SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski Rocks Pool For Three Wins At FGC Senior Championships

SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski Rocks Pool For Three Wins At FGC Senior Championships


July 28, 2012

Caroline Kuczynski, one of the busiest South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers this summer, won two individual events and led off the winning 800-meter freestyle relay to highlight action Saturday night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Long Course Championships.

The 2016 Canadian Olympic hopeful, competing in her third country this summer, won the 200-meter freestyle in 2:06.89, 100-meter butterfly in 1:01.27, and led off the winning 800-meter freestyle relay that won in 8:45.22 at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Kuczynski, 21, a junior at Arizona State this fall, is coming off the Canadian Nationals in Edmonton where she won a gold medal and Swedish Nationals where she swam back-to-back best times in the 100-meter freestyle and was named Swimmer of the Day.

Kuczynski was joined on the relay by up-and-coming swimmers Kylie Herman, 15, Maria Lopez, 16, and Melissa Marinheiro, 15.

Melissa Marinheiro won the meet’s opening event knocking off Clara Smiddy, 16, of AK Sharks in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:07.91, just off her best time of 2:07.51. Marinheiro was the fastest morning seed in 2:08.31.

In morning prelims:

Kylie Herman, 15, lowered her best time from 2:17.40 to 2:17.17 in the girls 200-meter freestyle. Also in the event, Haley Wright, 15, dropped from 2:18.89 to 2:18.15. Evelin Jimenez, 17, dropped from 2:19.80 to 2:19.76 and her twin sister Daniela Jimenez, 17, dropped from 2:20.89 to 2:20.64.

In the boys’ 200-meter freestyle, Jacob Walters, 16, dropped from 2:07.68 to 2:07.05. Kyle Desrosiers, 16, swam a best time 2:08.29 lowering his previous best of 2:09.12. David Stoddard, 15, dropped from 2:12.57 to 2:09.23. Bryce Pierce, 15, dropped from 2:11.58 to 2:10.34.

Marc Rojas, 18, broke 2 minutes in the 200-meter freestyle in a best time 1:58.76, lowering his previous best of 2:01.55. Rojas also lowered his 400-meter individual medley time in 4:46.73, dropping from 4:57.39.

Also in the 200 freestyle, Carlo Morante, 19, dropped from 2:04.37 to 2:03.80. Jonathan Strod, 13, one of the youngest swimmers in the meet, dropped from 2:13.46 to 2:10.67.

Emily Jurich, 15, lowered her best time in the 50-meter backstroke in 35.58, dropping from 36.14.

August Charni, 15, swam a best time in the 50-meter backstroke in 31.54, lowering his previous best of 31.94. Also in the event, Fernando Quintero, 15, dropped from 32.35 to 31.76. Bryce Pierce, 15, dropped from 34.00 to 32.77. David Stoddard posted another best time, dropping from 34.19 to 33.14.

Keegan Boisson-Yates, 17, bettered his best time of 29.58 in the 50-meter backstroke in 28.60. Ben Fruitman, 17, dropped from 31.93 to 31.04.

In the girls 200-meter breaststroke, Rebecca Wilkerson, 15, had nice time drop from 3:06.51 to 3:01.58. Lindsey Sauer, 15, dropped from 3:03.10 to 3:01.70. Selina Voelkel, 16, dropped from 3:07.18 to 3:02.52.

In the boys 200-meter breaststroke, Jordan Colon, 15, also had a nice time drop from 2:46.11 to 2:41.66 along with Kyle Desrosiers, 16, who had a huge drop from 2:53.81 to 2:47.68. Roger Capote, 16, swam a best time 2:50.46 dropping from 2:52.87. Edward Kon, 16, dropped from 2:55.19 to 2:52.87.

Brandon Goldman, 17, also turned in an impressive best time in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:32.39, dropping from 2:39.03.

In the girls 100-meter butterfly, Kristina Brennan, 16, dropped from 1:09.94 to 1:09.52. Kylie Herman, 15, dropped from 1:13.63 to 1:12.30.

Jacob Walters, 16, equaled his best time of 1:01.70 in the 100-meter butterfly. Bryce Pierce, 15, dropped from 1:06.74 to 1:06.06.

In the girls 100-meter butterfly, Evelin Jimenez, 17, dropped from 1:08.61 to 1:08.40.

Carlo Morante, 19, dropped his best time of 1:02.51 to 1:02.03 in the 100-meter butterfly.

In the 400-meter individual medley, Kylie Herman, 15, lowered her best time from 5:39.33 to 5:33.86.

The three-day meet ends on Sunday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.



200-meter freestyle:

15-16, 1. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 2:07.91; SOFLO: 8. Emma Lincoln 2:13.18, 14. Amber Hunter 2:14.04, 16. Kylie Herman 2:15.07, 22. Haley Wright 2:18.15, 31. Lindsey Sauer 2:19.48, 33. Kristina Brennan 2:20.78, 40. Rebecca Wilkerson 2:23.60; Open, 1. Caroline Kuczynski, SOFLO 2:06.89; SOFLO: 31. Evelin Jimenez 2:19.76, 35. Daniela Jimenez 2:20.64, 46. Rachel Ling 2:22.30.

50-meter backstroke:

15-16, 1. Darby Goodwin, Jupiter 31.06; SOFLO: 11. Maria Lopez 33.12, 26. Emily Jurich 35.58; Open, 1. Jeserik Pinto, Davie 30.14; SOFLO: 5. Marcella Marinheiro 31.82, 9. Rachel Ling 33.86, 25. Danielle Ginzburg 35.93, 26. Evelin Jimenez 35.99, 27. Megan Schimansky 36.38.

200-meter breaststroke:

15-16, 1. Chase Harris, Jupiter 2:42.58; SOFLO: 11. Rebecca Wilkerson 3:00.90, 12. Selina Voelkel 3:02.12, 16. Lindsey Sauer 3:03.41; Open, 1. Emily Kopas, Davie 2:33.80.

100-meter butterfly:

15-16, 1. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 1:02.46; SOFLO: 2. Maria Lopez 1:04.64, 7. Melissa Marinheiro 1:06.72, 12. Amber Hunter 1:07.91, 14. Kristina Brennan 1:08.97, 27. Kylie Herman 1:12.30, 29. Haley Wright 1:12.36; Open, 1. Caroline Kuczynski, SOFLO 1:01.27; SOFLO: 12. Evelin Jimenez 1:08.11, 43. Daniela Jimenez 1:17.57.

400-meter individual medley:

15-16, 1. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 5:13.60; SOFLO: 8. Kylie Herman 5:33.86; Open, 1. Hannah Vandersluis, North Palm Beach 5:12.46.

800-meter freestyle relay:

Open, 1. SOFLO “A” 8:45.22 (Caroline Kuczynski, Kylie Herman, Maria Lopez, Melissa Marinheiro), 13. SOFLO “B” 9:17.34 (Haley Wright, Evelin Jimenez, Daniela Jimenez, Lindsey Sauer).


200-meter freestyle:

15-16, 1. Daniel Digiacomo, Dave 1:56.29; SOFLO: 26. Jacob Walters 2:07.05, 31. Kyle Desrosiers 2:08.29, 35. David Stoddard 2:09.23, 36. Bryce Pierce 2:10.34, 47. Roger Capote 2:13.97, 50. August Charni 2:14.27, 52. Edward Kon 2:14.70; Open, 1. Augie Manganiello, AK Sharks 1:55.47; SOFLO: 8. Marc Rojas 2:00.78, 29. Carlo Morante 2:03.80, 30. Keegan Boisson-Yates 2:03.95, 57. Mauricio Hidalgo 2:09.31, 63. Jonathan Strod 2:10.67, 71. Ryan Capote 2:15.72.

50-meter backstroke:

15-16, 1. Chad Moody, Pompano Beach 28.70; SOFLO: 10. August Charni 31.24, 13. Fernando Quintero 31.84, 22. Bryce Pierce 32.77, 28. David Stoddard 33.14, 42. Juan Saldana 35.33; Open, 1. Ramon Walton, St. Andrew’s Swimming 27.41; SOFLO: 3. Keegan Boisson-Yates 27.72, 4. Brandon Goldman 27.76, 13. Carlo Morante 29.87, 20. Ben Fruitman 31.04, 24. Ivan Parada 31.54, 44. Ryan Capote 33.88.

200-meter breaststroke:

15-16, 1. Shane McNamara, Empire Swimming 2:25.33; SOFLO: 11. Jordan Colon 2:39.01, 16. Kyle Desrosiers 2:48.04, 19. Ryan Capote 2:50.46, 23. Edward Kon 2:52.87, 26. Bowie Suen 2:55.80; Open, 1. Leo Martins, Davie 2:20.29; SOFLO: 7. Brandon Goldman 2:34.10.

100-meter butterfly:

15-16, 1. Zuhayr Pigot, Metro Aquatics 57.14; SOFLO: 4. Jacob Walters 1:00.82, 31. Ilya Evdokimov 1:04.83, 38. Bryce Pierce 1:06.06; Open, 1. Austin Saunders, Westminster Academy 56.81; SOFLO: 6. Keegan Boisson-Yates 58.55, 26. Carlo Morante 1:02.03, 31. Xavier Brown 1:02.62, 49. Mauricio Hidalgo 1:04.16, 70. Jonathan Strod 1:07.13.

400-meter individual medley:

15-16, 1. Shane McNamara, Empire Swimming 4:42.02; SOFLO: 13. Jordan Colon 5:05.03; Open, 1. Samuel Smiddy, AK Sharks 4:36.80; SOFLO: 5. Marc Rojas 4:46.73.

800-meter freestyle relay:

Open, 1. Metro Aquatics and Davie Nadadores, 7:55.79, 9. SOFLO “A” 8:16.89 (Keegan Boisson-Yates, Ivan Parada, Carlo Morante, Marc Rojas), 15. SOFLO “B” 8:35.32 (Jacob Walters, Bryce Pierce, Kyle Desrosiers, David Stoddard). 

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 5: Swimming Takes Center Stage At Olympics, SOFLO’s Atkinson Competes Sunday

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 5: Swimming Takes Center Stage At Olympics, SOFLO’s Atkinson Competes Sunday


July 28, 2012

Reigning world champion Ryan Lochte won his first gold medal of the 2012 London Olympics Saturday night to highlight a dramatic night of swimming at the steamy Aquatics Centre.

Lochte, 27, of Daytona Beach, won the 400-meter individual medley, the first of two highly-anticipated races against rival Michael Phelps. Lochte pulled away during the backstroke and won in 4:05.18, a textile-best.

Phelps, the two-time defending Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, was fourth in 4:09.28, 34/100ths out of medal contention.

It was the first gold medal for the U.S. team and first time Lochte beat Phelps in an Olympic final.

“I think I am in shock right now,” Lochte said. “Going into these Games I knew I was capable of getting the win. I’m happy that I was able to do that. I am ready to rock. This is going to be an Olympics to remember.

“I heard the fans screaming all throughout the race and definitely had my family there. It definitely helped me out a lot.”

Lochte was his laidback self before the race and on the medal podium. He wore new bright green shoes and put his diamond Stars and Stripes grill across his top front teeth for photographers. Lochte was not allowed to wear his grill on the podium. An IOC official told him he would not get his gold medal if he did.

“It’s just a unique way of showing my personality,” Lochte said.

Three-time Olympian Thiago Pereira of Brazil took the silver, his first-ever Olympic medal, in 4:08.86 and 17-year-old Kosuke Hagino of Japan finished with the bronze in 4:08.94. Hagino, who won the 200 IM at last year’s FINA Junior World Championships, was not expected to reach an Olympic final.

The race was no contest with Lochte leading from start-to-finish and crushing the men’s field. Lochte, who has six Olympic medals including three golds in his lifetime, had flirted with world record pace for the first 350 meters.

“I know he gave it everything he had,” Lochte said of the 16-time medal winner. “That’s all you can really ask. I’m going to talk to him and see how he feels about that.”

Phelps had barely made it into the final, qualifying eighth just out-touching Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh. Lochte, who said he didn’t feel good in the morning prelim, was third fastest qualifier.

“I was lucky to get in,” Phelps said. “I had a chance to put myself in a spot to start off on a good note and didn’t do it. Ryan had a good race.”

It is the first time since 2000 when Phelps was 15 that he has missed a medal in an Olympic event. It was the 400 IM that Phelps kept saying he would never race again after 2008 because it was too painful. But inexplicably decided to race it at trials.

“It was just a crappy race,” Phelps said. “They swam a better race than me, they swam a smarter race than me and that is why they are on the podium. It’s just really frustrating to start off on a bad note like this. It’s pretty upsetting.

“The biggest thing now is to try and get past this and move forward,” Phelps said. “I have a bunch of races and hopefully we can finish this a lot better than we started.”

On Wednesday, the two go head-to-head for the second and final time in the 200-meter individual medley, an event Phelps has won in each of the last two Olympics.

Meanwhile, China dominated the remainder of the swimming.

Sun Yang, 20, won the men’s 400-meter freestyle in an Olympic record 3:40.14, eclipsing Ian Thorpe’s Olympic record set in 2000. Olympic defending champion Tae-Hwan Park of South Korea, after being disqualified in morning prelims for a false start and then reinstated by FINA, was second in 3:42.06. American Peter Vanderkaay, who relocated to Gainesville to train for the Olympics, took the bronze in 3:44.69.

“I am very glad to have won the gold, it means a lot to me,” Yang said. “It is a reward for the many years of effort. Tonight, I did a good race. If I had won the gold without Park swimming in the final, maybe the Korean media would have said that it was a medal not gained well enough. To have Park in the race was a very good challenge for me.”

China’s 16-year-old Ye Shiwen won the women’s 400-meter individual medley in a world record time of 4:28.43, knocking off American Elizabeth Beisel of University of Florida, who was second in 4:31.27. China’s Xuanxu Li took bronze in 4:32.91.

The Aussies looked unbeatable on the women’s 400-meter freestyle relay with Alicia Coutts, 24, Cate Campbell, 20, Brittany Elmslie, 18, and Melanie Schlanger, 25, winning in an Olympic record 3:33.15. Schlanger held off the Netherlands, the defending Olympic champion that finished second in 3:33.79. The U.S. took bronze with Missy Franklin, Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt. Neal became the first African-American woman to swim in an Olympic final.

Natalie Coughlin, 29, as a member of the U.S. relay that swam prelims along with Amanda Weir and qualified, tied for most career Olympic medals with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres of the Coral Springs Swim Club with 12. Coughlin, who did not qualify in an individual event, is now done for the week and will be a team cheerleader, she said.

“I really have no idea what to think of it so far,” Coughlin said. “I’ll have to let that one sit and I’ll have to take it all in. I’m very proud of it but I’ve never been on a morning relay before.”

If the Florida Gators swimmers were a country, they would be tied with China for Olympic swim medals with three.

SOFLO three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov was eliminated in the morning prelims of the men’s 100-meter breaststroke, his only event in London.

Polyakov finished 34th in 1:02.15. His splits were 29.06 and 33.09. Suriname’s Diguan Pigot of Metro Aquatics was 43rd in 1:05.55.

In the men’s breaststroke semifinals, which were crazy fast, South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh broke 59 seconds for the second time in his career to earn the top seed in an Olympic record 58.83, breaking Kosuke Kitajima’s Olympic mark of 58.91 set in 2008. American Brendan Hansen barely qualified for finals with the eighth fastest time in 59.78.

American Dana Vollmer set an Olympic, American and textile-best in prelims of the 100-meter butterfly prelims in 56.25 and earned the top seed after semifinals in 56.36.

On Sunday, SOFLO’s three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica will compete in the prelims of the 100-meter breaststroke, the first of three events she is entered in.

The swimming attracted its share of VIPs including Queen Elizabeth for the morning session and First Lady Michelle Obama for the evening session.

NBC, with its mega hours and channels of coverage, is not making any friends by showing the swimming finals on tape-delay especially in this social media era where followers know who won immediately after races. Twitter lit up with complaints about it and NBC’s sub-par live streaming which kept cutting in out and out online on the first full day of competition.

The U.S. swim team’s “Call Me Maybe” video parody has now hit 2 million viewers on YouTube.

Water polo

Hungary will put its 17-match unbeaten Olympic streak on the line Sunday as it begins its quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. Hungary opens up against gold medal favorite Serbia on opening day of the water polo competition. The U.S. team, 2008 Olympic silver medalist, opens up against Montenegro.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Emma Lincoln Leads SOFLO On Day One Of FGC Senior Championships At Coral Springs

Emma Lincoln Leads SOFLO On Day One Of FGC Senior Championships At Coral Springs


July 27, 2012

Emma Lincoln stole the show Friday night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in her home pool at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

The 16-year-old South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer won the 15-16 100-meter freestyle with a career-best time and anchored the winning 400-meter freestyle relay.

Lincoln won the 100-meter freestyle in 59.57 seconds, lowering her previous best of 59.91. She was the fifth fastest qualifier in morning prelims.

Lincoln joined teammates Caroline Kuczynski, 21, Marcella Marinheiro, 17, and Melissa Marinheiro, 15, to win the relay in 4:02.22, bettering their seed time of 4:06.23.

Kuczynski, a junior at Arizona State, is competing in six events this weekend. The U.S. is the third country the 2016 Canadian Olympic hopeful has competed in this summer. She also competed in meets in Sweden and Canada.

Kuczynski posted a best time 59.90 in the 100-meter freestyle, in the first of the six events. It was the second fastest time in morning prelims. Her previous best was 1:00.24. She finished second in finals in 59.33, lowering her best time again.

Kuczynski was also fourth in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:30.71.

Alex Rodriguez, 21, swam the fastest 50-meter breaststroke prelim time in a career-best 29.81, cracking 30 seconds for the first time and lowering his previous best of 30.26. He finished second in finals in 30.14 behind Davie’s Leonardo Martins (30.09).

Maria Lopez, 16, was second in the 200-meter butterfly in a best time 2:22.01, lowering her previous best of 2:22.21. Amber Hunter, 16, was third in 2:30.53. Lopez also swam a best time in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:40.01, lowering her previous best of 4:52.91.

Other SOFLO “A” finalists:

Brandon Goldman, 17, third in the 200-meter butterfly in a best time 2:08.66, lowering his previous best of 2:22.76 which he lowered first in prelims in 2:12.08.

Kelly Kealty, 15, fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke in a best time of 36.98, bettering her previous best of 37.09.

Ilya Evdokimov, 16, fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke in a best time 32.24, lowering his best time of 32.41.

Marc Rojas, 18, was fifth in the 400-meter freestyle in a best time 4:08.63, lowering his previous best of 4:09.82.

Emily Jurich, 15, fifth in the 50-meter breaststroke in 37.07, also a best time, lowering her previous best of 40.13.

Melissa Marinheiro, 15, fifth in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:00.79 and eighth in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:35.37.

Marcella Marinheiro, 17, sixth in the 200-meter backstroke, 2:31.24.

Carlo Morante, 19, seventh in the 200-meter backstroke, 2:21.39.

Evelin Jimenez, 17, eighth in the 200-meter butterfly in a best time 2:34.90, lowering her previous best of 2:35.20.

In morning prelims:

Melissa Marinheiro, 15, swam a best time 2:29.08 in the 200-meter butterfly, lowering her previous best of 2:30.40 and earning the third seed.

Rachel Ling, 17, lowered her best time in the 200-meter backstroke from 2:44.21 to 2:38.20. She also bettered her time in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:04.88, dropping from 1:06.71. Daniela Jimenez dropped from 1:05.93 to 1:05.03 in the 100 freestyle.

Kylie Herman, 15, bettered her best time in the 100-meter freestyle from 1:04.87 to 1:03.38. Herman dropped her 200-meter butterfly time in 2:36.77 dropping from 2:41.27.

Lindsey Sauer, 15, also bettered her time in the 100-meter freestyle in 1:04.67 dropping from 1:04.73. Also in the event, Haley Wright, 15, dropped from 1:05.92 to 1:05.21. Kaitlin Armstrong, 16, bettered her time from 1:07.79 to 1:06.14. Rebecca Wilkerson swam a best time in 1:06.69, dropping from 1:07.36. Wilkerson also swam a best time in the 50-meter breaststroke in 38.18, dropping from 39.72.

Emily Jurich, 15, swam a best time 37.52 in the 50-meter breaststroke dropping from 40.13. Also in the event, Selina Voelkel, 16, dropped from 39.97 to a best time 38.81.

Brandon Goldman, 17, swam the sixth fastest time in the 200-meter butterfly prelims in a best time 2:12.08, dropping from 2:22.76.

David Stoddard, 15, posted two best times. He dropped from 2:29.08 to 2:28.39 in the 200-meter backstroke. And, in the 100-meter freestyle he swam a lifetime-best 58.13, lowering his previous best of 1:00.17.

Kyle Desrosiers, 16, swam a best time in the 100-meter freestyle in 58.15, dropping from 59.57. Also in the event, Bryce Pierce, 15, dropped from 1:00.36 to 58.21 and Josh Cutter, 16, dropped from 1:00.29 to 58.41. Ilya Evdokimov, 16, dropped from 1:01.73 to 59.92. William Perry swam 1:01.51, dropping 1/100th off his previous best.

Ben Fruitman, 17, dropped from 2:29.49 to 2:25.05 in the 200-meter backstroke. Fruitman also improved his 100-meter freestyle time in 57.48 dropping from 57.81.

Ryan Capote, 14, swam a career-best time in the 100-meter freestyle in 59.96, dropping from 1:01.08.

Jacob Walters, 16, dropped from 2:20.73 to 2:24.30 in the 200-meter butterfly.

Jonathan Strod, 13, lowered his best time in the 50-meter breaststroke from 37.07 to 35.98. Also in the event, Derek Maguire, 18, swam a best time 36.92 dropping from 36.38.



200-meter freestyle relay:

1.Metro Aquatics 1:51.37, 6. SOFLO “A” 1:54.43 (Emma Lincoln, Maria Lopez, Anne Kuczynski, Melissa Marinheiro), 10. SOFLO “B” 1:55.17 (Kristina Brennan, Amber Hunter, Evelin Jimenez, Kylie Herman).

200-meter backstroke:

15-16, 1. Clara Smiddy, AK Sharks 2:22.14; SOFLO: 13. Maria Lopez 2:32.25, 15. Kristina Brennan 2:37.38; Open, 1. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:19.90; SOFLO: 6. Marcella Marinheiro 2:31.24, 11. Rachel Ling 2:39.72, 12. Megan Schimansky 2:42.13.

100-meter freestyle:

15-16, 1. Emma Lincoln, SOFLO 59.57, best time; SOFLO: 5. Melissa Marinheiro 1:00.79, 20. Kylie Herman 1:03.38, best time, 24. Kristina Brennan 1:03.73, 33. Lindsey Sauer 1:04.67, best time, 34. Amber Hunter 1:04.68, 40. Haley Wright 1:05.21, best time, 49. Kaitlin Armstrong 1:06.14, best time, 56. Rebecca Wilkerson 1:06.69, best time, 72. Kelly Kealty 1:08.47; Open, 1. Katelyn Miller, Unattached 58.06; SOFLO: 2. Caroline Kuczynski 59.33, 16. Marcella Marinheiro 1:02.21, 24. Evelin Jimenez 1:03.03, 35. Rachel Ling 1:04.88, best time, 36. Anne Kuczynski 1:04.90, 37. Daniela Jimenez 1:05.03, best time.

200-meter butterfly:

15-16, 1. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 2:16.09; SOFLO: 2. Maria Lopez 2:22.01, best time, 3. Amber Hunter 2:30.53, 8. Melissa Marinheiro 2:35.37, 11. Kylie Herman 2:35.44, best time, 15. Haley Wright 2:38.56; Open: 1. Rya Marynowski, Empire Swimming 2:19.43;  SOFLO: 8. Evelin Jimenez 2:34.90.

50-meter breaststroke:

15-16, 1. Anna Valls, Miami Swimming 33.37; SOFLO: 4. Kelly Kealty 36.98, 5. Emily Jurich 37.07, 12. Rebecca Wilkerson 38.18, best time in prelims, 15. Rebecca Wilkerson 38.54, 19. Selina Voelkel 38.81, best time; Open: 1. Hana Vandersluis, North Palm Beach 35.10.

400-meter freestyle:

Open, 1. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s swimming 4:225.04; SOFLO: 4. Caroline Kuczynski 4:30.71, 20. Daniela Jimenez 4:50.31, best time.

400-meter freestyle relay:

1.SOFLO “A” 4:02.22 (Caroline Kuczynski, Marcella Marinheiro, Melissa Marinheiro, EmmaLincoln), 14. SOFLO “B” 4:17.24 (Kaitlin Armstrong, Kylie Herman, Amber Hunter, Evelin Jimenez).


200-meter freestyle relay:

1.Westminster Academy “A” 1:34.80, 11. SOFLO “A” 1:41.13 (Ben Fruitman, Alex Rodriguez, Austin Pillado, Keegan Boisson-Yates), 21. SOFLO “B” 1:44.78 (Ivan Parada, August Charni, Carlo Morante, Ilya Evdokimov).

200-meter backstroke:

15-16, 1. B. Depawlikowski, Metro Aquatics 2:12.69; SOFLO: 16. David Stoddard 2:29.25, best time, 24. August Charni 2:31.03, 26. Fernando Quintero 2:32.14; Open, 1. Gabriel Pedrao, Unattached 2:12.00; SOFLO: 7. Carlo Morante 2:21.39, 12. Ben Fruitman 2:24.21, best time, 26. Ryan Capote 2:39.00.

100-meter freestyle:

15-16, 1. Zuhayr Pigot, Metro Aquatics 53.99; SOFLO: 24. Jacob Walters 57.99, 27. David Stoddard 58.13, best time, 28. Kyle Desrosiers 58.15, best time, 30. Bryce Pierce 58.21, best time, 34. Josh Cutter 58.41, best time, 48. August Charni 59.34, 53. Ilya Evdokimov 59.92, best time, 67. Jordan Colon 1:01.07, 70. Roger Capote 1:01.31, 74. William Perry 1:01.51, 77. Fernando Quintero 1:01.84, 90. Bowie Suen 1:03.37; Open, 1. Daniel Spas, Heritage Aquatics 52.32; SOFLO: 13. Alex Rodriguez 55.24, 23. Keegan Boisson-Yates 55.42, 46. Carlo Morante 57.16, 55. Ben Fruitman 57.48, best time, 62. Ivan Parada 57.95, 81. Jonathan Strod 59.30, best time, 86. Austin Pillado 59.71, equals best time, 89. Ryan Capote 59.96, best time, 100. Mauricio Hidalgo 1:00.81, 116. Di Sanguinetti 1:50.58.

200-meter butterfly:

15-16, 1. Fernando Bohorquez, Davie Nadadores 2:08.22; SOFLO: 9. Jacob Walters 2:17.70, best time, 28. Joshua Coote 2:34.48; Open, 1. SOFLO: 21. Mauricio Hidalgo 2:21.97.

50-meter breaststroke:

15-16, 1. Jordy Groters, Davie Nadadores 30.67; SOFLO: 4. Ilya Evdokimov 32.24, 31. Kyle Desrosiers 36.34, 33. Josh Cutter 36.39, 36. Bowie Suen 36.62, 38. Edward Kon 36.76, 43. William Perry 38.29; Open, 1. Leonardo Martins, SOFLO 30.09; SOFLO: 2. Alex Rodriguez 30.14, 36. Brandon Goldman 34.26, 44. Jonathan Strod 35.98, best time, 48. Derek Maguire 36.92, best time.

400-meter freestyle:

Open, 1. Samuel Smiddy, AK Sharks 4:05.56; SOFLO: 5. Marc Rojas 4:08.63, 27. Austin Pillado 4:33.51.

400-meter freestyle relay:

1.Miami Swimming 3:37.11, 9. SOFLO “A” 3:43.36 (Alex Rodriguez, Carlo Morante, Marc Rojas, Keegan Boisson-Yates), 20. SOFLO “B” 3:54.61 (Ben Fruitman, Jacob Walters, Ivan Parada, David Stoddard).

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 4: Temperature, Olympic Fever Rising In London

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 4: Temperature, Olympic Fever Rising In London


July 26, 2012

The unseasonable 90-degree weather outdoors in London is having a sauna-like effect on the London Aquatics Centre indoor facility.

While facility officials are trying to temper the hot air rising from the vents, air temperature was 85 degrees and water temperature 79 degrees on Thursday, just two days before the swimming events begin.

“The folks have done a great job working on the facility,” U.S. Olympic men’s coach Gregg Troy of University of Florida said.

“I guess it’s a little bit warmer than what they usually get this time of the year. It’s been a little warmer on the deck, but it’s not unreasonable. I think it’s going to be a whole lot warmer in the stands. We’re from Florida so we’re used to the heat and it’s a little advantage from our standpoint. I think they’ll get it taken care of.”

Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman and several other members of the U.S. team met with the media on Wednesday and Thursday.

Phelps was asked what keeps him motivated.

“How many toppings do I want on my sundae? “ Phelps said. “I am having fun. My goals are keeping motivated. I am excited. It is kind of annoying sitting around and waiting the whole time. As soon as we are in the village, we wanted to compete.”

Phelps swims against Ryan Lochte in the much-hyped 400-meter individual medley on Saturday. He said it’s a great way to get the U.S. team started off on the right foot.

“Everything we have done has never been easy,” Phelps said. “It is always a challenge to have things go perfectly. For the very first night it is going to be a challenging race. It is going to be an exciting race.”

Added Bowman, “For someone who wants to promote the sport of swimming, there is not a better way than for him to swim that race. It will be a very tough race. It will be a coach’s dream and I think a spectator’s dream.”

Missy Franklin, who will swim in seven events, said she is honored to be compared to Phelps but added “There is only one Michael Phelps. He won eight gold medals and no one is going to do that again.” Franklin is trying to become the first female swimmer to win seven medals at an Olympics.

Natalie Coughlin said she is not done with swimming and may train for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I think a lot of people assumed that I was done and I never said that,” Coughlin said. “The hardest part of being an athlete is the day-to-day training and I enjoy that, so I might as well keep doing it.”

Lochte was answering just as many questions about his love life as his swimming career. The media seems to be making a big deal over his friendship with Aussie swimmer Blair Evans. He said they were just friends and that he hadn’t seen her in a year and was happy to see her.

Lochte and Phelps are suite mates in the Athletes’ Village. They have been playing cards and watching DVDs of Breaking Bad and The Wire, he said.

Lochte was asked about his game plan to beat Phelps and Lochte downplayed the rivalry the media has built up.

“I am not really going to swim to beat Michael,” Lochte said with a smile. “There are a bunch of others in the race to worry about. Michael is my competitor but we also have a great friendship.”

U.S. Swimmers A Hit On YouTube

If there is a gold medal for best Olympic YouTube, the U.S. Olympic swim team wins hands-down.

In a parody of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” video, swimmers and coaches were featured in one of the funniest and entertaining videos featuring Olympic athletes. USA Swimming’s Mark Russell was videographer and editor, Kathleen Hersey was director, Caitlin Leverenz was executive producer and Alyssa Anderson was producer. Natalie Coughlin choreographed the airplane dance scene. Swimmers did it between workouts to blow off a little steam, they said.

It did show that this is probably the loosest, most tight-knit Olympic swim team in USA Swimming. “It is one great group of swimmers,” texted USA Swimming’s Jack Roach who opened the video swaying along with Michael Phelps. “It has been so much fun.”

Brendan Hansen dancing under water is one of the video highlights. “My underwater dancing is much better than on land, trust me,” Hansen tweeted.

Matt Grevers booty dancing, Ryan Lochte puckering up, Missy Franklin dancing and lip syncing with emotion and Dana Vollmer breaking up a kiss between real-life couple Rebecca Soni and Ricky Berens were just some of the hilarious highlights.


With the departure of Stanford women’s coach Lea Maurer, who resigned to spend more time with her family, Missy Franklin has dropped Stanford from her list of top college choices. She said that three of her visits are UC-Berkeley, Georgia and USC. She is expected to have a few more visits. Franklin has retained her amateur status to compete in college, turning down prize money and endorsements…

The U.S. team’s opening ceremonies outfits were pricey. The men’s outfit cost close to $2,000 each while the women’s was nearly $1500. The men’s blazers and shirts were $1,000 along as well as the women’s blazers and skirts. But then again it is designer label Ralph Lauren, a U.S. Olympic sponsor. Lauren and the U.S. Olympic Committee were blasted for having the outfits made in China and not in the U.S. Lauren has already promised to have the 2014 Winter Olympic uniforms made in the U.S…

Sweden’s world champion Therese Alshammar may be forced to drop out of the Olympics because of a severe pinched nerve in her right shoulder which she has had for the last few months. It’s begun to affect her back and prevents her from a complete full shoulder rotation. She is undergoing treatment and could improve over the next few days according to team trainers. She has already dropped off the 400 freestyle relay…

Former Miami swimmer and 1984 Olympian Michelle Richardson is serving as chef de mission for Nicaragua and will carry the country’s flag in Friday night’s Opening Ceremonies Parade of Nations. Her brother Frank competed in the Olympics for Nicaragua. Chinyere Pigot of Suriname and Metro Aquatics will also be a flag bearer. Davie Nadadores swimmers Jemal Legrand of Aruba and Sofyan El Gidi of Libya were also selected by their peers to carry their countries’ flags in their Olympic debut.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Coral Springs Swim Club Hosts FGC Senior Championships This Weekend

Coral Springs Swim Club Hosts FGC Senior Championships This Weekend


July 25, 2012

With the excitement of the London Olympics in the air, the Florida Gold Coast Senior Long Course Championships will have a little extra kick to it.

The three-day meet begins Friday and will be hosted by the Coral Springs Swim Club at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, training site for SOFLO three-time Olympians Arlene Semeco and Vlad Polyakov who will be competing in London.

The field features some of South Florida’s top age group swimmers.

SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski and Melissa Marinheiro head SOFLO’s 58-swimmer contingent.

Marinheiro, 15, is the top seed in the 15-16 200-meter freestyle (2:07.51). Marinheiro recently qualified for next month’s Speedo Junior Nationals in Indianapolis.

Kuczynski, 21, is the top seed in the open 100-meter butterfly (59.65) and seeded second in the 50 butterfly (27.45). Kuczynski, who is entered in seven events, is coming off a gold medal performance at last weekend’s Summer Nationals in Canada.

Among other top SOFLO swimmers entered are:

Marcella Marinheiro, 17, seeded second in the 200 backstroke (2:19.66).

Emma Lincoln, 16, seeded second in the 100-meter freestyle (59.03).

Brandon Goldman, 17, seeded second in the 50-meter backstroke (28.35). Goldman is also preparing for the upcoming junior nationals.

Zuhayr Pigot, 15, of Metro Aquatics and Doral Academy will compete while his sister, Chinyere, 19, and brother Diguan, 18, will swim in London for Suriname. Chinyere was voted to carry the country’s flag in Friday night’s Opening Ceremonies. The family, since moving to South Florida six years ago, trains with Kirk Peppas at Metro Aquatics.

Other SOFLO swimmers qualified for the meet are:

The girls are Kaitlin Armstrong, 16; Kristina Brennan, 16; Leysha Caraballo, 15; Danielle Ginzburg, 14; Kylie Herman, 15; Amber Hunter, 16; Daniela Jimenez, 17; Evelin Jimenez, 17; Emily Jurich, 15; Kelly Kealty, 15; Anne Kuczynski, 17; Rachel Ling, 17; Maria Lopez, 16; Bianca Muniz, 20; Astrid Rigau, 16; Kennedy Sanes, 16; Lindsey Sauer, 15; Selina Voelkel, 16; Rebecca Wilkerson, 15; and Haley Wright, 15.

The boys are Brian Arnaud, 18; Xavier Brown, 17; Roger Capote, 16; Ryan Capote, 14; August Charni, 15; Jordan Colon, 15; Joshua Coote, 16; Joshua Cutter, 16; Kyle Desrosiers, 16; Ilya Evdokimov, 16; Ben Fruitman, 17; Matthew Gonzalez, 17; Mauricio Hidalgo, 18; Edward Kon, 16; Derek Maguire, 18; Carlo Morante, 19; Ivan Parada, 17; William Perry, 16; Bryce Pierce, 16; Austin Pillado, 17; Fernando Quintero, 15; Jonathan Rivas, 15; Marc Rojas, 18; Juan Saldana, 15; Diego Sanguinetti, 21; Julio Simon, 20; David Stoddard, 15; Jonathan Strod, 13; Bowie Suen, 16; Brendan Teeters, 15; and Jacob Walters, 16. 

Other top teams competing are St. Andrew’s Swimming, Pine Crest, Metro Aquatics and Davie Nadadores.


What: Florida Gold Coast Senior Long Course Championships

When: Friday-Sunday

Where: Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, 12441 Royal Palm Blvd.

Schedule: Friday, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. prelims, 5-7:47 p.m. finals; Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-noon prelims, 5-8:14 p.m. finals; Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-1:49 p.m. prelims, 5-7:49 p.m. finals.

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets. For information call 954-345-2121.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 2: South Florida Stepping Stone For SOFLO’s Atkinson, Polyakov, Semeco To London Olympics

OLYMPIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 2: South Florida Stepping Stone For SOFLO’s Atkinson, Polyakov, Semeco To London Olympics


July 24, 2012

South Florida is a hidden jewel for athletes of all ages and ability levels, but particularly for those competing at the London Olympics that begin on Friday.

A record 67 athletes and nine coaches with South Florida ties have qualified to compete over 17 days on the world’s greatest stage for amateur sports.

South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented by three-time Olympians Alia Atkinson of Jamaica, Arlene Semeco of Venezuela and Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan and coaches Bruno Darzi and Chris Anderson.

The large local contingent that calls South Florida home has helped to solidify its reputation as a training playground for future Olympic hopefuls.

Glistening 50-meter Olympic pools at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, training home for Semeco and Polyakov and Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines, where Atkinson grew up, are two venues producing age group, national and international-quality swimmers.

From the pristine show rings at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington and beach volleyball courts on Fort Lauderdale Beach to the Brian Piccolo Park Velodrome in Cooper City, South Florida has become the ideal training ground for athletes from the U.S. and around the world, particularly South and Central America and the Caribbean, all working feverishly for their moment of glory.

Why are we home to so many Olympians?

Coaches and athletes agree it’s a combination of great weather and ability to train year-round at sea level; facilities, coaching, history and sheer numbers of athletes to train and compete against for a shot at Olympic stardom every four years.

“This is paradise for an athlete,” said Polyakov, who started training at Coral Springs at age 15 while attending St. Thomas Aquinas. “The atmosphere is perfect. This is where you want to be if you want to train.”

“We have everything we need here,” Semeco said. “Good coaching, good athletes to train with and world-class venue, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Coral Springs sent a record eight swimmers to the 2008 Beijing Olympics during six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg’s legendary coaching tenure. Lohberg passed away in April 2011 but the tradition remains.

Coral Springs Swim Club head coach Bruno Darzi, mentored by Lohberg as both a swimmer and coach, will coach Semeco and Polyakov in London.

Andrea Di Nino, another Lohberg protégé, will be in London as a national team coach for the Russian Swimming Federation. The 39-year-old Italian founder and head coach of the ADN Swim Project spent three years with the Coral Springs Swim Team, learning from Lohberg and his swimmers.

The popularity of swimming has grown in South Florida in the last four decades. Many say that swimming from the 1970s on was the catalyst for other sports in South Florida. 1976 Olympic women’s coach Jack Nelson of the now-defunct Fort Lauderdale Swim Team started bringing in post-college graduates from the U.S. and foreign countries to the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Nelson trained 40 Olympians from various countries in more than 50 years as a coach.

“It was word of mouth mostly,” said the Hall of Famer, recently honored at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex. “They came from everywhere.”

SOFLO CEO and coach Chris Anderson, who will coach Jamaica’s one-swimmer team in Atkinson, remembers training as a swimmer in Fort Lauderdale when he was a 12-year-old age group swimmer for Bernal’s Gators.

“A lot has to do with the atmosphere that draws the athletes,” said Anderson, Florida Gold Coast General Chairman. “This is the ideal training area. We have 50-meter pools within 20 minutes of each other. We have some very good coaches in a small area that have wonderful training environments.”

Added Atkinson, “Some of our countries are so small that we don’t have enough training or competition so the majority come to South Florida for sure because of the pools, coaches and swimmers and because it’s close to these countries.”

The $5 million dollar Mission Bay Aquatic Training Center in west Boca Raton gained attention when it opened in 1985. Millionaire developer James Brady hired Olympic coaches Mark Schubert and Ron O’Brien.

The idea of an all-inclusive training site for swimmers and divers, including Greg Louganis, caught on and became a hotbed for producing national champions and Olympians for the U.S. and various countries. Before the privately-funded epicenter went bankrupt and closed in 1991, it raised the bar for the sport in the Florida Gold Coast.

“You always have champions inspiring potential champions,” Schubert said. “It opens their horizons.”

South Florida’s Olympic influence may now extend beyond the pool, but there is no denying that South Florida is a swimming haven for all ages, from beginners, age group and high school swimmers, to collegians and past, present and future Olympians.

Florida Gold Coast coaches including Darzi and Anderson and their coaching staffs are hoping the excitement surrounding swimming including teenager Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Cullen Jones will attract more young kids into the sport.

There always seems to be an increase in age group swimmers after the Olympics. The sport is well-publicized like mainstream sports football, basketball and baseball and it comes across as a very clean, competitive sport.

“The Olympics is like the Super Bowl or World Series for swimming,” said University of Miami All-American swimmer Kirk Peppas, now head aquatics director and coach at Metro Aquatics Club of Miami.

“I had an aunt tell my mother, ‘Priscilla, drop your son off at the pool for an hour. They come back home and they are dead tired. They don’t want to do anything after swim practice. That’s how I got involved and I enjoyed it.”

Coaches emphasize that swimming isn’t just about winning medals or earning a college scholarship. Swimming is a healthy sport for kids. It helps discipline them, it’s a team sport and great social environment. It introduces them to time management, balancing school, practice and family life. “You will notice swimmers are the ones with the best grades in school,” said one coach.

According to the U.S. Olympic Committee, the odds of a child becoming an Olympic athlete are 1 in 28,500. Not bad odds, especially if the Olympic hopeful grows up and trains in South Florida.

2012 South Florida Olympic Athletes


LeBron James, U.S., Miami Heat.


Sylvia Fowles, Miami-born, went to Miami Edison, transferred to Gulliver Prep, second straight Olympic appearance.


Steve Grotowski, Great Britain, Boynton Beach resident, graduated from Oakland Park Northeast.


Kelci Bryant, former University of Miami

Reuben Ross, Canada, University of Miami alum, synchro diving.

Brittany Viola, University of Miami alum, platform

Randy Ableman, UM coach

Greg Louganis, former UM, Mission Bay, Fort Lauderdale Diving, now is USA Diving athlete mentor


Tina Konyot, Palm City, dressage

McLain Ward, Wellington, show jumping.


Danell Leyva, Miami, U.S.

Jessica Gil Ortiz, Miami, Colombia


Jhonny Prada, U.S., Coral Springs, member of coaching staff, head coach and founder of Ki-Itsu-Sai Judo Club in Coral Springs.


Robin Prendes, U.S., Miami, lightweight men’s four.


Brian Faith, Miami, keel boat

Sarah Lihan, Fort Lauderdale, St. Thomas Aquinas alum.

Mark Mendelblatt, Miami, keel boat

Anna Tunnicliffe, U.S., Plantation.


Ifeoma Dleke, Great Britain, FIU alum

Melissa Ortiz, Colombia, Cardinal Newman, Lynn University alum.


Yousef Alaskari, Kuwait, Davie Nadadores, American Heritage.

Rafael Alfaro, El Salvador, Davie Nadadores       

Bradley Ally, Barbados, St. Thomas Aquinas and University of Florida alum.

Alia Atkinson, Jamaica, Flanagan alum, South Florida Aquatic Club, will be third Olympic appearance.

Chris Anderson, Jamaica, South Florida Aquatic Club, Jamaica coach.

Pamela Benitez, El Salvador, Davie Nadadores, alum

Lani Cabrera, Barbados, Davie Nadadores

Carolina Colorado, Colombia, Davie Nadadores

Hollie Bonewit-Cron, Nova Southeastern head swimming coach, Grenada coach.

Bruno Darzi, SOFLO/Coral Springs Swim Club head coach, will be coaching Vlad Polyakov and Arlene Semeco.

Joao de Lucca, Brazil, Davie Nadadores, alum

Andrea Di Nino, Russia, national team coach for Russia, former Coral Springs Swim Club coach.

Sofyan El Gidi, Libya, Davie Nadadores

Esteban Enderica, Ecuador, Davie Nadadores

Ivan Enderica, Ecuador, open water, Davie Nadadores alum

Johanna Eyglo Gustafsdottir, Florida International University freshman, competes for Iceland, Sun Belt Women’s Swimmer of the Year.

Mauricio Fiol, Peru, Davie Nadadores

Jemal Le Grand, Aruba, Davie Nadadores

Felipe Lima, Brazil, Davie Nadadores, breaststroker

Raul Martinez, Puerto Rico, Davie Nadadores

Chinyere Pigot, Doral Academy, Suriname, country’s flagbearer for opening ceremonies

Diguan Pigot, Doral Academy, Suriname.

Vlad Polyakov, Kazakhstan, St. Thomas Aquinas alum, SOFLO, Coral Springs, third trip to the Olympics.

Alex Pussieldi, Kuwait coach, Davie Nadadores

Arlene Semeco, Venezuela, SOFLO, Coral Springs, third trip to the Olympics.

Esau Simpson, Grenada, Nova Southeastern.

Daniele Tirabassi, Venezuela, Davie Nadadores.

Dalias Torrez, Nicaragua, Davie Nadadores alum

Karen Torrez, Bolivia, Davie Nadadores

Daniela Vandenberg, Aruba, Davie Nadadores

Karen Vilorio, Honduras, Davie Nadadores alum

Branden Whitehurst, Miami, Virgin Islands


Terrence Jennings, Miami

Paige McPherson, Miami.


Andy Roddick, Boca Raton, Boca Prep International School alum.

Serena and Venus Williams, Palm Beach Gardens


Murielle Ahoure, University of Miami, Ivory Coast

Eric Alejandro, Flanagan, Puerto Rico

T’erea Brown, U.S., University of Miami

Amy Deem, U.S. women’s head track coach

Debbie Ferguson, Bahamas, UM alum

Ronald Forbes, Florida International, Cayman Islands

Michael Frater, Boyd Anderson alum, Jamaica, men’s team captain.

Tabarie Henry, Hallandale, Virgin Islands, country’s flagbearer for opening ceremonies.

Moise Joseph, Haiti, Miami Central alum.

Tony McQuay, U.S., Riviera Beach Suncoast, Florida alum

Kirsten Nieuwendam, St. Thomas Aquinas, Surinam

Sanya Richards, U.S., St. Thomas Aquinas and Texas alum, born in Jamaica, grew up in Pembroke Pines.

Lauryn Williams, U.S., University of Miami alum.


Laura Reback Bennett, U.S., Cardinal Newman alum, grew up in North Palm Beach.

Manny Huerta, Miami, ran cross country at Florida Atlantic University.


Foluke Akinradewo, U.S., Plantation, St. Thomas Aquinas alum.

Ciara Michel, Great Britain, Miami hometown, University of Miami and Miami Palmer Trinity Prep alum.

Savannah Leaf, Great Britain, University of Miami.

Olympic Torch Carrier:

Jillian Roberts, 19, Miami. She founded the Just Shoe It, which has collected more than 8,600 pairs of donated shoes. The organization’s partner, One World Running, cleans the shows and ships them to more than three dozen countries worldwide. She is one of 10 teenagers from the U.S. chosen by Coca-Cola to carry the Olympic Flame in Oxford, England. They were chosen for helping make a difference in the world.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Dominate Final Day, Defend FGC Junior Olympics Titles

SOFLO Swimmers Dominate Final Day, Defend FGC Junior Olympics Titles


July 22, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club continued to make history on the final day of the Florida Gold Coast 14-and-Under Junior Olympics Long Course Championships.

For the third year in a row, SOFLO swept the combined, boys and girls team titles, dominating a field of well-established teams including former champions Lake Lytal Lightning, Metro Aquatics and Pine Crest Swimming.

Nike-sponsored SOFLO, in only its third year of existence, had the depth and talent to lower more than 350 best times and break the Florida Gold Coast girls’ 11-12 200-meter medley relay age group record.

Rafael Rodriguez, 10, and Kelley Heron, 12, won high point award honors in their age groups. Rodriguez totaled 61 points in the 10-and-under boys competition. Heron amassed 59 points, the most by any girl or boy in the 11-12 age group division.

Other SOFLO top five high points finishers were Vanessa Mesa, 10, Delaney Biro, 10, and Nicholas Perera, 12.

Rain played havoc on the final day of the three-day meet. Meet officials cancelled finals and decided morning prelims were timed finals. On late Sunday afternoon remaining heats of the 13-14 100-meter freestyle and 1500 freestyle events were held.

SOFLO swimmers didn’t let bad weather rain on their parade as they continued to dominate the final day events.

Heron won the 200-meter individual medley in a best time 2:38.68 and the 50-meter breaststroke in 38.38, also a best time. Heron was also second in the 1500-meter freestyle in a best time 18:45.16.

Isabella Pittinger won the 50-meter backstroke in a best time 34.12.

Rodriguez won the 200-meter individual medley in a best time 2:46.70 and 100-meter freestyle in a best time 1:06.79.

Tristan Celestin won his first JO long course title as a 13-year-old in the 50-meter breaststroke in a best time 32.87.

Nicholas Perera won the 1500-meter freestyle in a best time 17:59.59 followed by Ricardo Roche in 18:18.43, also a best time.

Headed into the third and final day of competition SOFLO led the combined team results with 2,571 followed by Davie Nadadores, 1,083 and Metro Aquatics, 941; girls team results with 1,297 points followed by Jupiter, 655 and Pine Crest, 624 and boys team results with 1,274 points followed by Metro Aquatics, 784 and Davie Nadadores, 751. Final three-day results were not available.

Next week older swimmers will get their chance in the spotlight at the FGC Senior Championships hosted by the Coral Springs Swim Club at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex Friday through Sunday.

COMBINED TEAM TOP FINISHERS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club, 2. Davie Nadadores, 3. Pine Crest Swimming, 4. Metro Aquatics, 5. Lake Lytal Lightning.

GIRLS TEAM TOP FINISHERS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club, 2. Pine Crest Swimming, 3. Jupiter Dragons, 4. FLA Aquatics, 5. Lake Lytal Lightning.

BOYS TEAM TOP FINISHERS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club, 2. Davie Nadadores, 3. Metro Aquatics, 4. Blue Marlins of Hialeah Gardens, 5. City of Hialeah Storm.


Girls 10-and-under: 1. Andrea Santander, Miami Beach 63, 2. Vanessa Mesa, SOFLO 49.50, 3. Dakota Brisco, Lake Lytal Lightning 43.50, 4. Delaney Biro, SOFLO 31, 5. Nicole Gomez, North Palm Beach 27.

Boys 10-and-under: 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 61, 2. Jonathan Skarie, Martin County 43, 3. Elvis Kotikovski, FLA Aquatics 38.50, 4. Michael Fernandez, City of Hialeah 34, 5. Andres Wong, Metro Aquatics 33.

Girls 11-12: 1. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 59, 2. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest 48, 3. Alicia Mancilla, Miami Dade 44, 4. Melannie Vargas, Miami Dade 35 and Paloma Sanchez, FLA Aquatics 35.

Boys 11-12: 1. Ervin Marin, Blue Marlins 58, 2. Bryan Quintero, Miami Beach 48, 3. Gabriel Munoz, Davie Nadadores 44 and Albert Gomez, Miami Dade 44, 5. Nicholas Perera, SOFLO 42.

Girls 13-14: 1. Hannah Burdge, Martin County 56.50, 2. Kelly Fertel, Rockway 52, 3. Allison Kopas, Davie Nadadores 40, 4. Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest 39, 5. Caroline Schirmer, Jupiter, 34 and Rose Smiddy, AK Sharks, 34.

Boys 13-14: 1. William Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 60, 2. Nico Medina, Davie Nadadores 56, 3. Carlos Gallego, Davie Nadadores 39, 4. Henry Contich, Pine Crest 36 and Julio Horrego, City of Hialeah 36.



200-meter individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Andrea Santander, Miami Beach 2:43.34; SOFLO: 2. Vanessa Mesa 2:56.12, 4. Anabel Vazquez 2:59.48, best time, 5. Delaney Biro 2:59.71, best time,  15. Camila Alvarez 3:13.18, 20. Gabriella Beltrano 3:15.40, best time; 11-12, 1. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 2:38.68, best time; SOFLO: 11. Jennifer Rodriguez 2:51.63, best time, 14. Andrea Pereira 2:53.41, best time, 18. Katherine DeBarros 2:55.23, best time, 25. Abolade Oyetunji 3:01.93; 13-14, 1. Kelly Fertel, Rockway 2:31.66; SOFLO: 6. Jessica Rodriguez 2:36.70.

50-meter backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Gabriella Beltrano, SOFLO 38.58; SOFLO: 3. Delaney Biro 39.19, 15. Kyana Castro 41.95, best time, 19. Anabel Vazquez 42.64, 21. Isabella DiSalvo 42.84, 27. Camila Alvarez 44.42; 11-12, 1. Isabella Pittinger, SOFLO 34.12, best time; SOFLO: 4. Megan Schimansky 35.90, best time, 9. Andrea Pereira 36.93, best time, 12. Bianca Monti 37.27, best time, 16. Hannah Virgin 37.89, best time, 20. Ashley Tan 38.94, best time, 27. Annita Huang 39.51, 35. Daniela Gomez 42.19; 13-14, 1. Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest 32.49; SOFLO: 8. Veronica Postolski 34.90, best time, 9. Jenna Deal 35.07, 16. Danielle Ginzburg 36.30, 25. Natasha Testa 37.05, best time, 28. Monica Rodriguez 37.15, 29. Charlene Forti 37.22, 37. Carly Swanson 37.91, 43. Kristin Sauer 39.29, 44. Stephanie Mlujeak 39.34.

50-meter breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Andrea Santander, Miami Beach 40.54; SOFLO: 13. Isabella Di Salvo 48.46, 15. Sarah Schimansky 48.78, 16. Lydia Szakacs 48.98, 18. Gabriella Beltrano 49.40; 11-12, 1. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 38.38, best time; SOFLO: 7. Delanie Perez 41.22, 11. Elise Larin 42.54, best time, 17. Jennifer Rodriguez 43.46, best time, 18. Katherine DeBarros 44.04, best time, 26. Maya Ginzburg 44.65; 13-14, 1. Kelly Fertel, Rockway 36.54; SOFLO: 9. Audrey Mason 37.96, best time, 23. Jenna Deal 40.64, 30. Natasha Testa 42.14, 33. Alani Carrasco 42.57.

200-meter butterfly:

11-12, 1. Alicia Mancilla, Miami Dade 2:37.52; 13-14, 1. Kyla Valls, Miami Swimming 2:30.72; SOFLO: 11. Jessica Rodriguez 2:47.79.

100-meter freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Andrea Santander, Miami Beach 1:06.71; SOFLO: 2. Vanessa Mesa 1:09.09, best time, 5. Delaney Biro 1:11.23, best time, 7. Anabel Vazquez 1:14.21, best time, 14. Kyana Castro 1:15.80, best time, 26. Camila Alvarez 1:18.12, best time, 30. Sarah Schimansky 1:18.83, best time, 33. Isabella DiSalvo 1:19.80, best time, 34. Michelle Marinheiro 1:19.81, best time; 11-12, 1. Annabella Lyn, Davie 1:04.70; SOFLO:  5. Bianca Monti 1:05.67, best time, 9. Isabella Pittinger 1:07.61, best time, 10. Andrea Pereira 1:07.79, best time, 14. Abolade Oyetunji 1:08.47, best time, 18. Hannah Virgin 1:09.35, 27. Annita Huang 1:10.66, best time, 32. Ashley Tan 1:11.24, best time, 49. Zariya Harris 1:12.90, best time, 54. Maya Ginzburg 1:13.48, 63. Lisa Strod 1:14.42, best time, 67. Daniela Gomez 1:15.20, best time; 13-14, 1. Hannah Burdge, Martin County 1:00.35; SOFLO: 12. Veronica Postolski 1:03.69, best time, 20. Jenna Deal 1:05.20, best time, 23. Natasha Testa 1:05.66, best time, 29. Charlene Forti 1:06.11, best time, 40. Carly Swanson 1:07.61, 46. Lilliana Calero 1:08.44, 52. Christina Villegas 1:09.70, 55. Monica Rodriguez 1:10.89.

1500-meter freestyle:

11-12, 2. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 18:45.16, best time, 5. Delanie Perez, SOFLO 19:39.54, 6. Megan Schimansky, SOFLO 19:53.39, best time, 13. Katherine DeBarros, SOFLO 20:48.40, best time.


200-meter individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 2:46.70, best time; SOFLO: 3. Leo Mateus 2:53.28, best time, 13. Carter Carlson 3:11.09, 20. Nicolas Rossi 3:16.38, 25. Derek Tom 3:21.94, best time, 32. Nicolas Drolet 3:31.00, 34. Alexander Meyer 3:32.86, 37. Joshua Hanks 3:40.54; 11-12, 1. Ervin Marin, Blue Marlins 2:30.33; SOFLO: 8. Ricardo Roche 2:40.99, best time, 10. Kevin Porto 2:42.31, 11. Samuel Quintero 2:43.04, best time, 20. Brandon Moran 2:55.90, 31. Sam Walters 3:04.68; 13-14, 1. William Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 2:19.30; SOFLO: 4. Julien Pinon 2:22.60, 6. Jonathan Strod 2:25.64, best time, 7. Alexander Monti 2:28.98, best time, 15. Tristan Celestin 2:31.71, best time, 18. Alfredo Mesa 2:32.87, best time, 25. Cristian Rossi 2:36.10, 27. Sebastian Vargas 2:36.66, 28. C.J. Kopecki 2:36.87, best time, 42. Baldwin Suen 2:41.37, best time, 53. Tyler Gibson 2:47.24.

50-meter backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Elvis Kotikovski, FLA 36.76; SOFLO: 4. Connor Marks 39.33, best time, 5. Leo Mateus 39.79, 9. Andrew McDade 40.88, best time, 10. Derek Tom 41.10, best time, 20. Jie Hoon Lee 42.76, best time, 22. John Paul Handal 42.94 best time, 27. Nicolas Rossi 43.42, best time, 29. Gregory Trimble 43.90, best time, 31. Nicolas Drolet 44.78; 11-12, 1. James Burnette, Heritage 33.79; SOFLO: 3. Andres Lares 34.32, best time, 4. Kevin Porto 34.91, best time, 8. Christian Carlson 35.97, 11. Ricardo Roche 36.49, 23. Andres Arias 39.35, 28. Salomon Molko 40.62; 13-14, 1. William Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 30.26; SOFLO: 4. Gustavo Valery 31.06, 5. Juan Lucas 31.54, best time, 11. Ryan Capote 32.51, best time, 15. Estaban Diaz-Velasco 33.91, best time, 21. Collin Burt 35.30, 24. Simon Ortiz 36.18.

50-meter breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Jonathan Skarie, Martin County 41.95; SOFLO: 2. Carter Carlson 43.46, best time, 26. Alexander Meyer 50.72, best time, 29. Joshua Hanks 51.60, 30. Fabio Savino 51.85; 11-12, 1. Bryan Quintero, Miami Beach 35.20; SOFLO: 8. Christian Carlson 40.94, best time, 14. Brandon Moran 43.56, best time, 18. Gian Savino 44.04, best time, 21. Andres Arias 45.31; 13-14, 1. Tristan Celestin, SOFLO 32.87, best time; SOFLO: 6. Jonathan Strod 35.22, best time, 8. Alexander Monti 36.08, best time, 23. Baldwin Suen 38.81, best time, 24. Brendan Cassie 38.90, 27. Cristian Rossi 40.13.

200-meter butterfly:

11-12, 1. Maximilian Asnis, Blue Marlins 2:28.34; SOFLO: 5. Nicholas Perera 2:34.72, best time, 12. Samuel Quintero 2:53.37, best time, 13. Gabriel Segui 3:08.39; 13-14, 1. Nico Medina, Davie 2:16.75.

100-meter freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 1:06.79, best time; SOFLO: 7. Leo Mateus 1:12.38, 16. Nicolas Rossi 1:14.97, best time, 26. Connor Marks 1:17.37, best time, 30. Carter Carlson 1:17.79, 40. Jie Hoon Lee 1:20.38, best time, 42. John Paul Handal 1:20.63, best time, 50. Nicolas Deolet 1:21.95, 54. Andrew McDade 1:22.48, best time, 60. Alexander Meyer 1:23.75; 11-12, 1. Ervin Marin, Blue Marlins 1:00.33; SOFLO: 11. Andres Lares 1:04.81, best time, 14. Kevin Porto 1:06.05, best time, 35. Brandon Moran 1:11.88, best time, 37. Luis Bucaro 1:12.11, best time, 44. Andres Arias 1:12.98, 49. Salomon Molko 1:14.44; 13-14, 1. William Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 55.42; SOFLO: 2. Julien Pinon 56.79, 7. Jonathan Strod 59.34, best time, 8. Cristian Rossi 59.47, best time, 10. Gustavo Valery 59.63, best time, 11. Alfredo Mesa 59.64, best time, 12. Tristan Celestin 59.82, best time, 13. Juan Lucas 59.96, best time, 19. Sebastian Vargas 1:00.76, 20. Ryan Capote 1:00.92, best time, 21. Alexander Monti 1:01.33, best time, 38. Miguel Hernandez 1:04.16, best time, 54. Simon Ortiz 1:06.43, 58. Baldwin Suen 1:07.75.

1500-meter freestyle:

11-12, 1. Nicholas Perera, SOFLO 17:59.59, best time, 2. Ricardo Roche, SOFLO 18:18.43, best time.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Breaks Florida Gold Coast Girls Relay Record At Junior Olympics

SOFLO Breaks Florida Gold Coast Girls Relay Record At Junior Olympics


July 21, 2012

It was South Florida Aquatic Club’s relays that stole the show at Plantation Central Park Saturday night at the Florida Gold Coast 14-and-Under Junior Olympics.

The girls’ 11-12 200-meter medley relay broke the FGC age group record in 2:12.09 with Isabella Pittinger, 12, Kelley Heron, 12, Bianca Monti, 12, and Catharine Cooper, 12. The previous record was 2:12.22 by FLA.

Six other SOFLO relay swims were impressive reaching the winners’ podium.

The girls’ 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay team of Gabriella Beltrano, 10, Anabel Vazquez, 10, Delaney Biro, 10, and Vanessa Mesa, 10, won in a season-best 2:31.35, a wide margin of victory over runner-up Jupiter Dragons in 2:35.38.

The boys’ 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay team of Leo Mateus, 10, Rafael Rodriguez, 10, Carter Carlson, 10, and Nicolas Rossi, 9, won in a season-best 2:31.82.

The boys’ 13-14 200-meter medley relay team of Gustavo Valery, 14, Tristan Celestin, 13, Julien Pinon, 13, and Cristian Rossi, 13, won in a season-best 1:57.88.

SOFLO girls’ 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle relay of Delaney Biro, 10, Kyana Castro, 9, Anabel Vazquez, 10, and Vanessa Mesa, 10, won in a season-best 2:13.61.

The boys’ 13-14 400-meter medley relay team of Gustavo Valery, 14, Tristan Celestin, 13, Julien Pinon, 13, and Alfredo Mesa, 13, won in a season-best 4:19.97.

The girls’ 11-12 400-meter medley relay team of Isabella Pittinger, 12, Kelley Heron, 12, Bianca Monti, 12, and Catharine Cooper, 12, won in a season-best 4:52.57.

Buoyed by talent and depth, SOFLO swimmers also continued their domination in the individual events.

SOFLO individual event champions were:

Kelley Heron, 12, won the 11-12 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:14.55. Her previous best was 2:20.55. She also won the 200-meter breaststroke in a best time 2:53.07, a big time drop, lowering her previous best of 3:01.57.

Rafael Rodriguez, 10, won the 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:22.64. His previous best was 2:25.27. Rodriguez was second in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:18.36.

Other top three SOFLO finishers were:

Julien Pinon, 13, second, 200-meter freestyle, 1:59.41, best time, 2:03.07 previous best.

Vanessa Mesa, 10, tied for second, 200-meter freestyle, 2:26.95, best time, 2:30.42, previous best; third, 100-meter backstroke 1:24.65.

Delaney Biro, 10, second, 50-meter butterfly, 35.74, best time, 36.46 previous best.

Jessica Rodriguez, 13, third, 200-meter breaststroke, 2:47.82, best time, 2:55.34 previous best; third, 400-meter individual medley, 5:23.41.

Nicholas Perera, 12, third, 200-meter breaststroke, 2:54.09; second, 400-meter individual medley, 5:18.25, best time.

Samantha Stinemire, 14, second, 100-meter backstroke, 1:09.54, best time, 1:18.00, previous best.

Andres Lares, 12, second, 100-meter backstroke, 1:12.73, best time, 1:16.82, previous best.

Gabriella Beltrano, 10, second, 100-meter backstroke, 1:22.83, best time, 1:25.18, previous best.

Leo Mateus, 10, third, 100-meter backstroke, 1:21.34, best time, 1:23.86, previous best.

Delanie Perez, 12, third, 400-meter individual medley, 5:45.45, best time.

In morning prelims:

Heron, 12, earned the top seed in the 11-12 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:18.24, dropping from 2:20.55. Also in the event, Andrea Pereira, 11, lowered her best time from 2:30.89 to 2:23.93 to earn the fifth seed.

Heron swam the second fastest time in the 200-meter breaststroke in a best time 2:57.10, breaking 3 minutes for the first time and dropping from her previous best of 3:01.57.

Anabel Vazquez, 10, improved her best time from 2:43.39 to 2:39.00, seventh fastest time in the 200-meter freestyle.

Natasha Testa, 13, lowered her best time from 31.69 to 31.66 in the 13-14 50-meter butterfly to advance into finals.

In the 11-12 50-meter butterfly, Pittinger, 12, turned in a best time 31.86, third fastest and bettering her previous best of 32.81. Bianca Monti, 12, swam a best time 31.95, dropping from 34.51 to earn the fourth seed.

Pittinger also earned the top seed in the 100-meter backstroke in a best time of 1:13.55, dropping from 1:14.11.

Delaney Biro, 10, swam the second fastest time in the 50-meter butterfly in a best time 34.94, dropping from 36.46.

In the 13-14 200-meter breaststroke, Jessica Rodriguez, 13, earned the second seed in a best time 2:49.61, dropping from 2:55.34. Also in the event, Audrey Mason, 14, swam a best time 2:50.63, dropping from 2:51.98, fourth fastest time.

Delanie Perez, 12, swam a best time of 3:09.18 dropping from 3:09.76 in the 200-meter breaststroke.

In the 13-14 100-meter backstroke, Samantha Stinemire, 14, swam a best time 1:12.92, dropping from 1:18.00 and Veronica Postolski, 14, dropped from 1:17.25 to 1:14.01 to make finals.

In the 10-and-under 100-meter backstroke, Gabriella Beltrano, 10, earned the second seed in a best time 1:23.38, dropping from 1:25.18 and Delaney Biro, 10, dropped from 1:27.25 to 1:25.72. Vanessa Mesa, 10, also qualified in 1:23.39.

Rafael Rodriguez, 10, swam the fastest prelim time in the 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:22.88, improving his previous best of 2:25.27.

In the 13-14 50-meter butterfly, Ryan Capote, 14, dropped time from 29.97 to 29.54 and Sebastian Vargas, 13, lowered his best time from 29.81 to 29.74. Both qualified for finals.

Alexander Monti, 14, turned in a best time of 2:45.96 in the 200-meter breaststroke, dropping from 2:53.86 to make finals.

Andres Lares, 12, swam a best time 31.66 in the 11-12 50-meter butterfly, improving his previous best of 33.22 and earning the fourth seed.

Leo Mateus, 10, earned the fourth seed in the 50-meter butterfly in a best time of 36.30, dropping from 38.04. Mateus also earned the second seed in the 100-meter backstroke in a best time of 1:20.25 dropping from 1:23.86.

Connor Marks, 10, swam a best time of 1:26.54, dropping from 1:26.90 in the 100-meter backstroke.

Nicholas Perera, 12, earned the fourth fastest seed in the 200-meter breaststroke in a best time 2:54.06 dropping from 2:56.46.

Julien Pinon, 13, turned in a best time of 1:08.99 dropping from 1:11.60 in the 100-meter backstroke to qualify for finals.

In the 11-12 100-meter backstroke, SOFLO qualified four swimmers for finals, including three with best times. Andres Lares, 12, dropped from 1:16.82 to 1:13.06, Kevin Porto, 12, dropped from 1:15.63 to 1:13.58 and Samuel Quintero, 11, dropped from 1:16.83 to 1:16.62. Ricardo Roche, 12, also qualified in 1:16.18.

The three-day meet concludes on Sunday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.



200-meter medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. SOFLO “A” 2:31.35 (Gabriella Beltrano, Anabel Vazquez, Delaney Biro, Vanessa Mesa); 11-12, 1. SOFLO “A” 2:12.09, FGC record (Isabella Pittinger, Kelley Heron, Bianca Monti, Catharine Cooper), 3. SOFLO “B” 2:22.45 (Megan Schimansky, Delanie Perez, Hannah Virgin, Abolade Oyetunji); 13-14, 1. Jupiter 2:07.53, 4. SOFLO “A” 2:10.98 (Samantha Stinemire, Audrey Mason, Natasha Testa, Steph Campo), 6. SOFLO “B” 2:14.53 (Veronica Postolski, Jessica Rodriguez, Jenna Deal, Carly Swanson).

200-meter freestyle relay:

10-and-under, 1. SOFLO “A” 2:13.61 (Delaney Biro, Kyana Castro, Anabel Vazquez, Vanessa Mesa), 6. SOFLO “B” 2:26.69 (Camila Alvarez, Isabella DiSalvo, Gabriella Beltrano, Sarah Schimansky).

200-meter freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Andrea Santander, Miami Beach 2:22.93; SOFLO: 2. Vanessa Mesa 2:26.95, best time, 6. Anabel Vazquez 2:35.01, best time, 10. Kyana Castro 2:41.21, best time, 14. Michelle Marinheiro 2:46.23, best time, 23. Camila Alvarez 2:51.47, best time, 25. Isabella DiSalvo 2:53.28, best time, 37. Sarah Schimansky 3:00.55; 11-12, 1. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 2:14.55, best time; SOFLO: 6. Sarah Bucaro 2:24.42, best time, 8. Andrea Pereira 2:25.68, 13. Annita Huang 2:26.83, best time, 14. Megan Schimansky 2:27.41, best time, 16. Hannah Virgin 2:28.33, best time, 17. Abolade Oyetunji 2:29.77, best time, 28. Katherine DeBarros 2:32.74, best time, 38. Lisa Strod 2:35.63, best time, 44. Ashley Tan 2:39.07, best time, 46. Zariya Harris 2:39.34, best time, 48. Alexandra Crespo 2:39.46, best time; 13-14, 1. Hannah Burdge, Martin County 2:08.43; SOFLO: 14. Audrey Mason 2:18.96, 16. Sophia Bucaro 2:19.76, 20. Veronica Postolski 2:20.92, 27. Samantha Stinemire 2:23.44 best time, 39. Carly Swanson 2:25.94, 43. Andrea Bucaro 2:26.62, 44. Lilliana Calero 2:27.65, 45. Charlene Forti 2:28.02.

50-meter butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Andrea Santander, Miami Beach 33.10; SOFLO: 2. Delaney Biro 35.74, 11. Gabriella Beltrano 39.14, best time, 14. Kyana Castro 39.46, best time; 11-12, 1. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest 30.72; SOFLO: 4. Isabella Pittinger 31.57, best time, 7. Bianca Monti 32.54, 13. Sarah Bucaro 34.11, best time, 20. Hannah Virgin 35.57, 28. Maya Ginzburg 36.52, best time, 38. Isabel Shashaty 37.92, 40. Daniela Gomez 38.22, 44. Abolade Oyetunji 38.79; 13-14, 1. Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest 29.87; SOFLO: 7. Natasha Testa 31.25, best time, 17. Samantha Stinemire 32.92, best time, 30. Charlene Forti 33.98, best time, 37. Jenna Deal 34.29, 58. Lilliana Calero 35.84, best time, 64. Alani Carrasco 36.10, 65. Kristin Sauer 36.14, best time, 68. Monica Rodriguez 36.44, 70. Jessica Cordero 36.63, 75. Stephanie Mlujeak 37.04.

200-meter breaststroke:

11-12, 1. Kelley Heron, SOFLO 2:53.07, best time; SOFLO: 4. Delanie Perez 3:05.73, best time, 11. Elise Larin 3:16.00, best time, 13. Maya Ginzburg 3:17.23, best time, 14. Katherine DeBarros 3:17.89, best time; 13-14, 1. Kelly Fertel, Rockway 2:43.48; SOFLO: 3. Jessica Rodriguez 2:47.82, best time, 4. Audrey Mason 2:51.03.

100-meter backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Dakota Brisco, Lake Lytal Lightning 1:21.71; SOFLO: 2. Gabriella Beltrano 1:22.83, best time, 3. Vanessa Mesa 1:24.65, 6. Delaney Biro 1:26.49, 15. Isabella DiSalvo 1:30.95, best time, 17. Camila Alvarez 1:31.58, best time, 19. Kyana Castro 1:32.84, best time, 38. Michelle Marinheiro 1:40.05; 11-12, 1. Gabriella Antonini, FLA 1:12.61; SOFLO: 2. Isabella Pittinger 1:13.44, best time, 5. Megan Schimansky 1:15.65, best time, 12. Bianca Monti 1:19.93, best time, 15. Andrea Pereira 1:20.93, 18. Annita Huang 1:22.58, best time, 21. Jennifer Rodriguez 1:23.99, best time, 25. Ashley Tan 1:24.58, best time, 30. Zariya Harris 1:26.62, best time, 36. Daniela Gomez 1:28.49, 42. Isabel Shashaty 1:42.69; 13-14, 1. Caroline Schirmer, Jupiter 1:08.92; SOFLO: 2. Samantha Stinemire 1:09.54, best time, 7. Veronica Postolski 1:14.15, 17. Sophia Bucaro 1:16.30, 19. Jenna Deal 1:17.08, 22. Danielle Ginzburg 1:17.99, best time, 28. Charlene Forti 1:19.72, 29. Carly Swanson 1:19.76, 32. Monica Rodriguez 1:20.89, 35. Stephanie Mlujeak 1:21.44.

400-meter individual medley:

11-12, 1. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest 5:30.74; SOFLO: 3. Delanie Perez 5:45.45, best time, 8. Sarah Bucaro 5:58.69, 9. Jennifer Rodriguez 5:58.82, best time; 13-14, 1. Kelly Fertel, Rockway 5:10.44; SOFLO: 3. Jessica Rodriguez 5:23.41, 15. Andrea Bucaro 5:47.91, best time, 18. Alani Carrasco 5:53.55, best time, 24. Lilliana Calero 6:03.91.

400-meter medley relay:

11-12, 1. SOFLO “A” 4:52.57 (Isabella Pittinger, Kelley Heron, Bianca Monti, Catharine Cooper), 3. SOFLO “B” 5:18.19 (Megan Schimansky, Delanie Perez, Sarah Bucaro, Hannah Virgin); 13-14, 1. Jupiter 4:42.42, 3. SOFLO “A” 4:44.98 (Samantha Stinemire, Audrey Mason, Natasha Testa, Steph Campo), 7. SOFLO “B” 4:58.31 (Veronica Postolski, Jessica Rodriguez, Sophia Bucaro, Carly Swanson).


200-meter medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. SOFLO “A” 2:31.82 (Leo Mateus, Rafael Rodriguez, Carter Carlson, Nicolas Rossi), 8. SOFLO “B” 2:53.68 (Derek Tom, Joshua Hanks, Connor Marks, Alexander Meyer); 11-12, 1. Blue Marlins 2:14.30, 2. SOFLO “A” 2:17.73 (Andres Lares, Samuel Quintero, Nicholas Perera, Kevin Porto), 7. SOFLO “B” 2:27.70 (Ricardo Roche, Christian Carlson, Gabriel Segui, Andres Arias); 13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 1:57.88 (Gustavo Valery, Tristan Celestin, Julien Pinon, Cristian Rossi), 4. SOFLO “B” 2:04.87.

200-meter freestyle relay:

10-and-under, 1. Metro Aquatics 2:11.81, 2. SOFLO “A” 2:12.34 (Leo Mateus, Connor Marks, Nicolas Rossi, Rafael Rodriguez).

200-meter freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 2:22.64, best time; SOFLO: 7. Nicolas Rossi 2:38.35, best time, 27. Connor Marks 2:48.83, best time, 28. Nicolas Drolet 2:49.14, best time, 31. Carter Carlson 2:50.15, 32. Jie Hoon Lee 2:50.86, best time, 39. Derek Tom 2:54.44, best time, 44. John Paul Handal 2:57.12, best time, 49. Andrew McDade 3:02.71, 50. Alexander Meyer 3:03.87; COMETS: 54. Sebastian Lares 3:08.66; 11-12, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami Dade 2:07.72; SOFLO: 9. Kevin Porto 2:18.56, 34. Luis Bucaro 2:34.82, best time, 39. Andres Arias 2:38.03, 43. Salomon Molko 2:39.55, best time; 13-14, 1. Nicolas Medina, Davie 1:59.09; SOFLO: 2. Julien Pinon 1:59.41, best time, 6. Alfredo Mesa 2:07.63, best time, 8. Juan Lucas 2:10.12, 15. Gustavo Valery 2:12.31, best time, 18. Sebastian Vargas 2:13.17, 24. Ryan Capote 2:14.50, 30. Cristian Rossi 2:15.93, best time, 46. C.J. Kopecki 2:19.05, best time, 60. Simon Ortiz 2:23.17, best time, 68. Tyler Gibson 2:26.82, 70. Estaban Diaz-Velasco 2:35.58.

50-meter butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Michael Fernandez, Hialeah 35.46; SOFLO: 7. Leo Mateus 37.23, 14. Carter Carlson 38.04, 26. Connor Marks 40.60, best time, 30. John Paul Handal 41.59, best time, 31. Jie Hoon Lee 42.19, best time, 39. Alexander Meyer 43.72; 11-12, 1. Gabriel Munoz, Davie 30.53; SOFLO: 7. Andres Lares 32.77, 21. Gabriel Segui 35.26, best time; 13-14, 1. Alejandro Carriazo, Metro Aquatics 28.14; SOFLO: 7. Ryan Capote 30.19, 8. Sebastian Vargas 30.26, 15. Cristian Rossi 30.26, best time, 20. Jonathan Strod 30.53, best time, 22. Alexander Monti 30.71, 38. C.J. Kopecki 32.24, best time, 55. Collin Burt 34.17, best time.

200-meter breaststroke:

11-12, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami Dade 2:39.77; SOFLO: 3. Nicholas Perera 2:54.09, 8. Samuel Quintero 3:11.13, 11. Brandon Moran 3:14.47, best time, 13. Gabriel Segui 3:21.02, best time, 21. Gian Savino 3:29.80; 13-14, 1. Joseph Perez, Metro Aquatics 2:31.77; SOFLO: 4. Tristan Celestin 2:40.18, 7. Alexander Monti 2:47.52, 16. Tyler Gibson 2:57.58, best time. 

100-meter backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Elvis Kotikovski, FLA 1:15.26; SOFLO: 2. Rafael Rodriguez 1:18.36, best time, 3. Leo Mateus 1:21.34, 7. Connor Marks 1:26.09, best time, 14. Derek Tom 1:30.45, best time, 17. Jie Hoon Lee 1:31.48, best time, 19. Andrew McDade 1:32.31, best time, 21. John Paul Handal 1:32.96, best time, 24. Gregory Trimble 1:33.65, best time, 25. Nicolas Rossi 1:34.25, 27. Nicolas Drolet 1:34.73, 33. Akira Huang 1:37.33, best time, 36. Joshua Hanks 1:39.32, best time; COMETS: 34. Sebastian Lares 1:37.93, best time; 11-12, 1. Miguel Cancel, Unattached 1:10.53; SOFLO: 2. Andres Lares 1:12.73, best time, 6. Ricardo Roche 1:15.76, best time, 7. Kevin Porto 1:15.79, 8. Samuel Quintero 1:17.64, 15. Christian Carlson 1:20.04, 28. Andres Arias 1:24.51, best time, 30. Sam Walters 1:25.39; 13-14, 1. William Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 1:04.21; SOFLO:  6. Gustavo Valery 1:06.63, best time, 7. Juan Lucas 1:08.71, best time, 8. Juan Lucas 1:08.99, 16. Estaban Diaz-Velasco 1:12.03, 22. Sebastian Vargas 1:14.96, 23. Ryan Capote 1:15.25.

400-meter individual medley:

11-12, 1. Ervin Marin, Blue Marlins 5:15.37; SOFLO: 2. Nicholas Perera 5:18.25, best time, 10. Ricardo Roche 5:33.24, best time, 13. Samuel Quintero 5:48.08, 14. Brandon Moran 6:05.03, best time, 16. Gabriel Segui 6:10.00; 13-14, 1. Julio Horrego, Hialeah 5:00.34; SOFLO: 8. Alfredo Mesa 5:20.12, 14. C.J. Kopecki 5:31.37, best time.

400-meter medley relay:

11-12, 1. Blue Marlins 4:48.91, 3. SOFLO “A” 5:05.78 (Andres Arias, Samuel Quintero, Nicholas Perera, Ricardo Roche), 6. SOFLO “B” 5:22.72 (Christian Carlson, Brandon Moran, Gabriel Segui, Kevin Porto); 13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 4:19.97 (Gustavo Valery, Tristan Celestin, Julien Pinon, Alredo Mesa), 6. SOFLO “B” 4:35.08 (Juan Lucas, Jonathan Strod, Sebastian Vargas, Cristian Rossi).

Team results, boys 11-12 50-meter butterfly results not available.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 184: SOFLO’s Kuczynski Places Fourth, Fifth At Canadian Summer Nationals

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 184: SOFLO’s Kuczynski Places Fourth, Fifth At Canadian Summer Nationals


July 21, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Caroline Kuczynski just missed a medal Saturday night at the Canadian Summer National Championships at the Kinsmen Sport Centre in Edmonton.

Kuczynski, 21, and her Point-Claire Club teammates finished fourth in the 400-meter freestyle relay in 3:52.05.

Kuczynski swam the second leg in 59.20 and was joined by teammates Alyson Ackman, Ashley McGregor and Alexia Zevnik.

“So close, one more opportunity for a medal, 400 medley relay,” Kuczynski tweeted. “Love my Point Claire team.”

Kuczynski also finished fifth in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:01.12 and earned 17 points for her swim club. The Arizona State junior was the second fastest swimmer in morning prelims in 1:00.86.

Sixteen-year Noemie Thomas, the top seed, pulled away from the butterfly field to win in a best time 59.12. Her previous best was 59.39. Thomas was the youngest in the field of 10 finalists.

“Well, that wasn’t what I expected,” Kuczynski tweeted. “Thanks to everyone at home that watched and cheered. Wish I could have made you more proud.”

Kuczynski has another shot at a medal when she competes in the medley relay on Sunday night.


Florida Gold Coast swimmer Joey Pedraza of Davie Nadadores was a member of the winning and record-breaking relay that won the 36th annual Olympic Club Trans Tahoe Relay in Lake Tahoe, Calif. The six-member relay won in 3 hours, 13 minutes and 3 seconds and topped a field of 182 teams during the 11-mile open water swim in 55-degree weather. The relay was started by the 1976 Olympic Club members who challenged each other to a team race across Lake Tahoe. Other clubs started being invited to the annual invitational event. More than 1,000 swimmers compete each year. Tampa’s three-time Olympian Brooke Bennett was among the field. Pedraza has grown up in South Florida swimming. He is an alum of Pine Crest School and University of Florida.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


SOFLO’s Arlene Semeco Older, Wiser And Ready For Third Olympic Appearance

SOFLO’s Arlene Semeco Older, Wiser And Ready For Third Olympic Appearance


July 19, 2012

No matter how many Olympics a swimmer competes in, the emotions never change.

Arlene Semeco will make her third Olympic appearance for Venezuela when the swimming competition begins July 28th in London. She has qualified in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events.

The 28-year-old South American and Venezuelan national record holder may be older and wiser, but she is just as excited as she was when she made her first Olympic team in 2004.

“The first Olympics I can tell you nothing about it,” said Semeco, who trains at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex with the South Florida Aquatic Club.

“I can remember nothing. I was so freaked out. The second time I held back because I was coming off a shoulder injury.

“Now this time around I have more experience. I know what to expect. I know what to prepare for once I am there. That is an advantage. I have two Olympics under my sleeve. I have the experience.

“The fact that I have qualified for three Olympics shows how much pride I take in my swimming and how hard I worked.”

Semeco is in the best shape she’s been in since she started swimming at age 9 in Valencia, Venezuela dreaming about the Olympics. She has been injury-free and training well with Coral Springs Swim Club head coach Bruno Darzi for the past two years.

“I think I am in the best shape of my life,” Semeco said. “I really don’t feel sluggish in any way in any area. Thank God this time I have no injury and it’s been possible for me to get myself in prime shape. The last time I had shoulder surgery in January before the Olympics. This time there is no injuries. I have been training for two straight years. Now I can show what I can do.”

Semeco was injured during her training for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She needed reconstructive surgery eight months before the Games. She rehabbed and was able to return to the pool sooner than expected.

Semeco is funded by her swim federation which allows her to train full-time and work on her master’s degree in food and nutrition at Florida International University. She has two bachelor degrees from Alabama in human environment sciences and food and nutrition.

“Venezuela is super supportive,” Semeco said. “I have been fortunate to get their support. I am able to swim and train and take this as a job. I am doing my best athletically and academically.”

A University of Alabama graduate, Semeco represented Venezuela at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. She has won gold medals at the Pan American Games, South American Championships and National Championships  and various other meets.

She was an All-American and school record holder at University of Alabama, where she was the fastest swimmer in the 50 freestyle. She competed in the 50 and 100 freestyles at the NCAA Championships. She has also been the Venezuela Female Swimmer of the Year several times.

This year Semeco has done well internationally, nationally and locally. On Tuesday, she had her last double workout at Coral Springs. She is going into her third Olympics mentally relaxed, she said.

“I actually want to take it as another meet,” Semeco said. “I don’t want to freak out. I am sure it will hit me once I get there, after I see the facility and all the people. I am just trying to relax and take it easy like any other meet. I have to remember I know everybody who is going there. I know everyone has prepared as much as I have.

“I want to enjoy the moment. It is definitely a different experience moreso than any other meet. It’s one to remember. I don’t want to get there with many expectations. I don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t do what I want to do.”

Experience will be her biggest ally when she steps on the blocks.

“I have definitely gotten smarter with each Olympics,” Semeco said. “It’s definitely been learn as you go. I know everyone has been working hard for the Olympics but so have I.”

Semeco will think about her future after the Olympics. She would like to finish her masters work and internship.

“I am definitely in love with swimming, I can never fall out of love with swimming,” Semeco said. “It’s definitely not in stone what I am going to do in the future. I would definitely like to plan my life. I will decide after the Olympics whether to keep going or shift my attention.

“I am proud of not only what I accomplished but the way I took every single meet. The last two years I had little setbacks with times and it took a toll on me mentally. After I got out of that stage of not improving I trained as much as I could, beating my body up. I know I did everything possible these last two years. I have no regrets.”

Before heading to London on July 25th, Semeco will join her Venezuelan teammates for a five-day training camp in Barcelona, Spain.

Once in London, Semeco will share the pool deck with SOFLO teammates Alia Atkinson of Jamaica and Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan, both three-time Olympians, and former Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Nick Schwab making his Olympic debut for the Dominican Republic. Atkinson had a training camp in London while Polyakov went to Belarus for a pre-Olympic camp.

Sharon Robb can be reached at