By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, January 1, 2023—With the pandemic adversity behind them, South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers and coaches finally enjoyed a normal year during 2022 at Academic Village Pool.
Success is never taken for granted at SOFLO. This past year’s successes were appreciated even more because of the high level of competition across the board in the Florida Gold Coast.
The emphasis is always on “team effort,” not only swimmers and coaches, but parents, booster club, officials, office staff, lifeguards, school support, media and fans, who all played roles in that “team effort.” SOFLO swimmers and coaches always seem to find their greatest unity as a team.
Every year SOFLO swimmers learn their lessons well and continue to build on them. Every swimmer contributes no matter their level of ability. Every point earned by each SOFLO swimmer at various meets count. Every time drop no matter how small, was valued and appreciated. The combined hard work of swimmers and coaches is paying off.
For this reason, SOFLO is still the most diverse and largest club in the Florida Gold Coast and ranked No. 1 among FGC local swim clubs.
The revamped Olympic-size pool is second to none in Florida and hosted several successful meets and was well-received by visiting FGC and out-of-state club teams and college teams training during the holidays. The Comets Booster Club and parent volunteers worked tireless hours and provided outstanding hospitality to visiting coaches and were greatly appreciated.
As SOFLO, the first ten as Comets Swim Team and next twelve as SOFLO, closes out 2022 there were silver linings and a sad goodbye during the year worth a Top 10 ranking.
Several talented SOFLO swimmers had reason to celebrate after being selected as 2022 TYR Swimmers of the Month. The boys were: Manny Melendez (November), Michael Barber (October), Lincoln Callaway Coy (September), Jacob Jones (August), Ethan Hall (July), Adrian Rendon (June), Niccolo Miccolis (May), Alex Golding (April), Guillermo Mantilla (March), Tristan Dons (February) and Hashan Ekanayake (January).
The girls were: Olivia Dinehart (November), Isabella Callaway Coy (October), Jianna Amores (September), Carolina Carrera (August), Lydia Smutny (July), Amber Connor (June), Eva Ortiz (May), Sally Golding (April), Natalie Gembicki (March), Sofia Lugo (February) and Valentina Remmele (January) as 2022 Swimmers of the Month.
As everyone celebrates the New Year, it’s always fun to look back to see what SOFLO accomplished over the past twelve months. Here is a look at the year’s highlights.
SOFLO’s Top 10 Moments in 2022 were:
1.SOFLO enjoyed 2022 as a USA Swimming National Club Excellence Silver Medal winner. SOFLO has been a Bronze Medal club for eight years since 2011 and silver medal for two years.
2.Veteran coach Rose Lockie, loved by swimmers and parents alike, retired after an outstanding coaching career that spanned four decades in club and high school swimming.
3.SOFLO’s four-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, after retiring in December 2021, was elected chairperson of the inaugural World Aquatics athletes committee. The committee comprises athletes from swimming, diving, high diving, water polo, artistic swimming and open water swimming.
4.Auburn-bound Olivia Dinehart after runner-up finishes her freshman and sophomore seasons, wins back-to-back State 1A breaststroke titles to finish an outstanding high school season. She also won all seven of her individual events and two relays at the 32nd Speedo Winter Championships.
5.SOFLO hires top-notch coaches Kyle Cormier as lead age group coach and Jessica Rodriguez, senior and gold program coach.
6.Fifteen SOFLO swimmers are selected for the FGC-Florida All-Star Meet at Indian River State College.
7.For the first time SOFLO hosted the TYR SOFLO Last Chance Meet in November at newly-renovated Academic Village Pool and reconfigured the lanes to run two pools. It was one of the largest meets of the year.
8.The Blue-White Intrasquad Dual Meet, featuring loads of team spirit, was one of the biggest hits of the year among 180 SOFLO swimmers. SOFLO White swept the combined, girls and boys titles to earn bragging rights for a year and build camaraderie among swimmers.
9.Against a strong field including a close battle with eventual winner St. Andrew’s Aquatics, SOFLO finishes runner-up at 32nd annual Speedo Winter Championships among a field of 72 teams.
10.SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding was named one of the team captains for University of Florida nationally-ranked women’s team.
Thank you for supporting the program now heading into its 23rd year. Here is to a Healthy, Happy and Promising New Year for our SOFLO Family!!!
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org