By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, September 6, 2022—After a few short months, Jacob Jones is settling in nicely at South Florida Aquatic Club.

Jones, 12, a seventh grader at Tequesta Trace Middle School, made his Florida Gold Coast swim meet debut at the Aug. 27 fall season-opener SOFLO/TYR Back To School Developmental Meet at Academic Village Pool.

The talented swimmer turned in career-best times in all four of his events: 50-yard butterfly, 33.35, 4.98 time drop; 50-yard backstroke, 33.95, 1.96 drop; 100-yard freestyle, 1:03.58, 3.16 drop; and 100-yard individual medley, 1:15.73, 3.07 drop. He won the 100 freestyle, placed second in the 50 butterfly and 50 backstroke and third in the 100 IM.

“I was excited to compete in a meet because I hadn’t competed in a while,” said Jones, who started at SOFLO in late June. “I was pushing myself to try and beat my times. In my last meet in Illinois, I liked my times, but I didn’t think they were the best times I could get.

“In the fly, back and freestyle I didn’t expect to drop that many seconds. I was happy about those times. The meet was great. All the swimmers were nice.”

Jones was moved up from Senior Development B to Senior Development A group and works with Coach Kenzy Green alongside Coach Jack Davies. Both have been impressed with Jones’ work ethic.

“It’s been great working with him,” Green said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement in him, mainly in trying really hard at practice and the meet as well. He did super well at our last meet. He has a drive to be better. He really does enjoy the sport and does want to get faster so he really puts his heart into it. He is motivated. I really like what I see.”

Jones and his family moved to South Florida from Naperville, Ill., where he swam for Fox Valley Swim Club. His father had signed his four children up for swimming in their Illinois neighborhood.

“None of them asked, we just kind of forced the issue,” said his father Don. “They knew how to swim but I wanted them to have some activities during the summer. Jacob was the only one who took to it and had immediate success. His siblings chose to pursue other sports: David, 13, baseball; Noah, 10, American Ninja Warrior training; and Ashley, 8, gymnastics.

When the family moved to South Florida, his father started searching the USA Swimming website for a comparable competitive team to Fox Valley. He was impressed with SOFLO’s credentials including its’ USA Swimming National Club Excellence Silver Medal Club status.

“I like training there,” Jacob said. “It’s a nice club. The teammates are good and drills are hard which is going to help my swimming. I’m getting used to the longer kinds of drills we do. I’m getting into it.

“I like swimming,” said Jones, who played soccer and baseball in Illinois. “It’s fun and a good workout. I think I am decent at it. I am pretty competitive.”

Swimming has helped with his time management and scheduling, he said. A normal school day starts at 7:30 a.m., breakfast, morning practice on Tuesday and Thursday, school, afternoon practice at 5:45 and back home for dinner and homework.

Jones competed in four meets at Fox Valley before moving. He has noticed some key differences with swimming at SOFLO especially swimming outdoors in great weather. All of Illinois’ meets were indoors.

“Back in Illinois they had less drills,” Jacob said. “Down here there are more drills and they work on technique more. At Fox we did 100s and 200s. Here we do 75s, 100s, 200s and variety of different distances. It’s good down here. It’s nice to be able to be outside.”

His mom Nicole and dad are happy with their choice of SOFLO.

“I definitely can see they raise the bar in expectations from their athletes,” Don said. “At Fox they wanted you to go to at least three practices a week but you didn’t have to go every day. Here you are encouraged to go every single day. I went to the parent meeting and the coach talked about how much the athlete falls behind every day that he misses. He really encouraged that all the athletes come every day.

“I think it’s great they set the expectations for the athletes’ success and really encourage kids to come and participate.”

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Jones joins SOFLO teammates Ethan Hall (July), Adrian Rendon (June), Niccolo Miccolis (May), Alex Golding (April), Guillermo Mantilla (March), Tristan Dons (February) and Hashan Ekanayake (January) as 2022 TYR Swimmers of the Month.

SOFLO sponsor TYR is an American designer, developer and 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.

The company’s mission statement is starting from, powered by and made for athletes, we strive to create and re-imagine technologies that enhance experience and performance at every level.

Among its male-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Michael Andrew, Tom Shields, Nic Fink, Townley Haas, Bobby Finke, Patrick Callan, Hunter Armstrong, Brooks Curry, Zack Harting and Jordan Wilimovsky and other elite swimmers Matt Grevers, Maxime Rooney, Nick Albiero, Jacob Pebley, Coleman Stewart, Justin Ress, David Curtiss, Charlie Clark and Ryan Lochte.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com