By Sharon Robb

November 6, 2014—It’s show time for South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers on high school swimming’s center stage.

After ten weeks of training and competing in high school meets, SOFLO swimmer’s will try and grab a piece of the spotlight at the sport’s pinnacle meet, the Pinch-A-Penny FHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships Friday and Saturday at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart.

The Class 4A competition is Friday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m.

SOFLO has qualified nineteen swimmers for the Class 4A meet.

West Broward High School is sending the largest SOFLO contingent with nine swimmers. They are Brendan Cassie, Melissa Marinheiro, Stephanie Mlujeak, Alex Monti, Bianca Monti, Simon Ortiz, Juan Osorio, Zariya Harris and Whitney Johnson.

Cypress Bay has the second largest group of qualifiers with eight. They are Kylie Herman, Raquel Lugo, Juan Diaz, Carly Swanson, Baldwin Suen, Jonathan Strod, Mathew Delvalle and Meredith Sheldon.

SOFLO teammates Jessica Rodriguez, a sophomore at Hialeah Gardens, will make her second state meet appearance. St. Thomas Aquinas senior Henry Perillo will also compete.

Last year, Melissa Marinheiro was SOFLO’s top 4A finisher, placing third in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:51.13, an All-American automatic time.

“Next year I am going for the gold,” she said after the awards ceremony.

Marinheiro, who has committed to Florida Gulf Coast and will join her older sister Marcella next fall, was also ninth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:52.21.

Marinheiro is seeded 16th in the 500 yard freestyle and 24th in the 200 freestyle among a field of 24 qualifiers in each event.

Jessica Rodriguez, making her state meet debut as a freshman, was 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke and is coming off an outstanding sophomore season.

Rodriguez is seeded second in the 100-yard breaststroke and ninth in the 200 individual medley.

In the 4A team competition, Sarasota Riverview won the girls team title with 209 points. St. Thomas Aquinas, led by the 1-2 finish of its divers was the top local finisher placing fifth with 134.5 points.

Palm Harbor University won the boys team title with 276 points. Defending champion Boca Raton was third with 173.5 points and St. Thomas boys were 16th with 61 points.

Boca Raton is among boys team favorites to finish among the top three. The Bobcats qualified 40 boys and girls swimmers.

In the Class 3A competition on Saturday, SOFLO will also be represented by nineteen swimmers.

Pembroke Pines Charter, coached by SOFLO veteran age group coach Rose Lockie, leads the charge with thirteen swimmers. They are Bruno Berti, Lilli Calero, Ryan Capote, Katherine De Barros, Juan Lucas, Kelley Heron, Victoria Hill, Tyler Gibson, Brandon Fratianni, Matthew Menocal, Leysha Caraballo, Alisa Huang and Monica Rodriguez.

Mater Academy has the next largest SOFLO contingent with four. They are Jordan Colon, making his final state meet appearance; Alfredo Mesa, Vanessa Mesa and Liz Travieso.

SOFLO teammates Delanie Perez, a freshman at Barbara Goleman High School and Brian Moran of Hialeah Miami Lakes.

Miami Belen Jesuit will go after its eighth boys state title including its second consecutive in its new 3A classification and third consecutive overall.

Last year’s boys title came down to the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay where Bolko De Pawlikowski anchored the winning relay to clinch the title. Belen Jesuit won by nine points with 249 points ahead of Gainesville with 240 and Venice with 165.

Tallahassee Chiles won the girls team title with 250 points. Fort Lauderdale was 15th with 53 points.

IF YOU GO

STATE 4A

What: Pinch-A-Penny FHSAA State 4A Swimming and Diving Meet

When: Friday, 9 a.m. prelims, 5:30 p.m. finals

Where: Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center, 931 S.E. Ruhnke St., Stuart.

Admission: $9 per session, parking $5.

STATE 3A

What: Pinch-A-Penny FHSAA State 3A Swimming and Diving Meet.

When: Saturday, 9 a.m., 5:30 p.m. finals

Where: Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center, 931 S.E. Ruhnke St., Stuart.

Admission: $9 per session, parking $5.

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

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