, 8, Tanner Gibson, 8, Zackary Harris, 7, Ryan Heron, 8, Noah Hew, 7, Luca Hincapie, 5, Sebastian Lares, 7, Alejandro Mateus, 6, Ariel Sanchez, 8, and Ian Torres, 7.

Coral Springs Swim Club swimmers from Mullins Park will compete in the Broward Sizzler at Sunrise.


What: Comets Sizzler/Broward County South and Dade County.

When: Friday, 5:30 p.m. Warm-up is 5 p.m.

Where: Academic Village Swimming Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines.

Admission: $2. Heat sheets $2. For questions call 954-538-3721.

Florida Gold Coast Banquet

Thirty South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will be among 235 swimmers honored Sunday at the annual 14-and-under Florida Gold Coast Age Group Awards Ceremony at St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, noon-4 p.m.

Those being honored for outstanding seasons are Sarah Bucaro, Sophia Bucaro, Steph Campo, Tristan Celestin, Catharine Cooper, Leonie Davies, Kylie Herman, Kelley Heron, Marco Hosfeld, Amber Hunter, Kelly Kealty, Blake Kelley, Emma Lincoln, Juan Lucas, Melissa Marinheiro, Audrey Mason, Alfredo Mesa, Delanie Perez, Julien Pinon, Samuel Quintero, Ricardo Roche, Carlos Rodriguez, Diego Rodriguez, Jessica Rodriguez, Rafael Rodriguez, Cristian Rossi, Samantha Stinemire, Carly Swanson, Gustavo Valery and Sebastian Vargas.

SOFLO’s national record-breaking boys relays will be recognized along with swimmers who were members of the FGC vs. Florida team, FGC Zone All-Stars, FGC record breakers and national Top 10 single age group ranked swimmers.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com