By Sharon Robb
December 26, 2016—Yannai Michael was determined to do well at last month’s Florida Gold Coast Speedo Winter Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex.
“The meet was hosted by my previous team and I wanted to show how much I improved,” Michael said.
Mission accomplished for the 12-year-old Imagine Charter School seventh grader and Bronze Group member.
Michael had his best short course meet of his young swim life. He competed in eight events in the 11-12 age group.
On a chilly opening night, Michael broke 30 seconds for the first time in the 50-yard butterfly. He finished tenth in a best time 29.54, dropping 1.08 seconds off his previous best of 30.62.
“It was a big deal for Yannai to break 30 seconds, that was a nice swim for him,” said SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson.
Also that night, Michael was fourth in the 50-yard breaststroke in 33.68, another best time with a 0.22 drop.
On Day Two, Michael finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:31.58, dropping 5:35. Michael was seventh in the 100-yard freestyle in 58.17 after swimming a best time 58.16 in prelims, dropping 0.49.
On Day Three he was second in the 100-yard breaststroke in a best time 1:09.47 and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:07.66.
On the fourth and final day, Michael swam back-to-back best times in the 200-yard individual medley prelims and finals and finished third in 2:18.17, the first time he cracked the 2:20 mark, dropping 5.25. He was also seventh in the 500-yard freestyle in a best time 5:39.73, dropping 1.79 and anchored the fifth place 200-yard freestyle relay.
Michael finished eighth in the competitive 11-12 high point awards division with 48 points.
“I like to compete, but I always get nervous,” Michael said. “I think I was confident about myself going into this meet. I knew how hard I worked.”
Michael said his most satisfying event was the 200 IM.
“I think because I finished third, I put a lot of effort into that and dropped a lot of time,” he said. “It’s a really special event for me because it combines all the strokes. My race was really exciting because I beat the guy who came in fourth by only 1/100th of a second.”
Michael has been swimming for four and a half years. He has improved since joining SOFLO and working with Coach Rose Lockie and Bronze Group.
“Coach Rose is one of the best coaches I ever had,” Michael said. “She is really fun and really funny. She is always there, whether she is sick or not, to coach us and help out with the team. She’s always pushing me to go faster and faster, pushing me to my limits.
“I know I am improving with SOFLO. There is a really nice team spirit. Every one are good friends and teammates. I am glad I am here.”
Michael competed in taekwondo, tennis and soccer but said “I always loved the water and really liked swimming,” so he committed to swimming.
“It’s a fun sport and you don’t really get injuries,” Michael said. “It helps me stay in shape and healthy because I get to work on my muscles in my legs and arms. It’s a very fun sport.”
His 7-year-old sister Ella swims with the Dippers. “I help her sometimes, but I think overall she is doing pretty good,” Michael said.
Michael is looking forward to Junior Olympics in March. He has five time standards.
“I turn 13 a week before JOs, so I get to swim in a new age group, so that’s going to be kind of exciting,” Michael said.
“My goals are to have fun, make friends and maybe get a college scholarship,” Michael said.
“I like watching swimming. Michael Phelps is someone who inspires me. The fact that he got his first world record when he was only 15 and now he’s old and has so many medals.”
Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.
SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swim wear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org