By Sharon Robb

November 18, 2014— South Florida Aquatic Club will be among a record 1,382 swimmers and 75 teams at the 24th annual Florida Gold Coast Speedo Winter Swimming Championships that begin Thursday at the Plantation Aquatic Complex.

It is the state’s largest age group meet and one of the nation’s largest LSC meets. The previous record was set in 2012 with 1,355 swimmers and 71 teams.

SOFLO will be well-represented in its last major age group meet of the year with 87 swimmers in 494 individual events and 32 relays.

Several of SOFLO’s swimmers are coming off the high school season that ended last week at the state meets. Among them are Lilli Calero, Ryan Capote, Jordan Colon, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Kylie Herman, Kelley Heron, CJ Kopecki, Juan Lucas, Ervin Marin, Melissa Marinheiro, Alfredo Mesa, Kevin Porto, Ricardo Roche, Matthew Menocal, Stephanie Mlujeak, Jessica Rodriguez, Carly Swanson and Jonathan Strod.

SOFLO’s three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica is also entered in five events, a final racing tuneup for next month’s World Short Course Championships in Doha.

Atkinson is seeded first in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:05.63), 100-yard individual medley (55.85), 100-yard breaststroke (57.29), 50-yard breaststroke (26.96), 50-yard butterfly (23.95).

Jamaican Timothy Wynter, 18, who is training with SOFLO, will compete in twelve events. Wynter is seeded first in the 50-yard backstroke (22.97)

Other SOFLO swimmers competing are: Sarah Acevedo, Andres Arias, Michael Arias, Sophia Bedoya, Bruno Berti, Valentina Carrion, Brendan Cassie, Kyana Castro, Alexandra Crespo, Kayla Cunningham, Katherine De Barros, Mark Andre De gracia, Katrina Del Vecchio, Isabella Di Salvo, Juan Diaz, Star Fassler, Eiza Adriel Gantus, Hailey Garbez, Tyler Gibson, Alex Golding, Kathleen Golding, Molly Golding, Sally Golding, John Paul Handal, Zackary Harris, Zariya Harris, Annita Huang, Daniell Vasiliya Hughes, Madison Hope Johnson, Elise Larin, Jie Hoon Lee, Jena Legaspi, Rebekah Ling, Jacqueline Lugo, Raquel Lugo, Celenia Lumelski, Michelle Marinheiro, Alejandro Mateus, Leonardo Mateus, Vanessa Mesa, Brandon Moran, Juan Osorio, Sabrina Osorio, Sofia Osorio, Abby Oyetunji, Erika Pelaez, Delanie Perez, Karen Perez, Samuel Quintero, Sara Quintero, Jennifer Rodriguez, Rafael Rodriguez, Nicolas Rossi, Teddy Sandoval, Gabriel Segui, Marianna Serrao, Sebastian Elias Sevilla, Isabel Shashaty, Lauren Siegman, Sebastian Sierra, Randy Smith, Natasha Testa, Derek Tom, Gustavo Valery, Valerie Vank, Anabel Vazquez, Marcos Vazquez and Kellie Wilcox.

SOFLO’s Melissa Marinheiro, 17, will open the competition on Thursday in the open 1,000-yard freestyle. She is the top seed in 10:11.31. Marinheiro is also seeded first in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:51.13.

Teammate CJ Kopecki, 15, is seeded first in the 15-16 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:59.67. Kopecki is coming off the State 2A championships which his high school team, American Heritage, won for the second consecutive year.

Kopecki is also seeded first in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:56.92 and 500-yard freestyle in 4:41.92.

SOFLO and high school teammate Julien Pinon is competing overseas in the French Nationals and not competing in the Winter Championships.

SOFLO’s Kevin Porto, 14, is top seed in the 13-14 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:14.85 and 1,650-yard freestyle in 16:46.60.

Other top seeds for SOFLO are:

Ervin Marin, 15, 400-yard individual medley, 4:11.95.

Kathleen Golding, 14, 400-yard individual medley, 4:21.14; 500-yard freestyle, 4:55.09; 200-yard freestyle, 1:51.06; 100-yard breaststroke 1:07.16; 200-yard individual medley, 2:04.55; 100-yard freestyle, 51.73.

Leonardo Mateus, 12, 400-yard individual medley, 4:34.59; 500-yard freestyle, 5:10.02; 200-yard freestyle, 1:58.10; 100-yard backstroke, 1:03.44.

Vanessa Mesa, 12, 50-yard freestyle, 25.66; 500-yard freestyle, 5:19.69; 200-yard freestyle, 2:00.30; 100-yard freestyle, 55.37.

Rafael Rodriguez, 12, 200-yard backstroke, 2:02.68; 200-yard breaststroke, 2:20.77; 100-yard butterfly, 56.67; 200-yard individual medley 2:04.74; 50-yard butterfly, 25.78; 1,650-yard freestyle, 16:26.95.

Jessica Rodriguez, 15, 200-yard breaststroke, 2:19.68; 100-yard breaststroke, 1:04.93.

The field features most of the Florida Gold Coast teams including Pine Crest, Heritage Aquatics, Azura, Wellington, St. Andrew’s, Miami-Dade, Miami Swimming, Hialeah and Jupiter.

Florida Swim Network will broadcast the finals live on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


What: 24th annual Florida Gold Coast Speedo Winter Swimming Championships

When: Thursday-Sunday

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second St.

Schedule: THURSDAY—Session 1, 5-8:05 p.m.; Session 2, 5-7:55 p.m.; FRIDAY—Session 3, 8:30 a.m.-11:06 a.m.; Session 4, 8:30 a.m.-2:11 p.m.; Session 5, 12:30-1:44 p.m.; Session 6, 5-7:44 p.m.; SATURDAY—Session 7, 8:30-11:19 a.m.; Session 8, 8:30 a.m.-1:05 p.m.; Session 9, 12:30-2:44 p.m.; Session 10, 5-7:34 p.m.; SUNDAY— Session 12, 8:30 a.m.-12:12 p.m.; Session 13, 12:30-5:27 p.m.; Session 14, 12:30-1:38 p.m.; Session 15, 5-6:39 p.m.

Live Streaming: Florida Swim Network will broadcast the finals live on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets per session. For more information go to

Sharon Robb can be reached at