By Sharon Robb

March 20, 2014

It’s show time for South Florida Aquatic Club.

Not only will SOFLO enter the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships as defending champions, but will also host the prestigious meet for the first time in the club’s 14-year history in their home pool.

The three-day meet gets underway on Friday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.

Florida Swim Network will live stream the finals on Saturday and Sunday night for the first time at Academic Village Pool.

The meet features 50 teams, 600 athletes, 75 coaches, 40 officials and 40 volunteers.

Nova Southeastern University originally was scheduled to be the host venue for the meet but withdrew its bid to host the three-day meet along with other FGC meets when the Davie Nadadores disbanded last year.

SOFLO will get the chance to defend its 2013 title in its home pool. SOFLO made history last year by sweeping the FGC Junior Olympic and Senior Championships, both short course and long course, in the same year.

SOFLO is coming off its recent FGC Junior Olympics win and hopes to continue the momentum with its older swimmers.

SOFLO has 67 swimmers competing including 38 male and 29 females.

Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 25, heads the SOFLO contingent with not only talent but role model and team leadership. She is seeded first in the 50-yard breaststroke (26.96), 500-yard freestyle (4:54.82), 200-yard breaststroke (2:05.63), 50-yard butterfly, (24.29), 100-yard breaststroke, (57.62) and 200-yard individual medley (1:54.85). Atkinson will also swim relays.

The only other top-seeded SOFLO swimmer is Melissa Marinheiro, 16, seeded first in the 500-yard freestyle, 4:51.13; 50-yard backstroke, 27.39; 50-yard butterfly, 26.18; and 1,650-yard freestyle, 16:51.94.

Other SOFLO swimmers competing are: Lynn University-bound Kaitlin Armstrong, Endi Babi, Xavier Brown, Lilli Calero, Ryan Capote, Brendan Cassie, Jordan Colon, Katherine DeBarros, Mathew Delvalle, Isabella DiSalvo, Nelson Alejandro Diaz, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Star Fassler, Brandon Fratianni, Tyler Gibson, Kathleen Golding, Kylie Herman, Kelley Heron, Victoria Hill, Annita Huang, Amber Hunter, Andrea Iglesia, Olivia Katcher, C.J. Kopecki, Alejandro Lombo, Florida International University-bound Maria Lopez, Juan Lucas, Victoria Lumelski, Ervin Marin, Florida Gulf Coast’s Marcella Marinheiro, Leonardo Mateus, Matthew Menocal, Alfredo Mesa, Vanessa Mesa, Stephanie Mlujeak, Federico Molina, Alex Monti, Bryan Moran, Kry Nichlany, Emely Nunez, Simon Ortiz, Abolade Oyetunji, Ji Hwan Pak, Delanie Perez, Julien Pinon swimming unattached, Kevin Porto, Samuel Quintero, Astrid Rigau, Ricardo Roche, Jennifer Rodriguez, Jessica Rodriguez, Monica Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez swimming unattached, Rafael Rodriguez, Marc Rojas, Cristian Rossi, Teddy Sandoval, Gabriel Segui, Jonathan Strod, Baldwin Suen, Bowie Suen, Carly Swanson, Natasha Testa, Gustavo Valery and Alejandro Zambrano.

The field features a Who’s Who in Florida Gold Coast swimmers including Michigan-bound Emily Kopas, swimming unattached and Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks; Raphael Marcoux and Marco Hosfeld of Swim Fort Lauderdale; Joshua Romany, Nico Medina and Felipe Lima of Azura; Kyla Valls of Miami Swimming, Julio Horrego of Hialeah; Alex Evdokimov of Coral Springs Swim Club and Cody Cline of Wellington.

The 200-yard breaststroke featuring Evdokimov, Alex Morgan of Azura and Marc Rojas of SOFLO should be one of the most entertaining races of the meet.

In addition to SOFLO, other top teams competing are Azura, Metro Aquatics, Swim Fort Lauderdale, St. Andrew’s Swimming and Hialeah.

The meet, hosted by South Florida Aquatic Club, Comets Booster Club and City of Pembroke Pines, will offer visiting swimmers, coaches and parents great hospitality, a social area for swimmers, vendors, meet announcer, covered stands for spectators and ample parking.

IF YOU GO

What: Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

When: Friday-Sunday

Schedule: Friday, prelims 8:30 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Saturday, prelims 8:30 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m. prelims, finals 5 p.m.

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

Webcast: Florida Swim Network will live stream the meet on Saturday and Sunday nights and Swimmer Joe Auer will conduct poolside interviews.

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets per session.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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