High School: West Broward

College: New York University

Amber Hunter said goodbye to her second family last week.

The longtime Comets Swim Team and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer left for college and next chapter in her life.

“Today was my last official practice with SOFLO,” Hunter wrote on her Facebook page.

“I can’t even begin to say how thankful I am to have been a part of such an amazing team for the past ten years.

“The pool became my home and my teammates became my family. I’ll miss it incredibly but I’m excited for what the future has in store.”

Hunter started swimming with the Comets ten years ago. She was a top butterflier, ranked among the state’s Top 75 swimmers and was one of the club’s Nike Swimmers of the Month.

“Ten years is a long time,” Hunter said. “It’s hard to remember not swimming and being around everybody.”

She got her introduction to the pool when her mom Terri signed her up for lessons at a Pennsylvania pool. When she and her family moved to South Florida, she joined the Comets.

“I guess I liked it and we continued,” Hunter said.

“When we first moved to Florida I really enjoyed the sport,” Hunter said. “I did a few other sports (soccer and softball) but I stuck with swimming.”

The hard part for Hunter during the team’s annual banquet and her final week of practice with her longtime teammates and coaches was knowing it was probably all for the last time, at least until the holiday break.

“I’m not really saying goodbye, I know I will see them,” Hunter said. “I will keep in touch with my close friends and will be able to see how they are doing. It’s not a serious goodbye, I know I will be back.

“I know it will be a change for sure. It is bittersweet. I am going off to college with bigger goals but I am leaving SOFLO/Comets where I got my start.”

When Hunter started searching for colleges, academics was always the priority for the aspiring writer. She would like to write fiction novels and get involved with publishing and editing other novels.

“Academics was the first thing I wanted and I wanted a college that had the major I wanted,” she said.

“NYU did offer Division 3 swimming and has a sanctioned team,” Hunter said. “I have the best of both worlds with academics and swimming.

“Division 3 is a little bit of a different atmosphere. There is less stress on swimmers. It’s for swimmers who want to be there since there are no swimming scholarships.”

Hunter has plenty of memories from club and high school swimming. Her sophomore year West Broward had a strong 400-yard freestyle relay. “That was a fun relay to race at state,” she said.

“My senior year I made state in the 100 butterfly and finished tenth, second in consolations,” Hunter said. “I didn’t get the times I wanted exactly but I had a lot of fun.

“Swimming really helped me learn a lot of lessons when I was growing up. I learned how to manage my time and about dedication. I think that’s why I stayed in the sport so long. I was focused on my goals and putting in the work paid off in the end.

“It was a lot of fun being part of a team. The team dynamic was great and so was the atmosphere. It was a great thing to be able to stay with a team for so long. I know I am going far away but I am looking forward to the challenge and starting the next chapter of my life.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Take Silver, Bronze On Day One Of Speedo Zone Sectional Championships

SOFLO Swimmers Take Silver, Bronze On Day One Of Speedo Zone Sectional Championships

By Sharon Robb

July 10, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club took silver in a women’s relay and bronze in an individual event to finish second among the women’s field on opening night of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships at the Orlando YMCA.

The 200-meter medley relay team of Marcella Marinheiro, three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, Maria Lopez and Olivia Katcher was second in 1:59.09, just behind T2 Aquatics relay of Elise Haan, Justine Bowker, Kayla Tennant and Abigail Garner in 1:58.57.

Melissa Marinheiro, 17, was third in the 1500-meter freestyle in 17:06.27. Jessica Thielmann, 20, of Gainesville Swim Club won the event in a best time 16:15.74, bettering her previous best of 16:19.92.

SOFLO teammate Kylie Herman, 16, posted a best time of 18:18.40 in the 1500, shaving 4.01 seconds off her previous best of 18:22.41. Amber Hunter posted best times on her relay splits of 29.99 in the butterfly and 27.85 in the freestyle.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s women’s team is second with 86 points behind Scarlet Aquatics of New Jersey with 119. St. Andrew’s Swimming is third with 84.

“Our distance kids did what they needed to do to be successful, our girls relay performed well and our “B” relays were awesome,” SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said. “Kylie had a solid swim and Alfredo and Amber had some great relay splits.

“We are very happy with our overall team experiences,” Anderson said. “There are some really great clubs here and we are just going to keep working hard. I felt we were successful tonight.”

Ronald Santos, 18, was SOFLO’s top men’s finisher and only point-scorer swimming a lifetime-best 8:31.80 in the 800-meter freestyle with huge time drop of 13.21 seconds off his previous best long course time of 8:45.01.

Santos has been training with SOFLO for the past three months at the suggestion of his former Indian River State College teammate Marc Rojas.

“I was pretty much mentally ready before the race,” Santos said. “I have been training hard for three months and mentally I have been happy with my training. I was ready to go.

“I was expecting a best time but I never experienced this much of a drop in long course. I have been putting in a lot of effort in my training and it paid off. I started the race well and finished well. This definitely gives me confidence for the 200, 400 and mile.”

SOFLO teammate Alfredo Mesa posted a best 50-meter freestyle split time of 25.34 on the relay.

After Day One, Scarlet Aquatics of New Jersey leads the combined (182) and women’s (119) team totals. Blue Dolfins lead the men’s team totals with 102.

The only other individual winner was Arthur Frayler, 20, in the 800 freestyle in 8:12.70.

Florida Gold Coast teams won three of the four relays.

Westminster Academy swept the men’s 200-meter medley (Daniel Robbins, Gregory Penny, Anthony Barbar, Logan Lassley) and 200-meter freestyle relays (Daniel Robbins, Logan Lassley, Anthony Barbar, Andrew Halliburton).

St. Andrew’s Swimming won the women’s 200-meter freestyle relay in 1:47.37 with Mckenna Keith, Brenna Ruth, Darby Goodwin and Megan Moroney.

Weather played havoc with the Central Florida meet. A major thunderstorm affected power and the meet was put on hold for 60 minutes.

The four-day meet continues on Friday. Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals are 5 p.m. Friday’s events are 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke, 100-meter butterfly, 400-meter individual medley and 800-meter freestyle relay.

Florida Swim Network will be unable to live-stream the meet because there is no hard-wire Internet at the YMCA venue.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. Scarlet Aquatics 182, 2. St. Andrew’s Swimming 174, 3. T2 Aquatics 125, 4. Tampa Bay Aquatics 116, 5. Blue Dolfins 106, 6. Gator Swim Club 92, 7. South Florida Aquatic Club 91, 8. Westminster Academy 88, 9. Swim Florida 68, 10. Dominican Republic 60.

MEN’S TEAM TOTALS: 1. Blue Dolfins 102, 2. St. Andrew’s Swimming 90, 3. tie, Westminster Academy , Tampa Bay Aquatics 80, 5. Scarlet Aquatics 63, 20. SOFLO 5.

WOMEN’S TEAM TOTALS: 1. Scarlet Aquatics 119, 2. South Florida Aquatic Club 86, 3. St. Andrew’s Swimming 84, 4. T2 Aquatics 66, 5. Golden Panther Aquatics 58.


1500-meter freestyle:

1. Jessica Thielmann, GSC 16:15.74, 2. Ariel Finke, SPA 16:51.86, 3. Melissa Marinheiro, SOFLO 17:06.27; SOFLO: 18. Kylie Herman 18:18.40, best time, 24. Kelley Heron 18:39.15.

200-meter medley relay:

1.T2 Aquatics 1:58.57, 2. South Florida Aquatic Club 1:59.09 (Marcella Marinheiro, Alia Atkinson, Maria Lopez, Olivia Katcher), 3. Trinity Prep Aquatics 1:59.47; 14. SOFLO “B” 2:07.05 (Kelley Heron,Jessica Rodriguez, Amber Hunter, Kathleen Golding).

200-meter freestyle relay:

1.St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:47.37, 2. Scarlet Aquatics 1:48.64, 3. Golden Panther Aquatics 1:48.91; 7. South Florida Aquatic Club 1:50.03 (Kathleen Golding, Alia Atkinson, Maria Lopez, Olivia Katcher), 14. South Florida Aquatic Club “B” 1:53.58 (Melissa Marinheiro, Marcella Marinheiro, Kelley Heron, Amber Hunter).


800-meter freestyle:

1.Arthur Frayler, GAAC 8:12.70, 2. Ryan Rosenbaum, Swim Fort Lauderdale 8:16.64, 3. Eric Stobbe, Scarlet Knights 8:19.75; SOFLO: 12. Ronald Santos 8:31.80, best time.

200-meter medley relay:

1.Westminster Academy Swimming 1:43.77, 2. Blue Dolfins 1:44.83, 3. St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:45.62, 18. South Florida Aquatic Club “A” 1:53.54 (Juan Lucas, Marc Rojas, Matthew Gonzalez, Ryan Capote), 25. South Florida Aquatic Club “B” 1:56.28 (Gustavo Valery, Jordan Colon, Ronald Santos, Ervin Marin).

200-meter freestyle relay:

1.Westminster Academy 1:33.80, 2. St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:33.93, 3. Blue Dolfins 1:35.24, 19. South Florida Aquatic Club 1:42.22 (Ryan Capote, Marc Rojas, Ronald Santos, Matthew Gonzalez); 22. South Florida Aquatic Club 1:44.08 (Gustavo Valery, Juan Lucas, Alfredo Mesa, Jordan Colon).

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SWIM ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Ends Swimming Career As FSU’s Most Valuable Swimmer

SWIM ROUNDUP: SOFLO’s Tiffany Oliver Ends Swimming Career As FSU’s Most Valuable Swimmer

By Sharon Robb

April 22, 2014

Longtime Comets and South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer Tiffany Oliver ended one chapter of her life and is about to embark on a new journey in law school.

The Florida State Senior and four-year swimmer for the Seminoles was honored at the team’s recent banquet as one of three Most Valuable Swimmers.

Oliver shared honors with Madison Jacobi and Pavel Sankovich.

Oliver’s college legacy includes school records in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.02 and 100-yard freestyle in the 100-yard freestyle. Her best time in the 200-yard freestyle was 1:46.72.

She was also the first Seminole in history to defend her sprint titles at the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. She qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials and three NCAA Championship meets.

Oliver, an honors student, was accepted into FSU’s law school.

“I thought we had a great season,” FSU first-year coach Frankie Bradley said. “All our award winners were picked by the coaching staff and they were very deserving. These athletes had an impact on our program this year.”

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers and divers honored were Mikey Lewark, Jason Coombs, Connor Knight and Jason McCormick.


South Florida Aquatic Club’s Amber Hunter of West Broward High School was among athletes from south area high schools to be honored recently by the Broward County Athletic Association Scholar Athletes Monday at the Signature Grand in Davie.


Freshman Kira Toussaint of Florida Gulf Coast was named Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimmer of the Year. During her first season she broke eight FGCU records including four individual and four relays and also four CCSA records. Toussaint, an All-American, is a teammate of SOFLO swimmer Marcella Marinheiro, who also finished her freshman season.


George Bovell of Trinidad and Tobago heads the field for this weekend’s fifth annual TYR JAX 50. All proceeds benefit Planet Swim Foundation with the goal of providing learn-to-swim lessons to in-need children in the Jacksonville area. On Friday night the 100s and 200 individual medley events will be held. Saturday morning the 50s will be held to determine the Top 8 qualifiers in each age group for the three-race bracket challenge. It will be live-streamed by Florida Swim Network.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Dominate High School Meets

SOFLO Swimmers Dominate High School Meets


September 12, 2013

American Heritage opened its 2013 high school season Wednesday against host Westminster Academy and Somerset Academy with two South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers.

The boys team defeated Westminster Academy, 133-47 and Somerset, 137-20.

SOFLO’s Julien Pinon, 14, a sophomore, won the 100-yard freestyle in 49.34 and was second in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:49.27.

Pinon spent the summer training and competing overseas in Europe.

SOFLO teammate Cristian Rossi, 14, was fourth in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:05.30. Rossi was also third in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.81.

Other top SOFLO high school swims that were reported:

Pembroke Pines Charter boys defeated Boyd Anderson, 143-10, and Northeast, 124-39, at host Northeast.

SOFLO’s Alexander Viloria and Juan Lucas were double winners and Blake Kelley and Edward Kon each won one individual event.

Viloria, 15, won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:05.87 and 100-yard freestyle in 55.58.

Lucas, 14, won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:11.65 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:06.52.

Kelley, 17, won the 100-yard butterfly in 57.72. Kon won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:06.59.

Pembroke Pines Charter swept all three boys’ relays.

Pembroke Pines Charter’s girls team also swept Boyd Anderson (137-6) and Northeast (111-44).

SOFLO’s Lilli Calero, 15, won the 200-yard freestyle (2:08.81) and 500-yard freestyle (5:44.02).

Melissa Gonzalez, 15, won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:40.73. Justrina Villarta, 14, won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:09.52. Maya Hirian, 14, won the 100-yard backstroke in 1:12.14. Leysha Caraballo, 16, won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:23.72.

Cypress Bay girls defeated Flanagan, 78-20. SOFLO’s Kylie Herman of Cypress Bay won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:24.44 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:32.75. Teammate Haley Wright won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:05.35.

West Broward boys swept Miramar, 111-24 and Western, 84-71. Alex Monti won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:12.25 and 500-yard freestyle in 5:15.05.

In the girls competition, West Broward also swept Western, 90-70 and Miramar, 64-6. West Broward competed without top swimmer Melissa Marinheiro, awaiting FHSAA approval to compete because she is now home-schooled.

SOFLO’s Amber Hunter won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:00 and 100-yard backstroke in 1:04.72. Stephanie Mlujeak won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:24.34 and was second in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:10.03. Hunter and Mlujeak were also members of the runner-up 200-yard medley relay team (2:06.12).

Parents and swimmers are welcome to send in their high school results for the honor roll and swimming roundups if their high school coaches in Dade and Broward fail to report them. Just email Sharon Robb.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Marinheiro, Hunter, Herman, Walters Shine At District 10-3A Meet

SOFLO’s Marinheiro, Hunter, Herman, Walters Shine At District 10-3A Meet


October 29, 2012

Several South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers kicked it up another notch Monday at the District 10-3A Swimming and Diving Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

The district meet is the first step toward berths at the FHSAA State 3A Meet in Orlando. The top eight individuals qualify for Friday’s region meet in Plantation.

West Broward sophomore Melissa Marinheiro repeated as district champion in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:54.38. Marinheiro also won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:01.36.

SOFLO’s Kylie Herman of Cypress Bay was third in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:23.55.

SOFLO teammate Amber Hunter of West Broward was third in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:00.30.

West Broward’s Jacob Walters was third in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:50.29 and third in the 100-yard butterfly in 54.49.

Western’s Francisco Alvarez was third in the 100-yard backstroke in 57.98.

St. Thomas Aquinas, led by Brandon Goldman, defended its title. The boys won with 502 points and Nova was runner-up with 375.

The girls, led by individual winners Mia Fiorenzi and Sophia Oliva won with 452.5 points, more than 100 points ahead of Cypress Bay with 328.

St. Thomas won five of six boys and girls relays.

Goldman, the Raiders’ team captain, enjoying his finest high school season, won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:58.25, the only swimmer to crack two minutes. He had a two-second margin of victory. He also won the 100-yard backstroke in 53.09 and qualified on two relays.

SOFLO swimmers return to Plantation Aquatic Complex Friday for the Region 4-3A meet, the final step to qualifying for state berths. Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals 5:30 p.m.


GIRLS TEAM TOTALS: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 452.50, 2. Cypress Bay 328, 3. Nova 272, 4. South Plantation 262, 5. West Broward 261, 6. Northeast 150.50, 7. Western 149, 8. Cooper City 133, 9. Flanagan 106, 10. South Broward 46, 11. McArthur 36, 12. Miramar 22.

200-yard medley relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:57.40, 2. South Plantation 1:59.25, 3. West Broward 2:01.49.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Melissa Marinheiro (WB) 1:54.38, 2. Emma Lincoln (CB) 1:56.22, 3. Daniela Veloza (N) 1:56.57.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Mia Fiorenzi (STA) 2:16.84, 2. Skye Downey (SP) 2:21.06, 3. Chloe Gerena (STA) 2:22.14.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Sophia Oliva (STA) 25.13, 2. Zoie Balthazar (SP) 25.42, 3. Fatimah Westbrook (NE) 25.49.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Amanda Tipton (N) 58.55, 2. Mia Fiorenzi (STA) 59.49, 3. Amber Hunter (WB) 1:00.30.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Emma Lincoln (CB) 54.26, 2. Zoie Balthazar (SP) 54.77, 3. Sophia Oliva (STA) 54.79.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Melissa Marinheiro (WB) 5:01.36, 2. Daniela Veloza (N) 5:07.73, 3. Kylie Herman (CB) 5:23.55.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:42.20, 2. Nova 1:42.92, 3. Cypress Bay 1:45.16.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Amanda Tipton (N) 59.79, 2. Sammy Stinemire (STA) 1:01.28, 3. Meagan Abad (SP) 1:02.45.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Fatimah Westbrook (NE) 1:09.95, 2. Chloe Gerena (STA) 1:14.15, 3. Marie Borrelli (STA) 1:14.40.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 3:42.93, 2. Cypress Bay 3:44.72, 3. West Broward 3:46.99.

BOYS TEAM TOTALS: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 502, 2. Nova 375, 3. Cypress Bay 312, 4. South Plantation 207, 5. West Broward 160, 6. Flanagan 142, 7. Western 138, 8. Cooper City 101, 9. South Broward 80, 10. Notheast 63, 11. McArthur 44, 12. Miramar 12.

200-yard medley relay: 1. Nova 1:42.95, 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:43.17, 3. South Plantation 1:48.39.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Francisco Parra (CB) 1:43.81, 2. Kyle Desrosiers (STA) 1:49.73, 3. Jacob Walters (WB) 1:50.29.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Brandon Goldman (STA) 1:58.25, 2. Katana Sato (SP) 2:02.36, 3. Gabriel Perez Silva (STA) 2:04.42.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Sean Chen (SP) 22.79, 2. RJ Moore (STA) 22.85, 3. Nick McKenna (SP) 22.91.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Alex Lilley (STA) 53.02, 2. Javier Menchaca Gallegos (STA) 54.15, 3. Jacob Walters (WB) 54.49.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Francisco Parra (CB) 47.97, 2. Nick McKenna (SP) 49.38, 3. Alex Benham (STA) 49.48.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Esteban Velasquez (STA) 4:54.91, 2. Carlos Gallego (CB) 4:55.16, 3. Kyle Desrosiers (STA) 4:59.07.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:31.82, 2. Nova 1:33.07, 3. Cypress Bay 1:34.46.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Brandon Goldman (STA) 53.09, 2. Esteban Velasquez (STA) 57.15, 3. Francisco Alvarez (W) 57.98.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Ryan O’Hara (N) 1:03.94, 2. Derek Sibley (SB) 1:05.28, 3. Michael Crespo (STA) 1:06.63.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 3:21.44, 2. Nova 3:22.60, 3. Cypress Bay 3:26.31.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Fab Five Sweeps Girls Butterfly In Best Times On Day Three Of Senior Southern Zones

SOFLO’s Fab Five Sweeps Girls Butterfly In Best Times On Day Three Of Senior Southern Zones


August 8, 2012

In a first-of-its-kind finish, South Florida Aquatic Club swept the top five places in the championship final of the girls’ 50-meter butterfly Wednesday night at the Southern Zone Senior Long Course Championships at Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex.

Maria Lopez, 16, broke the 30-second mark for the first time in her swimming career to win in a career-best 29.67 seconds.

Lopez was one of five SOFLO swimmers to advance into the championship final. All five posted career-best times in the championship race.

Marcella Marinheiro, 17, was second in 29.77, also cracking 30 seconds for the first time.

Amber Hunter, 16, was third in 30.50.

Evelin Jimenez, 17, and Melissa Marinheiro, 15, tied for fourth in 30.67.

“That was cool, we have been working hard on the fly, really focusing on sprint fly,” SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said.

“We knew we would have some girls go under 30. I wasn’t surprised. We knew we were going to do it, that was the plan. Our swimmers are having a lot of fun with this meet.”

The Fab Five totaled 82 points in the one event to extend SOFLO’s lead in the girls’ team standings to 525.5 ahead of Team Greenville (443) after the butterfly event.

Four of the five flyers had dropped time in morning prelims. Top seed Maria Lopez, 16, dropped from 30.31 to 30.13; Marcella Marinheiro, 17, dropped from 30.29 to 30.14; Hunter, 16, dropped from 30.89 to 30.77; and Jimenez, 17, dropped from 30.98 to 30.86.

The SOFLO girls ruled the pool on another exciting night of long course swimming.

SOFLO has a commanding lead in the girls’ team standings with 631.5 points. Team Greenville is second with 475.

SOFLO boys also lead the team standings with 671.5 points followed by Team Greenville with 539.

Four of the five girls’ flyers came back to finish second in the 800-meter freestyle relay in 8:49.47 with Lopez, Hunter and Marinheiro sisters.

Marcella Marinheiro, 17, won the 50-meter backstroke in a best time 31.54, bettering her previous best of 31.69. SOFLO teammate Samantha Stinemire, 14, finished second in a best time 31.70, dropping from 32.40. Melissa Marinheiro, 15, was eighth in 34.59.

Jessica Rodriguez, 13, the youngest swimmer in the championship final, finished third in the 400-meter individual medley in a best time 5:20.52. She was seeded fifth after morning prelims. Her previous best was 5:23.11.

Marc Rojas, 18, swam back-to-back best times in the 200-meter freestyle. He finished second in 1:56.58, a bonus cut for next week’s Speedo Junior Nationals. Rojas had the fourth fastest time in morning prelims in a best time 1:58.26 lowering his previous best 1:58.76.

Rojas was also a member of the runner-up 800-meter freestyle relay team that finished in a season-best 8:12.34 with Carlo Morante, Alex Rodriguez and Jacob Walters.

Walters, 16, had two more personal best time swims. He lowered his time in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:05.33, dropping from 2:06.34. In the 50-meter butterfly, Walters dropped from 28.46 to 28.38 in prelims and bettered it again to win the consolation final in 27.63.

Jordan Colon, 15, won the Bonus Final in a best time in the 400-meter individual medley in 5:03.01, lowering his previous best of 5:04.08.

Former SOFLO/Comets swimmer Leonie Davies of The Woodlands turned in back-to-back best times in morning prelims and finals. Davies lowered her 200-meter freestyle time from 2:14.85 to 2:14.58 and lowered it again in the consolation final in 2:14.20.

Also in morning prelims:

Marcella Marinheiro, 17, earned the top seed in the 50-meter backstroke in 32.39 and teammate Samantha Stinemire, 14, swam the second fastest time in 32.44.

Daniela Jimenez, 17, lowered her best time in the 200-meter freestyle to 2:20.01 from 2:20.64. Also in the event, Lilli Calero, 14, swam a best time 2:25.12 bettering her previous best of 2:26.27.

Ivan Parada, 17, dropped from 28.91 to 28.27 in the 50-meter butterfly and again in finals to finish fifth in 27.56.


GIRLS TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) 631.5, 2. Team Greenville 475, 3. Team FLA 410.5, 4. Plantation 378, 5. First Colony 358.5, 6. The Woodlands 332.5, 7. Mansfield 330, 8. Katy Aquatics 325, 9. Mississippi Makos 244.5, 10. Houston Cougar 216, 15. Pompano Piranhas 100.


50-meter backstroke: 1. Marcella Marinheiro, SOFLO 31.54, best time; SOFLO: 2. Samantha Stinemire 31.70, best time, 8. Melissa Marinheiro 34.59, 14. Maria Lopez 34.00.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Meagan Thompson, MAC 2:08.82; SOFLO: 36. Daniela Jimenez 2:20.01, best time, 40. Evelin Jimenez 2:20.82, 54. Lilli Calero 2:25.12, best time, 57. Carly Swanson 2:28.30.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Kristen Hepler, KATY 5:14.55; SOFLO: 3. Jessica Rodriguez 5:20.52, best time, 20. Daniela Jimenez 5:52.36.

50-meter butterfly: 1. Maria Lopez, SOFLO 29.67, best time; SOFLO: 2. Marcella Marinheiro 29.77, best time, 3. Amber Hunter 30.50, best time, 4. Evelin Jimenez, 30.67, best time and Melissa Marinheiro, 30.67, best time.

800-meter freestyle relay: 1. MAC 8:46.16, 2. SOFLO “A” 8:49.47 (Marcella Marinheiro, Maria Lopez, Melissa Marinheiro, Amber Hunter), 9. SOFLO “B” 9:20.39 (Daniela Jimenez, Evelin Jimenez, Samantha Stinemire, Bianca Muniz).

BOYS TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club 671.5, 2. Team Greenville 539, 3. Team FLA 436.5, 4. Plantation 408, 5. Mansfield 362, 6. First Colony 358.5, 7. Katy Aquatics 353, 8. The Woodlands 350.5, 9. Mississippi Makes 244.5, 10. Houston Cougar 216, 15. Pompano Piranhas 100.


50-meter backstroke: 1. Chad Moody, Pompano Piranhas 28.48; SOFLO: 4. Carlo Morante 30.51, 9. Ivan Parada 31.17.

200-meter freestyle: 1. Cory Loria, MAC 1:56.49; SOFLO: 2. Marc Rojas 1:56.58, best time, 24. Jacob Walters 2:05.33, best time, 31. Roger Capote 2:07.21, 58. Xavier Brown 2:17.02.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Pablo Ortiz, TG 4:40.65; SOFLO: 17. Jordan Colon 5:03.01, best time.

50-meter butterfly: 1. Pablo Ortiz, TG 26.96; SOFLO: 3. Alex Rodriguez 27.30, 4. Xavier Brown 27.44, 5. Ivan Parada 27.56, best time, 9. Jacob Walters 27.63, best time. 

800-meter freestyle relay: 1. TG 8:07.94, 2. SOFLO “A” 8:12.34 (Carlo Morante, Alex Rodriguez, Marc Rojas, Jacob Walters), 14. SOFLO “B” 8:45.77 (Ivan Parada, Edward Kon, Ryan Capote, Roger Capote).

Sharon Robb can be reached at



 SOFLO Swimmer Posts Six Best Times At FSU Spring Meet


May 25, 2012

Amber Hunter knows all about work ethic.

The West Broward High School sophomore has been putting the work in and out of the pool and it’s beginning to pay off.

Hunter, 16, turned in six lifetime bests in long course meters during the Florida State Spring Meet earlier this month at the Morcom Aquatics Center in Tallahassee.

“I have been training really hard lately and it’s starting to pay off,” Hunter said. “All the hours and work I am putting in is turning into my times improving. It makes all the hard work worth it.”

Hunter lowered her times in the 200-meter freestyle (2:16.52), 100-meter butterfly (1:07.98), 200-meter butterfly (2:31.46), 50-meter freestyle (29.48), 200-meter individual medley (2:37.74) and 100-meter freestyle (1:03.02).

“It was a good environment and nice atmosphere for a swim meet, I was able to swim pretty relaxed,” Hunter said.

“I was happy being able to compete that well at the beginning of the season being a little out of my comfort zone swimming against older college athletes. It was an encouraging start of the season.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt having teammate and two-time Olympian Alia Atkinson helping her warm-up and warm-down and giving her advice before prelims and finals. They would also watch each other’s races.

 “I was happy to do that well since I was in the middle of hard training,” Hunter said. “I was surprised I went all best times. I had some specific goals in mind for some of them. The other ones I just went with it. I was hoping to do better in a few of them but not all of them.

“At the end of the weekend I was getting pretty tired physically,” Hunter said. “In the middle of it I felt really good but I think the last day we were all getting a little tired.”

A few weeks ago, Hunter started weight training twice a week at the gym in addition to her regular dryland training.

“It’s been more physically hard,” Hunter said. “I always did different drylands but this was the first time I am doing heavy weights. Leading up to the end of the summer I think I am going to see a difference in the pool but it’s still too soon to tell. It’s really tough training.”

Hunter has been swimming for 12 years. She followed her big sister’s footsteps and started with swimming lessons in Pennsylvania. When she and her family moved to South Florida she joined the Comets in 2000 and started competing with the club.

When she was younger she was involved with soccer, softball and dance but decided to focus on swimming when she got to middle school.

Hunter knew it was only a matter of time before her hard work investment started paying off dividends.

“I went through the different stages,” Hunter said. “I would do very well and then not so well. I realized after trial-and-error when I train hard, it pays off. It’s just always been my goal to train hard and get better. I just never had an idea of how far I wanted to go with it.”

Hunter is hoping to put in a good summer of training to prepare for the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships along with the 2012 high school season. Last year she qualified for states on a relay. This season as a junior she would like to go in an individual event in addition to the relay.

“I am excited about the high school season,” said Hunter, who is also sad she is losing one of her relay teammates and friend, Leonie Davies, who is moving to Texas with her family in June. “High school swimming is always a lot of fun. You spend time with your friends and socialize. It takes away from the stress of club swimming.

“Swimming in college is definitely what I am looking for, I would love to get a scholarship,” Hunter said. “I am focusing on academics and swimming because I want to swim in college.”

Also at the FSU Spring Invite, SOFLO teammate Tiffany Oliver, who will be a junior in the fall at FSU, bettered her best times in the 200-meter freestyle (2:04.96), 50-meter freestyle (25.90), 100-meter backstroke (1:09.10) and 100-meter freestyle (56.95). Oliver, 19, is currently training for next month’s U.S. Olympic trials in Tallahassee.

Atkinson was able to lower her best time in the 100-meter backstroke (1:06.81) and 200-meter individual medley (2:17.53) and is now preparing to compete in next week’s Santa Clara Invitational.

Sharon Robb can be reached at