By Sharon Robb
July 20, 2017—South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers are ready to make a little more history.
The defending champion will compete in the 14&Under Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics this weekend with a target on its back. But they wouldn’t want it any other way.
Swimmers and coaches are going after their eighth consecutive JO team title and ninth overall in the club’s 18-year history. In March, SOFLO won the short course team title and are looking to win back-to-back JO titles.
“It is more difficult each time,” SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said. “I thought winning the first JO title was going to be the best, but I am not so sure that is the truth now because of the target on our backs. Our team continues to improve and so do the other teams in the FGC which makes it harder.”
The meet begins Friday at Sailfish Splash Waterpark in Stuart, where the annual FHSAA High School Swimming and Diving Championships are held.
It is the second consecutive long course JO meet held at the venue. Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Clubs are co-hosting the event.
SOFLO, defending champions in the combined and boys’ divisions, heads a field of 43 teams and more than 600 swimmers. North Palm Beach is defending girls’ champion.
The top six finishers in each JO event qualify for the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team.
SOFLO qualified 68 individual swimmers for 357 events. SOFLO also has 40 relays competing in 21 relay events.
Among SOFLO’s top seeds are:
Kayla Cunningham, 14, 200-meter backstroke, 2:25.81; 100-meter backstroke 1:06.67.
Molly Golding, 14, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:16.81; 200-meter breaststroke 2:43.52.
Alessandro Pereira, 10, 400-meter freestyle, 5:05.95; 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter freestyle 2:24.66; 100-meter backstroke, 1:19.86; 200-meter individual medley, 2:45.49; 50-meter backstroke, 37.86; 100-meter freestyle, 1:08.35.
Other SOFLO swimmers who qualified are:
Sarah Acevedo, 13; Ryan Alfonso, 14; Michael Arias, 14; Kaitlyn Barrios, 11; Samuel Bullen, 12; Kyana Castro, 14; Mariann Catalasan, 11; Alexis Christensen, 11; Javier Colmenares, 11; Juan Colmenares, 13; Kerry Cunningham, 11; Daniela Curbelo, 14; Mark Andre De Gracia, 13; Katrina Del Vecchio, 14; Luna Delgado, 11; Fiorella Di Salvo, 9; Hashan Ekanayake, 10; Marvan Ekanayake, 10; Mia Escudero, 13; Nathaniel Garrick, 12; Logan Gonzalez, 12; Andrea Guerrero, 14; John Paul Handal, 14; Zackary Harris, 12; Christopher Hau, 12; Derek Hau, 9; Luca Hincapie, 10; Kalin Hubbard, 13; Ava Kuznik, 11; Paige Lane, 14; Sebastian Lares, 13; Jie Hoon Lee, 14; Jena Legaspi, 13; Lance Lesage, 14; Ty Lezotte, 14; Reagan Lowe, 11; Brandon Lozano, 7; Jonathan Lozano, 10; Anastasia Lutz, 10; Michelle Marinheiro, 14; Alejandro Mateus, 12; Alessio Mazzi, 10; Stefano Mazzi, 9; Yannai Michael, 13; Nicolas Munoz, 14; Sebrina Osorio, 12; Sofia Osorio, 12; Leah Pando, 11; Giada Porven, 9; Lucas Porven, 11; Sara Quintero, 13; LeeAnn Ranalli, 14; Enrique Rodriguez, 12; Moises Rodriguez, 13; Javier Roman, 13; Nicolas Rossi, 14; Mallory Schleicher, 13; Natalia Sibug, 11; Owen Smith, 10; Samantha Solis, 12; Christian Tijero, 11; Victoria Torres, 12; Emma Twombly, 13; Valerie Vank, 11; Christian Vasquez, 14; Sarah Vasquez, 9; Marcos Vasquez, 14; and Aldo Zepeda, 12.
“We are tough to beat when it comes to championship meets,” Anderson said. “It really matters to the coaches. They want it as much as the kids.”
IF YOU GO
What: 14&Under Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics
Schedule: Friday, prelims, 9 a.m.-2:10 p.m., finals 6-8:53 p.m.; Saturday, prelims 9 a.m.-2:11 p.m., finals 6-9:12 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m.-4:08 p.m., finals 6-7:33 p.m.
Where: Sailfish Splash Waterpark, 931 SE Ruhnke, Stuart
Defending champions: Combined team title, South Florida Aquatic Club; Boys team title, South Florida Aquatic Club; Girls team title, North Palm Beach.
Of note: Admission is $3 per session. Heat sheets for prelims $5 per session and finals $3 per session. Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Club are co-hosting the meet. Results are available on Meet Mobile or http://www.martincountyswimming.org. For more information call Jim McCombs, 772-485-3239.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org