SOFLO Relay Wins On Day Two Of Speedo Champions Series At Plantation Aquatic Complex

By Sharon Robb

March 13, 2015—With a strong anchor leg from Kelley Heron, South Florida Aquatic Club won the women’s 800-meter freestyle relay Friday night at the Speedo Sectional Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

The relay won in 8:35.30 with Melissa Marinheiro, Kathleen Golding, Alia Atkinson and Heron at the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships.

After two days with a record 41 swimmers entered, SOFLO is fourth with 362 points, its highest placing at a sectional meet in team history.

SOFLO’s women’s team is second with 236 points and men’s team is fifth with 126.

“We had a lot of fun, the kids swam well tonight,” SOFLO coach Chris Anderson said.

Anderson was most impressed with the camaraderie between SOFLO’s older and younger swimmers.

“I am really enjoying how the older kids are supporting the younger kids, and younger kids are supporting each other,” Anderson said. “It’s a really well-oiled team right now and looks good. It wasn’t just an individual who stood out, it was the team that stood out in my mind.”

Among some of SOFLO’s top performers were:

SOFLO’s world record holder and three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson was second in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:03.24. She was also second in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:00.61.

Kathleen Golding won the consolation final of the 200-meter freestyle in 2:06.36. At 14, Golding is one of the youngest swimmers in the field. Melissa Marinheiro, 17, was third in the consolation final and 11th overall in 2:07.27. Kelley Heron was second in the “D” final in 2:11.01

In the 100-meter breaststroke, SOFLO’s Valentina Artemeva was third in 1:11.70 and teammate Lisa Blackburn, at 43, the oldest swimmer in the meet, was fourth in 1:13.57 in the championship final. Jessica Rodriguez, 16, was eighth in the consolation final in 1:17.99 after going 1:16.06 in prelims.

Golding was fourth in the 400-meter individual medley in 5:03.51.

Heron, 15, was seventh in the 50-meter backstroke final in 32.40.

CJ Kopecki, 15, was fourth in the “D” final of the 200-meter freestyle in 2:00.08 and came back to win the bonus final in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:47.50.

Marc Rojas, 21, was second in the consolation final of the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:07.15.

Julien Pinon, 16, swimming unattached because of his commitment to the French junior national team, won the bonus final of the 50-meter backstroke in 29.70. Esteban Diaz- Velasco, 15, (30.66) and Alfredo Mesa, 16, (30.73) were fourth and fifth respectively.

“Our young athletes are going best times at night after coming back from attacking the morning,” Anderson said. “It’s a great tribute to what we are trying to do due to the fact we are not totally rested. We are having fun and racing.

“Tonight, by far, was SOFLO’s best Speedo Championships day or night,” Anderson said. “I am happy with the older kids. They are working so hard and swimming fast twice, attacking the morning and coming back at night.”

Another impressive win was Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue, 26, in the 100-meter butterfly. The Western Kentucky graduate won her signature event in 59.90. She was the only swimmer under 1 minute.

Donahue is currently training with SOFLO in Pembroke Pines. Her training partners, Alia Atkinson (1:00.61) and Carolina Colorado (1:01.99) finished second and third.

“Claire is excited with the work she is putting in consistently in long course,” SOFLO coach Chris Anderson said. “She is starting to feel a lot better as far as consistency in training. She had a nice smile on her face after a wonderful fly. It was a nice confidence-booster.”

Saturday’s events are 100-meter backstroke, 50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly, 200-meter individual medley, 50-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relay.

A capacity field of 650 swimmers from 60 teams are competing in the four-day meet.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. Azura Florida Aquatics 446, 2. Seacoast 383, 3. Phoenix Swimming 372, 4. South Florida Aquatic Club 362, 5. Bluefish 319, 6. Blue Dolfins 275, 7. Gator Swim Club 219, 8. Greater Holyhoke YMCA 114, 9. North Shore 113, 10. Exeter 99.

WOMEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Seacoast 261, 2. SOFLO 236, 3. Phoenix 153.50, 4. Bluefish 141, 5. Gator Swim Club 105.

MEN TEAM TOTALS: 1. Azura 361, 2. Phoenix 218, 3. Bluefish 178, 4. Blue Dolfins 170, 5. SOFLO 126.


200-meter freestyle: 1. Andreina Pinto, Gator Swim Club 2:01.78, 2. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 2:03.24, 3. Erin Voxx, Holyhoke 2:05.25; SOFLO: 9. Kathleen Golding, 2:06.36; 11. Melissa Marinheiro, 2:07.27.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Hilda Luthersdottir, Gator Swim Club 1:08.15, 2. Martha McCabe, Unattached PC 1:09.87, 3. Valentina Artemeva, SOFLO 1:11.70; SOFLO: 4. Lisa Blackburn, 1:13.57, 16. Jessica Rodriguez, 1:17.99.

50-meter backstroke: 1. Sviatlana Khakhlova, Club Seminole 29.35, 2. Carolina Colorado, Unattached-SOFLO 29.50, 3. Kyra Sarazen, Seacoast 30.91; SOFLO: 7. Kelley Heron, 32.40.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Claire Donahue, Unattached-Western Kentucky 59.90, 2. Alia Atkinson, SOFLO 1:00.61, 3. Carolina Colorado, Unattached-SOFLO 1:01.99.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Andreina Pinto, GSC 4:51.25, 2. Erin Voss, Holyhoke 4:51.62, 3. Emma Whall, Seacoast 5:01.89; SOFLO: 4. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 5:03.51.

800-meter freestyle relay: 1. SOFLO “A” 8:35.30 (Melissa Marinheiro, Kathleen Golding, Alia Atkinson, Kelley Heron), 2. Gator Swim Club 8:37.25, 3. Seacoast 8:44.51; 17. SOFLO “B” 9:16.02 (Kylie Herman, Abolade Oyetunji, Lilli Calero, Jessica Rodriguez).


200-meter freestyle: 1. Daniele Tirabassi, Club Seminoles 1:52.18, 2. Mateo De Angulo, Club Seminole 1:52.52, 3. Julio Galofre, Unattached 1:53.90; SOFLO: 28. CJ Kopecki, 2:00.08.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Felipe Lima, Auburn Aquatics 1:01.70, 2. Jorge Murillo Valdes, Unattached SOFLO 1:02.64, 3. Marco Guarente, Azura 1:05.19; SOFLO: 10. Marc Rojas, 1:07.15.

50-meter backstroke: 1. Kellen Gray, Exeter 27.73, 2. Mathew England, Seacoast 28.11, 3. Fernando Alatorre, Azura 28.75; SOFLO: 17. Julien Pinon, Unattached 29.70, 20. Esteban Diaz-Velasco, 30.66, 21. Alfredo Mesa, 30.73.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Pawel Korzeniowski, Poland 52.77,2. Pavel Sankovich, Club Seminole 52.78, 3. Albert Subirats, Auburn Aquatics 54.11; SOFLO: 13. Julien Pinon, Unattached 57.55.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Maxwell Miranda, ABF 4:29.33, 2. Nicholas D’Innocenzo, GSC 4:30.42, 3. John Fulginiti, BD 4:35.87; SOFLO: 17. CJ Kopecki, 4:47.50, 20. Rafael Rodriguez, 4:54.33.

800-meter freestyle relay: 1. Azura Florida Aquatics 7:51.61 (Carlos Herrera, Mateo Gonzalez, Fernando Alatorre, Franco Lupoli), 2. Blue Dolfins 8:02.03, 3. Seacoast 8:05.18, 6. SOFLO “A” 8:07.96 (Timothy Wynter, Marc Rojas, CJ Kopecki, Ervin Marin), 12. SOFLO “B” 8:20.18 (Ryan Capote, Rafael Rodriguez, Jordan Colon, Juan Lucas).


What: Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships

When: Today-Sunday

Schedule: Saturday, 9 a.m. prelims, finals 5 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second St., Plantation.

Admission: $3 per person, heat sheets $3 per session. For information call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


Author: South Florida Aquatic Club - SOFLO Swimming

Welcome to the South Florida Aquatic club, a premier community swim team dedicated to providing opportunity and encouragement to all team members, from the beginner to the seasoned Olympic athlete in their pursuit of excellence. The year-round development program for competitive swimming features life-enhancing qualities including integrity, discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship and health and fitness. We invite you to navigate the club’s portal for information about the team.

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