SOFLO Swimmers Compete Saturday In P.O.W.E.R. Challenge At Pompano Beach Pier; Jennifer Martin, Lance Lesage Head Contingent

By Sharon Robb

POMPANO BEACH, August 30, 2018—South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will kick off the Labor Day holiday weekend with an open water swim.

Sixteen SOFLO swimmers will compete in the P.O.W.E.R. (Piranhas Open Water Extreme Race) Challenge 2018 Saturday at Pompano Beach Pier.

The event is sanctioned by the World Open Water Swim Association and sponsored by Pompano Piranhas, Inc., Pompano Piranhas Swim Team, City of Pompano Beach.

Races include pier-to-pier 5K swim at 8 a.m., one mile swim, 8 a.m., paddleboard, 10:15 a.m., 500 meters, 10:30 a.m. and splash and dash 100 meters, 10:45 a.m. The races begin on the beach just south of the Pompano Beach Pier.

World Police & Fire Games world record holder and gold medalist Jennifer Martin, 37, heads the SOFLO contingent. Martin, a City of Pembroke Pines police sergeant, won seven gold medals and one silver and broke five world records at the 2017 World Games.

At the June 2018 U.S. Police & Fire Championships, Martin won a meet record nine gold medals and broke three meet records including an 18-year-old record.

The former Comets Swim Team coach is currently training for the Oct. 21 U.S. Marine Corps Marathon, one of the nation’s largest marathons. Her long range training goal, however, is the Aug. 8-18 2019 World Police & Fire Games in Chengdu, China where she will compete in several swimming events.

On Saturday morning, Martin will compete in the women’s 5,000 and Lesage, 15, who just started the high school swim season at Fort Lauderdale High, will also swim the men’s 5,000.

Martin and Lesage will be joined by teammates Jemma Baldwin, 7, 100 freestyle; Fiorella Di Salvo, 10, 1500 freestyle; Jordan Evans, 7, 500 freestyle; Shelby Evans, 8, 500 freestyle; Connor Jimenez, 9, 500 freestyle; Mason Jimenez, 10, 500 freestyle; Matthew Jimenez, 10, 500 freestyle; Anastasia Lutz, 11, 1500 freestyle; Martin Petkov, 9, 500 freestyle; Mariana Pinto, 10, 1500 freestyle; Alexandra Strong, 10, 500 freestyle; Juan Vallmitjana, 9, 500 freestyle; Christian Vasquez, 15, 1500 freestyle; and Saree Young, 500 freestyle.


SOFLO’s Samuel Bullen, 13, will compete Saturday in the Florida Gold Coast Key West Pentathlon at Bone Island. He will compete in his age group in the 50-yard butterfly (31.31), 50-yard backstroke (31.27), 50-yard breaststroke (32.69), 50-yard freestyle (26.61) and 100-yard individual medley (1:04.84).


On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 4-9 p.m. at the Habit Burger Grill, 306 NW 145th Ave. in Pembroke Pines, 20 percent of sales will go to the Forza Stefano Charitable Foundation that helps teens with cancer. The foundation was formed to honor water polo player and swimmer Stefano Dioguardi. He was a member of the South Florida Water Polo Club and graduated from Pembroke Pines Charter. He was going to attend Florida Atlantic University until he succumbed to a year-long battle to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a severe form of bone cancer, at age 18.


What: P.O.W.E.R. (Piranhas Open Water Extreme Race) Challenge 2018

When: Saturday, 6 a.m.-1 p.m.

Where: Pompano Beach Pier, 222 N. Pompano Beach Blvd., Pompano Beach

Of note: Races include pier-to-pier 5K swim, 8 a.m., one mile swim, 8 a.m., paddleboard, 10:15 a.m., 500 meters, 10:30 a.m. and splash and dash 100 meters, 10:45 a.m….There is online registration and also race day registration available at the race site, 6-7:30 a.m…Pompano Beach Piranhas is the host club…Contact is head coach Jesse Vassallo at 787-315-1529…Admission is free to the general public. Parking is available on site for a fee.

Sharon Robb can be reached at