SOFLO Swimmers Dominate Weather-Abbreviated GMAC Swimming And Diving Championships

By Sharon Robb
MIAMI, October 14, 2022–Mother Nature put a damper on the GMAC Swimming and Diving Championships Thursday at Miami-Dade North, but not before Cutler Bay girls swim team left a lasting impression.

Meet officials were forced to end the meet after the boys’ 100-yard freestyle event because of lightning.

Cutler Bay got off to a good start winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:50.93 with Elena Dinehart, Olivia Dinehart, Maddy Smutny and Natalie Gembicki. All four train with South Florida Aquatic Club.

In an exciting race among teammates, Smutny also won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:57.58 and Natalie Gembicki was close behind in second in 1:57.88.

Olivia Dinehart won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:08.33 and Sophia Grubbs, also of SOFLO, was third in 2:15.93.

Sisters Natalie and Katelyn Gembicki finished one-two in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.00 and 56.96 respectively.

Katelyn Gembicki was second in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.63 and Elena Dinehart was second in the 100-yard butterfly in 59.05.

Cutler Bay’s boys 200-yard medley relay was fourth in 1:46.52 with Austin Nelson, Nicolai Ross, Jaden Amores and Nicholas Pelaez.

The meet served as a tuneup for the upcoming districts.

200-yard medley relay: 1. Cutler Bay 1:50.93 (Elena Dinehart, Olivia Dinehart, Maddy Smutny, Natalie Gembicki), 2. Braddock 1:58.95, 3. Ferguson 2:04.13.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Maddy Smutny, CB 1:57.58, 2. Natalie Gembicki, CB 1:57.88, 3. Emily Franco, TI 2:03.73, 5. Lydia Smutny, CB 2:02.49.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Olivia Dinehart, CB 2:08.33, 2. Paola Gonzalez, BRAD 2:08.42, 3. Sophia Grubbs, CB 2:15.93, 6. Elise Dinehart, CB 2:23.58.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Sofia Jorge, FERG 24.52, 2. Katelyn Gembicki, CB 25.63, 3. Luna Balzano, MB 26.04.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Sofia Jorge, FERG 57.73, 2. Elena Dinehart, CB 59.05, 3. Casey Perez, HG 1:00.79, 8. Lydia Smutny, CB 1:05.58.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Natalie Gembicki, CB 54.00, 2. Katelyn Gembicki, CB 56.96, 3. Sofia Abril, CG 58.58.

200-yard medley relay: 1. Braddock 1:36.64 (Dylan Ferguson, George Gonzalez, Anthony Pineiro, Juan Abella), 2. Miami Beach 1:38.13, 3. Mast 1:45.89, 4. Cutler Bay (Austin Nelson, Nicolai Ross, Jaden Amores, Nicholas Pelaez) 1:46.52.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Marcelo Mansur, BRAD 1:43.87, 2. Tomas Fermin, MB 1:47.97, 3. Julian Lezcano, FERG 1:50.80, 5. Ivan Grass, MP 1:48.91, 7. Nicolai Ross, CB 1:53.00, 9. Nicholas Pelaez, CB 1:56.69.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Michael Baltodano, MB 2:01.19, 2. Lucas Fernandez-Chung, CR 2:03.35, 3. Robert Alvarez, BRAD 2:03.34.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Marcoaurelio Lopez-Casula, MB 21.53, 2. Peyton Selts, MP 23.01, 3. Michael McKenzie, MS 23.49.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Anthony Pineiro, BRAD 51.06, 2. Michael Baltodano, MB 51.80, 3. Gabriel Martinez, MAST 53.56, 7. Jaden Amores, CB 55.78.

100-yard freestyle: 1. George Gonzalez, BRAD 46.59, 2. Marcoaurelio Lopez-Casula, MB 47.23, 3. Juan Abella, BRAD 49.54.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, December 29, 2021–It was no small feat to win a state title at the Nov. 6 FHSAA State 1A Swimming Championship, one of the fastest meets in state history.

Cutler Bay High School junior Olivia Dinehart stole a little of state powerhouse Jacksonville Bolles’ thunder winning the state title in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:02.28, an automatic All-American time.

The victory capped off a perfect season for the 16-year-old. In addition to her state title, she was third in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:03.61, another All-American time.

“I went into the meet seeded first so there was a little bit more pressure,” Dinehart said. “But then I went into finals seeded third so it kind of took some of the pressure off. I was thinking on the blocks that I worked for this. I was losing for the first 75 and the last 25 I caught up and out-touched the girl next to me. It was an amazing feeling. I had all my teammates cheering for me behind the blocks. That was awesome.”

At the Region 4-1A meet, she was second to U.S. Junior National team member Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest in the 200 IM in 2:04.91 and won the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.06, an All-American time. She won two District 12-1A titles in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:06.79 and 200 IM in 2:10.36. At the GMAC Swimming Championships, she won the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.17 and 200 IM in 2:11.19.

Dinehart has been swimming since she was a baby and competitively since she was 7. She also played soccer for two years in elementary school but scheduling conflicts led her to focus solely on swimming.

“When I was at that age it was my teammates that helped me like the sport so much,” Dinehart said. “But thinking about it at this age it’s just so nice to see when you work hard and then getting to see that pay off later. You can’t really see that with other sports. That reward is probably what’s kept me going this long.”

Dinehart has benefitted from swimming in several ways.

“The discipline and time management has helped me and working with the team is important especially in high school swimming. A lot of people think swimming is an individualized sport. But you learn to think of your team before yourself. If that means going into an event that you don’t usually swim so you can get the team more points, whatever it is. That’s the biggest takeaway for me.”

Dinehart said her favorite event is the 200 breaststroke “on a good day” with the 100 breaststroke a close second.

Now ranked fourth in the state, Dinehart has already verbally committed to Auburn University. She will work with Associate Head Coach Vlad Polyakov, a three-time Olympian, world champion and NCAA champion. The former Florida Gold Coast swimmer at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Coral Springs Swim Club, where he worked under six-time Olympic coach and Hall of Famer Michael Lohberg, joined the staff after nine seasons at Louisville.

Auburn was one of the top women’s teams in the nation last season along with NCAA champion Virginia, Stanford, Indiana and Arizona State.

Dinehart has some lofty future goals.

“I definitely want to place at NCAAs, if not win a breaststroke event,” she said. “That would be an awesome goal. Winning with a team is one of the reasons I picked Auburn. Their selling point was if you’re not willing to work for a team and you’re more individualized then maybe this program isn’t for you. But that’s exactly what I was looking for. Winning a championship with the team would be awesome.”

Before her junior high school season, Dinehart was a two-time finalist at the State 1A High School Swimming Championship in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.87) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:05.16). In 2020, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.79) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:04.19). In 2019, she was a two-time District 12-A and region champion in both the breaststroke and IM events.

Her biggest turning point in swimming came at the Summer Junior Olympics Long Course meet when she was 14. She got her summer junior national cut and everything snowballed after that.

“I realized I had been working for seven years and this is what it led to,” Dinehart said. “I thought if I could keep going I could be potentially really good and that would be amazing.”

There are two other Dinehart siblings in swimming, Olivia’s twin sister Elena and younger sister Elise. Elise Dinehart was the TYR March Girl Swimmer of the Month.

“People are always surprised when I say this but we are not competitive at all,” Dinehart said. “And if we are, it’s in a very healthy, controlled way. My little sister will compare our times when I was her age. I think that’s very normal. We grew up in an atmosphere that was very supportive. We’re just happy for each other whenever we do well.”

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.

SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.

TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology. Among its female-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Ashley Twichell and other elite swimmers Melanie Margalis, Molly Hannis and Kelsi Dahlia.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Olivia Dinehart Verbally Commits To Auburn University

By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, October 6, 2021—Olivia Dinehart of South Florida Aquatic Club Sharks has verbally committed to Auburn University.

Ranked fifth in the state, the Cutler Bay High School junior announced her choice on social media.

“I am very excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at Auburn University,” Dinehart wrote.

“I can’t wait to be a part of such a special team. I’d like to thank my amazing coaches, my incredible family and my friends. WAR EAGLE.”

Dinehart, 16, Cutler Bay Class of 2023, will work with Associate Head Coach Vlad Polyakov, a three-time Olympian, world champion and NCAA champion. The former Florida Gold Coast swimmer at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Coral Springs Swim Club, where he worked under six-time Olympic coach and Hall of Famer Michael Lohberg, joined the staff this year after nine seasons at Louisville.

Auburn was one of the top women’s teams in the nation last season along with NCAA champion Virginia, Stanford, Indiana and Arizona State.

Dinehart is a two-time finalist at the State 1A High School Swimming Championships in 2019 and 2020.

In 2019, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.87) and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:05.16). In 2020, she was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.79) and fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.19). The 1A state meet that features powerhouse Jacksonville Bolles, is the most competitive of the four classifications in Florida.

In 2019, she was a two-time District 12-A and region champion in the breaststroke and IM events.

In August 2019, she was a finalist in the USA Swimming Futures Championships in Greensboro in the 1500-meter freestyle (17:23.56). She was also a Top 4 finisher in four events at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships including winning the 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.93). Her last major championship was the August Speedo Summer East Championships where she finished in the Top 15 in her events.

Dinehart is one of three sisters who swim. Her twin Elena and Elise also swim.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Olivia Dinehart, Alejandro Mateus Named SOFLO Club Reps For Florida Gold Coast Board

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, August 6, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented on the Florida Gold Coast’s newly-created Club Rep committee.

Olivia Dinehart, 15, and Alejandro Mateus, 15, will represent the AK Sharks and SOFLO sites as Club Reps on the FGC Board along with other athletes from remaining FGC teams.

“This is exciting,” said SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson, who made the announcement during Tuesday’s Senior Zoom meeting attended by more than 50 swimmers and coaches. “We really appreciate them taking time to do this.”

FGC Athlete Reps Chloe Hernandez, Kyle Kasztner and Madelene Finks introduced the idea of having Club Reps from each team.

Two members from each club representing gender diversity were chosen. Club Reps will be represent their club for the Athlete Reps. They will be the main form of communication between the Athlete Reps and their club.

The responsibilities of a Club Rep includes relaying information from Athlete Reps to the members of their club, voicing concerns from their athletes to the Athlete Reps, and helping connect all athletes in the FGC. Club Reps will not only improve communication between the FGC Board and athletes of the FGC but will also help create more of a community within the athletes.


The SOFLO coaching staff has been pleased with the swimmers’ progress after 12 weeks of training under all safety COVID-19 protocols.

“We are very excited to see the improvement of the overall senior team,” Anderson said.

During the Senior zoom meeting, SOFLO coach Malique Elder took time to answer swimmers’ questions and demonstrate some of the dryland training he has been planning and instructing. The majority of focus is core strength, he said.

SOFLO College Prep Advisor Natasha Moodie also reminded swimmers about the new college guide and monthly newsletter and her availability to help swimmers through the process of selecting a college and everything it entails.


After a successful debut, SOFLO will host its second intrasquad meet on Saturday at Academic Village Pool, 6-10:45 a.m.

“We are super excited to have our meet this weekend after postponing last weekend because of the storm,” Anderson said.

“Our first meet worked out great two weeks ago and was really fun. We had some great results. We have had some really great swims and we would like to continue doing what we are doing well.”

Anderson said there are expectations during these instrasquad meets.

“We don’t really have a schedule for the fall at this point in time,” Anderson said. “You can review this week some of your goals, focus on where you want to be at and think about your splits. There is something there for all. I would like to think you guys will get excited and get up and go.

“I think you guys are doing a super, awesome job when it comes to the pool, your training and the conduct you have when you guys are wearing your masks. You have a respect for one another not only on the pool deck but outside the pool.”

The second series of meets on Aug. 22 and 29 will feature Senior Development group, Silver and other age groups.

Saturday’s top seeds and mixed 15-and-over events are:

100-butterfly: Juan Colmenares, 53.56.

100 backstroke: Nick Chaimowicz, 58.93.

100 breaststroke: Juan Mora, 58.36.

100 freestyle: Juan Mora, 47.80.

400 IM: Alejandro Mateus, 4:18.46.

100 butterfly: Miguel Sierra, 49.45.

100 backstroke: Dominic Bono, 53.04.

100 breaststroke: Joseph Lee, 1:01.43.

100 freestyle: Carlos Vasquez, 46.01.

400 IM: Dominic Bono, 4:02.06.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Florida Gold Coast Has First Champions At Speedo Junior Nationals, Makes World Team

August 9, 2013

Clara Smiddy of AK Sharks was at her best Thursday at the USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Championships in Irvine, Calif.

Smiddy, 17, of South Florida Heat and member of one of South Florida’s popular swimming families, won the 100-meter backstroke in a lifetime-best 1:00.51.

Smiddy’s time is the ninth fastest time in the nation this year, third fastest in the 18-and-under rankings and 26th in the world.

Smiddy will represent her team, the United States and Florida Gold Coast at the World Junior 18-and-Under Championships in Dubai, Aug. 26-31.

She first lowered her previous best of 1:01.67 in morning prelims in 1:01.61.

Smiddy is coached by longtime Florida Gold Coast head coach and program director Lou Manganiello who was all smiles presenting Smiddy her gold medal on the awards podium.

After eleven meet records in the first three days, no records dropped in Thursday’s prelims. There were three swimmers who each qualified for two finals.

However, during championship finals, three more meet records went down.

York YMCA broke the meet record in the 800-meter freestyle relay in 8:10.13, breaking the previous mark of 8:12.15 set by North Baltimore Aquatic Club last year.

In a rare occurence in the “B” final of the 200-meter freestyle, Bolles’ Caeleb Dressel, 16, broke the meet record in 1:48.64, faster than the championship winner Joseph Bentz, 17, of Dynamo in 1:49.57. Dressel’s splits were 25.17, 27.48, 27.68 and 28.31.

“I’m a little kid, gotta be a little risky,” Dressel said.
Carston Vissering, 16, of Nation’s Capital broke the meet record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:01.94, lowering the previous record of 1:02.29 set by Christian Higgins of New Canaan YMCA in 2009.

The other top Florida Gold Coast swimmer was Emily Kopas, swimming unattached, fifth in the 100-meter breaststroke in a best time 1:09.94. Her previous best was 1:10.11. Kopas was ranked No. 1 in the world junior rankings in the event.

SOFLO’s Melissa Marinheiro will swim her fourth and final event on Friday, the 1500-meter freestyle. Her seed time is 17:04.87.


200-meter freestyle: 1. Quinn Carrozza, Longhorn Aquatics 1:58.31; FGC: 22. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:03.46, best time and 2:03.67, best time, prelims, 162. Olivia Katcher, Swim Fort Lauderdale 2:08.30, 172. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 2:08.81, 178. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 2:09.78.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Bethany Galat, South Bend Swimming 1:09.14; FGC: 5. Emily Kopas, Unattached 1:09.94, best time, 96. Rachael Bradford-Feldman, St. Andrew’s swimming 1:15.41.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Clara Smiddy, AK Sharks 1:00.51, best time, 1:01.61, prelims, best time; FGC: 31. Megan Moroney, St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:04.00, 108. Darby Goodwin, St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:05.93.

4×200-meter freestyle relay: 1. York YMCA 8:10.13, meet record.


200-meter freestyle: 1. Joseph Bentz, Dynamo Swim Club 1:49.57; FGC: 16. Julian Ballestas, Metro Aquatics 1:53.43 and 1:52.48, best time, 100. Lance Rutkin, Swim Fort Lauderdale 1:55.76, 101. Marco Hosfeld, Swim Fort Lauderdale 1:55.81, best time, 114. Julien Pinon 1:55.99, 148. Kent Haeffner, Pine Crest Swimming 1:56.76.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Carsten Vissering, Nation’s Capital 1:01.94, meet record.

100-meter backstroke: 1. Ryan Harty, Greenwood Memorial 56.05.

Girls 50-meter freestyle: 1. Brenna Ruth, St. Andrew’s Swimming 27.02, best time; Girls 400-meter freestyle: 2. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 4:22.98; 100-meter breaststroke: 7. Lindsey Swartz, Pine Crest Swimming 1:16.90; 100-meter butterfly: 9. Darby Goodwin, St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:04.89, 15. Caroline Nava 1:05.26; 100-meter freestyle: 12. Julien Pinon, SOFLO 54.61; 400-meter freestyle: 20. Gage Kohner, St. Andrew’s Swimming 4:13.65, best time; 200-meter backstroke: 8. Luke Hayhoe, St. Andrew’s Swimming 2:11.96.


Louis “Dewey” Slater, 65, of Fig Garden Swim Team in Fresno, Calif. suffered a cardiac arrest while swimming the 1500-meter freestyle during the U.S. Masters Summer Nationals at Mission Viejo. He was treated on the pool deck but was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital.

Clark Burckle, 25, of Arizona, who will speak at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex on Aug. 17th during the FGC Swimposium, broke a masters world record in his first event of the meet. Burckle won the 25-29 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.18, breaking the previous world record of 1:02.65 set in 2007 by Brit Christopher Jones.

Sharon Robb can be reached at