SOFLO Distance, IMR-IMX Challenge Open Begins Busy Weekend Of Swim Meets

By Sharon Robb

September 24, 2015—Several top Florida Gold Coast swimmers will compete over the next three days at the SOFLO Distance, IMR-IMX Challenge Open Invite.

Nearly 400 swimmers will compete at Academic Village Pool. Not only will they get some much-need racing in but will also get a chance to see how they stack up against the rest of the nation’s age group swimmers.

Among the field are: SOFLO’s and TYR Swimmer of the Month Kathleen Golding, Julien Pinon, CJ Kopecki, Kelley Heron, Ervin Marin and Annita Huang; Fernando Alatorre, Marcelo Acosta, Marco Guarente, Elaid Fraiman, Racine Ross, Andrea Van Den Berg of Azura Florida Aquatics; Kelly Harrington and Matt Taddonio of Boca Raton Swim Team; Nicolas Oberndorfer, Isabella Acosta and Jake Wienants of Gulliver Swim Club; Kelly Gest, Victoria Miyamoto and Tyler Zuyus of Pompano Beach Piranhas; Bryan Rivero and Victor Valdes of Hialeah Swim Club; Allison and Amanda Kopas of Swim Fort Lauderdale and Allora Williams of SwimFast.

The up-and-coming swimmers will compete in the IMR (Ready) Challenge. All sessions are timed finals.

The USA Swimming-sanctioned meet is a fun, motivational meet to help young swimmers reach the next level in their swimming careers.

The IMR Challenge allows swimmers to see how they compare to other swimmers around the nation in their age group. Swimmers must compete in all the events required for their age group to establish a score.

Once a swimmer competes in each IM Ready event at least once in an official meet, swimmers and parents can check their rankings on USA Swimming’s website.

The IMX (Xtreme) Challenge is the next step-up from the IMR competition. It includes a series of five or six events. Once swimmers complete the IMX program they can also see where their score ranks nationally, among their local LSC and own swim club.

Friday’s distance events are 500- and 1000-yard freestyle and 400 IM will be held.

The 10-and-under IMR events are 100 IM, 100 free, 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke and 50 butterfly; the IMX events are 200 IM, 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly.

The 11-12 IMX events are 200 IM, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly.

The IMX 13-and-over events are 200 IM, 400 IM, 500 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 butterfly.

It will be a busy weekend of swimming in South Florida much to the delight of coaches whose workouts have been plagued by rain and lightning the past few weeks.

On Friday, Pine Crest hosts an 8&Under Sizzler; North Miami will host the Open Invite Saturday and Sunday at Miami Dade-North.

FSPA will host the developmental and high school invitational Friday and Saturday at the Sailfish Splash Water Park in Stuart, site of the state high school meets in November.


What: SOFLO Distance, IMR-IMX Challenge Open Invite

When: Friday, Friday Distance, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, IMX/IMR Challenge, 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Where: Academic Village Pool, 17191 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines

Of note: Nine teams are entered including Azura Florida Aquatics, Boca Raton Swim Team, Gulliver Swim Club, Hammerhead Aquatics, Hialeah Swim Club, Pompano Beach Piranhas, SOFLO, Swim Fort Lauderdale and SwimFast.

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets per session. For information call 954-538-3721.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson, Colorado Head Field For FINA/Airweave World Cup Opener In Hong Kong

By Sharon Robb

September 23, 2015—With more star swimmers entering the upcoming cluster of the FINA/Airweave World Cup, competition will be tougher when competition resumes on Friday in Hong Kong.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson and Carolina Colorado head the Florida contingent. Atkinson, a three-time Jamaican Olympian and Colorado, a two-time Colombian Olympian, will compete in their specialty events.

SOFLO coach Chris Anderson stressed his swimmers are training through all the meets from his PROFLO swimmers to Florida Gold Coast club swimmers.

The second cluster of the 2015 FINA/Airweave World Cup is Sept. 25-26 in Hong Kong, Sept. 29-30 in Beijing and Oct. 3-4 in Singapore where Atkinson, Colorado and Anderson will remain to participate in an Oct. 5-10 training camp with Swimming Singapore national team high performance coach and former Bolles coach Sergio Lopez.

Atkinson has been riding a wave of success since she tied the world short course record and won a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Atkinson is ranked fourth in the world in her signature event in 1:06.21. She won a silver and bronze in the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke events respectively at the world championships.

Olympian Missy Franklin and Aussie world champions Emily Seebohm and Bronte Campbell will add to the already strong women’s field led by Hungary’s Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu.

Colorado is working her way back after illness and has been training well with the SOPRO group. She will be tested in the backstroke with Hosszu and Franklin.

The men’s field will feature Frenchman Olympic gold medalist Florent Manaudou and Cameron Van Der Burgh of South Africa.

Most of the swimmers are coming off the FINA World Long Course Championships in Kazan, Russia.

The full eight-leg World Cup is being held in long course leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Several international swimmers are trying to get Olympic qualifying times.

Sharon Robb can be reached at