SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding Earns CSCAA Scholar All-American Honors


By Sharon Robb
GAINESVILLE, July 7, 2021—University of Florida’s Kathleen Golding was named to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American team for the 2020-21 season.

The award recognizes students who achieved a grade point average of 3.50 or higher and competed at the national championship.

Golding, majoring in civil engineering, was one of 13 Gator women named to the team. Teammates Taylor Ault, Kirschtine Balbuena, Leah Braswell, Gabrielle Hillis, Madison Kolessar, Katie Mack, Tylor Mathieu, Nikki Miller, Katie Minnich, Vanessa Pearl, Amanda Ray and Lain Shahboz were also named.

Florida’s men’s and women’s teams also earned Scholar All-American honors as a team. On the men’s side, 39 Gators combined for a 3.31 GPA and on the women’s side, 36 Gators combined for a 3.40 GPA.

“Coach Anthony Nesty continues to set the standard for success both in the pool and the classroom,” CSCAA Executive Director Greg Earhart said. “These are some of the best ambassadors of Florida and Athletic Director Stricklin, President Fuchs, and Dr. Mike Sagas (Faculty Athletic Representative) can and should be proud of these 75 men and women.”

Highlighting the team awards were CSCAA Diver-of-the-Year Ammar Hassan (Colorado Mesa), Swimmers-of-the-Year Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) and Fabio Dalu (McKendree), and newly-named Olympians Phoebe Bacon (Wisconsin) and Brooks Curry (Louisiana State) and Drew Kibler (Texas).

The award-winners studied a multitude of subjects ranging from A (Accounting) to Z (Zoology). More than a third (35%) of all award-winners are pursuing a major in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field. Business majors were the second-most represented with 23% of recipients followed by the social sciences (13%). The most popular majors were biology, exercise science, psychology, business administration, mechanical engineering, and finance.

Founded in 1922, the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA), is the nation’s first organization of college coaches. The mission of the CSCAA is to advance the sport of swimming and diving with coaches at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy, and professional development.

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

SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding, Miguel Cancel Earn Second Team All-SEC Honors; Florida’s Anthony Nesty Three-peats Men’s Coach Of The Year


By Sharon Robb
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 14, 2021–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding and Miguel Cancel of University of Florida earned second team All-Southeastern Conference Swimming honors.

The Southeastern Conference announced its annual men’s and women’s swimming and diving awards for the 2020-21 season.

Golding was also named to the All-Freshman team.

For the All-SEC Teams, the first team consists of the top finisher in each event at the SEC Championships, and second team consists of the second- and third-place finishers in each event.

The All-Freshman Teams consist of any redshirt or true freshman who finished either in the top eight or is the highest scoring freshman of each event at the SEC Championships, excluding relay events.

Shaine Casas of Texas A&M was selected as the Male Swimmer of the Year, and Jake Magahey of Georgia was voted the Male Freshman Swimmer of the Year.

Juan Celaya-Hernandez of LSU was named Male Diver, while Bryden Hattie of Tennessee was named the Male Freshman Diver of the Year.

Anthony Nesty of Florida was chosen as Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year, and Ted Hautau of Kentucky earned the Men’s Diving Coach of the Year award.

“I am humbled to receive the SEC Coach of the Year Award this year,” Nesty said. “It is special to be honored in this way by your peers in the conference who also work tirelessly to reach the pinnacles in the sport.

“I am extremely proud of our men and what they have been able to achieve this past year despite the countless obstacles they encountered. They are a special group of men and it is has been an absolute pleasure and honor to coach them.”

Nesty led the Gators to their ninth SEC title in a row and 42nd title overall. At the NCAA Championships the Gators took third with 367 points, making it their best finish since 2017.

Before Nesty, former UF coach Gregg Troy won the honor the previous six times to make this the ninth consecutive coach of year honors for the Gators.

Rhyan White of Alabama was named as the Female Swimmer of the Year, and Mona McSharry of Tennessee was chosen the Female Freshman Swimmer of the Year.

Charlye Campbell of Texas A&M was voted Female Diver of the Year, while Montserrat Guiterrez Lavenant of LSU was tabbed as Female Freshman Diver of the Year.

Lars Jorgensen of Kentucky was voted Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year, and Jay Lerew of Texas A&M was named Women’s Diving Coach of the Year.

ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM
MEN: Matt King, Alabama; Jonathan Berneburg, Alabama; Sam DiSette, Alabama; Colton Stogner, Alabama; Adam Cheney, Florida; Will Davis, Florida; Bobby Finke, Florida; Eric Friese, Florida; Dillon Hillis, Florida; Kieran Smith, Florida; Javi Acevedo, Georgia; Jake Magahey, Georgia; Camden Murphy, Georgia; Luca Urlando, Georgia; Juan Celaya-Hernandez, LSU; Lyubomir Epitropov, Tennessee; Bryden Hattie, Tennessee; Clayton Bobo, Texas A&M; Kaloyan Bratanov, Texas A&M; Shaine Casas, Texas A&M; Kurtis Mathews, Texas A&M; Mark Theall, Texas A&M.

Women: Kalia Antoniou, Alabama; Cora Dupre, Alabama; Flora Molnar, Alabama; Morgan Scott, Alabama; Rhyan White, Alabama; Kaila Wong, Alabama; Ashley McCool, Florida; Gabi Fa’Amausili, Georgia; Courtney Harnish, Georgia; Zoie Hartman, Georgia; Dakota Luther, Georgia; Maxine Parker, Georgia; Riley Gaines, Kentucky; Izzy Gati, Kentucky; Lauren Poole, Kentucky; Sophie Sorenson, Kentucky; Kaitlynn Wheeler, Kentucky; Savana Trueb, Missouri; Kristen Stege, Tennessee; Charlye Campbell, Texas A&M.

ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM
MEN: Derek Maas, Alabama; Matthew Menke, Alabama; Miguel Cancel, Florida; Clark Beach, Florida; Trey Freeman, Florida; Jack Dalmolin, Georgia; Dillon Downing, Georgia; Bradley Dunham, Georgia; Ian Grum, Georgia; Zach Hils, Georgia; Greg Reed, Georgia; Mingli Zhang, Kentucky; Brooks Curry, LSU; Jack Dahlgren, Missouri; Takuto Endo, Missouri; Kyle Leach, Missouri; Danny Kovac, Missouri; Carlo Lopez, Missouri; Ben Patton, Missouri; Grant Reed, Missouri; Freddie Rindshoej, Missouri; Michael Houlie, Tennessee; Jace Brown, Texas A&M; Tanner Olson, Texas A&M.

WOMEN: Tanesha Lucoe, Alabama; Kensey McMahon, Alabama; Diana Petkova, Alabama; Peyton Palsha, Arkansas; Brooke Schultz, Arkansas; Talia Bates, Florida; Kathleen Golding, Florida; Katelyn Mack, Florida; Nikki Miller, Florida; Vanessa Pearl, Florida; Jillian Barczyk, Georgia; Danielle Della Torre, Georgia; Callie Dickinson, Georgia; Bailey Bonnett, Kentucky; Caitlin Brooks, Kentucky; Gillian Davey, Kentucky; Kyndal Knight, Kentucky; Amy Feddersen, Missouri; Megan Keil, Missouri; Alex Moderski, Missouri; Meredith Rees, Missouri; Sarah Thompson, Missouri; Molly Winer, Missouri; Bailey Grinter, Tennessee; Kaitlin Harty, Tennessee; Mona McSharry, Tennessee; Tjasa Pintar, Tennessee; Trude Rothrock, Tennessee; Megan Sichterman, Tennessee; Natalie Ungaretti, Tennessee; Alexis Yager, Tennessee; Taylor Pike, Texas A&M; Chloe Stepanek, Texas A&M; Aimee Wilson, Texas A&M.

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
MEN: Matt King, Alabama; Eric Stelmar, Alabama; Amro Al-Wir, Florida; Adam Chaney, Florida; Jace Crawford, Florida; Leonardo Garcia, Florida; Tommy-Lee Camblong, Georgia; Jake Magahey, Georgia; Luca Urlando, Georgia; Sam Duncan, Kentucky; Zane Rosely, Kentucky; Mitchell Mason, LSU; Takuto Endo, Missouri; Freddie Rindshoej, Missouri; Bryden Hattie, Tennessee.

WOMEN: Gracie Felner, Alabama; Diana Petkova, Alabama; Maia Goldstein, Auburn; Kensley Merritt, Auburn; Hannah Ownbey, Auburn; Elise Bauer, Florida; Kathleen Golding, Florida; Cecilia Porter, Florida; Amanda Ray, Florida; Maxine Parker, Georgia; Torie Buerger, Kentucky; Montserrat Lavenant, LSU; Mona McSharry, Tennessee; Chloe Stepanek, Texas A&M.

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

Anthony Nesty Adds Women’s Head Coach Duties To University Of Florida Resume


By Sharon Robb
GAINESVILLE, April 13, 2021–University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team has a familiar face as its new head coach.

Anthony Nesty, 53, after three successful seasons as the men’s swimming and diving head coach at Florida, Nesty will add women’s head coaching duties, Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin announced Tuesday.

Nesty replaces Jeff Poppell, women’s head coach from 2018-21, who left to coach South Carolina’s men’s and women’s programs.

The men’s program has won the Southeastern Conference championship all three seasons under Nesty and finished third at the 2021 NCAA Championships. With Nesty helping lead the way, the men’s team has won nine consecutive SEC titles.

Nesty will be coaching South Florida Aquatic Club’s Kathleen Golding and soon her sister Molly. SOFLO teammate Mallory Schleicher has also verbally committed to UF.

“I am honored and excited to be entrusted with the women’s swimming and diving program,” Nesty said. “The men’s and women’s teams have worked closely throughout my time at Florida, and I appreciate the opportunity to lead both programs. We will continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards and push ourselves to be excellent in everything we do.”

The women’s team finished second at the SEC Championships and 17th at NCAA Championships in 2021.

Nesty swam at Florida and was a gold medalist in the 100-meter butterfly at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1998 and UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

Nesty has been on staff with the Florida swimming and diving program since joining as an assistant coach in 1999. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2006 and stepped in as men’s head coach in 2018 following Gregg Troy, who retired from collegiate coaching.

Florida was a combined program under Troy. Only Texas A&M and Tennessee now have men’s and women’s teams coached by different head coaches in the Southeastern Conference.

“Anthony has proven himself to be an elite head coach with his success, and I know he’ll bring the same passion and abilities to overseeing Florida women’s program as he has the men’s,” Stricklin said in a school news release.

“He has a long and proven track record of bringing out the best in Gator student-athletes and helping them reach their potential athletically, academically and as people. He is the right person to lead our women’s team and push them to achieve at the highest levels.”

Nesty, born in Trinidad & Tobago, remains a legendary national hero in Suriname, a former Dutch colony on the northeast coast of South America. He returned home after the Olympics to receive his nation’s highest honor, the Commander of the Yellow Star. The national indoor 50-meter swimming stadium and national DC-8 airplane were named after him. The Surinam government commemorated him on a stamp and on gold and silver coins.

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

Former NSU Coach Hollie Bonewit-Cron Named MAC Men’s Coach Of The Year


By Sharon Robb
OXFORD, Ohio, April 12, 2021–Former Nova Southeastern University coach Hollie Bonewit-Cron was named MAC Men’s Coach of the Year after leading Miami University men’s swimming and diving team to the Mid-American Conference Championships.

She asked her staff to accompany her to the awards presentation “because they are as much part of the recognition as I am,” she said.

The host Miami University Redhawks won the men’s title by 245 points this past weekend, defeating defending champion Missouri State, which finished runner-up with 687.

It’s the Redhawks’ second MAC title in three years. Their 2019 win was their first title since 2009. Bonewit-Cron was named both men’s and women’s coach in 2016-17 under a new combined model.

The women’s conference championships are this week, April 15-17, in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Bonewit-Cron wrote on her Facebook page:

“Last March, the news of sporting events being cancelled, facilities being shut down, and figuring out a new semblance of normal was a shock to us all.

“It was months of planning a new training program that centered around safe protocols, testing, masking up, social distancing, and many stipulations that evolved weekly. We also had emergent quarantines (often without notice), one in which forced me to go full mama bear mode.

“Weekly Zoom calls with these amazing athletes and their caring and understanding parents became a normal practice long before we could even re-enter our facility, let alone begin practicing. I am indebted to these parents who understood the struggles of this year and the decisions that had to be made to ensure the safety of their children.

“This past week was nothing short of magical for what seemed to be an unattainable event no less than 6 months ago.

“This team has shown their resiliency and stamina this year. They were gritty, competitive, and steadfast. The freshman on this team have no idea what a normal season looks like since so many things had to change. The upperclassmen, however, knew what it was like and knew how it felt to win a championship two years ago.

“Last year, we all walked off the pool deck with an an indescribable sting, but with that came a commitment to win the next/this year. Little did we know that our training and preparation would be cut in half due to spring and summer shutdowns. Flash forward a year later and I am at a loss in how to describe this incredible feeling.

“I am beyond proud of these athletes who run through brick walls and commit to every aspect with this program. They sacrificed their own wants for the betterment of the team goals. This even included their social life in some ways as well as opportunities to go home to see their families during most of the holidays. They never batted an eye and were always appreciative of every opportunity given to them…even when there was a blanket quarantine.”

Bonewit-Cron coached Nova Southeastern men’s and women’s teams, a program she built from the ground up since its first season of competition in 2010-11.

Joining the NSU staff in 2009, she quickly developed the Shark program into a Division II powerhouse. She also was Grenada’s Olympic coach at the 2012 London Olympics where she coached former NSU standout Esau Simpson to a Grenadian National record.

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

Former Fort Lauderdale Diver Jordan Windle Wins 1-Meter; California Takes Lead At NCAA Division 1 Men’s Swimming And Diving Championship


By Sharon Robb
GREENSBORO, N.C., March 25, 2021–Defending champion California overtook opening day leader and chief rival Texas Thursday in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship at Greensboro Aquatic Center.

The Cal Bears lead with 230 points followed by Texas with 203 and University of Florida with 161 points. University of Miami is 19th with 19 points and Florida State is 20th with 18.5.

Texas senior Jordan Windle, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale, won the 1-meter springboard title with 435.60 points, bettering his prelim total of 379.30. It was Texas’ first 1-meter title since 2012. Longhorns freshman teammate Noah Duperre was second with 405.45. The pair totaled 37 points. University of Miami sophomore Brodie Scapens was seventh with 337.15 points and freshman teammate Jack Matthews was tenth with 342.65 points.

Defending national champion California opened the night with a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay in a pool record 1:14.36 with relay members Bjorn Seeliger, Ryan Hoffer, Daniel Carr and Nate Biondi, oldest son of 11-time Olympic medalist and one of Cal’s most accomplished athletes, Matt Biondi.

Top-seed Florida was second in 1:14.48 with Adam Chaney, Will Davis, Kieran Smith and Eric Friese, who had an 18.38 anchor split and nearly reeled in Biondi. Florida State was 15th in 1:17.07 with Peter Varjasi, Kuba Ksiazek, Mason Herbet and Max McCusker.

Georgia freshman Jake Magahey won the 500-yard freestyle in a meet record 4:07.97. He was the only freshman in the Top 16. The previous mark was 4:08.19 set by Townley Haas of Texas in 2019.

Smith, a junior, came back after the relay to finish second in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:08.07, also breaking the meet record. Gator teammates Bobby Finke was sixth in 4:11.11, Trey Freeman was 11th in 4:12.21 and Alfonso Mestre was 14th in 4:14.97 for 39 total points.

Texas A&M junior Shaine Casas won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:39.53. Cal junior Hugo Gonzalez was second in 1:39.99 and Bears freshman teammate Destin Lasco was third in 1:40.01. The top three finishers all dipped below the previous pool record of 1:40.61 set in prelims by Lasco.

Cal senior Ryan Hoffer won the 50-yard freestyle in 18.33, breaking his own pool record of 18.43 set in morning prelims. Cal freshman Bjorn Seeliger was second in 18.71 and Florida freshman Adam Chaney was third in 18.88.

In the final event of the night, Texas edged California in the 400-yard medley relay. The Longhorns won in a pool record 3:00.23 with Chris Staka, Caspar Corbeau, Alvin Jiang and Daniel Krueger. The Bears were a close second in 3:00.73 with Destin Lasco, Reece Whitley, Ryan Hoffer and Bjorn Seeliger. Florida was third in 3:01.51 with Adam Cheney, Dillon Hillis, Eric Friese and workhorse Smith. Florida State was 11th in 3:04.83 with St. Andrew’s alum Izaak Bastian swimming the second leg in a 51.31 split.

Bastian, a Bahamian national team member, will compete in the 100 breaststroke on Friday.

A total of 235 swimmers from 41 teams are competing. California is defending champion and Texas was runner-up in 2019. No NCAAs were held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, Texas won it four consecutive years with California runner-up those four years.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s championships looks a lot different, much like last week’s women’s NCAAs.

Due to the mass gathering restrictions in place in North Carolina, spectators were not allowed to attend the meet including parents, family members and friends.

There is no participant seating on the pool deck. All teams and individuals were assigned seating in the grandstand seating area.

The meet is airing on ESPN3 for both preliminary and finals sessions.

Friday’s events are: 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard medley relay and 3-meter diving.

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

Texas Opens NCAA Division 1 Men’s Swimming And Diving Championship With A Relay Win


By Sharon Robb
GREENSBORO, N.C., March 23, 2021–University of Texas got on the scoreboard first Wednesday in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship at Greensboro Aquatic Center.

The Longhorns won the 800-yard freestyle relay in a pool record 6:07.25 with Drew Kibler, Austin Katz, Carson Foster and Jake Sannem.

Defending national champion California was second in 6:08.68 with Trenton Julian, Daniel Carr, Destin Lasco and Bryce Mefford. Texas A&M was third in 6:10.79.

University of Florida was fourth in 6:10.91 with Kieran Smith, Troy Freeman, Alfonso Mestre and Bobby Finke.

The top four teams all finished under the previous pool record of 6:11.84 set in 2019 by Louisville.

A total of 235 swimmers from 41 teams are competing. California is defending champion and Texas was runner-up in 2019. Before that, Texas won it four consecutive years with California runner-up those four years.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s championships will look a lot different, much like last week’s women’s NCAAs.

Due to the mass gathering restrictions in place in North Carolina, spectators are not allowed to attend the meet including parents, family members and friends.

There is no participant seating on the pool deck. All teams and individuals were assigned seating in the grandstand seating area.

The meet is airing on ESPN3 for both preliminary and finals sessions.

Thursday’s events are 200-yard freestyle relay, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle, 1-meter diving and 400-yard medley relay.

ELSEWHERE

ST. PETERSBURG—Six-time Olympian Ryan Lochte held off Caeleb Dressel in the 200-meter individual medley and won the 100-meter backstroke in the ISCA TYR International Senior Cup Wednesday at North Shore Aquatic Complex.

Lochte, 36, training for his fifth Olympic Games, won the 200 IM in 1:59.72 ahead of Gator Swim Club teammates Dressel was second in 2:00.50. He won the 100 backstroke in 55.92.

Dressel won the 50-meter butterfly in 23.98 and Singapore Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling tied Will Davis for second in 24.08.

Erika Pelaez, 14, of Eagle Aquatics won the 16-and-under 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.88. Cornell grad Ilya Evdokimov, 25, of Pinnacle (Va.) Racing won the men’s 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.04. Evdokimov is a Florida Gold Coast swimmer who competed for Taravella High School and Coral Springs Swim Club.

SOFLO will compete in the ISCA East Elite Showcase Classic March 31-April 3.

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

SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Named Scholastic All-American; One Of Nine FGC Swimmers Selected


By Sharon Robb


PEMBROKE PINES, September 22, 2020–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mallory Schleicher has been named USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.

The Cooper City High School junior and state meet qualifier as a freshman and sophomore, was the only SOFLO swimmer to earn All-American honors.

The distance swimmer, who recently verbally committed to University of Florida, is a Summer and Winter Junior Nationals qualifier. In March, she was second in both the 400 individual medley and 1500 freestyle and third in the 400 freestyle at sectionals.

Last summer, she had five Top 20 finishes at the Gainesville Sectionals before placing fifth in the 400 IM and ninth in the 400 freestyle at the Greensboro Futures. She has her Futures cuts in the 200 and 800 freestyle and 200 and 1,650 freestyle.

Her long course meters best times are: 400 IM, 4:53.96; 200 IM, 2:22.53; 1,500 free, 17:18.67; 800 free, 9:08.38; 400 free, 4:21.95; and 200 free, 2:05.41.

And, her short course yards best times are 1,650 free, 17:11.62; 1,000 free, 10:23.53; 500 free, 4:55.86; 200 free, 1:52.55 and 400 IM, 4:26.04.

Schleicher is also an outstanding open water swimmer. At the 2019 USA Swimming Open Water Junior National Championships she was seventh in the 5K against the nation’s top swimmers.

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers named USA Swimming Scholastic All-American are Anna Auld of East Coast Aquatics, Megan Murphy of East Coast Aquatics, Josh Zuchowski of Flood Aquatics, Heidi Smithwick of Jupiter Dragons, Paige Maceachern of Pine Crest, Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest, Ella Martinez of St. Andrew’s and Philip Moldovan of Wellington Wahoos.

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

Chris Anderson Updates SOFLO Parents On Fall Season During Members Meeting


By Sharon Robb


PEMBROKE PINES, September 19, 2020—-South Florida Aquatic Club CEO and head coach Chris Anderson held an informative zoom session for parents on Saturday morning.

Between practice sessions Saturday morning at Academic Village Pool, Anderson outlined the fall plan for swimmers including home and away meets, re-capped the summer season and addressed other club business.

The following is Anderson’s detailed 51-minute discussion:

“I haven’t seen too many people during the summer, so basically this is our summer re-cap.

“Obviously, it was a very stressful and busy summer for a lot of us. But the one thing our membership all had in common was we got to come together and we got to do some training.

“We really are proud about some of the things that we did with our creativity, especially the consistency that we had throughout the summer and the things that we have done at South Florida Aquatic Club.

“We also this summer got to really spend some time with our Class of 2020. With all the different things and all the different schools were going through, we had a wonderful, wonderful dinner on our pool deck. It was a very nice environment. I think those kids are having a great time at their different universities wherever they are from.

“The other thing we are quite proud of is that we got to run some swim meets. We had four of them. The really cool thing was our staff was very creative in finding different ways to reach out to all of our membership, whether it was our 8-and-unders or our people who had their senior national cuts. We found a way to have a bunch of meets with 30 athletes in their training groups. We’re quite proud of the fact that we were able to reach out to our membership as well as, of course, get some competition in. Most of the kids swam probably three races in different times over a period of two weeks. I think it was pretty good that we started the meets sometime in July, I think it was July 31st and ran them throughout the month of August leading into what we are trying to do this fall.

“Another thing that we’ve done I know our coaches as well as our membership has looked into. Coach Lou and I have been doing a coaching search for a long time to try and find the right fit. We finally have hired a coach, if you haven’t heard already from our Blog, we hired Jack Davies. He is a former swimmer of ours, he swam in our program for four years. He got a Mathematics and education degree at McKendree University. He has been coaching at the age group level for the CSP Tideriders, a club in Illinois, it’s quite a good club as well, just like ours. It’s going to be a really nice transition to have him come in starting on Sept. 28th. The significance of that is he will basically be coming in at the very beginning of the season where he will really be focusing on the 13-14 group, he will be assisting with some of the age group workouts as well as really concentrating and improving our senior development, our senior fit group that has been doing quite wonderful throughout the summer. We will be welcoming him again on Sept. 28th and welcoming him to our coaching family and hopefully the environment of the Silver group. Again Silver, Gold, National, all of our training groups’ ability and training environment is looking really positive, so he will be a really nice addition to our staff moving forward.

“The other things that we have been doing quite recently, ten of our coaches from our staff have been attending ASCA clinics, different meetings throughout the entire week. We have been on it a few times and discussed different philosophies, whether it was age group swimming, senior swimming or even just swimming in general as far as some things we would like to either improve as a philosophy as a program or tweak or even change for that matter. We will be having some more staff meetings, of course, our coaches have been meeting by Zoom, which has actually been kind of an improvement from what we have been doing in the past. We have really been able to do a great job of communicating especially with the two sites, one south and one north, are really trying to get things done so we are kind of rolling with that.

“As far as our team training, just a quick review, what we have really tried to do over the summer is we were really trying to improve our legs. We knew we had a little time constraint and of course, another constraint of maybe not having doubles on a daily basis because we were trying to get all our athletes in the water. But one of the things that we did was to try to improve our legs and our kicking. It really kind of worked in to what the ASCA Clinic and other coaches were talking about in their philosophy. We really found after 14, 15 weeks that not only the senior group or age group program, we really did a great job over the summer of really improving those legs. As you probably know, all of our kids, all of our members and all of our athletes have grown so much because they are resting a little bit more. It hasn’t gone unnoticed four our coaching staff and our training groups. The improvement of the kick and really committing to the first five or six weeks of building up and then five or six weeks of really improving our legs. We are really looking for that to be a weapon coming up into the fall. It’s probably really going to help. The other thing I did say is because we have all of our groups broken up in such a manner, in such a way on our pool deck, spread out among the 23 lanes that we have, whether it’s one per lane or two per lane on opposite sides, we really found both at the AK site as well as here that the atmosphere of all our training groups is really quite canny, they are really healthy. If you look at it, the kids are really supporting one another, they are really motivating each other and they are really, really good solid training groups. It’s really the first time in the club after 20 years that we really have on all-cylinders, whether it’s age group, pre-age group, pre-teen, swim lessons, senior program that we have had this healthy a membership. I think a lot of that has to, of course, be the parent-leadership at home. But the kids really missed the swimming over the summer. I think they missed some of that interaction they had and it’s really come out. One of the things we talked about as a coaching staff is another benefit from the summer was the fact of our attendance. We had people not miss any workouts for 15 weeks. We’re not talking about a few athletes, we are talking 60 to 80 percent. Those that did miss only missed one or two. That consistency coupled with working on the legs on a daily basis, we are really at a place we really can say that we really moved forward and improved, not only the base level training but overall program as far as our legs and what we can do hopefully coming into this fall season.

“The atmosphere again is 100 percent, looking great. We are very excited that we started and again we had to have an ending point to start for the new season. We picked Monday, August 31st, it really worked with some of the different things that we’re doing as training. So we started with Week One, previous with that what we did spend a lot on before we started our new season the whole month of August you might have seen a change in the kids’ energy levels. We did a lot of technique and kind of talking and discussing. As you probably know, some of the kids had small, quick Zoom meetings for 15 minutes on some days where we really went over the stroke. And as you probably know in some of the lineups we have outside the pool where the kids are socially distanced, we tried to do some of extensive talks and we hit all the strokes as well as IM. We went through IM transitions, distance free training, talked about freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. We tried to refine that. And again, I think because it was right before or during the kids were kind of in school, the kids really got a lot at the beginning of August, the first couple of weeks as far as their stroke improvement. Coupling that with the legs and training environment, it’s really been a pleasure to work with the athletes, doing what we are doing and moving forward.

“The other thing we did because we have only had four meets, actually six meets, over the summer, what we tried to do at the end of August and we are trying to do it now with some different types of test sets that are trickling down from senior to age group, we tried to make some things a little bit more challenging. We tried to do a couple things without so much using blocks, but trying to create more like meet atmosphere during practice where there were meet warm-ups, then there were sets where we just basically go up and get up and go fast with a lot of rest in between or smooth swimming going back and forth. So we introduced some of those and again that competitiveness, we really tried to call out times and talking to the athletes, ‘these are your goals, this is what we want you to do,’ but we try to find how to accomplish that within a practice, having more rest. I think some of that has really kind of matured our entire group. It seems to me they are getting a little more confident when it comes to practice and moreso, getting confident in doing something very fast, taking six minutes of doing easy swimming and then coming back and repeating that, much like they would do in a swim meet if they had 15 to 20 minutes between races. As far as that, training those sets and trying to keep the kids a little bit more engaged and understand we are going to have competition again. It’s going to be the goal of our staff, after we talked a little bit about the fall meet schedule of 2020, we are going to find different ways to try and motivate those athletes throughout the entire week so when we do race on a Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday that they are ready to go and they really take advantage of the opportunity in the meets that they have as far as competition is concerned.

“Moving on to the fall schedule and I know we kind of have a schedule up there, but as you probably know things are still kind of different facilities not being open, different organizations, different municipalities and different counties all having separate rules, we kind of have a skeleton schedule. We will get the schedule out probably in the next couple of days. My staff has it. But we basically have kind of looked at it and there are a couple of small changes that we are having to do.

“To kind of go into the fall schedule, we started off the summer, of course, with our in-house virtual meets. We now will be moving on and doing a couple of meets, one on Oct. 2-3. It will be a virtual dual meet against Sarasota Y. I am trying to find some good competition throughout the state, throughout the country on the East coast who we can do this with. This virtual meet will consist of us having a competition, kind of a college format, a two-day format. It’s as close as we can get without being totally official and getting in all the events. For our 13-and-overs on a Friday evening and Saturday. You might have already seen it on Team Unify and I know some of our coaches are starting to do the entries for the athletes now. The middle school kids or the 12-and-under kids will be going on a Saturday morning and we’re going to run through the high school order format. 12-and-unders will be able to do four races for the meet and 13-and-overs will be able to do three races per session. This will be the first time, too, we will be doing some relays. There will be an “A” and “B” with our fastest athletes. They will be socially separated as far as the blocks and lanes that we are doing. We are definitely looking forward to that Oct. 2-3.

“We will be following that up with another virtual dual meet (Oct. 23-24) with the Mason Manta Rays, they are from Ohio. It’s a very, very, very good competitive club. We will be doing the same format, we may have some tweaks in there. I actually feel that our athletes have the familiarity of the format will actually help us a little bit in October. So the kids will kind of go into it with open eyes, will compete against another club and we will put all the points together. We basically are scoring Top 10 and then they will have an idea. I think we will do even a little stronger on the 23rd and 24th. They can do different events still but they will still be swimming up to six races for the 13-and-overs and four races in the one session for the 12-and-unders.

“Then in November, we are looking at the 20-24 for an age group specific dual meet. This is where we are going to invite some clubs to our pool, being that hopefully things kind of keep continuing with numbers going down with COVID and nothing changes as far as Broward County, city or even organizational-wise. If we feel it’s safe, what we would like to do is a couple of dual meets where we bring in a bunch of 10-and-unders for a set of races. They will get up and perform together with another club. Then we are going to do the 11-12 age group in another session, then we will do the 13-14 in another single session and then we will finish it off with a 15-and-over. As of right now, we have Plantation committed in 13-14 and 15-and-over. We are trying to keep it pretty much small.

“So that will be the first two meets in October will be virtual meets, then the one in November we will start bringing in some local competition to swim against age group-wise. We are still trying to keep the numbers on our pool deck about 120 to 140 including officials and timers as well as the different age groups.

“The meets in October and November will not be capped for our club. It’s not like the last meet where we had 30 athletes in and that was it. These meets will be open so you don’t have to stress out about entries. I know it’s locked right now as far as Team Unify. Like I said, our coaches are working on the entries, but it will be for our entire membership. We are going to be running heats. It will be a little different from the first round. We will have heats but we will have kids separated on the pool deck with social distancing marks. That’s how we will be doing that session. We probably will have old school meet marshals, too. We had a couple of coaches, Coach George was out there for the other meets, influencing and making sure the kids’ masks were on and that sort of thing. We’ll go over different protocols a little bit later on for the meets.

“Furthering on, we are still going to Winter Champs, Dec. 10-13, right now and Holiday Champs at Sunrise, Dec. 18-20. As discussed to our athletes and kids, we are very firm on peaking our club somewhere in the beginning part of December, whether it’s Dec. 10th or 18th, we will be peaking all of our athletes. It will be like the 16th or 17th week of training in the fall season. We are really looking for us to get up and perform, whether it’s our tech suits for our 13-and-overs or basically getting ready. We will be peaking for that part of the year. Both of those meets we don’t know what the caps are going to be, but we have been in communication with the meet hosts. We have reserved spots there.

“There’s also another meet that we have been working on. One of the Southern Zone committees are putting together a Florida State Championship, basically four sites set up in the state of Florida. There will be sectional level cuts. One of those level meets will be hosted at our facility, four a couple of counties on the west coast as well as all of Broward County and us. Another pool will be Sailfish Aquatic Park. They are looking somewhere in the Sarasota-Clearwater area and another one in Gainesville. They will be run similar at the same time and all the results will come together at the very end. We are very lucky and fortunate enough that we will be able to have one of those meets. Some of the safety precautions for the meets which we know now is a women’s prelim session and men’s prelims session and then a combined final session on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There will be more details about that meet, but that’s in a nutshell our fall 2020 meet schedule. And again there are some different safety precautions we’ll probably have to have and they will be in the meet information.

“Looking over the summer and what some of our officials had to do and our volunteers and looking toward the future, we do have a huge commitment from our officials, a huge commitment from our Booster Club as far as creating these situations, creating these meets. And, of course a huge commitment from our staff. Coming in I know some of the meets start at 6 a.m. for warm-up and 6:50 a.m. start which is kind of early. The October, November and December meets will be a little bit closer to what you guys are used to.

“As far as spectators for any of these meets we are going to try and improve our ability to film and stream these meets and put them on different types of social media. At this point as far as Broward County and I am pretty sure it’s going to stay that way, there has to be different types of permits to set up for special events. I don’t have spectators. We are keeping the meets safe. It’s worked really well and again we are going to try and improve our skills as far as commentating and trying to get a little more video technique out there so we can have people at least virtually watching some of these meets when they are going on.

“The other aspect is we are opening up for 12 timers for a lo of these meets. As things if keep improving we will be able to open up to more volunteers so that’s a real good way of getting those hours.

“Something we will talk about a little bit later as far as our Booster Club. We are starting a new year as of Sept. 1 which I will explain a little bit later after we over the meets. So again we will get these meets out next week. There’s just a couple more dates that need to be cleaned up so they can be finalized and set in stone, so you guys can all plan. The October meets, again, we are starting meet entries already currently.

“With that being said, and again I’ll be brief and I will get this out to you guys on email. Basically, our 2021 home schedule has been approved by the Florida Gold Coast. We are basically hosting eight meets ranging from our January meet to a BB Championship in February. Again some of the meets may have to change as far as meet information but we are quite confident that we will be able to host these championship meets at our facility.

“Also, we have basically March 19-21 we will have Senior Champs again. We are very fortunate and lucky again where we have Senior Champs for not only March of 2021 but we’ll have it in 2022 in short course season as well. We have kind of moved on and done some planning in that aspect. Moving on from there, we will have a dual meet again where we will bring in other athletes. We will keep you abreast of that.We will have a Developmental Meet in August 2021, moving on to our Distance Challenge in October and then we have our Last Chance Prelim-Final meet that we have in November. We did pick up another meet, too, the first week of July, the BC Championships for Broward County. I just put that out there so just so you guys know but it also ties in a little bit also with the Booster Club as far as the meets are concerned that there will be hours available in the future which again we will talk about that a little more. We will get the 2021 home meet schedule skeleton out to you guys.

“Moving on from there, as far as safety protocols, we are still in Phase One of our swimming safety protocols, the one that we put out as far as the directions being in the parking lot, trying to do the best we can with social distancing with masks, limited bathrooms and sanitizing coming in and out. We are not stopping any of that as of this point in time. We’re still for the most part in there at that time, trying to keep everything safe at our facility and we’re working with the City and having them approve what some of the things we are doing as well as Coach Lou with the safety protocols at AK Sharks.

“If it wasn’t for you guys, the parents, keeping your kids entertained at home and all the different things that we’ve had and also at the pool. Again I feel so lucky and fortunate that we are all taking care of our membership, taking care of our kids, both here at practice but also at home. We have been very fortunate and lucky throughout this pandemic as far as the program. I want to continue that so we are going to take slow steps forward to really try and keep everything safe here at the pool.

“As you probably know in Broward County and some different things in Dade, they will be making some more announcements. Private schools are in session, whether it’s at school or at home. As of Oct. 5th, there is a plan out there and you will be able to opt to go to school or stay home. Again there are so many different schools, there are so many different things going on, even at our own Charter School. So Oct. 5th there may be some safety protocols that we will be doing as far as dropping off and picking up, depending on times when school is in session and where everything is going on. We won’t be changing any of the practice times. About a week and a half to two weeks around Oct. 19th, there could possibly be some changes but keep in mind we will remind you there may be some different protocols when it comes to dropping off and picking up. But once again we have been very fortunate with it working very well, even during the rain delays for the most part pretty good as far as the social distancing when it comes to as many athletes and coaches as we have with cars picking up. We have been very fortunate with a large parking lot that we have been able to manage that. Countless hours of Maria going out and sanitizing and managing, and George and people who have coordinated all the different things.

“There will be updates, again Oct. 5th kids go back to school so you may have some drop-off and pick up changes. Of course, we have already looked into Daylight Savings. We are starting to think about that as well.

“Real quick, some of the resources we have and I really do want people to take advantage of some of these things. Whether you know it or not, Sharon Robb, she is in charge of our Sports Information. She writes a blog and does stories, she has interviewed our kids, she keeps a handle on things. She really keeps me and other staff members abreast when it comes to the high school meetings, school meetings, USA Swimming and convention meetings, all the different things that are going on, whether it’s our staff meetings, team meetings, our zoom classes, what we did with drylands back in April and May. But please if you don’t already have the RSS feed and not getting those stories, it really is a way to kind of keep you engaged of what our club is doing. So that’s Sharon Robb and we will get that out on Remind if you don’t already have the RSS feed. If you are not getting information or not somehow seeing the stories, it’s on our website homepage, Facebook…we try to get it out as many places as possible but you can get it directly on your phone. And again it’s really a great tool to understand when we are having these meetings, different changes in the schedule or different things that are going on with the high school season which is still kind of crazy with the different things that are going on but I know there are different committees working hard to try to have some type of season.

“Also, we have Natasha Moodie, she is our college prep specialist. She has a whole list of facts plus the newsletter that goes out. It is mandatory for anybody that is a freshman, even eighth grade, but freshmen for sure to be a part of that. We want to keep our student-athletes informed, we want to keep them informed about academic scholarships, about different changes in the recruiting world that’s changing on a daily basis. We want to make sure they are informed about the different colleges and universities that have different programs that are coming up soon. The process of getting to that next level of swimming has been a goal of my entire program. It’s about getting the age group swimmer to the senior program and then it’s about getting our senior athletes prepared to go to Division I, II or III or junior college. That is the program’s philosophy. Natasha and the rest of our staff have done some great, wonderful things through our newsletter and education. We’re not only successful but we are improving upon that success and getting more and more relationships on that second level after age group swimming and senior swimming to get to that third tier, collegiate swimming, which we are doing very well in.”

Anderson also talked about raising club fees for the first time since 2016 and will have more details in the coming weeks. He then opened the zoom up for any questions from the parents.

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

Deadlines Nearing For Nicholas Dworet Fund, Florida Gold Coast Scholarships; East Carolina Drops Program


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, May 21, 2020—High school seniors still have time to apply for two scholarships.

The Nicholas Dworet Fund Scholarship and Florida Gold Coast Soaring Eagle Scholarship, each worth $1,000, are available.

The Nicholas Dworet Fund Scholarship is for Broward County swimmers and divers only who competed for a Broward team in 2019-2020.

The scholarship is named in honor of the former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School swim captain and honors student, one of 17 killed Feb. 14, 2018 in a mass shooting on the Douglas campus. He was preparing to swim in college after earning a scholarship to the University of Indianapolis and had aspirations to represent Sweden in the Tokyo Olympics.

Deadline to apply is May 30th. Those interested can go to http://nicholasdworetfund.org/newsApplicants must be accepted to a college and planning to attend in fall of graduating year. Applicants do not need to be swimming or diving for a college to win the scholarship. An application can be found at https://nicholasdworetfund.org.

The Florida Gold Coast Soaring Eagle Scholarship also honors Dworet. All Florida Gold Coast swimmers intending to swim in college are eligible to apply. The scholarship encourages and supports a FGC athlete’s drive and determination similar to Dworet’s.

The deadline is May 31 to apply. The application can be found on the FGC website.

EAST CAROLINA DROPS SWIM, DIVING PROGRAM

Another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic is the elimination of swimming and diving program at East Carolina University.

Officials announced Thursday that the men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s tennis programs will be cut as part of the school’s budget restructuring efforts because of COVID-19. The cutbacks affects 68 student-athletes and nine coaches from the four programs. The cuts are estimated to save $4.9 million.

The college will honor all scholarships of the affected student-athletes who want to continue their studies at East Carolina. If athletes decide to transfer to another swimming program, they will be immediately eligible to compete under NCAA guidelines that state they can compete when their college discontinues the sport.

The men’s swim team was defending American Athletic Conference champion and had won four conference titles in the last six years.

“Today’s decision came after a deliberate review and in-depth analysis of the athletics department’s budgets and programs,” said Interim Chancellor Ron Mitchelson in a prepared statement.

“The current athletics budget was not sustainable pre-COVID-19 and the university was working closely with athletics to decrease the annual deficit over the next year. With the pandemic, the deficit began to grow significantly where the impact was immediate and will affect future revenue and expenses for years to come. Ultimately, the reduction of sports aligns ECU with our American Athletic Conference peers and provides a road map to a more sustainable future for the university and athletics.”

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

Natasha Moodie Enjoying Role As SOFLO College Advisor; Seven SOFLO Seniors Headed To College This Fall


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, April 30, 2020–With the college application process and recruiting rules frequently changing, South Florida Aquatic Club CEO and head coach Chris Anderson was looking to help SOFLO parents and swimmers.

Twenty years ago, when the club was in its beginning stages, there were fewer swimmers and college guidelines to contend with.

Now, with ever-changing rules and regulations and to educate swimmers and parents on the various NCAA Division I, II and III and NAIA colleges, Anderson hired his former swimmer Natasha Moodie as a full-time college advisor. Moodie is believed to be the first full-time college advisor at a USA Swimming club in the Florida Gold Coast.

Moodie, 29, a 2008 Olympian and three-time national record holder for Jamaica and alum of University of Michigan, where she was an NCAA All-American, is sharing her vast knowledge with SOFLO swimmers and parents.

Moodie, who has a strong background in education, develops college prep programs as program director for public schools in Miami-Dade. She is currently on a leave of absence and devoting her time to assisting SOFLO swimmers and parents through the maze of college research and preparation.

A day before College Signing Day (May 1), seven SOFLO seniors have committed to college. They are: Leonardo Mateus, Yale; Gabby Banks and David Diaz, Florida State; Sophia Bedoya, New York University; Rafael Rodriguez, Purdue; Roby Garrido, Rochester Institute of Technology; and Nick Chaimowicz, Broward College.

While most of the seniors already had a good idea of what college they would be attending when Moodie started last fall, she was there to answer any and all questions. She is currently working with SOFLO high school freshmen, sophomores and seniors.

“The team is much bigger now than when I was there in the early 2000s,” Moodie said. “Only three of us at the time wanted to swim in college. I am really thankful for Chris’ help with the college process. All my knowledge from recruiting came from Chris. No one in my family swam Division I. I was exposed to a lot of colleges at the U.S. Open, Junior Nationals and international meets.

“The club is so much larger now. There was definitely a need for my job. Today students need more guidance because the rules and college process has changed quite a bit just in the last five years when it comes to college application and recruiting.”

Moodie had been visiting with swimmers and parents before the COVID-19 pandemic but now communicates on the ZOOM platform.

Several swimmers would like to swim in college but may not have had the exposure to college coaches that Moodie had on the U.S. and international scene. She discusses the student’s goals in high school in terms of courses and activities and talks about the various collegiate programs that would be a good fit with their interests.

“It’s all centered around college,” Moodie said. “All the students who said they wanted to swim we look for a good fit. Some of them are not seen by college coaches on the national or international level, sectionals or Futures. My primary focus is serving the student-athletes who don’t get that exposure or had face-to-face meetings with college coaches. We want them to know there are colleges out there for them.

“I am a resource for families and kids to come to me for what they need,” Moodie said. “I am working with the junior class now. Quite a few students and parents have put together a college list. We talk about their priorities, what’s important, tuition, expenses, whether they want to stay in Broward, the state of Florida or outside the state.”

Unlike college football and basketball that dominate the headlines, collegiate swimming does not get a lot of exposure.

“There’s not a lot of national recognition,” Moodie said. “I’m not surprised that these students may not know about Division II schools. And NAIA is still quite young. The whole college system changes so much every year. I want to help them with their research.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, there are expected to be changes in the fall at colleges across the country. There is also talk of student-athletes taking a gap year. But SOFLO’s college-bound athletes are still planning on starting college in the fall whether it’s on campus or online.

Many colleges are supporting students by deferring deadlines, waiving fees and making standardized tests such as ACT and SAT optional. Still, no one knows what the fall semester will look like just yet.

“I am telling them everyone is in the same boat across the world, which is a position of waiting,” Moodie said. “I trust whatever decision the NCAA, USA Swimming, Florida Gold Coast and colleges make. I trust they will make the right decisions to protect the students and universities. It’s in the best interest of everyone. When things do resume we will all re-start wherever we are.”

Despite the challenging times, Moodie is enjoying her new role with SOFLO.

“It has been great being around swim families again, the parents have been so welcoming,” Moodie said. “I feel a close connection with them. Swimming and education are two things I love. I am excited for the future and excited to see what the future holds for these kids.”

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