TYR SEPTEMBER GIRL SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Jianna Amores


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, November 10, 2022–Jianna Amores is happy she chose swimming.

Amores, 12, a seventh grade home schooler competed in gymnastics, volleyball, tennis, soccer and basketball and did dance and tap dance classes, but decided she wanted to focus on one sport.

“I’m glad I did,” Amores said. “I wanted to focus and get good at one sport. Gymnastics was really hard and I really like swimming. I gave up everything for swimming.”

Amores started swimming at 4 and then left the sport to try gymnastics. She returned to swimming two years ago and is happy she did. She already has her JO cut in the 100 butterfly.

“I wanted to try swimming out again,” she said. “SOFLO is fun and all the meets are good. I’ve made a lot of friends and Coach Issy is a great coach.”

Amores trains with head age group coach Isidro (Issy) Planell and Mako Sharks.

“I often speak with the Mako Sharks about leadership and how a true leader does not tell people what to do, but sets the standard for everyone in the room,” Coach Issy said. “Jia is a great worker simply put. Her results are just a tiny glimpse into the tremendous amount of work she puts in on a daily basis.

“She does not hesitate whenever I raise the bar nor does she challenge it. I give her a challenge and she tries to beat it always.

“She already had the JO cut in the butterfly but going a best time early in the season is never something to complain about.”

Coach Issy also coached her older siblings, Jaden, 15, and Jenesys, 13. “It’s safe to say she knew what was going to be expected of her in Makos from their experience,” Coach Issy said.

Amores said it is an advantage of following in her siblings’ foot steps.

“Being the youngest, they paved the way for me,” Amores said. “I learn from them. It’s a big advantage having an older brother and sister. I compare times when they were younger and I beat Jaden when he was 12 by one second in the 100 fly. They do support me at meets when they can even though they are 13-and-up and I am 12- and-under.”

Amores trains six days a week. She said the sport has helped her manage her time for school and watching TV. She hopes to swim in high school and earn a college scholarship.

“I like the training,” Amores said. “It is worth the time and sacrifice. I am happy to be there. I am having fun with my friends. I like competing against them and racing them. I am super competitive. I’ve always been so competitive. It helps me get better.”

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Amores joins SOFLO teammates Carolina Carrera (August), Lydia Smutny (July), Amber Connor (June), Eva Ortiz (May), 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
http://www.swim4soflo.com

TYR MAY GIRL SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Amanda Grubbs


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, June 25, 2021–Amanda Grubbs has the best reason for swimming.

“I like that it’s in water and not on land,” Grubbs said. “It’s a good competitive sport and good for your mentality.”

A seventh grader at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto Bay, Grubbs, 12, hopes to swim for her school swim team in addition to club swimming.

Grubbs has been swimming for five years, the last two with South Florida Aquatic Club and before that Flying Fish Swim Club.

“I’m very happy with the SOFLO program,” Grubbs said. “I’m working hard to get better.”

Grubbs does enjoy other sports with her friends including tennis but is focused on swimming.

“Swimming has done a lot for my mental strength,” Grubbs said. “It’s good for time management especially in the summer and afternoons.”

At the SoFlo Memorial Day Intrasquad Long Course Challenge at Academic Village Pool, Grubbs was first in the 11-12 girls’ 50- (33.40) and 100-meter butterfly (1:14.29), 100-meter freestyle (1:08.23) and 100-meter backstroke (1:20.97). She was also second in the 400-meter freestyle (5:06.70).

“Speaking as Amanda’s Coach, it’s fair to say her performance at the Intrasquad meet is why she was selected Swimmer of the Month,” SOFLO coach Isidro Planell said. “Amanda is definitely a firecracker especially when it comes to her swimming.

“She has improved tremendously over the past few months and has started learning to apply her racing to her practices which definitely is the reason for her success the last few meets. I am very excited as her coach to see her continue improving and see where her competitive nature takes her.”

Grubbs and her family are planning a short vacation to avoid any conflict with swimming and summer meets. Her older sister, Sophia, is also a member of SOFLO and trains with Coach Lou.

“Maybe two or three days for a small vacation,” she said. “We don’t want to miss too much swimming and practices because there are big meets coming up in July.”

While she is versatile in all strokes, she said her favorite strokes are backstroke and butterfly. “To be honest my favorite is more butterfly because I am getting better in fly more than backstroke, it’s faster,” she said.

Grubbs said one of her biggest turning points in the sport came at a practice session. “I was at one practice and I felt so good. I felt so fast and I thought maybe I could go even faster. I felt like I could do anything in that moment.

“I didn’t have any JO cuts in the beginning and then I started getting them, one after another, over and over again. I thought wow, I can go faster and it’s just gotten me further. I got really motivated.”

Her most memorable meet was at Gulliver Prep where she got her first JO cut in the 200 freestyle.

“Coach Issy was cheering me on and I went so fast,” Grubbs said. “And then the next race I got another JO cut. I did so good and beat everyone in the race. But then it kind of turned out bad because the next day was my birthday so I aged up and lost the cuts.”

Grubbs has several goals for the future including swimming on a high school team and making states and competing for a college. “I can’t wait to get better and better,” she said.

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 newly-minted 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 sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Eleven SOFLO Swimmers, Coach Named To Florida Gold Coast All-Star Team For This Weekend’s Meet


FORT PIERCE, March 23, 2021—South Florida Aquatic Club will have eleven swimmers and one coach on the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team for the dual meet against Florida Swimming Association that begins Friday at Indian River State College’s Anne Wilder Aquatic Complex.

SOFLO has seven girls and and four boys on the team for the three-day meet.

The girls are Jemma Baldwin, Gianna Martin, Sofia Rodriguez, Lydia Smutny, Amelie Bicerne, Gabriella DeLuna and Julianne McCranie.

The boys who qualified are Guillermo Mantilla, Noah Mejia, Oleksii Viazmetinov and Oliver Tejada.

SOFLO Makos age group coach Isidro (Coach Issy) Planell was named to the FGC All-Star coaching staff and will coach the 11-12 boys.

Midtown Weston coaches Marco Bellardi (head coach) and Rodrigo Mendes (10-and-under girls assistant) head the FGC coaching staff. Other coaches selected were Michael Averett, 10-and-under boys; Norman Abril, 11-12 girls; Becky Richey, 13-14 girls; and Peter Ninivaggi, 13-14 boys.

The top six finishers at the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Short Course Junior Olympics in Coral Springs qualified for the team.

Several swimmers, including SOFLO’S Jaden Amores, 13, turned down All-Star team spots opting instead to compete in the March 31-April 3 ISCA Elite Showcase Classic East in St. Petersburg.

Like all swim meets across the nation, COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place. Last year the All-Star meet was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masks will be required for all swimmers when not swimming.

FGC All-Stars will have an expanded socially distant seating area on the opposite side of the pool from Florida’s team.

The meet will have a closed deck – no parents allowed in the swimmer or coaches areas.

Parents will be allowed in a limited spectator area to watch their swimmer race. They will then be asked to leave the pool area and relax in the grass fields or cars outside of the pool area so they can spread out.

For coaches and officials, all meals will be ordered in To Go containers.

Meetings will require masks and be held outdoors when it’s available and weather permitting.

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

TYR FEBRUARY GIRL SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Jenesys Amores


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, March 22, 2021–Her dad nicknamed her “The Generator” and with good reason.

Jenesys Amores, 12, made six new Junior Olympic cuts at the BB South Championships and a week later competed in seven events in the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics.

“I just like to swim a lot,” Amores said. “I like having a lot of friends at the pool and all the races I do. I want to stay with swimming for a long time.”

The home schooler trains with SOFLO’s Makos group and is coached by Isidro (Coach Issy) Planell.

“Working with Jenesys has been a blast,” Planell said. “She is always eager for a new challenge. You can throw a tough set her way and instead of shying away from it she will give it the best effort she has got which is all you can really ask for and want as a coach from your athletes.”

Amores started training full-time with the Makos in September 2020 after she decided to quit gymnastics to focus solely on swimming. She had been juggling swimming and gymnastics but decided it was time to choose.

“Gymnastics was really repetitive and I thought it was about time to stop the sport so I came back to swimming,” Amores said. “Swimming is fun and it’s more relaxing. I don’t mind the training and it’s fun to race. I like the competitiveness.”

Amores learned to swim at age 5 to become water-safe. She competed in the lower levels in swimming but focused mainly on training at Florida Gymnastics Training Center.

“There was an advantage doing gymnastics for so long,” Amores said. “We didn’t do a lot of endurance in gymnastics so it didn’t help my swimming with that, but the strength work did help my swimming. And doing a lot of events in gymnastics helped me with doing a lot in swimming.

“When I finish practice I’m dead, but when I get home I’m like, okay, I feel good,” Amores said. “I like working with Coach Issy. He is a good coach. He pushes me hard but makes it fun.”

Being home schooled has its advantages. A normal day is breakfast, home school until noon, lunch, a break for arts and crafts and swimming practice 5-7 p.m. She has time to work on her Cricut machine for her crafts, designs cards and makes stickers of crosses, anchors, butterflies, hearts and other designs. She has a small business and plans to launch her own website on Etsy, a global e-commerce website focused on unique and creative handcrafted goods.

Swimming is a family affair. Her brother Jaden, 13, and sister Gianna, 10, and mother all swim.

“Jaden is the best swimmer right now, but I’m getting close to him, that’s my goal,” Amores said. “I like doing swimming with my brother and sister. We are all competitive.”

Amores is training for her next meet, the March 31-April 3 ISCA Elite Showcase Classic East in St. Petersburg. Jaden Amores turned down the Florida All-Stars invitation to compete with her sister. The meet is open to 14-and-under swimmers with qualifying times.

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.

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

TYR JANUARY BOY SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Nico Pelaez


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, February 24, 2021–Nico Pelaez can’t wait to get back in the pool to take up where he left off before fracturing his leg two weeks ago.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, who trains with Coach Issy and Mako Sharks, had several outstanding swims at the SOFLO New Year’s Invitational before the freak accident which has him sidelined for at least two more weeks.

Pelaez, 14, an eighth grader at Somerset Academy Silver Palms in Miami, had best times in all of his events including his first swim under 1 minute in the 100-yard butterfly (59.86) and 6.3 percent drop in the 200-yard individual medley (2:13.81).

His favorite stroke is butterfly. The meet he was happiest with was the Speedo Winter Championships where he made JO and Senior Championship cut times.

“I had my eye on the prize for those bigger meets,” said Pelaez, who was also happy with his 1,650 race. “I thought that race was pretty good. I just think about the end and finishing the race and whatever happens happens.”

Pelaez started swimming four years ago. Before that he was involved in taekwondo. His background in the martial art has helped his agility and flexibility.

“I just wanted a different sport that not many people do and it’s fun to swim,” Pelaez said.

“I knew how hard it was going to be but I still wanted to stay with it,” he said. “I go to every practice. I put maximum effort into swimming and focus as best I can in practices. I think it’s working for me.”

Like many of his teammates, Pelaez was able to adjust being out of the pool during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was difficult because swimming is every day,” Pelaez said. “I didn’t have too much to do so I tried to swim in my pool with the bands. I did dryland and other stuff.

“I felt so much better when I got back in the pool and got back to normal a little bit. I was a little bit behind because it wasn’t the same as going every day in swimming but I felt pretty fit with the dryland. I caught up to my original pace pretty quickly.”

Pelaez fractured his leg when he was playing with friends and landed wrong on his right leg. He has been able to do dryland every day and work on the vasa trainer to help his strength and endurance.

Despite the setback, Pelaez has some lofty goals when he returns to the pool.

“I hope it’s not long for my recovery but I haven’t swam in quite a while, it’s already been two weeks and I have another two weeks. I’m just going to push myself when I get back and swim as many meets as I can.

“My goal is to get into Senior Champs and sectionals would be nice,” Pelaez said. “Swimming in college would be great, too.”

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.

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