SOFLO Swimmers Ready For 25th Speedo Winter Championships

By Sharon Robb

November 18, 2015— South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will be among 1,100 swimmers and 51 teams at the 25th annual Florida Gold Coast Speedo Winter Swimming Championships that begin Thursday at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

Hosted by Plantation Swim Team and City if Plantation, it is the state’s largest age group meet and one of the nation’s largest LSC meets.

The meet will feature mystery heats at finals with Speedo products for awards. The awards for Top 3 finishers are custom-made seahorse medals.

SOFLO will be well-represented in one of its last major age group meets of the year with 30 swimmers.

SOFLO boys are led by Logan Gonzalez, 10, seeded second in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke and Valerie Vank, 10, seeded fourth in the 200-yard freestyle.

SOFLO’s contingent includes: Alana Acevedo, 14; Andres Arias, 15; Max Asnis, 16; Sam Asnis, 17; Fernando Barreto, 9; Kaitlyn Barrios, 9; Brennan Thomas Binder, 11; Ian Chalmers, 12; Mark Andre De Gracia, 11; Juan Diaz, 15; Odin Farkas, 12; Nathaniel Garrick, 10; Logan Gonzalez, 10; Madison Johnson, 14; Matthew Kim, 10; CJ Kopecki, 16; Ervin Marin, 16; Jacob Navarro, 9; Sebastian Navarro, 11; Sabrina Osorio, 10; Sofia Osorio, 10; Alessandro Pereira, 9; Kevin Porto, 15; Lucas Porven, 10; Ricardo Roche, 16; Enrique Rodriguez, 10; Jessica Rodriguez, 16; Natasha Testa, 17; Valerie Vank, 10; Alejandro Zambrano, 21 and Aldo Zepeda, 10.

Several swimmers in the field are coming off the high school season that ended last week with the state championships including Kopecki, who played a key role in American Heritage winning its third consecutive boys state 2A title.

The field features most of the Florida Gold Coast teams including Pine Crest, Heritage Aquatics, Azura Florida Aquatics, Wellington, Boca Raton Swim Team, Miami-Dade, Miami Swimming, Hialeah, Jupiter and Plantation Swim Team.

SOFLO will also compete at the Dec. 4-6 Gator Swim Club Holiday Classic, one of the top age group and senior invitationals in the state and held indoors in the Stephen O’Connell Center.


What: 25th annual Florida Gold Coast Speedo Winter Swimming Championships

When: Thursday-Sunday

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second St.

Schedule: THURSDAY, 5 p.m.; FRIDAY, Session 3, 8:30 a.m., noon and 5 p.m.; SATURDAY, 8:30 a.m., noon and 5 p.m.; SUNDAY—8:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Admission: $5 per session, $3 heat sheets per session. For more information go to

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Sends Three Swimmers To Colombian Nationals


By Sharon Robb

November 17, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club will have three swimmers competing when the XX Colombian National Aquatic Championships begin on Wednesday in Antioquia, Colombia.

Olympian Carolina Colorado, Jorge Murillo-Valdes and Catalina Mendieta, all medal hopefuls, will represent SOFLO at the 11-day event that features all aquatic sports.

Colorado, 28, is a two-time Olympian and national record holder in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter backstroke events, 50-meter butterfly and relays.

Murillo-Valdes is a national record holder in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events and relays.

Murillo-Valdes broke the 100 (1:00.53) and 200 (2:11.62) national records at this past summer’s Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. He also is qualified in the 200 for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Mendieta, a Douglas High School alum, is ranked among the top five in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly and 50- and 100- meter freestyle in Colombia.

The trio are members of SOFLO’s pro team.


SOFLO swimmer Kylie Herman of Brandeis University was named University Athletic Association Swimmer of the Week for her performance in the team’s season-opener.

In her collegiate debut against Wheaton College, the freshman won two events–the 200-yard freestyle in 2:03.24 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:26.35. She was also second by less than a second in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:18.01.

Herman is a Cypress Bay High School alum and lives in Weston.


SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding, a freshman at Cooper City High School, is among top-ranked swimmers on the annual Florida Swim Network Mythical High School State Championship list.

The list is the network’s annual compilation of all four classes (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A) held at the Pinch-a-Penny FHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships in Stuart to determine the ultimate champion.

Golding is ranked second in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:00.40, just 1/100th behind Tampa Catholic’s Christin Rockway. Golding is also ranked eighth in the 100-yard butterfly in 55.18.

SOFLO teammate Jessica Rodriguez, a junior at Hialeah Gardens, is ranked fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.63 ranked behind Caroline White of Trinity Prep (1:01.68), Kelly Fertel of Gulliver Prep (1:03.29) and Isabella English of Winter Park (1:03.31).

Jacksonville Bolles boys and Gainesville Buchholz girls just edged out Gulliver Prep for top team honors.

The full list can be found posted on the Florida Swim Network website.

Sharon Robb can be reached at