By Sharon Robb
October 8, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jessica Rodriguez of Hialeah Gardens came up big at the GMAC Swimming and Diving Championship Thursday at Miami-Dade North Aquatic Center.
The high school junior won the 200-yard individual medley 2:12.66, nearly three seconds ahead of her closest rival. She also defended her title in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:08.04.
“Winning wasn’t so much a concern for me, I just really wanted to see how well I could do without being shaved and tapered,” Rodriguez said. “I am really happy about the 200 IM. “Everything is going well,” Rodriguez said. “I am looking forward to districts, regions and states and hoping for a first at states.”
TERRA Environmental Research Institute, after finishing eighth last year, stunned the field to capture the program’s first girls team title.
Trailing Coral Reef by 22 points during the meet, Terra’s 11-member team rallied to win with 306.5 points. The eight-year-old public school was the only team to crack 300 points.
Defending co-champion Coral Reef was second with 291 and Palmetto was third with 241. Coral Gables, the other defending co-champion, was fifth with 208 points.
TERRA girls swim coach Katrina Nunez spent most of the meet keeping a running score while coach Marly Zea kept the swimmers motivated in the pool.
“Meet Mobile wasn’t scoring the meet event by event. I didn’t know what the point totals were so I sat there for the whole meet calculating and keeping score,” Nunez said. “The girls kept running back and forth to me.”
TERRA picked up three huge relay wins in the 200-yard medley relay in 2:00.67 with sisters Stephanie Rodriguez, Caroline Rodriguez, Julianna Talamo and Cristina Vale; 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:47.54 with two pairs of sisters, Caroline Rodriguez and Sophia Rodriguez, and Julia Talamo and Julianna Talamo; and 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:50.34 with Julianna and Julia Talamo and Sofia and Stephanie Rodriguez.
Freshman Julianna Talamo also won two individual events. She won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:59.67 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:17.73.
Junior Julia Talamo, a two-time state qualifier called “the backbone of the team” by Nunez, was second in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:02.06. Freshman Stephanie Rodriguez was second in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:05.76.
“I really did expect our team to win, I had a good feeling,” said Nunez, a fifth-year coach. “We had a very strong incoming freshman class and our swimmers we had in the past really improved their times.
“The girls were really pumped to swim today,” Nunez said. “They wanted to do well and prove themselves.”
A handful of swimmers train with club teams Metro Aquatics, Big Gator and Atlantis.
“I am super, super happy for them,” Nunez said. “The girls are so excited. The bus driver was even happy. They were all singing on the bus home.
“This will get them psyched for districts. We have won the last two years but it is going to be tough since Doral has moved into our district. We’re going to try and defend again.”
Lilayali Garcia of Miami Palmetto also won two events in the 100-yard freestyle in 56.25 and 100-yard backstroke in 1:03.88.
Hailey Jerew of Cutler Bay won her school’s first GMAC title in any sport winning the 50-yard freestyle in 25.12.
Miami Beach, fourth last season, topped a field of 24 teams to win the boys team title with 248 points. Ferguson was runner-up with 237 and defending champion Columbus was third with 231.
Miami Beach won the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays and Julius Petzold won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.93.
Brandon Vives of Miami Columbus was the only boys double winner. Vives won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:57.94 and 100-yard breaststroke in 1:01.30.
GIRLS TEAM TOTALS
1.TERRA 306.5, 2. Coral Reef 291, 3. Palmetto 241.
200-yard medley relay: 1. TERRA (Stephanie Rodriguez, Caroline Rodriguez, Julianna Talamo, Cristina Vale) 2:00.67, 2. Palmetto 2:01.59, 3. Coral Reef 2:01.66.
200-yard freestyle: 1. Julianna Talamo, TERR 1:59.67, 2. Maria Perez, HML 2:02.50, 3. Penelope Roca, MAST 2:05.02.
200-yard individual medley: 1. Jessica Rodriguez, HG 2:12.66, 2. Cloe Bedard-Khalid, COR 2:15.22, 3. Lliza Aguilar, MAST 2:18.45.
50-yard freestyle: 1. Hailey Jerew, CUT 25.12, 2. Sidney Starman, COR 26.74, 3. Ashley Luy, HH 27.06.
100-yard butterfly: 1. Cloe Bedard-Khalid, COR 59.54, 2. Julia Talamo, TERR 1:02.06, 3. Angelina Roque, FERG 1:02.81.
100-yard freestyle: 1. Lilayali Garcia, PAL 56.25, 2. Annabelle Colon, COR 1:00.72, 3. Hannah Banciella, CG 1:01.77.
500-yard freestyle: 1. Julianna Talamo, TERR 5:17.73, 2. Sidney Starman, COR 5:20.30, 3. Hannah Cordes, CG 5:25.33.
200-yard freestyle relay: 1. TERRA (Carolina Rodriguez, Sophia Rodriguez, Julia Talamo, Julianna Talamo) 1:47.54, 2. Mast Academy 1:50.41, 3. Coral Gables 1:50.66.
100-yard backstroke: 1. Lilayali Garcia, PAL 1:03.88, 2. Alessandra Rodriguez, TERR 1:05.76, 3. Amber Lubie, DRK 1:07.88.
100-yard breaststroke: 1. Jessica Rodriguez, HG 1:08.64, 2. Manuela Dangond, MAST 1:13.44, 3. Lliza Aguiar, MAST 1:14.33.
400-yard freestyle relay: 1. TERRA (Julianna Talamo, Julia Talamo, Sofia Rodriguez, Stephanie Rodriguez) 3:50.34, 2. Coral Reef 3:55.74, 3. Palmetto 4:00.74.
BOYS TEAM TOTALS
1.Miami Beach 248, 2. Ferguson 237, 3. Columbus 231.
200-yard medley relay: 1. Miami Beach (Andrew Garcia, Bryan Quintero, Adrian Hemmerde, Julius Petzoid) 1:44.19, 2. Ferguson 1:44.31, 3. Hialeah Gardens 1:46.29.
200-yard freestyle: 1. Joseph Cardozo, FERG 1:46.99, 2. Fernando Rodriguez, COL 1:50.41, 3. Andres Vargas, SWM 1:50.66.
200-yard individual medley: 1. Brandon Vives, COL 1:57.94, 2. Joaquin Utz, FERG 1:59.57, 3. Marcelo Lauzurique, FERG 2:02.09.
50-yard freestyle: 1. Julius Petzold, MB 21.93, 2. Che Davis, DRK 22.07, 3. Zac Graves, SDAD 22.09.
100-yard butterfly: 1. Antonio Perez, HML 52.56, 2. Kenny Cordoves, HG 53.55, 3. George Lubian, VARE 54.19.
100-yard freestyle: 1. Che Davis, DRK 48.05, 2. Joaquin Utz, FERG 48.46, 3. Julius Petzold, MB 50.16.
500-yard freestyle: 1. John Torres, BRAD 4:50.99, 2. Kevin Hernandez, MIA 4:58.06, 3. Andres Vargas, SWM 4:59.28.
200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Miami Beach 1:32.45, 2. Columbus 1:35.08, 3. South Dade 1:38.50.
100-yard backstroke: 1. George Lubian, VARE 55.05, 2. Kenny Cordoves, HG 56.59, 3. Bryan Riverio, HH 56.99.
100-yard breaststroke: 1. Brandon Vives, COL 1:01.30, 2. Bryan Quintero, MB 1:02.97, 3. Marcelo Lauzurique, FERG 1:03.01.
400-yard freestyle relay: 1. Ferguson (Joseph Cardozo, Pedro Castillo, Marcelo Lauzurique, Joaquin Utz) 3:23.08, 2. Columbus 3:26.64, 3. Palmetto 3:34.81.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com