HERON, ROCHE LEAD COMETS ON DAY 3

CORAL SPRINGS—The future looks bright for Kelley Heron and Ricardo Roche.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

CORAL SPRINGS—The future looks bright for Kelley Heron and Ricardo Roche.

The bubbly 10-year-olds turned in some outstanding performances Saturday on the third day of the Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympics at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Heron and Roche braved the chilly weather after qualifying for finals in several events. They qualified in six of the Comets 18 finals swims.

Heron took home three third places. She was third in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:36.40; third in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:12.47 and third in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:53.98, her favorite event. They were all career-best times.

Heron has been swimming for three years and loving every minute of it, she said. She tried only one other sport before deciding to focus on swimming.

“When I was little my dad (Patrick) motivated me because he was a runner so my parents started trying to get me into sports.

 “I tried tennis but I wasn’t very good at it,” Heron said. “Then I tried the swim team and I was good at it. Then we moved and I got on the Comets.

“Even though the coaches told me not to expect much because it was my first meet, I made my first sub-JO and ended up getting my first record.”

Heron, a fourth grader at Charter School Central, competes in both short and long distance events but admitted she likes the longer ones “because I get to stay in the pool longer,” she said.

“I have fun in the pool,” Heron said. “Sometimes I’m relaxed depending on what I feel like. Sometimes I’m sick and I don’t feel good but I tell myself I still have to try my best. This weekend I have been in a great mood.”

Heron made most of her AAA times and qualified in all of her events for the FGC All-Star team.

“I am going to stick with swimming,” Heron said. “I want to aim for the Olympics.”

Roche, also dreaming about the Olympics, enjoyed one of his busiest nights of swimming.

After placing ninth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:40.96 and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke in a career-best 1:17.31, Roche finished the night with a second place finish in the 500-yard freestyle in a career-best 5:58.55.

“I am happy because I like to do good and it’s fun,” Roche said. “I enjoy it. I like the longer events. I had the most fun in the 500.”

Roche, also a fourth grader, got involved in swimming when his cousin introduced him to the sport.

“That’s when I picked swimming over different sports,” said Roche, who used to play soccer. “I am excited I am good. I want to stay in swimming. I want to get faster and break some pool records.”

Roche has two events remaining on Sunday, the 100 individual medley and 100 freestyle.

“I’m lucky I am young and getting all this experience. I am really happy with all this stuff I am learning,” Roche said.

“I want to go to the Olympics some day.”

Two other good swims were Maria Lopez, 14, second in the 50-yard butterfly in 26.78, bettering her 27.70 previous best and Diego Rodriguez, 12, sixth in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:47.78.

Heron and Roche are among 10 Comets who have qualified for the Florida Gold Coast All-Star team for the April 10-11 FGC vs. Florida Swimming meet at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce.

The other Comets who have qualified after three days are: Zoey Chilcote, 10; Jorge Depassier, 10; Carly Swanson, 12; Leonie Davies, 13; Maria Lopez, 14; Amber Hunter, 14; Javier Menchaca, 14; and Blake Kelley, 14.

The FGC meet concludes today with a full schedule of preliminary and final events.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

COMETS QUALIFY NINE FOR ALL-STAR MEET IN TWO DAYS

CORAL SPRINGS—Despite a rain-soaked morning, the Pembroke Pines Comets rose to the occasion on Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

CORAL SPRINGS—Despite a rain-soaked morning, the Pembroke Pines Comets rose to the occasion on Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

The Comets shook off poor weather conditions during morning prelims to bounce back and shine in the finals on Friday night.

In two days, the Comets have qualified nine swimmers for the April 10-11 Florida Gold Coast vs. Florida Swimming All-Star meet at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce.

It is the most the Comets have qualified for the annual All-Star meet in two days.

And, with two days remaining, age group coach Rose Lockie said the Comets could add a few more names to the list of qualifiers.

Lockie and the entire Comets’ coaching staff were impressed at how the young swimmers handled the adversity of rain, wind and cold. 

“The morning was hard for them,” Lockie said. “It was wicked cold and just miserable. A lot of them battled with the conditions in the morning and then came back in the evening and did very, very well.”

Lockie said the difference between prelims and finals was like night and day. A little pep talk from the coaches helped between sessions.

“Their attitudes changed so much,” Lockie said. “They were pumped up and so excited to have the chance to make the All-Star team. It was really nice to see them come back and have such a positive attitude. We definitely could see a change from the morning. They were smiling more. They seemed happier. It showed they were ready to swim in finals.”

Lockie was concerned at early weather reports for even worse conditions Friday night. Despite a temperature drop, the heavy rains and wind held off for finals.

“They realized they couldn’t control the weather and that it was bad for everybody in the morning,” Lockie said. “The kids coming back for finals were talking about the All-Star meet. It was such a great motivator.  They talked amongst each other and knew it was a big thing to place in the Top 6.”

Lockie said the team’s “hard training” for JOs  paid off in the races.

The Comets had 12 swimmers qualify for the finals—seven boys and five girls.

Among the Comets’ top six finishers were:

Boys 1,000-yard freestyle: Raphael Mora, 11, third, career-best 12:04.41; Alejandro Patino, 12, fourth, 12:26.99; Austin Iglesias, 12, fifth, career-best 12:45.19.

Boys 100-yard butterfly: Javier Menchaca, 14, fifth, career-best 57.63.

Boys 200-yard freestyle: Jorge Depassier, 10, third, career-best 2:14.25; Ricardo Roche, 10, fifth, career-best 2:14.65.

Girls 1,000-yard freestyle: Carly Swanson, 12, third, career-best 11:52.06; Leonie Davies, 13, fifth, career-best 10:57.63.

Girls 50-yard backstroke: Kelley Heron, 10, fourth, 34.08; Zoey Chilcote, 10, sixth, career-best 35.60.

Girls 100-yard butterfly: Maria Lopez, 14, fourth, career-best 58.76; Alvena Walpole, 9, fifth, career-best 1:15.02.

Girls 200-yard freestyle: Kelley Heron, 10, fifth, 2:14.93.

Girls 200-yard backstroke: Amber Hunter, 14, sixth, career-best 2:19.09.

“The young swimmers swam incredibly well,” Lockie said. “It took a lot of hard training. I anticipate a few more good swims over the next two days and we could have some more on the All-Star team. We’re not done yet.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com/

DAVIES, SWANSON LEAD COMETS ON DAY ONE


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

CORAL SPRINGS—When it comes to swimming, the sky is the limit  for Leonie Davies.

The British-born teenager has her sights clearly set on making her mark in a sport that she quickly fell in love with at age 7 when she started taking lessons in northern England. 

After six years of hard work and dedication, first at the Bel Air Aquatic Club in Maryland and now with the Comets’ program, her progress has been remarkable.

Davies, 13, made her sectional cut in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a career-best time of 18 minutes, 25.16 seconds on the opening day of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships Wednesday at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Davies’ previous best time was 18:42.49. She now has seven sectional cuts in long and short course events.

Davies placed fourth among the eight-swimmer field. Geena Squartino, 14, of SwimFast won in 18:03.43.

“I was hoping for a best time so this is good and I am happy,” Davies said. “The last time my back end of my swim was slow, so I’m glad I could pick it up.”

Davies said she likes the longer races.

“It feels good when you finish them,” said Davies, who started out a backstroker and added distance events three years ago.

“It feels like an accomplishment plus I am not a very good sprinter. I love the adrenaline rush when I’m competing in the longer races. They give me more time to think about what I am doing rather than in the short races where you just go.

“I have been more of a distance swimmer so it’s nice to get my events out of the way so it doesn’t look so bad when I do bad in my other races.”

The mile was the first of seven events Davies will swim over three days when the meet resumes on Friday.

“I love the water,” said Davies, who trains six days a week. “I like my team. It’s more competitive and serious. I like to work hard. When I moved into the Gold group I realized that I had potential and I could really do something here.

“I want to go to the Olympics one day. I think it would be pretty cool. I like reaching for the stars. My heart is really into this. I know it is hard work but swimming is my priority.”

As a freshman on the West Broward swim team, Davies qualified for the state high school meet on the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

SWANSON GOES THE DISTANCE

Carly Swanson is a quick study.

In only her second mile race, the 12-year-old swam a career-best time of 19:34.02 in the 11-12 age division.

“I swam 500s in practice and I really liked doing them so I asked my coach and she said she would put me in distance events,” said Swanson, who qualified for JOs in seven events.

“The first time I swam the mile I held a really good pace so I got to swim it a second time. I really like it. I know it’s going to get harder when I swim faster times. My goal is to drop my time in every race.”

Swanson, a sixth grader at St. Mark Catholic School in Southwest Ranches, said she loves having friends on the team and cheering for her. After gymnastics, soccer and dance classes, Swanson said swimming is her first love.

“I would like to swim through high school and college,” Swanson said. “I want to keep trying at everything to see what my best events are.”

MESA LEADS BOYS’ TEAM

Alfredo Mesa, 11, was the top boys’ finisher in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

Mesa, who entered the meet with a 20:12.32 seed time, swam a career-best 19:38.79. He was one of eight swimmers in the boys’ 11-12 race to better the previous FGJO mark of 22:17.09.

Two other Comet swimmers turned in career-best times in the 11-12 race. Raphael Mora, 11, was fourth in 19:40.75, bettering his previous best of 20:43.12.  Alex Viloria, 12, was sixth in 20:43.39, bettering his previous best of 20:57.73.

In the boys’ 13-14 division, Blake Kelley, 14, was fifth in 17:30.38 and Javier Menchaca, 14, turned in his first short course time of 18:48.52.

After a rest day on Thursday, the four-day meet resumes Friday with a full schedule of preliminary and final events at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. 

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com/

COMETS HEADED TO “BIG DANCE”

The Comets will compete this week in what age group coach Luis Soler calls “The Big Dance.”

After an impressive showing at last weekend’s District II South Short Course Championships, the Comets have qualified a large contingent for this week’s Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Short Course Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

The Comets will compete this week in what age group coach Luis Soler calls “The Big Dance.”

After an impressive showing at last weekend’s District II South Short Course Championships, the Comets have qualified a large  contingent  for this week’s Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics Short Course Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

The four-day meet begins Wednesday with timed finals in the 1,650-yard freestyle distance event. Warm-up is 3:30 p.m. The girls and boys races begin at 5 p.m.

The meet takes a day off on Thursday and resumes Friday through Sunday.

“This is what these kids have worked for all season,” Soler said. “They know when they get to this meet it’s because they worked hard and put in the time. Now it’s their time to end the short course season on a good note.”

The Comets qualified seven swimmers—five boys and two girls—for the 1,650.

The girls contingent is Leonie Davies, 13, with a seed time of 18 minutes and 42.49 seconds and Carly Swanson, 12, 20:44.54.

The boys qualifiers are Blake Kelley, 14, 17:29.81; Javier Menchaca, 14, 19:37.08; Alfredo Mesa, 11, 20:12.32; Raphael Mora, 11, 20:43.12 and Alexander Viloria, 12, 20:57.73.

The season-ending meet is the most prestigious short course event of the season. It is open to all Florida Gold Coast swimmers who achieved qualifying times during  the season.

The public is welcome to come out and watch some of South Florida’s top age group swimmers.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

March 9, 2010