SOFLO’s Contingent Ready For Zone Championships In Texas That Begin On Tuesday

SOFLO’s Contingent Ready For Zone Championships In Texas That Begin On Tuesday


July 30, 2012

Seven swimmers and two coaches from the South Florida Aquatic Club are more than ready to lead the Florida Gold Coast All-Stars at the USA Swimming Southern Zone Age Group Championships that begin Tuesday at the 900-seat Rockwall ISD Aquatic Center in Rockwall, Texas.

Four girls and three boys head SOFLO’s contingent.

The girls are Kelley Heron, Bianca Monti, Maria Lopez and Marcella Marinheiro, all coming off an outstanding long course seasons.

Melissa Marinheiro had also been selected but opted to withdraw from the team when she qualified for her first Speedo Junior Nationals in Indianapolis.

The boys are Kevin Porto, Julien Pinon and Gustavo Valery.

SOFLO age group coaches Megan Garland will coach the 11-12 girls squad and Virgin Islands Olympian Josh Laban will coach the 13-14 boys squad.

Timed finals in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyle events begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

A full schedule of events begins with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 5:30 p.m. Pool swimming ends on Saturday. The open water swim is Sunday. The Athlete Parade is Friday at 5 p.m. before the finals session.

The meet is being live streamed at

The zone championships feature top regional swimmers at the senior and age group levels who qualify for these meets within the four designated zones: southern, eastern, central and western.

Group One features Florida, Border, Georgia, Kentucky, Gulf, Louisiana, South Texas and West Texas. Group Two had Florida Gold Coast, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Texas, South Carolina, Southeastern and West Virginia.

Each LSC is limited to 48 swimmers—8 females and 8 males in each age group (11-12, 13-14 and 15-18). It gives swimmers nearing the junior national level an opportunity to excel at the end of the long course season.

The remaining FGC girl team members are: (11-12) Jessica Nava, Alicia Mancilla, Isabella Pittinger, Catharine Cooper, Racine Ross, Melannie Vargas; (13-14) Steph Campo, Rose Smiddy, Marta Ciesla, Hannah Burdge, Kelly Fertel, Jessica Conway, Namilla Sanchez, Caroline Schirmer; (15-18) Jessica Randolph, Brenna Ruth, Darby Goodwin, Kristina Figueroa and Carla Robles.

The other FGC boys team members are: (11-12) Ervin Marin, Jorge Depassier, Max Asnis, Gabriel Munoz, Kevin Hernandez, Adrian Aguilar; (13-14) Henry Contich, Cody Cline, Carlos Gallego, Julio Horrego, Jonathan Farah, Adrian Moya; (15-18) Quinn Cassidy, Alec Wathen, Derek Chait, Ronald Santos, Danny Hartley, Manny Lopez, Zuhayr Pigot and Gage Kohner.

Each age group features eight swimmers.

Julie Smiddy heads the FGC coaching staff as manager and head coach.

A banner and fifty swim caps will be awarded the Charlene Craddock Sportsmanship Award to the team that exhibits the highest level of sportsmanship throughout the meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at



AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 181: SOFLO Lands Record Fifteen Swimmers On FGC Zone Team

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 181:SOFLO Lands Record Fifteen Swimmers On FGC Zone Team


July 3, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club had fifteen swimmers and two coaches selected for the Florida Gold Coast Zone Team.

It’s the most swimmers the young club has had in its nearly three-year history. Last year SOFLO placed 12 swimmers on the team.

The swimmers will compete against some of the nation’s top swimmers at the July 31-Aug. 4 Southern Zone Age Group Championships in Rockwall, Texas.

The zone championships feature regional swimmers at the senior and age group levels who qualify for these meets within the four designated zones: southern, eastern, central and western.

SOFLO girls selected to the team are:

11-12: Catharine Cooper, Kelley Heron, Isabella Pittinger, Bianca Monti, Megan Schimansky.

13-14: Steph Campo, Jessica Rodriguez.

15-18: Maria Lopez, Melissa Marinheiro, Marcella Marinheiro.

SOFLO boys selected to the team are:

11-12: Kevin Porto, Ricardo Roche.

13-14: Julien Pinon, Gustavo Valery, Alfredo Mesa Jr.

SOFLO age group coaches Megan Garland and Josh Laban are members of the Zone All-Star coaching staff.

U.S. Trials Leftovers

On Saturday, the entire U.S. Olympic swim team will head to Knoxville, Tenn. for the team’s domestic training camp before leaving for London. On July 12 the team will hold an open practice…The Olympic pool competition is July 28-Aug. 4 at the London Aquatic Centre. The men’s and women’s 10K is Aug. 9-10 at the Serpentine at Hyde Park…Davis Tarwater, 28, was a late addition to the team when Michael Phelps scratched from the 200-meter freestyle and Ricky Berens moved into the individual event slot. Tarwater, after missing the team in three events, will swim the 800-meter freestyle relay. When Tarwater returned to Omaha on Tuesday, he sought out Phelps and said “I owe you dinner. Dinner seems like the least I can do. I mean, what do you do in that situation?”…Berens found out he made the Olympic team in an individual event when Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman told him on Twitter…When Ryan Lochte returned home to Florida, a new Nissan 370Z was waiting for him in his driveway. “I think I gotta get this baby in gold next,” Lochte tweeted. Nissan is among several of his high profile sponsors…Michael Phelps is featured in a cover story in the August issue of Details Magazine….In a survey taken by ESPN’s Sportsnation Nokia Poll, basketball was the top Olympic sport selected by fans as being the most exciting at 42 percent followed by swimming, 24 percent, track and field, 23 percent and gymnastics, 12 percent…In TV ratings, The Bachelorette (7.4 million) edged the U.S. Olympic swimming trials (7.3 million)…How perfect is this? The most predominant Zodiac sign of swimmers on this year’s Olympic team is Pisces, The Fish with 13 of the 49 swimmers….25 percent of the U.S. swim team has University of Michigan ties.

U.S. Olympic Tweets

“A nice surprise awaited us when we landed. Thanks to all the swimmers and parents of SwimMAC. I’m shocked, we completely didn’t expect this. We will make you proud.”—Cullen Jones

“Less than 12 hours after our race, training away with Kara Lynn Joyce.”—Jessica Hardy

“Got some interesting looks in the gym today lifting with Peter Vanderkaay and both having shaved bodies.”—Conor Dwyer

“My pizza has broccoli on it that means I’m healthy right?”—Nathan Adrian

“USA Swimming made the right call letting us come home for a few days of much-needed R&R.”—Eric Shanteau

“Dara Torres, what a memorable journey. Had the best time of my life working with the best female athlete of all time.”—Bruno Darzi

“I guess it’s time to figure out what I wanna do when I grow up!”—Dara Torres

SOFLO’s Martin At U.S. Masters Nationals

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jennifer Martin, a Pembroke Pines police officer, will be among a national-caliber field including Olympians Brooke Bennett, 32, and Misty Hyman of Phoenix at the July 5-8 Marriott U.S. Masters Summer Nationals at CenturyLink Center in Omaha. The four-day meet is being held in the same venue the U.S. trials were held in this past week.

Martin, 32, is seeded first in the 30-34 50-meter freestyle (28.57) and 50-meter breaststroke (38.12), second in the 100-meter freestyle (1:02.99) and third in the 50-meter butterfly (31.21).  

Ann Stewart, 42, David McIntyre, 75, Andrew Cole, 49, Eric Jackwin, 23, and Timothy Shead, 60, of GOLD are also entered. Swim Fort Lauderdale is among team favorites. The meet is timed finals. 


Stanford women’s head coach Lea Maurer has resigned her position  after seven seasons to make more time for her family, she said. The athletes were told on Monday. Stanford has finished in the top five at NCAA’s during her tenure. Men’s head coach Skip Kenney had retired earlier this summer.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Josh Laban Named To FGC Zone Team Coaching Staff

SOFLO’s Josh Laban Named To FGC Zone Team Coaching Staff


April 18, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club age group coach Josh Laban has been named to the coaching staff for the Florida Gold Coast’s Zone All-Star team that will compete in Rockwall, Texas, July 31-August 5.

Laban, 29, will coach the 13-14 boys’ contingent.

Laban, who grew up in St. Croix, is a two-time Olympian for the Virgin Islands (2004, 2008) and worked closely as a swimmer and assistant coach with six-time Olympic coach and SOFLO co-founder Michael Lohberg.

Laban was the Virgin Islands’ flag bearer for the Olympics and Pan American Games.

The sprinter competed in every major championship including the World Championships, Central American and Caribbean Games, two Olympics and two Pan American Games.

Laban swam at the University of Miami and graduated from the University of Georgia. He was a two-time collegiate All-American.

Laban coaches at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines and is expected to have several SOFLO swimmers on the Zone team.

Each age group (11-12, 13-14, and 15-18) will be comprised of an equal number of athletes (8 girls and 8 boys) for the 2012 Southern Zone Age Group Championships.

Florida Gold Coast will select 48 swimmers and up to six swimmers with disabilities to compete in this year’s championships.

Laban will be joined on the coaching staff by Marcello Gatti, 11-12 girls; Cathy Silviera, 13-14 girls; Richard Garza, 15-18 girls; Chadli Fernandez, 11-12 boys; and John Shipman, 15-18 boys.

Julie Smiddy will serve as head coach and team manager.

Sharon Robb can be reached at