SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Sweeps Events On Opening Day Of IMX-IMR Challenge


By Sharon Robb

April 29, 2016—Kathleen Golding of South Florida Aquatic Club was a double winner on the opening day of the IMX-IMR Challenge Friday at Academic Village Pool.

Golding, 15, a U.S. Olympic trials qualifier, topped a field of 66 swimmers in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:25.82.

Her younger sister Molly Golding, 13, was second in a best time 2:37.87, dropping 5.92 seconds off her previous best.

SOFLO teammate Katrina Del Vecchio, 13, was third in 2:40.11, also a best time, shaving 1.04 seconds off her seed time.

Golding also won the 400 IM in 5:10.42. Molly Golding was fourth in 5:33.39, another best time dropping 4.45 seconds.

SOFLO’s Ervin Marin, 16, won the boys 200 IM in 2:16.41. SOFLO swept the top four spots in the event.

The meet continues on Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

Up-and-coming swimmers are competing in the IMR 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 IM (Ready) 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 IMR Challenge 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 RESULTS

GIRLS

200-meter individual medley:

1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:25.82, 2. Molly Golding, SOFLO 2:37.87, best time, 3. Katrina Del Vecchio, SOFLO 2:40.11, best time, 4. Kyana Castro, SOFLO 2:40.11.

400-meter individual medley:

13-and-over, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 5:10.42, 2. Rose Smiddy, AquaKids Sharks 5:23.85, 3. Gabriela Fernandez, Hialeah 5:30.79, 4. Molly Golding, SOFLO 5:33.39, best time.

BOYS

200-meter individual medley:

1. Ervin Marin, SOFLO 2:16.41, 2. Ricardo Roche, SOFLO 2:17.81, 3. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 2:20.59, 4. Leonardo Mateus, SOFLO 2:25.53.

400-meter individual medley:

13-and-over, 1.Julio Horrego, Hialeah 4:37.43, 2. John Torres, Flying Fish 4:58.65, 3. Ricardo Roche, SOFLO 4:59.29, 4. Michael Fernandez, Hialeah 5:01.04.

IF YOU GO

What: SOFLO IMX-IMR Challenge

When: Saturday-Sunday, IMX/IMR Challenge, 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

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

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

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

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SOFLO Hosts IMX-IMR Challenge; Atkinson, Romano Will Compete In TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet


By Sharon Robb

April 28, 2016—Kathleen Golding, Sebastian Lares and Valerie Vank are among top-seeded South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers in this weekend’s IMX-IMR Challenge at Academic Village Pool.

Several top Florida Gold Coast swimmers will join SOFLO swimmers over the next three days at IMX-IMR Challenge.

In addition to SOFLO, among other FGC clubs entered are AquaKids Sharks, Plantation Swim Team, Hialeah Swim Club, SwimFast and Flying Fish.

Among other top-seeded swimmers are Julio Horrego of Hialeah Swim Club, Isabella Chambers of Plantation Swim Team, and siblings Luke and Mary Smutny of AquaKids Sharks.

The meet opens Friday at 5:30 p.m. with the open 200-meter individual medley and 13-and-over 400-meter individual medley. The meet continues through Sunday.

Not only will swimmers 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.

The up-and-coming swimmers will compete in the IMR 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 IM (Ready) 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 IMR Challenge 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.

IF YOU GO

What: SOFLO IMX-IMR Challenge

When: Friday, Friday, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, IMX/IMR Challenge, 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

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

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

ELSEWHERE

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson and Megan Romano left Thursday morning for Louisville, Ky. where the elite pair will compete in the inaugural TYR Derby Pro Swim Meet Friday at the University of Louisville.

It is part of a fundraising weekend for the Cardinals’ swim program.

Friday night’s pro swim meet will feature 16 of the best men and women pro swimmers from around the world.

Romano is a 2013 world champion and NCAA champion. Atkinson is a three-time Olympian for Jamaica and world short course record holder.

The pros, in addition to competing for prize money, will team with members of the Louisville swim team to hold a Drowning Prevention Clinic and also be part of a dinner with contributors.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

Countdown To Rio Summer Olympics: 100 Days To Go


By Sharon Robb

April 27, 2016—It just got real for fourteen South Florida Aquatic Club elite swimmers and other athletes around the world training for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Wednesday marked the 100-day countdown for the Aug. 5-21 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, the first time the multi-sport event will be held in South America at a cost of $7.4 billion.

SOFLO already has two swimmers who qualified for the Olympics and several others working toward the same goal.

Jamaican Alia Atkinson qualified for her fourth Olympic appearance in the 100-meter breaststroke. The world record holder has competed in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics and has yet to medal.

Colombian Jorge Murillo qualified for his Olympic debut in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Four other international swimmers training at SOFLO are potential Rio qualifiers: Lisa Blackburn, Bermuda, 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke; Alina Schulhofer, Austria, 800 freestyle relay; Raiz Tjon-A-Joe, Suriname, 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke; and Monica Alvarez, Colombia, 100-meter breaststroke.

Three SOFLO swimmers have qualified for the U.S. trials in Omaha: teenager Kathleen Golding, 200 and 400 individual medleys; 2012 Olympic relay gold medalist; Claire Donahue, 100 and 200 butterfly; and former world champion Megan Romano, 50, 100 and 200 freestyles; 100 and 200 backstroke.

Four other SOFLO swimmers are working on trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials: Marc Rojas, 100 and 200 breaststroke; Kile Aukerman, 100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 individual medley; Ksen Golovkina, 100 breaststroke and Catalina Mendieta.

Approximately 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are expected to compete for 306 medals over 17 days. The Rio Olympics will feature 136 women’s medal events, 161 men’s events and nine mixed events.

Rugby and golf are the two new sports added to this summer’s Games. The last time golf was included in the Olympics Games was 112 years ago. Rugby was last included in 1924 and the United States won gold that year.

The only sports that have been included in every Summer Olympics are swimming, track and field, cycling, fencing and gymnastics.

American Michael Phelps, who first competed in the 2004 Olympics, holds the record for most medals won by any man or woman with 22, including 18 gold medals. He also set a record for most gold medals won at one Olympics with eight in 2008.

Nine different venues will comprise the Olympic Park, seven of which will be maintained after the Games.

A total of 7.5 million tickets are available. Tickets to the more popular events, like swimming, start at $100 and can run up to $350 for finals. According to NBC, the most popular tickets sold so far have been soccer, basketball, volleyball and handball.

Fans interested in purchasing tickets to the Games can go to CoSport.com. Tickets are available individually or in packages with hotel bookings and hospitality offerings.

The Olympic torch relay began April 21 in Olympia, Greece, the Games’ birthplace. The torch will begin its 95-day journey through Brazil on May 3. The Rio Olympic torch will travel through 329 Brazilian towns and cities.

While Rio Olympics publicity has focused on raw sewage, dirty water, the Zika virus, political unrest and building delays, the Games main focus will always be the athletes and will go on and are still the greatest sporting event ever to be involved in.

PUERTO RICAN NATIONALS

SOFLO’s Lisa Blackburn, a Bermuda national record holder training to make her Olympic cuts, competed in the recent nationals in Puerto Rico. Blackburn won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:13.19, was third in the 100-meter freestyle in 58.95 and fourth in the 50-meter freestyle in 27.40.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Mendieta, Tjon-A-Joe Double Winners On Final Day Of FGC Jupiter Invitational


By Sharon Robb

April 25, 2016

South Florida Aquatic pro swimmers got in a little more long course racing on the final day of the Florida Gold Coast Long Course Invitational Sunday at North County Aquatic Complex in Jupiter.

Catalina Mendieta and Raiz Tjon-A-Joe each won two events.

Mendieta, 26, won the 100-meter freestyle in 1:00.66 and 50-meter butterfly in 29.31.

Tjon-A-Joe, 18, of Suriname won the 100-meter freestyle in 54.52 and 100-meter breaststroke in 1:09.89

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.comsha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO Pro Swimmers Compete In Jupiter; Mateus Takes Silver At SwimMiami


By Sharon Robb

April 23, 2016—Several South Florida Aquatic Club pro swimmers got in some long course racing Saturday in the Florida Gold Course Long Course Invitational in Jupiter.

Alina Schulhofer, 21, won the 200-meter freestyle in 2:12.32 and was fourth in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:08.94.

Catalina Mendieta was a double winner. Mendieta, 26, won the 100-meter butterfly in 1:05.01 and 50-meter freestyle in 27.98.

Newest SOFLO member Raiz Tjon-A-Joe, 18, won the 100-meter butterfly in 58.21, just missing a best time. He also won the 50-meter freestyle in 24.41 and was second in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:03.92

Santiago Rivera, 19, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 32.62

Ksen Golovkina, 26, won the 50-meter breaststroke 34.34 and was second in the 50-meter freestyle in 28.98.

SWIM MIAMI

SOFLO’s Leonardo Mateus, 14, finished second in the SwimMiami one-mile event in 16:37. Teammate Ryan Capote, 18, was 11th in 17:46.

Alexander Berggren, 21, of Sweden won the 10K title in 1:39:04. Catalina Berraud Galea, 19, of Fort Lauderdale won the women’s title in 1:47:23.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.comsha11cats@aol.com

South Florida Aquatic Club Masters Team Swimmers Shine At SwimMiami


By Sharon Robb

April 23, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club’s masters team did well at the recent Swim Miami despite rough water conditions and large crowds.

In the 5K swim, SOFLO masters coach Carlo Morante was top SOFLO masters finisher. Morante, 23, finished in 57 minutes and 8 seconds, placing third in his age group.

Courtney Marx, 34, finished in 1:09.17, also placing third in her women’s age group.

Julia Fermayer, 38, was third in her age group in 1:20:31.

Five other SOFLO masters competed in the Miami Mile. Terri Rivera, 56, won her age group in 27.43.

Other finishers were:

Heather Braken Grissom, 36, 26:31, third.

Gail Young, 40, 33:00, sixth.

Robert Weick, 41, 31:19, 14th.

SOFLO coach George Mersinger, 63, 27:27, fourth.

Jennifer Martin, who trains at Academic Village Pool with the SOFLO team, won her 30-34 age group in the 800-meter swim in 16:01.

SOFLO welcomes all swimmers interested in joining its growing masters program. Contact Coach Carlo Morante at 954-538-3721.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.comsha11cats@aol.com

South Florida Aquatic Club Hosts USA Swimming SwimJitsu On Saturday


By Sharon Robb

April 20, 2016—USA Swimming and Florida Gold Coast will stage the “Ultimate Aquatic Challenge” Saturday at Academic Village Pool.

SwimJitsu-Pembroke Pines is a team-building activity to kick off the long course season. All Florida Gold Coast teams are welcome. SOFLO has offered volunteers and resources to help USA Swimming stage the event.

It was designed to introduce new swimmers and parents to USA Swimming and the sport in addition to team building among established teams.

Swim organizers call it the sport’s version of a combination of the Punt, Pass and Kick contest, Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior, using challenging ninja-themed inflatables in the pool.

Each competitor will race against the clock to complete the ultimate aquatic obstacle course using all their speed, endurance and swimming skills to gain the rank of Grand Master Swimja.

The idea is to master three traits: wisdom, speed and agility. Only the best time is recorded.

There are ten total obstacles:

1.The Start (Speed), the swimja begins his or her journey in the water.

2.The Slide (Speed), the swimja must first manipulate the first slide. Controlling speed is critical.

3.Bridge (Wisdom), the next obstacle tests the swimja’s wisdom. Choose the wrong path and their time will suffer.

4.The Jump (Wisdom), up or down? Only the master swimja chooses the right path.

5.The Second Swim (Agility), the swimja must gracefully master the second swim test and glide through the water.

6.The Beam (Agility), balance is critical. This is never more prevalent than on the beam. One missed step and you are all wet.

7.The Cliff (Wisdom), the swimja must carefully and strategically attack this obstacle. Wisdom is a must on the approach.

8.Mt. Swimja (Speed), the swimja must utilize their skills to get to the top of the mountain either by the rope or the handles.

9.The Top of Mt. Swimja (Wisdom), swimjas must ask themselves a question, to cannonball or slide?

10.Swim Finish, swimjas must utilize all of the three traits during the swim to the finish and touch the wall.

South Florida Aquatic Club is the only Florida club hosting the unique event. Other cities hosting are Edmond, Okla., Washington, D.C., Greensboro, N.C., New Providence, N.J., Voorhees, N.J., Fort Washington, Pa., Galloway, N.J., Wichita, Kan., St. Louis, Mo., Canton, Oh and Holly Springs, Ga.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: USA Swimming SwimJitsu-Pembroke Pines

When: Saturday

Where: Academic Village Swimming Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines

Wave Sessions: One, 9-11 a.m.; Two, 11:15 a.m. 1:15 p.m.; Three, 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Four. 4:45-6:45 p.m.; Five, 7-9 p.m.

Information: Registration fee is $30. Those interested can register at http://www.swimjitsu.com/pembroke-pines-fl or call 954-538-3721 or email info@swim4comets.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com