By Sharon Robb
CORAL SPRINGS, March 3, 2022—The championship season continues for South Florida Aquatic Club when the Florida Gold Coast 14-and-Under Junior Olympics Championships begins Thursday, March 10th at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.
Metro Aquatic Club of Miami is defending champion after winning the title for the first time in more than ten years in March, 2021.
South Florida Aquatic Club has traditionally done well at JOs. SOFLO has won ten overall combined short course team titles including nine straight until last year.
SOFLO has qualified 59 swimmers for the second consecutive year. Thirty-one boys and 28 girls will compete in 285 individual events.
The meet begins Thursday, March 10th at 5:30 p.m. with the boys and girls 1,650-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley. The meet continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m.
SOFLO’s Guillermo Mantilla, 10, is seeded first in the 50-yard freestyle in 27.70 and 100-yard freestyle in 1:01.09.
With so much parity in the meet, there is no clear cut favorite in the team competition. Among top team favorites are Jupiter Dragons, Metro Aquatics, St. Andrew’s, Wellington and SOFLO.
SOFLO’s 14-year-olds making their final JO short course appearance are Jaden Amores, Amelie Bicerne, Genesis Escobar, Katelyn Gembicki, Andres Gonzalez, Mia Guerrero, Derek Hau, Benjamin Kim, Tania Mantilla, Isabella Montes, Abraham Penaloza, Mariana Pinto, Carlos Rincon, Felipe Rodriguez and Sarah Vasquez.
The top six finishers in each JO event qualify for the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org