SOFLO’s Alvarez, Rivera, Kopecki, Pelaez Shine On Opening Day Of Senior Circuit Meet

By Sharon Robb

May 13, 2016—Monica Alvarez, Santiago Rivera and C.J. Kopecki were top South Florida Aquatic Club finishers Friday night in the All-Florida Senior Circuit Meet at Florida Gulf Coast University Aquatics Center in Fort Myers.

Alvarez, 27, was third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:14.31 followed by SOFLO teammate Ksen Golovkina, 26, fourth in 1:14.71.

Rivera, 19, was fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in a best time 1:07.94. He swam back-to-back bests, 1:10.57 in prelims. He dropped 4.99 seconds. His previous time was 1:12.93.

C.J. Kopecki, 16, was fourth in the 400-meter individual medley in 5:02.62.

Catalina Mendieta, 26, was seventh in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:03.97, just off her seed time of 1:03.89.

In the 200-meter freestyle, Emiliana Pelaez, 17, swam back-to-back best times. She swam 2:11.28 in finals to finish 13th. She had swum 2:14.73, also a best time in prelims. Her previous best was 2:14.88.

The three-day meet is also serving as an Olympic Trials qualifier. The meet continues Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.



200-meter freestyle: 1. Kyla Valls, Miami Swimming 2:02.08, 2. Ryley Ober, SRQ 2:02.64, 3. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:05.65; SOFLO: 13. Emiliana Pelaez 2:11.28, best time finals, 2:14.73, best time, prelims.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Justine Bowker, Unattached 1:11.09, 2. Christina Loh, Unattached 1:11.96, 3. Monica Alvarez, SOFLO 1:14.31; SOFLO: 4. Ksen Golovkina 1:14.71, 11. Emiliana Pelaez 1:20.75.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 1:00.80, 2. Caroline Cooper, Highlander 1:02.02, 3. Justine Bowker, Unattached 1:02.40; SOFLO: 7. Catalina Mendieta 1:03.97.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Alixandra Roy, Highlanders 5:00.21, 2. Allison Kopas, SFTL 5:02.09, 3. Olivia McMurray, SWIM 5:07.08.


200-meter freestyle: 1.Alexander Arrieta, Metro Aquatics 1:55.38, 2. Theodore Smith, SRQ 1:55.82, 3. Kevin Lindgren, MART 1:56.55; SOFLO: 9. Max Asnis 2:02.33, 11. Sam Asnis 2:03.11, best time, 14. CJ Kopecki 2:04.36, 11. Max Asnis 2:04.23, 12. Sam Asnis 2:04.57, 23. Juan Diaz 2:08.02.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Campbell Lee, SRQ 1:07.66, 2. Joseph Perez, Metro Aquatics 1:07.85, 3. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 1:07.86; SOFLO: 4. Santiago Rivera 1:07.94.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Luke Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 57.80, 2. Evan Jacob, LA 57.87, 3. Alexander Arrieta, Metro Aquatics 58.06; SOFLO: 16. Max Asnis 1:01.81, 18. Santiago Rivera 1:03.41, 23. Juan Diaz 1:04.00.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 4:33.58, 2. Theodore Smith, SRQ 4:43.51, 3. Joseph Perez, Metro Aquatics 4:45.07; SOFLO: 4. C.J. Kopecki 5:02.62.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Well-Represented At Open Water Festival This Weekend

SOFLO Well-Represented At Open Water Festival This Weekend

By Sharon Robb

April 9, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club will have seven swimmers competing on the Florida Gold Coast Open Water Boys and Girls All-Star Team this weekend at the Open Water Festival at Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club in Fort Myers.

Five boys and two girls were invited based on short course times in the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle events.

The SOFLO swimmers are Annita Huang, Vanessa Mesa, Leonardo Mateus, Rafael Rodriguez, Gabriel Segui, C.J. Kopecki and Kevin Porto.

The SOFLO contingent is part of the Florida Gold Coast All-Star Team that will compete against Florida Swimming in the Open Water All-Star Challenge Cup in Miromar Lakes on Sunday.

Sunday’s schedule is: 9 a.m., 10-and-under 800-meter races; 10 a.m., 11-12 2.5K races; 11 a.m. start for all 5K races

On Saturday, the inaugural Crippen Cup 10K Marathon Invitational will be held. The men’s race is 9 a.m. and women’s race is 11 a.m. An open water clinic and practice session and team pursuit races are 2-4 p.m. The 500-yard Crippen Kids Buddy Swim is 6:15 p.m. and the Crippen Mile is 6:30 p.m.

The event is named in honor of open water star Fran Crippen who died during an international open water race four years ago.

The Crippen Cup is offering $10,000 in prize money to the top four men and women finishers. The field includes Joey Pedraza of Azura Florida Aquatics, Emily Brunemann, Christine Jennings, Ashley Twichel, Arthur Frayler and Chip Peterson.

Several international swimmers from Europe and Canada are also expected to compete. For Canadian swimmers, the race will serve as a selection race for the national open water Pan Pacs team. The American selection meet is the Open Water Nationals in June.

The full Florida Gold Coast open water all-star roster is:

Girls 11-12: Rachel Contich, Annita Huang, Vanessa Mesa, Julianna Talamo.

Girls 13-14: Marissa Brannan, Ashley Crouse, Alexis Hicks, Alicia Mancilla, Nicole Regueira.

Girls 15-18: Samantha Breistol, Sophia Oliva, Caroline Schirmer, Rose Smiddy, Aly Pacitti.

Boys 11-12: Leonardo Mateus, Rene Peralta, Rafael Rodriguez, Gabriel Segui, Kevin Barranco.

Boys 13-14: C.J. Kopecki, Kevin Porto, Fernando Rodriguez, Kaden Shover, Nicholas Pacitti.

Boys 15-18: Alexander Arrieta, David Stoddard, Miguel Basalo, Mitchell Posk, Cameron Anderson.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SWIMMING ROUNDUP: South Florida Aquatic Club Basking In Winning Glow Of Senior Championships

SWIMMING ROUNDUP: South Florida Aquatic Club Basking In Winning Glow Of Senior Championships

By Sharon Robb

March 26, 2014

Two-time defending champion South Florida Aquatic Club returned to workouts earlier this week at Academic Village Pool still cloud-walking after its impressive Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships victory this past weekend.

Also on the pool deck this week during spring break enjoying the champion atmosphere is Texas A&M assistant coach Tanica Jamison.

Several SOFLO swimmers were among high point winners in the 15-16 and open divisions.

Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 25, a Texas A&M alum, won high point honors in the open division with 216 points. The national record-breaker earned the title by nearly 100 points and played a key role in SOFLO capturing the women’s team title in front of a nationwide audience on Florida Swim Network.

Jessica Rodriguez, 15, who enjoyed a breakthrough meet with some outstanding swims, was the second highest high point earner among the 15-16 age group swimmers with 164 points.

Other SOFLO women’s open high point earners were: Florida International University-bound Maria Lopez, 90; Kathleen Golding, 85; Florida Gulf Coast’s Marcella Marinheiro, 81; Kelley Heron 63; Olivia Katcher 62; Delanie Perez 47; Amber Hunter 45; Melissa Marinheiro 24; Jennifer Rodriguez 20; Kylie Herman 18; Lilli Calero 16; Katherine DeBarros 10; Bianca Muniz 9; Lynn University-bound Kaitlin Armstrong 7; Vanessa Mesa 6; Isabella Di Salvo 5; and Andrea Pereira, 1.

SOFLO 15-16 high point earners were: Melissa Marinheiro, 129; Kylie Herman 64; Carly Swanson, 28; Natasha Testa, 23; Star Fassler, 22; Stephanie Mlujeak, 9; and Lilli Calero, 4.

SOFLO’s top high point earner among the open men was C.J. Kopecki, 14, who had outstanding back-to-back FGC Junior Olympic and Senior Championship meets. He totaled 56 points.

Other SOFLO open point earners were: Florida State-bound Marc Rojas, 20; Ervin Marin, 41; Kry Nichlany, 25.50; Kevin Porto, 25; Nelson Diaz 22; Alejandro Zambrano, 20; Jordan Colon, 19; Matthew Gonzalez, 19; Esteban Diaz-Velasco, 14; Endi Babi, 11; Ricardo Roche, 11; Roger Capote, 10; Bowie Suen, 10; Rafael Rodriguez, 10; Leonardo Mateus, 5; Jonathan Strod, 4.

Julien Pinon, 15, swimming unattached for SOFLO because of his French club commitment overseas, was top high point winner in the 15-16 age group with 167 points. Other high point earners were: Ryan Capote, 105; Juan Lucas, 76; Alex Monti, 71; Jonathan Strod, 69; Alfredo Mesa, 54; Gustavo Valery, 48; Jordan Colon, 44; Baldwin Suen, 18; Brendan Cassie, 15; Alejandro Lombo, 8; Cristian Rossi, 3.

Paralympics National Championships

Miami Ransom Everglades will host the U.S. Paralympics Spring Swimming National Championships/Spring CanAm that get under way Thursday and end Saturday.

More than 200 athletes including top U.S. swimmers Cortney Jordan, Jessica Long and Ian Silverman head an international field that also includes Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico.

The event is the U.S. qualifier for the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships.

The school’s Aquatic Center is located at 3575 Main Highway in Miami. Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals are 5 p.m. The public is welcome.

Missy Franklin Honored

Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Swimming national team member Missy Franklin was honored Wednesday as the youngest-ever winning of the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award.

Franklin won a record-setting six gold medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. She is coming off her freshman season at Cal-Berkeley where she set an American record in the 200-yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships.

Franklin is the first swimmer to win the prestigious honor and joins Usain Bolt, Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn. Franklin was given her award by U.S. swimming legend Mark Spitz during the awards ceremony at the Istana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In other awards, Franklin was also named PAC-12 Freshman of the Year. Stanford senior Maya DiRado was named swimmer of the Year and Stanford’s Greg Meehan was named coach of the Year.

No More Dancing For Swimmer

Record-breaking long distance swimmer and Pine Crest alum Diana Nyad was among the first to be voted off Dancing With The Stars. Nyad and former pro hockey player Sean Avery were sent packing Monday night in the first elimination of Season 18. “That was a full-on surprise,” Nyad said. “It was too short. If the dance had gone on for 53 hours nonstop, I think I would have beat everybody.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Defending Champion South Florida Aquatic Club Hosts Senior Championships, Florida Swim Network

South Florida Aquatic Club Hosts Senior Championships, Florida Swim Network

By Sharon Robb

March 20, 2014

It’s show time for South Florida Aquatic Club.

Not only will SOFLO enter the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships as defending champions, but will also host the prestigious meet for the first time in the club’s 14-year history in their home pool.

The three-day meet gets underway on Friday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.

Florida Swim Network will live stream the finals on Saturday and Sunday night for the first time at Academic Village Pool.

The meet features 50 teams, 600 athletes, 75 coaches, 40 officials and 40 volunteers.

Nova Southeastern University originally was scheduled to be the host venue for the meet but withdrew its bid to host the three-day meet along with other FGC meets when the Davie Nadadores disbanded last year.

SOFLO will get the chance to defend its 2013 title in its home pool. SOFLO made history last year by sweeping the FGC Junior Olympic and Senior Championships, both short course and long course, in the same year.

SOFLO is coming off its recent FGC Junior Olympics win and hopes to continue the momentum with its older swimmers.

SOFLO has 67 swimmers competing including 38 male and 29 females.

Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 25, heads the SOFLO contingent with not only talent but role model and team leadership. She is seeded first in the 50-yard breaststroke (26.96), 500-yard freestyle (4:54.82), 200-yard breaststroke (2:05.63), 50-yard butterfly, (24.29), 100-yard breaststroke, (57.62) and 200-yard individual medley (1:54.85). Atkinson will also swim relays.

The only other top-seeded SOFLO swimmer is Melissa Marinheiro, 16, seeded first in the 500-yard freestyle, 4:51.13; 50-yard backstroke, 27.39; 50-yard butterfly, 26.18; and 1,650-yard freestyle, 16:51.94.

Other SOFLO swimmers competing are: Lynn University-bound Kaitlin Armstrong, Endi Babi, Xavier Brown, Lilli Calero, Ryan Capote, Brendan Cassie, Jordan Colon, Katherine DeBarros, Mathew Delvalle, Isabella DiSalvo, Nelson Alejandro Diaz, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Star Fassler, Brandon Fratianni, Tyler Gibson, Kathleen Golding, Kylie Herman, Kelley Heron, Victoria Hill, Annita Huang, Amber Hunter, Andrea Iglesia, Olivia Katcher, C.J. Kopecki, Alejandro Lombo, Florida International University-bound Maria Lopez, Juan Lucas, Victoria Lumelski, Ervin Marin, Florida Gulf Coast’s Marcella Marinheiro, Leonardo Mateus, Matthew Menocal, Alfredo Mesa, Vanessa Mesa, Stephanie Mlujeak, Federico Molina, Alex Monti, Bryan Moran, Kry Nichlany, Emely Nunez, Simon Ortiz, Abolade Oyetunji, Ji Hwan Pak, Delanie Perez, Julien Pinon swimming unattached, Kevin Porto, Samuel Quintero, Astrid Rigau, Ricardo Roche, Jennifer Rodriguez, Jessica Rodriguez, Monica Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez swimming unattached, Rafael Rodriguez, Marc Rojas, Cristian Rossi, Teddy Sandoval, Gabriel Segui, Jonathan Strod, Baldwin Suen, Bowie Suen, Carly Swanson, Natasha Testa, Gustavo Valery and Alejandro Zambrano.

The field features a Who’s Who in Florida Gold Coast swimmers including Michigan-bound Emily Kopas, swimming unattached and Clara Smiddy of AquaKids Sharks; Raphael Marcoux and Marco Hosfeld of Swim Fort Lauderdale; Joshua Romany, Nico Medina and Felipe Lima of Azura; Kyla Valls of Miami Swimming, Julio Horrego of Hialeah; Alex Evdokimov of Coral Springs Swim Club and Cody Cline of Wellington.

The 200-yard breaststroke featuring Evdokimov, Alex Morgan of Azura and Marc Rojas of SOFLO should be one of the most entertaining races of the meet.

In addition to SOFLO, other top teams competing are Azura, Metro Aquatics, Swim Fort Lauderdale, St. Andrew’s Swimming and Hialeah.

The meet, hosted by South Florida Aquatic Club, Comets Booster Club and City of Pembroke Pines, will offer visiting swimmers, coaches and parents great hospitality, a social area for swimmers, vendors, meet announcer, covered stands for spectators and ample parking.


What: Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

When: Friday-Sunday

Schedule: Friday, prelims 8:30 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Saturday, prelims 8:30 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Sunday, 8:30 a.m. prelims, finals 5 p.m.

Where: Academic Village Pool, 17191 Sheridan Street, Pembroke Pines.

Webcast: Florida Swim Network will live stream the meet on Saturday and Sunday nights and Swimmer Joe Auer will conduct poolside interviews.

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets per session.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Will Compete Against National-Caliber Field In Speedo Championship Series In Plantation

SOFLO Swimmers Will Compete Against National-Caliber Field In Speedo Championship Series In Plantation

By Sharon Robb

March 12, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will rub elbows with some of the nation’s best when they compete this week in the 2014 Speedo Championship Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championship at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

The four-day meet, which has attracted 451 swimmers and 75 teams, gets under way Thursday with timed finals at 5 p.m. Prelims and finals are Friday through Sunday.

Three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson, 25, leads SOFLO’s 12-woman contingent. Others are Kaitlin Armstrong, 17, Kathleen Golding, 13, Kylie Herman, 16, Kelley Heron, 14, Amber Hunter, 18, Maria Lopez, 18, Melissa Marinheiro, 16, Delanie Perez, 13, Jessica Rodriguez, 15, Natasha Testa, 15, and Liz Travieso, 14, and Olivia Katcher, 18.

C.J. Kopecki, 14, coming off an outstanding FGC Junior Olympics, heads the SOFLO’s men’s teams. He will be joined by teammates Endi Babi, 25, Xavier Brown, 19, Ryan Capote, 16, Jordan Colon, 16, Nelson Alejandro Diaz, 17, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, 14, Ervin Marin, 14, Alex Montio, 15, Julien Pinon, 15, Kevin Porto, 14, Jonathan Strod, 15, Bowie Suen, 17, Gustavo Valery, 15, and Alejandro Zambrano, 19.

SOFLO also has twelve relays entered at the “A” and “B” levels.

For SOFLO swimmers, the meet will serve as fine tuning for the upcoming FGC Senior Champions which SOFLO is hosting March 21-23.

The meet has attracted some big names in swimming.

World-class open water swimmer and NCAA champion Emily Brunemann, 27, is seeded first in the 1500-meter freestyle in 16:23.36 and three-time Olympic champion and recently engaged Brooke Bennett, who is making a comeback at age 33, is seeded third in 17:26.42. That will be fun for Marinheiro, seeded second in the distance event in 17:04.87, to swim against.

Brunemann and Bennett are the top two seeds in the 800-meter freestyle.

U.S. national team member Michael Klueh, 26, who just missed making the 2012 Olympic team by one spot, is seeded first in the 800-meter freestyle in 8:01.23 and 1500-meter freestyle in 15:20.90 and will go up against U.S. national open water team member Joey Pedraza, 26, of Azura. Klueh is also top seed in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:47.66 and 400-meter freestyle in 3:48.17.

Last year Klueh made the short course and long course world championship teams and played a role in Team USA winning a gold medal in both 800 freestyle relays. He has told coaches and friends that he is motivated more than ever.

Age group sensation and national age group record holder Michael Andrew, who at 14 has already turned pro, is also in the field, seeded second in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:04.13, fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.83 and third in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:38.15.

Andrew is the youngest male in U.S. Swimming history to sign his first endorsement deal with Speedo just a few months after his 14th birthday.

Olympic and world championship medalist Arkady Vyatchanin, 29, of the New York Athletic Club is among the men’s backstroke field. Olympic silver medalist Amanda Weir, 28, is top seed in the 50-meter freestyle.

In addition to SOFLO, most of the Florida Gold Coast teams are represented. Other top teams entered are Bolles, Clearwater Aquatic Team, Daytona Beach Swimming, Toronto Swim Club and Gainesville Swim Club, featuring Florida Gold Coast swimmer Luke Torres.


What: Speedo Championships Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships

When: Thursday-Sunday

Schedule: Thursday, 5 p.m. finals; Friday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Saturday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second Street, Plantation

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets per session. For information call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Aquatic Club Defends Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Team Title For Fourth Year

South Florida Aquatic Club Defends Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Team Title For Fourth Year

By Sharon Robb

March 9, 2014

It takes a village to build swim champions, in and out of the pool, from the coaches, swim office staff, parents and booster club.

So it was no surprise when South Florida Aquatic Club won the combined team title at the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Junior Olympics for the fourth time on Sunday, SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson made it a point to praise the entire SOFLO family.

“It’s something I don’t think people understand what it takes and how many people it takes to accomplish what we do,” the veteran coach said.

“It’s not just coaching in a kid-driven sport that leads to our success,” Anderson said. “It’s the behind-the-scenes people that help prepare our athletes to perform on a daily level at practice. As long as we keep that up we will be successful. We really provide a total package which is why we come out winners and champions at the end of these meets.”

SOFLO was very successful dominating the three-day meet at the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions in Coral Springs with 1,165.50 points.

SOFLO was the only team to break the 1,000-point barrier. Their closest rival was Metro Aquatics, runner-up with 617.50 points.

SOFLO relied on its depth and talent to add another chapter in their history book.

Anderson stressed SOFLO’s total team effort from each and every swimmer.

“It was a great overall team experience,” Anderson said. “The bottom half of our age groups swam up to be successful. I can’t stress enough that the sixth, seventh and eighth place swimmers swam up to their potential. What our “B” relays did for this meet definitely put us over the top.”

As three-time defending champions, SOFLO swimmers and coaches knew there was a target on their backs before the meet even started.

“It’s a lot more difficult to duplicate when people are gunning for us,” Anderson said. “We still find a way to rise to the challenge due to the excellence of our coaching staff. They get kids to perform when they are under pressure.

“We had some great swims individually like the Goldings, Rafael and C.J., but we also had at least 50 to 100 great swims individually in their own right. The tradition we are instilling in these athletes that they need to step up and do the right things is what they are doing and what they did in this meet. It was such a great combined effort.”

The team spirit was at an all-time high, cheering every day for teammates. SOFLO swimmers wore new white and light blue caps with Junior Olympic Team inscribed on them.

“They definitely were very social about the meet and enjoyed it,” Anderson said. “They loved accepting the awards.”

Molly Golding, 10, was third among high point girls rankings in her age group.

“I am really happy, it was really fun, every single day we did cheers,” said Golding, who made her JO debut. “Just seeing all these kids and swimming against them made it fun. I was happiest with my 100 breaststroke, that was my best race. The competition was pretty hard but I definitely worked really hard. I am tired but I can’t wait to get back in the pool.”

Big sister Kathleen Golding, 13, won the 13-14 high point age group award. Golding won the 200-yard individual medley in a best time 2:05.43 and 100-yard freestyle in a best time 51.73.

While the older SOFLO swimmers are training for Senior Championships, the JO kids will get Monday afternoon off, Anderson said.

Workhorse Rafael Rodriguez, 12, won his age group high point award. Rodriguez finished well by winning the 1,650-yard freestyle in a best time 16:57.13 and 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.79, another best time.

“I am really happy with my meet,” Rodriguez said. “I dropped time and I felt good in the water. This is my best JOs, I lowered all my times. All our relays did pretty good. It feels really cool to be on SOFLO. We have a lot of team spirit and we all support each other.”

C.J. Kopecki, 14, competing in his final JO short course meet, was third in high point. He finished with a second place in the 1,650-yard freestyle in a best time 16:27.93 and won the 200-yard butterfly in a best time 1:57.15. It was his best JO meet of his career that started in the lessons program with the SOFLO/Comets.

“This is our first generation of champions that have come up through our lessons program,” Anderson said. “It’s nice to see our kids grow from grass roots to high point swimmers. That is quite a feat for our entire staff.”

SOFLO’s “A” relay of C.J. Kopecki, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco and Ervin Marin, all 14-year-olds competing in their final JO short course meet, won the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:23.40.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club 1,165.50, 2. Metro Aquatics 617.50, 3. Pine Crest Swimming 608.50, 4. Azura Florida Aquatic 584.50, 5. North Palm Beach 439, 6. City of Hialeah 337, 7. Jupiter Dragons 332, 8. Coral Springs Swim Club 324, 9. Lake Lytal Lightning 311.50, 10. East Coast Aquatic Club 284, 11. St. Andrew’s Swimming 238, 12. Miami-Dade County Aquatic Club 235.50, 13. Pompano Beach 216, 14. Blue Marlins 198, 15. Swim Fort Lauderdale 195, 16. Gulliver Swim Club 168, 17. Wahoos of Wellington 152.50, 18. FLA Aquatics 117.50, 19. Rockway 113, 20. Miami Swimming 98.



10-and-under, 3. Molly Golding 67, 15. Sara Quintero 16, 17. Kayla Cunningham 13; 11-12, 8. Vanessa Mesa 39, 13. Annita Huang 24, 15. Marianna Serrao 23; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding 75, 7. Kelley Heron 40, 16. Delanie Perez 22.


10-and-under, 5. Nicolas Rossi 45.50; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez 75, 9. Gabriel Segui 41, 11. Leonardo Mateus 39, 17. Brandon Moran 25; 13-14, 3. C.J. Kopecki 68, 7. Ervin Marin 40, 13. Kevin Porto 23.



10-and-under, 1. East Coast Aquatic Club 134, 2. SOFLO 96, 3. Jupiter 90; 11-12, 1. Pine Crest 149.50, 2. Metro Aquatics 132.50, 3. SOFLO 124; 13-14, 1. Pine Crest 145, 2. SOFLO 139, 3. Lake Lytal 92.


10-and-under, 1. Jupiter 94, 2. Gulliver 79, 3. Hialeah 51.50, 4. SOFLO 45.50; 11-12, 1. SOFLO 183, 2. Azura 174, 3. Hialeah 105; 13-14, 1. SOFLO 160, 2. Azura 124, 3. Miami Dade 119.50.


200-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Pine Crest 1:44.43, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:45.04 (Annita Huang, Marianna Serrao, Elise Larin, Vanessa Mesa), 9. SOFLO “B” 1:52.34 (Kyana Castro, Anabel Vazquez, Katrina Del Vecchio, Isabella Si Salvo).

400-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. Pine Crest Swimming 3:38.29; 2. SOFLO “A” 3:42.72 (Kelley Heron, Andrea Pereira, Liz Travieso, Kathleen Golding), 15. SOFLO “B” 3:58.89 (Abolade Oyetunji, Jennifer Rodriguez, Katherine DeBarros, Delanie Perez).

1,650-yard freestyle:

11-12, 1. Violeta Tumolo, Swim Fort Lauderdale 18:44.51; SOFLO: 5. Kyana Castro 19:03.85, 6. Marianna Serrao 19:06.97, 8. Annita Huang 19:17.35, 10. Michelle Marinheiro 19:41.32, 15. Elise Larin 20:43.94; 13-14, 1. Jenna Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 17:39.91.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 2:25.65; SOFLO: 2. Molly Golding 2:28.79; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 2:09.99; SOFLO: 5. Vanessa Mesa 2:18.91; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:05.43; SOFLO: 3. Kelley Heron 2:12.53, 10. Delanie Perez 2:18.42.

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Ana Kondratovitch, Unattached 31.50; SOFLO: 7. Kayla Cunningham 33.70; 11-12, 1. Sarah Abril, Metro Aquatics 29.15; 13-14, 1. Melannie Vargas, Miami-Dade County 27.60; SOFLO: 5. Kelley Heron 29.07, 10. Liz Travieso 29.72.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 34.55; SOFLO: 2. Molly Golding 36.71; 11-12, 1. Savannah Yates, Pine Crest Swimming 32.29; SOFLO: 4. Elise Larin 33.12; 13-14, 1. Tiffany Korb, St. Andrew’s Swimming 31.92; SOFLO: 5. Kelley Heron 32.70, 7. Delanie Perez 32.86.

200-yard butterfly:

11-12, 1. Alexandra Meszaros, Pine Crest 2:13.99; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 2:05.26; SOFLO: 8. Delanie Perez 2:15.54.

100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Megan Murphy, East Coast Aquatics 1:00.14; SOFLO: 3. Molly Golding 1:01.87; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 52.48; SOFLO; 4. Vanessa Mesa 55.37, 7. Marianna Serrao 56.95; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 51.73.


200-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Metro Aquatics 1:42.36, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:43.64 (Gabriel Segui, Michael Arias, Leonardo Mateus, Rafael Rodriguez), 15. SOFLO “B” 1:55.02 (Sebastian Sevilla, Sebastian Sierra, Derek Tom, Brandon Moran).

400-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 3:23.40 (C.J. Kopecki, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Ervin Marin), 7. SOFLO “B” 3:35.01 (Bruno Berti, Tyler Gibson, Juan Osorio, Matthew Menocal).

1,650-yard freestyle:

11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 16:57.13; SOFLO: 3. Leonardo Mateus 17:45.41, 15. Sebastian Sierra 20:15.78; 13-14, 1. Nicholas Sharp, St. Andrew’s 16:15.88; SOFLO: 2. C.J. Kopecki 16:27.93, 3. Ricardo Roche 17:02.69, 5. Kevin Porto 17:10.25, 12. Matthew Menocal 17:47.18.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Josh Zuchowski, Jupiter 2:25.53; SOFLO: 5. Nicolas Rossi 2:32.66; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 2:07.79; SOFLO: 6. Leonardo Mateus 2:15.96; 13-14, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami-Dade 1:56.84; SOFLO: 4. Ervin Marin 2:02.14.

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Josh Zuchowski, Jupiter 31.37; 11-12, 1. Aaron Rodriguez, Hialeah 27.63; SOFLO: 9. Leonardo Mateus 30.72; 13-14, 1. Nicholas Sharp, St. Andrew’s Swimming 24.54; SOFLO: 6. Esteban Diaz-Velasco 27.01, 9. Kevin Porto 27.49.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Victor Valdes, Hialeah 34.43; 11-12, 1. Matthew Petreski, Pine Crest Swimming 30.26; SOFLO: 7. Brandon Moran 33.64; 13-14, 1. Francisco Cantu, Azura 29.07.

200-yard butterfly:

11-12, 1. John Torres, Rockway 2:09.00; SOFLO: 3. Gabriel Segui 2:18.54, 5. Brandon Moran 2:25.30, 8. Sebastian Sierra 2:33.28; 13-14, 1. C.J. Kopecki, SOFLO 1:57.15; SOFLO: 3. Ervin Marin 2:01.71.

100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Max Cope, Gulliver 58.87; SOFLO: 4. Nicolas Rossi 1:00.13; 11-12, 1. Mattheus Santos, Pompano Beach 52.35; 13-14, 1. Philip Marcoux, Swim Fort Lauderdale 48.70; SOFLO: 3. C.J. Kopecki 49.35.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Meet organizers did not post boys and girls team totals.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Kopecki, SOFLO Teammates Shine On Day One Of Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

Kopecki, SOFLO Teammates Shine On Day One Of Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

By Sharon Robb

March 7, 2014

Three-time defending champion South Florida Aquatic Club turned in some outstanding swims on the opening day of the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Short Course Junior Olympics at the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions in Coral Springs.

No one was more impressive than C.J. Kopecki, 14, making his final appearance in the short course meet.

Kopecki, hoping to leave a lasting impression before he ages-up, did just that on a chilly Friday night, particularly in the 500-yard freestyle.

Kopecki won the distance event in a career-best time 4:41.91, dropping from 4:48.06 and knocking off rival Alberto Gomez, 14, of Miami-Dade, who finished in 4:42.35.

Kopecki led a SOFLO boys sweep in the 500. Nicolas Rossi, 10, won the 10-and-under title in 5:41.73. Rafael Rodriguez, 12, won the 11-12 race in a best time 5:00.26, dropping from 5:07.13.

“I am really happy,” Kopecki said. “I didn’t think I would go that fast. The amount of time I dropped was crazy. I felt great in the water.

“Our team being defending champion does motivate me a lot,” Kopecki said. “I love competition especially when someone is next to me, it makes me go faster. I was swimming next to Alberto the whole time. It made me go a lot faster. I always wanted to beat him.”

Kopecki said he and his SOFLO teammates have been training hard and working on technique.

“I thought about this being my last JOs coming into the meet and I really wanted to do well,” Kopecki said. “The team is really psyched about this meet.”

Kopecki had several other good swims. He anchored the second place 200-yard freestyle relay; won the 100-yard butterfly in 54.35 after qualifying in 54.01; and anchored the winning 800-yard freestyle relay.

“My confidence is high but it’s always high,” Kopecki said. “I believe I can do great things. My confidence is higher now because I just had an amazing first day. I hope to carry this momentum into the second and third day.

“All the training is worth it…all the countless hours in the pool, this is what it’s all about, nights like this. I had random people coming up to me I didn’t know congratulating me after the 500. It was just a great feeling.”

Also in the 500 freestyle, SOFLO’s Leonardo Mateus moved from ninth to fourth place in the finals to finish in 5:11.52 and qualify for the All-Star team.

It was a total team effort on opening night for SOFLO, showing off its depth and talent, from individual champions to and “B” relay swimmers scoring points.

SOFLO individual champions were:

Molly Golding, 10, 100-yard breaststroke, 1:16.29 and 500-yard freestyle, 5:48.10.

Kathleen Golding, 13, 100-yard breaststroke, 1:07.16 and 500-yard freestyle, 4:58.17.

Rafael Rodriguez, 12, 100-yard butterfly, 58.75 and 100-yard individual medley, 1:00.47.

SOFLO swept the 13-14 girls and boys 800-yard freestyle relay events. The girls team of Kelley Heron, Andrea Pereira, Kathleen Golding and Delanie Perez won in 7:59.94. The boys team of Ervin Marin, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco and CJ Kopecki won in 7:20.57.

SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson said the middle distance and distance swimmers “did a heck of a job tonight. To win nearly all of the 500s is phenomenal.

“We anticipated those time drops,” Anderson said. “It looks like our boys are starting to come together as one and that’s promising. They are beginning to realize that the “B” relay is just as important as the “A” relay and moving up from tenth to seventh is important, too. Every point counts especially in a championship meet.

“We are where we want to be,” Anderson said. “We are an age group developmental program and we have depth and I think it shows.

“This is one of the better JOS. It looks like a lot of teams have prepared themselves for this meet. I hope we are strong enough to continue this. It will be interesting how it plays out on Sunday.”

The top six swimmers in each individual event automatically qualify for the FGC All-Stars team that will compete in a dual meet against Florida Swimming All-Stars on April 5-6 at Indian River State College.

The three-day meet continues on Saturday with prelims and finals.



200-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. Pine Crest 1:41.02, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:42.24 (Kelley Heron, Liz Travieso, Kathleen Golding, Andrea Pereira), 17. SOFLO “B” 1:51.30 (Jennifer Rodriguez, Katherine DeBarros, Delanie Perez, Abolade Oyetunji).

200-yard backstroke:

11-12, 1. Madison Cummings, East Coast Aquatics 2:15.35; SOFLO: 4. Annita Huang 2:20.51, 5. Isabella DiSalvo 2:22.02, 9. Kyana Castro 2:26.58; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, PC 2:05.63; SOFLO: 4. Kelley Heron 2:10.06.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 27.32; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 23.95; SOFLO: 4. Vanessa Mesa 25.88; 13-14, 1. Jenna Pisani, Lake Lytal Lightning 24.44.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Molly Golding, SOFLO 1:16.29; 11-12, 1. Savannah Yates, PC 1:10.24; SOFLO: 2. Elise Larin 1:11.55, 10. Mariann Serrao 1:14.85; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 1:07.16; SOFLO: 4. Kelley Heron 1:10.01, 7. Delanie Perez 1:11.17.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. A. Kondratovitch, Unattached 1:05.68; SOFLO: 4. Sara Quintero 1:11.17, 9. Kayla Cunningham 1:15.61; 11-12, 1. Alex Meszaros, PC 59.16; SOFLO: 8. Vanessa Mesa 1:05.42; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, PC 56.71; SOFLO: 2. Kathleen Golding 56.86.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Madelyn Hebert, East Coast Aquatics 1:08.39; SOFLO: 3. Molly Golding 1:10.31; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Unattached 1:00.95; SOFLO: 7. Mariann Serrao 1:07.03, 10. Elise Larin 1:08.42.

500-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Molly Golding, SOFLO 5:48.10; SOFLO: 6. Sara Quintero 6:02.25, 14. Sally Golding 6:31.44; 11-12, 1. Juliana Talamo, MAC 5:18.11; SOFLO: 2. Vanessa Mesa 5:21.60, 7. Marianna Serrao, 5:30.29, 9. Annita Huang 5:30.90, 14. Michelle Marinheiro 5:47.24; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 4:58.17.

400-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Pine Crest 3:46.82, 2. SOFLO “A” (Annita Huang, Marianna Serrao, Isabella Di Salvo, Vanessa Mesa), 3:50.61, 7. SOFLO “B” (Elise Larin, Anabel Vazquez, Michelle Marinheiro, Kyana Castro) 4:00.88.

800-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 7:59.54 (Kelley Heron, Andrea Pereira, Kathleen Golding, Delanie Perez), 12. SOFLO “B” 8:42.23 (Katherine DeBarros, Alexandra Crespo, Jennifer Rodriguez, Abolade Oyetunji).


200-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. St. Andrew’s Swimming 1:33.19, 2. SOFLO “A” 1:33.56 (Bruno Berti, Kevin Porto, Ervin Marin, CJ Kopecki), 13. SOFLO “B” 1:40.06 (Matthew Menocal, Christopher Sanchez, Juan Osorio, Esteban Diaz-Velasco).

200-yard backstroke:

11-12, 1. Elvis Kotikovski, Azura 2:06.04; SOFLO: 4. Leonardo Mateus 2:14.74, 6. Gabriel Segui 2:17.48; 13-14, 1. Nicholas Sharp, SAS 1:54.57; SOFLO: 4. Kevin Porto 2:02.13, 5. E. Diaz-Velasco 2:02.76, 7. Ricardo Roche 2:05.83.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Varis Monroe, NPB 26.84; SOFLO: 4. Nicolas Rossi 28.72; 11-12, 1. Mattheus Santos, PB 24.30; 13-14, 1. Adrian Aguilar, MAC 22.93.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Victor Valdes, Hialeah 1:15.32; 11-12, 1. Matthew Petreski, PC 1:05.07; SOFLO: 3. Gabriel Segui 1:11.13, 6. Brandon Moran 1:13.20; 13-14, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami Dade 1:02.25; SOFLO: 7. Ervin Marin 1:05.20.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Max Cope, Gulliver 1:06.33; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 58.75; SOFLO: 7. Gabriel Segui 1:02.28; 13-14, 1. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 54.35; SOFLO: 3. Ervin Marin 55.85.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Josh Zuchowski, Jupiter 1:09.67; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 1:00.47; SOFLO: 10. Brandon Moran 1:09.48.

500-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Nicolas Rossi, SOFLO 5:41.73; SOFLO: 17. Alex Golding 6:43.02; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 5:00.26; SOFLO: 4. Leonardo Mateus 5:11.52; 13-14, 1. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 4:41.92; SOFLO: 8. Kevin Porto 4:56.12.

400-yard freestyle relay:

11-12, 1. Azura 3:40.90; 4. SOFLO “A” 3:47.82 (Leonardo Mateus, Gabriel Segui, Brandon Moran, Rafael Rodriguez); 9. SOFLO “B” 4:05.62 (Michael Arias, Sebastian Sevilla, Sebastian Sierra, John Paul Handal).

800-yard freestyle relay:

13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 7:20.57 (Ervin Marin, Kevin Porto, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, CJ Kopecki), 7. SOFLO “B” 7:57.69 (Ricardo Roche, Matthew Menocal, Juan Osorio, Andres Arias).


What: Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Junior Olympics

When: Saturday-Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Coral Springs Aquatic Complex Michael Lohberg Pool Of Champions, 12441 Royal Palm Blvd., Coral Springs.

Defending champions: South Florida Aquatic Club.

Admission: $3 per session, heat sheets $3 per session. For questions call 954-345-2121. Parking is free. Traffic is expected to be heavy each night because of the Our Town event being held simultaneously during the meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Comets, SOFLO Swimmers Ready For FGC South Area 3 Developmental Meet At FIU Pool

Comets, SOFLO Swimmers Ready For FGC South Area 3 Developmental Meet At FIU Pool


July 5, 2012

One of the busiest months in swimming gets under way on Friday with the Florida Gold Coast South Area 3 Developmental Meet.

Comets and SOFLO swimmers will compete against teams from Dade County for three days at Florida International University’s Bay Vista Campus pool in North Miami.

SOFLO’s C.J. Kopecki, 12, is seeded first in six events to lead the team. SOFLO also has six boys and girls relays seeded first.

Among top-seeded SOFLO swimmers are:

Annita Huang, 11, 200-meter backstroke, 3:04.39; 1500-meter freestyle, 23:29.01

C.J. Kopecki, 12, 200-meter backstroke, 2:54.29; 100-meter butterfly 1:12.85; 200-meter freestyle, 2:25.64; 200-meter breaststroke 3:13.21; 50-meter breaststroke 40.07; 100-meter freestyle, 1:06.71

Jonathan Rivas, 15, 50-meter freestyle 28.72

Daniela Jimenez, 17, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:35.10; 100-meter butterfly, 1:17.47; 200-meter individual medley 2:44.41; 1500-meter freestyle, 20:09.95

Josh Coote, 16, 100-meter butterfly, 1:08.66

Lisa Strod, 11, 400-meter freestyle, 5:36.65

Monica Rodriguez, 14, 200-meter freestyle, 2:26.82

Tyler Gibson, 13, 200-meter freestyle 2:25.41

Fernando Quintero, 15, 200-meter freestyle 2:13.91

Samantha Stinemire, 13, 50-meter butterfly, 36.84

Elise Larin, 11, 200-meter breaststroke 3:26.96

Edward Kon, 16, 200-meter breaststroke 2:59.17

Brandon Moran, 11, 400-meter individual medley 6:39.01; 1500-meter freestyle 23:15.01

Andrea Bucaro, 13, 200-meter individual medley, 2:46.49

Abolade Oyetunji, 12, 50-meter backstroke 40.46

Zarriya Harris, 12, 200-meter butterfly 3:10.01

Estaban Diaz-Velasco, 13, 100-meter freestyle, 1:06.69

Top-seeded Comets swimmers are:

Christian Kopecki, 12, 100-meter butterfly, 1:12.85; 50-meter breaststroke 40.07

Sebastian Lares, 8, 200-meter individual medley, 3:39.69

Other teams competing in the three-day meet are AK Sharks, Atlantis Swimming, Big Gator Swimming, Blue Marlins of Hialeah Gardens, Devilrays, Flying Fish, Gulliver Swim Club, Hialeah, Metro Aquatic Club of Miami, Miami Beach Seahawks, Miami Dade County Aquatics, Miami Swimming, North Miami Swim Team, Rockway and Swim Gym.


What: Florida Gold Coast South Area 3 Developmental Championships

When: Friday-Sunday

Where: Florida International University Bay Vista Campus Pool, 3000 NE 151st St., North Miami

Schedule: Friday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.; Saturday, prelims 9 a.m., time trials, 1 p.m., finals 6 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., time trials, 1 p.m., finals 6 p.m.

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets. For information call meet director John Turnipseed, 305-206-0574.

Sharon Robb can be reached at