By Sharon Robb
April 11, 2016—Nicolas Rossi may soon need more space for his swimming trophies, medals and ribbons.
“I have a ton of medals and ribbons, I just organized them yesterday,” said the South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, who had the best meet of his young swim career at the recent Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics.
Rossi, 13, a seventh grader at Silver Trail Middle School, has improved every year since joining SOFLO at age 6. Over six years, he worked his way up from Little Dippers to Coach Travis Lockie’s Silver Group where he is flourishing.
Before aging up, Rossi made his final 11-12 appearance at JOs and made a lasting impression. His Herculean efforts included:
50-yard freestyle: fifth in prelims, 25.17, 0.61 drop; fourth in finals, 24.84, 0.94 drop.
500-yard freestyle: won in 5:01.54, dropped 5.22.
Member of winning 400-yard freestyle relay, 3:45.29.
Member of second-place 200-yard medley relay, 1:55.83.
Member of winning 400-yard medley relay, 4:11.30.
Member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:43.70.
400-yard individual medley: fourth, 4:47.19, 24.43 drop.
200-yard freestyle: first in prelims 1:56.78; second in finals, 1:55.60, 0.39 drop.
200-yard individual medley: first in prelims 2:14.32; placed fourth in finals, 2:14.71, 3.55 drop.
100-yard freestyle: sixth in prelims, 56.28; placed fourth in finals, 55.58, 0.70 drop.
1,650-yard freestyle: won in 17:26.46.
“I was aging up four days after JOs so I wanted to do well but I didn’t expect to do as well as I did,” Rossi said. “I was happiest with my 500. I felt really good in the water. But what helped me the most was having the mindset that I wanted to break five minutes.
“I was happy I dropped time but a little bit mad that I didn’t break five minutes. It was the first day of the meet and I was really prepared for it. I was definitely getting a little tired and sore by the last day. It was worth it. It was the best meet I ever swam. I am happiest with getting second in high point.”
Rossi has been swimming since his father started him with lessons at age 4. His brother, Christian, also swam. He joined SOFLO when he was 6.
“I like to swim because it’s competitive and also a team sport,” said Rossi, who played soccer and flag football before focusing solely on swimming.
Rossi loves his swimming family of teammates and coaches.
“It’s definitely helped me become more social,” he said. “It helps me keep track of my time. With practice, school and homework I definitely manage my time better.
“The people here are social and very fun and the coaches are passionate about what they do,” Rossi said. “The team is competitive and I love the atmosphere, it’s very energetic.”
Rossi is now training for long course JOs and his 13-14 meet debut.
“I love doing distance,” he said. “My favorite is definitely the mile. Most of the time when I am swimming it I am thinking about catching the person in front of me. Like my Coach says there is always someone to catch in the mile, whether you are in the lead or the last person.”
Rossi, who trains six days a week, hopes to swim in high school and college. His heroes in the sport are three-time Olympian Michael Phelps and Chinese distance specialist Sun Yang.
Rossi enjoys watching SOFLO’s ProFlo group of Olympians and national champions train at Academic Village Pool.
“I definitely want to be like them. I look over and I see them and think, ‘wow they’re huge,’” said the 5-foot-2, 100-pounder. “They are definitely people I look up to on my team.”
The TYR Swimmer of the Month award, chosen by the SOFLO coaching staff, is awarded each month to the swimmer who excels at both swim meets and practice sessions.
Each TYR Swimmer of the Month will receive a free TYR mini backpack.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com