Metro Aquatic Club Of Miami Knocks Off Defending Champion SOFLO In FGC Senior Championships; SOFLO’s Golding, Rodriguez Win High Point

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, March 26, 2018—SOFLO swimmers Kathleen Golding and Rafael Rodriguez, team leaders throughout the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships, finished as high point award winners Sunday at Academic Village Pool.

The pair played a key role in SOFLO’s runner-up finish in the combined and boys team standings and third place in the girls team standings.

Golding accumulated 209 points, the second most of any girl swimmer. Chade Nersicio of East Coast Aquatic Club was top high point winner with 210 points.

Rodriguez totaled 204 points, the most of any boy swimmer in both age groups.

Defending champion SOFLO fell 33.50 points shy defending its title in the combined and boys team standings. SOFLO was trying to make history by winning both seniors and JO titles in the same short course season for the sixth time in the team’s 18-year history.

“Our kids swam well, we just came up short,” SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said. “We had a lot of good individual swims.”

Metro Aquatic Club of Miami knocked off the meet host, winning the combined team title with 2,620.50. SOFLO was second with 2,587. MAC won the boys team title with 1,944 ahead of SOFLO with 1,407.

Gulliver Swim Team won the girls team title with 1,729.50. East Coast Aquatic Club was second with 1,612 and SOFLO was third with 1,180. Defending champion Pine Crest was fourth with 725.50.

It was the first time MAC won the combined team title in more than 20 years, in 1997. Several members of the team were off Miami Belen’s fifth place state 3A team.

“It’s been a long time,” said MAC and Miami Belen veteran coach Kirk Peppas. “We won it the first couple of years when it was a young competition. The Gold Coast has grown so much in seniors and is very competitive.”

MAC clinched the title in the final boys’ event, placing one-two in the 400-yard medley relay. Nine of the swimmers were coming off last weekend’s National Club Swimming Association Meet (NCSA) at Orlando YMCA.

“The kids never thought we had a shot until they looked at the heat sheets,” Peppas said. “The leadership kicked in, they got pumped up and pulled it off. I am happy for the kids. It was a really good group effort. I didn’t know they would do this. It all came down to the relays. It was fun. It’s a good way to end the meet.

“Aitor did a good job of making sure everyone did their part. Everybody stepped up, everyone was together and that’s what makes a team, a team. They all pushed each other.”

Metro Aquatic Club of Miami was led by top swimmers Nestor Montero, 16, Andres Wong, 15, Alejandro Timp, 16, Aaron Rodriguez, 16, Brandon Vives, 18, team leader Aitor Fungairino, 17, and Adrian Aguilar, 17, Stephanie Suarez, 16, and Anelis Roque, 14.

Visiting coaches and parents were impressed by the meet’s atmosphere and organization including Peppas.

“People were into it, there was more of a fun, relaxed atmosphere with everybody, it wasn’t just another championship meet,” Peppas said. “Everyone was entertained. The parents were involved, the music was good, everyone was pumped up. It was a good scenario. Chris did a good job of putting on a good meet.”

Among SOFLO swimmer Sunday highlights:

Golding swam the second fastest time in the pool ever in the 200-yard individual medley in a best time 1:58.58. Golding won the 50-yard butterfly in 24.58, another best time and 50-yard freestyle in 23.04.

Golding was also a member of the winning 400-yard medley relay in 3:49.42 and second-place 200-yard medley relay in 1:46.76 with teammates Kelley Heron, Jennifer Rodriguez and Paige Lane.

Heron was third in the 200 IM in 2:06.57.

Rodriguez closed out an outstanding meet. He won the 1,650-yard freestyle in 15:51.48. Teammate Ricardo Roche was second in the event in 16:04.52 and Leonardo Mateus was third in 16:22.32.

Rodriguez was also second in the 50-yard freestyle in a best time 21.82.

Lance Lesage was third in the 100-yard backstroke in 52.81.

SOFLO took a pair of thirds in both the 200- and 400-yard medley relays.

The morning session on Sunday was held in memory of TS Aquatics swimmer Nicholas Dworet and 16 other victims killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting. Seventeen balloons were tied to the lane lines during prelims.

Parents, swimmers and spectators were also treated each day to the National Anthem in unique presentations including a beautiful violin rendition by talented SOFLO swimmer Joseph Lee and well-choreographed lane swim out by SOFLO swimmers with TYR patriotic kickboards, U.S. flag and wearing USA flag swim caps during the anthem.


1. Metro Aquatic Club of Miami 2,620.50, 2. South Florida Aquatic Club 2,587, 3. East Coast Aquatic Club 2,441, 4. Gulliver Swim Club 2,363, 5. Pine Crest Swimming 1,113, 6. Miami Swimming 877, 7. Azura Florida Aquatics 796, 8. TS Aquatics 795.50, 9. YMCA of South Florida 679, 10. AquaKids Sharks 585.


GIRLS: 15-16, 1. Chade Nersicio, ECAC 210; SOFLO: 4. Paige Lane 138.50, 27. Katrina Del Vecchio 59, 31. Jacqueline Lugo 40, 33. Maya Coffey 38, 37. Daniela Curbelo 30, 42. Michelle Marinheiro 25, 72. Kyana Castro 1.

GIRLS: Open, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 209; SOFLO: 9. Kelley Heron 124.50, 10. Jennifer Rodriguez 107, 17. Molly Golding 68, 58. Sabrina Osorio 15, 65. Katrina Del Vecchio 11.

BOYS: 15-16, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 204; SOFLO: 8. Leonardo Mateus 115, 14. tie, Juan Pablo Pineda 86, Lance Lesage 86, John Paul Handal, 86, 17. Juan Serna 77, 35. Joseph Lee 44.50, 46. tie, Nicolas Rossi 25, Michael Arias 25, 56. Nicolas Munoz 14, 83. Juancamilo Rivero 1.

BOYS: Open, 1. Miguel Cancel, Unattached 165; SOFLO: 2. Ricardo Roche 123, 34. Heath Brames 50, 38. CJ Kopecki 47, 45. Kevin Porto 39, 54. tie, Luke Lezotte 24, Juan Diaz 54, 67. Casey Moya 11, 75. Logan Gonzalez 5, 84. Juan Serna 2.50.


1. Gulliver 1,729.50, 2. East Coast Aquatic Club 1,612, 3. SOFLO 1,180, 4. Pine Crest 725.50, 5. Metro Aquatic Club of Miami 676, 6. AquaKids Sharks 472, 7. YMCA of South Florida 454, 8. Miami Swimming 323, 9. TS Aquatics 308, 10. Azura Florida Aquatics 266.


1,650-yard freestyle:
15-16, 1. Michaela Avedisian, ECAC 17:49.65; SOFLO: 4. Michelle Marinheiro 19:02.05; Open, 1. Marcella Ruppert-Gomez, Gulliver 16:46.30; SOFLO: 16. Michelle Marinheiro 19:02.05.

200-yard medley relay:
Open, 1. East Coast Aquatic Club 1:46.29, 2. SOFLO A (Kelley Heron, Jennifer Rodriguez, Kathleen Golding, Paige Lane) 1:46.76, 5. SOFLO B 1:52.18 (Katrina Del Vecchio, Molly Golding, Jacqueline Lugo, Maya Coffey).

100-yard backstroke:
15-16, 1. Madison Cummings, ECAC 56.66; SOFLO: 12. Maya Coffey 1:01.97; Open, 1. Emily Cordovi, Gulliver 55.42; SOFLO: 3. Kelley Heron 56.47.

50-yard butterfly:
15-16, 1. Chade Nersicio, ECAC 24.32; SOFLO: 5. Jacqueline Lugo 26.66, 6. Katrina Del Vecchio 26.71, time drop, 7. Paige Lane 26.76, 19. Maya Coffey 27.72, time drop; Open, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 24.58, time drop.

100-yard breaststroke:
15-16, 1. Chade Nersicio, ECAC 1:04.26; Open, 1. Mercedes Toledo, Unattached 1:02.89; SOFLO: 4. Jennifer Rodriguez 1:06.84, 5. Molly Golding 1:06.91, 18. Sabrina Osorio 1:12.73, time drop.

50-yard freestyle:
15-16, 1. Chade Nersicio, ECAC 23.07; SOFLO: 6. Paige Lane 24.77, 12. Jacqueline Lugo 25.28, time drop, 14. Maya Coffey 25.51, time drop, 15. Katrina Del Vecchio 25.63; Open, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 23.04; SOFLO: 17. Jennifer Rodriguez 25.94, time drop.

200-yard individual medley:
15-16, 1. Andrea Santander, PC 2:02.94; SOFLO: 10. Paige Lane 2:15.20, 13. Katrina Del Vecchio 2:15.33, 18. Daniela Curbelo 2:16.77; Open, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 1:58.58, time drop; SOFLO: 3. Kelley Heron 2:06.57, 8. Molly Golding 2:12.37.

400-yard medley relay:
1. SOFLO A 3:49.42 (Kelley Heron, Jennifer Rodriguez, Paige Lane, Kathleen Golding), 6. SOFLO B 4:02.13 (Maya Coffey, Molly Golding, Jacqueline Lugo, Katrina Del Vecchio).


1. Metro Aquatic Club of Miami 1,944.50, 2. SOFLO 1,407, 3. East Coast Aquatic Club 829, 4. Gulliver Swim Club 633.50, 5. Miami Swimming 554, 6. Azura Florida Aquatics 530, 7. TS Aquatics 487.50, 8. Jupiter Dragons 409, 9. Pine Crest 387.50, 10. PAQ 335.50.


1,650-yard freestyle:
15-16, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 15:51.48; SOFLO: 3. Leonardo Mateus 16:22.32; Open, 1. Cameron Taddonio, BRST 15:55.51; SOFLO: 2. Ricardo Roche 16:04.52.

200-yard medley relay:
1. Metro Aquatics 1:33.66 (Aitor Fungairino, Brandon Vives, Adrian Aguilar, Irvin Hoost), 3. SOFLO A 1:36.43 (Lance Lesage, Juan Pablo Pineda, Rafael Rodriguez, Luke Lezotte), 8. SOFLO B 1:40.53 (Kevin Porto, John Paul Handal, Juan Serna, Heath Brames).

100-yard backstroke:
15-16, 1. Nestor Montero, MAC 52.24; SOFLO: 3. Lance Lesage 52.81, 12. Leonardo Mateus 55.81, time drop, 20. Nicolas Munoz 57.49; Open, 1. Miguel Cancel, Unattached 48.54; SOFLO: 5. Ricardo Roche 52.51, time drop, 12. Kevin Porto 54.46, 18. Juan Diaz 56.17.

50-yard butterfly:
15-16, 1. Reid Banciella, MS 23.14; SOFLO: 2. Rafael Rodriguez 23.28, time drop, 5. Juan Serna 23.87, time drop, 13. John Paul Handal 25.10, time drop, 20. Lance Lesage 25.79; Open, 1. Runar Borgen, PAQ 21.97; SOFLO: 12. Luke Lezotte 23.68, 18. Juan Serna 24.28, 20. Kevin Porto 24.40.

100-yard breaststroke:
15-16, 1. Juan Pablo Pineda, SOFLO 59.52, time drop; SOFLO: 11. John Paul Handal 1:02.81, time drop, 16. Joseph Lee 1:03.67, time drop; Open, 1. Teo Darias, Gulliver 57.57.

50-yard freestyle:
15-16, 1. Reese Branzell, LLL 21.66; SOFLO: 2. Rafael Rodriguez 21.82, time drop, 8. Juan Serna 22.19, 20. Michael Arias 23.13; Open, 1. Runar Borgen, PAQ 20.59; SOFLO: 12. Luke Lezotte 21.68, 15. Heath Brames 21.94, 18. Kevin Porto 22.27.

200-yard individual medley:
15-16, 1. Kevin DeGrijze, ECAC 1:54.09; SOFLO: 7. Leonardo Mateus 2:03.31, 8. John Paul Handal 2:03.84, 16. Joseph Lee 2:04.74; Open, 1. Miguel Cancel, Unattached 1:47.98.

400-yard medley relay:
1. Metro Aquatics A 3:27.12 (Aitor Fungairino, Yender Rojas, Adrian Aguilar, Irvin Hoost), 2. Metro Aquatics B 3:28.64 (Nestor Montero, Brandon Vives, Andres Wong, Vittorio Parravano), 3. SOFLO A 3:30.51 (Lance Lesage, Juan Pablo Pineda, Rafael Rodriguez, Heath Brames), 7. SOFLO B 3:35.63 (Ricardo Roche, John Paul Handal, CJ Kopecki, Juan Serna).

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Author: South Florida Aquatic Club - SOFLO Swimming

Welcome to the South Florida Aquatic club, a premier community swim team dedicated to providing opportunity and encouragement to all team members, from the beginner to the seasoned Olympic athlete in their pursuit of excellence. The year-round development program for competitive swimming features life-enhancing qualities including integrity, discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship and health and fitness. We invite you to navigate the club’s portal for information about the team.

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