South Florida Aquatic Club Trio Head To Charlotte Arena Pro Swim Series

By Sharon Robb

May 11, 2016—Three members of South Florida Aquatic Club’s ProFlo group will compete Thursday through Sunday at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, N.C.

Several Olympians and Olympic hopefuls are in the field while others opted to compete in the Atlanta Classic Swim Meet, also this weekend.

The Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center underwent an $8.6 million renovation since the meet was last held last year in May.

Heading SOFLO’s ProFlo group is three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson. She is entered in six events: 50, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke, 50- and 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.

Atkinson has the world’s 13th best time in the 100-meter breaststroke this year. Katie Meili is the top seed in the event. At last summer’s Pan American Games, Meili took gold while Atkinson settled for the silver.

SOFLO’s Jorge Murillo of Colombia will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

Atkinson and Murillo have already qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas, a former Florida State swimmer, is trying to get his U.S. Olympic trials cut. He will compete in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events.

SOFLO’s Claire Donahue and Megan Romano, already qualified for the U.S. trials, scratched from the meet.

The field features 30 national team members and more than 500 swimmers.

Floridian Ryan Lochte is entered in seven events and Tyler Clary has entered five. Both are training mates with SwimMAC in Charlotte.

Lochte will compete in the 100- and 200-meter freestyles, 200- and 400-meter individual medley, 100-meter backstoke and non-Olympic events 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly.

Clary is entered in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter butterfly and 100- and 200-meter backstrokes.

Swim Canada is wrapping up a training camp. Canada’s 4×100 medley and 4×100 freestyle relays will compete. They are among 15 Olympic team nominees that have been involved in a four-day training camp in Toronto.

USA Swimming has made special accommodations for Team Canada to compete in relays during time trials between prelims and finals. Bolles alum Santo Condorelli is among the men’s roster.

The long course meters meet begins Thursday with the distance session at 4 p.m. The remainder of the weekend prelims are 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

Only three Arena Pro Swim Series meets remain including this weekend’s event in Charlotte, Santa Clara and Indianapolis.

NBC Sports Live Extra will stream Saturday’s and Sunday’s final sessions live. NBC Sports Network will air tape-delayed television coverage of the meet from noon to 3 p.m. The entire meet will also be live streamed at


World championship medalist Lindsay Vrooman has signed with TYR. A national team member since 2013, Vrooman is a distance swimmer and competes in the 400, 800 and 1500. South Florida Aquatic Club is sponsored by TYR, the leading manufacturer of competitive swim and triathlon gear…

Florida Gulf Coast head coach Neal Studd, who coaches SOFLO’s Melissa and Marcella Marinheiro, turned down the head coaching job at Arkansas and at least an extra $50,000. Studd toured the campus for two days. Studd, 40, did get a raise from athletic director Ken Kavanagh from $73,000 to $87,500, making him the highest paid coach in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association. Kavanagh also gave Studd one more scholarship, now making the program three shy of the NCAA’s limit of 14.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


By Sharon Robb

May 10, 2016—Alejandro Mateus loves to swim.

Mateus, 11, a fifth grader at Franklin Academy Charter School in Pembroke Pines, is having remarkable success working with South Florida Aquatic Club age group coach Rose Lockie and Bronze Group.

“It is really fun,” Mateus said. “I am improving a lot. Coach Rose tells me not to give up no matter what.”

That was never more evident during the SOFLO Holiday Classic before the Christmas holidays at Academic Village Pool.

“I was really proud of the Christmas meet,” Mateus said. “Before the 100-yard freestyle I didn’t hear the starter say ‘take your mark.’ I heard the buzzer and I didn’t know what to do.

“I looked at the officials and my dad and the swimmers were already in the pool swimming. I jumped in and sprinted all the way, trying to catch up. I didn’t know where I was, if I was near them or anything.

“After I touched the wall with everything I had, I saw a 1:05. I didn’t look at the place, but then I saw first. Everybody was stunned. I gained time but I was happy I caught up and didn’t give up.”

Mateus, following in the footsteps of his older brother Leonardo, started competing when he was five years old. He used to play soccer but gave it up to focus solely on swimming.

“My brother and I push each other,” Mateus said. “He tells me what times to go, what to do and how I can work on stuff to improve.”

Mateus said he fell in love with swimming at an early age.

“In swiming, there are so many different things you can do,” he said. “There are different strokes and different yardage. There are people to compete against and there’s always challenges.”

Mateus has his sights set on breaking Florida Gold Coast records. “I am really close in the 100 fly, that’s my favorite event,” Mateus said.

“I am training hard and trying to improve.”

Mateus trains six days a week. After school he goes straight to the pool, works on his homework and waits for practice to begin.

“I feel different emotions in the pool at different times,” Mateus said. “If I am really feeling confident my strokes feel faster. I feel lighter and it feels like I am pulling more water.

“If I practice harder, my strokes are a little stronger. I try to kick a little more and push myself to the limit.”

Mateus was selected by the SOFLO coaching staff for his 10-and-under performances at the April 2-3 Florida-Florida Gold Coast All-Star Meet and April 29-May 1 SOFLO IMX-IMR Challenge.

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 receives a free TYR mini backpack.

Sharon Robb can be reached at