By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, July 23, 2022–Eva Ortiz is a quick study when it comes to competitive swimming.

Just ask her South Florida Aquatic Club age group coach Andrea Golding. Ortiz joined her Little Dippers group in January at age 10.

“She is a hard worker, she listens to everything and she is very coachable,” Golding said. “She quietly worked her way and then before we knew it I had to move her into my Dippers group in March. Then she started competing.”

Ortiz competed in the SOFLO 10-and-Under Meet in April in her first two events, 50 freestyle and 50 breaststroke.

“Ortiz got her first B cut in the 50 breast in her very first meet,” Golding said.

“I think the swim meet I was most excited about was my first-ever meet,” Ortiz said. “I was so nervous. I did all right. It got me motivated.”

After that she competed in the Plantation Swim Team long course dual meet “which is pretty challenging for Dippers,” Golding said. “She did the 50 free, 50 back and 50 fly and she got her second B cut in her 50 back.”

Then she competed in the FIU Long Course meet and earned her third B cut in the 100 freestyle, swam her 50 backstroke even faster and got her BB cut in the 100 breaststroke.

“At that point when you have a swimmer in your group who was just on pre-team in January and then moving into Little Dippers you’re like whoa.”

Ortiz competed in the North Miami meet and had “another fantastic meet” getting her B cut in the 50 fly.

“Here we have all of a sudden a swimmer who has a B cut in every stroke and caught my attention. I just realized I can’t keep her in Dippers any longer.

“The nice thing is what I’ve seen the last few months she has gone from always being in the back of the lane to leading a lane. I see a little smile and little bit of a twinkle in her eye.

“As a coach it’s really nice to see her gain some confidence in what she is able to do and how she approaches her practice because clearly she has some baseline talent there. I’m really excited to see her with the challenge of the next level up. I think she will progress very quickly.”

The 11-year-old is expected to move up to Meteorites for the next chapter in her young swimming career.

Ortiz, a sixth grader at Franklin Academy Pembroke Pines played soccer and gymnastics. She learned to swim in a lessons program when she was a toddler. She loves the sport and joined her first club SOFLO a year ago.

“I did a lot of other sports before swimming but I really didn’t like them,” Ortiz said. “I like going in the water so I went and tried out for swimming. I like competing and training equally. I am trying to get better.”

Since she started swimming Ortiz has improved her time management and study skills, according to her mom Niurka. “Everything fell into place for her. We’re happy with how well she has been able to manage to swim and maintain her grades.”

Ortiz is focused on making good grades in school and swimming but also has time to be a computer wiz. She also loves to draw, collects Hello Kitty and Pusheen stuffed animals and collectibles and spend time with her athletic family.

Her dad Felipe played football at Clemson and also competed in marathons and triathlons including the Ironman. He’s played a big part in her swimming taking her to practice and also helping her with her pool starts off the blocks. Her brother Gavin has been playing golf since he was 5 and her older sister Maya used to be a fencer.

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Ortiz joins SOFLO teammates Sally Golding (April), Natalie Gembicki (March), Sofia Lugo (February) and Valentina Remmele (January) as 2022 Swimmers of the Month.

SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.

TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology. Among its female-sponsored athletes are ESPY Sportswoman of the Year Katie Ledecky, 2020 Olympians Simone Manuel, Lilly King, Annie Lazor, Ashley Twichell and other elite swimmers Melanie Margalis, Molly Hannis and Kelsi Dahlia.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com