By Sharon Robb
December 26, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club has been awarded USA Swimming’s Bronze Medal Club Excellence Award for 2015.
The focus of the USA Swimming voluntary program is to identify and reward up to 200 USA Swimming-sanctioned clubs that have attained a high level of athlete performance.
The program strives to meet the following initiatives:
*Promote the development of strong, well-rounded age group and senior swimming programs that produce elite 18-and-under athletes.
*Provide recognition and resources to motivate and assist member clubs to strive for the highest ideals of athlete performances.
SOFLO has been a Bronze Medal club three of the last four years (2012, 2013).
SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson praised his coaching staff for the club’s progress through the years.
“After fifteen years, SOFLO has created an infrastructure with its coaches and staff that cultivates a high level of continuing excellence,” Anderson said.
“It’s always nice for our staff to receive this prestigious award just before the year-end.”
The excellence award program is divided into gold, silver and bronze divisions.
Nation’s Capital Swim Club, led by Katie Ledecky and Andrew Seliskar, is the top-ranked gold medal team with 52,942 points followed by last year’s top-ranked team SwimMAC Carolina with 40,540 points.
Florida has three teams ranked. Bolles Sharks are ranked tenth with 21,203; Sarasota YMCA Sharks are 13th with 20,102; and Gator Swim Club is 20th with 14,009.
It was the first time Gator Swim Club achieved Gold Medal level for the first time this year.
Florida teams achieving silver medal status were St. Petersburg Aquatics (10,624), St. Andrew’s Swimming (8,953), Tampa Bay Aquatics (6,546), Highlander Aquatics (6,121), Swim Fort Lauderdale (5,236) and Pine Crest Swimming (5,178).
Joining SOFLO (3,068) on the bronze medal list are Swim Florida (4,701), Palm Harbor YMCA Piranhas (3,621), AquaKids Sharks (3,215), Metro Aquatic Club of Miami (2,975) and Blue Wave Swimming (2,249)
SOFLO, the largest team in the Florida Gold Coast, is coming off another outstanding year.
For two consecutive years SOFLO has won back-to-back short course and long course Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics team titles in the same year. SOFLO has won five consecutive JO titles and eleven overall.
SOFLO has several Florida Gold Coast record holders including Rafael Rodriguez and recently its three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica broke a world short course record and won her first gold medal at the World Championships.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com