TYR JUNE GIRL SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Amber Connor


By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, August 8, 2022–Amber Connor is more than willing to work hard in swimming.

The Chapel Trail Elementary School fifth grader loves everything about the sport including the social aspect and dry land training.

“I like swimming with my teammates, I made a lot of friends,” Connor said. “At the same time I still have to focus on swimming. I really love dry land. I like pushups, crunches, running and all the types of exercises we do.”

Connor loves to support her SOFLO team. The last time SOFLO had a fundraiser she called all her relatives and told them “they had to contribute,” according to her mom.

Connor, 10, currently swimming with the Meteorites, will move up to Asteroids and work with Coach Luis this month. Her next meet is the Aug. 27 SOFLO/TYR Back To School Developmental Meet.

Connor has been swimming for four years. She learned how to swim and then joined SOFLO where she worked with Coach George and moved up the ladder from pre-team to Little Dippers and Dippers. Her older sister, Jiana, 14, also swims.

“I like the swimming competition the most,” Connor said. “I am competitive.”

Connor competed in an after-school soccer program but said swimming is now “the priority.”

Her favorite stroke is freestyle. “I’ve been getting a lot better with freestyle,” she said.

Connor has progressed with every swim meet. She was most happiest with the Last Chance Summer Invite when she got three Junior Olympics cut times in the 50 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle. “I like the short, fast races,” she said.

Her goals for the season with Asteroids are to “get at least five more JOs so I can move up. I know I have to work hard and keep up.”

Her mom, Marsha, has watched her daughter become more disciplined with her time thanks to swimming.

“She is disciplined with her time and makes sure she gets to her classes on time,” Marsha said. “I’m glad she got involved with swimming just to have a set routine and be able to manage homework, school and swimming.”

She loves the fact that both of her daughters are involved in swimming.

“I love it because I never learned to swim when I was young. I knew living in Florida I wanted them to learn to swim when they were young. By them just going to swim classes I found out about swimming competitions. I entered them and never looked back.

“I think it’s taught them discipline. It gets them out of the house doing some form of exercise. I like swimming as an exercise sport. I’m learning how much time and commitment it takes.”

Connor said her mom supports her and motivates her on both her good and bad days in the sport.

“I let them know that setbacks in life are expected. Swimming teaches life lessons and setbacks happen. I let her know she can be down for a little bit but you have to get yourself back up and push harder because anything you want in life is not going to be easy. You have to make the effort.”

A normal day for Connor is school from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. After coming home and eating, she gets ready for swimming practice at 4. After dinner she does homework and then goes to bed. She also makes time for her favorite computer game Roblox. Connor hopes to swim in high school and would like to work toward a college scholarship.

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Connor joins SOFLO teammates Eva Ortiz (May), 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
http://www.swim4soflo.com

TYR MAY GIRL SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Eva Ortiz


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
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Catalin Grant Will Be Honored At Kids Of Character Awards Ceremony

SOFLO’s Catalin Grant Will Be Honored At Kids Of Character Awards Ceremony


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

May 3, 2011

Student-athlete Catalin Grant of Hawkes Bluff Elementary School is among twenty-seven students chosen as top honorees for the eleventh annual Sun-Sentinel Kids Of Character Year-End Awards Ceremony.

Grant will be honored on Monday, May 9th at Cooper City High School in a celebration event sponsored by the Broward County Public Schools, Publix and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Grant was singled out for her fundraising for charities including UNICEF, Red Cross and Humane Society by selling items from a “Snack Shack” at her house.

Grant swims for the Meteorites under Coach Luis Soler at the Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines. She started with the Dippers in January 2009.

The twenty-seven students were nominated from 120 participating schools throughout Broward County.

Grant told the Sun-Sentinel that she got the idea of the “Snack Shack” from her older sister five years ago. In the beginning they worked together along with their mother, Wendy Grant.

Grant, 10, a fifth grader, now does it on her own in her spare time when she’s not doing homework, swimming or helping friends.

“I just like doing things for charity, raising money to help them,” Grant told the Sun-Sentinel.

She was only in kindergarten when she worked on her first charity for Hurricane Katrina victims. Her most recent charity work was for UNICEF.

Grant also helps tutor students with their schoolwork and helps out anyone in need. She is known as “a sweet girl with a big heart.”

Her teacher called her “a positive role model to her classmates and peers.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com.

 http://www.swim4soflo.com