Pinon, Quintero Head SOFLO Lineup For Junior Olympics At Coral Springs

Pinon, Quintero Head SOFLO Lineup For Junior Olympics At Coral Springs


March 7, 2013

Julien Pinon and Samuel Quintero are among South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers ready to make some noise at the Florida Gold Coast 14-and-Under Short Course Junior Olympics that get under way Friday at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Pinon, 14, competing in his last JOs, is entered in seven events.

Pinon is seeded first in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:44.04 and is the only swimmer to go under 4:45 in the boys’ field.

Pinon is also seeded first in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:41.31, more than five seconds faster than the second seeded time of 1:46.86. He is seeded first in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 16:45.85, the only seed time under 17 minutes.

Pinon is seeded second in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.39, 100-yard butterfly in 53.23, 50-yard butterfly in 24.50 and 100-yard freestyle in 47.94.

Quintero, 12, is seeded first in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:40.28. Quintero is also entered in seven events.

Organizers will have two pools going in the morning for the boys and girls prelims. Finalists will converge on the main pool for the championship finals.

SOFLO has 51 swimmers competing in individual and relay events during the three-day meet. Zackary Harris will compete for the Comets Swim Team in four events.

The meet features 836 athletes, including 186 relay-only swimmers. There are 650 swimmers competing in individual events totaling 3,137 individual splashes, averaging 4.8 splashes per swimmer.

Most of the Florida Gold Coast’s 14-and-under top age group swimmers will compete. All swimmers had to qualify for JOs, making it the most prestigious short course meet of the season.

The competition will be fierce with other top teams Davie Nadadores, Metro Aquatics, Lake Lytal Lightning, Pine Crest Swimming, St. Andrew’s Swimming and host Coral Springs Swim Club.

SOFLO girls qualifying in individual events are: Camila Alvarez, Lilli Calero, Kyana Castro, Alexandra Crespo, Katherine De Barros, Katrina Del Vecchio, Isabella Di Salvo, Kelley Heron, Trinity Hoyos, Annita Huang, Elise Larin, Michelle Marinheiro, Stephanie Mlujeak, Anna Montgomery, Bianca Monti, Abolade Oyetunji, Andrea Pereria, Delanie Perez, Sara Quintero, Jennifer Rodriguez, Jessica Rodriguez, Isabel Shashaty, Natasha Testa, Anabel Vazquez and Kellie Wilcox.

SOFLO boys qualifiers are: Michael Arias, Brendan Cassie, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Tyler Gibson, John Paul Handal, Akira Huang, CJ Kopecki, Jie Hoon Lee, Juan Lucas, Leonardo Mateus, Matthew Menocal, Alexander Monti, Brandon Moran, Kevin Porto, Samuel Quintero, Ricardo Roche, Rafael Rodriguez, Cristian Rossi, Nicolas Rossi, Gabriel Segui, Jonathan Strod, Baldwin Suen, Gustavo Valery and Sam Walters.


What: Florida Gold Coast 14-and-Under Junior Olympics Short Course Championship

When: Friday-Sunday

Where: Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, 12441 Royal Palm Blvd.

Schedule: Friday, girls prelims 9-11:20 a.m.; boys prelims 9-11:26 a.m.; finals 5-8:01 p.m.; Saturday, girls prelims 9-11:11 a.m., boys prelims 9-11:11 a.m.; finals 5-8:28 p.m.; Sunday, girls prelims 9 a.m.-12:45 p.m., boys prelims 9 a.m.-1:44 p.m.; finals 5-5:57 p.m.

Admission: $3 each session, $3 heat sheet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Ready For Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

SOFLO Swimmers Ready For Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics


March 3, 2013

After one final tune up, South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers are ready for this weekend’s Florida Gold Coast 14-and-Under Short Course Junior Olympics in Coral Springs.

Based on the FGC Area 3 Developmental Championships that ended on Sunday at the Academic Village Pool, SOFLO will be among favorites at the annual short course meet.

Despite the cold weather and wind, SOFLO swimmers turned in another solid day of swimming against some of the FGC’s other top teams including Metro Aquatics, Blue Marlins and AK Sharks.

Swimmers and coaches used the last chance meet as a final tune up and another opportunity to earn JO cut times, improve times and fine tune starts, strokes and turns.

SOFLO swept the top three places in the 200-yard individual medley with Isabel Shashaty, 12, (2:39.40), a FGJO cut; Camila Alvarez, 11, (2:42.95) and Kellie Wilcox, 12, (2:51.00).

Sara Quintero, 9, won the 50-yard backstroke in 38.19, another FGJO cut.

Elise Larin, 11, won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:15.42.

Valentina Carrion, 10, won the 10-and-under 50-yard breaststroke in 44.69.

Annita Huang, 11, won the 50-yard breaststroke in 37.96, a FGJO cut.

Brendan Cassie, 14, won the 13-14 50-yard breaststroke in 32.40, a FGJO cut.



100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Camila Nunez, FLA 1:12.89; SOFLO: 4. Valentina Carrion 1:15.72, 6. Katrina Del Vecchio 1:1.82, 21. Salma Hegazy 1:22.07, 25. Celenia Lumelski 1:22.84, 29. Samantha Cortez 1:25.82, 30. Daniela Barreto 1:26.01, 31. Rebekah Ling 1:26.03, 33. Kayla Cunningham 1:26.95, 34. Sophia Bedoya 1:27.33, 36. Kylie McIntosh 1:28.07, 38. Adrianna Rigau 1:28.43, 39. Morgan Cavanagh 1:28.55; COMETS: 17. Jena Legaspi 1:20.79, 22. Erika Pelaez 1:22.14, 58. Sabrina Osorio 1:47.84, 59. Sofia Osorio 1:48.34; 11-12, 1. Amber Nolan, AK Sharks 1:03.55; SOFLO: 4. Camila Alvarez 1:05.75, 5. Alexandra Crespo 1:06.11, 20. Kellie Wilcox 1:09.07, 27. Mikaela De Gracia 1:12.42, 46. Ivanna Fregoso 1:21.21, 58. Amy-Nicole Toro 1:38.56; 13-14, 1. Lorece Harris, North Miami 58.79; SOFLO: 4. Natasha Testa 58.82, 4. Abolade Oyetunji 1:01.01, 6. Stephanie Mlujeak 1:01.42, 10. Lilli Calero 1:01.68, 26. Cristina Villegas 1:04.01, 28. Zariya Harris 1:04.64.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Karen Perez, Blue Marlins 2:52.61; SOFLO: 7. Salma Hegazy 3:26.26; 11-12, 1. Isabel Shashaty, SOFLO 2:39.40; SOFLO: 2. Camila Alvarez 2:42.95, 3. Kellie Wilcox 2:51.00; 13-14, 1. Liz Travieso, Blue Marlins 2:27.19; SOFLO: 3. Lilli Calero 2:31.43, 7. Natasha Testa 2:33.83, 9. Zariya Harris 2:46.01.

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Sara Quintero, SOFLO 38.19; SOFLO: 3. Katrina Del Vecchio 38.81, 5. Kayla Cunningham 40.97, 9. Sophia Bedoya 43.08, 19. Morgan Cavanagh 43.00, 21. Celenia Lumelski 43.17, 22. Valentina Carrion 43.30, 24. Rebekah Ling 43.88, 32. Samantha Cortez 45.80, 33. Adrianna Rigau 46.21, 34. Daniela Barreto 46.51, 41. Kylie McIntosh 48.97, 48. Valerie Vank 53.24, COMETS: 4. Jena Legaspi 39.92, 10. Erika Pelaez 41.20, 54. Sabrina Osorio 55.28, 56. Sofia Osorio 57.35; 11-12, 1. Angelina Roque, Metro Aquatics 32.76; SOFLO: 4. Kellie Wilcox 35.23, 5. Isabel Shashaty 35.60, 19. Elise Larin 36.96, 37. Ivanna Fregoso 43.08, 45. Lauren Siegman 47.81, 48. Amy-Nicole Toro 48.98; 13-14, 1. Danie Filette-Morffi, BISC 31.15; SOFLO: 6. Natasha Testa 33.13, 6. Stephanie Mlujeak 33.86, 8. Abolade Oyetunji 34.01, 16. Cristina Villegas 35.83.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Stefy Gonzalez, Blue Marlins 1:26.87 and Sara Quintero, SOFLO 1:26.87, 5. Katrina Del Vecchio 1:33.62, 7. Kayla Cunningham 1:43.02, 9. Salma Hegazy 1:47.56, 8. Daniela Barreto 1:50.99; COMETS: 6. Jena Legaspi 1:36.36; 11-12, 1. Elise Larin, SOFLO 1:15.42; SOFLO: 3. Alexandra Crespo 1:16.32, 5. Annita Huang 1:19.29; 13-14, 1. Manuela Dangond, Unattached 1:06.50; 4. Stephanie Mlujeak 1:11.63, 10. Zariya Harris 1:17.37.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Valentina Carrion 44.69; SOFLO: 7. Celenia Lumelski 47.97, 10. Sophia Bedoya 51.37, 14. Sara Quintero 48.53, 16. Samantha Cortez 48.81, 34. Morgan Cavanagh 54.41, 40. Kylie McIntosh 56.47, 41. Valerie Vank 57.18, 42. Adrianna Rigau 59.35, COMETS: 35. Erika Pelaez 54.63, 39. Sabrina Osorio 56.19, 49. Sofia Osorio 1:05.43; 11-12, 1. Annita Huang, SOFLO 37.96; SOFLO: 2. Camila Alvarez 38.94, 7. Alexandra Crespo 41.40, 18. Mikaela De Gracia 41.76, 29. Isabel Shashaty 43.53, 51. Ivanna Fregoso 50.80, 52. Amy-Nicole Toro 51.04; 13-14, 1. Hannah Cordes, Miami Swimming 34.85.

200-yard medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. AK Sharks 2:41.91, 2. SOFLO “A” 2:55.49, 3. SOFLO “B” 3:03.40, 4. Comets 3:08.88; 11-12, 1. SOFLO “A” 2:20.37, 3. SOFLO “B” 2:26.83; 13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 2:11.65.


100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Alex Torres, Blue Marlins 1:11.46; SOFLO: 7. Akira Huang 1:15.73, 25. Tanner Gibson 1:23.54, 43. Thomas Bogota 1:32.51, 45. Mark Andre De Gracia 1:33.04, 53. Erick Quintero 1:38.05; COMETS: 32. Aldo Zepeda 1:26.35, 40. Jake Cavanagh 1:31.53, 46. Alejandro Mateus 1:33.29, 54. Miguel Crespo 1:40.11, 58. Noah Hew 1:42.52, 59. Fernando Barreto 1:42.62, 62. Nicholas Giffuni 1:43.96, 69. Pablo Navarro 1:53.15; 11-12, 1. Sean Escobar, Blue Marlins 1:02.20; SOFLO: 20. Derek Tom 1:09.36, 31. Carlo Roche 1:13.87, 36. Ethan Hew 1:15.64, 40. Sebastian Sierra 1:18.33, 47. Gabriel Garcia 1:35.10, 49. David Diaz Venturo 1:53.87; 13-14, 1. Noah Perez, North Miami 56.85; SOFLO: 4. Ricardo Roche 57.93, 2. Tyler Gibson 57.47, 3. Matthew Menocal 57.61, 18. Juan Medina 1:01.35, 10. Mathew Delvalle 1:02.04, 24. Brendan Cassie 1:02.63, 36. Marco Crespo 1:06.42.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Alex Torres, Blue Marlins 2:56.18; COMETS: 3. Zackary Harris 3:06.16; SOFLO: 5. Tanner Gibson 3:18.92; 11-12, 1. Eli Horgan, Miami Swimming 2:37.62; SOFLO: 9. Carlo Roche 3:12.51; 13-14, 1. Diego Mateus, Blue Marlins 2:17.59; SOFLO: 1. Kevin Porto 2:18.87, 3. Ricardo Roche 2:20.88, 4. Matthew Menocal 2:26.36, 6. Tyler Gibson 2:30.54, 14. Juan Medina 2:37.39, 18. Adrian Marrero 2:50.26.

50-yard backstroke

10-and-under, 1. Hector Paz, Metro Aquatics 38.53; COMETS: 22. Alejandro Mateus 44.09, 44. Aldo Zepeda 48.16, 49. Noah Hew 49.49, 50. Jake Cavanagh 49.99, 51. Pablo Navarro 51.32, 61. Miguel Crespo 55.22, 68. Fernando Barreto 57.62; SOFLO: 27. Tanner Gibson 45.23, 39. Thomas Bogota 47.06; 11-12, 1. Tomas Farias, ASC 33.50; SOFLO: 3. Derek Tom 35.54, 30. Ethan Hew 42.17, 39. Sebastian Sierra 50.41, 41. Gabriel Garcia 1:01.61, 42. David Diaz Venturo 1:04.28; 13-14, 1. Pablo Luchau, Miami Swimming 30.72; SOFLO: 2. Cristian Rossi 30.66, 7. Kevin Porto 31.48, 10. Baldwin Suen 33.34, 18. Marco Crespo 37.18.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Gabriel Munoz, Blue Marlins 1:21.49, COMETS: 5. Zachary Harris 1:48.84; SOFLO: 7. Mark Andre De Gracia 2:01.52; 11-12, 1. Eli Horgan, Miami Swimming 1:14.23; SOFLO: 6. Derek Tom 1:23.20, 12. Carlo Roche 1:35.95; 13-14, 1. Sebastian Pena, North Miami 1:03.90; SOFLO: 1. Cristian Rossi 1:00.50, 3. Esteban Diaz-Velasco 1:02.89, 10. Kevin Porto 1:07.09, 3. Mathew Delvalle 1:09.20, 16. Baldwin Suen 1:14.45, 21. Adrian Marrero 1:23.13.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Dylan Valdivia, Miami Swimming 44.22; SOFLO: 7. Akira Huang 47.30, 38. Thomas Bogota 55.54, 42. Erick Quintero 57.07, 53. Aldo Zepeda 1:01.21; COMETS: 31. Zackary Harris 50.39, 40. Alejandro Mateus 55.91, 41. Jake Cavanah 56.06, 49. Noah Hew 1:00.24, 56. Miguel Crespo 1:04.02, 59. Fernando Barreto 1:05.51, 60. Samuel Bullen 1:05.75; 11-12, 1. Rodrigo Gomez, Metro Aquatics 38.97; SOFLO: 3. Leonardo Mateus 39.56, 36. Gabriel Garcia 57.72; 13-14, 1. Brendan Cassie, SOFLO 32.40; SOFLO: 4. Tyler Gibson 34.44, 9. Mathew Delvalle 37.44, 18. Adrian Marrero 39.37, 19. Esteban Diaz-Velasco 41.67, 20. Marco Crespo 42.34.

200-yard medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. Blue Marlins 2:36.96, 4. Comets 3:07.02; 11-12, 1. Metro Aquatics 2:12.46; 13-14, 1. Devilrays 2:02.97, 2. SOFLO “F” 2:04.08.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres Finishes Fourth, Misses Shot At Sixth Olympics

Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres Finishes Fourth, Misses Shot At Sixth Olympics


July 2, 2012

The journey ended for swimming great Dara Torres on the final night of the U.S. Olympic trials at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.

The 45-year-old mother was fourth in the 50-meter freestyle, ending her quest for a record sixth Olympic team.

Torres stared at the scoreboard, bowed her head over a lane line and then hugged and congratulated the top two qualifiers, Jessica Hardy and Kara Lynn Joyce. She waved to her 6-year-old daughter Tessa Grace, dressed in a fluorescent green t-shirt that read “Go Mom.”

“I tried the best I could, I gave it everything I had,” Torres said. “This is really over.

“Obviously, I was hoping to make the team. That was my goal and missing it by less than a tenth of a second is tough, but I don’t think there’s anything I could have changed.

“I’m most proud of the fact that I hung in there this long. I’ve had more downs than ups the past couple of years.”

Hardy, 25, won in 24.50 seconds and Joyce, 26, was second in 24.73. Torres finished in 24.82, missing a trip to London by 9/100ths of a second. It was a faster time than what she swam in 2000 (24.9) to qualify for the Olympics.

The difference for Torres was her start off the blocks. She was 5/100ths slower than her great semifinal start that earned her second in her heat and third seed overall for finals.

Torres was emotional before her race and admittedly was just as nervous as she was at her first U.S. trials in 1984.

“Being 45, getting fourth in Olympic trials against girls almost half my age, it’s OK,” Torres said. “I’m used to winning but that wasn’t the goal here. The goal was to try and make it. I didn’t quite do it but I’m really happy with how I did. I was able to hang in there.

“I was very emotional before my swim,” Torres said. “When I was putting my suit on with my trainer (Anne Tierney), we started crying because I started thinking about Michael. In July of 2010 he had said to me, ‘Let’s go for this.’ I really wanted to finish the story that I started with him. I didn’t make it but I know he would have been proud.”

After getting out of the pool for the last time at trials, she motioned to her daughter and walked into the stands, scooped her up and walked back on the pool deck with her in her arms. It was one final moment she wanted to savor with her daughter, who was only 2-years-old when Torres made her fifth Olympic team in 2008 at age 41.

Hardy said she was thrilled to race against Torres.

“I love racing Dara,” Hardy said. “I wish she could have made it this year, but swimming with her the past couple years has been really an awesome treat for sure, an honor. She is an inspiration.”

After winning three silver medals in Beijing and just missing a gold medal in the 50, Torres underwent radical knee surgery and started to work her way back defying the odds. She and her six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg talked about making another run at it and the two worked together until Lohberg succumbed to aplastic anemia on April 4, 2011.

Torres carried on their goal working with Lohberg’s successor, Coral Springs Swim Club head coach Bruno Darzi, a former Lohberg swimmer.

“We overcame a lot of difficulties, there were so many things we had to fix,” Darzi said. “She put 100 percent into it. She left nothing behind. She did everything I asked her to do and everyone else asked of her.

“She is an amazing person to work with. She put so much time and effort into it. She didn’t swim the way she wanted to and she is a little upset. She did everything she needed to do. By far, she is the best swimmer I have ever worked with.”

Torres retires from the sport with 12 medals, including four relay gold, tied with Jenny Thompson as the most decorated U.S. female swimmer. She also still holds the American record in the 50-meter freestyle in 24.07 she swam in Beijing.

Asked if she would pursue the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, she shook her head emphatically and said “This is it.” She said she is going to enjoy some time with her daughter, have a nice summer and cheer on the U.S. team.

In the only other race held on the eighth and final night of the trials, Andrew Gemmell won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:52.91.

Connor Jaeger, after swimming 1600 meters by accident the night before, qualified second in the 1500 in only his fifth time ever he has swum the event in 14:52.51. They were the fourth and fifth fastest times in the world this year. Both overtook early leader Chad LaTourette who set the pace for the first 1100 meters.


On Monday night’s local news, NBC’s Justin Finch visited Coral Springs Aquatic Complex for a live remote and talked with sprint and age group coach Chris Jackson and swimmers about Dara Torres. The feature also included an old interview with Torres before she left for the trials. Several swim team members including Brandon Goldman and Emma Lincoln posed with Finch for photos poolside…

Michael Phelps decided to drop the 200-meter freestyle to focus on the 400-meter freestyle relay which the Aussies are favored to win. It leaves Phelps with seven events. It also gives Ricky Berens the opportunity to compete in the 200-meter freestyle as an individual. He was already on the team for the 400 and 800 relays. Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman announced the decision on Monday. “No one should be expected to do that twice,” Bowman said referring to Phelps eight gold medal haul in 2008. “Once was more than enough.”Phelps also repeated his plans to retire after London. “I won’t be coming back, put it on record,” Phelps said…

Former Mission Bay coach Steve Bultman of Texas A&M Aggies, with two swimmers on the Olympic team, and Todd Schmitz, Missy Franklin’s coach, were named assistant coaches for the Team USA Olympic women’s coaching staff…

Total attendance for the weeklong trials was 167,048 beating the 2008 total of 160,063…Average age of the U.S. men’s Olympic team is 26 and dominated by post-grads, and women’s team is 21…The U.S. is sending 48 swimmers (25 women, 23 men) to London after sending 43 to Beijing.


“Back to work. Dryland session and a pool workout, here we go. Felt great working out again! Teri wrote me a 4K practice I completed with my husband. I’ve got 25 days to get faster.”—Dana Vollmer

“It’s official. I am a coach on the 2012 USA Olympic staff. Thanks USA Swimming. London here USA comes.”—Todd Schmitz

“Woohoo! Yay for Ricky Berens for securing an individual swim in the 200 free at London 2012. This is so exciting.”—Rebecca Soni

“Farewell Omaha! Thanks for the amazing memories. My family and I will always remember swim trials 2012.”—Janet Evans

“Dream come true! This is incredible, can’t believe all of this is happening to me.”—Ricky Berens

“Aww Dara talked about her coach passing away. We miss you Coach Michael.”—Leonie Davies, former SOFLO swimmer

“Dara still won in my book.”—SOFLO swimmer Keegan Boisson-Yates

“Well, I gave it everything I’ve got and left no stones unturned. Time to cheer on all the amazing USA swimmers heading to London.”—Dara Torres

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Comets, Coral Springs 8-And-Under Swimmers Ready To Sizzle At Sunrise Sizzler

Comets, Coral Springs 8-And-Under Swimmers Ready To Sizzle At Sunrise Sizzler


February 9, 2012

Thirty-four SOFLO Comets and Coral Springs Swim Club swimmers will compete Friday in the 8-and-Under Sizzler Invitational at the Sunrise Civic Center.

Swimmers will get the chance to compete in all four strokes in a short course format while focusing on technique and pacing in the early stages of their swimming careers in a fun atmosphere.

The meet begins 5 p.m. with warm-up. Races begin 5:30 p.m. and should end around 7 p.m.

Host Sunrise Swimming is celebrating the grand opening of the pool at 3:30 p.m. with music and at 4 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting and ceremony.

The Comets have 21 swimmers entered.

The Comets girls are Daniela Barreto, 8; Marcela Bucaro, 6; Marli Crichton, 7; Katrina Del Vecchio, 8; Jena Legaspi, 7; Isabella Lizarazo, 8; Sara Quintero, 8; and Analucia Raimont, 8.

The Comets boys are Miguel Crespo, 7; Dennis Dale, 8; Mark Andre De Gracia, 8; Tanner Gibson, 8; Zackary Harris, 7; Marcus Hernandez, 8; Ryan Heron, 8; Noah Hew, 7; Sebastian Lares, 7; Alejandro Mateus, 6; Nicolas Rossi, 8; Ariel Sanchez, 7; and Ian Torres, 7.

Coral Springs Swim Club has 13 swimmers from Mullins Park competing.

The CSSC girls are Amber Candido, 7; Carla Cooper, 6; Giulianna Garcia, 7; Gisele Girones, 8; Bree Haigis, 8; Georgia Johnson, 6; Meredith McDade, 7; and Ashley Nagy, 8.

The CSSC boys are Bennett Brown, 8; Andrew Fibkins, 8; Jack Fibkins, 8; Brian Gonzalez, 8; and Fabio Savino, 8.


What: 8-and-Under Sizzler Invitational

When: Friday, warm-up 5 p.m., races begin 5:30 p.m. and should end around 7 p.m.

Where: Sunrise Civic Center, 10600 W. Oakland Park, Sunrise

How to get there: From the east, take Oakland Park Blvd. to just west of Nob Hill Road. Turn left after Safety Complex. From the south, take Nob Hill north to Oakland Park Blvd. Turn left on Oakland Park, and left again after Safety Complex.

Admission: $2. For information call Sunrise Swimming at 954-747-4635.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Matt Jordan Newest Member Of SOFLO Coaching Staff At Coral Springs Aquatic Complex

Matt Jordan Newest Member Of SOFLO Coaching Staff At Coral Springs Aquatic Complex

February 7, 2012


Matt Jordan looked right at home, surrounded by young, eager swimmers asking about their times and races this past weekend at the Coral Springs Open Invitational.

Jordan, 26, joined the South Florida Aquatic Club coaching staff last week as an age group at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

“I feel very comfortable on the pool deck,” Jordan said. “I have felt that way since I was younger. I really like it here.”

Jordan started swimming when he was 8. He swam until he was 12 when he took a few years off.

“I thought I was going to be an NBA player and quickly found out that’s harder than it sounds,” Jordan said with a smile. At least he shares the same last name and initials as basketball great Michael Jordan.

Jordan returned to swimming competitively when he got to high school and has been involved with the sport ever since.

Jordan grew up in Ellsworth, Maine, a small town next to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. “Lots of woods, slow kind of living, I liked it,” he said.

Jordan has coached in Florida before when he worked with a USA Swimming club in Key Biscayne for nearly two years at TKA (Team Key Aquatics), no longer a competitive team. 

Jordan graduated from Wheaton College, a private liberal arts college in Norton, Massachusetts, near Boston and Providence, R.I. where he studied history and psychology and swam competitively. He swam all four strokes and competed in sprint races. His specialty was backstroke and butterfly

“I always knew I wanted to be a coach, that’s what my passion was,” Jordan said. “Everybody that ever encountered me at the pool or on the pool deck told me I would make a great coach.

“I seemed to coach as much as I swam. It’s something I did in college. I would help a lot of my teammates out before their races, kids that were my age. They would come to me for advice and technique.”

His first coaching job was a variety of swim lessons, private lessons and swim technique with younger kids for a local YMCA team while he was in high school. “I even coached masters swimming while I was in high school,” Jordan said. “It was nice they listened to me.”

In college, he was a volunteer coach for a USA Swimming team that trained at Wheaton’s pool.

When Jordan was hired for the SOFLO job he was working at a boys and girls club in Watertown, Mass. near Cambridge. He was coaching 70 kids, ages 7-17.

“It was a less competitive environment and that’s what I kind of struggled with,” Jordan admitted.

“I thrive on the competition. I thrive on personal bests, achievements and goals. It was more of a youth club recreational team. In the short time I was there I ended up making the team pretty competitive.”

Jordan is excited about his new job and opportunity to coach in Florida again.

“This is a tremendous opportunity and I am very fortunate to be here, I love this stuff,” he said. “I was aware of the history at this pool and had a pretty good sense of what it was all about. I followed Florida Gold Coast swimming even after I left.”

Jordan is among some of the youngest coaches in the Florida Gold Coast.

“I love coaching in general,” Jordan said. “It could be age 7, 17 or people my age. It’s really my passion in general, so there really is no age that I can coach better or I feel more comfortable with. I knew the void had to be filled for the 12-and-unders and 10-and-unders here so I am excited. I will be working with the White and Blue Group every day.”

Jordan is already starting to develop a seasonal and yearly plan and putting his workouts together.

Asked what his proudest accomplishment was in his own swimming career, he answered “that’s a tough one, really tough.

“I know it’s hard for a competitive swimmer to get a best time every meet,  but that’s something I tried to do even though at times it was unrealistic given the amount of training that I was doing or how sore and tired I might have been after back-to-back meets,” Jordan said. “I tried to focus on every little thing I did wrong on the previous race and fixed it. That usually ended up working to my advantage.”

Jordan is enjoying getting to know his swimmers and their parents. He said he is overwhelmed by the parents hospitality and making him feel welcome. A meet-and-greet pizza party was held where Jordan got the chance to meet everyone.

“The kids are great,” Jordan said. “The best quote of the week that I got was after the first practice when I was just learning the names and they were learning mine. They asked me whether I would be here tomorrow and I said yes. And they said really, what about the next day? I said if it’s okay with you I’d like to stay here for the whole week and we’ll see what happens. They said great.

“Right then I knew it was good. I saw the enthusiasm. I can already see what consistency and what dedication from a coach can do for this group. I think it’s going to be a really great experience for the kids and myself alike.

“They have already started to understand what I am looking for and the things we are doing in practice directly correlates to the races and the outcome. If they become more aware of that and I stay on top of it, then we are going to have some good success.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Sharntelle McLean Returns To Coral Springs To Train For Third Olympic Games

Sharntelle McLean Returns To Coral Springs To Train For Third Olympic Games

February 1, 2012


It was like old times when two-time Olympian Sharntelle McLean climbed into the pool Tuesday morning at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

McLean, 27, has returned to where it all started when she qualified for the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for Trinidad and Tobago.

McLean trained with six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg and elite athletes from around the world. Lohberg sent eight athletes to the 2008 Olympic Games including McLean, Vlad Polyakov, Dara Torres and Arlene Semeco, all training for the 2012 London Olympics in the same pool.

“It’s nice to see some old familiar faces,” McLean said. “I was sad and happy when I was driving up the driveway this morning. Coral Springs was always my second home.

“I was sad because I had been close to Michael. He was a great coach and now he is not there. But I am still happy and blessed that I had the opportunity to experience him and now I am back training in the same pool again.”

Lohberg died last April at age 61 after nearly a three-year battle with aplastic anemia. Since 1984, Lohberg placed at least one swimmer on every Olympic team.

While McLean took three weeks off during the holidays, she has stayed active in and out of the pool.

When she wasn’t coaching Team Trinidad and Tobago and serving as coach of the Goodwill Team, she competed in both local and away meets. At the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championships in Puerto Rico, she won bronze medals in the 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly.

At the ASATT Invitational, she was FINA High Point Trophy winner capturing gold medals in the 50- and 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle.

McLean is a member of the Torpedoes Swim Club. She hopes to qualify in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles. She hopes to be race-sharp by May for a qualifying meet in Barbados. She is 1.5 seconds off her Olympic qualifying cut time.

“I definitely needed some long course swimming and to train with swimmers who were on the same page as me,” McLean said. “Back home I was basically training by myself. I knew what I needed and I needed to be here because of the history I have with Coral Springs. I expect them to work my butt off.”

McLean started swimming competitively in 1997 and made her first national team at age 12.

“I decided in August to go for another Olympics,” McLean said. “It was mainly for the love of the sport and my passion. That kind of fire hasn’t died down yet.”

McLean is still considered one of the top swimmers in Trinidad and Tobago where she said she “holds my own over there.” She has been coaching age group swimmers when not training or competing.

“Coaching is a different ballgame,” McLean said. “I have a lot more respect for coaching. When I am done competing I definitely want to look into it more.

“Today I was a little shaky in the pool but at the same time I expected that,” McLean said. “I am really focused now. I am happy with my decision to come back here. It’s definitely a decision I needed to make and I think I made a good choice. It will help my confidence 100 percent being here.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 120: SOFLO’s Loai Tashkandi Sixth On Opening Day Of Pan Arab Games

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 120: SOFLO’s Loai Tashkandi Sixth On Opening Day Of Pan Arab Games

December 17, 2011


South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer Loai Tashkandi of Saudi Arabia opened the Pan Arab Games in Doha on Saturday with a sixth place finish in the 400-meter individual medley.

Tashkandi, 20, finished in 4:42.22 at the Hamad Aquatic Center.

Tashkandi is also entered in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley.

Hazem Tashkandi, also of Saudi Arabia, and Abbas Qali, Salman Qali and Zain Qali, all of Kuwait, are also competing in the week-long meet.

Hazem Tashkandi is entered in the 200-, 400-, and 1500-meter freestyles.

Salman Qali will swim the 50- and 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle. Abbas Qali is entered in the 50-meter freestyle and Zain Qali is entered in the 50-meter butterfly.

Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, Yousef Alaskari of the Davie Nadadores and Plantation American Heritage School, won Kuwait’s first medal of the swimming competition.

Alaskari, the 2011 High School Swimmer of the Year in Broward County, was second in the 200-yard butterfly in a lifetime-best time of 2:00.75, an Olympic “B” qualifying time and ranked No. 2 in the U.S. for 17-year-old age group swimmers.

Alaskari led Tunisia’s veteran Olympian Oussama Mellouli for most of the race before Mellouli came back for the gold. Alaskari is also entered in the 100 butterfly, 200 and 400 freestyle, 200 IM and three relays. Alaskari moved to South Florida four years ago to train.

The FINA event is a qualifying event for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

SOFLO’s Les Moore, Linea Cutter Compete At Nova Southeastern’s Shark Invite

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Linea Cutter and Les Moore returned home to compete in the Nova Southeastern Shark Invite in Davie.

On opening day (Friday) SOFLO/ Coral Springs Swim Club swimmer Moore finished fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 1:55.69, an NCAA Division II “B” cut time.

Nova Southeastern University freshman and SOFLO’s Cutter was 18th in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.05. Cutter anchored NSU’s fifth place 200-yard medley relay team that finished in 1:51.58.

On Saturday, Cutter, 18, led off NSU’s sixth place 200-yard freestyle relay that finished in 1:40.38; was 14th in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:57.85 and anchored the fifth place 400-yard medley relay that finished in 3:59.27.

Moore, 19, was fourth in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:08.51, a Division II “B” cut time.

The four-day meet continues through Monday.


Team totals: 1. Tampa 342, 2. Nova Southeastern 278, 3. Florida Southern 238, 4. Rollins 98, 5. Catawba 73, 6. Lenoir Rhyne 64.

1,000-yard freestyle: 1. Erin Black, NSU 10:07.42, D2B cut time; 200-yard individual medley: 1. Alexandra Hipolito, Tampa 2:05.65, D2B; 50-yard freestyle: 1. Erin Plachy, Tampa 23.84; SOFLO: 18. Linea Cutter, NSU 25.05; 200-yard medley relay: 1. Florida Southern 1:47.27; 5. NSU 1:51.58 (Devan Martin, Ashley Bransford, Lauren Chapple, Linea Cutter); 200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Tampa 1:36.36; 6. NSU 1:40.38 (Cutter, Sunyak, Aranda, Chapple); 400-yard individual medley: 1. Lisa Bero, Tampa 4:29.64, D2B; 100-yard butterfly: 1. Chelsea Kyle, Lenoir Rhyne 56.83, D2B; 24. Linea Cutter, NSU 1:02.24; 200-yard freestyle: 1. Erin Black, NSU 1:51.21, D2B; 14. Linea Cutter, NSU 1:57.85; 400-yard medley relay: 1. Florida Southern 3:51.38, D2B; 5. NSU 3:59.27; 400-yard medley relay: 1. Florida Southern 3:19.39, D2B.    


Team totals: 1. Tampa 292.5, 2. Nova Southeastern 262, 3. Florida Southern 241.5, 4. Catawba 136. 5. Rollins 92, 6. Lenoir Rhyne 69.

1,000-yard freestyle: 1. Norbert Kovacs, Tampa 9:13.38, D2A; 200-yard individual medley: 1. Jeb Halfacre, Florida Southern 1:50.18, D2A; SOFLO: 5. Les Moore, Tampa 1:55.69; 50-yard freestyle: 1. David Humphrey, Tampa 20.82, D2B; 200-yard medley relay: 1. Florida Southern 1:31.72, D2B; 200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Tampa 1:22.56, D2B; 400-yard individual medley: 1. Zane Hranac, Tampa 4:04.13, D2B; 4. Les Moore, Tampa 4:08.51, D2B; 100-yard butterfly: 1. Norbert Kovacs, Tampa 49.00, D2B; 200-yard freestyle: 1. Stephen Swan, Florida Southern 1:38.61, D2A; 

Campo Accepted To Iona

Alexandra Campo was accepted to Iona College in New York. Campo is a senior at Coral Springs Charter, where she was a member of the swim team. She is also a member of the SOFLO/Coral Springs Swim Club and teaches lessons with the Swim America program at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. “Couldn’t be happier right now…New York here I come,” Campo tweeted. SOFLO’s Justin Grigull also attends Iona and is a member of the men’s swim team.

Former CSSC Swimmer McLean Wins Gold

Two-time Olympian Sharntelle McLean, who trained with the late Michael Lohberg, a six-time Olympic coach, has her sights set on the 2012 Games. Competing for the Torpedoes Swim Club at the ASATT Invitational in Trinidad and Tobago, where she also coaches, McLean won a gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle in 59.13. Marlins’ Olympic hopeful Dylan Carter, who trained with good friend and Trinidad and Tobago teammate Keegan Boisson-Yates at Coral Springs in July leading up to the Commonwealth Youth Games, won the 100-meter freestyle in 52.64 and 50-meter butterfly in 25.72. The Marlins lead the team standings with 301.50 points followed by the newly-formed Titans Swim Club with 276.50. The meet ends on Sunday for more than 400 swimmers from 25 swim clubs and eighth countries.

Ian Thorpe Top 10 Finish

Aussie great Ian Thorpe turned in his first encouraging swim after coming out of retirement on Saturday at the Italian Winter Championships in Riccione, Italy. Thorpedo was tenth in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:51.51. He was third in his heat in his first long course meet since his comeback. The Australian trials are in March. Also in the meet, Milorad Cavic won the 100-meter butterfly in 52.10. Italian Federica Pellegrini won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:08.50.

Thiago Pereira Breaks Meet Record

Thiago Pereira broke a meet record in the prelims of the 400-meter individual medley in 4:18.10 before scratching from the finals in third day action at the Brazilian Open Long Course Championships in Rio de Janeiro.

In other races, Joanna Maranhao won the 400 IM in 4:43.56; Nicolas Oliveira won the 200 freestyle in 1:49.01; Glauber Silva won the 50-meter butterfly in 23.69; Daniel Paoli Jesus won the women’s 50-meter butterfly in 27.20; and Ana Carvalho won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:11.66. All the winners swam faster in the prelim rounds. Sprinter Cesar Cielo clocked a 21.58 leadoff leg on the 200-meter freestyle relay.


Josh Schneider of SwimMAC won the 50-yard freestyle shootout at the Chesapeake Elite Pro-Am in Oklahoma City on Saturday. Schneider, 23, won in 19.28 ahead of 2000 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Ervin, 30, in 19.42. It was Ervin’s national level meet since he retired in 2004. Jason Dunford was fourth in 19.94. SwimMAC teammate Andrea Georoff, 28, won the women’s 50 shootout in 22.46. Olympian Ed Moses, another comeback swimmer, was second in the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:54.99…

Ryan Lochte has signed a sponsor deal with fashion designer and mogul Ralph Lauren, who is also outfitting the entire U.S. Olympic team for the 2012 London Games. Lauren will design the official uniforms for the U.S. team to wear in the opening and closing ceremonies and also apparel and accessories to wear in the Olympic Village. “It’s a real clean-cut look and I like that,” Lochte said. “It’s definitely a different look for me but I think I can pull it off. I also like dressing up and looking nice. It makes me feel more mature. Hopefully, down the road I can still wear this kind of clothing with a little bit more of my personality.” Even better, Lochte and Lauren share the same initials. Lochte already has his own shoe line and hopes to have his own clothing line in the future…

21-time Olympic medalist Amanda Beard is ranked 15th among the thirty most googled female athletes of 2011. Beard is the only swimmer on the list. The majority of the athletes are pro tennis players including Serena Williams of Palm Beach Gardens, the most googled woman athlete…Olympian Brooke Bennett, who lives and trains in Tampa and formerly trained at the Davie Pine Island Pool with then coach Peter Banks, underwent an MRI on her left knee on Saturday. Bennett, a TV sports reporter, has been training regularly and competed in the Rowdy Gaines Masters meet spurring rumors she may return for the U.S. Olympic trials.

Sharon Robb can be reached at