WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
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 firstname.lastname@example.org