Chris Anderson Updates SOFLO Parents On Fall Season During Members Meeting

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, September 19, 2020—-South Florida Aquatic Club CEO and head coach Chris Anderson held an informative zoom session for parents on Saturday morning.

Between practice sessions Saturday morning at Academic Village Pool, Anderson outlined the fall plan for swimmers including home and away meets, re-capped the summer season and addressed other club business.

The following is Anderson’s detailed 51-minute discussion:

“I haven’t seen too many people during the summer, so basically this is our summer re-cap.

“Obviously, it was a very stressful and busy summer for a lot of us. But the one thing our membership all had in common was we got to come together and we got to do some training.

“We really are proud about some of the things that we did with our creativity, especially the consistency that we had throughout the summer and the things that we have done at South Florida Aquatic Club.

“We also this summer got to really spend some time with our Class of 2020. With all the different things and all the different schools were going through, we had a wonderful, wonderful dinner on our pool deck. It was a very nice environment. I think those kids are having a great time at their different universities wherever they are from.

“The other thing we are quite proud of is that we got to run some swim meets. We had four of them. The really cool thing was our staff was very creative in finding different ways to reach out to all of our membership, whether it was our 8-and-unders or our people who had their senior national cuts. We found a way to have a bunch of meets with 30 athletes in their training groups. We’re quite proud of the fact that we were able to reach out to our membership as well as, of course, get some competition in. Most of the kids swam probably three races in different times over a period of two weeks. I think it was pretty good that we started the meets sometime in July, I think it was July 31st and ran them throughout the month of August leading into what we are trying to do this fall.

“Another thing that we’ve done I know our coaches as well as our membership has looked into. Coach Lou and I have been doing a coaching search for a long time to try and find the right fit. We finally have hired a coach, if you haven’t heard already from our Blog, we hired Jack Davies. He is a former swimmer of ours, he swam in our program for four years. He got a Mathematics and education degree at McKendree University. He has been coaching at the age group level for the CSP Tideriders, a club in Illinois, it’s quite a good club as well, just like ours. It’s going to be a really nice transition to have him come in starting on Sept. 28th. The significance of that is he will basically be coming in at the very beginning of the season where he will really be focusing on the 13-14 group, he will be assisting with some of the age group workouts as well as really concentrating and improving our senior development, our senior fit group that has been doing quite wonderful throughout the summer. We will be welcoming him again on Sept. 28th and welcoming him to our coaching family and hopefully the environment of the Silver group. Again Silver, Gold, National, all of our training groups’ ability and training environment is looking really positive, so he will be a really nice addition to our staff moving forward.

“The other things that we have been doing quite recently, ten of our coaches from our staff have been attending ASCA clinics, different meetings throughout the entire week. We have been on it a few times and discussed different philosophies, whether it was age group swimming, senior swimming or even just swimming in general as far as some things we would like to either improve as a philosophy as a program or tweak or even change for that matter. We will be having some more staff meetings, of course, our coaches have been meeting by Zoom, which has actually been kind of an improvement from what we have been doing in the past. We have really been able to do a great job of communicating especially with the two sites, one south and one north, are really trying to get things done so we are kind of rolling with that.

“As far as our team training, just a quick review, what we have really tried to do over the summer is we were really trying to improve our legs. We knew we had a little time constraint and of course, another constraint of maybe not having doubles on a daily basis because we were trying to get all our athletes in the water. But one of the things that we did was to try to improve our legs and our kicking. It really kind of worked in to what the ASCA Clinic and other coaches were talking about in their philosophy. We really found after 14, 15 weeks that not only the senior group or age group program, we really did a great job over the summer of really improving those legs. As you probably know, all of our kids, all of our members and all of our athletes have grown so much because they are resting a little bit more. It hasn’t gone unnoticed four our coaching staff and our training groups. The improvement of the kick and really committing to the first five or six weeks of building up and then five or six weeks of really improving our legs. We are really looking for that to be a weapon coming up into the fall. It’s probably really going to help. The other thing I did say is because we have all of our groups broken up in such a manner, in such a way on our pool deck, spread out among the 23 lanes that we have, whether it’s one per lane or two per lane on opposite sides, we really found both at the AK site as well as here that the atmosphere of all our training groups is really quite canny, they are really healthy. If you look at it, the kids are really supporting one another, they are really motivating each other and they are really, really good solid training groups. It’s really the first time in the club after 20 years that we really have on all-cylinders, whether it’s age group, pre-age group, pre-teen, swim lessons, senior program that we have had this healthy a membership. I think a lot of that has to, of course, be the parent-leadership at home. But the kids really missed the swimming over the summer. I think they missed some of that interaction they had and it’s really come out. One of the things we talked about as a coaching staff is another benefit from the summer was the fact of our attendance. We had people not miss any workouts for 15 weeks. We’re not talking about a few athletes, we are talking 60 to 80 percent. Those that did miss only missed one or two. That consistency coupled with working on the legs on a daily basis, we are really at a place we really can say that we really moved forward and improved, not only the base level training but overall program as far as our legs and what we can do hopefully coming into this fall season.

“The atmosphere again is 100 percent, looking great. We are very excited that we started and again we had to have an ending point to start for the new season. We picked Monday, August 31st, it really worked with some of the different things that we’re doing as training. So we started with Week One, previous with that what we did spend a lot on before we started our new season the whole month of August you might have seen a change in the kids’ energy levels. We did a lot of technique and kind of talking and discussing. As you probably know, some of the kids had small, quick Zoom meetings for 15 minutes on some days where we really went over the stroke. And as you probably know in some of the lineups we have outside the pool where the kids are socially distanced, we tried to do some of extensive talks and we hit all the strokes as well as IM. We went through IM transitions, distance free training, talked about freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. We tried to refine that. And again, I think because it was right before or during the kids were kind of in school, the kids really got a lot at the beginning of August, the first couple of weeks as far as their stroke improvement. Coupling that with the legs and training environment, it’s really been a pleasure to work with the athletes, doing what we are doing and moving forward.

“The other thing we did because we have only had four meets, actually six meets, over the summer, what we tried to do at the end of August and we are trying to do it now with some different types of test sets that are trickling down from senior to age group, we tried to make some things a little bit more challenging. We tried to do a couple things without so much using blocks, but trying to create more like meet atmosphere during practice where there were meet warm-ups, then there were sets where we just basically go up and get up and go fast with a lot of rest in between or smooth swimming going back and forth. So we introduced some of those and again that competitiveness, we really tried to call out times and talking to the athletes, ‘these are your goals, this is what we want you to do,’ but we try to find how to accomplish that within a practice, having more rest. I think some of that has really kind of matured our entire group. It seems to me they are getting a little more confident when it comes to practice and moreso, getting confident in doing something very fast, taking six minutes of doing easy swimming and then coming back and repeating that, much like they would do in a swim meet if they had 15 to 20 minutes between races. As far as that, training those sets and trying to keep the kids a little bit more engaged and understand we are going to have competition again. It’s going to be the goal of our staff, after we talked a little bit about the fall meet schedule of 2020, we are going to find different ways to try and motivate those athletes throughout the entire week so when we do race on a Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday that they are ready to go and they really take advantage of the opportunity in the meets that they have as far as competition is concerned.

“Moving on to the fall schedule and I know we kind of have a schedule up there, but as you probably know things are still kind of different facilities not being open, different organizations, different municipalities and different counties all having separate rules, we kind of have a skeleton schedule. We will get the schedule out probably in the next couple of days. My staff has it. But we basically have kind of looked at it and there are a couple of small changes that we are having to do.

“To kind of go into the fall schedule, we started off the summer, of course, with our in-house virtual meets. We now will be moving on and doing a couple of meets, one on Oct. 2-3. It will be a virtual dual meet against Sarasota Y. I am trying to find some good competition throughout the state, throughout the country on the East coast who we can do this with. This virtual meet will consist of us having a competition, kind of a college format, a two-day format. It’s as close as we can get without being totally official and getting in all the events. For our 13-and-overs on a Friday evening and Saturday. You might have already seen it on Team Unify and I know some of our coaches are starting to do the entries for the athletes now. The middle school kids or the 12-and-under kids will be going on a Saturday morning and we’re going to run through the high school order format. 12-and-unders will be able to do four races for the meet and 13-and-overs will be able to do three races per session. This will be the first time, too, we will be doing some relays. There will be an “A” and “B” with our fastest athletes. They will be socially separated as far as the blocks and lanes that we are doing. We are definitely looking forward to that Oct. 2-3.

“We will be following that up with another virtual dual meet (Oct. 23-24) with the Mason Manta Rays, they are from Ohio. It’s a very, very, very good competitive club. We will be doing the same format, we may have some tweaks in there. I actually feel that our athletes have the familiarity of the format will actually help us a little bit in October. So the kids will kind of go into it with open eyes, will compete against another club and we will put all the points together. We basically are scoring Top 10 and then they will have an idea. I think we will do even a little stronger on the 23rd and 24th. They can do different events still but they will still be swimming up to six races for the 13-and-overs and four races in the one session for the 12-and-unders.

“Then in November, we are looking at the 20-24 for an age group specific dual meet. This is where we are going to invite some clubs to our pool, being that hopefully things kind of keep continuing with numbers going down with COVID and nothing changes as far as Broward County, city or even organizational-wise. If we feel it’s safe, what we would like to do is a couple of dual meets where we bring in a bunch of 10-and-unders for a set of races. They will get up and perform together with another club. Then we are going to do the 11-12 age group in another session, then we will do the 13-14 in another single session and then we will finish it off with a 15-and-over. As of right now, we have Plantation committed in 13-14 and 15-and-over. We are trying to keep it pretty much small.

“So that will be the first two meets in October will be virtual meets, then the one in November we will start bringing in some local competition to swim against age group-wise. We are still trying to keep the numbers on our pool deck about 120 to 140 including officials and timers as well as the different age groups.

“The meets in October and November will not be capped for our club. It’s not like the last meet where we had 30 athletes in and that was it. These meets will be open so you don’t have to stress out about entries. I know it’s locked right now as far as Team Unify. Like I said, our coaches are working on the entries, but it will be for our entire membership. We are going to be running heats. It will be a little different from the first round. We will have heats but we will have kids separated on the pool deck with social distancing marks. That’s how we will be doing that session. We probably will have old school meet marshals, too. We had a couple of coaches, Coach George was out there for the other meets, influencing and making sure the kids’ masks were on and that sort of thing. We’ll go over different protocols a little bit later on for the meets.

“Furthering on, we are still going to Winter Champs, Dec. 10-13, right now and Holiday Champs at Sunrise, Dec. 18-20. As discussed to our athletes and kids, we are very firm on peaking our club somewhere in the beginning part of December, whether it’s Dec. 10th or 18th, we will be peaking all of our athletes. It will be like the 16th or 17th week of training in the fall season. We are really looking for us to get up and perform, whether it’s our tech suits for our 13-and-overs or basically getting ready. We will be peaking for that part of the year. Both of those meets we don’t know what the caps are going to be, but we have been in communication with the meet hosts. We have reserved spots there.

“There’s also another meet that we have been working on. One of the Southern Zone committees are putting together a Florida State Championship, basically four sites set up in the state of Florida. There will be sectional level cuts. One of those level meets will be hosted at our facility, four a couple of counties on the west coast as well as all of Broward County and us. Another pool will be Sailfish Aquatic Park. They are looking somewhere in the Sarasota-Clearwater area and another one in Gainesville. They will be run similar at the same time and all the results will come together at the very end. We are very lucky and fortunate enough that we will be able to have one of those meets. Some of the safety precautions for the meets which we know now is a women’s prelim session and men’s prelims session and then a combined final session on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There will be more details about that meet, but that’s in a nutshell our fall 2020 meet schedule. And again there are some different safety precautions we’ll probably have to have and they will be in the meet information.

“Looking over the summer and what some of our officials had to do and our volunteers and looking toward the future, we do have a huge commitment from our officials, a huge commitment from our Booster Club as far as creating these situations, creating these meets. And, of course a huge commitment from our staff. Coming in I know some of the meets start at 6 a.m. for warm-up and 6:50 a.m. start which is kind of early. The October, November and December meets will be a little bit closer to what you guys are used to.

“As far as spectators for any of these meets we are going to try and improve our ability to film and stream these meets and put them on different types of social media. At this point as far as Broward County and I am pretty sure it’s going to stay that way, there has to be different types of permits to set up for special events. I don’t have spectators. We are keeping the meets safe. It’s worked really well and again we are going to try and improve our skills as far as commentating and trying to get a little more video technique out there so we can have people at least virtually watching some of these meets when they are going on.

“The other aspect is we are opening up for 12 timers for a lo of these meets. As things if keep improving we will be able to open up to more volunteers so that’s a real good way of getting those hours.

“Something we will talk about a little bit later as far as our Booster Club. We are starting a new year as of Sept. 1 which I will explain a little bit later after we over the meets. So again we will get these meets out next week. There’s just a couple more dates that need to be cleaned up so they can be finalized and set in stone, so you guys can all plan. The October meets, again, we are starting meet entries already currently.

“With that being said, and again I’ll be brief and I will get this out to you guys on email. Basically, our 2021 home schedule has been approved by the Florida Gold Coast. We are basically hosting eight meets ranging from our January meet to a BB Championship in February. Again some of the meets may have to change as far as meet information but we are quite confident that we will be able to host these championship meets at our facility.

“Also, we have basically March 19-21 we will have Senior Champs again. We are very fortunate and lucky again where we have Senior Champs for not only March of 2021 but we’ll have it in 2022 in short course season as well. We have kind of moved on and done some planning in that aspect. Moving on from there, we will have a dual meet again where we will bring in other athletes. We will keep you abreast of that.We will have a Developmental Meet in August 2021, moving on to our Distance Challenge in October and then we have our Last Chance Prelim-Final meet that we have in November. We did pick up another meet, too, the first week of July, the BC Championships for Broward County. I just put that out there so just so you guys know but it also ties in a little bit also with the Booster Club as far as the meets are concerned that there will be hours available in the future which again we will talk about that a little more. We will get the 2021 home meet schedule skeleton out to you guys.

“Moving on from there, as far as safety protocols, we are still in Phase One of our swimming safety protocols, the one that we put out as far as the directions being in the parking lot, trying to do the best we can with social distancing with masks, limited bathrooms and sanitizing coming in and out. We are not stopping any of that as of this point in time. We’re still for the most part in there at that time, trying to keep everything safe at our facility and we’re working with the City and having them approve what some of the things we are doing as well as Coach Lou with the safety protocols at AK Sharks.

“If it wasn’t for you guys, the parents, keeping your kids entertained at home and all the different things that we’ve had and also at the pool. Again I feel so lucky and fortunate that we are all taking care of our membership, taking care of our kids, both here at practice but also at home. We have been very fortunate and lucky throughout this pandemic as far as the program. I want to continue that so we are going to take slow steps forward to really try and keep everything safe here at the pool.

“As you probably know in Broward County and some different things in Dade, they will be making some more announcements. Private schools are in session, whether it’s at school or at home. As of Oct. 5th, there is a plan out there and you will be able to opt to go to school or stay home. Again there are so many different schools, there are so many different things going on, even at our own Charter School. So Oct. 5th there may be some safety protocols that we will be doing as far as dropping off and picking up, depending on times when school is in session and where everything is going on. We won’t be changing any of the practice times. About a week and a half to two weeks around Oct. 19th, there could possibly be some changes but keep in mind we will remind you there may be some different protocols when it comes to dropping off and picking up. But once again we have been very fortunate with it working very well, even during the rain delays for the most part pretty good as far as the social distancing when it comes to as many athletes and coaches as we have with cars picking up. We have been very fortunate with a large parking lot that we have been able to manage that. Countless hours of Maria going out and sanitizing and managing, and George and people who have coordinated all the different things.

“There will be updates, again Oct. 5th kids go back to school so you may have some drop-off and pick up changes. Of course, we have already looked into Daylight Savings. We are starting to think about that as well.

“Real quick, some of the resources we have and I really do want people to take advantage of some of these things. Whether you know it or not, Sharon Robb, she is in charge of our Sports Information. She writes a blog and does stories, she has interviewed our kids, she keeps a handle on things. She really keeps me and other staff members abreast when it comes to the high school meetings, school meetings, USA Swimming and convention meetings, all the different things that are going on, whether it’s our staff meetings, team meetings, our zoom classes, what we did with drylands back in April and May. But please if you don’t already have the RSS feed and not getting those stories, it really is a way to kind of keep you engaged of what our club is doing. So that’s Sharon Robb and we will get that out on Remind if you don’t already have the RSS feed. If you are not getting information or not somehow seeing the stories, it’s on our website homepage, Facebook…we try to get it out as many places as possible but you can get it directly on your phone. And again it’s really a great tool to understand when we are having these meetings, different changes in the schedule or different things that are going on with the high school season which is still kind of crazy with the different things that are going on but I know there are different committees working hard to try to have some type of season.

“Also, we have Natasha Moodie, she is our college prep specialist. She has a whole list of facts plus the newsletter that goes out. It is mandatory for anybody that is a freshman, even eighth grade, but freshmen for sure to be a part of that. We want to keep our student-athletes informed, we want to keep them informed about academic scholarships, about different changes in the recruiting world that’s changing on a daily basis. We want to make sure they are informed about the different colleges and universities that have different programs that are coming up soon. The process of getting to that next level of swimming has been a goal of my entire program. It’s about getting the age group swimmer to the senior program and then it’s about getting our senior athletes prepared to go to Division I, II or III or junior college. That is the program’s philosophy. Natasha and the rest of our staff have done some great, wonderful things through our newsletter and education. We’re not only successful but we are improving upon that success and getting more and more relationships on that second level after age group swimming and senior swimming to get to that third tier, collegiate swimming, which we are doing very well in.”

Anderson also talked about raising club fees for the first time since 2016 and will have more details in the coming weeks. He then opened the zoom up for any questions from the parents.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Olivia Dinehart, Alejandro Mateus Named SOFLO Club Reps For Florida Gold Coast Board

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, August 6, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented on the Florida Gold Coast’s newly-created Club Rep committee.

Olivia Dinehart, 15, and Alejandro Mateus, 15, will represent the AK Sharks and SOFLO sites as Club Reps on the FGC Board along with other athletes from remaining FGC teams.

“This is exciting,” said SOFLO CEO and head coach Chris Anderson, who made the announcement during Tuesday’s Senior Zoom meeting attended by more than 50 swimmers and coaches. “We really appreciate them taking time to do this.”

FGC Athlete Reps Chloe Hernandez, Kyle Kasztner and Madelene Finks introduced the idea of having Club Reps from each team.

Two members from each club representing gender diversity were chosen. Club Reps will be represent their club for the Athlete Reps. They will be the main form of communication between the Athlete Reps and their club.

The responsibilities of a Club Rep includes relaying information from Athlete Reps to the members of their club, voicing concerns from their athletes to the Athlete Reps, and helping connect all athletes in the FGC. Club Reps will not only improve communication between the FGC Board and athletes of the FGC but will also help create more of a community within the athletes.


The SOFLO coaching staff has been pleased with the swimmers’ progress after 12 weeks of training under all safety COVID-19 protocols.

“We are very excited to see the improvement of the overall senior team,” Anderson said.

During the Senior zoom meeting, SOFLO coach Malique Elder took time to answer swimmers’ questions and demonstrate some of the dryland training he has been planning and instructing. The majority of focus is core strength, he said.

SOFLO College Prep Advisor Natasha Moodie also reminded swimmers about the new college guide and monthly newsletter and her availability to help swimmers through the process of selecting a college and everything it entails.


After a successful debut, SOFLO will host its second intrasquad meet on Saturday at Academic Village Pool, 6-10:45 a.m.

“We are super excited to have our meet this weekend after postponing last weekend because of the storm,” Anderson said.

“Our first meet worked out great two weeks ago and was really fun. We had some great results. We have had some really great swims and we would like to continue doing what we are doing well.”

Anderson said there are expectations during these instrasquad meets.

“We don’t really have a schedule for the fall at this point in time,” Anderson said. “You can review this week some of your goals, focus on where you want to be at and think about your splits. There is something there for all. I would like to think you guys will get excited and get up and go.

“I think you guys are doing a super, awesome job when it comes to the pool, your training and the conduct you have when you guys are wearing your masks. You have a respect for one another not only on the pool deck but outside the pool.”

The second series of meets on Aug. 22 and 29 will feature Senior Development group, Silver and other age groups.

Saturday’s top seeds and mixed 15-and-over events are:

100-butterfly: Juan Colmenares, 53.56.

100 backstroke: Nick Chaimowicz, 58.93.

100 breaststroke: Juan Mora, 58.36.

100 freestyle: Juan Mora, 47.80.

400 IM: Alejandro Mateus, 4:18.46.

100 butterfly: Miguel Sierra, 49.45.

100 backstroke: Dominic Bono, 53.04.

100 breaststroke: Joseph Lee, 1:01.43.

100 freestyle: Carlos Vasquez, 46.01.

400 IM: Dominic Bono, 4:02.06.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO College Prep Advisor Natasha Moodie Unveils New 2020-21 College Prep Guide

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, July 28, 2020—The enthusiasm in her voice spoke volumes how excited Natasha Moodie was about the first SOFLO College Prep Guide for 2020-21.

The South Florida Aquatic Club College Prep Advisor unveiled the new program for SOFLO swimmers and parents during a recent zoom presentation.

“I am very excited about this,” Moodie said. “Hopefully, it is helpful to you all. Of course, I will be asking for feedback since it is our first time doing this.”

The 2008 Olympian, University of Michigan alum and former SOFLO swimmer put together an impressive 30-page resource to help guide high school swimmers and parents through the daunting task of selecting a college and what it entails leading up to signing.

“In my work in education and this past year with SOFLO, I have noticed that access to information about this college process is really hard to get to,” Moodie said. “You have to know where to look and there are ten places to look. All the divisions have their own websites. There are websites for the SAT and ACT, how to get recruited for swimming and for scholarships.

“I wanted to put together a resource that provides all the information in one place for our membership, ninth grade through 12th grade. It is a large document. I did not create this for you to be overwhelmed. The goal is to alleviate stress and increase planning. It’s not meant to sit down one evening and read all 30 pages at one time and to complete all the tasks.”

For this upcoming year everything is going to be virtual regarding SOFLO student college preparation, according to Moodie.

“Last year I was on the pool deck a lot but because of the pandemic we will be virtual,” she said. “I will still provide the same services and more but all through zoom for the foreseeable future.”

Moodie will provide monthly zoom sessions for all grade levels from incoming freshmen to rising seniors on various topics throughout the year. She also plans to send out a monthly newsletter to the high school student-athletes and parents that will include information for college preparation. She is also available for individual sessions.

Moodie suggested student-athletes should only work with the section that they need at the time and work at their own pace.

Moodie emphasized the guide is only for SOFLO clientele. There will be no distribution outside the SOFLO family. Moodie will send out a PDF copy to SOFLO membership. It will be available for its first distribution on July 30th.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Current College And Alum Share College Journey Experiences With SOFLO Swimmers, Parents

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, July 2, 2020—-For 90 minutes, South Florida Aquatic Club former and current college swimmers shared their recruiting and college experiences with current club swimmers and parents.

A panel of ten covered a range of topics with SOFLO College Prep Advisor Natasha Moodie as moderator on the Zoom platform.

The panelists were Brittany Williford, Boston College post-grad; Kelley Heron, Michigan State rising junior; Heath Brames, University of Massachusetts rising junior; Mitch D’Arrigo, Florida post-grad and 2016 Italian Olympian; Miguel Cancel, Florida rising junior; Kathleen Golding, Florida rising sophomore; Marc Rojas, Indian River and Florida State alum; Abby Oyetunji, Howard University rising senior; Courtney Marx, Western Kentucky alum; and Hailey Jerew, Florida Gulf Coast rising sophomore.

Among panel topic highlights covered were:

1. The recruiting process.

Jerew: “It’s not only based on time, but the college coaches wanted to know more about me, not just about my swimming. I kept them up to date with my meets, but also what was going on in my life and at home.”

Marx: “My strength as a recruit was that I was a huge team player. I liked to work hard. I held myself accountable. I wasn’t afraid to fail. I knew swimming wasn’t the only thing colleges were looking for.”

Rojas: “I had a lot of grit. I really liked the grind of practice. I challenged myself and my teammates. Out of high school I wasn’t as fast as I knew I could be. I always looked forward to practice in college, getting better and having fun. Getting recruited was kind of like a job interview. And, of course, your college coach is going to ask your club coach about you.”

2. The decision making process:

Golding: “There were two main things I was looking at–academics and athletics. I wanted a school that emphasized academics. The location and size of the school were important. Have a list of things you want in a college but be open to ideas.”

Williford: “I was really looking for a strong school academically, one I could perform well in academics and had flexibility. I fell in love with the city and change of seasons.”

Oyetunji: “I didn’t plan on swimming in college and I thought I would stay in- state. I didn’t have an exact plan on what I wanted, I just wanted to go to college. Coach Chris put me in touch with Howard University and put it on my radar. I was 16 and a high school senior. I had to take a gap year which helped me think about colleges. I knew then I didn’t want to stay in state. It was good for me to have a change and not just because of swimming, which I also got to do.”

Brames: “I began my recruiting process my senior year. I knew I wanted to go out of the state. I made a list of 20-30 colleges and sent out a mass email. I took my first phone call in January from the University of Massachusetts. I took a recruiting trip and loved it there. I told the head coach ‘Hey, let’s do this.'”

D’Arrigo: “I came to the U.S. my senior year. I didn’t swim high school because I swam for Italy so I had no yard times. I wanted to go to UF but they wanted me to walk on. I committed to Virginia but they said I couldn’t go to junior worlds and then the head coach left. I ended up getting a scholarship to UF.”

Rojas: “It was my senior year of high school and I was freaking out. I felt I had so much potential but my times weren’t there. I had a few recruiting trips but they only offered book fees. Alia Atkinson suggested I go to Indian River. Two weeks before high school ended I committed. I didn’t have a scholarship but it wasn’t that much money. They were hard working kids like me and really fast. I did well my first year and contacted Florida State. They were interested and I fell in love with the place. Make sure you make sure the school is a right fit for you. My FSU teammates had a high drive and embraced the grind of practice. The school really spoke out to me.”

3. Advice you would give your younger self for recruiting trips:

Brames: “Don’t compare yourself too much to the other recruits or members of the team. I would get nervous and intimidated by their times. There shouldn’t be any reason to panic or get nervous.”

Rojas: “Do the best you can reaching out to coaches and different schools. Keep your options open. If you choose a school and you don’t like it, remember it’s not set in stone and it’s not the end of the world. It’s okay to make changes. Just be sure before the big decision.”

Marx: “Use your your resources. Don’t get overwhelmed with emails and questionnaires. There are a lot of steps and it’s a big process.”

Golding: “Recruiting trips are exhausting. Be prepared to be exhausted. You do a lot in a short amount of time. Keep that in mind. Bring a notebook to write down what you’re thinking and ask questions.”

Heron: “Recruiting trips can be a little awkward. You are talking to people you have never met before. What stressed me out was meeting with advisors. I recommend having questions ready that you want to ask.”

4. College application tips:

Cancel: “Focus on making sure you get your applications in before the deadline. I committed early so I only had to fill out the coalition app.”

Oyetunji: “Get them done early. You don’t know how many schools you want to apply to and the deadlines come up faster than you think. Plus, make sure your essays are really strong.”

Williford: “Your guidance counselor will help with recommendations. What will set you apart will be your essay on what makes you unique and how much of an asset you will be to them down the road.”

5. Best thing about being in college:

Brames: “All the freedom you have and being a lot more independent. You will have three to five hours of classes a day. But it’s also a double-edged sword. There is no one there to wake you up for 8 a.m. class.”

D’Arrigo: “Doing your own thing. You are free for the first time in your life. Being part of a team is fun and different. In Italy I was swimming for myself. In college, everything you are doing is for the team.”

Jerew: “When you’re a college athlete you can register for courses before the general population can to make sure you get the schedule you want to fit around practice and meets. Your books are taken care of, pre-packaged that you can pick up in the library. You also get the recognition of being an athlete.”

Heron: “There are a lot of pros to being a college athlete. Free tutoring for any class, an entire building only available to athletes to study and get tutoring. You have an advisor for each course you are taking and free tickets to football and basketball games.”

Rojas: “You are basically a celebrity in your school. It’s the first time you are in the outside world. You learn how to grow as an individual. You’re on the path of being an adult. Mom and Dad are not there holding your hand. There is no safe space out in the real world. You are going to have your ups and downs. I learned so much about myself and came out a completely different person. In college you have tutors and rehab facility if you are injured. You also learn how to be your own chef. You can’t have ramen and mac and cheese every day.”

Marx: “There are so many resources. There are tutors. The library is usually open 24 hours a day on campus. There are psychiatrists and mental health experts for students and athletes.”

D’Arrigo: “You are treated differently, you realize how much they care about you. The professors and coaches want you to do well. In Italy, it was either study or swim. You are lucky here in college that you can do both.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Moodie Motivates, Informs SOFLO High School Seniors, Juniors About College

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, June 17, 2020—South Florida Aquatic Club College Prep Advisor Natasha Moodie recently shared her expertise on getting recruited by college coaches during high school.

The Miramar High School and University of Michigan alum took SOFLO swimmers entering their junior and senior years through the process of preparing for college including the interview process with coaches, filling out paper work and applying for scholarships and financial aid.

“This is a very exciting time,” Moodie said during her well-organized and informative Zoom presentation. “And, congratulations on completing the school year with all the challenges.”

On Monday, the recruiting season for rising high school juniors in the class of 2022 officially started.

Unlike past years when student-athletes started receiving calls from coaches on July 1, NCAA decided coaches can now start communicating through texts, emails and phone calls beginning June 15th after an athlete’s sophomore year.

The NCAA also adopted new rules allowing official on-campus visits to begin on August 1 (instead of Sept. 1), after the athlete’s sophomore year of high school. Before that swimmers weren’t allowed to take official visits until after the first day of classes of their senior year.

Moodie outlined information from a six-page recruiting guide she put together with the help of SOFLO CEO and coach Chris Anderson. Some swimmers have already researched colleges and have a Top 10 list, Moodie said. Others are just starting to think about the college process. Either way, the guide is a great resource.

Moodie talked about a swimmer’s brand that will capture a college coach’s attention.

“This whole recruiting process is where you are getting to know the school and the coach, and the coach and team are getting to know you,” Moodie said. “It is a getting-to-know-you process. It’s a series of conversations. For a coach to get to know who you are, you need to know what to say and present the best version of you.”

Moodie said it’s important to share your swimming, school and personal goals about next season and the future, and to be specific. Talk about your consistencies, strengths and areas you want to improve. Being prepared for the coach’s questions will set you apart from others, she said.

Moodie reminded swimmers that every school and coach operates differently and have a different number of staff members. She suggested they research completely about the schools, teams and coaches with Google searches.

Moodie also includes a list of question coaches may ask swimmers during phone conversations. She also added it’s important to follow up communication with college coaches with a thank you note to illustrate a level of maturity that will set you apart from other recruits.

“I know I said a lot but it’s important to get input from your high school and club coaches, friends, teachers, mentors and have a practice conversation and ask them what they think you bring to the table, what are your strengths and what do they think you will add to a college team,” Moodie said. “It’s really nice to get that kind of input from someone.”

For questions please contact Moodie at Also check out SOFLO’s College Prep resource folder at:

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Olympian Natasha Moodie Shares Her Struggles, Accomplishments As Student-Athlete

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, May 13, 2020—Resilience is not letting setbacks destroy you, learning from them and trying again. It’s one of life’s great skills which Natasha Moodie has mastered since she was a little girl.

The Jamaican Olympian, University of Michigan and Miramar High School alum and former South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer shared her trials and tribulations with SOFLO swimmers, parents and coaches recently on Zoom.

Moodie, 29, is SOFLO’s full-time college advisor. Her life’s story is remarkable. She never rejoiced in easy victories because there were no easy victories for the injury-plagued swimmer. She recovered from failure and learned something about herself along the way. She is tough. And, that’s how confidence is built. She is confident in anything she takes on.

For nearly an hour she shared her own stumbles and showed swimmers that mistakes are totally normal and helps them take their own in stride. She also proves that being a good role model doesn’t mean you have to be perfect.

The theme of her motivational talk was “determine your success by committing to the development of your character.”

Moodie started elementary school in Kingston, Jamaica at 4 and was one of only three 6-and-under swimmers at the center.

“We made it from one end of the 50-meter pool,” said Moodie, who by age 6 was swimming year-round for a club. At 12, her family moved to New Jersey where she joined an age group team. In 2005, she moved to Miramar and joined the Comets/SOFLO club.

“It was very tough for me at first,” Moodie said. “Having Chris (CEO and head coach Chris Anderson) as a coach really changed my life. He consistently pushed me. There was not really a limit on our goals. Coach did not put a cap on me on what I could achieve.”

Early on Moodie injured her shoulder. “I had no endurance, I was slowest in practice,” she said. “It was the first time I was truly challenged. I made a commitment to swimming and to what I was doing. I really wanted to be better and meet Chris’ expectations.”

Moodie said that meant giving 100 percent at every practice, getting to the pool at 4:45 in the morning, going to school and then returning for afternoon practice.

“Every meet I gave my best even though I had to swim the 400 IM and 200 fly,” Moodie said. “I had to be humble enough to accept correction to improve as an athlete.”

At the high school state meet, she won the 50-yard freestyle and had the pool deck buzzing.

“Most people didn’t even know my high school had a swim team,” Moodie said. “No one knew who I was. I was beating people who were suppose to win.”

At that meet Moodie made her U.S. Open cut and it all snowballed from there. “I had no idea what the U.S. Open was and here Chris is asking me if I wanted to go and I said ‘sure, yeah.” The next two years I went to juniors and seniors. If Chris said jump, I jumped.”

Moodie only missed two days of practice for prom and graduation. She competed in several U.S. Opens, senior nationals, made the Jamaican national team, 2006 World Championships in Australia, 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil, 2008 Seoul Olympics and 2009 World Championships. She retired from the Jamaican national team in 2010.

Moodie was 15 her senior year of high school when she was being recruited by colleges. “At that time recruiting was different,” Moodie said.

At only 16, Moodie started her collegiate career at Michigan on a full scholarship. She is the youngest SOFLO swimmer to earn a Division I scholarship. She made several college visits but it was Michigan she had her heart set on.

“I went to Michigan on a recruiting trip and it was the most boring trip,” she said. “It was 20 degrees and I was shaking the whole weekend. But I needed a place with minimal distractions to be successful in college and that environment didn’t have distractions.”

It wasn’t easy when she arrived on-campus. She called her first semester “an absolute disaster.” She was reprimanded for being late her first day of practice. After the first two weeks, she injured her left arm and couldn’t swim in practice. She had the least endurance and was the weakest in dryland which she said her teammates thought she wasn’t working hard.

“I was injured and terrible in practice,” Moodie said. “My teammates didn’t think I was putting in the effort. They didn’t know my character yet.”

In addition to being constantly injured, she did not do well on her final exams and failed her first semester with an F average, making her ineligible to compete her second semester.

“It was devastating and really hard for me,” she said. “I disappointed myself, my family and my teammates. After that first semester I got tutors, made weekly appointments with my professors, met with my academic advisor and joined study groups. I had to humble myself and take those steps to meet my goals.”

Moodie said she took time to reflect on how badly “did I want that degree from Michigan.”

Moodie nearly failed another semester her junior year but met with a tutor every day and professors three times a week.

“I did whatever it took to get there,” Moodie said. “I couldn’t spend time comparing myself to others. I had to stay true to myself and character.”

Even though she had only her electives left her senior year she never got overconfident. Just because she was doing better, she never let up. She was also named team captain.

“It wasn’t my GPA or amount of team points I scored, it was my character,” Moodie said. “Even when I was failing I maintained my integrity. I didn’t cheat or cut corners. I made the necessary changes to make it through and become better. I started at the bottom and now I am here.”

Injuries continued to plague her body that senior year. She was the only swimmer on the team not to earn an academic award or any individual swimming honors. And, she fell short of her goal of winning the Big 10 Championships by .02.

“It did not change my character or goals, I always put in 100 percent,” Moodie said. “I never missed a pratice and never let go of my goals.”

Moodie walked away with her college diploma finishing with a 2.6 GPA or C average. She went on to grad school at Johns Hopkins University.

“My coach said my professor reached out to him and said how much he enjoyed having me as a student,” Moodie said. “I barely graduated but they saw my dedication and character. Despite my difficulties I stayed true to myself and developing my character. It was my character that set me apart from my peers. It’s not about my grades or accomplishments, it was my dedication to get things done.”

Moodie stressed achievements are not the only measure of success.

“We are taught to push past our limits,” Moodie said. “You have an opportunity to show what you are made of. To be able to push yourself past your perceived boundaries are privileges. You get a chance to prove what you are made of for yourself, not your coaches or parents or teammates.

“I urge you to commit to developing yourself and giving your very best at every practice. Be able to humble yourself to accept corrections. These are valuable lessons to you for the rest of your life.

“If you fully commit to yourself and future self regardless of what your accomplishments say on paper, give everything to accomplishing that goal and character, at the end of the day you can say you are successful.

“I made sure that my 2.6 GPA told my story of resilience, it wasn’t a story of failure,” Moodie said. “It was a sign I didn’t give up. I was able to exercise humility and was willing to work hard and face not being the best. My life was filled with defining moments and you will have those moments that will define you, too.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Natasha Moodie Enjoying Role As SOFLO College Advisor; Seven SOFLO Seniors Headed To College This Fall

By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, April 30, 2020–With the college application process and recruiting rules frequently changing, South Florida Aquatic Club CEO and head coach Chris Anderson was looking to help SOFLO parents and swimmers.

Twenty years ago, when the club was in its beginning stages, there were fewer swimmers and college guidelines to contend with.

Now, with ever-changing rules and regulations and to educate swimmers and parents on the various NCAA Division I, II and III and NAIA colleges, Anderson hired his former swimmer Natasha Moodie as a full-time college advisor. Moodie is believed to be the first full-time college advisor at a USA Swimming club in the Florida Gold Coast.

Moodie, 29, a 2008 Olympian and three-time national record holder for Jamaica and alum of University of Michigan, where she was an NCAA All-American, is sharing her vast knowledge with SOFLO swimmers and parents.

Moodie, who has a strong background in education, develops college prep programs as program director for public schools in Miami-Dade. She is currently on a leave of absence and devoting her time to assisting SOFLO swimmers and parents through the maze of college research and preparation.

A day before College Signing Day (May 1), seven SOFLO seniors have committed to college. They are: Leonardo Mateus, Yale; Gabby Banks and David Diaz, Florida State; Sophia Bedoya, New York University; Rafael Rodriguez, Purdue; Roby Garrido, Rochester Institute of Technology; and Nick Chaimowicz, Broward College.

While most of the seniors already had a good idea of what college they would be attending when Moodie started last fall, she was there to answer any and all questions. She is currently working with SOFLO high school freshmen, sophomores and seniors.

“The team is much bigger now than when I was there in the early 2000s,” Moodie said. “Only three of us at the time wanted to swim in college. I am really thankful for Chris’ help with the college process. All my knowledge from recruiting came from Chris. No one in my family swam Division I. I was exposed to a lot of colleges at the U.S. Open, Junior Nationals and international meets.

“The club is so much larger now. There was definitely a need for my job. Today students need more guidance because the rules and college process has changed quite a bit just in the last five years when it comes to college application and recruiting.”

Moodie had been visiting with swimmers and parents before the COVID-19 pandemic but now communicates on the ZOOM platform.

Several swimmers would like to swim in college but may not have had the exposure to college coaches that Moodie had on the U.S. and international scene. She discusses the student’s goals in high school in terms of courses and activities and talks about the various collegiate programs that would be a good fit with their interests.

“It’s all centered around college,” Moodie said. “All the students who said they wanted to swim we look for a good fit. Some of them are not seen by college coaches on the national or international level, sectionals or Futures. My primary focus is serving the student-athletes who don’t get that exposure or had face-to-face meetings with college coaches. We want them to know there are colleges out there for them.

“I am a resource for families and kids to come to me for what they need,” Moodie said. “I am working with the junior class now. Quite a few students and parents have put together a college list. We talk about their priorities, what’s important, tuition, expenses, whether they want to stay in Broward, the state of Florida or outside the state.”

Unlike college football and basketball that dominate the headlines, collegiate swimming does not get a lot of exposure.

“There’s not a lot of national recognition,” Moodie said. “I’m not surprised that these students may not know about Division II schools. And NAIA is still quite young. The whole college system changes so much every year. I want to help them with their research.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, there are expected to be changes in the fall at colleges across the country. There is also talk of student-athletes taking a gap year. But SOFLO’s college-bound athletes are still planning on starting college in the fall whether it’s on campus or online.

Many colleges are supporting students by deferring deadlines, waiving fees and making standardized tests such as ACT and SAT optional. Still, no one knows what the fall semester will look like just yet.

“I am telling them everyone is in the same boat across the world, which is a position of waiting,” Moodie said. “I trust whatever decision the NCAA, USA Swimming, Florida Gold Coast and colleges make. I trust they will make the right decisions to protect the students and universities. It’s in the best interest of everyone. When things do resume we will all re-start wherever we are.”

Despite the challenging times, Moodie is enjoying her new role with SOFLO.

“It has been great being around swim families again, the parents have been so welcoming,” Moodie said. “I feel a close connection with them. Swimming and education are two things I love. I am excited for the future and excited to see what the future holds for these kids.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 167: SOFLO’s Marinheiro Takes Second, Fourth At Brazilian Junior Nationals

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 167: SOFLO’s Marinheiro Takes Second, Fourth At Brazilian Junior Nationals


June 15, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Melissa Marinheiro continued to pick up valuable international experience Friday at the Brazilian Junior Nationals in Recife, Pernambuco.

Marinheiro, 15, of West Broward High School, finished second in the 200-meter freestyle and fourth in the 100-meter butterfly.

In the 200-meter freestyle, Marinheiro was the top seed after prelims in 2:07.84 and came back to finish second in 2:07.34.

In the 100-meter butterfly, she swam 1:06.72 in prelims and 1:07.37 in finals to place fourth.

On Saturday, Marinheiro has the morning off and will then compete in the 400-meter freestyle, her final event, during the night prelim session of the long distance event. The 400 finals are Sunday morning.

RBC Bahamas National Championships

SOFLO’s Vlad Polaykov, Sharntelle McLean and Natasha Moodie are scheduled to compete on Saturday. Moodie, 21, and McLean, 27, will compete in the 100-meter freestyle and Polyakov, 28, will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke. McLean and Polyakov are going after FINA qualifying standards for the 2012 London Olympics.

In earlier national results, Kuwait Olympian Yousef Alaskari, 17, the Broward County High School Swimmer of the Year, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:53.10. He was the only swimmer under 2 minutes.

Sette Colli Meet

Three meet records fell on the second day of competition in the Rome meet.

Japan’s Aya Terakawa won the women’s 100-meter backstroke in a meet record 59.42.

Luca Marin of Italy won the men’s 400-meter individual medley in a meet record in 4:12.04, knocking off current world leader Kosuke Hagino of Japan.

Olympic gold medal favorite Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the women’s 100-meter freestyle in a meet record 53.09. She was out in 26.02.

In other races, Ryosuke Irie of Japan won the 100-meter backstroke in 53.71; Martina Granstrom of Sweden won the 200-meter butterfly in 2:08.85; Chad Le Clos of South Africa won the men’s 200-meter butterfly in 1:55.87; Filippo Magnini of Italy won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:48.02; and Miyu Otsuka of Japan won the women’s 400-meter individual medley in 4:38.73.


British breaststroke national record holder Daniel Sliwinski, 22, of Great Britain was forced to drop off the Olympic team after seriously injuring a tendon in his shoulder. He is scheduled to undergo surgery next week followed by three months of rehab. “It is an athlete’s worst nightmare,” he said. “I have had a couple of injuries and I need to go back and rebuild the foundations.” British officials will select his replacement after next week’s ASA National Championships…

USA Swimming, the sport’s national governing body, will release a free online version of their SafeSport education program to the parents of USA Swimming athletes on Wednesday. The program will be available at USA Swimming will also release a version for athletes under the age of 18 in the fall.

Michael Phelps took to Twitter tweeting his displeasure over the frequent random drug testing he has been undergoing in the last three weeks. Phelps, a 14-time Olympic gold medalist, was altitude training in Colorado Springs with his coach Bob Bowman and is now in taper mode. Phelps tweeted, “Feel like my #randomness for drug testing is like the randomness at the security lines at airports…6 times in three weeks? Really? And not saying it’s bad that they test. But a little excessive IMO. Just wonder if the other athletes out there are getting the randomness that I get.”…Natalie Coughlin is featured in the July issue of Elle Magazine.

SOFLO Tweet of the Day

“I steal a sock from my sister and it’s the end of the world, but when she steals my clothes it’s ok, LOL—Steph Campo

Tweet of the Day

“No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch.”—Fitness Motivator

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Cal-Berkeley Wins Women’s NCAA Team Title, SOFLO’s Kuczynski, Moodie Compete On Final Day

Cal-Berkeley Wins Women’s NCAA Team Title, SOFLO’s Kuczynski, Moodie Compete On Final Day


March 19, 2011

An emotionally-charged California Berkeley won the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday night at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.

The No. 2 nationally-ranked Cal-Berkeley, buoyed by a late charge on the third and final day, won its second team title with 424 points.

A third-place finish by the 400-yard freestyle relay of Hannah Wilson, Sara Isakovic, Erica Dagg and Liv Jensen picked up 32 points and was icing on the cake in 3:12.20. The team just needed to finish the event and not get disqualified to win the title.

Upset-minded Georgia, despite winning the final relay, finished runner-up with 394.5 points and Southern California was third in 351.

Defending champion Florida was seventh with 226. It was the 11th consecutive season the No. 8-ranked Gators finished in the Top 10.

“I am extremely proud of how the team competed,” Gators coach Gregg Troy said. “We fought hard all weekend long. They showed a lot of character and mental toughness in the adversity they overcame, not only this week, but the entire season.

“As a staff, we probably didn’t do as good of a job getting them prepared as we would have liked but it was a tremendous effort on their part.”

Arizona State, with SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski, was 18th with 59 points. Michigan, with SOFLO’s Natasha Moodie, was 30th with 13.

Moodie, swimming in her final collegiate meet, tied for 36th in the 100-yard freestyle in 49.46.

Moodie also led off the 400-yard freestyle relay that finished 20th in 3:20.10. Other members of the relay were Caitlin Dauw, Alexa Mehesan and Deirdre Jones.

Kuczynski, a sophomore, competing in her first NCAA Championships, finished 38th in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:59.28.

Kuczynski and her ASU teammates finished 21st in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:20.12. Kuczynski swam third leg.

University of Miami senior Brittany Viola won the platform diving title with 344.30 points. UM teammates Carrie Dragland was third with 326.10 points. Purdue’s Kara Cook was 15th with 262.15.

Individual champions on the third and final night were:

Wendy Trott, a junior at Georgia, won the 1,650-yard freestyle in a career-best 15:40.32, just missing Janet Evans NCAA record set 21 years ago in the same pool. It was her third mile title. “I am definitely more of a back-half swimmer,” Trott said. “I knew I had to take it out easy and then try and take it in the second half.”

Wisconsin senior Maggie Meyer won the 200-yard backstroke in a career-best 1:50.76. Her 100 split was 53.14. “It was my dream to be an NCAA champion but I didn’t really feel that was in my grasp until about 35 yards to go,” Meyer said.

Florida freshman Elizabeth Beisel was third in 1:51.60 and teammate Teresa Crippen, a junior, was fourth in 1:51.61.

Auburn’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace won the 100-yard freestyle in 47.07. Her prelim time was 46.91. It was a sweep for her after winning the 50-meter freestyle.

Minnesota sophomore Haley Spencer won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:06.12. Texas A&M freshman Breeja Larson, a newcomer to the sport after starting late in her high school career, was second in 2:06.18.

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu, a junior at Southern Cal, won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:51.69. Florida’s Teresa Crippen was sixth in 1:54.37.

Georgia’s “A” team of Morgan Scroggy, Megan Romano, Melanie Margalis and Allison Schmitt won the 400-yard freestyle in a thrilling final race in 3:11.03 ahead of Auburn’s “A” relay that finished in 3:11.70 with Vanderpool-Wallace swimming leadoff leg.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Kuczynski Makes First NCAA Final On Day Two Of NCAA Women’s Championships

SOFLO’s Kuczynski Makes First NCAA Final On Day Two Of NCAA Women’s Championships


March 18, 2011

SOFLO’s Caroline Kuczynski and her Arizona State teammates made their first championship final of the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships Friday in Austin, Texas.

The sophomore swam third leg as Arizona State qualified its 200-yard medley relay for the championship “A” final.

The “A” relay of Kelli Kyle, Rebecca Ejdervik, Caroline Kuczinski and Kathryn Haron qualified in a season-best 1:37.42. Its previous best was 1:38.31. The Sun Devils finished eighth in the final in 1:37.56.

With SOFLO’s Natasha Moodie swimming anchor leg, Michigan’s “A” relay finished 18th in the 200-meter medley relay in 1:39.66, off its

1:38.35 seed time.

Kuczynski, a sophomore making her NCAA debut, also qualified for the “B” final in the 100-yard butterfly in 52.79, just off her 52.52 seed time. She finished 16th in the consolation final in 53.85.

University of Miami’s Anita Saarnak, a senior, was 25th in the 100-yard butterfly in 53.14.

In a close team race after two days, California leads with 295 points just ahead of Georgia, 274.5 and Southern Cal, 253. Stanford at 192 leads the second tier with Arizona, 184, Texas, 172 and defending champion Florida, 149.

Individual and relay champions Friday night were:

Top-seeded Cal Berkeley “A” relay of Cindy Tran, Caitlin Leverenz, Colleen Fotsch and Liv Jensen won the 200-yard medley relay in 1:35.03.

Junior Katinka Hosszu of Southern California won the 400-yard individual medley in 3:59.75. The Hungarian finished ahead of University of Florida freshman Elizabeth Beisel in 4:00.87. Beisel was the fastest morning qualifier in 4:02.34.

Senior Amanda Sims of Cal Berkeley won the 100-yard butterfly in 50.49.

Junior Allison Schmitt of Georgia defended her title in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:42.08. Florida’s Shara Stafford was eighth in 1:45.65.

Senior and meet favorite Jillian Tyler of Minnesota won the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.39. Texas A&M freshman Breeja Larson’s, SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson’s heir apparent, was second in 58.51.

Freshman Cindy Tran of Cal Berkeley, ranked No. 1 in the event, won the 100-yard backstroke in 51.30 on her birthday and freshman teammate Deborah Roth was second in 51.51.

In a mild upset, Abby Johnston of Duke won the 3-meter springboard diving title with 409.35 points ahead of Minnesota’s Kelci Bryant with 395.85. Miami’s Bianca Alvarez of Ohio State was fourth in 351.65 and University of Miami’s Carri Dragland was sixth with 347.95.

USC’s Haley Ishimatsu hit her heels on the board during the competition and was forced to withdraw. She is expected to compete on platform on Saturday.

Georgia’s “A” relay of Morgan Scroggy, Megan Romano, Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt won the 800-yard freestyle relay in 6:55.40. Florida was fifth in 7:00.89.

Sharon Robb can be reached at