SOFLO’s Marc Rojas “Living The Dream” At Florida State


By Sharon Robb

November 28, 2014—Marc Rojas came home for Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with family, friends, teammates and coaches at South Florida Aquatic Club.

Rojas, 20, is enjoying his first season competing in NCAA Division I swimming at Florida State.

Now a junior, Rojas spent his first two seasons at national champion Indian River State College. He was an NJCAA national champion in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 2013 posting a career-best 15:38.80.

In high school, he was the first sophomore ever to win a state high school title at Pembroke Pines Charter in 2009.

Now he hopes to add to his swimming resume over the next two seasons working with second-year FSU head coach Frankie Bradley, a former St. Thomas Aquinas High School and Pine Crest club swimmer, Florida State swimmer and former Auburn associate head coach and Indian River head coach.

FSU is a Division I program on the rise and back in the college swimming spotlight under Bradley’s guidance.

The transition from club and his first two years of college swimming to a Division I team took time, Rojas admitted.

“I really just got adjusted maybe three weeks ago,” Rojas said. “It took me a while training-wise. The program is really tough and it challenges you. I love that stuff.

“It’s a new environment, new coaches and I am learning things every day,” Rojas said. “My swimming is improving.”

In the Seminoles’ recent 168-119 victory over Florida Southern, Rojas was second in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:08.24 with a 1:01.83 split.

“I am definitely excited about the future,” Rojas said. “I knew I wanted to go to Florida State. I took my trip there and I told myself this is the place. This is the place where I feel I am going to excel the most. I love it there. I am so thankful to be there. I worked very hard and it’s all paying off.

“It is a dream come true.”

Rojas is enjoying the perks that come with being a college athlete including the athletic cafeteria with healthy food geared toward elite athletes. “I go for the yogurt, fruit and bagels between classes all the time,” he said with a smile.

Rojas is competing in his specialty breaststroke and freestyle events and relays.

“I want to see what I can do,” Rojas said. “It’s great training with all these quality athletes along with the pros like (FSU alum) Pavel Sankovich (of Belarus) and Jared Pike (of the United Kingdom).

“It’s cool when you see the pros coming here to train with Frank. Being around those athletes you can see the way they train. We can train with them and it makes you better.”

The Seminoles next meet is the Dec. 5-7 Georgia Invite in Athens, Ga. FSU also has a training trip scheduled at Indian River.

The biggest meets of the season Rojas is looking forward to are the Feb. 25-28 Men’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in Atlanta and March 26-28 Men’s NCAA Championships in Iowa City, Iowa.

“This is a top tier team and we have big goals for ourselves,’ Rojas said. “We don’t mess around, we don’t play any games. This is the real deal. This is what I have been looking for. This is where greatness happens.”

Rojas returns to Tallahassee this weekend. He was happy to get a chance to see his SOFLO teammates and SOFLO head coach Chris Anderson and age group coach Rose Lockie of Pembroke Pines Charter, who made a huge difference in his life.

“The relationships I built here are going to last forever,” Rojas said.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Oliver Makes FSU History, Defends ACC Sprint Titles

SOFLO’S Oliver Makes FSU History, Defends ACC Sprint Titles


By Sharon Robb

February 22, 2014

Florida State senior Tiffany Oliver won her second individual event and made collegiate history Saturday night at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C.

Oliver, making her final ACC Championship meet appearance, left a lasting memory by becoming the first swimmer in FSU history to defend the sprint titles.

The fastest morning qualifier defended her title in the event winning in 48.54, out-touching UNC’s Lauren Earp in 48.67. Oliver’s back half split was 25.05, the fastest among the field.

In prelims, Oliver qualified in a best time of 48.50, lowering her seed time of 48.81.

Oliver was in control for most of the race, accelerating in the final five yards to touch first.

“For sure winning never gets old,” Oliver said. “It’s been an amazing meet and nice way to go out.”

It was her second ACC title of the meet. She also defended her title in the 50-yard freestyle winning in 22.02.

In the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay, the final event of the meet, Oliver led off the relay and touched first in 48.75. The Seminoles finished third.

In the 200-yard freestyle, Oliver tied for 12th in 1:47.00. She swam a personal best time of 1:46.86 in prelims.

Going into the final day of races on Saturday, FSU was third after setting ten new school records and maintained its third place finish under first-year coach Frankie Bradley with 972 points. University of Miami was ninth with 470.5.

Virginia won its seventh women’s team title in a row, a first by any ACC women’s team. The Cavaliers finished with 1,433 points, more than a 200-point cushion.

Notre Dame junior Emma Reaney broke the NCAA record in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:04.34 to win the ACC title and break Breeja Larson’s record. She was named the meet’s Most Valuable Swimmer.

During the meet, North Carolina’s Stephanie Peacock was taken from the meet on a stretcher after breaking the NCAA 1,000-yard freestyle record during the 1,650-yard freestyle. The school did not release any information other than Peacock fell ill during the race.

The men’s competition is next weekend.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS

University of Florida men’s team and Georgia women’s team defended their titles Saturday night in Athens, Ga.

The No. 1 ranked Gators were led by Sebastien Rousseau, named SEC Swimmer of the Year and the meet’s high point winner.

The Gators finished with 1,440 points ahead of Auburn with 1,280.50 and Georgia with 1,095.

“Winning the first time was really great, coming back and having the opportunity to repeat shows the character of the guys,” Gators coach Gregg Troy said. “It’s great racing fast. We think we have a lot left in the tank for NCAAs.”

Georgia Bulldogs won the women’s title with 1,589. Texas A&M finished second with 1,204 and Florida was third. Elizabeth Beisel was high point winner for the women.

Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson broke the NCAA, U.S. Open and American record in the 100-yard breaststroke for the second straight year at the SEC Championships. Larson swam 57.24, bettering the previous mark of 57.43. She now holds the three fastest times in history.

AAC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Former University of Miami swimmer Kelsi Worrell, a Louisville sophomore, was second in the 100-yard butterfly in 51.76 just behind SMU freshman Marne Erasmus in 51.73. Both were NCAA “A” cuts. She also swam a 51.3 split for Louisville’s second place 400-yard medley relay that finished in 3:33.99, under the existing pool record. Louisville won the men’s title.

CCSA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Five-time champion Florida Gulf Coast fell short of defending its title in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Championships.

The team had its 400-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay disqualified for early takeoff costing them valuable points and eventually denying them their sixth straight women’s title.

Going into the final day of competition, FGCU trailed Liberty, 471-453 and ended up finishing second with 718 points behind team champion Liberty University with 732 points. University of the Incarnate Word won the men’s title with 886 points.

SOFLO’s Marcella Marinheiro, a freshman, is a member of the FGCU women’s team. FGC swimmer Lani Cabrera won the 1,650-yard freestyle in 16:36.

SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Tampa, with former SOFLO swimmer Leonie Davies, leading going into the final day of competition at the Sunshine State Conference Championships, captured the women’s title at the Orlando YMCA Aquatic Center.

Tampa finished with 820 points ahead of Florida Southern with 738 and Nova Southeastern third with 556 points. St. Leo was fifth with 326 and Lynn was seventh with 248.

Lynn University’s women’s 200-yard medley relay team became the first relay in the program’s young history to medal at the SSC Championships. Relay members were Thalie Carmigniani, Tyne Potgeiter, Tieri Erasito and Julia Pedersen edged Nova Southeastern for a bronze medal in 1:47.24. Potgieter also took a silver in the 100-yard breaststroke.

PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Florida Gold Coast swimmer Gina Gautieri of Bucknell swam a college best of 2:21.30 in the 200-yard breaststroke to earn the seventh seed for the championship “A” final. Her previous best was 2:22.55. She finished seventh in finals in 2:22.27. In the 100 breaststroke, she was seventh in the “B” final in 1:06.43 after going a best time 1:06.16 in prelims, bettering her previous best of 1:06.39. Bucknell finished second among women’s teams with 580 points. The U.S. Naval Academy won in 778.

NSISC CHAMPIONSHIPS

No. 21-ranked West Florida was second among a five-team field at the New South Intercollegiate Swimming Conference Championship at Delta State Aquatic Center. Host Delta State led with 699 going into the final day ahead of UWF with 653. UWF’s Carla Robles, a Coral Reef alum from Miami and Florida Gold Coast swimmer, was sixth in the 200-yard freestyle.

MAAC CHAMPIONSHIPS

In one of the most exciting 400-yard freestyle relays in Iona College swim history, second leg swimmer Keegan Boisson-Yates swam a 46.72 leg. On the final leg, Iona captain Justin Grigull became the only swimmer in the meet and first in Iona history to break 45, going 44.70 and rallying his team on anchor leg to beat Rider for the win in 3:03.64. Grigull was also second in the 100-yard freestyle in 45.90, an NCAA “A” cut. Boisson-Yates, a freshman, was seventh in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:54.86, after swimming 1:53.36 in prelims. Both Boisson-Yates and Grigull are Florida Gold Coast swimmers.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Oliver Makes Final ACC Championship Appearance; Florida Gold Coast Swimmers Compete Around The Country

SOFLO’s Oliver Makes Final ACC Championship Appearance; Florida Gold Coast Swimmers Compete Around The Country


By Sharon Robb

February 17, 2014

Tiffany Oliver, one of South Florida Aquatic Club’s best-known college swimmers, will make her final appearance at this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships at the Greensboro (N.C.) Aquatic Center.

The Florida State senior is winding down a successful college career.

Oliver holds the school records in the 50-yard freestyle (22.17), 100-yard freestyle (48.17) and 200-yard freestyle (1:46.72) and been a leadoff and anchor swimmer on the relays.

The All-American qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials and last two NCAA Championships. Oliver is also a returning ACC champion.

The women’s competition begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. with the relays and ends on Saturday. The men’s competition begins a week later on Feb. 26.

Other FGC swimmers competing in ACCs are Chelsie Britt, Paul Murray, Dylan Marsolek, Kevin Matheus, Jason McCormick, SOFLO’s Alex Rodriguez, Juan Sequera and Phillip Sims.

FSU is coached by former FGC swimmer Frankie Bradley.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

The SEC Championships begin Tuesday at the University of Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium.

University of Florida’s top-ranked men (8-0) and No. 8-ranked women (5-3) are expected to dominate the five-day meet.

The men are favored to defend their title and the women will battle it out with four-time defending champion Georgia and Texas A&M.

The Gators return eight SEC champions who have combined for 25 conference titles including seniors Marcin Cieslak and Elizabeth Beisel.

“This is an exciting time for us,” said Gators coach Gregg Troy. “Championship season is always big in swimming. Everything counts the rest of the way.”

Florida Gold Coast swimmers Lindsey McKnight, Luke Torres, Ryan Rosenbaum, Austin Manganiello, Blake Manganiello, Carlos Omana, Daniel Spas, Thomas Veale and Quinn Cassidy are members of the Gators squads.

Prelims are 9 a.m. and finals are 5 p.m. The meet will air live on ESPN3.com on Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m. The relays and diving begin on Tuesday and individual events get under way on Wednesday.

Florida Gold Coast swimmer Brandon Goldman, a freshman at LSU, will make his debut at the conference meet. Goldman has been a bright spot on the LSU men’s team in the backstroke and individual medley events.

Goldman swam the 400-yard individual medley at the Texas A&M Invite that was the tenth fastest time in LSU history. He also finished sixth in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 200 backstroke in NCAA “B” cut times. Last season the men finished sixth at SECs.

“We are going to go out and do our best,” LSU swim coach Dave Geyer said. “The men and women know what they need to do as a team and individuals to perform at their highest levels. There’s some tough competition but we expect to see personal bests.”

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Louisville will host the inaugural meet for the newly-formed conference. Louisville is expected to sweep the team titles and top the field that also includes SMU, Cincinnati, Houston, Rutgers and Connecticut.

Former University of Miami swimmer Kelsi Worrell, now at Louisville, is favored in the 100-yard freestyle. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Chinyere Pigot, a junior sprint, will compete for Connecticut. Three-time Olympian and former FGC Swimmer of the Year Vlad Polyakov is an assistant coach at Louisville.

SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE

St. Leo College swimmer Bianca Muniz, a senior, will make her final appearance at the SSC meet at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer and Pembroke Pines Charter alum and her teammates will begin competing on Wednesday.

Nova Southeastern University, Lynn University, Florida Southern, Florida Tech, Tampa and Rollins swim teams will also compete in the meet.

Lynn University’s women’s team will compete in the meet in its second year of existence. Last year, under new coach Niki Alvarez, the Knights finished sixth at the conference meet with six swimmers and 26th at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Florida Gold coast swimmers Thomas Aycart, Jared Fish and Cheyenne Rodriguez will compete for the NSU men’s team.

CCSA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Five-time defending champion Florida Gulf Coast’s women’s team will defend its title when the meet begins on Wednesday and ends Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn. SOFLO’s Marcella Marinheiro, a freshman and West Broward alum, will make her conference debut. Othe FGC swimmers on the roster are Victoria Ho, Maggie Holding, Evita Leter, Lindsey Meeder, and Claudia Reyes. Conference Coach of the Year Neal Studd is a former Florida Atlantic University and FGC coach.

C-USA CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Florida International University is preparing for the meet scheduled for Feb. 26-March 1 hosted in Atlanta. FGC swimmers Melissa Moreno and Hannah Vandersluis are on the women’s roster. SOFLO’s Maria Lopez will be joining the team in the fall.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Oliver Sweeps Events, Leads Florida State To Win Over Miami In Last Home Meet

SOFLO’s Oliver Sweeps Events, Leads Florida State To Win Over Miami In Final Home Meet


By Sharon Robb

January 31, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver made her last dual meet of her college career a memorable one.

The Florida State senior captain won two individual events and led the Seminoles win their 15th consecutive meet over the University of Miami, 174-113, Friday at the Bobby E. Leach Center in Tallahassee.

“It was a little rough but a win is a win,” said FSU coach Frankie Bradley. “We have some things we need to work on. They have got to hit some gears that they struggled with today but we’ll work on it. We’re ready to shift our focus to the ACC Championships.”

Oliver, preparing for the big post-season meets, won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.49 and 50-yard freestyle in 23.34.

Oliver also anchored the winning 200-yard medley relay (1:43.75).

It was FSU’s last dual meet of the 2013-14 season. FSU’s women’s team improved to 7-2 under first-year coach Bradley and UM dropped to 0-7.

FSU leads UM 26-11 in their all-time series. It was also the Seminoles 16h straight Atlantic Coast Conference dual meet victory.

The Seminoles will now resume training for the Feb. 19-22 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro, N.C. The Women’s NCAA Championships are March 20-22 in Minneapolis.

FSU won 12 out of 16 events. Among other individual winners were:

Madison Jacobi, 1,000-yard freestyle, 9:52.82, 200-yard backstroke, 2:05.02, 500-yard freestyle, 4:53.99.

Chelsea Britt, 200-yard butterfly, 2:03.27.

Sami Pochowski, 200-yard breaststroke, 2:14.23.

Diver Katrina Young won the 3-meter springboard title with a career-high 343.35 points.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

COLLEGE SWIMMING ROUNDUP: Florida Sweeps Florida State In Dual Meet

COLLEGE SWIMMING ROUNDUP: Florida Sweeps Florida State In Dual Meet


By Sharon Robb

January 4, 2014

In front of a packed house at the Stephen O’Connell Center in Gainesville, the No. 3-ranked University of Florida men and No. 5-ranked Gator women’s teams swept Florida State Saturday to start the New Year off right in the state’s top collegiate swimming rivalry.

The Gator men (5-0), led by Florida Gold Coast swimmer Carlos Omana (Metro Aquatics), topped the Seminoles, 180-118, for their 20th consecutive dual meet victory.

The Gator women (3-2), led by Olympian Elizabeth Beisel and Florida Gold Coast swimmer Lindsey McKnight, defeated the Seminoles, 153-147.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver, a senior at FSU, was second in both her specialty events, 50- and 100-yard freestyles. Oliver had been training with her SOFLO teammates during holiday break.

It was the Gators first meet since November. They were coming off their best week of training collectively according to Florida head coach Gregg Troy, who said he was looking forward to swimming against a good opponent.

It was also a good gauge for Troy and FSU head coach Frankie Bradley with the SEC and ACC Championships in February and NCAA Championships in March.

“We have not competed since the end of November,” Troy said. “We are real tired because we trained very well in December. This meet gives us a chance to see where we are after training hard for six weeks.”

Florida men lead FSU in their all-time series with a 52-23-1 record. The Gator women also lead their series with a 39-3 record.

Florida swept the opening medley relay event, the women winning in 3:42.27 and men winning in 3:15.09.

Alicia Mathieu of Florida won the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:55.24, leading a Gator sweep of the top four places.

Omana, who grew up in Miami working with MAC coach Kirk Peppas, led from start-to-finish to win the 1,000-yard freestyle and had a four-body length lead to win in 9:08.26.

Omana came from behind with a surge on the freestyle leg to win the 400-yard individual medley in 3:54.69.

McKnight, who also grew up in South Florida, won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:49.53, finishing ahead of teammate Sinead Russell.

Gator Mitch D’Arrigo won the men’s 200-yard freestyle after a late surge in 1:38.36. Former Florida Gold Coast swimmer Jemal Legrand of FSU was eighth.

Beisel, although broken down from heavy training, looked great winning the 100-yard backstroke in 55.60 and 200-yard backstroke in 1:58.49. She was also second in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Florida State’s Pavel Sankovich of Belarus won the men’s 100-yard backstroke in 47.33 and 100-yard butterfly in 46.49.

Florida senior Hilda Luthersdottir of Iceland won the 100-yard breaststroke with her touch in 1:02.96 and 200-yard breaststroke in 2:17.09.

The Gators swept the breaststroke event with Matt Elliott winning the men’s race in 55.01. Florida Gold Coast swimmer Luke Torres of Florida was eighth in 58.85 and was also sixth in the 100 butterfly.

Florida State got its first women’s individual title from Chelsea Britt in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:02.

South African Sebastien Rousseau picked up another win for the Gator men in the 200-yard butterfly. He led the entire race from start to finish in 1:46.67.

Florida State’s Kaitlyn Dressel outsprinted her teammate, Tiffany Oliver to win the 50-yard freestyle, 22.90. Oliver finished in 23.14. It was a repeat performance for Dressel in the 100-yard freestyle in 50.49. Oliver was second in 50.84.

Florida’s Brad deBorde won the 50-yard freestyle in 20.05 and 100-yard freestyle in 44.93.

Eduardo Solaeche-Gomez won the 200-yard breaststroke in 1:59.91.

Early leader Madison Jacobi of Florida State won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:53.94 to keep the Seminoles within 10 points of Florida.

D’Arrigo won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:25.27 and three other teammates placed for points to extend the Gator men’s lead.

Ellese Zalewski won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.51.

Julia Henkel of Florida State won the 400-yard individual medley in 4:22.38.

FSU women won the 200-yard freestyle with Oliver swimming leadoff (23.21) in 1:32.97. The Gator men just out-touched FSU to win the men’s relay in 1:21.12.

The meet was broadcast live on Florida Swim Network and attracted a good webcast crowd. FSN has replays of the meet on its website.

ORANGE BOWL SWIMMING

With Florida Gold Coast swimmer and Michigan-bound swimmer Emily Kopas of University School and her entire family watching and decked out in Wolverine garb, University of Michigan swept the men’s and women’s team titles at the Orange Bowl Swimming Classic in Key Largo.

Michigan set six Orange Bowl records during Friday’s meet at the Jacobs Aquatic Center.

“It was fun for the coaching staff to watch the teams swim tired but still be excited, to make choices during the races and make mistakes, but correct those mistakes and get better,” Michigan coach Mike Bottom said. “That is the theme of our training trip, to get better.”

Florida International University, where SOFLO’s Maria Lopez is headed this fall, was second in the men’s team standings during the seven-team meet. FIU was coming off a seven-day training camp in Key Largo.

It was the sixth straight Orange Bowl win for the Michigan men, defending NCAA champions and second straight for the women’s team.

IN OTHER BIG MEETS:

No. 3-ranked Stanford defeated No. 8 Texas, 154-146. Stanford led by only three points (143-140) going into the final event but clinched the meet with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Florida Gold Coast swimmer and Texas freshman Tasija Karosas was second in the 100-yard backstroke in 55.17 and second in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:58.21…No. 6-ranked University of Tampa men’s team was second and No. 13-ranked women’s team was third at the Tampa Relay Carnival. Dartmouth College swept the men’s and women’s team titles in the six-team meet.

OTHER COLLEGE NEWS

Georgia coach Jack Bauerle, just one win away from his 500th career victory, and his swimmer Chase Kaliscz were both suspended from Saturday’s home meet against N.C. State because the school is conducting an “academic eligibility review” of Kalisz. Bauerle has won five NCAA titles, 10 SEC titles and has 499 wins including 293 with the women…

Florida Gulf Coast, with SOFLO’s Marcella Marinheiro doing well her freshman year, and five-time defending Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association champions, has been forced to cancel two of its home meets (against women’s power Liberty and Radford) in January because of five leaks in its 50-meter pool. The pool will have to be emptied and patched before their next home meet, Jan. 25 against Florida International. If the pool is still not ready for that meet, an alternative pool will be used.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas Verbally Commits To Florida State

SOFLO’s Marc Rojas Verbally Commits To Florida State


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

October 16, 2013

Marc Rojas knew it was only a matter of time.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer and sophomore at national champion Indian River State College, verbally committed to Florida State on Wednesday.

“Everything I did in the past was just building blocks to get to be where I am at now,” Rojas said. “The ultimate goal was to get into a great college and swimming the times I needed to do to get there.

“I think this is No. 1 for me in swimming,” Rojas said. “I worked really hard in and out of the water.”

Rojas is excited to swim for FSU first-year coach Frankie Bradley, a former Indian River head coach and Florida Gold Coast and Florida State Seminoles swimmer.

“When I took my trip to Florida State I felt very comfortable with the team and the head coach,” Rojas said. “I felt a connection with the school and coaches. I saw I would be a good addition to the team.”
Rojas will have two years of eligibility with the Seminoles.
“Going to a junior college was good but now I will be experiencing the whole package at Florida State and I am pretty excited about that. Of course, I still want to do great things here at Indian River.”

Rojas is defending junior college national champion in the mile (15:38.80) and was third in the 500-yard freestyle (4:33.52). He may be swimming the breaststroke after a breakthrough summer where he made his first U.S. Open cut (1:03.72) at senior zones.

“We are still talking about what I am going to swim at the big meets and nationals,” Rojas said. “My 100 breaststroke is pretty good. I want to drop some bombs.”

After winning a state high school title in the 100-yard breaststroke at Pembroke Pines Charter his sophomore year, the only boy from Broward County to win a state title that year, Rojas hit a rough patch.

“I had a kind of slump my junior year,” Rojas said. “I had to develop mental toughness when I wasn’t doing well in the water. It was a huge factor in my training.

“It wasn’t until my senior year of summer I had the meet of my life. I wish I had those times in my senior year at the beginning but everything happens for a reason.”

The “meet of my life” Rojas was referring to was the August Senior Southern Zone Long Course Championships in Plantation where he swam a lifetime-best and his first-ever U.S. Open qualifying standard (1:03.72).

Rojas splits were 29.68 and 34.04. The qualifying standard is 1:04.69. His seed time going into the meet was 1:05.97 for the third seed.

It was his seventh event of the weeklong meet but most memorable. He swam best times in nearly every event.

“Last summer I was training for the mile to make my standardized cut to help me get into a good college but it wasn’t working out, I wasn’t hitting my pace in practice,” Rojas said. “When in doubt, go to the breaststroke. I switched my mile mentality to the breaststroke.”

After finishing his sophomore year at Indian River, Rojas plans to take a summer class at Indian River and return to SOFLO to train with head coach Chris Anderson for a few summer meets before heading off to FSU.

SOFLO is fast-becoming a pipeline for FSU where SOFLO swimmers Tiffany Oliver and Alex Rodriguez are currently competing.

“I am on the right path, I am swimming fast,” Rojas said. “I am really fortunate to be going to Florida State. Everything is falling into place. I just learned that everything will be okay if you just believe in yourself.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

All-Florida Invite Kicks Off Season With Several FGC, SOFLO Swimmers

All-Florida Invite Kicks Off Season With Several FGC, SOFLO Swimmers


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

September 27, 2013

University of Florida will host the three-day All-Florida Invitational at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville.

The Gators head the field of college teams that also includes Florida State, University of Miami, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Southern, North Florida and Nova Southeastern.

It is the fourth year the statewide meet will be hosted by the Gators.

“The first meet is always good because it gives you an end of the season flavor real early,” said Florida coach Gregg Troy. “You get to see a lot of people swimming a lot of different events.”

Added first-year Florida State coach Frankie Bradley: “We’ve only been training a couple of weeks, but we’re up for the test.

“I’m excited to see the whole team in competition. The biggest challenge for our swimmers is to race as hard as they can and as fast as they can even though they are under the stress of training.”

Several Florida Gold Coast swimmers will be competing including Luke Torres, Ryan Rosenbaum, Quinn Cassidy and Austin and Blake Manganiello, Carlos Omana, Daniel Spas, Thomas Veale, Lindsey McKnight of Florida; Tiffany Oliver, Alex Rodriguez, David Knight, Michael Lewark, Jemal LeGrand, Dylan Marsolek, Kevin Matheus, Jason McCormick, Juan Sequera, Philip Sims, Anthony Soto, Ashley Hicks and Paul Murray of Florida State; Marcella Marinheiro of Florida Gulf Coast and Alec Wathen of Florida Southern.

SOFLO’s Oliver, a top sprinter, was voted team captain for her senior year.

The meet follows the NCAA Championship schedule format.

Florida Swim Network is broadcasting the championship finals each night on Friday (at 7 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com