By Sharon Robb
ORLANDO, February 8, 2022—Two-time defending champion South Florida Aquatic Club continues the championship season at the USA Swimming Southern Zone South Sectional Championships.
The Speedo Championship Series four-day meet begins Thursday at Rosen Aquatic & Fitness Center.
Two sessions will open the meet with the combined 800-meter freestyle with a 3:15 p.m. start and 50-meter butterfly, 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter breaststroke with a 6 p.m. start.
SOFLO has 34 swimmers qualified in 151 individual events and has 20 relay teams in 10 relay events.
SOFLO made club history in 2021 winning back-to-back Southern Zone South Sectional Championships. In February, SOFLO won the combined team title, was second among women and third among men. In July, SOFLO won the combined team title and boys team titles and girls were second.
The field features a Who’s Who in swimming with U.S. Olympians Katie Ledecky, Michael Andrew, Caeleb Dressel and Natalie Hinds, Brazilian Olympian Bruno Fratus and Haitian Olympian Davidson Vincent heading the field.
In a fun opening matchup in the women’s 800-meter freestyle, Ledecky, swimming unattached for Gainesville Swim Club (8:12.57) where she now trains and coaches, will go head-to-head with Swimmer of the Year Blair Stoneburg of Treasure Coast Aquatics (8:45.23). University of Florida-bound Mallory Schleicher of SOFLO is seeded seventh in 9:03.34. Ledecky and Stoneburg will go at it again in the 1500 freestyle.
SOFLO’s Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego is seeded second (27.81) behind U.S. Olympian Michael Andrew (26.84) in the 50-meter breaststroke. Horrego is seeded first in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:01.18.
SOFLO’s Maddy Smutny, 16, is seeded first in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:14.37 ahead of Azura’s Julimar Avila, 25, in 2:15.36. Schleicher is seeded third in the 400 IM in 4:53.96 and fifth in the 400 freestyle in 4:21.95. Elena Dinehart was seeded fourth in the 200 backstroke in 2:17.97. Olivia Dinehart is seeded fifth in the 200 breaststroke in 2:34.85.
Other SOFLO swimmers qualified are: Mariano Catalasan, 15; Javier Colmenares, 15; Gabriella DeLuna, 15; Elena Dinehart, 17; Elise Dinehart, 13; Olivia Dinehart, 17; Hashan Ekanayake, 15; Natalie Gembicki, 16; Alex Golding, 17; Sally Golding, 17; Ivan Grass, 16; Sophia Grubbs, 16; Zackary Harris, 17; Derek Hau, 14; Adrian Hernandez, 16; Dahlia Hirsh, 15; Stephen Kim, 16; Alejandro Mateus, 16; Manuel Melendez, 18; Alexander Miller, 15; Austin Nelson, 16; Sabrina Osorio, 17; Sara Quintero, 18; Wisthon Rendon, 17; Ricardo Roche, 22; Enrique Rodriguez, 17; Javier Roman, 18; Nicolas Sachade, 15; Ana Villamil, 16; Isabelle Wilson, 15; and Aldo Zepeda, 16.
Other top teams competing are Bolles, Azura Florida Aquatics, Gainesville Swim Club, Clearwater Aquatic Team, Flood Aquatics Swim Team, St. Andrew’s Aquatics, Sarasota Sharks and Sarasota Tsunami Swim Team.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org