SOFLO’s Rafael Rodriguez Wins Open Water Age Group Title

SOFLO’s Rafael Rodriguez Wins Open Water Age Group Title

By Sharon Robb

April 13, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers played a big role in Florida Gold Coast’s success at the LSC Open Water Challenge.

The SOFLO contingent was part of the Florida Gold Coast All-Star Team that competed against Florida Swimming in the Open Water All-Star Challenge Cup in Miromar Lakes on Sunday.

Rafael Rodriguez, 12, of SOFLO won the 11-12 2.5K open water title in 32 minutes, 43.80 seconds.

Teammates Leonardo Mateus, 12, was second in 33:28.60 and Gabriel Segui, 12, was fourth in 33:54.00.

Vanessa Mesa, 12, was the top SOFLO girls’ finisher placing second in 34:47.90.

Annita Huang, 12, was 11th in 39:13.70.

In the 5K event, Kevin Porto was third in 1:04:13 and C.J. Kopecki was fourth in 1:05:07.60.

On Saturday, USA Swimming National Team members Alex Meyer of Ithaca, N.Y., and Ashley Twichell of Fayetteville, N.Y., topped a field of more than 50 American and international open water swimmers to win the inaugural Crippen Cup 10K Open Water Invitational titles.

Meyer, a 2012 Olympian, won the men’s race in 1:52:47.39, more than 30 seconds ahead of the field. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Richard Weinberger of Canada was second in 1:53:22.60, followed by Germany’s Andreas Waschburger in third with a time of 1:53:30.77.

In the women’s race, Twichell led a U.S. sweep of the top three spots in 2:04:23.65 to edge U.S. teammates Christine Jennings (2:04:24.11) of Longmont, Colo., and Emily Brunemann (2:04:24.53) of Crescent Springs, Ky.

The inaugural Crippen Cup included swimmers from Brazil, Canada, Germany and the U.S. with a $10,000 prize purse split among the top four male and female finishers.

The Crippen Cup honors U.S. open water standout Fran Crippen, who died during a 2010 FINA Open Water 10K World Cup event in United Arab Emirates.

The Crippen family was on hand for the event, and the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation hosted an open water camp in conjunction with the festival.


All-Star Open Water Challenge

COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. Florida Swimming 100, 2. Florida Gold Coast 55, 3. Gulf Local Swimming Committee 34, 4. South Texas All-Stars 33.

GIRLS TEAM TOTALS: 1. Florida Swimming 51, 2. tie, Florida Gold Coast, South Texas All-Stars, Gulf LSC 20.

BOYS TEAM TOTALS: 1. Florida Swimming 49, 2. Florida Gold Coast 35, 3. Gulf LSC 14, 4. South Texas All-Stars 13.

GIRLS: 11-12, 2.5K, 2. Vanessa Mesa 34:47, 11. Annita Huang 39:13.

BOYS: 11-12, 2.5K, 1. Rafael Rodriguez 32:43, 2. Leonardo Mateus 33:28, 4. Gabriel Segui 33:54; 13-14, 5K, 3. Kevin Porto 1:04:13.70, 4. C.J. Kopecki 1:05:07.60.

Sharon Robb can be reached at