By Sharon Robb
January 7, 2017—Success doesn’t happen overnight at South Florida Aquatic Club.
It starts with a dream that turns into a goal. Then the hard work and dedication follows to make the dream come true.
And a swimmer doesn’t succeed on his own. There’s the coach, parents and teammates who share the same dream and help a swimmer reach his or her goal.
There’s also losing and not swimming a best time at every meet. That’s the much-needed learning experience that teaches a swimmer humility and is also a powerful motivator to work harder.
SOFLO swimmers have learned their lessons well and continued the winning tradition in 2016.
As everyone celebrated the New Year and took a little time off away from the pool, it was fun to look back to see what SOFLO accomplished over twelve months.
From world-class international meets to sizzlers, the hard work and dedication of swimmers and coaches was never more evident during another successful year.
Success is never taken for granted at SOFLO. After outstanding 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons, SOFLO improved again across the board enjoying success at every level during 2016 and raised the bar once again for 2017.
With talent, depth and excellent coaching, the largest team in the Florida Gold Coast never lost sight of the importance of the team concept which has become its trademark through the years.
As the New Year gets under way with new dreams, goals and resolutions, let’s reflect on some of last year’s highlights.
SOFLO’s Top 12 Moments in 2016 were:
1. Marc Rojas made his international debut for the Dominican Republic at the FINA Short Course World Championships in Canada, one of the sport’s biggest meets and breaks two national records with best times in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events. He also won his heat in the 200-meter breaststroke.
2. Four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, after the disappointment of being a medal favorite and finishing eighth at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, bounced back with a second career world short course record in the 50-meter breaststroke at the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series in Tokyo.
3. Long time SOFLO age group coach Rose Lockie earns Broward All-County Coach of the Year honors after leading Pembroke Pines Charter to its first undefeated boys’ season. She is joined on first team by SOFLO swimmers Ricardo Roche and Kellie Heron of Pembroke Pines Charter and Kathleen Golding of Cooper City.
4. SOFLO sends its largest group of qualifiers (six) to the Speedo Winter Junior National East Championships in Columbus, Ohio—Kathleen Golding, Jessica Rodriguez, Kelley Heron, Ervin Marin, Luke Lezotte and Max Asnis.
5. SOFLO makes team history by capturing its seventh consecutive team title and 13th overall at the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Long Course Junior Olympics. It was the fourth consecutive year that the club won back-to-back short and long course titles in the same year.
6. SOFLO four-peats Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in its home pool. It was the fourth time SOFLO swimmers accomplished the feat in the same season
7. SOFLO earned the USA Swimming Bronze Medal Club Excellence Award for the fifth time in six years.
8. SOFLO sent more than three dozen swimmers to the FHSAA High School State Meets in Stuart including Kathleen Golding of Cooper City, who defended her title in the 200-yard individual medley with an automatic All-American time of 2:00.34 to finish the season undefeated in her signature event.
9. At 15, Kathleen Golding makes her debut at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. She made her first Trials cut in the 200-meter individual medley at age 14.
10. SOFLO masters swimmer and triathlete Evelyn Herrmann Salama qualifies for the Hawaii Ironman in Kona, the granddaddy of all Ironmans.
11. SOFLO posted its highest finish in team history at the Speedo Sectional Championships, placing fourth against a world-class field in the combined team standings. It was SOFLO’s best finish since it’s been competing in the meet since 2002.
12. SOFLO’s website becomes the leading source for high school news in South Florida and county honor roll.
SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson has surrounded himself with good coaches and staff members and it shows and reflects in the culture he has developed.
“We are very competitive for sure,” Anderson said. “We do target the championship meets. Our kids challenge themselves and push themselves past their comfort zone and it does show.
“SOFLO has created an infrastructure with its coaches and staff that cultivates a high level of continuing excellence,” Anderson said. “We have a winning culture.”
Now entering its’ 17th year, the first ten as Comets Swim Team and seventh year as SOFLO, swimmers, coaches, office staff, parents and volunteers are looking forward to even more success at the local, state, national and international levels in 2017, the beginning of a new quadrennium.
Have A Happy And Healthy New Year And Here’s To A Great 2017!!!
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org