By Sharon Robb

March 7, 2014

Three-time defending champion South Florida Aquatic Club turned in some outstanding swims on the opening day of the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Short Course Junior Olympics at the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions in Coral Springs.

No one was more impressive than C.J. Kopecki, 14, making his final appearance in the short course meet.

Kopecki, hoping to leave a lasting impression before he ages-up, did just that on a chilly Friday night, particularly in the 500-yard freestyle.

Kopecki won the distance event in a career-best time 4:41.91, dropping from 4:48.06 and knocking off rival Alberto Gomez, 14, of Miami-Dade, who finished in 4:42.35.

Kopecki led a SOFLO boys sweep in the 500. Nicolas Rossi, 10, won the 10-and-under title in 5:41.73. Rafael Rodriguez, 12, won the 11-12 race in a best time 5:00.26, dropping from 5:07.13.

“I am really happy,” Kopecki said. “I didn’t think I would go that fast. The amount of time I dropped was crazy. I felt great in the water.

“Our team being defending champion does motivate me a lot,” Kopecki said. “I love competition especially when someone is next to me, it makes me go faster. I was swimming next to Alberto the whole time. It made me go a lot faster. I always wanted to beat him.”

Kopecki said he and his SOFLO teammates have been training hard and working on technique.

“I thought about this being my last JOs coming into the meet and I really wanted to do well,” Kopecki said. “The team is really psyched about this meet.”

Kopecki had several other good swims. He anchored the second place 200-yard freestyle relay; won the 100-yard butterfly in 54.35 after qualifying in 54.01; and anchored the winning 800-yard freestyle relay.

“My confidence is high but it’s always high,” Kopecki said. “I believe I can do great things. My confidence is higher now because I just had an amazing first day. I hope to carry this momentum into the second and third day.

“All the training is worth it…all the countless hours in the pool, this is what it’s all about, nights like this. I had random people coming up to me I didn’t know congratulating me after the 500. It was just a great feeling.”

Also in the 500 freestyle, SOFLO’s Leonardo Mateus moved from ninth to fourth place in the finals to finish in 5:11.52 and qualify for the All-Star team.

It was a total team effort on opening night for SOFLO, showing off its depth and talent, from individual champions to and “B” relay swimmers scoring points.

SOFLO individual champions were:

Molly Golding, 10, 100-yard breaststroke, 1:16.29 and 500-yard freestyle, 5:48.10.

Kathleen Golding, 13, 100-yard breaststroke, 1:07.16 and 500-yard freestyle, 4:58.17.

Rafael Rodriguez, 12, 100-yard butterfly, 58.75 and 100-yard individual medley, 1:00.47.

SOFLO swept the 13-14 girls and boys 800-yard freestyle relay events. The girls team of Kelley Heron, Andrea Pereira, Kathleen Golding and Delanie Perez won in 7:59.94. The boys team of Ervin Marin, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco and CJ Kopecki won in 7:20.57.

SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said the middle distance and distance swimmers “did a heck of a job tonight. To win nearly all of the 500s is phenomenal.

“We anticipated those time drops,” Anderson said. “It looks like our boys are starting to come together as one and that’s promising. They are beginning to realize that the “B” relay is just as important as the “A” relay and moving up from tenth to seventh is important, too. Every point counts especially in a championship meet.

“We are where we want to be,” Anderson said. “We are an age group developmental program and we have depth and I think it shows.

“This is one of the better JOS. It looks like a lot of teams have prepared themselves for this meet. I hope we are strong enough to continue this. It will be interesting how it plays out on Sunday.”

The top six swimmers in each individual event automatically qualify for the FGC All-Stars team that will compete in a dual meet against Florida Swimming All-Stars on April 5-6 at Indian River State College.

The three-day meet continues on Saturday with prelims and finals.

DAY ONE FRIDAY RESULTS

GIRLS

200-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. Pine Crest 1:41.02, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:42.24 (Kelley Heron, Liz Travieso, Kathleen Golding, Andrea Pereira), 17. SOFLO “B” 1:51.30 (Jennifer Rodriguez, Katherine DeBarros, Delanie Perez, Abolade Oyetunji).

200-yard backstroke:

11-12, 1. Madison Cummings, East Coast Aquatics 2:15.35; SOFLO: 4. Annita Huang 2:20.51, 5. Isabella DiSalvo 2:22.02, 9. Kyana Castro 2:26.58; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, PC 2:05.63; SOFLO: 4. Kelley Heron 2:10.06.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 27.32; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 23.95; SOFLO: 4. Vanessa Mesa 25.88; 13-14, 1. Jenna Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 24.44.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Molly Golding, SOFLO 1:16.29; 11-12, 1. Savannah Yates, PC 1:10.24; SOFLO: 2. Elise Larin 1:11.55, 10. Mariann Serrao 1:14.85; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 1:07.16; SOFLO: 4. Kelley Heron 1:10.01, 7. Delanie Perez 1:11.17.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. A. Kondratovitch, Unattached 1:05.68; SOFLO: 4. Sara Quintero 1:11.17, 9. Kayla Cunningham 1:15.61; 11-12, 1. Alex Meszaros, PC 59.16; SOFLO: 8. Vanessa Mesa 1:05.42; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, PC 56.71; SOFLO: 2. Kathleen Golding 56.86.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 1:08.39; SOFLO: 3. Molly Golding 1:10.31; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 1:00.95; SOFLO: 7. Mariann Serrao 1:07.03, 10. Elise Larin 1:08.42.

500-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Molly Golding, SOFLO 5:48.10; SOFLO: 6. Sara Quintero 6:02.25, 14. Sally Golding 6:31.44; 11-12, 1. Juliana Talamo, MAC 5:18.11; SOFLO: 2. Vanessa Mesa 5:21.60, 7. Marianna Serrao, 5:30.29, 9. Annita Huang 5:30.90, 14. Michelle Marinheiro 5:47.24; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 4:58.17.

400-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Pine Crest 3:46.82, 2. SOFLO “A” (Annita Huang, Marianna Serrao, Isabella Di Salvo, Vanessa Mesa), 3:50.61, 7. SOFLO “B” (Elise Larin, Anabel Vazquez, Michelle Marinheiro, Kyana Castro) 4:00.88.

800-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 7:59.54 (Kelley Heron, Andrea Pereira, Kathleen Golding, Delanie Perez), 12. SOFLO “B” 8:42.23 (Katherine DeBarros, Alexandra Crespo, Jennifer Rodriguez, Abolade Oyetunji).

BOYS

200-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:33.19, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:33.56 (Bruno Berti, Kevin Porto, Ervin Marin, CJ Kopecki), 13. SOFLO “B” 1:40.06 (Matthew Menocal, Christopher Sanchez, Juan Osorio, Esteban Diaz-Velasco).

200-yard backstroke:

11-12, 1. Elvis Kotikovski, Azura 2:06.04; SOFLO: 4. Leonardo Mateus 2:14.74, 6. Gabriel Segui 2:17.48; 13-14, 1. Nicholas Sharp, SAS 1:54.57; SOFLO: 4. Kevin Porto 2:02.13, 5. E. Diaz-Velasco 2:02.76, 7. Ricardo Roche 2:05.83.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Varis Monroe, NPB 26.84; SOFLO: 4. Nicolas Rossi 28.72; 11-12, 1. Mattheus Santos, PB 24.30; 13-14, 1. Adrian Aguilar, MAC 22.93.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Victor Valdes, Hialeah 1:15.32; 11-12, 1. Matthew Petreski, PC 1:05.07; SOFLO: 3. Gabriel Segui 1:11.13, 6. Brandon Moran 1:13.20; 13-14, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami Dade 1:02.25; SOFLO: 7. Ervin Marin 1:05.20.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Max Cope, Gulliver 1:06.33; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 58.75; SOFLO: 7. Gabriel Segui 1:02.28; 13-14, 1. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 54.35; SOFLO: 3. Ervin Marin 55.85.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Josh Zuchowski, Jupiter 1:09.67; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 1:00.47; SOFLO: 10. Brandon Moran 1:09.48.

500-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Nicolas Rossi, SOFLO 5:41.73; SOFLO: 17. Alex Golding 6:43.02; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 5:00.26; SOFLO: 4. Leonardo Mateus 5:11.52; 13-14, 1. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 4:41.92; SOFLO: 8. Kevin Porto 4:56.12.

400-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Azura 3:40.90; 4. SOFLO “A” 3:47.82 (Leonardo Mateus, Gabriel Segui, Brandon Moran, Rafael Rodriguez); 9. SOFLO “B” 4:05.62 (Michael Arias, Sebastian Sevilla, Sebastian Sierra, John Paul Handal).

800-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 7:20.57 (Ervin Marin, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, CJ Kopecki), 7. SOFLO “B” 7:57.69 (Ricardo Roche, Matthew Menocal, Juan Osorio, Andres Arias).

IF YOU GO

What: Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Junior Olympics

When: Saturday-Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Coral Springs Aquatic Complex Michael Lohberg Pool Of Champions, 12441 Royal Palm Blvd., Coral Springs.

Defending champions: South Florida Aquatic Club.

Admission: $3 per session, heat sheets $3 per session. For questions call 954-345-2121. Parking is free. Traffic is expected to be heavy each night because of the Our Town event being held simultaneously during the meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

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