By Sharon Robb
July 5, 2017—The championship season kicks off on Thursday for South Florida Aquatic Club.
After months of training and lead-up meets, swimmers and coaches have a jam-packed schedule of top meets over the next six weeks.
First up is the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships that begin Thursday at the YMCA of Central Florida Aquatic Center.
After that it’s the July 14-16 Area 3 Championships hosted by South Florida Aquatic Club at Academic Village Pool; July 21-23 FGC Junior Olympics at Sailfish Splash Waterpark; July 28-30 FGC Senior Championships at Coral Springs; Aug. 1-5 Southern Zone Senior Championships in College Station, Tex.; and Aug. 4-7 Futures Championships in Nashville.
And of course, there is the 17th FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, with the swimming pool events scheduled for July 23-30. Open water is set for July 15-22.
SOFLO’s Marc Rojas, representing the Dominican Republic, will make his world championship debut. SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson will coach Rojas and the Jamaican national team without Alia Atkinson.
Rojas, 23, will fine tune prep this weekend for worlds at sectionals. He is seeded second in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.61, second in the 50-meter breaststroke in 28.90 and third in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:18.97.
Atkinson and SOFLO teammate Kathleen Golding are among top-seeds in the women’s field.
Atkinson, 28, a four-time Olympian for Jamaica, who opted not to compete at worlds instead will compete for prize money in the FINA World Cup Series.
For sectionals, Atkinson is seeded first in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:05.93, first in the 50-meter breaststroke in 30.11, first in the 50-meter butterfly in 26.67. It is Atkinson’s first major meet in Florida since the FGC Senior Championships at SOFLO in late March.
Golding, 16, is seeded first in the 100-meter freestyle in 56.31. Golding is also seeded third in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:53.68 and third in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:19.38.
SOFLO’s 400-meter freestyle relay is top seed in 3:50.75 just ahead of Gator Swim Club in 3:50.77.
Among other top SOFLO seeds are:
University of Florida-bound Jessica Rodriguez, 18, and Kelley Heron, 17, are also among top three seeds. Heron is seeded second in the 50-meter backstroke in 30.44. Rodriguez is seeded second in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:36.88.
SOFLO is sending 23 swimmers (14 men and 9 women) to compete in 127 individual events. SOFLO will also field 24 relay teams for 12 relay events.
The remaining SOFLO squad is: Max Asnis, 17; Heath Brames, 17; Kayla Cunningham, 14; Isabella DiSalvo, 15; Juan Diaz, 17; Molly Golding, 14; Nicolas Hermosa, 16; CJ Kopecki, 17; Paige Lane, 14; Lance Lesage, 14; Luke Lezotte, 16; Melissa Marinheiro, 20; Kevin Porto, 17; Samuel Quintero, 16; Ricardo Roche, 17; Jennifer Rodriguez, 16; Rafael Rodriguez, 15; Juan Serna, 15; and Luis Villanueva, 17.
In addition to SOFLO, other top teams entered are Gator Swim Club, Sarasota YMCA, Gulliver Swim Club, Club Seminole and Trinity Prep. Among top swimmers in the field are Arkady Vyatchanin of New York Athletic Club, Adreina Pinto and Isabella Paez of Metro Aquatics, Iliana Oikonomou of Hurricane Aquatics and Jan Switkowski of Gator Swim Club.
The Speedo Sectionals Series display some of the top swimming talent across the U.S. The series has several stops.
IF YOU GO
What: Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional LCM Championship
Schedule: Thursday, timed finals 5 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. prelims, 4 p.m. finals.
Where: YMCA of Central Florida Aquatic Center, 8422 International Drive, Orlando.
Of note: Admission is $5 per session, heat sheets are $3 per session and there is an all-sessions pass available. There is a sectional event page on the Florida Swimming website (www.floridaswimming.org). Florida Gold Coast and Florida Swimming athletes head the field. Out-of-section and international swimmers are also in the field. YMCA Central Florida is hosting the meet.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com