By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, August 24, 2021–Even at age 10, Jemma Baldwin is fearless in and out of the pool.
“She is not afraid of anybody or any thing, she is not shy and will put an older kid in place in a heartbeat,” said her Bronze Group coach Rose Lockie.
“It wasn’t really that unexpected her doing well at JOs. She is one of the youngest in the group and training with 11- and 12-year-olds all the time. She works really, really hard.”
The hard work paid off. Baldwin turned in her finest performance at the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics, playing a key role in SOFLO winning the girls’ team title. She was the top scoring SOFLO girl swimmer with 40 points, ranked second in high point for 10-and-under girls.
Baldwin won two individual events and three relays. She won the 200-meter individual medley and 50-meter butterfly. She was also a member of the girls’ winning 200-meter freestyle relay and 200-meter medley relay and mixed 200-meter medley relay.
She swam five best times in the 400-meter freestyle (5:15.61, 18.23 time drop), 200-meter individual medley (2:54.34, 1.86 time drop), 100-meter backstroke (1:23.42, 1.37 time drop), 50-meter butterfly (35.10, 2.15 time drop) and 200-meter freestyle (2:33.01, 9.96 time drop).
“My favorite event in short course would be the 100 fly and in long course I really like the 400 free,” Baldwin said.
“I knew I would have a good JOs,” Baldwin said. “I am very confident in everything that I do in swimming. JOs was my biggest event so far. I was happiest with the 400 free. It was my second time swimming the 400 free and I dropped a lot of time.”
Baldwin is a fifth grader at Hawkes Bluff Elementary School in Pembroke Pines. She started swimming competitively at age 6 with the Midnight Sun Swim Team in Fairbanks, Alaska. Her dad said she has been swimming “since she was in diapers.” She was also involved in gymnastics and ice hockey but decided to focus solely on swimming. “Swimming wasn’t really a popular sport in Alaska, ice hockey was probably the most popular,” she said
“I just really like being in the water,” Baldwin said. “I like competition. I want to do well in practice. I really like Coach Rose, she’s funny.”
The family moved to South Florida in June, 2018. Since joining SOFLO, Baldwin has improved greatly. “I like the coaches, they are not strict or so hard on you but they are hard on you because they want you to do better. I’m glad I’m in swimming.”
Baldwin likes being challenged in workouts, meets and school, where she is a straight A student. She’s always pushing herself, said her dad.
“I like the racing part in swimming,” Baldwin said. “I have a lot of friends on SOFLO just because I have been there for so long. I know just about everybody in my group.”
Baldwin hopes to swim in high school and college.
Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.
SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.
TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology. Among its female-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Ashley Twichell and other elite swimmers Melanie Margalis, Molly Hannis and Kelsi Dahlia.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com