By Sharon Robb
December 14, 2013
Melissa Marinheiro of South Florida Aquatic Club ended on a good note Saturday at the USA Swimming Speedo Winter Junior National Championships at Greensboro (N.C.) Aquatic Center.
Marinheiro, 16, swam a lifetime-best in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 16 minutes, 51.94 seconds.
She was 23rd among a field of 42 of the nation’s top age group distance swimmers. She dropped three seconds off her prevcious best time.
It was the end of an impressive fall for Marinheiro that featured the state high school meet, Winter Championships, senior and junior nationals.
“We ended up on a good note,” SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said. “We got a couple other best times here and there in her off events. Now we go for consistency in her main events. She feels she can be a lot more consistent. She is motivated to have a successful summer. It will be her time to shine for college recruiting.”
Marinheiro relaxed after the meet with family and friends at dinner.
“I went to a lot of meets, it was really a challenge,” Marinheiro said. “Sometimes I doubted myself but I got a lot of support.
“I am really excited about the meets I went to. I really love to go to national level meets. Everyone there has the same goal, it’s a different atmosphere.
“The first two days here I didn’t have good times but I was excited to pull off a best time today,” Marinheiro said.
Marinheiro will get Sunday off before returning to the pool on Monday. She said she is motivated for the upcoming year.
“I want to try to get more junior cuts and national cuts for the summer,” she said. “I know it will be a challenge. I am ready to train and start fresh. I want to start running again and do more dryland training. I am very motivated.”
Several other Florida Gold Coast swimmers did well on the third and final night of competition among the nation’s top age group swimmers on the national stage.
“I felt Florida Gold Coast had a good showing,” said Anderson, also chairman of the FGC. “I thought Florida in general did great. I was congratulating a lot of Florida coaches. I thought it was a very nice showing from the start and that Florida was very well-represented at the national level. And Clara Smiddy just ripped it up.”
Clara Smiddy, 17, made it a clean sweep in the backstroke events capturing the 200-yard backstroke in a meet record and lifetime-best 1:50.59.
Smiddy’s previous best time was 1:55.07 which she first bettered in morning prelims in 1:52.40, breaking the meet record of 1:53.16 set in 2010 by Courtney Bartholomew.
Having the meet of her life, Smiddy led from start-to-finish to break her own meet record and became the third-fastest pre-collegiate performance of all-time behind Elizabeth Pelton and Missy Franklin.
Twenty minutes later, Smiddy had enough left in the tank to finish second in the 100-yard freestyle in 48.97, another lifetime-best lowering her previous best of 49.57.
Smiddy was the girls’ individual high point winner. Curtis Ogren was the boys’ high point winner.
On Friday, Smiddy won the 100-yard backstroke in a blistering lifetime-best of 51.75 to break the previous four-year-old meet record of 52.22 set by Courtney Bartholomew in 2009.
The University of Michigan-bound South Florida Heat swimmer was also third on Thursday in the 200-yard individual medley.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Caeleb Dressel, 17, of Bolles won the 100-yard freestyle in a meet record 42.85. Former Florida Gold Coast swimmer Dylan Carter, 17, of Trojan Swim Club was second in 43.07, also under the previous meet record of 43.27 set by Vlad Morozov in 2009.
1,650-yard freestyle: 1. Leah Stevens, Lakeside 16:19.29, 2. Sandra Soe, Santa Clara 16:24.35, 3. Amanda Richey, Boulder Swimming 16:26.45.
200-yard backstroke: 1. Clara Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks 1:50.59, meet record; 2. Kylie Stewart, Dynamos 1:53.12, 3. Claire Adams, Carmel 1:54.13.
100-yard freestyle: 1. Abbigail Weitzeil, Canyons Aquatic 47.78, record; 2. Clara Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks 48.97, 3. Lindsey Engel, JCC Waves 49.15.
200-yard breaststroke: 1. Kennedy Lohman, Lakeside Swimming 2:10.87, 2. Lillian King, Newburgh 2:11.17, 3. Maija Roses, SwimMAC 2:12.00.
200-yard butterfly: 1. Megan Kingsley, Mount Pleasant 1:55.26, record, 2. Madison Wright, Kingfish 1:55.30, record, 3. Lindsey Engel, JCC Waves 1:57.86.
4×100-yard freestyle relay: 1. SwimMAC 3:17.93, record, 2. Carmel 3:18.23, record, 3. Ozaukee Aquatics 3:20.42, record.
1,650-yard freestyle: 1. Kevin Litherland, Dynamo 14:58.77, 2. Francis Haas, NOVA of Virginia 15:06.13, 3. Jonathan Roberts, North Texas 15:10.15.
200-yard backstroke: 1. Tristan Sanders, Palm Harbor 1:42.50, 2. Hennessy Stuart, Denver Swimming 1:42.75, 3. Ethan Young, Carpet Capital 1:43.06.
100-yard freestyle: 1. Caeleb Dressel, Bolles 42.85, record, 2. Dylan Carter, Unattached Trojan Swim Club 43.07, record, 3. Ryan Hoffer, Scottsdale Aquatics 43.13, record.
200-yard breaststroke: 1. Curtis Ogren, Palo Alto Stanford 1:57.64, 2. Thomas Brewer, Current Swimming 1:57.73, 3. Matthew Whittle, Davis Aquadarts 1:57.75.
200-yard butterfly: 1. Robert McHugh, Baylor 1:43.64, record, 2. Micah Litherland, Dynamo 1:46.01, 3. Zachary Buerger, Allegheny North 1:46.35.
FLORIDA GOLD COAST RESULTS
Women’s 1,650-yard freestyle: 23. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 16:51.94, best time.
Men’s 1,650-yard freestyle: 13. Kent Haeffner, Pine Crest Swimming 15:24.93
Women’s 200-yard backstroke: 1. Clara Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks 1:50.59, record; 106. Darby Goodwin, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:03.51, 109. Julia Suarez, Lake Lytal Lightning 2:03.65, 143. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 2:12.34.
Men’s 200-yard backstroke: 110. William Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 1:52.23.
Women’s 100-yard freestyle: 2. Clara Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks, 48.97; 67. Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest Swimming 51.43, 161. Caroline Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 53.00.
Men’s 100-yard freestyle: 2. Dylan Carter, Trojans Swim Club 43.07, record, 5. Joshua Romany, Azura Florida Aquatics 44.12, 37. Jordy Groters, Pine Crest Swimming 45.74, 40. Gage Kohner, St. Andrew’s Swimming 45.76, 89. Brody Heck, St. Andrew’s Swimming 46.79.
Women’s 200-yard breaststroke: 14. Rachael Bradford-Feldman, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:16.64, 2:15.77 prelims; 20. Lindsey Swartz, Pine Crest Swimming 2:16.28.
Men’s 200-yard breaststroke: 12. Alex Morgan, Azura Florida Aquatics 2:01.36, 15. Jordy Groters, Pine Crest Swimming 2:02.57, 75. Julio Horrego, Hialeah Swim Club 2:06.52, 86. Daniel Pereira, Azura Florida Aquatics 2:07.38.
Women’s 200-yard butterfly: 44. Christina Herfurth, Lake Lytal Lightning 2:03.00, 94. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 2:08.46.
Men’s 200-yard butterfly: 24. Luis Martinez, Azura Florida Aquatics 1:51.44.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com