SOFLO’s Rose Lockie Named Boys’ Coach of the Year; Three SOFLO Swimmers Selected First-Team All-County

By Sharon Robb
December 21, 2016—South Florida Aquatic Club longtime age group coach Rose Lockie was named the 2016 Broward All-County Boys Coach of the Year.

Selected by the Sun-Sentinel and announed on Wednesday, the age group and high school coach was selected after leading Pembroke Pines Charter to its’ first undefeated season with an 8-0 record, including a first-ever victory over Cypress Bay.

Unlike several high school coaches, Lockie coaches the boys at both the high school and club level. The Jaguars finished among the Top 10 at the FHSAA State 3A meet.

Lockie called it her “most enjoyable” season in her eight years of high school coaching.

Lockie started coaching late in life and actively got involved in coaching age group swimmers when she moved to Florida in 1995. She started coaching with the Comets/SOFLO program in 2006.

Lockie has served as coach on several All-Star teams in the Florida Gold Coast. She is a two-time Florida Gold Coast Age Group Coach of the Year and 2014 ASCA Age Group Coach of the Year finalist.

Lockie is joined by two of her Pembroke Pines Charter swimmers on first team All-County. Junior Ricardo Roche was selected for the 500-yard freestyle and junior Kellie Heron was chosen in the 100-yard backstroke.

Roche turned in his finest high school season with best times in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle and also competed on relays. Roche placed among the Top 10 at the state meet in his specialty events.

Pembroke Pines Charter teammates Andres Lares, Juan Lucas and Rafael Rodriguez were named honorable mention.

SOFLO boys named to honorable mention were C.J. Kopecki and Kevin Porto of American Heritage; Leonardo Mateus of Everglades; Samuel Quintero of Sagemont; Esteban Diaz-Velasco of Somerset; and Max Asnis of University School.

Heron, a three-time high school MVP, also enjoyed her best high school season. She broke school records in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard backstroke while making her junior national cuts. She was state runner-up in the 100-yard backstroke and fourth in the 200 IM.

Also named to the first team for the second consecutive year from SOFLO was Cooper City sophomore Kathleen Golding in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly. The 2016 U.S. Olympic trials qualified defended her state title in the 200 IM and was fourth in the butterfly.

SOFLO swimmers named to the girls honorable mention were Emiliana Pelaez of Cypress Bay and Elise Larin of Somerset.

It was SOFLO’s finest showing on an all-county team since the program’s inception. Only Broward County swimmers were eligible. The Miami Herald is expected to announce its Broward and Dade all-county teams in January.

Jessica Nava of Westminster Academy and Philippe Marcoux of Fort Lauderdale were named Girl and Boy Swimmers of the Year. Jay Fitzgerald of Pine Crest was named Girls Coach of the Year after the Panthers just missed winning a state title in 26 years by 10 points.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


PLANTATION—The Comets had a big opening night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Swimming Championships at the Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex.


PLANTATION—The Comets had a big opening night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Swimming Championships at the Plantation Central Park Aquatic Complex.

Ashley Hicks, 18, won the women’s 200-yard backstroke Friday in 2 minutes and 04.40 seconds, bettering her prelim time of 2:06.69. Her career-best is 1:59.86.

After a quick warm down, Hicks came back and finished eighth in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.37, slower than her morning prelim time of 54.24.

“I felt pretty strong in my backstroke,” Hicks said. “I was a little nervous, you never know how you are going to do but I was happy with my swim. I did want to go faster but it was a pretty short season. It was a good swim. I just wanted to see what I could do.

“My freestyle was okay,” Hicks said. “I didn’t have a lot of time between events.”

Hicks, a senior at Coral Springs Charter who lives in Sunrise, is one of three Comets headed to Florida State in the fall. Tiffany Oliver and Tyler Sell also signed with the Seminoles after outstanding high school careers.

“It’s always a hard decision choosing a college, it’s a big decision that affects your life,” Hicks said. “I am really happy with my decision. I am glad I stayed with swimming. It’s done so much for me. I have gotten so many good results out of it.”

Hicks swims three events on Saturday and three more on Sunday. She said she is using this weekend’s meet as a stepping stone to bigger meets this summer before beginning a new chapter in college swimming.

FSU coach Neil Harper expects Hicks to make an immediate impact as a freshman.

“Ashley will come to FSU and make an immediate impact in the 100 and 200s of freestyle and especially backstroke,” Harper said after signing her. “She has a beautiful technique that once our training schedule kicks in will be able to race and rival the best in the ACC.”

Another Comets champion Friday night was Tiffany Oliver, 17, who won the women’s 100-yard freestyle in 51.90, faster than her prelim time of 52.33. Her career-best is 50.32. Club mate Melissa Fernandez, 17, was second in 52.63, bettering her prelim time of 53.79. Her seed time was 52.44.

Oliver was also fourth in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:10.49, bettering her prelim time of 2:13.09.

Oliver, a senior at Cypress Bay who lives in Southwest Ranches, is another outstanding addition to the Seminoles’ recruiting class.

“Tiffany has amazing potential,” Harper said. “I am still amazed how fast she has swum to this point. She had instant chemistry with our staff and is excited about her future at Florida State.”

Other Top 20 girls’ finishers were:

*15-16 200-yard backstroke: 5. Amy Lunak, 16, career-best 2:15.11, bettering previous best of 2:16.19; 11. Madeleine Fernandez, 15, career-best 2:19.70, bettering 2:21.45; 15. Belinda De La Torre, 15, 15th, career-best 2:24.29, bettering 2:25.36; 16. Nicolle Garcia, 16, career-best 2:24.43, bettering 2:26.67; 20. Juana Vargas, 16, 2:26.14.

*15-16 100-yard freestyle: 9. Katie Brennan, 16, 56.11; 20. Juana Vargas, 16, 57.62.

*Open 100-yard freestyle: 15. Brittany Williford, 17, 56.64; 17. Bianca Muniz, 18, 56.94.

*15-16 200-yard butterfly: 10. Juana Vargas, 16, 2:20.31; 15. Chloe Sell, 15, 2:24.51.

*Open 200-yard butterfly: 13. Stephanie Freiria, 17, 2:32.53.

*15-16-yard breaststroke: 18. Amy Lunak, 16, 35.48.

*Open 50-yard breaststroke: 9. Bianca Muniz, 18, 34.04.

*15-16 500-yard freestyle: 9. Katie Brennan, 16, 5:20.64; 16. Chloe Sell, 15, 5:34.08.

*Open 500-yard freestyle: 6. Brittany Williford, 17, 5:21.64.


Marc Rojas, 16, was the Comets’ top boys finisher after capturing the 15-16 50-yard breaststroke in 28.05, bettering his prelim time of 28.66. His seed time was 27.99.

In one of the most exciting races of the night, Rojas outsprinted Daniel Spas, 15, of Heritage Aquatics who finished in 28.07.

Rojas then went the distance by finishing fifth in the 15-16 500-yard freestyle in 4:49.14 after swimming 4:46.65 in prelims. His seed time was 4:44.79.

The versatile Tyler Sell was second in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:36.38, bettering his prelim time of 4:45.38. He was also third in the men’s 200-yard butterfly in 1:56.09, bettering his prelim time of 1:58.70.

Other Top 20 boys’ finishers were:

*15-16 200-yard backstroke: 11. Ivan Parada, 15, career-best 2:02.02, bettering 2:02.64; 15. Paul Guarino, 15, career-best 2:08.77, bettering 2:01.21.

*Open 200-yard backstroke: 3. Carlo Morante, 17, 1:59.46; 10. Gabriel Pena, 17, 2:10.20; 11. Andrew Ling, 17, 2:07.71.

*15-16 100-yard freestyle: 12. Marc Rojas, 16, career-best 49.82, bettering 50.52.

*Open 100-yard freestyle: 16. Andrew Ling, 17, 50.64.

*15-16 200-yard butterfly: 18. Mike Franco, 15, 2:05.57.

*Open 200-yard butterfly: 8. Travis Lockie, 18, 2:00.50; 12. Gabriel Pena, 17, 2:05.81; 13. Julio Simon, 18, 2:12.50.

*Open 50-yard breaststroke: 6. Andrew Ling, 17, career-best 29.86, bettering 31.54; 7. James Shultz, 18, career-best 30.06, bettering 30.89.

*Open 500-yard freestyle: 5. Carlo Morante, 17, 4:50.61; 6. Travis Lockie, 18, 4:55.47; 10. Gabriel Pena, 17, 5:10.40; 13. Julio Simon, 18, 5:20.18.

After Day One, the team point leaders are Fort Lauderdale Aquatics, Metro Aquatics, Plantation Swim Team and AK Sharks.

The Comets and Coral Springs Swim Club swimmers are swimming unattached during the 120-day mandatory period before the teams merge into the South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO).

The opening day’s competition featured 319 swimmers in the field. It is the first time the Florida Gold Coast separated the senior swimmers from the Junior Olympic swimmers into two meets.

The three-day meet continues today with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. Admission is $3 per session and $2 heat sheets. For information call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at