SOFLO Sends Nine Swimmers To USA Swimming Zone Championships In Rockwall, Texas

SOFLO Sends Nine Swimmers To USA Swimming Zone Championships In Rockwall, Texas


May 15, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club had nine swimmers selected to compete in the July 31-Aug. 4 Southern Zone Age Group Championships in Rockwall, Texas.

It is one of the largest group of swimmers, six girls and three boys, selected from a local swim club to be named to the Florida Gold Coast Zone All-Star team for the annual USA Swimming meet.

The zone championships feature top regional swimmers at the senior and age group levels who qualify for these meets within the four designated zones: southern, eastern, central and western.

Each LSC is limited to 48 swimmers—8 females and 8 males in each age group (11-12, 13-14 and 15-18). It gives swimmers nearing the junior national level an opportunity to excel at the end of the long course season.

SOFLO girls selected to the team are:

11-12, Catharine Cooper, Kelley Heron, Bianca Monti, Isabella Pittinger.

15-16, Maria Lopez, Melissa Marinheiro.

SOFLO boys selected are:

11-12, Kevin Porto.

13-14, Julien Pinon, Gustavo Valery.

Cooper and Pinon competed last year on the zone team in Cary, N.C.

The remaining FGC girl team members are: (11-12) Jessica Nava, Alicia Mancilla; (13-14) Rose Smiddy, Marta Ciesla, Hannah Burdge, Kelly Fertel, Jessica Conway, Namilla Sanchez; (15-18) Jessica Randolph, Brenna Ruth, Darby Goodwin, Kristina Figueroa.

The other FGC boys team members are: (11-12) Ervin Marin, Jorge Depassier, Alberto Gomez, Max Asnis, Gabriel Munoz; (13-14) Henry Contich, Cody Cline, Carlos Gallego, Julio Horrego; (15-18) Quinn Cassidy, Alec Wathen, Derek Chait, Ronald Santos, Danny Hartley, Manny Lopez.  

The selection process is not yet complete according to FGC officials. Each age group will have eight swimmers. Following the initial team selection, there will remain two wild card slots in each age group. They will be invited no later than July 3.

SOFLO age group coach Megan Garland has been selected as a member of the Florida Gold Coast Zone coaching staff. Julie Smiddy heads the coaching staff.

A banner and fifty swim caps will be awarded the Charlene Craddock Sportsmanship Award to the team that exhibits the highest level of sportsmanship throughout the meet.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Josh Laban Named To FGC Zone Team Coaching Staff

SOFLO’s Josh Laban Named To FGC Zone Team Coaching Staff


April 18, 2012

South Florida Aquatic Club age group coach Josh Laban has been named to the coaching staff for the Florida Gold Coast’s Zone All-Star team that will compete in Rockwall, Texas, July 31-August 5.

Laban, 29, will coach the 13-14 boys’ contingent.

Laban, who grew up in St. Croix, is a two-time Olympian for the Virgin Islands (2004, 2008) and worked closely as a swimmer and assistant coach with six-time Olympic coach and SOFLO co-founder Michael Lohberg.

Laban was the Virgin Islands’ flag bearer for the Olympics and Pan American Games.

The sprinter competed in every major championship including the World Championships, Central American and Caribbean Games, two Olympics and two Pan American Games.

Laban swam at the University of Miami and graduated from the University of Georgia. He was a two-time collegiate All-American.

Laban coaches at SOFLO’s Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines and is expected to have several SOFLO swimmers on the Zone team.

Each age group (11-12, 13-14, and 15-18) will be comprised of an equal number of athletes (8 girls and 8 boys) for the 2012 Southern Zone Age Group Championships.

Florida Gold Coast will select 48 swimmers and up to six swimmers with disabilities to compete in this year’s championships.

Laban will be joined on the coaching staff by Marcello Gatti, 11-12 girls; Cathy Silviera, 13-14 girls; Richard Garza, 15-18 girls; Chadli Fernandez, 11-12 boys; and John Shipman, 15-18 boys.

Julie Smiddy will serve as head coach and team manager.

Sharon Robb can be reached at