2013 SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Roger Capote

2013 SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Roger Capote

Age: 17

High school: American Senior High School/Miami Lakes Educational Center

College: Florida International University

When he was little, Roger Capote tried several different sports before he narrowed his choice to swimming.

“I was jumping around from sport to sport to see which one I liked the most,” Capote said.

Capote played baseball and was in karate classes.

“I didn’t like them as much as swimming, it was second nature to me,” Capote said. “I found swimming very therapeutic and relaxing, and it was competitive. It was everything I needed to keep in shape.”

Capote started swimming at age 9 with a community team and joined the Comets Swim Team when he was 12. He has been with the South Florida Aquatic Club ever since.

Capote competes in the breaststroke and distance events. When asked what his favorite event was he replied “that’s hard to choose, probably either the mile or 200 breaststroke.

“I have a strong mind so I love distance,” Capote said. “It’s unpredictable. You can make a mistake in distance but you can make it up in the next couple laps because you have a little bit of time. In the 50 freestyle, one mistake can cost you the race.

“On top of that, I get that good feeling when swimmers are right next to me. That last 50 it’s a really good feeling and it gives me more energy to get up ahead of the pack.”

Capote said his most memorable and proudest moments in swimming was when he placed third overall in the Swim Miami Open Water 10K and winning high school districts in the 500-yard freestyle for American High School.

Capote said he plans to continue to train with SOFLO when he starts classes in the fall at FIU where he plans to study sports medicine.

“Swimming has definitely changed me,” Capote said. “I learned leadership, discipline and time management, a whole list of everything. I don’t know what I would have done without swimming. My friends at SOFLO definitely helped, too.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


2013 SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Evelin Jimenez

2013 SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Evelin Jimenez

Age: 17

High School: Hialeah Gardens

College: University of South Florida

Evelin Jimenez was born to swim.

She started swimming in learn-to-swim classes and competing when she was 7.

“I was bored so I stayed in swimming after I learned,” Jimenez said. “Ever since I started I loved it.

“It was something new for me to try out,” Jimenez said. “I liked the feel of the water and the way I moved with it. It was a good experience for me.”

The Miami-born Jimenez also loved the sport’s social factor. She switched clubs and started training with the South Florida Aquatic Club three years ago.

“I made friends in swimming and through those friends I found SOFLO,” said Jimenez, whose twin Daniela also swims for SOFLO. “They encouraged me and I started improving.

“I am going to miss being able to come here all the time. SOFLO has been like a family to me. I am also excited to graduate and move on.”

Jimenez competed in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle and butterfly races and loved the sprint events, she said. Among her swim highlights were the Orlando Grand Prix and her junior and senior year at the high school state meet.

“I felt good about the quality of my races and my improvement,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez also loved the fact her sister was on the same team.

“We didn’t really swim the same events,” she said. “If we were in the same event, we were a little competitive. I would try to pass her and she would try to pass me. It was fun. It was nice having someone to share swimming with, experiencing the same things at the same time.”

Jimenez hopes to continue swimming at USF at the club level to stay in shape. She will be taking pre-med and biology her first year and plans to focus on her studies.

“I want to be a doctor and I chose USF because it has a good medical program,” Jimenez said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com




Age: 17

High school: Everglades

College: Daytona Beach State College

Xavier Brown is living his dream.

He is going to college on a swimming scholarship.

At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, with athleticism and unlimited potential, Brown is a coach’s dream. After weighing his options from several out-of-state colleges, Brown signed with Daytona Beach State College and will be leaving in August for the next chapter in his academic and athletic life.

Brown started swimming less than five years ago and has only scratched the surface in the sport.

“Choosing a college was a long process,” Brown said. “I went back and forth between about five schools and scholarships that were offered to me.

“I decided Daytona was the best fit for me. The coach was impressed by my drive and where I wanted to take my swimming. I have high aspirations for myself and he is willing to work with me.”

Plus, staying in Florida will enable friends and families to travel to his college home meets.

Brown became a role model when he chose swimming over track and field to help dispel the stereotype that has plagued black athletes for years in swimming.

Brown never had the benefit of competitive swimming in elementary, or middle school. He made districts and regionals his sophomore year at Miramar. But he built his swimming career solely through club swimming with the Comets and South Florida Aquatic Club programs in Pembroke Pines.

Brown attended Miramar High School for two seasons but the swim team disbanded. He transferred to Everglades that also dropped its swim program for financial reasons and lack of interest. In track, he competed in the 200, 800 and mile.

“I’ve always felt swimming chose me from everything,” Brown said. “All the sports I have done I was trying out to get the feel for what I actually loved. Swimming stood out for me. I picked it up naturally.

“I thought swimming was one of those sports that if I worked hard enough maybe I could start dreaming about going to college. I started swimming 4 ½ years. I love the water and I love swimming. I want to see how far this can take me.”

After a five-month break last year when he got a job, Brown returned to workouts. He said his biggest accomplishment was “getting back in the pool.” He has been able to drop more than 20 seconds off his event times.

“I have been surprising myself every time I get in the pool,” Brown said.

His biggest breakthrough came at the Texas A&M Senior Circuit Meet.

“It was the first time for me being in a natatorium,” Brown said. “I was actually getting the feeling of being at a college level meet. Coach Chris Anderson was such an inspiration for me. He told me what I had to focus on, what I had to work on and harness. He told me how to get better and be a better swimmer. I was really motivated after that.”

Brown is also enjoying his role of breaking the “black athletes stereotype.” He has been a role model in and out of the pool.

“I don’t mind being a role model,” he said. “I think I am ready to take that on. Looking at Alia Atkinson and being with Chris has helped me. I have learned more than enough from Alia. I am ready to take the role on as a black role model in swimming.

“I want people to look up to black athletes in sports like swimming. I like it when a little black kid watched me at a meet and comes up to me and says ‘great race.’ If he sees that I can do it, he can do it, too.”

Brown has narrowed his majors to political science or sports management. He will continue training through the summer and will compete with SOFLO at the June 21-24 FLA International Invitational at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton where he hopes to drop more time.

His goals are lofty for college swimming. He would like to break school records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles. He may also swim the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. He would also like to qualify for the NJCAA Championships where Brown will reunite with club teammate Marc Rojas, a Pembroke Pines Charter alum who signed with national champion Indian River State College.

The Miami-born Brown is looking forward to improving. “I want to see how far I can go,” Brown said. “That’s the next challenge.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com


Florida State Sweeps, SOFLO’s Oliver, Sell Win

Florida State Sweeps, SOFLO’s Oliver, Sell Win


October 8, 2010

BOCA RATON–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver and Tyler Sell continued their strong starts to the collegiate season on Friday.

The Florida State freshmen won individual events in the Seminoles’ successful dual meet season opener against Florida Atlantic and Florida International University at FAU’s on-campus pool.

Buoyed by depth, FSU women defeated Florida Atlantic, 226-72 and Florida International, 245-55. FIU defeated FAU, 165-129.

The Seminoles men’s team, led by the divers taking the top five positions in the 1- and 3-meter springboard events, topped FAU, 163-137.

Despite a long bus ride from Tallahassee, the women improved to 2-0 and men 1-0.

Oliver, 18, won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.75 seconds ahead of teammate Brittany Selts, 21, in 23.95. Oliver also led off the Seminoles’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay that won in 1:36.24.

Oliver was also second in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:54.11 behind teammate Julia Henkel (1:53.25).

Sell, 18, won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:36.47 ahead of teammate Jack Deedrick, also a freshman, who finished in 9:42.31. Sell was also sixth in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:02.44 and swam third leg on FSU’s third place 200-yard freestyle relay that finished in 1:29.18.

Other SOFLO swimmers results:

Freshman Ashley Hicks, 18, of FSU was second in the 100-yard backstroke in 58.90. She was also fifth in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:13.26. Hicks led off the Seminoles second-place 200-yard freestyle relay that finished in 1:40.17 .

Danielle (DJ) Sneir, 21, of FIU was third in the 100-yard backstroke in 59.68.

Paul Murray, 18, swam a strong anchor leg on FSU’s winning 200-yard medley relay that out-touched FAU, finishing in 1:35.59 and swam third leg on FSU’s runner-up 200 yard freestyle relay. He was fifth in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.11 and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle in 50.25.

Anthony Fermin, 20, swam anchor leg on FAU’s runner-up 200-yard medley relay that finished in 1:35.78 and led off the Owls’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay that won in 1:26.06. He was third in the 100-yard freestyle in 47.94 and fourth in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.90.

Rafael Pena, 21, of FAU was fourth in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:37.34, fifth in the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:52.44 and seventh in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:19.35.

“I think we had an okay meet,” said FSU coach Neil Harper. “The women competed very well in their second and third best events today and I was happy with their performance. That’s what it’s going to take for the girls to have success. We have a lot of talent and a lot of depth. We had a lot of people get firsts and seconds. We are a very well-rounded team right now.

“On the men’s side we are not necessarily strong enough to take teams lightly. We will take the win but there’s a lot to learn.”

On Saturday, FSU travels to Nova Southeastern University for an 11 a.m. dual meet before Saturday night’s UM-FSU football game at Sun Life Stadium.


Florida State 226, Florida Atlantic 72

Florida State 245, Florida International 55

Florida International 165, Florida Atlantic 129

200-yard medley relay: 1. FSU (McKayla Lightbourn, Kendall Sieron, Brittany Selts, Hannah Wilson) 1:47.76, 2. FAU 1:50.58, 3. FIU (DJ Sneir, Kristine Metka, Yesica Rojas, Mariange Macchiavello) 1:50.96.

1,000-yard freestyle: 1. Marissa Harrington, FSU 10:24.86, 2. Corey Allison, FSU 10:29.76, 3. Caroline Smith, FSU 10:30.16.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Julia Henkel, FSU 1:53.25, 2. Tiffany Oliver, FSU 1:54.11, 3. Holly Mills, FSU 1:54.46.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Stephanie Sarandos, FSU 57.16, 2. Ashley Hicks, FSU 58.90, 3. DJ Sneir, FIU 59.68.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Eszter Bucz, FAU 1:04.54, 2. Kristine Polley, FSU 1:07.07, 3. Kendall Sieron, FSU 1:07.86.

200-yard butterfly: 1. C.J.  Hendry, FSU 2:05.73, 2. Julia Henkel, FSU 2:08.08, 3. Katie Coleman, FSU 2:08.46.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Tiffany Oliver, FSU 23.75, 2. Brittany Selts, FSU 23.95, 3. Jonna Nyback, FAU 25.10.

3-meter springboard diving: 1. Katherine Adham, FSU 311.25, 2. Kelsey Goodman, FSU 309.70, 3. Sabrina Beaupre, FIU 254.90.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Holly Mills, FSU 52.97, 2. Hannah Wilson, FSU 53.52, 3. Kayla Derr, FIU 53.78.

200-yard backstroke: 1. Jessica Sabotin, FSU 2:04.83, 2. Caroline Smith, FSU 2:06.45, 3. Brittany Selts, FSU 2:07.58.

200-yard breaststroke: 1. Kristine Polley, FSU 2:21.48, 2. Julia Henkel, FSU 2:28.23, 3. Kendall Sieron, FSU 2:28.37.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Eszter Bucz, FAU 4:59.31, 2. Stephanie Sarandos, FSU 5:03.06, 3. McKayla Lightbourn, FSU 5:05.60.

100-yard butterfly: 1. C.J. Hendry, FSU 57.65, 2. Katie Coleman, FSU 59.45, 3. Anastasia Ivanova, FAU 59.86.

1-meter springboard diving: 1. Kelsey Goodman, FSU 285.55, 2. Katherine Adham, FSU 281.45, 3. Sabrina Beaupre, FIU 263.40.

400-yard individual medley: 1. Eszter Bucz, FAU 4:27.66, 2. Caroline Smith, FSU 4:34.39, 3. Charlotte Broadbent, FSU 4:37.42.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. FSU (Tiffany Oliver, Brittany Selts, C.J. Hendry, Holly Mills) 1:36.24, 2. FSU (Ashley Hicks, Sara McMahon, McKayla Lightbourn, Jessica Sabotin) 1:40.17, 3. FSU 1:40.72.


Florida State 163, Florida Atlantic 137

200-yard medley relay: 1. FSU (Brad Morrison, Matt Shead, Danny Nguyen, Paul Murray) 1:35.59, 2. FAU (Tyler Griffith, Alan Forbes, Eric Williams, Anthony Fermin) 1:35.78, 3. FAU B 1:37.78.

1,000-yard freestyle: 1. Tyler Sell, FSU 9:36.47, 2. Jack Deedrick, FSU 9:42.31, 3. Michael Shimansky, FAU 9:47.45.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Adam Corbin, FAU 1:41.89, 2. Mateo De Angulo, FSU 1:41.92, 3. Trice Bailey, FSU 1:45.88.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Brad Morrison, FSU 52.21, 2. Tyler Griffith, FAU 53.32, 3. Mike Thomas, FSU 53.83.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Alan Forbes, FAU 1:04.54, 2. Csaba Pek, FAU 1:07.07, 3. Matt Shead, FSU 1:07.86.

200-yard butterfly: 1. Danny Nguyen, FSU 1:52.59, 2. Mikolaj Czarnecki, FAU 1:52.77, 3. Mark Cox, FSU 1:55.58.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Mark Weber, FSU 21.39, 2. Eric Williams, FAU 21.43, 3. Trice Bailey, FSU 21.84.

1-meter springboard diving: 1. Landon Marzullo, FSU 366.60, 2. Mike Neubacher, FSU 340.60, 3. Tom Neubacker, FSU 315.55.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Trice Bailey, FSU 47.02, 2. Matt Shead, FSU 47.28, 3. Anthony Fermin, FAU 47.94.

200-yard backstroke: 1. Csaba Pek, FSU 1:54.13, 2. Adam Corbin, FAU 1:54.53, 3. David Rudolf, FAU 1:55.41.

200-yard breaststroke: 1. Alan Forbes, FAU 2:28.23, 2. Jesse Gambrell, FAU 2:29.53, 3. Taylor Harris, FSU 2:33.07.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Jack Deedrick, FSU 4:43.39, 2. Trevor Lowe, FAU 4:47.17, 3. Jay Van Zee, FAU 4:48.29.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Matt Shead, FSU 51.12, 2. Mikolaj Czarnecki, FAU 51.81, 3. Eric Williams, FAU 52.48.

3-meter springboard diving: 1. Mike Neubacher, FSU 363.30, 2. Tom Neubacher, FSU 354.60, 3. Landon Marzullo, FSU 333.45.

400-yard individual medley: 1. Adam Corbin, FAU 4:02.74, 2. Csaba Pek, FAU 4:03.25, 3. Mike Thomas, FSU 4:08.02.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. FAU (Anthony Fermin, John Walsh, Eric Williams, Mikolaj Czarnecki) 1:26.06, 2. FSU A (Mark Weber, Trice Bailey, Paul Murray, Matt Taylor) 1:26.31, 3. FSU B (Mateo DeAngulo, Robert Swanbeck, Tyler Sell, Stephen Pendleton) 1:29.18.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.




Age: 18

High school: Douglas

College: Iona (N.Y.) College


When he was little, Justin Grigull would always tag along with his older brother Rory to watch him swim with his Coral Springs Swim Club teammates at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

It looked like fun so Grigull, a tennis and soccer player, decided to try it.

“I was always at the pool with him so I decided to see what it was like,” Grigull said. “I liked it. I got along with the coaches and it was fun.

“I was good when I started out, then had a few down years and picked it back up. It helped having my brother there. He always encouraged me. I always wanted to follow in his footsteps.”

Rory Grigull is 20 and swims at South Carolina. He is home for the summer to train at Coral Springs. Justin is excited about swimming at college.

“We finally get to be even,” Grigull said. “Maybe in college I will get to race him. It will be fun competing with him. We haven’t raced head-to-head but our times are getting close. I keep comparing them.”

Justin admits his older brother is “better than me.

“He pushed me a lot,” Grigull said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without him.”

Grigull has been swimming for 10 years. He swims the 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyle events.

“Swimming helped me a lot,” Grigull said. “It made me realize a lot of things about myself that I didn’t know. It really worked out for the best me choosing swimming. I got the opportunity to swim in college. I was always hoping for it and I worked towards it the whole time.”

Morning workouts took a little getting used to, Grigull admits.

“Thankfully I didn’t start those until I got older,” he said with a laugh. “I got used to it pretty fast.”

Grigull qualified for the state high school meet four consecutive years.

His freshman and sophomore year Douglas won the team title. His junior year he won an individual state title as a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay. His best individual state finish was fourth in the 100 freestyle.

“I think there are always going to be those hard workouts where you have a low moment,” Grigull said. “Right before my last summer I hurt my shoulder. I was wondering what I was going to do and whether college coaches would still talk with me.

“There was no way I was going to quit. I stuck with it and I am glad I did. College coaches did talk with me. It was cool being recruited and nice knowing that people want you.”

Grigull plans to major in business administration in college.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com





Age: 17

High school: Douglas

College: University of Florida


Taylor McKnight was 12 years old when she moved into Coach Michael Lohberg’s group.

All she had to do was look around the pool if she needed any added  motivation.

“The atmosphere was amazing,” McKnight said. “I definitely learned from watching the older swimmers before me. It really disciplined and motivated me.”

McKnight has been swimming competitively for nine years. The high school state champion started swimming when her family moved from Rhode Island.

“My dad got me into swimming,” McKnight said. “Moving to Florida with all the water and pools he thought it would be a good idea.

“He drove by the Aquatic Center and signed up for lessons with the lifeguards. Then I got private lessons. That’s basically how it all started.”

McKnight played basketball for three years when she was younger. Once she started swimming, she knew she had found her sport.

“I think I was always good at it,” McKnight said. “I liked the water. I was always taught to work hard. I was always trying to be the best at what I did.”

McKnight competes in the 100 breaststroke, 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.

“I never was disciplined with my time until I started to swim,” McKnight said. “I think swimming helped me with that. It definitely helped me make friends.

“The scenery and atmosphere was so different when we moved down here. I think swimming helped me meet people and stay motivated.”

Her biggest thrill was winning a state high school title last year in the 400-yard freestyle relay. McKnight swam the second leg.

“That’s when I felt all the work was worth it,” McKnight said. “It was so exciting to win our first state title. It’s something I am always going to remember.”

McKnight hopes to major in pre-law, go to law school and be a sports agent after she graduates. She plans on leaving for Gainesville this summer (June 20) to get an early start.

“I want to swim my all four years there,” McKnight said. “I am going to enjoy school and training. Florida was my first college trip and when I saw it I committed right then. I knew that’s where I wanted to be.

“I am glad I stayed with swimming. Without swimming I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to go to this school. I want to improve, go to NCAAs and be a part of a future repeat of Florida as national champions.

“I am excited about the change, but I am going to miss Coral Springs and Michael a lot,” McKnight said. “They helped me become the person I am.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com





Age: 18

High school: American Heritage

College: University of Tampa


Les Moore was just looking for a way to stay cool.

“I have bad problems dealing with the heat,” Moore explained. “When I played soccer I would be as red as a cherry. I tried tennis and it wouldn’t go away. I had bad reactions.”

His parents decided to sign him up for swimming. He started with a small group of five kids and one coach in a small pool.

“It was strictly recreational but I basically learned the mechanics,” Moore said.

Since then, the Fort Lauderdale-born swimmer of British descent has been swimming for 12 years at a high level. He joined the Coral Springs Swim Club in sixth grade and quickly progressed at the club and high school level.

“The sport helped me manage my time as I got older,” Moore said. “I am not the typical teenager. Sometimes I slack on homework. Swimming helped me with dedication. When I am not at school or swimming I am a complete bum, chilling around with friends, sitting in front of a computer or relaxing.

“If I didn’t have the sport to keep me busy I would be the kid at home that didn’t do anything every day,” Moore said. “Swimming keeps me extremely focused.”

Moore competes in most of the sport’s events including the 200 and 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle.

Some of his most memorable moments came in high school swimming while competing at the Class A level, the state’s most competitive.

“It was a mixture of emotions for me,” Moore said. “Last November at states I was disappointed and extremely happy as well. I came in second by absolutely nothing. At the same time, I was thinking I could have gotten first. I was first until the last turn at the wall. Had I not gotten sloppy at the end I would have won.

“But I also thought I wasn’t going to focus on the negatives. I swam my best times and finished second at states in one of my best performances. I am sure I have other swims out there more memorable but that was the peak of my high school career. That will be the last thing I remember high school-wise.”

Moore hopes to swim in college but after that he will think long and hard about continuing.

“I don’t have to be an Olympian to be a great swimmer,” Moore said. “To be completely honest I may not swim past college. The other part of being a great swimmer is realizing when is a good time to stop. There are older Olympians out there who should really move on and get a job.

“When I am done with college if I am at the brink of making an Olympic trial cut and becoming one of the top swimmers that would be a completely different story. But if it doesn’t happen I want to put my priorities straight, find a job and take care of myself. I can’t go home to mom and dad, keep training and think everything is going to be okay. That’s not fair to my parents.”

Moore, who plans to major in international business, said he made sacrifices for swimming but has no regrets.

“I missed out on a lot of social activities, I was always known as the swimming kid,” Moore said. “I went to my first prom after-party ever and everyone was surprised to see me.

“I sacrificed a lot of my spare time. Swimming has been so tied into my life but when you sacrifice something you gain something else.

“Thanks to swimming I made quite a few friends, I am in great physical shape and it makes me happy mentally when I am swimming. I am always pushing myself. I am never satisfied.”

Training with the Coral Springs Swim Club has been the difference for Moore, he said.

“I know I can swim faster especially when somebody next to you is older and more mature,” Moore said. “It’s definitely an advantage swimming with Coach Lohberg.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com