By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, January 18, 2023—Ana Villamil was looking to step up her game when she joined South Florida Aquatic Club a year and a half ago.

Villamil, 17, a senior at Cypress Bay High School, has seen huge improvements since joining the National Group and Coach Chris Anderson.

“I felt like at SOFLO I would be able to develop my potential as a swimmer better and I feel I have for sure,” Villamil said.

“I love the competitive atmosphere. It’s really fun training with my teammates. I really like competing every day at practice.

“I’m a really competitive person and being able to compete and reach my goals. I am very goal-oriented. Being able to set up goals and being able to pursue them and the work ethic that swimming gives me in every other aspect of life is the best thing.”

Villamil has been swimming competitively for eleven years. She got involved in the sport when doctors told her it would be good for her asthma and help her lungs so her mother signed her up for swimming.

Swimming has helped with discipline when it comes to her lifestyle. “I don’t have a lot of friends at school because I am so dedicated to swimming I have to go bed early. But I love it because it’s worth it.”

Villamil plans to swim at Indian River State College. She is also looking into swimming for her native Colombia internationally.

“I want to keep getting better at swimming, I really, really do,” Villamil said. “I want to keep swimming as far as I can get and be as good as I can possibly be.”

Villamil had her best meet at last month’s Speedo Winter Championships where she made her Futures cuts in the 100 butterfly and 200 breaststroke, events she did not think she would make it in, she said. She also has her cut in the 100 breaststroke.

“I was really shocked, I kept thinking is this really happening to me. It’s taken a really long time for me to see results. Seeing them and exceeding my goals, I was ecstatic. I didn’t know how to react.”

She also broke her high school team’s school record in the 100 breaststroke in a swim-off to go to finals. She finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke in her first state meet this season.

“I wish I could have another year of high school,” Villamil said. “Like everyone else, I missed a year because of Covid. I wish I would have had another year of experience of going to states and all these other big meets.”

If she could go back in time, Villamil said she would tell her younger self to have patience. “There were a lot of moments where I felt frustrated and I kind of panicked because I was doing all of this and I was seeing no results,” she said. “But it will get there and it’s little by little.”

Villamil is looking forward to competing at sectionals, senior championships and Futures before heading off to college. “I think I am definitely swimming the best I have since joining SOFLO,” she said.

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Villamil joins SOFLO teammates 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.

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 ESPY Sportswoman of the Year Katie Ledecky, 2020 Olympians Simone Manuel, Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Ashley Twichell and other elite swimmers Melanie Margalis, Molly Hannis and Kelsi Dahlia.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com