By Sharon Robb
November 10, 2016—Juan Enrique Colmenares’ passion for swimming started at an early age in his native Venezuela.
The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer started swimming when he was 3-years-old at Aqua Baby. Five years later, he was already competing in meets for Hogar Hispano Swimming Club in Valencia, Venezuela.
Colmenares swam all four strokes and events but his best were the sprints.
The Pembroke Pines Franklin Academy eighth grader came to SOFLO in March 2016 and has been excelling ever since.
Colmenares, 12, also a clarinet player, competed in his first meet, the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Short Course Championships in Coral Springs. Even though he didn’t make finals, Colmenares was encouraged and motivated for the future.
“I felt sad after the meet because I thought I could do better and qualify for finals,” Colmenares said. “When the meet finished I set my new goal to improve all my times as soon as possible so I could get to the finals in my next meet. I worked hard every day with that goal in mind.”
Colmenares enjoys working with Coach Rose Lockie and training with his talented and fun teammates.
“Coach Rose’s expectations are high, but that’s the idea,” Colmenares said. “All my teammates are awesome. I want to be a great swimmer. Every day I am eager to get in the pool and do my best.
“At SOFLO we train hard and more hours than my last club in Venezuela. Here, the swimming level is very competitive. This is where I want to be.”
His progress has been remarkable. In July, Colmenares competed in seven events at the FGC Junior Olympics Long Course Championships in Stuart. He qualified for six finals: 50- and 100-meter butterfly, 50- and 100-meter freestyle, 50-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley.
“I was very happy with my results,” Colmenares said. “It showed that I am beginning to reach my goals. I still have more to improve so I can reach the top three places.”
In the SOFLO Halloween Open, the versatile Colmenares competed in the distance events. He swam the 1,650 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 200 breaststroke, 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle.
“I felt good with how I swam,” Colmenares said. “Now I like both the sprint and distance events.”
Colmenares was excited when he learned the coaching staff had selected him as TYR Swimmer of the Month. He thanked his coaches and also his parents for supporting him to reach his goals.
“I will continue giving my best,” Colmenares said. “As my coach likes to say, “I will swim with my heart and passion.”
Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org