South Florida Aquatic Club Defends Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Team Title For Fourth Year

South Florida Aquatic Club Defends Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Team Title For Fourth Year


By Sharon Robb

March 9, 2014

It takes a village to build swim champions, in and out of the pool, from the coaches, swim office staff, parents and booster club.

So it was no surprise when South Florida Aquatic Club won the combined team title at the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Junior Olympics for the fourth time on Sunday, SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson made it a point to praise the entire SOFLO family.

“It’s something I don’t think people understand what it takes and how many people it takes to accomplish what we do,” the veteran coach said.

“It’s not just coaching in a kid-driven sport that leads to our success,” Anderson said. “It’s the behind-the-scenes people that help prepare our athletes to perform on a daily level at practice. As long as we keep that up we will be successful. We really provide a total package which is why we come out winners and champions at the end of these meets.”

SOFLO was very successful dominating the three-day meet at the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions in Coral Springs with 1,165.50 points.

SOFLO was the only team to break the 1,000-point barrier. Their closest rival was Metro Aquatics, runner-up with 617.50 points.

SOFLO relied on its depth and talent to add another chapter in their history book.

Anderson stressed SOFLO’s total team effort from each and every swimmer.

“It was a great overall team experience,” Anderson said. “The bottom half of our age groups swam up to be successful. I can’t stress enough that the sixth, seventh and eighth place swimmers swam up to their potential. What our “B” relays did for this meet definitely put us over the top.”

As three-time defending champions, SOFLO swimmers and coaches knew there was a target on their backs before the meet even started.

“It’s a lot more difficult to duplicate when people are gunning for us,” Anderson said. “We still find a way to rise to the challenge due to the excellence of our coaching staff. They get kids to perform when they are under pressure.

“We had some great swims individually like the Goldings, Rafael and C.J., but we also had at least 50 to 100 great swims individually in their own right. The tradition we are instilling in these athletes that they need to step up and do the right things is what they are doing and what they did in this meet. It was such a great combined effort.”

The team spirit was at an all-time high, cheering every day for teammates. SOFLO swimmers wore new white and light blue caps with Junior Olympic Team inscribed on them.

“They definitely were very social about the meet and enjoyed it,” Anderson said. “They loved accepting the awards.”

Molly Golding, 10, was third among high point girls rankings in her age group.

“I am really happy, it was really fun, every single day we did cheers,” said Golding, who made her JO debut. “Just seeing all these kids and swimming against them made it fun. I was happiest with my 100 breaststroke, that was my best race. The competition was pretty hard but I definitely worked really hard. I am tired but I can’t wait to get back in the pool.”

Big sister Kathleen Golding, 13, won the 13-14 high point age group award. Golding won the 200-yard individual medley in a best time 2:05.43 and 100-yard freestyle in a best time 51.73.

While the older SOFLO swimmers are training for Senior Championships, the JO kids will get Monday afternoon off, Anderson said.

Workhorse Rafael Rodriguez, 12, won his age group high point award. Rodriguez finished well by winning the 1,650-yard freestyle in a best time 16:57.13 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.79, another best time.

“I am really happy with my meet,” Rodriguez said. “I dropped time and I felt good in the water. This is my best JOs, I lowered all my times. All our relays did pretty good. It feels really cool to be on SOFLO. We have a lot of team spirit and we all support each other.”

C.J. Kopecki, 14, competing in his final JO short course meet, was third in high point. He finished with a second place in the 1,650-yard freestyle in a best time 16:27.93 and won the 200-yard butterfly in a best time 1:57.15. It was his best JO meet of his career that started in the lessons program with the SOFLO/Comets.

“This is our first generation of champions that have come up through our lessons program,” Anderson said. “It’s nice to see our kids grow from grass roots to high point swimmers. That is quite a feat for our entire staff.”

SOFLO’s “A” relay of C.J. Kopecki, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco and Ervin Marin, all 14-year-olds competing in their final JO short course meet, won the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:23.40.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club 1,165.50, 2. Metro Aquatics 617.50, 3. Pine Crest Swimming 608.50, 4. Azura Florida Aquatic 584.50, 5. North Palm Beach 439, 6. City of Hialeah 337, 7. Jupiter Dragons 332, 8. Coral Springs Swim Club 324, 9. Lake Lytal Lightning 311.50, 10. East Coast Aquatic Club 284, 11. St. Andrew’s Swimming 238, 12. Miami-Dade County Aquatic Club 235.50, 13. Pompano Beach 216, 14. Blue Marlins 198, 15. Swim Fort Lauderdale 195, 16. Gulliver Swim Club 168, 17. Wahoos of Wellington 152.50, 18. FLA Aquatics 117.50, 19. Rockway 113, 20. Miami Swimming 98.



10-and-under, 3. Molly Golding 67, 15. Sara Quintero 16, 17. Kayla Cunningham 13; 11-12, 8. Vanessa Mesa 39, 13. Annita Huang 24, 15. Marianna Serrao 23; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding 75, 7. Kelley Heron 40, 16. Delanie Perez 22.


10-and-under, 5. Nicolas Rossi 45.50; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez 75, 9. Gabriel Segui 41, 11. Leonardo Mateus 39, 17. Brandon Moran 25; 13-14, 3. C.J. Kopecki 68, 7. Ervin Marin 40, 13. Kevin Porto 23.



10-and-under, 1. East Coast Aquatic Club 134, 2. SOFLO 96, 3. Jupiter 90; 11-12, 1. Pine Crest 149.50, 2. Metro Aquatics 132.50, 3. SOFLO 124; 13-14, 1. Pine Crest 145, 2. SOFLO 139, 3. Lake Lytal 92.


10-and-under, 1. Jupiter 94, 2. Gulliver 79, 3. Hialeah 51.50, 4. SOFLO 45.50; 11-12, 1. SOFLO 183, 2. Azura 174, 3. Hialeah 105; 13-14, 1. SOFLO 160, 2. Azura 124, 3. Miami Dade 119.50.


200-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Pine Crest 1:44.43, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:45.04 (Annita Huang, Marianna Serrao, Elise Larin, Vanessa Mesa), 9. SOFLO “B” 1:52.34 (Kyana Castro, Anabel Vazquez, Katrina Del Vecchio, Isabella Si Salvo).

400-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. Pine Crest Swimming 3:38.29; 2. SOFLO “A” 3:42.72 (Kelley Heron, Andrea Pereira, Liz Travieso, Kathleen Golding), 15. SOFLO “B” 3:58.89 (Abolade Oyetunji, Jennifer Rodriguez, Katherine DeBarros, Delanie Perez).

1,650-yard freestyle:

11-12, 1. Violeta Tumolo, Swim Fort Lauderdale 18:44.51; SOFLO: 5. Kyana Castro 19:03.85, 6. Marianna Serrao 19:06.97, 8. Annita Huang 19:17.35, 10. Michelle Marinheiro 19:41.32, 15. Elise Larin 20:43.94; 13-14, 1. Jenna Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 17:39.91.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 2:25.65; SOFLO: 2. Molly Golding 2:28.79; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 2:09.99; SOFLO: 5. Vanessa Mesa 2:18.91; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:05.43; SOFLO: 3. Kelley Heron 2:12.53, 10. Delanie Perez 2:18.42.

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Ana Kondratovitch, Unattached 31.50; SOFLO: 7. Kayla Cunningham 33.70; 11-12, 1. Sarah Abril, Metro Aquatics 29.15; 13-14, 1. Melannie Vargas, Miami-Dade County 27.60; SOFLO: 5. Kelley Heron 29.07, 10. Liz Travieso 29.72.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 34.55; SOFLO: 2. Molly Golding 36.71; 11-12, 1. Savannah Yates, Pine Crest Swimming 32.29; SOFLO: 4. Elise Larin 33.12; 13-14, 1. Tiffany Korb, St. Andrew’s Swimming 31.92; SOFLO: 5. Kelley Heron 32.70, 7. Delanie Perez 32.86.

200-yard butterfly:

11-12, 1. Alexandra Meszaros, Pine Crest 2:13.99; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 2:05.26; SOFLO: 8. Delanie Perez 2:15.54.

100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Megan Murphy, East Coast Aquatics 1:00.14; SOFLO: 3. Molly Golding 1:01.87; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 52.48; SOFLO; 4. Vanessa Mesa 55.37, 7. Marianna Serrao 56.95; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 51.73.


200-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Metro Aquatics 1:42.36, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:43.64 (Gabriel Segui, Michael Arias, Leonardo Mateus, Rafael Rodriguez), 15. SOFLO “B” 1:55.02 (Sebastian Sevilla, Sebastian Sierra, Derek Tom, Brandon Moran).

400-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 3:23.40 (C.J. Kopecki, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Ervin Marin), 7. SOFLO “B” 3:35.01 (Bruno Berti, Tyler Gibson, Juan Osorio, Matthew Menocal).

1,650-yard freestyle:

11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 16:57.13; SOFLO: 3. Leonardo Mateus 17:45.41, 15. Sebastian Sierra 20:15.78; 13-14, 1. Nicholas Sharp, St. Andrew’s 16:15.88; SOFLO: 2. C.J. Kopecki 16:27.93, 3. Ricardo Roche 17:02.69, 5. Kevin Porto 17:10.25, 12. Matthew Menocal 17:47.18.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Josh Zuchowski, Jupiter 2:25.53; SOFLO: 5. Nicolas Rossi 2:32.66; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 2:07.79; SOFLO: 6. Leonardo Mateus 2:15.96; 13-14, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami-Dade 1:56.84; SOFLO: 4. Ervin Marin 2:02.14.

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Josh Zuchowski, Jupiter 31.37; 11-12, 1. Aaron Rodriguez, Hialeah 27.63; SOFLO: 9. Leonardo Mateus 30.72; 13-14, 1. Nicholas Sharp, St. Andrew’s Swimming 24.54; SOFLO: 6. Esteban Diaz-Velasco 27.01, 9. Kevin Porto 27.49.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Victor Valdes, Hialeah 34.43; 11-12, 1. Matthew Petreski, Pine Crest Swimming 30.26; SOFLO: 7. Brandon Moran 33.64; 13-14, 1. Francisco Cantu, Azura 29.07.

200-yard butterfly:

11-12, 1. John Torres, Rockway 2:09.00; SOFLO: 3. Gabriel Segui 2:18.54, 5. Brandon Moran 2:25.30, 8. Sebastian Sierra 2:33.28; 13-14, 1. C.J. Kopecki, SOFLO 1:57.15; SOFLO: 3. Ervin Marin 2:01.71.

100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Max Cope, Gulliver 58.87; SOFLO: 4. Nicolas Rossi 1:00.13; 11-12, 1. Mattheus Santos, Pompano Beach 52.35; 13-14, 1. Philip Marcoux, Swim Fort Lauderdale 48.70; SOFLO: 3. C.J. Kopecki 49.35.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Meet organizers did not post boys and girls team totals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Author: South Florida Aquatic Club - SOFLO Swimming

Welcome to the South Florida Aquatic club, a premier community swim team dedicated to providing opportunity and encouragement to all team members, from the beginner to the seasoned Olympic athlete in their pursuit of excellence. The year-round development program for competitive swimming features life-enhancing qualities including integrity, discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship and health and fitness. We invite you to navigate the club’s portal for information about the team.

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