By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, July 23, 2022–Eva Ortiz is a quick study when it comes to competitive swimming.

Just ask her South Florida Aquatic Club age group coach Andrea Golding. Ortiz joined her Little Dippers group in January at age 10.

“She is a hard worker, she listens to everything and she is very coachable,” Golding said. “She quietly worked her way and then before we knew it I had to move her into my Dippers group in March. Then she started competing.”

Ortiz competed in the SOFLO 10-and-Under Meet in April in her first two events, 50 freestyle and 50 breaststroke.

“Ortiz got her first B cut in the 50 breast in her very first meet,” Golding said.

“I think the swim meet I was most excited about was my first-ever meet,” Ortiz said. “I was so nervous. I did all right. It got me motivated.”

After that she competed in the Plantation Swim Team long course dual meet “which is pretty challenging for Dippers,” Golding said. “She did the 50 free, 50 back and 50 fly and she got her second B cut in her 50 back.”

Then she competed in the FIU Long Course meet and earned her third B cut in the 100 freestyle, swam her 50 backstroke even faster and got her BB cut in the 100 breaststroke.

“At that point when you have a swimmer in your group who was just on pre-team in January and then moving into Little Dippers you’re like whoa.”

Ortiz competed in the North Miami meet and had “another fantastic meet” getting her B cut in the 50 fly.

“Here we have all of a sudden a swimmer who has a B cut in every stroke and caught my attention. I just realized I can’t keep her in Dippers any longer.

“The nice thing is what I’ve seen the last few months she has gone from always being in the back of the lane to leading a lane. I see a little smile and little bit of a twinkle in her eye.

“As a coach it’s really nice to see her gain some confidence in what she is able to do and how she approaches her practice because clearly she has some baseline talent there. I’m really excited to see her with the challenge of the next level up. I think she will progress very quickly.”

The 11-year-old is expected to move up to Meteorites for the next chapter in her young swimming career.

Ortiz, a sixth grader at Franklin Academy Pembroke Pines played soccer and gymnastics. She learned to swim in a lessons program when she was a toddler. She loves the sport and joined her first club SOFLO a year ago.

“I did a lot of other sports before swimming but I really didn’t like them,” Ortiz said. “I like going in the water so I went and tried out for swimming. I like competing and training equally. I am trying to get better.”

Since she started swimming Ortiz has improved her time management and study skills, according to her mom Niurka. “Everything fell into place for her. We’re happy with how well she has been able to manage to swim and maintain her grades.”

Ortiz is focused on making good grades in school and swimming but also has time to be a computer wiz. She also loves to draw, collects Hello Kitty and Pusheen stuffed animals and collectibles and spend time with her athletic family.

Her dad Felipe played football at Clemson and also competed in marathons and triathlons including the Ironman. He’s played a big part in her swimming taking her to practice and also helping her with her pool starts off the blocks. Her brother Gavin has been playing golf since he was 5 and her older sister Maya used to be a fencer.

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Ortiz joins SOFLO teammates Sally Golding (April), Natalie Gembicki (March), Sofia Lugo (February) and Valentina Remmele (January) as 2022 Swimmers of the Month.

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 ESPY Sportswoman of the Year Katie Ledecky, 2020 Olympians Simone Manuel, Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Ashley Twichell and other elite swimmers Melanie Margalis, Molly Hannis and Kelsi Dahlia.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

FSU-Bound Swimmers Diaz, Banks Make It Fun For Dippers, AKS Swimmers

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, May 28, 2020–SOFLO’s David Diaz and Gabby Banks took turns talking about swimming for fun and importance of education with the help of moderator and SOFLO coach Andrea Golding during a Zoom presentation this past week.

Diaz and Banks are among nine high school seniors sharing their advice and experiences to younger SOFLO swimmers before they head off to college in the fall.

Diaz opened the presentation by asking swimmers what they did for fun. Archery, fishing and computer games were a few of their answers.

“You want to have fun with swimming, too,” Diaz said. “You don’t want to do something that you don’t want to do or forced to do.”

One way to make workouts fun is to challenge another swimmer in the next lane during a set, Diaz suggested.

“Racing each other is the greatest thing you can do to push yourself. It helps you get to the next level and it’s a friendly rivalry you develop. I got a lot of entertainment trying to race my friends.”

Diaz, Banks and Golding agreed the sport becomes a lot easier if you have fun with it. That you need it to be fun or you wouldn’t be good at it.

“Fun is so vital in the sport,” Diaz said. “At practice you may not be feeling it, but having a teammate support you makes the sport more fun and the competition with a friend is entertaining.

“Right now you should be enjoying the fun in swimming,” Diaz said. “Keep trying and don’t give up. Have fun with your teammates and support each other.”

Banks, who represents Jamaica internationally, stressed the importance of education.

“It’s important to stay in school and focus on your studies,” Banks said. “No matter how good you get in swimming, it is very important. Swimming is second to your education, that’s what’s going to help you in your career.”

Banks said it’s important to manage your time wisely. Set goals and keep up with schoolwork.

“You need to be so disciplined about going to practice, organizing your time and doing homework. You have to create a mental mindset. When in school you need to focus on your schoolwork and at swim practice you need to focus on swimming.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO Senior Nick Chaimowitz Talks With Asteroids & Meteorites About Staying Positive And Consistent

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, May 26, 2020–Nick Chaimowitz is one of several South Florida Aquatic Club seniors giving back.

Chaimowitz and other seniors realize the importance of paving the way for their younger teammates with advice on various topics and sharing their experiences before heading off to college in the fall.

On Tuesday, Chaimowitz, 18, a Pembroke Pines Charter graduate, kicked off a series of SOFLO Senior Zoom presentations this week. His topic was “Staying Positive and Consistency.”

In front of a fun group of swimmers ages 7-11, Chaimowitz emphasized the importance of staying positive no matter what.

“If you stay positive in swimming, you are going to have a positive outcome,” Chaimowitz said. “If you have a negative outlook in life or swimming, it will turn out badly.

“You need to have a positive mindset at meets,” he said. “If you are striving for a certain time be confident. Don’t knock yourself down if you don’t get it. In practice, be positive whether you are trying to accomplish a goal or cheering on your teammates. And most importantly, stay positive in school. Being positive is the best way to live a healthy life.”

Chaimowitz also shared his ideas about goal-setting.

“Set easy goals that you can achieve quickly so you can be happy and build up your confidence,” he said. “Set a goal and prepare for it. If you see that you did it, you should feel accomplished with yourself. You could set goals, accomplish them and build on those goals to a higher goal.”

Using Swim Swam’s website as a source, Chaimowitz talked about consistency.

“It’s about taking the power back by setting motivational times. You are going to have those days where you don’t want to train and don’t feel like doing anything. But you still should put in the best effort you can.

“Avoid going for all or nothing,” Chaimowitz said. “If you set your goals too high and push for it you are wasting all this time. I’m not saying don’t go for it, but you need to be realistic. Build on smaller goals.

“When you fall, get back up quickly. Victories are just like defeats. They set a tone and momentum which is hard to describe. It’s okay if you lose to a rival, tell yourself you will get him in the next race.”

Chaimowitz said strive for consistency when setting goals.

“Don’t be afraid to strive for greatness. Obviously, do it in small parts. It’s too enormous for you guys to set a huge goal. Try to build on it and eventually you guys will accomplish it.

“I set a small goal since the quarantine. I wanted to work out every day, even Sunday, my usual day off. After my workout I feel great about myself and I feel successful. If you hold yourself accountable to your goals, you will be successful.”

SOFLO coaches Rose Lockie, Luis Soler and Andrea Golding had fun interacting with Chaimowitz and swimmers.

Soler echoed Chaimowitz advice about setting too lofty goals.

“If you have this goal that is unattainable and fail, you may just not want to do the sport anymore and that’s not what it’s all about,” Soler said. “Having these smaller goals builds into an ultimate goal. If you do get that goal, it’s a bonus.”

Chaimowitz encouraged the young swimmers to focus on core work including push-ups, sit-ups and crunches and emphasized eating healthy.

“You can’t work out and be healthy without eating right,” Chaimowitz said. “I know that first hand.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com