By Sharon Robb
January 1, 2018—It takes a village for a successful swim program like South Florida Aquatic Club.
Coaches, swimmers, parents, booster club, office staff, facility, officials, sponsors, school support, media and fans all play an integral role.
Then there are goals, hard work, dedication, motivation and sacrifice.
There’s also the down side. The losing and not swimming a best time at every meet. That’s the learning experience that teaches a swimmer humility and also a powerful motivator to work harder.
Year in and year out, SOFLO swimmers have learned their lessons well and continued their successful climb in 2017.
As everyone celebrated the New Year and took a little time off away from the pool, it’s always fun to look back to see what SOFLO accomplished over twelve months. From world-class international meets to sizzlers and masters meets, the tireless work ethic, commitment and passion were never more evident this year.
Success is never taken for granted at SOFLO. After outstanding past seasons, SOFLO improved across the board enjoying success at every level during 2017 and raised the bar once again for 2018.
The largest team in the Florida Gold Coast and one of the state’s largest never lost sight of the importance of the team concept which has become its trademark through the years.
“Our kids challenge themselves and push themselves past their comfort zone and it does show,” said SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson. “SOFLO has created an infrastructure with its coaches and staff that cultivates a high level of continuing excellence. We have a winning culture.”
Now entering its 18th year, the first ten as Comets Swim Team and eighth year as SOFLO, the team is looking forward to even more success at the local, state, national and international levels in 2018.
As the New Year gets under way with new dreams, goals and resolutions, let’s reflect on some of last year’s highlights including team and individual accomplishments.
SOFLO’s Top 10 Moments in 2017 were:
1. SOFLO makes team history by capturing its eighth consecutive team title and 14th overall at the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Long Course Junior Olympics. It was the fifth consecutive year that the club won back-to-back short and long course titles in the same year.
2. SOFLO five-peats Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in its home pool. It was the fifth time SOFLO swimmers accomplished the feat in the same season.
3. Longtime SOFLO swimmer Marc Rojas represented the Dominican Republic at the FINA World Championships.
4. SOFLO earned the highly-coveted USA Swimming Bronze Medal Club Excellence Award for the seventh time in eight years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018).
5. SOFLO sent more than three dozen swimmers to the BCAA and FHSAA High School State Meets including Kathleen Golding, Molly Golding and Heath Brames of Cooper City, Paige Lane and Juan Diaz of Cypress Bay and Kelley Heron and Ricardo Roche of Pembroke Pines Charter. Golding and Heron were named 2016-17 Scholastic All-Americans.
6. At age 44, SOFLO masters swimmer and triathlete Evelyn Herrmann Salama crossed the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman in Kona, the granddaddy of all Ironmans. It was her fourth completed Ironman distance event. She is now training for the 2018 Boston Marathon.
7. SOFLO masters swimmer and City of Pembroke Pines police sergeant Jennifer Martin won seven gold medals, one silver medal and broke five world records over four days at the World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles.
8. Gina Grant, a first-year SOFLO masters swimmer, raised awareness and became a role model for Special Olympics athletes. At the recent Aquascalientes, Mexico for the Athletes Without Limits USA Team, she brought home a bronze medal in the 400 individual medley. At the Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic in Orlando, she won 13 gold medals and one silver medal, high point award and broke three records.
9. SOFLO swimmers shined at All-Stars, Speedo Sectionals, Futures Championships and Speedo Junior Nationals.
10. SOFLO swimmers make college commitments including Kathleen Golding (Florida), Kelley Heron (Michigan State), CJ Kopecki (Seton Hall) and Ricardo Roche (Florida State).
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com