SOFLO Swimmers On World, National Stages This Week

By Sharon Robb

December 5, 2016—-South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships and USA Swimming Speedo Winter Junior East Championships.

Marc Rojas will compete in his first major international meet. The longtime SOFLO swimmer will represent the Dominican Republic.

Rojas is entered in the 100-meter breaststroke (1:04.84), 200-meter breaststroke (2:20.10), 50-meter breaststroke (30.34) and 100-meter individual medley. Rojas is one of five swimmers competing for the Dominican Republic.

Rojas will be joined by teammate and four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, who broke her second short course world record after missing an Olympic medal she was favored to capture at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Heavy favorite Atkinson is the top seed in the 50-meter breaststroke (28.91) and 100-meter breaststroke (1:02.36); and second seeded in the 100-meter individual medley (57.84). She is also swimming the 200-meter breaststroke (2:25.86).

Several top women breaststrokers from around the world are not competing in the meet.

Among other notable swimmers competing are Marta Ciesla of Pine Crest, Aruba’s Jordy Groters of Missouri and University School alum in six events, American Heritage alum Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, Cathy Cooper of American Heritage representing Panama and Clara Smiddy, a South Florida Heat and AquaKids Sharks alum, representing the U.S.

The FINA World Short Course Championships begin Tuesday in Windsor, Canada at the WFCU Centre, an arena facility among the best in North America. It is the first world short course championship to be staged in Canada.

Only 10 U.S. Olympians are entered in the six-day, short course meters meet.

Hungary’s Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu, winner of the recent FINA World Cup Series and FINA Swimming of the Year, has entered an ambitious 12 events. She looks to surpass her eight medals won at the 2014 Short Course Worlds. She won four gold, three silver and one bronze.

NBC Sports will live stream the daily prelims at 9:30 a.m. and finals at 6:30 p.m. The TV schedule is: Tuesday, 9-11 p.m., Universal HD; Wednesday, 9-11 p.m., Universal HD; Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. NBCSN; Friday, NBCSN, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30-11 p.m., NBCSN; and Sunday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., NBCSN.

SOFLO has an impressive group at Junior Nationals that begin Wednesday at Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

Most of America’s top 18-and-unders from east of the Mississippi will compete in the four-day U.S. Winter East Junior Championships.

2016 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier Kathleen Golding leads SOFLO’s six-swimmer contingent.

Golding, 16, is seeded 17th in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:00.34. The IM is one of six events Golding is qualified in. She will also swim the 50 freestyle, 400 IM, 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 breaststroke.

The 200-meter individual medley field also features Isabel Ivey, 16, of Gator Swim Club, Alexandra Walsh, 15, and Stanford commit Brooke Ford, 17.

Joining Golding are SOFLO teammates Max Asnis in the 200 butterfly; Kelley Heron in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM and 200 backstroke bonus races; Luke Lezotte in the 50 freestyle; Ervin Marin in the 200 IM and 400 IM and 100 breaststroke bonus races; and Jessica Rodriguez in the 200 breaststroke bonus race and 100 breaststroke. It is the largest contingent to represent SOFLO at the national level this year.

Among other Florida Gold Coast swimmers entered are Patrick Groters and Jessica Nava of Pine Crest Swimming and Miguel Cancel of Gulliver Prep.

Sharon Robb can be reached at