By Sharon Robb
December 14, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club, the largest and one of the winningest and most diverse clubs in the Florida Gold Coast, has been awarded USA Swimming’s Bronze Medal Club Excellence Award for 2016.
SOFLO has been a Bronze Medal club five of the last six years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016). 2011 was SOFLO’s first year of existence after starting out as the Comets.
SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson praised his coaching staff for the club’s progression throughout the years.
“After sixteen years, SOFLO has created an infrastructure with its coaches and staff that cultivates a high level of continuing excellence,” Anderson said.
“It’s always nice for our staff to receive this prestigious award just before the end of the year,” Anderson said.
The excellence award program is divided into gold, silver and bronze divisions. The rankings only include 18-and-under swimmers eliminating the club’s older top pro swimmers such as Marc Rojas and Alia Atkinson.
The rankings give points scores based on a power point rating system that gives swim points based on how fast it is relative to a swimmer’s age.
The focus of the USA Swimming voluntary program is to identify and reward up to 200 USA Swimming-sanctioned clubs that have attained a high level of athlete performance.
The program strives to meet the following initiatives:
*Promote the development of strong, well-rounded age group and senior swimming programs that produce elite 18-and-under athletes.
*Provide recognition and resources to motivate and assist member clubs to strive for the highest ideals of athlete performances.
SOFLO (4,718 points) is one of only four clubs honored at the various levels. Gulliver Prep (7,424 points) earned silver medal status. AquaKids Sharks (5,475) and Pine Crest Swimming (4,299 points) were also awarded bronze medal status.
Only gold and silver level clubs are provided grant funding.
“It is a huge accomplishment for any club to make this list and we want to make sure your club is recognized within your community,” said Kara Raney of USA Swimming.
Nation’s Capital Swim Club of the Washington, D.C. area, led by Katie Ledecky, won its third consecutive Club Excellence title. Nation’s Capital totaled 90,635 points, finishing more than 40,000 points ahead of first-time Gold level club Marlins of Raleigh. Dynamo Swim Club of Atlanta was third.
SOFLO is coming off another outstanding year that featured its seventh consecutive team title and 13th overall at the FGC Junior Olympics and fourth consecutive year the club won back-to-back short and long course titles the same year.
“Earning a gold, silver or bronze ranking is a reflection of the hard work and time invested by athletes and coaches and has become a highly coveted honor for our teams,” said Pat Hogan, USA Swimming’s Club Development Managing Director.
“Each year, the competition to earn a Club Excellence ranking continues to be more and more challenging,” Hogan said.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org