International Swimming League Returns For Second Season Next Month; SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Will Compete For London Roar


By Sharon Robb


BUDAPEST, Hungary, September 9, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson will compete for the London Roar when the International Swimming League opens it second season next month.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian competed for Team Iron during the league’s inaugural season. Another breaststroker, Annie Lazor has also moved to the London Roar from the LA Current. Both are expected to be among the league’s top breaststrokers.

The 320-swimmer, 10-team professional league, sponsored by Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Grigorishin, will fund its contracted athletes with monthly payments of $1,500 from September through the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympics, the series announced on Wednesday.

“It’s an uncertain time for us all at the moment so this much welcomed financial grant will assist swimmers as everyone prepares for 2021,” said British world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Adam Peaty.

Japan has entered a team, Tokyo Frog Kings, coached by U.S. coach Dave Salo and led by four-time Olympic breaststroke gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima. The other new league team is the Toronto Titans.

Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the ISL will hold five weeks of racing in a bubble in Budapest, Hungary, much like the NBA is currently playing under at Disney World, during October and November before a possible championship final in Tokyo in December.

Hungary closed its borders to foreigners since Sept. 1 to stop a rise in COVID-19 cases. ISL officials said a comprehensive medical protocol would allow the swimmers to enter the country.

ISL technical director Apostolos Tsagkarakis said everyone travelling to Budapest would have to undergo two COVID-19 tests prior to departure and another on arrival.

More tests would be done 48 hours later before training could start. There would then be tests every five days.

Swimmers will stay in single rooms at hotels exclusively reserved for them on Margaret Island in the Danube.

There will be five matches in October, starting on the 16th, and five in November before semi-finals from Nov. 19-22. Four teams will qualify for the final. The racing will be broadcast to more than 80 countries.

Hungarian Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu, who swam and and managed Team Iron in 2019 said the financial support is “hugely important” for the sport and has prevented several swimmers from retiring.

“It’s a difficult time for the swimmers and it’s important to not only have something to look forward to but also to have that security in their careers,” Hosszu said.

“Aside from the salary the training camp will cut down a lot of the travel that we had in 2019 and that will help, given the problems there are with movement around the world at the moment.”

Last season the London Roar, which returns most of its top scorers, came within ten points of knocking off champion Energy Standard, winning the ISL’s first title.

The ISL plans to return to multiple events and venues for a full program in late 2021/22. The London Roar returns Melanie Marshall as head coach.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

BCAA Fall Sports Conditioning Targeted For September 21 Starting Date


By Sharon Robb

FORT LAUDERDALE, September 2, 2020–After weeks of uncertainty, Broward County sports have been given the green light to begin fall conditioning.

If the COVID-19 positivity rate continues to decline, Broward County Athletic Association teams will be allowed to begin fall conditioning on Sept. 21st.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie made the long-awaited announcement on Tuesday.

“If the COVID-19 positivity rate continues to decline as we’ve seen, we have identified Monday, Sept. 21st as a potential start date for voluntary workouts for fall sports,” Runcie said.

Conditioning includes cardiovascular training, weight training and drills for all sports.

Runcie said workouts will be held outdoors only for the first week. In the second week voluntary workouts will continue outside and gradually phase into gyms and weight rooms.

However, the conditioning starting date does not necessarily mean competitive seasons will begin any time soon. Teams, particularly in revenue-generating football, are expected to condition and practice for several weeks.

“We will continue to work with our sports medicine and student-athlete wellness committees, our athletic trainers, athletic directors and health advisors to ensure a safe re-start of athletics,” Runcie said.

The Greater Miami Athletic Conference has no starting date yet for its high school conditioning or sports schedules.

The Broward County Athletic Association is the largest high school athletic conference in Broward County and second largest in the state.

The BCAA includes all public schools in Broward County and several charter and private schools including Pembroke Pines Charter. However, some private schools do not have to follow BCAA decisions and have already started practicing football including state champion Chaminade-Madonna and American Heritage Plantation and plan to start competing in mid-September.

In Palm Beach County, Glades Day, which opened its football practice Aug. 24, suspended its high school practice because two students tested positive for COVID-19, but plans to resume on Sept. 8. Three public schools in the Treasure Coast also had to suspend practice because of students testing positive.

At the FHSAA’s most recent board meeting on Aug. 14, the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee remained firm and recommended further delays. SMAC determined a positive rate percent of new cases should be below five percent for at least 14 days. Still, the FHSAA decided to start practice on Aug. 24 and football season on Sept. 4 for most districts in the state.

Runcie also said Broward County officials will continue to talk with Miami-Dade and Palm Beach districts.

“Conversations will continue as it relates to the FHSAA’s involvement and participating to ensure our students will have the opportunity to participate in fall sports,” Runcie said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Swimmers Have Another Good Day Of Racing In Fourth Intrasquad Meet


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, August 29, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers turned in another good day of racing Saturday in SOFLO’s Fourth Intrasquad Meet.

In a controlled atmosphere at Academic Village Pool, swimmers turned in 133 best times in five events during three sessions.

Pilar Duranti, 12, won two events in the 13-and-under 200-yard freestyle in a best time 2:14.75 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:29.32. She was also second in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:12.61, another best time.

Duranti also earned women pentathlon honors with 863 points for three events. Elise Dinehart, 12, was runner-up with 678 points.

In the 12-16 girls races, Gabriella DeLuna, 14, was a triple winner in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:02.88; 200-yard freestyle in 2:05.70 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:18.57.

Nahomi Porras-Aguilar, 10, was also a triple winner in the 9-10 races. She won the 50-yard breaststroke in 57.45; 50-yard backstroke in 44.53 and 50-yard freestyle in 37.04.

In the 13-and-under competition, Alexander Miller, 13, had another good week of racing. He won three events with three best times. Over two weeks, he won six events and posted five best times.

Miller also earned pentathlon honors with 954 points ahead of Juan Vallmitjana with 323 points.

Miller won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:01.36, 200-yard freestyle in 1:59.40 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:15.21.

Javier Colmenares, 14, was a triple winner in the 12-16 competition with three best times. He won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:02.01, 200-yard freestyle in 1:53.45 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:02.67.

Zachary Snigur, 8, won two events in the 8-and-unders in the 50-yard breaststroke in a best time 51.88 and 50-yard backstroke in 55.65. He also had a best time in the 50-yard freestyle in 45.44.

Preston Christensen, 10, and Lance Bergeron-Menard, 9, each won two events in the 9-10 competition. Christensen won the 50-yard backstroke in 43.33 and 50-yard freestyle in a best time 34.72. Bergeron-Menard won the 50-yard butterfly in 41.13 and 50-yard breaststroke in 49.74.

Host SOFLO observed stringent local, state and federal public health COVID-19 guidelines in a unique competitive format.

In a safe environment, swimmers competed with no more than ten in each heat, another ten warming up or warming down and ten in the bullpen area. The same seeded heats were maintained to avoid any cross contamination between heats.

The USA Swimming-sanctioned meet was run without volunteers (other than the minimum number of officials required). No spectators were permitted on deck.

SATURDAY RESULTS
GIRLS

13-and-under 100-yard butterfly: 1. Lydia Smutny 1:11.27, 2. Pilar Duranti 1:12.61, time drop, 3. Sarah Vasquez 1:15.00, time drop.

13-and-under 100-yard backstroke: 1. Sofia Lugo 1:11.51, time drop, 2. Amanda Grubbs 1:12.96, time drop, 3. Alexandra Strong 1:16.08, time drop.

13-and-under 100-yard breaststroke: 1. Elise Dinehart 1:19.86, time drop, 2. Cali Harries 1:23.02, 3. Anjana Andapally 1:29.62, time drop.

13-and-under 200-yard freestyle: 1. Pilar Duranti 2:14.75, time drop, 2. Genesis Escobar 2:15.71, 3. Sarah Vasquez 2:18.08.

13-and-under 200-yard individual medley: 1. Pilar Duranti 2:29.32, 2. Sarah Vasquez 2:36.05, 3. Sofia Lugo 2:41.08.

12-16 100-yard butterfly: 1. Manuela Gonzalez 1:04.56, 2. Gabriela Avila 1:05.46, 3. Izzy Wilson 1:09.53.

12-16 100-yard backstroke: 1. Gabriella DeLuna 1:02.88, 2. Amelie Bicerne 1:09.38, 3. Mariana Pinto 1:12.70.

12-16 100-yard breaststroke: 1. Fiorella DiSalvo 1:15.53, time drop, 2. Mariann Catalasan 1:15.67, time drop, 3. Dahlia Hirsh 1:20.50.

12-16 200-yard freestyle: 1. Gabriella DeLuna 2:05.70, 2. Izzy Wilson 2:07.96, 3. Gabriela Avila 2:08.76, time drop.

12-16 200-yard individual medley: 1. Gabriella DeLuna 2:18.57, 2. Fiorella DiSalvo 2:23.07, 3. Izzy Wilson 2:26.87.

BOYS
13-and-under 100-yard butterfly: 1. Alexander Miller 1:01.36, time drop, 2. Juan Vallmitjana 1:08.80, time drop, 3. Abraham Penaloza 1:10.98, time drop.

13-and-under 100-yard backstroke: 1. Ethan Hall 1:17.50, time drop, 2. Matthew Jimenez 1:20.71.

13-and-under 100-yard breaststroke: 1. Ryan Harries 1:21.44, 2. Joshua Menezes 1:22.57, 3. Matt McVeigh 1:22.66, time drop.

13-and-under 200-yard freestyle: 1. Alexander Miller 1:59.40, time drop, 2. Juan Vallmitjana 2:10.62, time drop, 3. Felipe Rodriguez 2:14.12, time drop.

13-and-under 200-yard individual medley: 1. Alexander Miller 2:15.21, time drop, 2. Juan Vallmitjana 2:32.21, 3. Abraham Penaloza 2:34.60, time drop.

12-16 100-yard butterfly: 1. Andres Tejada 59.34, time drop, 2. Adrian Hernandez 59.42, time drop, 3. Luca Hincapie 59.54, time drop.

12-16 100-yard backstroke: 1. Jaden Amores 1:02.29, time drop, 2. Ethan McPeek 1:04.42, 3. Nicholas Pelaez 1:04.94, time drop.

12-16 100-yard breaststroke: 1. Javier Colmenares 1:02.01, time drop, 2. Derek Hau 1:07.55, time drop, 3. Felix Gonzalez 1:14.75, time drop.

12-16 200-yard freestyle: 1. Javier Colmenares 1:53.45, time drop, 2. Adrian Hernandez 1:54.77, time drop, 3. Hashan Ekanayake 1:56.50, time drop.

12-16 200-yard individual medley: 1. Javier Colmenares 2:02.67, time drop, 2. Adrian Hernandez 2:10.09, 3. Andres Tejada 2:14.68.

WOMEN PENTATHLON:
1. Pilar Duranti 863, 2. Elise Dinehart 678, 3. Sarah Vasquez 651, 4. Sofia Lugo 641, 5. Lydia Smutny 582.

MEN PENTATHLON:
1. Alexander Miller 954, 2. Juan Vallmitjana 323, 3. Abraham Penaloza 205, 4. Felipe Rodriguez 170, 5. Connor Jimenez 117.

GIRLS 8-and-under, 9-10:
50-yard freestyle: 9-10, 1. Nahomi Porras-Aguilar 37.04, 2. Gabriella Ordonez 37.72, time drop, 3. Devy Otero 43.66, time drop.

50-yard breaststroke: 9-10, 1. Nahomi Porras-Aguilar 57.45, 2. Gabriella Ordonez 59.56, 3. Devy Otero 1:02.10.

50-yard backstroke: 8-and-under, 1. Gabriela Ekht 54.06, time drop; 9-10, 1. Nahomi Porras-Aguilar 44.53, 2. Gabriella Ordonez 47.66, time drop, 3. Devy Otero 54.93.

50-yard butterfly: 8-and-under, 1. Gabriela Ekht 1:01.52; 9-10, 1. Gabriella Ordonez 53.25, 2. Devy Otero 1:04.96, 3. Sofia Duranti 1:10.86.

BOYS 8-and-under, 9-10

50-yard freestyle: 8-and-under, 1. Alessandro Suarez Cabrera 40.00, time drop, 2. Michael Barber 43.57, time drop, 3. Luis Escobar 45.00, time drop, 4. Zachary Snigur 45.44, time drop; 9-10, 1. Preson Christensen 34.72, time drop, 2. Lance Bergeron-Menard 34.95, 3. Matteo Castelli 39.20, time drop.

50-yard breaststroke: 8-and-under, 1. Zachary Snigur 51.88, time drop, 2. Alessandro Suarez Cabrera 52.85, 3. Luis Escobar 58.79, 4. Michael Barber 1:00.94, time drop; 9-10, 1. Lance Bergeron-Menard 49.74, 2. Preston Christensen 49.86, 3. Matteo Castelli 50.41, time drop.

50-yard backstroke: 8-and-under, 1. Zachary Snigur 55.65, 2. Michael Barber 56.86, 3. Alessandro Suarez Cabrera 57.54, 4. Luis Escobar 57.57, time drop; 9-10, 1. Preston Christensen 43.33, 2. Lance Bergeron-Menard 44.41, 3. Matteo Castelli 49.75, 4. Samuel Rico 53.20, time drop.

50-yard butterfly: 8-and-under, 1. Luis Escobar 57.40, time drop, 2. Alessandro Suarez Cabrera 59.26, 3. Michael Barber 1:04.88, time drop; 9-10, 1. Lance Bergeron-Menard 41.13, 2. Preston Christensen 49.39, 3. Matteo Castelli 52.97, Kyle Wehn 57.28.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Swimmers Ready For Fourth Intrasquad Meet On Saturday


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, August 28, 2020—If last weekend’s intrasquad meet is any indication, there will be more time drops and competitive racing at South Florida Aquatic Club’s fourth intrasquad meet.

Bronze, Silver, Meteorites and Asteroids swimmers will get another chance to race in a controlled atmosphere at Academic Village Pool.

After more than four months of not racing, South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers are not only training well but getting in some much-needed racing and fun competition in a unique format to gauge training and fitness levels.

Observing stringent local, state and federal public health COVID-19 guidelines, SOFLO is hosting its fourth intrasquad training meet with a 6:45 a.m. start. It will be live streamed on SOFLO’s Facebook page.

Last weekend 153 girl and boy swimmers had time drops in the five events’ mixed 13-and-under, 12-16 and 12-and-under sessions.

Session 1 will feature Bronze swimmers at 6:45 a.m. followed by Session 2 for Silver and Senior Fit at 8:45 a.m. and Session 3 Dippers at 10:30 a.m.

In a safe environment, swimmers will compete with no more than ten in each heat, another ten warming up or warming down and ten in the bullpen area. The same seeded heats will be maintained to avoid any cross contamination between heats. Every race will be about 25 to 30 minutes apart.

The USA Swimming-sanctioned meet will be run without volunteers (other than the minimum number of officials required). No spectators are permitted on deck.

Top-seeded swimmers and events are:

Alexander Miller, 13, 13-and-under 100-yard butterfly, 1:07.10; 200-yard freesttyle 2:07.76; 200-yard individual medley, 2:16.47.

Sofia Lugo, 11, 13-and-under 100-yard backstroke, 1:12.25.

Ryan Harries, 11, 13-and-under 100-yard breaststroke 1:20.26.

Andres Tejada, 13, 12-16 100-yard butterfly, 1:00.22.

Gabriella Deluna, 14, 12-16 100-yard backstroke, 1:02.28.

Javier Colmenares, 14, 12-16 100-yard breaststroke, 1:04.49; 200-yard individual medley 2:05.53.

Adrian Hernandez, 14, 12-16 200-yard freestyle, 1:56.40.

Preston Christensen, 10, 12-and-under 50-yard freestyle, 36.78; 50-yard breaststroke, 48.92; 50-yard backstroke, 41.07; 50-yard butterfly, 48.20.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Swimmers Shine In SOFLO’s Third Intrasquad Meet; Alexander Miller, Noah Mejias Triple Winners


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, August 22, 2020–To say that South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers were chomping at the bit to race on Saturday is an understatement.

For the first time in more than four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Silver, Bronze, Meteorites and Asteroids swimmers got to race in SOFLO’s third Intrasquad Meet and it showed.

A total of 153 girl and boy swimmers posted time drops in the five events’ mixed 13-and-under, 12-16 and 12-and-under sessions. The smiles on their faces as they climbed out of Academic Village Pool said it all.

Pilar Duranti, 12, was a double girls’ winner in the 13-and-under session. Duranti won the 100-yard freestyle in a best time 1:01.55 and 50-yard backstroke in 32.34, also a best time.

Elise Dinehart, 12, was also a double girls’ winner in the 13-and-under session. She won the 100-yard individual medley in a best time 1:11.80 and 50-yard breaststroke in a best time 36.40.

Duranti edged Dinehart in the 13-and-under pentathlon, 924-905, for three events.

In the boy’s 13-and-under competition, Alexander Miller, 13, came up big winning three events and posting two time drops. He won the 100-yard freestyle in a best time 54.99; 100-yard individual medley in a best time 1:01.11 and 50-yard butterfly in 29.59.

Miller also won the boys’ 13-and-under pentathlon big with 871 points for three events. Juan Vallmitjana, 12, was second with 242 points.

In the girls’ 12-16 session, Gabriela Avila, 14, Fiorella Di Salvo, 12, and Manuela Gonzalez, 14, each won an individual event with best times. Gonzalez won the 12-16 pentathlon with 1,405 points.

Javier Colmenares, 14, and Adrian Hernandez, 14, were double winners in the boys’ 12-16 session. Colmenares won the 100-yard freestyle in a best time 53.11 and 50-yard breaststroke in 30.02, also a best time. Hernandez won the 100-yard individual medley in a best time 59.36 and 50-yard butterfly in a best time 26.65. Colmenares won the 12-16 pentathlon with 1,260 points.

Amanda Grubbs, 11, was a double winner in the girls’ 12-and-under session. Grubbs won the 100-yard freestyle in a best time 1:04.34 and 100-yard individual medley in a best time 1:14.38. Grubbs won the 12-and-under pentathlon with 433 points.

Noah Mejias, 9, was a triple winner in the boys’ 12-and-under session and won the pentathlon. Mejias won the 100-yard freestyle in 1:11.69, 100-yard individual medley in 1:20.87 and 50-yard butterfly in 34.80.

Like every SOFLO intrasquad meet, swimmers, coaches and USA Swimming officials followed stringent local, state and federal public health COVID-19 guidelines. This sanctioned meet was run without volunteers (other than the minimum number of officials required). No spectators were permitted on deck.

This meet had three sessions with a maximum of 30 swimmers each. During each session, the 30 swimmers were divided into three “heats” of 10. The heats were determined by the seeding for the stroke events (3-5 and 8-10 and 13-15). The heats stayed together as a group throughout the meet and rotated around the deck.

There was a heat racing or preparing to race, a heat in the warm-down lanes (one lane per athlete), and a heat “on deck” who were waiting in their chairs.

The “on deck” waiting area had three groups of 10 chairs separated by the designated social distance of 6 feet. Each athlete will had a designated chair for their equipment and sat in their chair when not racing or warming down.

There was about 8 minutes between racing heats. With nine heats per session, each session was about 75 minutes in length and athletes raced every twenty-four minutes.

The fourth intrasquad meet is Saturday, Aug. 29, 6-11:30 a.m. Bronze, Silver, Senior Fit and Dippers will compete.

SATURDAY RESULTS
MIXED 13-and-under
GIRLS

100-yard freestyle: 1. Pilar Duranti 1:01.55, time drop, 2. Genesis Escobar 1:01.62, time drop, 3. Sofia Lugo 1:02.59, time drop.

100-yard individual medley: 1. Elise Dinehart 1:11.80, time drop, 2. Pilar Duranti 1:12.54, 3. Sarah Vasquez 1:13.53.

50-yard butterfly: 1. Sofia Lugo 33.33, 2. Lydia Smutny 33.61, 3. Sarah Vasquez 33.77.

50-yard backstroke: 1. Pilar Duranti, 32.34, time drop, 2. Alexandra Strong 37.43, 3. Sofia Gomez 37.56, time drop.

50-yard breaststroke: 1. Elise Dinehart 36.40, time drop, 2. Cali Harries 39.59, 3. Anjana Andapally 41.25, time drop.

BOYS

100-yard freestyle: 1. Alexander Miller 54.99, time drop, 2. Juan Vallmitjana 1:00.54, time drop, 3. Abraham Penaloza 1:02.04, time drop.

100-yard individual medley: 1. Alexander Miller 1:01.11, time drop, 2. Leo Shee 1:11.25, time drop, 3. Juan Vallmitjana 1:11.81.

50-yard butterfly: 1. Alexander Miller 29.59, 2. Leo Shee 33.81, time drop, 3. Joshua Menezes 34.34.

50-yard backstroke: 1. Matt McVeigh 33.39, time drop, 2. Matthew Jimenez 36.47, 3. Ethan Hall 37.96.

50-yard breaststroke: 1. Abraham Penaloza 35.60, time drop, 2. Juan Vallmitjana 36.40, time drop, 3. Ryan Harries 37.23.

MIXED 12-16
GIRLS

100-yard freestyle: 1. Gabriela Avila 57.54, time drop, 2. tie, Gabriella DeLuna 58.04 and Manuela Gonzalez, 58.04, time drop.

100-yard individual medley: 1. Fiorella DiSalvo 1:06.70, time drop, 2. Gabriella DeLuna 1:06.86, 3. Manuela Gonzalez 1:07.29, time drop.

50-yard butterfly: 1. Manuela Gonzalez 28.61, time drop, 2. Gabriela Avila 29.34, time drop, 3. Izzy Wilson 32.03.

50-yard backstroke: 1. Gabriella DeLuna 30.70, 2. Mariann Catalasan 31.51 time drop, 3. Fiorella DiSalvo 31.78, time drop.

50-yard breaststroke: 1. Dahlia Hirsh 37.47, 2. Sofia Hernandez 38.82, time drop, 3. Melanie Palmira 41.14.

BOYS

100-yard freestyle: 1. Javier Colmenares 53.11, time drop, 2. Kevin Moya 53.76, time drop, 3. Hashan Ekanayake 54.12, time drop.

100-yard individual medley: 1. Adrian Hernandez 59.36, time drop, 2. Javier Colmenares 59.61, 3. Kevin Moya 1:00.78.

50-yard butterfly: 1. Adrian Hernandez 26.65, time drop, 2. Andres Tejada 27.70, time drop, 3. Hashan Ekanayake 28.21, time drop.

50-yard backstroke: 1. Kevin Moya 28.19, time drop, 2. Ethan McPeek 30.01, time drop, 3. Felix Gonzalez 31.36, time drop.

50-yard breaststroke: 1. Javier Colmenares 30.02, time drop, 2. Derek Hau 31.15, time drop, 3. Luca Hincapie 33.46, time drop.

MIXED 12-and-under
GIRLS

100-yard freestyle: 1. Amanda Grubbs 1:04.34, time drop, 2. Olivia Wilson 1:10.66, time drop, 3. Sofia Rodriguez 1:12.81, time drop.

100-yard individual medley: 1. Amanda Grubbs 1:14.38, time drop, 2. Olivia Wilson 1:24.45, time drop, 3. Gabriela Marin 1:26.26, time drop.

50-yard butterfly: 1. Olivia Wilson 41.13, time drop, 2. Gabriela Marin 42.64.

50-yard backstroke: 1. Sofia Rodriguez 40.28, time drop, 2. Jiana Connor 45.24, 3. Marlena Groves 51.18, time drop.

50-yard breaststroke: 1. Gianna Martin 41.14, time drop, 2. Ainsley Miller 44.99, 3. Christie Ann Lumsden 46.65, time drop.

BOYS

100-yard freestyle: 1. Noah Mejias 1:11.69, 2. Atharv Agashe 1:16.06, time drop, 3. Martin Petkov 1:17.77.

100-yard individual medley: 1. Noah Mejias 1:20.87, 2. Mikhel Martin 1:25.43, time drop, 3. Martin Petkov 1:28.87.

50-yard butterfly: 1. Noah Mejias 34.80, 2. Adrian Sowma 45.26, 3. Matthew Ortiz 48.22.

50-yard backstroke: 1. Mikhel Martin 40.48, 2. Eric Ferrer 41.38, 3. Atharv Agashe 43.10, time drop.

50-yard breaststroke: 1. Noah Lee 42.75, 2. Martin Petkov 46.52, time drop, 3. Maximiliano Remmele 47.06.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Taravella Athletic Director Dead At Age 46 From COVID-19


By Sharon Robb

CORAL SPRINGS, August 21, 2020—The high school sports community is mourning the death of well-liked J.P. Taravella High School Athletic Director Jason Stein.

Stein, 46, died Thursday due to complications from COVID-19, Taravella principal Mary DeArmas announced on Twitter. His family was by his side when he passed away. DeArmas announced a memorial tribute for Stein would be held Thursday 8:30 p.m. on Zoom on the high school website to “pray or just be together.”

“Our hearts are heavy today with the passing of our beloved athletic leader, coach, mentor and friend,” DeArmas tweeted. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Stein had been hospitalized since late July. His condition appeared to be improving. He had been taken off a ventilator and was breathing on his own but took a turn for the worse earlier this week.

Stein coached the Trojans’ baseball team (2004-2011). He earned Large School Coach of the Year honors in 2008 and took over as athletic director in 2011. His education career spanned 15 years.

Condolences have been pouring in from throughout South Florida on social media including a post from the Coral Springs Police Department.

“Coach Stein was a dear friend to our department and many of our Officers. It is with a heavy heart we hear of his passing. Our thoughts and full support are with the students, faculty, and the family of Coach Stein. May he rest in peace.”

Stein is survived by his wife of 22 years, Michele Wajser, Coral Glades High School assistant principal, and two daughters, Ilana, 20, and Hailey, 15.

“Jason was one of the finest, most genuine human beings that you will ever come across. He always made you feel better when you were in his presence,” said longtime friend Mark Montimurro.

A Jason Stein Memorial Fund on GoFundMe has been established and has already raised $9,436 of the $50,000 goal in four hours.

“Jason was the first person to always help anyone out, even to change a tire in the middle of the night,” said organizer Lori Waiser. “His kindness, generosity and willingness to go the extra mile sum up who he was. He was a father figure and mentor to many as the Athletic Director at J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs, Florida.

“We hope we can all wrap our arms around Michele and the girls during this most difficult time. We know Jason will always watch over Michele, Ilana, Hailey and everyone else he loved.

“Thank you Jason for your beautiful smile, you brightened up everyone who came in contact with it and we are all better people for knowing you. You are beyond loved and we will miss you like crazy and will always be thinking about you through every step of our lives.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Swimmers Excited To Race For First Time Saturday In Intrasquad Meet


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, August 21, 2020—After two weekends of intrasquad meets with senior and national team swimmers, Bronze, Silver, Meteorites and Asteroids swimmers will get to race Saturday in SOFLO’s Intrasquad Meet Three.

After nearly five months of not racing, South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will get in some much-needed racing and fun competition in a unique format.

Observing stringent local, state and federal public health COVID-19 guidelines, SOFLO will host its third intrasquad training meet at Academic Village Pool Saturday with a 6:45 a.m. start for the first of three sessions. It will be live streamed on SOFLO’s Facebook page.

In a safe environment, swimmers will compete with no more than ten in each heat, another ten warming up or warming down and ten in the bullpen area. The same seeded heats will be maintained to avoid any cross contamination between heats. Every race will be about 24 minutes apart.

“We are excited about hosting these meets,” SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson said. “The great thing is we can test them in events and see where they are at as far as our training goals moving into the future.”

Top-seeded swimmers and events are:

Alexander Miller, 13, mixed 13-and-under 100 freestyle, 55.44; 100 individual medley, 1:03.30; 50 butterfly, 29.42.

Pilar Duranti, 12, mixed 13-and-under 50 backstroke, 33.27.

Elise Dinehart, 12, mixed 13-and-under 50 breaststroke, 36.65.

Adrian Hernandez, 14, 12-16 100 freestyle, 53.36; 50 butterfly, 27.53.

Javier Colmenares, 14, 12-16 100 individual medley, 58.97; 50 breaststroke, 30.12.

Kevin Moya, 13, 12-15 50 backstroke, 28.40.

Amanda Grubbs, 11, 12-and-under 100 freestyle, 1:08.56; 100 individual medley 1:17.25; 50 butterfly 33.32.

Mikhel Martin, 11, 50 backstroke, 38.73.

Gianna Martin, 9, 50 breaststroke, 41.71.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Coaches Help Ease Swimmers’ Virtual Online Learning Anxiety With Helpful, Healthy Ideas


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, August 18, 2020—With school set to begin Wednesday in Broward County and Aug. 31 in Miami-Dade with virtual online learning, South Florida Aquatic Club coaches held an informative zoom meeting on Tuesday for senior team members to help them start the school year off with a healthy mindset.

SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson talked about creating a healthy learning environment at home and benefits of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools have been closed since March in Broward and Miami-Dade due to COVID-19. Both counties remain in Phase One. A date for Phase Two re-openings has not yet been determined.

Counties will likely enter Phase Two when the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than five percent for two consecutive weeks. In South Florida, the positivity rate is currently 7.2 percent for Broward and 10.7 percent for Miami-Dade.

Meanwhile, SOFLO coaches are finding alternatives for swimmers to make up for the lack of mobility students usually have attending school in person, walking hallways, stairways and steps and movement between classes. With virtual online learning, most swimmers will be sitting in front of a computer for at least six hours.

Anderson and his staff have created exercises to keep swimmers active throughout the day while online learning “to keep the blood flowing and keep active throughout the entire day to set yourself up for the afternoon practices.”

SOFLO age group coach and trainer Malique Elder talked about and illustrated dry-land and daily home school active workouts including a wake-up workout and ab workout, each about five minutes long, to help the body’s circulation throughout the day.

“Those are really important to keep the blood flow so you are not feeling groggy when you come to practice,” Elder said. “I promise you if you sit at home all day, not doing a lot, you will start to feel heavy.”

Anderson also suggested student-athletes use fitness balls for sitting at a desk while in front of a computer. They can be purchased at various stores including Target, Marshall’s and Walmart, ranging in price from $12 to $25. It can help with good posture and abs.

Anderson stressed the importance to create an academic learning space and to have academic goals.

“I really feel you need to create it in your houses,” Anderson said. “I know there is a tendency to lay around and do different things but I really am challenging the group about the importance of education and what we need to do and create a learning environment for yourselves.

“I really feel that our athletes and swimmers are going to be ahead of the curve when you start school,” Anderson said. “I think you are going to take great advantage of this virtual learning and I think it’s going to help find your student-athlete way of life.

“You guys already had a taste of it at the end of last school year. I really honestly feel the way you guys did and those of you who did our zoom workouts, we as coaches saw the learning curve. We saw your progress and come back in the water a lot faster than others that were not able to take some of the zoom classes we had.”

Anderson and his staff have been happy with the progress of all SOFLO swimmers and the way they are supporting and motivating each other in the pool and maintaining a positive environment.

“I am super excited,” Anderson said. “We have been training for 14 weeks as far as our senior program. The first time ever as a program we are really firing on all cylinders, from our senior high school group to our silver group, gold group and national group.

“I am really super excited about the atmosphere that both Coach Lou and myself have seen in training. It really looks like we have a nice 120 athletes who are committed to getting a lot better. It’s super awesome to watch. I know our senior level coaches are getting very excited about the workouts that we are doing and how we are doing them.

“Most importantly the workout environment is very important. I really feel since we are spread out over a lot of area, each group of 30 athletes we have are motivating each other, they are all there for a purpose to get some work done. It’s really nice to see.”

For four weeks, Anderson said the swimmers have gone over the technical aspects and maintained being in shape.

“If you really look at the different groups that we have, whether it’s gold, national, proflo, silver and senior, it’s been a wonderful place to work and I hope you guys are really enjoying the training. We are all super excited about what’s going on.”

Anderson said the fate of high school season in South Florida is still uncertain. He did guarantee as a club that swimmers will have a target meet in late November or early December. There will be plenty of opportunities to race, he said. By mid-September, meet schedules and target dates, whether it’s high school, virtual or nationals, should become more clear.

“I am super excited where we are at and very excited where we are going,” Anderson said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

FHSAA Votes To Start Fall High School Sports Practice On Aug. 24 Statewide, South Florida Schools Not Ready


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, August 14, 2020—After more than two hours of discussion, the Florida High School Athletic Association 16-member Board of Directors voted Friday to start fall high school sports practice on August 24.

The vote was a majority decision, 11-5, in favor of Option One with an amendment for schools who are in “hot spots” such as South Florida including Broward, Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe counties not ready to return safely to allow the FHSAA-member schools to put together their own athletic calendar and to start at a point when they feel they are ready.

Schools may opt out of the FHSAA state championship series by Sept. 18. The earliest game date for football in all classifications is Sept. 4.

The “hot spot” schools that are still in Phase One and cannot put teams on the field or pool deck can still continue the FHSAA summer guidelines including working out, weight training, conditioning and doing things safely to keep the student-athletes physically fit.

Unlike the past two emergency meetings held on a zoom platform, Friday’s meeting was held in person at the Best Western Gateway Grand Hotel ballroom in Gainesville. Only 50 people were allowed in the room including 20 FHSAA board members and staff. It was streamed live statewide for more than three hours. The meeting started at 10 a.m. and ended 1:44 p.m. There was a 15-minute recess after the major vote.

The Board of Directors included three representatives from South Florida: Hialeah Gardens Principal Carlos Ochoa; Riviera Prep co-athletic director Mark Schusterman and former Miami Booker T. Washington associate head coach Ben Hanks, the newest citizen-at-large board member.

“We had to make a difficult decision today,” said FHSAA president Lauren Otero, athletic director at Tampa Plant.

“I hope we are on the right side of history,” Hanks said.

Thirteen school districts opened this past week with more middle and high schools set to open next week. Broward opens Aug. 19 and Miami-Dade opens Aug. 31 with online learning.

FHSAA executive director George Tomyn gave his final recommendation to the Board and said after meeting with 10 advisory committees around the state including six fall sports committees in addition to athletic directors, student-athletes, officials and medical advisory committees, that Option One of the three-option plans was the most preferred option.

The Football Advisory Committee voted unanimously, 9-0, for an Aug. 24 start date. However, the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, which outlined many recommendations in the previous two meetings for the FHSAA to follow recommended Option 3, which would have pushed the fall season back to the spring.

“Until the virus is given the respect it deserves, by introducing sports, it adds fuel to the fire,” Sports Medicine Advisory Committee Chairperson Dr. Jennifer Maynard told the board.

Last week, Tomyn asked all the advisory committees to rank their option choice. All stressed the importance of the state playoff series. Safety was also paramount in all committee discussions.

GOLF, 9 committee members, chose Option One unanimously.

CROSS COUNTRY, 8 members, five for Option One and three for Option 3.

BOWLING, 5 members, four for Option One and one for Option 3.

VOLLEYBALL, 8 members, two for Option One, two for Option two and four for Option 3. The members made it a point to cite that Orlando recently hosted a club tournament with 10,000 participants and there were no incidents or positive COVID-19 tests.

SWIMMING (10 members plus consultant), four for Option One and six for Option Three. Tomyn said it was the most creative group with several ideas including having two different seasons for swimming and diving. There were concerns about weather in the winter, Olympic trials and the fact swimmers train to peak for certain meets.

FOOTBALL (9 members and one consultant). All nine voted for Option One and talked about the concept of flexibility with scheduling.

ATHLETIC DIRECTORS (15 members), seven for Option One and eight for Option Three. The several regions that were represented also talked about flexibility.

STUDENT-ATHLETES, (10 members), eight for Option One and two for Option Three. Tomyn said this was his favorite meeting because the members were all “knowledgeable, inspirational, insightful and tomorrow leaders without a shadow of doubt.”

FALL OFFICIALS, (9 members), four for Option One, two for Option Two and three for Option Three. A lot of their discussion focused on the officials’ health.

SMAC, (14 members), said whatever the decision is that it should be based on science and recognition that COVID-19 is changing on a daily/weekly basis. They want to see the impact of school openings. They all opposed Options One and Two and were unanimous for Option Three.

“The common theme among these groups was safety, the desire to play and compete, flexibility and scheduling,” Tomyn said. “The state series is important. What can we do for our member schools? I am firm believer in flexibility, parental choice and local decision making.”

Under Option 1 in regards to football, the Kickoff Classic and Weeks 1 and 2 of the FHSAA regular season would be canceled. The first allowable regular season contest will be Sept. 4. Most games are expected to start Sept. 11. The season would end Nov. 6 instead of Oct. 30.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Jamie and Tammy Kent, parents of a football student-athlete at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa, asked the board to keep the Aug. 24 date. They created the #WeWantToPlay petition on Change.org that received over 40,000 signatures from around the Sunshine State to keep the Aug. 24 date. “Seniors don’t get another chance,” Jamie Kent told the Board.

A motion to make a COVID-19 waiver available, not required, passed 10-6. Schools may use that waiver to provide to students and parents as they see fit.

The final agenda item required all coaches in all sports to watch the NHFS “COVID for Coaches” video and to provide their individual schools with a certificate that proves they watched the video.

Added Tomyn: “Because of the diversity of the state and inability for some to start on time, the whole concept will be flexibility to create a regional calendar for Monroe, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. These are the times we are in. They have a chance to play when they can play.”

Dr. Maynard did add that 43 of the state’s 67 counties meet the positivity rate guidelines for low COVID-19 statistics according to the World Health Organization.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

FHSAA Reverses Its Decision, Will Now Live Stream Friday Crucial Board Of Directors Meeting


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, August 11, 2020–Florida High School Athletic Association executive director George Tomyn announced Monday via email that Friday’s crucial Board of Directors meeting to determine the fate of high school fall sports will now be live streamed.

Pressure from coaches, parents, athletes, media and even its own Board of Directors citing transparency, forced Tomyn to reconsider his original decision.

“We’re an athletic association, not a broadcasting company,” Tomyn told the Orlando Sentinel after he said last week that the meeting would not be streamed, but would be open to the public with access severely limited because of Alachua County’s social-distancing guidelines. Only 50 people are allowed in the room, and more than 20 of those attendees will be board members and FHSAA staff.

The much-anticipated face-to-face 16-panel Board meeting will be held at the Best Western Gateway Grand Hotel

FHSAA officials said late Monday that live video from its upcoming board meeting will be available online. At the 10 a.m. meeting the Board will vote on how to schedule sports for the 2020-21 school year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. No agenda has been released.

Douglas Dodd, president-elect of the Board of Directors, said Tomyn notified members on Monday.

“I believe that transparency is a good thing and that people should have the ability to view the meeting live as there is so much interest in the decisions that will be made,” Dodd told the Naples Daily News in an email.

FHSAA officials agreed that any kind of decision of this magnitude should be open to viewing by the constituents.

The Board of Directors’ virtual meetings on July 20 and July 23 were streamed live on YouTube. The meetings had 41,517 views combined.

FHSAA spokesperson Ashton Mosley said in an email that details of the livestream are still being worked out, and that the FHSAA will make an announcement when details are set.

The FHSAA is accepting public input through email. Questions and comments can be emailed to questions@fhsaa.org and will be read to the board.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com