SOFLO Heads Field For Speedo Champion Series Southern Zone South Sectionals

By Sharon Robb

PLANTATION, March 7, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented at the Speedo Championship Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championship that begins Thursday at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

Four-time Jamaican and short course world champion Olympian Alia Atkinson, Gaby Banks, Marc Rojas, Kathleen Golding, Mary Smutny, Mallory Schleicher, Rafael Rodriguez, Lance Lesage head SOFLO’s contingent that will be tested by a strong field.

Atkinson, 30, will compete in the 50 and 100 butterfly, and 50 and 100 breaststroke.

The women’s 100 freestyle is expected to be one of the best races of the four-day meet with defending champion Kathleen Golding, Mary Smutny, Micayla Cronk and Chloe Grimme.

SOFLO will have 35 qualified swimmers compete in 155 individual events and 12 relay events race in the long course meet.

SOFLO’s 200 mixed medley relay is seeded first in 1:52.19 ahead of Colorado Stars, Missy Franklin’s former club. Atkinson is seeded first in the women’s 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly, 50 breaststroke and second in the 50 butterfly behind Marie Wattel, Rojas is seeded in the men’s 100 and 200 breaststroke, Golding is seeded first in the 200 individual medley and Smutny is seeded first in the 200 butterfly.

A large field will compete over four days in one of four designated USA Swimming zones. The others are Eastern, Central and Western Zone Sectionals. The meet attracts some of the top swimming talent from across the United States and internationally.

Several swimmers who competed in last year’s meet have opted to compete in the Pro Swim Series meet in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to Atkinson, another big name swimmer, Brazilian sprinter Bruno Fratus, 29, training with Coral Springs Swim Club, will compete. Fratus is coming off shoulder surgery in the fall. He is top seed in the 50 freestyle in 21.27 and 100 freestyle in 48.50.

Other top swimmers expected to compete are University of Florida-bound Talia Bates of Gator Swim Club. She is top-seed in five of the six events she has entered. National age group swimmer Josh Zuchowski, 14, of FAST is entered in six events. Florida State-bound Cameron Taddonio is one of the favorites in the 1500 freestyle.

Among Florida Gold Coast teams entered are Azura Florida Aquatic, East Coast Aquatic Club, Boca Raton Swim Team, North Palm Beach, Martin County, Coral Springs Swim Club, Sunrise, TS Aquatics, and host Plantation Swim Team. Bolles, Sarasota and Pensacola are top Florida teams.

Heading the out-of-state teams is Falfins Swimming from Colorado for the second straight year. Claire Timson is the defending 100 backstroke.


What: 2019 Speedo Championship Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championship

When: Thursday-Sunday

Schedule: Thursday, timed finals 5 p.m.; Friday, Saturday and Sunday, prelims 9 a.m. and finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second Street.

Of note: Admission is $5. For more information call 954-452-2526.

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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