By Sharon Robb

Jacqueline Lugo of South Florida Aquatic Club is the Nike Swimmer of the Month for November.

Lugo, 12, a seventh grader at Palm Cove Middle School, started swimming a year and a half ago. Since then she has made remarkable progress.

She joined SOFLO in June 2013 and started working with Coach George. After the Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympics she joined Coach Rose’s group.

“I wanted to get active in a sport,” Lugo said. “I always liked being in the pool and stuff. It was a fun way to get active. I like competing and meeting new friends when I’m at swim meets.

“I’ve made good friends at SOFLO. They push me in practice. If they didn’t push me I wouldn’t do as well as I want to.”

Lugo had a great month of training and competing. At the Winter Championships, she was a member of two winning relays and nine time drops in seven events during prelims and finals. She totaled 29 points in high point awards.

“I just listen to my coach and do what she says,” Lugo said. “I take her pointers. I’m working on my butterfly and I really like freestyle.’

Lugo was happiest with her 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle on the last day of the meet.

“I was really happy with those two swims,” Lugo said. “I dropped in finals more from prelims. I had a better attitude in finals. Coach Rose told me to have fun.

“My freestyle times improved and I was happy with that. I trained for that meet very hard.”

Lugo has seen how swimming carries over into her every day life in school and when she is taking her singing lessons.

“In swimming I listen to Coach Rose and in school I listen to my teachers and I am more focused in class,” she said. “Swimming has helped my breathing for singing. It helps me get a better breath when I sing and I can sing more without having to breathe again.”

When she doesn’t have swim meets, Lugo is singing on the weekends. She has performed during a parade, talent show and recital.

Lugo is back in the pool working hard toward her next JOs. She would also like to make all-stars.

“I am gearing up for the new year and training hard for future meets,” Lugo said.

Lugo joins other SOFLO Swimmers of the Month sisters Kathleen and Molly Golding for January, Sebastian Sierra for February, Jessica Rodriguez for March, Leonardo Mateus for April, Rafael Rodriguez for May, Valentina Carrion for June, Erika Pelaez for July, Isabella Di Salvo for August, Kellie Wilcox for September and Sara Quintero for November.

The Nike Swimmer of the Month award, chosen by the SOFLO coaching staff, is awarded each month to the swimmer who excels at both swim meets and practice sessions.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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