Defending Champion SOFLO Heads Field For This Week’s FGC Long Course Junior Olympics

By Sharon Robb

STUART, July 18, 2018—South Florida Aquatic Club will try and build on its winning tradition and legacy at this week’s Florida Gold Coast Long Course Junior Olympics.

The four-day meet begins Thursday at Sailfish Splash Water Park.

SOFLO is going after its ninth consecutive JO long course team title and tenth overall in club history. SOFLO has also won back-to-back short and long course JO titles five times.

In March, SOFLO won the FGC 14&Under Short Course JOs for a record eighth consecutive and ninth overall in the club’s 18-year history.

SOFLO, defending champion in combined and boys team titles, has qualified 58 individual swimmers in 329 events. SOFLO has also entered 40 relay teams in 22 relay events where it will rely on its depth to pick up points against talented but less deep FGC teams.

Last year SOFLO won the combined team title with 661 points, nearly 200 points ahead of runner-up Gulliver Swimming. SOFLO boys won with 442, more than double Gulliver with 202. Gulliver won the girls title with 289. SOFLO girls were fourth with 219.

Competing in their final JO long course meet are 14-year-olds Sarah Acevedo, Brennan Binder, Jenna Marie Brames, Juan Colmenares, Mark Andre De Gracia, Alex Golding, Sally Golding, Manuel Melendez, Yannai Michael, Sara Quintero, Anthony Robaina, Moises Rodriguez, Javier Roman, Mallory Schleicher and Emma Twombly.

The younger contingent is led by Kaitlyn Barrios, 12, 11 events; Javier Colmenares, 12, 11 events; Fiorella Di Salvo, 10, nine events; Zackary Harris, 13, 10 events; Derek Hau, 10, nine events; Jonathan Lozano, 11, 11 events; Diego Nazario-Vazquez, 12, 11 events; Alessandro Pereira, 11, events; Lucas Porven, 12, 11 events; Enrique Rodriguez, 13, 11 events; Christian Tijero, 12, 11 events; Ava Kuznik, 12, 10 events; and Valerie Vank, 12, 11 events.

Among SOFLO top seeds are: Alexis Christensen, 12, in the 1500 freestyle in 19:32.88 and Mallory Schleicher, 14, in the 1500 freestyle, 18:04.44 and 400 freestyle, 4:34.30.

It is the third time the meet will be co-hosted by FGC clubs Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Club at Sailfish Splash Water Park, site of the annual FHSAA State High School Swimming and Diving meet for the past five years.


What: 14&Under Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

When: Thursday-Sunday

Schedule: Thursday, timed finals 6 p.m.; Friday, prelims, 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 6 p.m.

Where: Sailfish Splash Water Park, 931 SE Ruhnke, Stuart.

Defending 2017 champions: Combined, SOFLO; Boys, SOFLO; Girls, Guliver Swimming.

Of note: Admission is $5 per session. Heat sheets for prelims $3 per session and finals $3 per session. Martin County Swimming and North Palm Beach Swim Club are co-hosting the meet. Well-respected Scott Boggs will serve as head referee. Results are available on Meet Mobile or For more information call Jim McCombs, 772-485-3239.


Four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson will be among Jamaica’s contingent of 186 competing athletes in the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games that will take place in Barranquilla, Colombia Thursday through August 3.

The CAC Games, which are the oldest continuing games in the region, were first held in Mexico in 1926 and Jamaica had the privilege of hosting the games in 1962 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Atkinson will not be alone this time in representing in swimming. She will be joined by Keanan Dols, Luke Gunning, Michael Gunning, Laura Lim-Sang, Emily McDonald, and Bryanna Renaurt. Atkinson is among four co-captains of the team.

Yona Knight Wisdom, who has represented Jamaica at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games in diving will have company in Pele Julien. Both men will competed in the 1- and 3-meter springboard.

The sports that will be contested are athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, diving, fencing, football, hockey, rugby, shooting, squash, swimming, beach volleyball, with additions, karate, water polo and wrestling.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Defending Champion SOFLO Heads Field In FGC Junior Olympics At Coral Springs

By Sharon Robb

CORAL SPRINGS—-South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers and coaches are ready to make a little more history at the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Short Course Championships that begin Friday at Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Defending champion SOFLO will go after an unprecedented seventh consecutive JO short course team title in the club’s 17-year history including eight as SOFLO.

Last year SOFLO won the combined team title with 990.50 points, 105.67 points ahead of runner-up Pine Crest with 884.83 and East Coast Aquatic Club with 867.33.

SOFLO also won the boys team title with 640.50 points ahead of Pine Crest with 410. East Coast Aquatic Club won its first girls team title with 529.33 and SOFLO was third with 350.

Pine Crest and East Coast are expected to challenge SOFLO for the titles.

More than 600 swimmers and 46 teams are entered. The top six finishers in each JO event qualify for the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team.

Among SOFLO’s top seeds are:

Molly Golding, 13, 100-yard breaststroke, 1:07.44.

Paige Lane, 14, 100-yard butterfly, 58.14.

Javier Colmenares, 10, 500-yard freestyle, 5:57.45.

SOFLO boys 200-yard medley relay, 2:18.99.

Alessandro Pereira, 10, 100-yard backstroke, 1:10.53.

SOFLO girls 400-yard medley relay, 4:00.43.

SOFLO’s strength is expected to be its relays with 42 relays entered in 22 relay events.

SOFLO individual JO qualifiers are: Fernando Barreto, 10; Brennan Binder, 13; Samuel Bullen, 12; Mariann Catalasan, 10; Javier Colmenares, 10; Kerry Ann Cunningham,11; Luna Delgado, 11; Isabella Di Salvo, 14; Fiorella Di Salvo, 9; Diego Dulieu, 12; Mia Escudero, 12; Nathaniel Garrick, 12; Alex Golding 12; Logan Gonzalez, 12; Zackary Harris, 12; Matthew Kim, 12; Ava Kuznik, 11; Sebastian Lares, 12; Jonathan Lozano, 9; Anastasia Lutz, 10; Alejandro Mateus, 11; Yannai Michael, 13; Sabrina Osorio, 12; Sofia Osorio, 12; Leah Pando, 11; Alessandro Pereira, 10; Giada Porven, 8; Lucas Porven, 11; Enrique Rodriguez, 12; Moises Rodriguez, 12; Mary Sawyer, 10; Natalia Sibug, 10; Christian Tijero, 11; Victoria Torres, 12; Emma Twombly, 12; Valerie Vank, 11; and Aldo Zepeda, 11.

In a departure from past years, the prelim and final events will be held in one 50-meter pool instead of two. Since time standards have been updated, the number of participating swimmers has decreased.

Among Florida Gold Coast teams competing are Azura, FAST, AquaKids Sharks, Metro Aquatics, Miami Swimming, FAST, North Palm Beach, Plantation Swim Team and Boca Raton Swim Team.


What: Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Junior Olympics Short Course Championships.

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

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

Of Note: Admission is $5 for prelims and $3 for finals. Heat sheets are free and can be located at For questions call 954-340-5032.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


By Sharon Robb

August 13, 2015—All it took was watching Michael Phelps compete in the Summer Olympics for Christian Tijero to fall in love with the sport.

“I saw him swim all those races and it was so interesting,” Tijero said. “It looked like fun. I thought ‘why don’t I try it.’

“I remember telling my mom I wanted to try out for swimming,” said Tijero, whose favorite strokes are backstroke and butterfly. “I really liked it. It’s a fun sport. It was really competitive.”

Tijero started swimming at age 6 and joined South Florida Aquatic Club in September, 2014. Since then he has flourished in the sport.

Tijero, competing as a 9-year-old at last month’s Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics, posted seven best times in five individual events and two relays.

“I wanted to do good in the meet, I trained hard for it,” Tijero said. “I didn’t expect all those best times. I was really surprised and really happy.

“I put on a good show. I gave it all I had. I went out to celebrate. I had ice cream and watched the Smurfs II movie.”

For his efforts and training work ethic, Tijero, 10, has been chosen as the first-ever TYR Swimmer of the Month.

TYR, one of the nation’s top USA manufacturers of recreational and competitive swimwear and equipment, recently signed on to sponsor South Florida Aquatic Club for the next five-and-a-half years.

The Renaissance Charter School fifth grader has progressed remarkably while in the Asteroids group with Coach Luis and is excited about moving into the Bronze group with Coach Rose.

“It’s harder when you move up,” he said. “Coach Rose is harder but it will motivate me and make me a better swimmer.”

Tijero is still a big fan of Michael Phelps, at 31, in the midst of training to make the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“He is my role model,” Tijero said. “I do watch videos when he swims. He’s always been my favorite and he won so many medals.”

The 4-foot-5, 75-pound Tijero said he plans to work even harder this season. In addition to training, he is eating healthy and getting his rest which he said will help his swimming.

“I like practice, it prepares me for my competition and really helps me work on what I need to improve,” Tijero said. “I try to work on my strokes a lot.

“Now my goals start all over again the Bronze group. I want to try harder and get more JO cuts and best times. I would like to get some Florida Gold Coast records but I don’t think I am up to that yet. I know I have to train harder to make my goals for the next JOs. It’s really about training and preparing myself for the next meet.

“I really like the water and hanging out with my friends,” Tijero said. “It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun, too.”

Tijero is excited that his dad has bought him a holder to hang all his medals. He is up to 15 medals so far with many, many more to come.

Tijero joins past Swimmers of the Month Joseph Lee, Alana Acevedo, CJ Kopecki, Zackary Harris and Madison Johnson.

The TYR Swimmer of the Month award, chosen by the SOFLO coaching staff, is awarded each month to the swimmer who excels at both swim meets and practice sessions. Each TYR Swimmer of the Month will receive a free TYR mini backpack.—Sharon Robb

Sharon Robb can be reached at


By Sharon Robb

March 3, 2015—Zackary Harris loves to swim and it shows.

The South Florida Aquatic Club age group swimmer started swimming when he was four after watching his older sister, Zariya, at swim practice.

“I fell in love with the sport, I thought it was cool,” Harris said.

“I was motivated by my sister. It was fun being in the water all day and talking to friends. I loved how the coaches would say ‘take you mark’ and all the swimmers would go off the blocks.”

From there his love for the sport escalated. At 6, he was pre-team and two weeks later he was swimming with the Dippers. Now 10, Harris is swimming in the Bronze Group with SOFLO age group coach Rose Lockie.

If it wasn’t for following in his sister’s footsteps, he probably would be playing soccer right now.

“I like both soccer and swimming,” Harris said. “I was really interested in swimming. I knew I couldn’t pick both. It wouldn’t work out. I would be juggling all these things so I had to pick one.

“After my first lesson I really liked it and I thought, yes, I want to swim full-time.”

Harris’ mother, Valerie, wanted her children to be water-safe at age 2 since there is a pool at her mother-in-law’s house. But never dreamed she would have two champion swimmers in the family even though athleticism runs deep. Both their mother and father were outstanding athletes in middle school, high school and college in basketball and football.

“That was my goal even before I had children that they knew how to swim,” Harris said. “Zack would watch his sister swim at the pool and did some private lessons. He was driven by the fact that his sister was swimming. He had natural ability and enjoyed it.”

Harris, a fourth grader at Renaissance Charter School in Pembroke Pines, is a good student in and out of the pool. He is a straight A honor roll student who loves social studies and history. He trains six days a week and lives the life of an athlete by eating healthy and getting his rest.

“He is really motivated to be successful in swimming,” Valerie Harris said. “I didn’t have to worry about his grades, he is a good student. What swimming has done is built his self-esteem. He is driven to succeed. Swimming has done a lot for him.”

There is no sibling rivalry between brother and sister, only the utmost respect between the two.

“He wants to do as well as she does,” Valerie Harris said. “She is proud of her brother. Every time he swims she gives him a little pep talk about remembering this and that. And he makes sure he is screaming for her at the end of her lane when she is racing. He idolizes her. Everything she does, he wants to be like her.”

Harris, a member of one of the most diverse teams in the Florida Gold Coast with all ethnicities, not only is following his 15-year-old sister’s lead but also has teammates Alia Atkinson and Xavier Brown to look up to as role models.

At age 7, he went up to SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson and asked him what it would take to make the national team. It’s something he is working very hard to achieve.

His best meet was Winter Championships where he swam all best times.

This weekend Harris will compete in seven 10-and-under events at the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics at Coral Springs. He will swim the 100 breaststroke (1:23.30), 100 butterfly (1:08.84), 100 individual medley (1:11.05), 200 freestyle (2:14.28), 50 butterfly (31.23), 200 individual medley (2:30.29) and 100 freestyle (1:02.03).

“I am excited about JOs, I have been waiting all year,” Harris said. “I would like to get top three in my age group in all my events.

“I am competitive,” Harris said. “I always want to get first. It’s the only goal I have when I am swimming in a race. I like getting better each time I swim.”

Harris said he would love to compete at the Olympics and earn a college swimming scholarship. He knows he has to work hard to get there and he is willing to do it.

“This is what I want to do, I love to swim,” Harris said.

Harris joins January Swimmer of the Month Madison Johnson. The Nike Swimmer of the Month award, chosen by the SOFLO coaching staff, is awarded each month to the swimmer who excels at both swim meets and practice sessions.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Rafael Rodriguez Breaks Meet Record, Samuel Quintero Makes Sectional Cut At FGC Junior Olympics

SOFLO’s Rafael Rodriguez Breaks Meet Record, Samuel Quintero Makes Sectional Cut At FGC Junior Olympics

By Sharon Robb

July 19—South Florida Aquatic Club is sitting pretty going into the third and final day of the 14&Under Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics at Plantation Aquatic Club.

The defending champions are three sessions away from clinching their fifth JO long course title and 11th JO title overall.

For the second consecutive day, SOFLO leads the combined (580), boys (254) and girls (326) team standings and show no signs of letting up.

“We really have a great team, we have a lot of great swimmers,” said Samuel Quintero, who made his sectional cut in the 200-meter breaststroke on this third attempt.

“We cheer each other on and we’re having really good swims,” Quintero said. “We really want another JO title. We have worked hard for it.”

No one has worked harder for it than Quintero, 13, who was three seconds away from a short course sectional cut and missed on two long course attempts. Making it even sweeter was getting his cut in a major meet. He dropped 8.47 seconds and finished in 2:47.52.

“This is my best event,” Quintero said. “I felt pretty comfortable the whole race. I maintained my splits. This was one of my best swims. I am really really happy with this meet. I am dropping my times a lot. And even happier we are close to winning JOs.”

SOFLO swimmers had another outstanding meet, piling up points on depth, talent and balance.

Rafael Rodriguez, 12, broke a 24-year-old meet record in the 400-meter individual medley in the 11-12 boys in 5:02.92, finishing nearly 10 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, teammate Leonardo Mateus, second in 5:12.87.

It was 2.08 seconds slower than Rodriguez’ best time of 5:00.84 which was already a FGC record and now has added the JO meet record. Rodriguez also broke the 100-meter butterfly FGC record on Friday night.

Rodriguez was a triple winner on Saturday, capturing the 200-meter freestyle in a best time 2:06.93 and winning member of the 400-meter medley relay.

Other SOFLO individual champions:

Kathleen Golding, 200-meter freestyle, 2:06.96, best time.

Vanessa Mesa, 50-meter butterfly, 30.46.

SOFLO relay champions were:

11-12 400-meter medley relay, 4:51.94 (Isabella DiSalvo, Marianna Serrao, Kyana Castro, Vanessa Mesa).

13-14 400-meter medley relay, 4:40.37 (Kelley Heron, Delanie Perez, Kathleen Golding, Abolade Oyetunji).

11-12 400-meter medley relay, 4:46.89 (Leonardo Mateus, Rafael Rodriguez, Jie Hoon Lee, Eiza Gantus).

Six Florida Gold Coast records have been broken over two days of competition.

Jupiter Dragons boys’ relay of Brandon Hiebert, Jacob Roman, Joshua Zuchowski and Trenton Edwards broke a FGC record in the 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay in 2:25.09. Zuchowski also broke the 100-meter backstroke FGC record.

Jessica Nava, 14, of Pine Crest Swimming broke the 13-14 50-meter butterfly in 28.13.

Metro Aquatics 13-14 200-meter freestyle relay of Adrian Aguilar, Aitor Fungairino, Fernando Rodriguez and Andres Solares.

On Friday night, Victor Valdes of Hialeah broke the 10-and-under 100-meter breaststroke record in 1:23.89.

Weather and lightning delays played havoc with the meet throughout the Saturday afternoon and evening making it a long day for coaches, parents and swimmers. The three-day meet concludes on Sunday.


COMBINED TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club 580, 2. North Palm Beach 271, 3. Azura Florida Aquatics 232, 4. City of Hialeah Storm 226, 5. Gulliver 219, 6. Metro Aquatics 210, 7. Jupiter Dragons 203, 8. Pine Crest Swimming 160, 9. Blue Marlins of Hialeah Gardens 133, 10. East Coast Aquatic Club 121, 11. Miami Swimming 108, 12. Coral Springs Swim Club 99.

BOYS TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club 254, 2. City of Hialeah Storm 212, 3. Metro Aquatics 204, 4. Azura Florida Aquatic 131, 5. Miami Swimming 108.

GIRLS TEAM TOTALS: 1. South Florida Aquatic Club 326, 2. North Palm Beach 237, 3. Pine Crest Swiimming 143, 4. Gulliver Swim Club 139, 5. Azura Florida Aquatic 101.


200-meter breaststroke:

11-12, 1. Chelai Van Der Westhuizen, Pine Crest 2:51.30; SOFLO: 7. Molly Golding 3:03.44, best time, 14. Anabel Vazquez 3:15.34, best time, 25. Katrina Del Vecchio 3:20.79, best time; 13-14, 1. Victoria Miyamoto, Pompano Beach 2:40.91; SOFLO: 3. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:44.08, best time; 4. Kelley Heron 2:47.58, best time, 7. Delanie Perez 2:53.83, best time, 8. Jennifer Rodriguez 3:00.18, 26. Elise Larin 3:10.67, 32. Katherine De Barros 3:16.70.

200-meter freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Megan Murphy, East Coast 2:26.75; SOFLO: 4. Sara Quintero 2:28.28, best time, 12. Sally Golding 2:38.95, best time, 13. Erika Pelaez 2:39.13, best time, 23. Sarah Acevedo, SOFLO 2:44.85, best time; 30. Jasmine Aahmet 2:47.56, best time, 50. Jena Legaspi 2:54.27, best time, 63. Daniela Barreto 3:01.01; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Gulliver 20.40; SOFLO: 2. Vanessa Mesa 2:16.11, best time, 6. Marianna Serrao19.40, 10. Kyana Castro 2:22.29, 14. Molly Golding 2:25.79, best time, 19. Michelle Marinheiro 2:27.67, best time, 20. Valentina Carrion 2:28.11, best time, 25. Jacqueline Lugo 2:30.13, best time, 34. Alana Acevedo 2:32.80, best time, 50. Katrina Del Vecchio 2:40.19, 51. Lydia Szakacs 2:40.96; 13-14, 1. Kathleen Golding, SOFLO 2:06.96, best time; SOFLO: 17. Abolade Oyetunji 2:18.41, best time.

50-meter butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Heidi Smithwick, Jupiter 32.95; SOFLO: 6. Sara Quintero 35.90, best time, 12. Erika Pelaez 37.76, best time, 18. Bella Leggett 38.82, best time, 23. Jasmine Ahmet 40.29, 31. Jena Legaspi 41.58, best time; 11-12, 1. Vanessa Mesa, SOFLO 30.46; SOFLO: 8. Isabella Di Salvo 32.66, 12. Kyana Castro 33.58, best time, 21. Jacqueline Lugo 34.37, best time, 42. Alana Acevedo 37.23; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, Pine Crest Swimming 28.13; SOFLO: 2. Kathleen Golding 29.47, 45. Elise Larin 34.67, best time, 52. Abolade Oyetunji 35.19, best time, 56. Isabel Shashaty 35.47, 62. Zariya Harris 36.47, 65. Alexandra Crespo 37.11.

100-meter backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Adriana Gooding, Azura 1:17.61; SOFLO: 3. Sara Quintero, SOFLO 1:22.95, best time; 7. Erika Pelaez 1:25.92, best time, 12. Bella Leggett 1:27.53, best time, 21. Jena Legaspi 1:30.50, best time, 40. Sarah Acevedo 1:37.88; 11-12, 1. Jennifer Secrest, North Palm Beach 1:11.69; SOFLO: 5. Isabella Di Salvo 1:14.82, 9. Anabel Vazquez 1:17.92, best time, 12. Kayla Cunningham 1:19.19, best time, 22. Jacqueline Lugo 1:21.75, 38. Rebekah Ling 1:25.34; 13-14, 1. Melannie Vargas, Miami-Dade 1:08.50; SOFLO: 2. Kelley Heron 1:08.76, best time, 24. Katherine De Barros 1:18.80, 25. Abolade Oyetunji 1:20.07.

400-meter individual medley:

11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, Gulliver 5:09.75; SOFLO: 6. Molly Golding 5:45.23, best time, 7. Anabel Vazquez 5:46.57, best time; 13-14, 1. Alessandra Baldari, North Palm Beach 5:07.43; SOFLO: 12. Delanie Perez 5:31.42, best time, 15. Jennifer Rodriguez 5:39.75, best time, 25. Alexandra Crespo 5:49.43, best time, 33. Katherine De Barros 5:57.48, 37. Elise Larin 6:06.42.

200-meter freestyle relay:

10-and-under, 1. North Palm Beach 2:09.51 (Sierra Robinson, Kiara Caamano, Charlotte Levet, Ganriela Santiago), 2. East Coast 2:13.79, 3. Azura Florida Aquatics 2:15.21, 6. SOFLO “A” 2:18.70 (Erika Pelaez, Jasmine Ahmet, Sally Golding, Sara Quintero), 14. SOFLO “B” 2:30.30 (Sarah Acevedo, Daniela Barreto, Jena Legaspi, Bella Leggett).

200-meter medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. Coral Springs Swim Club 2:33.07, 2. SOFLO “A” 2:33.72 (Jena Legaspi, Sabrina Osorio, Sarah Acevedo, Bella Leggett), 3. East Coast Aquatic Club 2:34.03, 12. SOFLO “B” 2:47.12 (Erika Pelaez, Sally Golding, Jasmine Ahmet, Sara Quintero); 11-12, 1. North Palm Beach 2:13.69 (Nicole Gomez, Rachel Cherelstein, Jennifer Secrest, Hanna Emerson), 2. SOFLO “A” 2:14.32 (Anabel Vazquez, Marianna Serrao, Isabella Di Salvo, Vanessa Mesa), 3. Hialeah 2:19.86, 7. SOFLO “B” 2:22.16 (Jacqueline Lugo, Molly Golding, Kyana Castro, Valentina Carrion).

400-meter medley relay:

11-12, 1. SOFLO “A” 4:51.94 (Isabella Di Salvo, Marianna Serrao, Kyana Castro, Vanessa Mesa), 2. North Palm Beach 4:55.32, 3. Gulliver Swim Club 5:08.69, 6. SOFLO “B” 5:15.44 (Anabel Vazquez, Molly Golding, Michelle Marinheiro, Valentina Carrion); 13-14, 1. SOFLO “A” 4:40.37 (Kelley Heron, Delanie Perez, Kathleen Golding, Abolade Oyetunji), 2. Pine Crest Swimming 4:42.19, 3. North Palm Beach 4:47.77, 10. SOFLO “B” 5:17.93 (Katherine De Barros, Jennifer Rodriguez, Zariya Harris, Alexandra Crespo).


200-meter breaststroke:

11-12, 1. Jonathan Rodriguez, Gulliver 2:52.22; SOFLO: 6. Jie Hoon Lee 3:03.75, best time; 13-14, 1. Felipe Urrutia, Miami Swimming 2:30.88; SOFLO: 2. Ervin Marin 2:36.79, best time, 9. Samuel Quintero 2:47.52, best time, sectional time, 15. Brandon Moran 2:55.60, best time.

200-meter freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Kaii Winkler, Unattached 2:27.18; SOFLO: 12. Zackary Harris 2:38.50, 21. Alex Golding 2:43.14, best time, 31. Alejandro Mateus 2:51.83, best time; 11-12, 1. Rafael Rodiguez, SOFLO 2:06.93, best time; SOFLO: 5. Michael Arias 2:19.02, 6. Eiza Gantus 2:20.80, best time 23. Nicolas Rossi 2:30.10; 13-14, 1. Albert Gomez Miami-Dade 1:57.54; SOFLO: 4. Kevin Porto 2:03.76, best time, 18. Juan Osorio 2:10.26, best time, 58. Andres Arias 2:19.47, best time.

50-meter butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Joshua Zuchowski, Jupiter 32.50; SOFLO: 7. Zackary Harris 35.94, best time; 11-12, 1. Bryan Rivero, HSC 30.13; SOFLO: 10. Eiza Gantus 33.34, best time, 43. Nicolas Rossi 37.04; 13-14, 1. Adrian Aguilar, Metro Aquatics 27.25; SOFLO: 27. Gabriel Segui 31.57.

100-meter backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Joshua Zuchowski, Jupiter 1:12.17; SOFLO: 17. Alex Golding 1:29.67, best time, 20. Alejandro Mateus 1:30.30, best time; 11-12, 1. Elvis Kotikovski, Azura 1:05.50; SOFLO: 3. Leonardo Mateus 1:10.35, best time, 10. John Paul Handal 1:18.83, best time, 14. Jie Hoon Lee 1:19.98, best time, 27. Marcos Vazquez 1:25.49, best time; 13-14, 1. Alberto Gomez, Miami-Dade 1:00.98; SOFLO: 5. Kevin Porto 1:06.01.

400-meter individual medley:

11-12, 1. Rafael Rodriguez, SOFLO 5:02.92; SOFLO: 2. Leonardo Mateus 5:12.87, 7. Jie Hoon Lee 5:41.70, best time; 13-14, 1. Miguel Cancel, Miami Swimming 4:46.72; SOFLO: 2. Ervin Marin 4:56.47, best time, 12. Samuel Quintero 5:15.77, best time, 18. Brandon Moran 5:32.99, best time, 21. Gabriel Segui 5:53.55.

200-meter medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. Jupiter 2:25.09 (Brandon Hiebert, Jacob Roman, Joshua Zuchowski, Trenton Edwards), 2. Hialeah 2:26.21, 3. North Miami Swim Team 2:30.20, 9. SOFLO “A” 2:45.81 (Tanner Gibson, Alex Golding, Alejandro Mateus, Zackary Harris); 11-12, 1. Hialeah 2:10.06 (Aaron Rodriguez, Michael Fernandez, Bryan Rivero, Daniel Quijada), 2. SOFLO 2:11.39 (Leonardo Mateus, Eiza Gantus, Rafael Rodriguez, Michael Arias), 3. Metro Aquatics 2:11.41, 9. SOFLO “B” 2:28.70 (Marcos Vazquez, John Paul Handal, Jie Hoon Lee, Nicolas Rossi); 13-14, 1. Metro Aquatics 1:58.73 (Aitor Fungarino, Adrian Aguilar, Andres Solares, Fernando Rodriguez), 2. Miami Swimming 2:00.31, 3. SOFLO “A” 2:02.51 (Kevin Porto, Samuel Quintero, Ervin Marin, Juan Osorio).

400-meter medley relay:

11-12, 1. SOFLO “A” 4:46.89 (Leonardo Mateus, Rafael Rodriguez, Jie Hoon Lee, Eiza Gantus), 2. Hialeah 4:48.46, 3. Metro Aquatics 4:53.94, 10. SOFLO “B” 5:35.89 (Marcos Vazquez, Michael Arias, John Paul Handal, Nicolas Rossi); 13-14, 1. Metro Aquatics 4:20.63 (Aitor Fungairino, Adrian Aguilar, Andres Solares, Fernando Rodriguez), 2. Miami Swimming 4:27.44, 3. SOFLO “A” 4:32.25 (Kevin Porto, Samuel Quintero, Ervin Marin, Juan Osorio).

200-meter freestyle relay:

10-and-under, 1. Jupiter 2:08.59 (Brandon Hiebert, Jacob Roman, Trenton Edwards, Joshua Zuchowski), 2. Hialeah 2:08.74, 3. North Miami Swim Team 2:14.88, 8. SOFLO “A” 2:24.05 (Alejandro Mateus, Alex Golding, Tanner Gibson, Zackary Harris).


What: 14 & Under Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

When: Sunday

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

Schedule: Sunday, Session 7, 8:30-11:18 a.m., Session 8, 10-and-under timed finals, noon-1:27 p.m.; Session 9, 2:30-5:58 p.m.; Session 10, 6:30-7:48 p.m.

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

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Kopas, Girls’ Relay Break FGC Open Records, SOFLO Leads After Day 2 Of FGC Junior Olympics

SOFLO’s Kopas, Girls’ Relay Break FGC Open Records, SOFLO Leads After Day 2 Of FGC Junior Olympics


July 17, 2010

PLANTATION—Buoyed by two Florida Gold Coast open records and ninety-three career-best swims, South Florida Aquatic Club leads the combined and girls team standings heading into the third and final day of the 14-and-under Junior Olympics Long Course Championships.

In a close battle, SOFLO leads the girls team race for the second consecutive day with 283 points at Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex. Fort Lauderdale Aquatics is second with 221.

FLA leads the boys standings with 219, just four points ahead of SOFLO with 215.

In the combined team standings, SOFLO leads the 29-team field with 498. FLA is second with 440 and defending champion Lake Lytal Lightning is third with 310.50.

SOFLO had its strongest showing on Saturday night with outstanding record-breaking swims.

SOFLO’s girls 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay of Eden Cooke, 10, Kelley Heron, 10, Delanie Perez, 10, and Catharine Cooper, 10, broke the seven-year-old Florida Gold Coast open record in 2 minutes, 29.87 seconds. The relay’s seed time was 2:31.06.

The previous record of 2:30.75 was set on July 29, 2004 by the Coral Springs Swim Club relay of Caitlin Cole, Lucia Morris, Lindsey McKnight and Anne Kuczynski.

“We had two swimmers from each team (Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets Swim Team),” said SOFLO head coach Michael Lohberg. “This symbolizes the true spirit of the merger.”

Teenager Emily Kopas continued her “sparkling” swims with a FGC open record performance and two career-bests. Kopas broke a nine-year-old FGC record.

Kopas, 13, won the girls 13-14 200-meter breaststroke in 2:35.16, dropping five seconds off her career-best of 2:40.20. Her splits were 35.20, 39.60, 39.94 and 40.42.

The previous FGC open record of 2:35.63 was set August 12, 2002 by Samantha Heath of Pine Crest Swimming.

Also in the 200-meter breaststroke, Kayla Moodie, 13, swam a career-best time of 2:54.55 to finish fifth. Her previous-best was 2:56.35.

Kopas also posted a career-best time in the 13-14 400-meter individual medley to win in 5:12.39. Her previous best was 5:14.49.

SOFLO had two more victories in relays.

The girls’ 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle relay of Eden Cooke, Kelley Heron, Megan Schimansky and Catharine Cooper won in 2:14.27. SOFLO’s “B” team of Hannah Virgin, Delanie Perez, Jennifer Rodriguez and Maya Ginzburg finished sixth in a season-best 2:25.72.

The boys’ 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle relay of Kevin Porto, 10, Federico Maeso, 10, Ricardo Roche, 10 and Jorge Depassier, 10, won in a season-best 2:11.55.

SOFLO’s girls 11-12 400-meter medley relay of Steph Campo, 12, Audrey Mason, 12, Jenna Deal, 12, and Carly Swanson, 12, were third in a season-best 5:13.87.

Another SOFLO individual champion was Kelley Heron, 10, who captured the 10-and-under 100-meter backstroke in a career-best 1:21.45. Her previous best was 1:21.56. Teammate Eden Cooke, 10, was second in a career-best 1:21.60. Her previous best was 1:21.78.

Cooke continued her winning ways, capturing the 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle in a career-best 2:26.92. Her previous best was 2:29.02.

Cooke was also fifth in the 50-meter butterfly in 37.28.

Heron was second in the 200 freestyle in 2:27.81, also a career-best. Her previous best was 2:29.97. Catharine Cooper was fourth in 2:31.99, also a career-best.

Tyla Martin, 13, competing in the 13-14 JOs age group for the first time, was third in the 50-meter butterfly in 30.04, just off her best time of 30.03. Martin, like many of her teammates, is preparing for the Zone Championships in Atlanta later this month.

Leading the boys team for the second consecutive day was Marco Hosfeld, 14. He outsprinted Quinn Cassidy, 14, of St. Andrew’s Swimming to win the 200-meter freestyle in a career-best 2:01.37. His previous best was 2:02.71.

Hosfeld led off SOFLO’s 13-14 400-meter medley relay team of Dylan Sell, 13, Blake Kelley, 14 and August Charni, 13, that finished second in a season-best 4:28.95.

SOFLO’s girls 11-12 200-meter medley relay team of Steph Campo, 12, Audrey Mason, 12, Jenna Deal, 12, and Carly Swanson, 12, was second in a season-best 2:19.45.

SOFLO’s boys 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay team of Federico Maeso, 10, Ricardo Roche, 10, Kevin Porto, 10, and Jorge Depassier, 10, was third in a season-best 2:34.91.

SOFLO’s girls 13-14 400-meter medley relay team of Leonie Davies, 14, Kayla Moodie, 13, Maria Lopez, 14, and Emma Lincoln, 14, finished third in 4:52.62.

Kevin Porto, 10, was third in the 10-and-under 100-meter backstroke in a career-best 1:22.31. His previous best was 1:23.31 which he first bettered in morning prelims in 1:22.80.

Porto was also fifth in the 50-meter butterfly in 35.62 (swam career-best 35.55 in prelims). SOFLO teammate Nicholas Perera, 10, was sixth in 35.88, another career-best

For the second day in a row, SOFLO seed times tumbled with swimmers posting 55 career-best swims in morning prelims and another 38 in finals. Over two days, SOFLO has had 196 career-best times.

Other SOFLO top finishes:

Boys 11-12 200-meter medley relay: 4. SOFLO (Gustavo Valery, 12, Diego Rodriguez, 12, Carlos Rodriguez, 11, Cristian Rossi, 11), 2:20.46, season-best.

Girls 13-14 200-meter medley relay: 4. SOFLO (Leonie Davies, 14, Kelly Kealty, 13, Maria Lopez, 14, Emma Lincoln, 14), 2:13.75, season-best.

Girls 11-12 200-meter freestyle: 4. Carly Swanson, 12, 2:23.68, career-best.

Girls 11-12 200-meter breaststroke: 4. Audrey Mason, 12, 3:02.84, career-best.

Boys 11-12 400-meter medley relay: 5. SOFLO (Gustavo Valery, 12, Diego Rodriguez, 12, Carlos Rodriguez, 11, Raphael Mora, 12), 5:21.29.

Girls 13-14 50-meter butterfly: 5. Maria Lopez, 14, 31.01, equals career-best.

Girls 13-14 50-meter butterfly; 6. Emma Lincoln, 14, 31.12.

Boys 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle: 6. Ricardo Roche, 10, 2:32.90.

Boys 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle relay: 6. SOFLO (Gus Cohn, 9, Jonathan Skarie, 8, Andres Lares, 10, Nicholas Perera, 10) 2:27.57.

Boys 11-12 100-meter backstroke: 6. Gustavo Valery, 12, 1:18.02, swam career-best 1:17.47 in prelims.

Boys 13-14 200-meter freestyle: 6. Blake Kelley, 14, 2:07.35, career-best.

Girls 11-12 100-meter backstroke: 7. Danielle Ginzburg, 12, 1:19.97.

Girls 11-12 200-meter breaststrokeL 7. Jess Rodriguez, 11, 3:09.66, career-best.

Boys 11-12 200-meter freestyle: 7. Alfredo Mesa, 11, 2:25.96, swam season-best 2:22.73 in prelims.

Boys 13-14 200-meter medley relay: 7. SOFLO (August Charni, 13, Joshua Cutter, 14, Blake Kelley, 14, Marco Hosfeld, 14), 2:07.04, season-best.

Boys 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay: 8. SOFLO (Andres Lares, 10, Jonathan Skarie, 8, Nicholas Perera, 10, and Gus Cohn, 9), season-best 2:46.93.

Boys 10-and-under 200-meter freestyle: 8. Kevin Porto, 10, career-best 2:34.80.

Girls 11-12 200-meter medley relay: 8. SOFLO (Danielle Ginzburg, 12, Rebecca Sadler, 12, Monica Rodriguez, 12, Jessica Rodriguez, 11), season-best 2:28.44.

Boys 11-12 200-meter medley relay: 9. SOFLO (Juan Lucas, 11, Alexander Monti, 12, Aaron Wint, 12, Raphael Mora, 12), season-best 2:27.30.

Boys 11-12 400-meter medley relay: 9. SOFLO (Juan Lucas, 11, Alexander Monti, 12, Andres Menchaca, 12, Alfredo Mesa, 11) 5:27.58.

Boys 11-12 200-meter breaststroke: 8. Diego Rodriguez, 12, 3:14.63.

Boys 13-14 200-meter breaststroke: 9. Dylan Sell, 13, 2:48.85, career-best.

Girls 11-12 400-meter individual medley: 9. Jess Rodriguez, 11, 5:50.52.

Girls 11-12 400-meter medley relay: 9. SOFLO (Danielle Ginzburg, 12, Rebecca Sadler, 12, Monica Rodriguez, 12, Jessica Rodriguez, 11) 5:28.82, season-best.

Boys 10-and-under 100-meter backstroke: 10. Ricardo Roche, 10, 1:26.95.

Girls 10-and-under 200-meter medley relay: 10. SOFLO (Megan Schimansky, 10, Jennifer Rodriguez, 9, Hannah Virgin, 9, Maya Ginzburg, 10), 2:56.70.


What: Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

When: Sunday, prelims 8:30 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW 2nd St., Plantation.

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

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Cooke, Heron, Hosfeld, Kopas and Lopez Come Up Big On Day One Of FGC Junior Olympics

SOFLO’s Cooke, Heron, Hosfeld, Kopas and Lopez Come Up Big On Day One Of FGC Junior Olympics


July 16, 2010

PLANTATION—The opening day of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Long Course Championships brought out the best in the South Florida Aquatic Club.

SOFLO, competing for the first time as a team at the JO long course meet, turned in 58 career-best times in morning prelims at Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex.

SOFLO came back to add another 45 career-best swims in finals to highlight opening day action in the three-day meet that features the Florida Gold Coast’s best 14-and-under age group swimmers.

Next weekend the seniors will have their turn at the FGC Senior Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

But Friday it was the younger swimmers time to shine and shine they did.

Emily Kopas, 13, set the tone in the championship finals with SOFLO’s first victory of the night in the 13-14 200-meter backstroke.

Kopas, seeded second after morning prelims, won the event with a career-best time of 2 minutes, 27.72 seconds. Her previous best was 2:32.03.

Later in the night, Kopas won her second event in the 100-meter breaststroke. After swimming a junior national cut time (1:14.09) two weeks ago, Kopas came back to better her career-best time in finals in 1:13.73.

Kopas was the team’s only double winner in individual events.

Speedster Eden Cooke, 10, won the 10-and-under 50-meter freestyle against a fast field that included teammate Catharine Cooper, 10. Cooke won in 31.79, just off her career-best of 31.28.

Cooper was second in 31.98. Cooper swam back-to-back career bests in prelims (32.58) and finals (31.98) bettering her previous best of 33.24.

Cooper was also fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in a career-best 1:38.01 and fourth in the 400-meter freestyle in 5:18.64, also a career-best.

“It was a pretty challenging race,” Cooke said. “There were some pretty good people in the race.

“It is nice to race my teammates like Catharine, we push each other. It was a good win.  I am happy to start the meet with a win. I want and hope to place high in all my events.

“I notice from practices I am getting faster,” said Cooke. “I like being a sprinter and I like being fast. It’s not as hard as the other races and it’s short. I am happy our team is doing good. I’m excited for the next day’s events.”

Kelley Heron, 10, kept the 10-year-olds’ streak going with a win in the 10-and-under 100-meter breaststroke. Heron swam a career-best in morning prelims in 1:29.54 and came back to win in 1:29.88. Her previous best time was 1:31.76.

Maria Lopez, 14, swam back-to-back career-bests in the 100-meter butterfly. She swam a career-best and second fastest time in morning prelims in 1:07.51, bettering her previous best of 1:08.67. She came back to win finals in another best time of 1:07.47.

Leading the boys team was Marco Hosfeld, 14, who turned in a career-best of 4:19.62 to win the 13-14 400-meter freestyle in an exciting race. Boleck Depawlikowski, 14, was second in 4:19.93. Hosfeld’s previous best was 4:21.91.

Ricardo Roche, 10, was second in the 10-and-under 400-meter freestyle in a career-best 5:14.27. His previous best was 5:14.90.

SOFLO scored some big points in the relay competition. The girls 13-14 800-meter freestyle relay of Kristina Brennan, 14, Leonie Davies, 14, Andrea Melendez, 13, and Emma Lincoln, 14, won in 9:10.55 to finish ahead of AK Sharks and Pine Crest Swimming.

SOFLO’s boys 13-14 800-meter freestyle relay of Dylan Sell, 13, Kyle Desrosiers, 14, Blake Kelley, 14 and Hosfeld finished second in 8:50.32.

SOFLO head coach Michael Loberg called Kopas and Hosfeld’s swims “sparkling.”

“The finals were significantly faster than prelims which is good,” Lohberg said. “We had some really spectacular swims and a couple nice swims. We are happy with the way the kids performed especially at night. We are swimming well together.

“The best swim was Emily’s 100 breaststroke,” Lohberg said. “She made her junior national cut time two weeks ago at our meet and then dropped more time which is really, really good. It was a way better swim.”

Several SOFLO swimmers are not competing in multiple events, opting instead to focus on the July 27-31 Southern Zone Championships in Atlanta.

Other SOFLO top swims in finals were:

Girls 13-14 200-meter freestyle relay: third, 1:57.19, season-best.

Boys 13-14 200-meter freestyle relay: fourth, 1:49.41, season-best.

Boys 11-12 200-meter backstroke: 3. Gustavo Valery, 12, 2:43.82, career-best; 5. Alfredo Mesa, 11, 2:46.13, career-best; 6. John Lucas, 11, 2:48.12, career-best.

Girls 13-14 200-meter backstroke: 8. Leonie Davies, 14, 2:39.64.

Boys 13-14 200-meter backstroke: 4. Dylan Sell, 13, 2:30.74.

Boys 10-and-under 50-meter freestyle: 6. Jorge Depassier, 10, 32.61.

Girls 11-12 50-meter freestyle: 4. Steph Campo, 12, 30.10.

Girls 13-14 50-meter freestyle: 4. Emma Lincoln, 14, 28.56, career-best.

Girls 10-and-under 100-meter breaststroke: 7. Delanie Perez, 10, 1:41.64.

Boys 10-and-under 100-meter breaststroke: 6. Jonathan Skarie, 8, 1:39.21, career-best.

Boys 11-12 100-meter breaststroke: 5. Diego Rodriguez, 12, 1:26.76, career-best.

Girls 13-14 100-meter breaststroke: 6. Kayla Moodie, 13, 1:21.15, career-best; 7. Emma Lincoln, 14, 1:22.90, career-best.

Boys 13-14 100-meter breaststroke: 8. Dylan Sell, 13, 1:20.19.

Boys 10-and-under 100-meter butterfly: 5. Kevin Porto, 10, 1:22.50, career-best; 7. Nicholas Perera, 10, 1:23.56, career-best.

Girls 13-14 100-meter butterfly: 6. Kristina Brennan, 14, 1:09.93, career-best.

Girls 10-and-under 400-meter freestyle: 16. Jennifer Rodriguez, 9, 5:56.99, career-best.

Boys 10-and-under 400-meter freestyle: 6. Kevin Porto, 10, 5:18.86, career-best; 12. Federico Maeso, 10, 5:36.53, career-best; 13. Nicholas Perera, 10, 5:37.58, career-best; 22. Andres Lares, 10, 6:20.22, career-best.

Girls 11-12 400-meter freestyle: 4. Carly Swanson, 12, 4:58.78; 23. Jessica Rodriguez, 11, 5:21.02; 27. Maria Rodriguez, 12, 5:25.65; 35. Alani Carrasco, 11, 5:32.39.

Boys 11-12 400-meter freestyle: 7. Raphael Mora, 12, 4:58.03; 8. Carlos Rodriguez, 11, 5:08.30, career-best; 16. Gustavo Valery, 12, 5:15.82, career-best; 18. Alexander Viloria, 12, 5:16.25, career-best; 19. John Lucas, 11, 5:17.45;  21. Arie Van Der Vlist, 11, 5:18.21; 27. Cristian Rossi, 11, 5:25.31, career-best; 37. Santiago Arango, 12, 5:38.57, career-best; 40. Rodrigo Rodriguez, 11, 5:44.71.

Girls 13-14 400-meter freestyle: 11. Leonie Davies, 14, 4:48.99; 13. Kayla Moodie, 13, 4:50.39, career-best; 14. Kristina Brennan, 14, 4:50.95, career-best; 22. Jenna Diaz, 13, 4:59.08, career-best; 28. Haley Wright, 13, 5:07.61.

Boys 13-14 400-meter freestyle: 4. Blake Kelley, 14, 4:27.04, career-best; 7. Dylan Sell, 13, 4:31.57; 12. Kyle Desrosiers, 14, 4:43.41, career-best; 14. Roger Capote, 14, 4:45.60, career-best; 30. Edward Kon, 14, 4:59.96, career-best; 33. Teddy Sandoval, 13, 5:01.89.

Girls 11-12 400-meter freestyle relay: 3. SOFLO 4:36.39; 10. SOFLO, 4:50.25, season-best.

Boys 11-12 400-meter freestyle relay: 3. SOFLO 4:33.52; 6. SOFLO 4:38.03, season-best.

Girls 13-14 800-meter freestyle: 9. SOFLO 9:37.41.

Boys 13-14 800-meter freestyle: 9. SOFLO 9:23.10, season-best.

The three-day meet continues Saturday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and championship finals at 5 p.m. The public is welcome.


What: Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics

When: Saturday-Sunday, prelims 8:30 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW 2nd St., Plantation.

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

Sharon Robb can be reached at