SOFLO’s Grant, Porven, Mateus Brothers Win At Swim Miami; Schleicher 11th In 5K Junior Open Water Nationals Debut

By Sharon Robb

MIAMI, May 6, 2018–South Florida Aquatic Club distance swimmers were busy this past weekend.

At Swim Miami, Gina Grant, Giada Porven and Alejandro and Leonardo Mateus won Sunday off Miami Marine Stadium.

Grant, 20, won the Special Olympics one mile overall women’s title in 28:44.

Giada Porven, 10, won the 10-and-under one mile age group in 24:51.

Leonardo Mateus, 16, won the 15-16 one mile age group in 18:20, was third overall and second overall among boys. Alejandro Mateus, 12, won the 11-12 one mile age group in 19:29 and was 14th overall.

Oceane Peretti, 20, won the overall 10K title and women’s race in 1:58:05.45. She was the only swimmer to crack two hours for the 6.2-mile course. Andres Lares, 18, of Davie was second overall and first male finisher in 2:00:13.41.

In the 5K, Adrian Aguilar, 17, of Kendall won the overall title and men’s race in 56:59. Anna Montgomery, 17, of Fort Lauderdale won the women’s title and was sixth overall in 57:27.

In the one-mile race, Olivia Hernandez, 16, of Miami won the overall and women’s titles in 17:37. Miguel Cancel, 18, was top men’s finisher and second overall in 18:17.

Katrina Bellio, 13, of Toronto won the overall title in the 800-meter swim in 14:09.38 ahead of teammate Kenna Smallegange, 14, in 14:09.60. Michael Wang, 13, also of Toronto won the boys race in 14:28 and was third overall.

In other results:
5K, 40-44, 2. Evelyn Salama, 1:26:03
5K, 17-18, 5. Jennifer Rodriguez 1:13:52.
5K, 19-24, 5. Theodore Sandoval, 1:17:12.
1 Mile, 10-and-under, 1. Giada Porven, 24:51.43.
1-Mile, 11-12, 1. Alejandro Mateus, 19:29.45.
1-Mile, 15-16, 1. Leonardo Mateus 18:20.19
1-Mile, 11-12, 2. Gavin Sheyda, 22:19.06.
1-Mile, 65-69, 2. George Mersinger 29:59.10
1-Mile, 11-12, 3. Lucas Porven 22:24.35.
1-Mile, 15-16, 3. Lance Lesage 19:09.10
1-Mile, 17-18, 3. Luis Villanueva 19:25.20.
1 Mile, 11-12, 4. Anastasia Lutz, 24:47.66.
1-Mile, 15-16, 4. Brandon Moran 19:10.54.
1 Mile, 11-12, 5. Hartley Pitters-Hinds, 26:00.54
1 Mile Special Olympics, 1. Gina Grant, 28:44.56

Swim Miami is part of the South Florida Swim Series with proceeds benefitting the H20s Foundation.


TEMPE, ARIZ.—South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mallory Schleicher was 11th in her USA Swimming Women’s Junior 5K National Championships debut Saturday at Town Lake.

Schleicher finished 11th out of a field of 32 open water swimmers in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 31.37, 5.62 behind winner Denigan Mariah of Northern Ky. Clippers Swimming in 1:01.05.32.

Anna Auld of Delray Beach-based East Coast Aquatic Club was top Florida Gold Coast finisher placing third in 1:02:31.78, just 2.36 out of first place.

In his open water debut, Jackson Carlile of Fishers Area Swimming Tigers won a close race against Connor Hunt of Ridgefield Aquatic Club in 59:57.91, just two seconds ahead in 1:00:00.26. It was Carlile’s first-ever open water race. Only 10 boys were in the field. The top two boys and girls finishers qualified for the World Junior Championships.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Captures Overall Title At Swim Fort Lauderdale Beach

By Sharon Robb

FORT LAUDERDALE, January 22, 2018—In less than ideal race conditions, Mallory Schleicher of South Florida Aquatic Club won the overall title Sunday in the Swim Fort Lauderdale Beach Open Water Mile Swim.

Schleicher, 14, of Cooper City won the overall, women’s and 13-14 age group titles in 22 minutes and 36.3.

The rising young star in open water swimming outsprinted Wellington’s Ashley Cozad, a 16-year-old, in 22:41.

One of the youngest swimmers in the field of 162 swimmers, Schleicher was first among 57 women and also won her age group that featured 10 swimmers including two who were unable to finish.

Schleicher was able to master extremely rough seas and strong current including an undertow that got the best of many good swimmers who were unable to finish despite wearing wet suits. There were wind gusts of 15 to 20-mile per hour, 5-foot waves and 73-degree weather.

SOFLO age group coach George Mersinger, 64, of Miramar was 88th overall, 59th among men and seventh in his age group in 38:26.

SOFLO masters swimmer Gina Grant, 20, of Pembroke Pines won the women’s division in the Special Olympics 1-Mile in 40:07 that would have placed her 98th out of 141 women swimmers.

The Ft. Lauderdale event is part of the South Florida Swim Series.


OVERALL: 1. Mallory Schleicher, South Florida Aquatic Club 22:36, 2. Ashley Cozad, Wellington 22:41, 3. Tom Debevec, Albuquerque, N.M. 23:26, 4. Alan Svensen, Aventura 23:36, 5. Andrew Farrell, Raleigh, N.C. 23:52, 6. Anna Auld, West Palm Beach 24:09, 7. Rylie Barnhardt, Fort Lauderdale 24:10, 8. Victor Mestre, Key Biscayne 24:49, 9. Samantha Trodick, Sunrise 25:05, 10. Yacceri Leal, North Miami Beach 25:10.

MEN: 1. Tom Debevec 23:26, 2. Alan Svensen 23:36, 3. Andrew Farrell 23:52, 4. Victor Mestre 24:49, 5. Yacceri Leal 25:10, 88. George Mersinger, SOFLO 38:26.

WOMEN: 1. Mallory Schleicher 22:36, 2. Ashley Cozad, 22:41, 3. Anna Auld 24:09, 4. Rylie Barnhardt 24:10, 5. Samantha Trodick 25:05.

ONE MILE SPECIAL OLYMPICS: WOMEN: 1. Gina Grant, South Florida Aquatic Club 40:07, 2. Julie Finlon 62:38; MEN: 1. Gregg Dedic 34:45, 2. Peter Vila 39:49, 3. Gianni Mercado 40:05.

Sharon Robb can be reached at


Happy New Year: South Florida Aquatic Club Celebrates 2017, Looks Forward To New Goals In 2018

By Sharon Robb

January 1, 2018—It takes a village for a successful swim program like South Florida Aquatic Club.

Coaches, swimmers, parents, booster club, office staff, facility, officials, sponsors, school support, media and fans all play an integral role.

Then there are goals, hard work, dedication, motivation and sacrifice.

There’s also the down side. The losing and not swimming a best time at every meet. That’s the learning experience that teaches a swimmer humility and also a powerful motivator to work harder.

Year in and year out, SOFLO swimmers have learned their lessons well and continued their successful climb in 2017.

As everyone celebrated the New Year and took a little time off away from the pool, it’s always fun to look back to see what SOFLO accomplished over twelve months. From world-class international meets to sizzlers and masters meets, the tireless work ethic, commitment and passion were never more evident this year.

Success is never taken for granted at SOFLO. After outstanding past seasons, SOFLO improved across the board enjoying success at every level during 2017 and raised the bar once again for 2018.

The largest team in the Florida Gold Coast and one of the state’s largest never lost sight of the importance of the team concept which has become its trademark through the years.

“Our kids challenge themselves and push themselves past their comfort zone and it does show,” said SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson. “SOFLO has created an infrastructure with its coaches and staff that cultivates a high level of continuing excellence. We have a winning culture.”

Now entering its 18th year, the first ten as Comets Swim Team and eighth year as SOFLO, the team is looking forward to even more success at the local, state, national and international levels in 2018.

As the New Year gets under way with new dreams, goals and resolutions, let’s reflect on some of last year’s highlights including team and individual accomplishments.

SOFLO’s Top 10 Moments in 2017 were:

1. SOFLO makes team history by capturing its eighth consecutive team title and 14th overall at the Florida Gold Coast 14&Under Long Course Junior Olympics. It was the fifth consecutive year that the club won back-to-back short and long course titles in the same year.

2. SOFLO five-peats Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in its home pool. It was the fifth time SOFLO swimmers accomplished the feat in the same season.

3. Longtime SOFLO swimmer Marc Rojas represented the Dominican Republic at the FINA World Championships.

4. SOFLO earned the highly-coveted USA Swimming Bronze Medal Club Excellence Award for the seventh time in eight years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018).

5. SOFLO sent more than three dozen swimmers to the BCAA and FHSAA High School State Meets including Kathleen Golding, Molly Golding and Heath Brames of Cooper City, Paige Lane and Juan Diaz of Cypress Bay and Kelley Heron and Ricardo Roche of Pembroke Pines Charter. Golding and Heron were named 2016-17 Scholastic All-Americans.

6. At age 44, SOFLO masters swimmer and triathlete Evelyn Herrmann Salama crossed the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman in Kona, the granddaddy of all Ironmans. It was her fourth completed Ironman distance event. She is now training for the 2018 Boston Marathon.

7. SOFLO masters swimmer and City of Pembroke Pines police sergeant Jennifer Martin won seven gold medals, one silver medal and broke five world records over four days at the World Police & Fire Games in Los Angeles.

8. Gina Grant, a first-year SOFLO masters swimmer, raised awareness and became a role model for Special Olympics athletes. At the recent Aquascalientes, Mexico for the Athletes Without Limits USA Team, she brought home a bronze medal in the 400 individual medley. At the Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic in Orlando, she won 13 gold medals and one silver medal, high point award and broke three records.

9. SOFLO swimmers shined at All-Stars, Speedo Sectionals, Futures Championships and Speedo Junior Nationals.

10. SOFLO swimmers make college commitments including Kathleen Golding (Florida), Kelley Heron (Michigan State), CJ Kopecki (Seton Hall) and Ricardo Roche (Florida State).

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Gina Grant Makes SOFLO Masters Debut At NSU

By Sharon Robb

August 10, 2017—Gina Grant got off to a great start as the newest member of the South Florida Aquatic Club masters team.

Grant, who joined SOFLO six weeks ago, was a triple winner at the Special Olympics Florida-Broward Swimming County Games at Nova Southeastern University.

Grant won the 1,500 freestyle and 400-yard individual medley. She was also a member of the winning 400 medley relay team.

Special Olympics Florida-Broward provides year-round sports training and competition to children and adults with intellectual disabilities at no cost to the athlete or their caregiver as a means to achieve physical fitness, self-esteem and life skills necessary to be productive, respected and contributing members of their communities.

Founded in 1972, Special Olympics Broward County serves more than 4,100 athletes and offers competition in 23 different team and individual sports. The athletes are trained by certified coaches and supported and encouraged by more than 1,000 volunteers.

For more information or to volunteer with Special Olympics Broward County call 954-262-2150 or go to

Sharon Robb can be reached at