Defending Champion SOFLO Heads Field For This Week’s FGC Long Course Junior Olympics

By Sharon Robb

STUART, July 18, 2018—South Florida Aquatic Club will try and build on its winning tradition and legacy at this week’s Florida Gold Coast Long Course Junior Olympics.

The four-day meet begins Thursday at Sailfish Splash Water Park.

SOFLO is going after its ninth consecutive JO long course team title and tenth overall in club history. SOFLO has also won back-to-back short and long course JO titles five times.

In March, SOFLO won the FGC 14&Under Short Course JOs for a record eighth consecutive and ninth overall in the club’s 18-year history.

SOFLO, defending champion in combined and boys team titles, has qualified 58 individual swimmers in 329 events. SOFLO has also entered 40 relay teams in 22 relay events where it will rely on its depth to pick up points against talented but less deep FGC teams.

Last year SOFLO won the combined team title with 661 points, nearly 200 points ahead of runner-up Gulliver Swimming. SOFLO boys won with 442, more than double Gulliver with 202. Gulliver won the girls title with 289. SOFLO girls were fourth with 219.

Competing in their final JO long course meet are 14-year-olds Sarah Acevedo, Brennan Binder, Jenna Marie Brames, Juan Colmenares, Mark Andre De Gracia, Alex Golding, Sally Golding, Manuel Melendez, Yannai Michael, Sara Quintero, Anthony Robaina, Moises Rodriguez, Javier Roman, Mallory Schleicher and Emma Twombly.

The younger contingent is led by Kaitlyn Barrios, 12, 11 events; Javier Colmenares, 12, 11 events; Fiorella Di Salvo, 10, nine events; Zackary Harris, 13, 10 events; Derek Hau, 10, nine events; Jonathan Lozano, 11, 11 events; Diego Nazario-Vazquez, 12, 11 events; Alessandro Pereira, 11, events; Lucas Porven, 12, 11 events; Enrique Rodriguez, 13, 11 events; Christian Tijero, 12, 11 events; Ava Kuznik, 12, 10 events; and Valerie Vank, 12, 11 events.

Among SOFLO top seeds are: Alexis Christensen, 12, in the 1500 freestyle in 19:32.88 and Mallory Schleicher, 14, in the 1500 freestyle, 18:04.44 and 400 freestyle, 4:34.30.

It is the third time the meet will be co-hosted by FGC clubs Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Club at Sailfish Splash Water Park, site of the annual FHSAA State High School Swimming and Diving meet for the past five years.


What: 14&Under Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

When: Thursday-Sunday

Schedule: Thursday, timed finals 6 p.m.; Friday, prelims, 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.

Where: Sailfish Splash Water Park, 931 SE Ruhnke, Stuart.

Defending 2017 champions: Combined, SOFLO; Boys, SOFLO; Girls, Guliver Swimming.

Of note: Admission is $5 per session. Heat sheets for prelims $3 per session and finals $3 per session. Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Club are co-hosting the meet. Well-respected Scott Boggs will serve as head referee. Results are available on Meet Mobile or For more information call Jim McCombs, 772-485-3239.


Four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson will be among Jamaica’s contingent of 186 competing athletes in the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games that will take place in Barranquilla, Colombia Thursday through August 3.

The CAC Games, which are the oldest continuing games in the region, were first held in Mexico in 1926 and Jamaica had the privilege of hosting the games in 1962 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Atkinson will not be alone this time in representing in swimming. She will be joined by Keanan Dols, Luke Gunning, Michael Gunning, Laura Lim-Sang, Emily McDonald, and Bryanna Renaurt. Atkinson is among four co-captains of the team.

Yona Knight Wisdom, who has represented Jamaica at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games in diving will have company in Pele Julien. Both men will competed in the 1- and 3-meter springboard.

The sports that will be contested are athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, diving, fencing, football, hockey, rugby, shooting, squash, swimming, beach volleyball, with additions, karate, water polo and wrestling.

Sharon Robb can be reached at