By Sharon Robb
March 5, 2015—Four-time defending champion South Florida Aquatic Club heads the field for the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Short Course Junior Olympics that begin Friday at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.
Last year SOFLO dominated the three-day meet at the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions, winning with 1,165.50 points and hopes to repeat.
SOFLO was the only team to break the 1,000-point barrier. Its closest rival was Metro Aquatics, runner-up with 617.50 points.
SOFLO relied on its depth over the three-day competition.
“It’s a lot more difficult to duplicate when people are gunning for us,” SOFLO coach Chris Anderson said. “Our coaches and swimmers still find a way to rise to the challenge.”
Florida Swim Network, the only major network and website that covers swimming year-round, will live stream the finals each night.
SOFLO, the largest club in the Florida Gold Coast, has qualified 67 swimmers including 40 girls and 27 boys. SOFLO will have 38 relays competing in 22 relay events.
SOFLO’s qualifiers are: Alana Acevedo, Sarah Acevedo, Michael Arias, Daniela Barreto, Kaitlyn Barrios, Sophia Bedoya, Samuel Bullen, Valentina Carrion, Kyana Castro, Alexandra Crespo, Kayla Cunningham, Kerry Ann Cunningham, Daniela Curbelo, Katherine DeBarros, Katrina Del Vecchio, Isabella DiSalvo, Mia Escudero, Eiza Gantus, Hailey Garbez, Nathaniel Garrick, Alex Golding, Kathleen Golding, Molly Golding, Sally Golding, Logan Gonzalez, John Paul Handal, Zackary Harris, Tyler Hering, Noah Hew, Annita Huang, Madison Johnson, Isabella Jurado, Elise Larin, Jie Hoon Lee, Jena Legaspi, Rebekah Ling, Jacqueline Lugo, Michelle Marinheiro, Alejandro Mateus, Leonardo Mateus, Vanessa Mesa, Brandon Moran, Emiliana Munoz, Nicolas Munoz, Farouk Musa, Sebastian Navarro, Jacob Oram, Michelle Ordonez, Sabrina Osorio, Sofia Osorio, Erika Pelaez, Delanie Perez, Sam Quintero, Sara Quintero, Jennifer Rodriguez, Rafael Rodriguez, Nicolas Rossi, Gabriel Segui, Marianna Serrao, Sebastian Sevilla, Isabel Shashaty, Sebastian Sierra,Christian Tijero, Emma Twombly, Valerie Vank, Anabel Vazquez, Marcos Vazquez, Kellie Wilcox and Aldo Zepeda.
Metro Aquatics, Azura Florida Aquatics, Pine Crest Swimming, St. Andrew’s Swimming, Gulliver, Hialeah, Plantation and host Coral Springs Swim Club are also among top teams in the field.
With such a fast field of swimmers, FGC age group records are expected to fall. Among FGC record holders competing are Victor Valdes of Hialeah, Josh Zuchowski of East Coast, Jessica Nava of Pine Crest Swimming and Rafael Rodriguez of SOFLO.
Among SOFLO’s top seeds are Erika Pelaez, 8; Vanessa Mesa, 12; Jie Hoon Lee, 12; Molly Golding, 11; Nicolas Rossi, 11; Kyana Castro, 12; and Rafael Rodriguez, 13.
“I’m excited about JOS, I have been waiting all year,” said SOFLO swimmer Zackary Harris, 10, the Nike February Swimmer of the Month. He is entered in seven 10-and-under events.
Other No. 1 seeds from around the Florida Gold Coast are: Mattie Barfield, 12, FLA Aquatics; Joshua Balbi, 12, Wellington Wahoos; Jessica Nava, 14, Pine Crest Swimming; Aiton Fungairino, 14, Metro Aquatics; Isabel Chambers, 10, Plantation Swim Team; Matthew Tarafa, 10, Hialeah; David Montana, 12, Metro Aquatics; Adrian Aguilar, 14, Metro Aquatics; Josh Zuchowski, 10, East Coast; Victor Valdes, 11, Hialeah; Margaret Miao, AquaKids Sharks; Hannah Virgin, 14, Coral Springs Swim Club; Izaak Bastian, St. Andrew’s Swimming; Kaii Winkler, 8, FLA; Nicole Aguilar, 10, Wellington Wahoos; Jocelyn Ruiz, 12, Blue Marlins; Kevin Fanjul, 12, Blue Marlins; Gabrianna Baks, 12, Heritage Aquatics; Alessandra Baldari, 14, North Palm Beach; Andres Wong, 12, Metro Aquatics; David Montana, 12, Metro Aquatics; Rebecca Montero, 10, AquaKids Sharks; Sebastian Lares, 10, Azura; Mary Smutny, 14, AquaKids Sharks; Liah Perez, 10, Wellington Wahoos; Nico Ferrara, 14, Coral Springs Swim Club; Michelle Fernandez, 9, Hialeah; Madelyn Hebert, 11, East Coast; Andres Wong, 12, Metro Aquatics; Tyler Zuyus, 14, Pompano Beach Piranhas; Annabella Lyn, 14, Pine Crest Swimming; Cecily Bowe, 12, Azura; Hailey Jerew, 14, AquaKids Sharks; Brayan Perez, 14, Blue Marlins and Cameron Thomas, 13, of SwimFast.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Short Course Championships
SCHEDULE: Friday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Saturday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.
WHERE: Coral Springs Aquatic Complex Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions, 12441 Royal Palm Blvd.
ADMISSION: $3 per session, $3 heat sheet per session.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com