SOFLO’s Evelyn Salama Ready To Take On Kona’s Ironman World Championship Saturday


By Sharon Robb

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII—October 13, 2017—“Look out, I’m just getting started. I am more motivated than ever.”

That was Evelyn Herrmann Salama, then 36, eight years ago after competing in the May 20-23 U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals at Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta where she swam five lifetime-best times.

On Saturday, the 44-year-old Pembroke Pines wife and mother of two will compete in the Ironman World Championship, the granddaddy of all triathlons.

Ever since she earned one of the 40 qualifying slots for her first Kona appearance at Cabo Ironman 2016 in Cabo San Lucas, Salama has been focused on “checking another one off my bucket list.”

It will be her fourth Ironman distance event that features a 2.4-mile swim, 112-bike and 26.2-mile run in challenging winds and hot conditions.

“It is overwhelming,” Salama said from Kona. “I am happy I have such an incredible supportive husband and sponsor to let me come out two weeks ahead of time to get acclimated to the time change and weather. I am a bucket of nerves.”

Salama has been able to get in some pre-event swims, bike rides and runs along the course as well as trying out the local cuisine and now is resting and surrounded by her family including husband Jason, son Gustavo and daughter Eliana, and friends leading up to the big day.

“I am overwhelmed by the athletes, everyone looks fitter than the last person you saw,” Salama said. “I have taken a week to marinate in that and convince myself I belong here. I know now I have earned my spot and I am ready to go.”

Eight years ago, SOFLO age group coach Rose Lockie was Salama’s mentor when she decided to compete in masters swimming. Now she is working with her son Travis Lockie in swimming and her coach Dirk Smeets of West Palm Beach. Smeets of the Netherlands has played an integral role in Salama’s progess and success.

Her proudest accomplishment was representing Team USA in 2015 in the ITU World Triathlon Championship in Chicago in her 40-44 age group.

Her progress has been remarkable in eight years.

“I grew up a little bit,” Salama said. “I came to realize despite all of Rose’s efforts and my tenacity and stubbornness I was never going to compete with people who have been swimming all their lives.”

A friend suggested she try triathlons. Her first was a reverse triathlon on a Huffy bike.

“I got out of the water and I thought I got this easy and then everybody passed me on the bike,” Salama said with a laugh. “I crossed the finish line feeling humbled.”

Now Salama is in Kona eyeing that finish line with a different mindset.

“I didn’t know my mindset at first,” Salama said. “When I qualified I was thinking Top 10 in my head but now I have adjusted my goals. A good friend said to me when I qualified for Kona, it was like being the valedictorian of my high school. Now I am in Kona and it’s like Harvard, everyone is a valedictorian. It’s quite a thing to get here and another thing to compete here. It’s really humbling.”

Salama has become an example for those with very little experience or background in sports to start training and competing. When she started masters swimming she had only swam in fifth, sixth and seventh grade. It helped that Academic Village Pool was less than an hour from her house when she decided to train with Rose Lockie for the masters meet.

The rest, as they say, is history. After Kona she wants to spend more time with her family.

“I will hang up my full Ironman shoes, my kids have had it,” Salama said. “I didn’t expect to get this far. But I also don’t want to look back and see that I was a detriment for my children. My family comes first. I told my daughter, who is a soccer phenom, that this is my World Cup, this is what I trained for.

“I am very lucky that I am checking off everything I had as goals. I qualified for 70.3 worlds. I competed in the Olympic distance at worlds. And now I am here at the mecca.

“At this point I just want to do my best and cross that finish line knowing I gave it everything I had. I will be happy with that. I don’t want to put a time out there. This place is so powerful. I just want to do the best of my ability that day.”

For those wanting to follow Salama on the Ironman website tracker, her number is 1618.

Salama will be among 2,400 age group athletes. The largest international athlete field in race history will have 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents represented.

Athletes ranging in age from 18 to 84 earned their championship opportunity by having finished among the best at one of more than 40 qualifiers around the world.

41st IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

WHEN: Saturday, 6:35 a.m., (HST).

WHERE: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

COURSE: 2.4-mile swim starts at Kailua Pier and finishes at Kamakahonu Bay; 112-mile bike along Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway from Kailua-Kona to the turnaround in Hawi; 26.2-mile run winds through the town before heading out to Ali’i Drive.

DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: Daniela Ryf, Switzerland and Jan Frodeno, Germany.

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY: $650,000 pro purse distributed to the Top 10 men and women finishers.

LIVE COVERAGE: Race coverage can be viewed on Ironman.com. For live tracking, real time results and instant notifications, fans can download the Ironman Tracker app on Google Play and the iTunes App Store. In addition, NBC will air an event special on Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m.

MEN’S TOP PROS: Jan Frodeno, Germany; Sebastian Kienle, Germany; Benjamin Hoffman, U.S.; Patrick Lange, Germany; Timothy O’Donnell, U.S.; Frederik Van Lierde, Belgium; Kyle Buckingham, South Africa; Tim Don, Great Britain; Pete Jacobs, Australia.

WOMEN’S TOP PROS: Daniela Ryf, Switzerland; Sarah Crowley, Australia; Kaisa Sali, Finland; Sarah Piampiano, U.S.; Heather Jackson, U.S.; Michelle Vesterby, Denmark; Susie Cheetham, Great Britain; Anja Bernek, Germany; Michaela Herlbauer, Austria; Linsey Corbin, U.S.; Leanda Cave, Great Britain.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http:www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Hosts Distance and IMX/IMR Challenge For Swimmers To Gauge Progress


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, October 12, 2017–With 129 swimmers, South Florida Aquatic Club heads the field as the largest team when it hosts the Distance and IMX/IMR Challenge at Academic Village Pool.

The three-day meet opens Friday with the girls and boys 1,000-yard freestyle.

Swimmers will get the opportunity to get some much-needed racing in and chance to see how they stack up against the rest of the nation’s age group swimmers.

Up-and-coming swimmers will compete in the IMR (Ready) Challenge. All sessions are timed finals.

The USA Swimming-sanctioned meet is a fun, motivational meet to help young swimmers reach the next level in their swimming careers.

The IMR Challenge allows swimmers to see how they compare to other swimmers around the nation in their age group. Swimmers must compete in all the events required for their age group to establish a score.

Once a swimmer competes in each IM Ready event at least once in an official meet, swimmers and parents can check their rankings on USA Swimming’s website.

The IMX (Xtreme) Challenge is the next step-up from the IMR competition. It includes a series of five or six events. Once swimmers complete the IMX program they can also see where their score ranks nationally, among their local LSC and own swim club.

On Friday, the distance event 1,000-yard freestyle begins 5:30 p.m. with an estimated finish time of 8:12 p.m.

On Saturday, the 10-and-under and 11-12 IMR events are 100 IM, 200 IM, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle and begin at 8:30 a.m. The 13-and-over 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke and 400 IM begin 12:30 p.m.

On Sunday at 8:30 a.m., the 10-and-under and 12-and-under events are 50 backstroke, 100 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 100 breaststroke, 50 butterfly and 100 butterfly. The 13-and-over events begin at noon and include the 200 butterfly, 200 IM and 500 freestyle.

In addition to SOFLO, among other Florida Gold Coast teams competing are AquaKids Sharks, City of Miami Parks, Hialeah, YMCA, Hurricanes Swimming, Azura, Gulliver, Flying Fish, Shelton Doral, SWAT and Pompano Beach.

In addition to age group swimmers, the meet has attracted several high school swimmers preparing for the upcoming district meets.

Among SOFLO’s large contingent are Marc Rojas, Kathleen Golding, Kevin Porto, Ricardo Roche, Maya Coffey, Jonathan Lozano, Giada Porven, Samuel Quintero, CJ Kopecki, Paige Lane and Rafael Rodriguez.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: SOFLO Friday Distance and IMR/IMX Challenge

WHEN: Friday-Sunday

SCHEDULE: Friday, Friday Distance, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, IMX/IMR, 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; Sunday, IMX/IMR, 8:30 a.m. and noon.

WHERE: Academic Village Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines.

OF NOTE: Admission is $5 per session. Heat sheets are available free at http://www.soflomeets.info/IMX or on Meet Mobile. For information call the swim office, 954-538-3721.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com