By Sharon Robb
October 1, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club is among one of the nation’s top USA Swimming club teams.
It’s nothing that SOFLO swimmers, coaches and parents didn’t already know since the club started in 2010, but it is now official after USA Swimming awarded its highest Level 4 status.
The Comets, the original team at Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines before changing its name to SOFLO to encompass all of South Florida, had reached only Level 3 status in its fourteen years of existence.
The Club Recognition Program offers USA Swimming club members a working blueprint for developing strong, stable, financially-sound and athletically productive organizations.
Designed by USA Swimming’s Club Development Committee, comprised mostly of coaches, the voluntary program presents four levels of achievement across four component areas deemed critical to long-term club success.
The program encourages clubs to establish organizational goals and to benchmark their progress toward those goals.
“It’s the highest we have ever been,” SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said. “It’s the last leg and the completion of the recognition program. You can’t get any higher than Level 4. We have risen so quickly.”
It didn’t come automatically.
It was the hard work of swimmers and coaches, parents, volunteers, sponsors and Comets Booster Club that SOFLO was able to reach the pinnacle of age group swimming.
Only two clubs in the Florida Gold Coast have Level 4 status.
SOFLO, which has an 18-member staff including eight coaches, met all Level 4 requirements to help create a “great club” including business and organizational success; parent and volunteer development; coach development and education; and athlete development and education.
SOFLO swimmers and coaches have excelled at every level from the Olympic and world level to age group and sizzler meets. SOFLO has also sent several swimmers to college swim programs at the NCAA Division I, II and III and NAIA levels.
In July, SOFLO added to its amazing run in the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics by sweeping the combined, boys and girls team titles.
It was the second consecutive year the talented swimmers won back-to-back short course and long course titles in the same year. It was also SOFLO’s fifth consecutive JO title and 11th overall.
“It’s definitely been about the building blocks in the club support system,” Anderson said. “Basically, our infrastructure of the club allows us to get to these levels much quicker than normal. It’s also the experience of our staff and head coach.
“I am very excited about it,” Anderson said. “It’s a great reward for what we are doing and the realization that SOFLO is doing things correctly and doing it better than most.
“I still think we can do more,” Anderson said. “This doesn’t mean we stop doing what we are doing because we are Level 4. We need to go into new areas to make the club more efficient.”
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org