SOFLO Ends “Spectacular Summer” At FGC Seniors Championship

SOFLO Ends “Spectacular Summer” At FGC Seniors Championship


CORAL SPRINGS—The South Florida Aquatic Club ended what head coach Michael Lohberg called “a spectacular summer” Sunday night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships.

With a few exceptions, swimmers will take a well-deserved three-week break before resuming workouts.

For the second week in a row, SOFLO put together another impressive “big meet” performance.

SOFLO, despite competing without several swimmers because of this week’s Southern Zone Championships in Atlanta, finished second in the combined team standings with 1,526.50 points at the rain-soaked Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

SOFLO finished third in the men’s (745) and women’s (771.50) team standings.

Fort Lauderdale Aquatics won the combined and women’s team titles with 2,017.50. Metro Aquatic Club of Miami was third in combined with 1,270 and won the men’s title.

SOFLO’s Nicholas Schwab, 19, was among high point winners in the men’s 17-and-over division, fifth with 72 points. Tyler Sell, 18, tied for eighth with 64 points and Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, was tenth with 61 points.

A field of more than 600 swimmers from 40 teams competed over three days producing some outstanding career-best swims including SOFLO’s Brandon Goldman, Luke Torres, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Elle Weberg, Emily Kopas, Vlad Polyakov, Brittney Phelan, Nicholas Schwab and Alex Rodriguez.

“We had several outstanding swims over the three days,” Lohberg said. “We had some really nice swims, a lot of dropped times and breakthrough swims. We had quite a few actually who did well. I am very happy with the meet. When it comes to the results, kids who were suppose to swim fast and we hoped would swim fast definitely came through.

“We are very happy. If you put together the Junior Olympics and this meet it was awesome results. It couldn’t be better.”

It was the last major Florida Gold Coast meet of the summer. Only the Southern Zone Championships in Atlanta, Junior and Senior Nationals in Irvine, Calif. remain before the fall high school and club season.

“This is it for a while,” Lohberg said. “We will offer practices for kids who already went on vacation but let’s say for instance my group is on a three-week vacation now.

“It was a long year,” Lohberg said. “They need to recharge. They need to get fresh. They need to be anxious to train when they come back.”

On the third and final night of competition that was delayed by bad weather, SOFLO won three individual events and three relays.

Olympic hopeful Elle Weberg, 25, despite being sick during the meet, won the 100-meter breaststroke in a career-best 1:09.86. She bettered her previous best of 1:11.89 in morning prelims in 1:09.92 and against a strong field that included four other SOFLO swimmers, came back stronger in the final.

“I felt ready but I know I could have done better, I wanted to do better,” Weberg said. “I just didn’t feel on. I felt tired. The first 25 felt good and the last 25 I was just dead.

“Michael created a whole new stroke for me and I have had about five months to start over. I am just not ready to race it yet.

“I know what I am capable of,” Weberg said. “I took two years off and I want it now. I am ready to have it now. It’s just my expectations but I know I have plenty of time to work on it.”

The women’s 100-meter breaststroke final looked more like the SOFLO Invitational with four swimmers sweeping the top four spots and another finishing seventh.

Emily Kopas, 13, was second in a career-best 1:13.17 followed by Melissa Cooper, 18, 1:13.24 and Brittney Phelan, 18, career-best 1:14.78. Gina Gautieri, 17, finished seventh in a career-best 1:18.84.

SOFLO’s Florida State-bound swimmers Tiffany Oliver and Tyler Sell were individual winners and left a lasting impression in their final home meet before they go off to college.

Oliver, working her way into championship form before the Aug. 9-13 Junior Nationals in Irvine, Calif., looked strong in the water during her victory in the 50-meter freestyle. Oliver, 17, seeded second, won in 27.23. Her best time is 26.63.

After competing in five events and relays, Sell, 18, won the 1500-meter freestyle in 16:25.25. His career-best is 15:36.29. Sell was the only SOFLO swimmer in the mile event.

Sell will compete in both the Aug. 3-7 Senior Nationals and Junior Nationals, both in Irvine, Calif.

SOFLO swept the men’s and women’s 200-meter medley relays.

The women’s relay of Ashley Hicks, 18, Elle Weberg, 25, Courtney Marx, 18, and Tiffany Oliver, 17, won in a season-best 2:01.09. Its seed time was 2:02.73.

SOFLO’s “B” women’s team finished third with Melissa Fernandez, 17, Melissa Cooper, 18, Maria Lopez, 14, and Linea Cutter, 16, in a season-best 2:06.05.

SOFLO’s men’s relay of Marco Camargo, 21, Vlad Polyakov, 26, Zain Qali, 22, and SOFLO age group coach Josh Laban, 27, won in an impressive season-best 1:47.54. The relay’s seed time was 1:51.74.

SOFLO’s “B” team of Carlo Morante, 17, Alex Rodriguez, 19, Tyler Sell, 18, and Justin Grigull, 18, was tenth in 1:55.13.

SOFLO also won the men’s 400-meter medley relay to finish out the meet on a winning note. The relay of Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, Vlad Polyakov, 26, Luke Torres, 16, and Josh Laban, 27, won in another season-best of 3:57.96. The relay’s seed time was 3:59.36. SOFLO’s “B” team of Carlo Morante, 17, Alex Rodriguez, 19, Tyler Sell, 18, and Marc Rojas, 16, was ninth in 4:15.67.

SOFLO’s women’s 400-meter medley relay of Ashley Hicks, 18, Melissa Cooper, 18, Courtney Marx, 18, and Tiffany Oliver, 17, was second in 4:37.09. SOFLO’s “B” team of Melissa Fernandez, 17, Brittney Phelan, 18, Maria Lopez, 14, and Linea Cutter, 16, was fourth in 4:38.59.

After his last relay swim, Torres went home to pack for his 6 a.m. Monday flight out of West Palm Beach to Atlanta for the Southern Zone Championships that begin Tuesday with the distance events.

Torres will be joined by SOFLO teammates Steph Campo, Diego Rodriguez, Emma Lincoln, Tyla Martin, Marco Hosfeld, Anne Kuczynski and Brandon Goldman on the FGC team roster. The eight swimmers all swam limited events during senior championships because of zones.

For SOFLO, the back-to-back JO and senior meets served as a good litmus test for the merger of the Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets Swim Team.

“This merger has turned out nicely,” Lohberg said. “The coaches working together and the kids being together was better and better and better. It is more and more fun so people have reached the level of comfort with each other and that opens doors. It was fun to watch. We had two weeks of fun.”

Other top SOFLO finishes were:

Marc Rojas, 16, second, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:08.80.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, second, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:06.22.

Luke Torres, 16, second, 50-meter butterfly, career-best 26.50.

Alex Rodriguez, 19, third, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:06.61.

Linea Cutter, 16, third, 50-meter freestyle, 28.07.

Brittany Williford, 17, third, 1500-meter freestyle, 18:23.78.

Matthew Bellew, 25, fourth, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:07.09.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, fourth, 200-meter individual medley, 2:11.26.

Melissa Cooper, 18, fifth, 50-meter freestyle, 28.09.

Keegan Boisson-Yates, fifth, 50-meter freestyle, 25.54.

Nicholas Schwab, 19, sixth, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:08.43.

Katie Brennan, 16, sixth, 1500-meter freestyle, 18:35.93.

Jenna Moodie, 15, seventh, 50-meter freestyle, 28.60.

Nicholas Schwab, 19, seventh, 200-meter individual medley, 2:15.72.

Tiffany Oliver, 17, ninth, 50-meter butterfly, 30.57.

Nicole Schein, 17, tenth, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:20.49.

Mariangela Macchiavello, 19, tenth, 50-meter freestyle, 28.44.

Zain Qali, 22, 11th, 50-meter butterfly, 26.71.

Tiffany Oliver, 17, 11th, 200-meter individual medley, 2:33.78.

Bianca Muniz, 18, 14th, 100-meter breaststroke, 1:24.02.

Linea Cutter, 16, 14th, 50-meter butterfly, 31.62.

Melissa Fernandez, 17, 16th, 50-meter freestyle, 29.09.

Jenna Moodie, 15, 16th, 50-meter butterfly, 31.73.

Courtney Marx, 18, 16th, 50-meter butterfly, 31.48.

Combined team totals: 1. Fort Lauderdale Aquatics 2,013.50, 2. SOFLO 1,516.50, 3. Metro Aquatic Club of Miami 1,278, 4. Empire Swimming 1,144.50, 5. Davie Nadadores 1,036.50.

Women team totals: 1. FLA 1,166.50, 2. Empire Swimming 786.50, 3. SOFLO 771.50, 4. Davie Nadadores 429, 5. Miami Swimming 400.50.

Men team totals: 1. Metro Aquatic Club of Miami 1,036, 2. FLA 847, 3. SOFLO 745, 4. Davie Nadadores 607.50, 5. Pine Crest Swimming 423.50.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Women’s 200 Free Relay, Torres, Phelan Come Up Big; SOFLO Moves Into Second After Day Two Of FGC Seniors Championships

SOFLO Women’s 200 Free Relay, Torres, Phelan Come Up Big; SOFLO Moves Into Second After Day Two Of FGC Seniors Championships


July 24, 2010

CORAL SPRINGS—The South Florida Aquatic Club continued to turn heads Saturday night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Heading into the third and final day of competition on Sunday, SOFLO is in second place with 928 points.

To start the night off right, SOFLO won the women’s 200-meter freestyle relay in 1 minute, 50.30 seconds.

Melissa Cooper, 18, Melissa Fernandez, 17, Linea Cutter, 16, and Tiffany Oliver, 17, finished ahead of Fort Lauderdale Aquatics (1:50.40) and Davie (1:51.57).

SOFLO’s “B” team of Courtney Marx, 18, Anne Kuczynski, 15, Lara Moseley, 19, and Mariangela Macchiavello, 19, finished eighth in 1:55.80.

SOFLO’s men’s 200-meter freestyle relay team of Les Moore, 18, Justin Grigull, 18, Rory Grigull, 20, and SOFLO age group coach Josh Laban, 27,

finished fifth in 1:40.45.

Teenager Luke Torres, 16, won his second consecutive butterfly event in as many days with a Junior National qualifying time.  

A day after winning the 200-meter butterfly in a career-best time, Torres swam back-to-back career-best times to win the 100-meter butterfly. He won in a Junior National cut time of 56.69, bettering his previous best of 57.53 he swam in prelims. His seed time was 57.64.

It was the third consecutive butterfly race Torres finished ahead of Yousef Alaskari, 16, of the Davie Nadadores, who finished second in 57.47.

In morning prelims, Torres broke 2:30 for the first time in the 200-meter breaststroke but scratched from finals to focus on the butterfly event.

Brandon Goldman, 15, swam a sub-30 for the first time in his young career to finish second in the 50-meter backstroke with back-to-back career-bests of 29.37 (prelims) and 28.49 (finals). His previous best was 30.67.

Brittney Phelan, 18, broke 2:40 for the first time in her career to finish second in the 200-meter breaststroke in a Junior National cut time of 2:37.64.  She bettered her previous best of 2:41.49 in prelims in 2:39.60, third-fastest qualifying time, and dropped even more time in championship finals.

Since she tapered for the senior championships, Phelan said she will skip junior nationals to focus on college. The Cypress Bay graduate will attend Indiana at Bloomington in the fall. She goes after her senior national cuts in Sunday’s 100-meter breaststroke.

“I am very proud of this swim, this was my No. 1 swim for sure,” Phelan said.

“The whole week I felt really good in practice. I tapered and shaved for the meet and felt really good about it,” Phelan said. “I felt strong in the water. I was stronger in the back half. The second 100 I just kicked it in. I had no idea I was swimming that time. It just felt easy in the water.”

Since finishing high school, Phelan has been training well.

“It’s just a different attitude, I feel a lot better in the water, more confident and I am getting excited about college,” she said. “I know my 200 breaststroke is my most important swim but it’s not my favorite because it’s really hard.”

Also in the 200 breaststroke, Gina Gautieri, 17, swam back-to-back career-bests in prelims (2:49.97) and in finals (2:47.51) to finish fourth. Her previous best was 2:50.16.

Alex Rodriguez, 19, finished third in the 200-meter breaststroke in a career-best 2:22.27. He bettered his previous best time of 2:25.69 in prelims in 2:23.22. Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, was fourth in a career-best 2:22.60. His previous best was 2:24.74.

Marc Rojas, 16, finished fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:31.73, slower than his prelim time of 2:30.95.

Elle Weberg, 25, despite being sick, was the fastest qualifier in morning prelims of the 200-meter breaststroke in a career-best and senior national cut time of 2:33.14. Her previous best was 2:36.22. Weberg scratched from the final.

Courtney Marx, 18, was third in the 100-meter butterfly. She swam back-to-back career-bests in prelims (1:06.35) and finals 1:05.83). Her previous best was 1:06.89.

SOFLO’s men’s and women’s 800-meter freestyle relays each finished fourth to end the evening.

The women’s team of Tiffany Oliver, 17, Courtney Marx, 18, Katie Brennan, 16, and Melissa Fernandez, 17, finished in 8:55.34. SOFLO’s “B” team was seventh in 9:41.83.

The men’s team of Marc Rojas, 16, Nicholas Schwab, 19, Loai Tashkandi, 19, and Tyler Sell, 19, finished in 8:08.37.

Other top SOFLO finishers:


Melissa Fernandez, 17, seventh, 200-meter freestyle, 2:13.22.

Dana Hatic, 20, seventh, 200-meter breaststroke, 2:50.84.

Emily Greenwood, 16, eighth, 50-meter backstroke, 33.22, career-best 32.89 in prelims.

Ashley Hicks, 18, eighth, 50-meter backstroke, 32.53.

Melissa Cooper, 18, ninth, 200-meter breaststroke, career-best 2:48.69.

Katie Brennan, 16, tenth, 200-meter freestyle, career-best 2:13.41.

Tiffany Oliver, 17, tenth, 200-meter freestyle, 2:12.17.

Linea Cutter, 16, 11th, 50-meter backstroke, career-bests 33.79 in prelims and 33.68 in finals.

Nicole Schein, 17, 11th, 200-meter breaststroke, career-best 2:54.57.

Carin Tenaglia, 15, 12th, 50-meter backstroke, career-best 33.72.

Courtney Marx, 18, 16th, 200-meter freestyle, 2:14.22.

Bianca Muniz, 18, 16th, 200-meter breaststroke, 3:04.85.


Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 19, fifth, 400-meter individual medley, 4:43.81.

Nicholas Schwab, 19, seventh, 200-meter freestyle, 1:57.96.

Tyler Sell, 18, seventh, 400-meter individual medley, 4:48.07.

Marco Camargo, 21, eighth, 50-meter backstroke, 28.91 and 11th, 100-meter butterfly, 58.68.

Nicholas Schwab, 19, eighth, 200-meter breaststroke, 2:31.33, career-best 2:29.50 in prelims.

Tyler Sell, 18, tenth, 200-meter freestyle, 1:57.47.

Ivan Parada, 15, tenth, 50-meter backstroke, career-best 30.68.

Rory Grigull, 20, 12th, 200-meter freestyle, 1:58.36 and 12th, 50-meter backstroke, 29.47.

Paul Guarino, 16, 15th, 50-meter backstroke, career-best 31.40.

Carlo Morante, 17, 15th, 50-meter backstroke, 29.85.


What: Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

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

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

Admission: $3 per session, $2 heat sheets. For information call 954-345-2121.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy Comes “Home”

SOFLO’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy Comes “Home”


July 24, 2010

CORAL SPRINGS—Ryan O’Shaughnessy came “home” to the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex for the summer.

The two-time high school All-American and two-time state champion at Douglas wanted to return to championship form after being away in college at Seton Hall.

While college, where he is majoring in Criminal Justice, is his first priority, swimming remains his passion.

On Saturday night at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships that was never more evident in his “home” pool.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy looking like the old Ryan O’Shaughnessy, may not have won the 200-meter breaststroke but it was a victory nonetheless.

Seeded 2:24.74 going into the event, the 19-year-old swam 2:25.42 in morning prelims. It was the first time he hit 2:25 since returning “home” to train.

Then he turned it on in the final where he swam a career-best 2:22.60, just off the 2:22.09 senior national qualifying time.

“I wanted to be right around here between 2:22 and 2:24, that was my goal coming down,” O’Shaughnessy said.

“Seton Hall is great and I love school. But college swimming is totally different with that pound-pound mentality. The college mentality is so vigorous. They don’t take time out to perfect your stroke or work on the little details. There is minimal time to do stuff.

“That’s why I came back here,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Michael and I have worked together since I’ve been home. I have worked and trained hard with Luke (Torres) and Nick (Schwab) to get where I need to be in three months.”

At first, being away was a difficult adjustment for O’Shaughnessy.

“College swimming is an experience, there is nothing you can compare it to,” he said. “But it’s hard to go from a Gold Standard Swim Club recognized by USA Swimming to a school known only for its basketball program. We have kids with national cuts, but it’s still a different mentality.”

O’Shaughnessy is gearing up for his sophomore college season and NCAAs.

“That’s why I came here,” he said. “Coming back here I knew I could get it back, get back into shape. I wanted to go a national cut and I barely missed it. Next summer I am going to do the same thing and Olympic trials training, too.”

Being away from “home” has given O’Shaughnessy a chance to see how lucky he was training in a high-caliber atmosphere.

“If anything my passion for swimming has grown,” O’Shaughnessy said. “This is everything to me. I took for granted what I had. Workouts at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. in a world-class facility with world-class coaches training with world-class swimmers. Nothing compares to this and not many people are fortunate enough to have this kind of experience in this kind of atmosphere.

“It was an awakening for me. I saw what I had and I appreciate it more now. I am happy at school. I am there for the education and they pay for me to swim but my love for swimming comes out when I am down here training with Michael.”

O’Shaughnessy will remain in South Florida for most of August. He plans to visit his family in Minnesota, return to Coral Springs to finish up training and go back to school on August 25.

The FGC Senior Championships is O’Shaughnessy’s third meet this summer. He also competed at the Texas A&M Senior Circuit Meet and Coral Springs Invitational.

Since O’Shaughnessy left Coral Springs, he moved to Minnesota with his family and had to adjust to the frigid weather. He was sick for 10 months and then went to college where he broke his ankle during dryland training. It was a setback but it enabled him to regroup. He  qualified for both the Big East Championships and USA Swimming Short Course Nationals during the 2009-2010 season.

“Coming back here has given me a chance to refresh everything,” O’Shaugnessy said. “I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, but the amount of time I did have I took advantage of.”

One thing that has changed since he’s been gone is the swim team’s South Florida Aquatic Club name.

“For me it is a bittersweet emotion,” O’Shaughnessy said. “I am one of the old-timers on the team. Of course, Vlad (Polyakov) is the Godfather. Coral Springs goes hand-in-hand with Michael. He built the team to what it is today.

“But you have to be able to adapt to the environment around you and change is part of that and I am sure they will do whatever they need to do to be competitive. And that goes in everything from training to swimming.”

O’Shaughnessy has two events remaining on Sunday, the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley. Being “home” seems to bring out the best in him.

“I still have friends here, this is where I have grown up since I was 13,” he said. “I know I will always be welcomed back here. People still know my name and respect me. I am still on the record board. I don’t think people will forget me down here for a while.”

With more great swims to come, O’Shaughnessy will make sure of that.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Atkinson, Andara Golden; Semeco Takes Bronze On Final Day Of CAC Games In Puerto Rico

SOFLO’s Atkinson, Andara Golden; Semeco Takes Bronze On Final Day Of CAC Games In Puerto Rico


On the sixth and final night of the Central American and Caribbean Games, Alia Atkinson closed out the meet with another gold medal and two meet records in rain-soaked Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

The two-time Jamaican Olympian won the 50-meter breaststroke in 31.91, bettering her own meet record she broke in morning prelims (32.98).

The meet’s “Golden Girl,” Atkinson, 21, took home four gold medals and seven meet records in one of the biggest meets in the Caribbean and Commonwealth Games qualifier.

Atkinson owned the breaststroke events, sweeping the 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events. She also won the 200-meter individual medley.

Atkinson, finishing up school at Texas A&M, plans to return to South Florida in August and train with SOFLO for the Commonwealth Games in India and Short Course World Championships in Dubai.

SOFLO’s other gold medal winner was Leo Andara of Venezuela.

Andara swam the second leg (31.12 and 34.59 splits) of the 4×100-meter medley relay as Venezuela broke the meet record in 3:44.22. Albert Subirats, Octavio Alesia and Crox Acuna joined Andara on the relay. Mexico was second in 3:45.41 and Colombia third in 3:47.69.

SOFLO’s Arlene Semeco, also of Venezuela, won her second bronze medal of the Games after finishing third in the 50-meter freestyle in 25.63. She also won a relay gold medal.

Vanessa Garcia, 26, of Puerto Rico won the 50 freestyle in a meet record 25.18. Garcia finished with two golds and two silvers. SOFLO’s Natasha Moodie was fourth in 25.69.

“It wasn’t a great meet for me and not my best times but I am happy with how I did,” Semeco said. “I know I will get better from here on out.”

Semeco has been dryland training with SOFLO teammate Elle Weberg at the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton for a month to gain more muscle strength and power in the water.

“I changed my workout strategy and I think I am going in the right direction,” Semeco said. “It’s still too soon to tell. I am sure in another year I will be able to race everybody again. For this meet my taper wasn’t that great because I have been pounding away to get my muscles back. I do feel stronger in the water, now I have to work on my speed.”

The highlight of the meet for Semeco was winning the relay and watching Venezuela dominate the swimming competition.

“Everybody was so excited about the relay, that was a big deal for us,” Semeco said. “Swimming did its part for Venezuela to win the Games. We beat everybody here. That is important for the federation. I am sure everybody is happy. Everybody did a great job.”

Semeco was also impressed by the quality of competition throughout the week.

“These swimmers have changed since the very first CAC Games I went to,” Semeco said. “Everybody is training big-time right now. They are really fast and there are new kids coming up that are swimming well. It motivates me for the future. I have people pushing me, people I am going to be seeing throughout the season until the Olympics.”

Semeco said she plans to take two weeks off to recharge her batteries and then will resume training. She is excited about the expectations of five-time Olympian Dara Torres returning to workouts in August to train with. “I would like that very much, she inspires me,” Semeco said.

On the final night of the swimming competition all seven events featured meet records.

Other individual winners:

Crespo Echeverria, 21, of Panama won the 100 in 1:02.07, to finish the meet with two golds and one silver.

Gisela Morales Valentin, 22, of Guatemala won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:12.36 to finish with two golds and one silver.

Shaune Fraser, 22, of the Cayman Islands won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:49.74 to finish with one gold and one bronze.

Rita Munoz Medrano, 20, of Mexico won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:11.25 to finish with two two golds, three silvers and 1 bronze.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Torres, Polyakov Impressive; SOFLO In Third Place After Day One Of Rain-Soaked FGC Seniors Championships

Torres, Polyakov Impressive; SOFLO In Third Place After Day One Of Rain-Soaked FGC Seniors Championships


July 23, 2010

CORAL SPRINGS—Despite Tropical Depression Bonnie washing out morning prelims on Friday, the timed finals of Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships produced several outstanding swims from the South Florida Aquatic Club.

Luke Torres, 16, continued his impressive time drops in the 200-meter butterfly and set himself up nicely for today’s 100-meter butterfly at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

The Plantation American Heritage junior won the 15-16 200-meter butterfly in a career-best 2:08.58. His previous best was 2:10.08. It was the second race Torres outsprinted Yousef Alaskari, 16, of the Davie Nadadores who was second in 2:09.58.

At the Coral Springs Invitational last month, Torres finished ahead of Alaskari in the 100 butterfly.

Torres is focused on today’s 100-meter butterfly where he hopes to better his career-best of 57.64 in 55-second range.

“I was expecting more in the 200 but it was a good swim, I felt pretty good in the water,” Torres said. “Michael (Lohberg) told me I did a really good job even though my splits (1:00.91 and 1:07.67) were not that even.

“I went out pretty fast and was dying in the end,” Torres said. “I bought a new jammer suit and it felt great in the water. It helped me bring my hips up.

“The weather didn’t really bother me, I was pretty calm. I like swimming timed finals. You have to go all out. It doesn’t matter, prelims and finals, whatever, I like swimming it all. I am excited for the 100 fly. I want to go 55.55 or lower, I guarantee it.”

Torres’ career-best in the 100 butterfly is 57.64.

SOFLO head coach Michael Lohberg called Torres’ 200 effort “a very nice swim with a two-second drop.” Lohberg was also impressed with Vlad Polyakov’s “world-class” effort in the 50-meter breaststroke.

Swimming only for fun in the three-day meet, the two-time Olympian from Kazakhstan won the men’s open 50-meter breaststroke in 27.60, just off his career-best of 27.57. He finished a body length ahead of Brazilian Felipe Lima.

“That was a real fast swim for Vlad, it was good, a world-class time,” Lohberg said. “It was fun to watch.”

While the meet got off to slow start in the morning with rain delays and finally rescheduling of timed finals, SOFLO regrouped nicely in the evening, Lohberg said.

“At least we got the day in,” Lohberg said. “Tomorrow people will be a little tired but there was some very good racing tonight. The morning was disappointing and a bit deflating for the kids but the mood got better at night.”

SOFLO is in third place in the team standings after Day One with 342 points. Fort Lauderdale Aquatics leads with 411.

“I think the kids pulled themselves together despite the adversities and had some really good swims,” Lohberg said. “There were a whole bunch of nice swims. The kids did not get discouraged from the weather fiasco.”

SOFLO’s swimmers selected for the Southern Zone Championships next week in Atlanta did not swim full-out or at all. The few that did swim  including Marco Hosfeld worked on splitting 100s, technique and race strategy.

Emily Kopas was scratched from all three of her races since she will compete at sectionals in New York next month.

Other top SOFLO swims:


Tyler Sell, 18, third, 400-meter freestyle, 4:07.51.

Marc Rojas, 16, third, 50-meter breaststroke, 31.02.

Keegan Boisson-Yates, 15, fifth, 100-meter freestyle, career-best 54.64.

Alex Rodriguez, 19, sixth, 50-meter breaststroke, 30.49.

Nicholas Schwab, 19, sixth, 100-meter freestyle, career-best 53.44.

Marco Camargo, 21, sixth, 200-meter butterfly, 2:08.69.

Matthew Bellew, 25, seventh, 50-meter breaststroke, career-best 30.61.

Nicholas Schwab, 19, eighth, 400-meter freestyle, career-best 4:10.79.

Rory Grigull, 20, eighth, 100-meter freestyle, 53.58.

Tyler Sell, 18, eighth, 200-meter butterfly, 2:09.95.

Javier Menchaca, 15, tenth, 200-meter butterfly, career-best 2:18.37.

Justin Grigull, 18, 13th, 100-meter freestyle, 53.94.

Mike Franco, 16, 15th, 200-meter butterfly, career-best 2:20.26.

Marc Rojas, 16, 15th, 400-meter freestyle, career-best 4:17.83.


Brittney Phelan, 18, third, 50-meter breaststroke, career-best 34.21.

Dana Hatic, 20, sixth, 50-meter breaststroke, career-best 35.17.

Courtney Marx, 18, sixth, 200-meter butterfly, career-best 2:25.54.

Tiffany Oliver, 17, sixth, 100-meter freestyle, 1:00.23.

Gina Gautieri, 17, seventh, 50-meter breaststroke, career-best 35.84.

Mariangela Macchiavello, 19, eighth, 100-meter freestyle, career-best 1:00.60.

Melissa Cooper, 18, eighth, 100-meter freestyle, career-best 1:00.72.

Katie Brennan, 16, ninth, 400-meter freestyle, 4:47.85.

Maria Lopez, 14, 11th, 200-meter butterfly, career-best 2:28.76.

Nicole Schein, 17, 13th, 50-meter breaststroke, career-best 37.25.

Brit Williford, 17, 14th, 400-meter freestyle, career-best 4:45.38.

Jenna Moodie, 15, 16th, 400-meter freestyle, career-best 4:52.10.

Weather permitting, the regular schedule will resume on Saturday with prelims at 8:30 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m. There is also a zone practice and meeting between sessions at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.


What: Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

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

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

Admission: $3 per session, $2 heat sheets. For information call 954-345-2121.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Luke Torres Looking For Best Times At Senior Championships That Begin Friday

Luke Torres Looking For Best Times At Senior Championships That Begin Friday


CORAL SPRINGS—For two years, Luke Torres has been a work in progress.

After swimming in Brazil since he was 7 years old, Torres and his family moved to South Florida two years ago when he started training at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Since then, Torres, 16, a junior at Plantation American Heritage School, has bettered his career-best times in all his events and become one of the Florida Gold Coast’s top age group swimmers.

Torres will be among a field of more than 600 swimmers competing in the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships that gets under way Friday at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Torres is entered in five events: the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke and 50-, 100- and 200-meter butterfly. He is hoping to swim career-best times particularly in the 100-meter butterfly, seeded at 57.64, in which he hopes to swim 55.55. “That’s the goal,” Torres said.

He will also make his debut in the July 27-31 Southern Zone Championships in Atlanta.

Born in San Diego, Calif., Torres has dual U.S. and Brazilian citizenship. He has his sights set on representing Brazil in international competition including the Olympic Games one day.

Torres lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil since he was 3. In addition to swimming, he competed in several sports including soccer, tennis and jiu-jitsu between ages 7 and 9 but decided on swimming when his coach told him he had the body type for a swimmer.

“My coach in Brazil said he could tell by the height of my parents that I would be a really good swimmer,” said Torres, now 6-foot-3. “Then I started beating people. That was the reason I stayed with it. My coaches told me I would be good, but I never thought I would get to this level.”

In Brazil, he competed only in the sprint freestyle. He started training in breaststroke and butterfly at Coral Springs.

Torres’ progress in the butterfly has been remarkable. He has dropped from 59.98 in May 2009 to 57.64 in June 2010 in the 100-meter butterfly and 2:17.92 in June 2009, 2:11.49 in May 2010 to 2:10.08 in June 2010.

“I have changed a lot since I started training with Michael (Lohberg),” Torres said. “My fly has been really good. I have dropped in every single meet.

“Two years ago I was swimming 1:10 before I got here and now my goal for this weekend’s meet is 55. Michael is the best coach I have ever had. Training in this atmosphere with swimmers like Ryan O’Shaughnessy and working with Michael has really helped me improve as a swimmer. He helps me with every single detail and technique.”

Torres said he feels more comfortable with his training and strokes now.

“It is a completely different style in Brazil and Coral Springs,” Torres said. “In Brazil you either do it or you are out and you pretty much train alone. Here it is more relaxed and fun and I train with some of the best swimmers. I am in the best shape I have ever been as a swimmer.”

Torres’ family plans to return to Brazil at the end of the year for business reasons. He plans on using his training time wisely while at Coral Springs.

“I love the feeling when you keep dropping time,” said Torres, who has had some impressive performances at the Texas Senior Circuit Meet, All-Stars and Junior Olympics.

“Looking at the board after my races I see how I am progressing. I am doing so much better than I used to do. It’s really a good feeling to have. It means a lot to train here. I love everyone on the team.”

The men’s field features several top SOFLO swimmers including two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov, 26, who is swimming the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke for fun; Nawaf Al-Wazzan, 23, in the 50-meter freestyle; Zain Qali, 22; Keegan Boisson-Yates, 15; Marco Camargo, 21; Brandon Goldman, 15; Tyler Sell, 18; Loai Tashkandi, 19; and Marco Hosfeld, 14. Several SOFLO swimmers may swim limited events, choosing instead to focus on zones.


What: Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

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

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

Admission: $3 per session, $2 heat sheets. For information call 954-345-2121.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Semeco Wins Gold, Venezuela Breaks Relay Meet Record At CAC Games That End Today

SOFLO’s Semeco Wins Gold, Venezuela Breaks Relay Meet Record At CAC Games That End Today


Arlene Semeco led Venezuela to a gold medal Thursday night at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Swimming anchor leg, Semeco, 26, of the South Florida Aquatic Club brought Venezuela from behind to win the 4×100-meter freestyle relay in a meet record 3 minutes, 49.69 seconds.

Semeco and other relay members Ximena Vilar, Jeserik Pinto and Yanel Pinto broke Venezuela’s old meet record of 3:52.40 set at the CAC Games in July 2006 in Colombia.

Venezuela was the fastest qualifier after morning prelims in 3:55.49.

Semeco ran down anchors Gonzalez Ramirez of Mexico and Arianna Vanderpool of the Bahamas and held off Puerto Rico’s charging Vanessa Garcia in the final 20 meters. Semeco’s splits were 25.83 and 29.71.

Puerto Rico was second in 3:50.53 and Mexico was third in 3:50.62.

Jamaica, with SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson swimming second leg (27.62 and 30.06 splits) and Natasha Moodie swimming anchor (27.20 and 30.44) finished fourth in 3:56.43.

Trinidad and Tobago was fifth in 3:57.70 with Sharntelle McLean swimming anchor leg (27.84 and 30.41).

The women’s relay victory was one of four gold medals Venezuela won on Thursday night.

Venezuela’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay time was one of seven meet records broken. Other winners and meet-record breakers were:

Octavio Alesia, 23, of Venezuela, a silver medalist in the 100-meter butterfly, won the 50-meter butterfly in 23.70.

Pinzon Omar Garcia, 21, of Colombia won his fourth gold medal of the meet in the 50-meter backstroke in 25.96.

Charetzeni Escobar, 22, of Mexico won her second gold medal in the women’s 400-meter individual medley in 4:50.03. She also won the 1500-meter freestyle.

Bradley Ally, 25, of Barbados, who grew up swimming in the Florida Gold Coast and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas, won his second gold medal in the 200-meter individual in 2:02.32. He also won the 400 IM.

Pinto Andreina, 18, of Venezuela won her fourth gold medal in the women’s 800-meter freestyle in 8:40.51. She also took silver in the 1500-meter freestyle.

Cristian Quintero, 17, of Venezuela won his second gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle in 3:55.19.

Also on Thursday night, Leo Andara finished the 200-meter individual medley in 2:09.07 and was first alternate for finals.

The swimming competition concludes today with SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson, Natasha Moodie, Andara and Semeco competing in individual events.

Atkinson, who has already won three gold medals, will compete in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter breaststroke. Semeco and Moodie will also compete in the 50-meter freestyle.

Sharon Robb can be reached at