SOFLO’s Atkinson Skips FINA World Cup Final Stop In Moscow

By Sharon Robb

September 2, 2016—Alia Atkinson of South Florida Aquatic Club will not compete in the third and final stop of the first cluster in the FINA/Airweave World Cup Series Saturday in Moscow and is headed home.

The four-time Jamaican Olympian is currently second in the points standings with 121 points, 137 behind Hungarian Olympic gold medalist Katinka Hosszu with 258.

In her last outing in Berlin, Atkinson, 27, won the 50-meter breaststroke in 29.00 on the second and final day, and silver in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:03.12. She was fourth in the 100-meter individual medley in 59.83.

Atkinson was in line for a $35,000 bonus but had to swim in Moscow to remain eligible.

In the opening stop in Chartres-Paris, Atkinson tied her short course world record in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:02.36.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alia Atkinson Ready For Olympic Glory

By Sharon Robb

August 4, 2016—No one is more deserving or more ready to hang an Olympic medal around her neck than Alia Atkinson.

The South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer started her journey as a 15-year-old junior at Flanagan High School when she made her first Olympic team.

“I was going to the 2004 Olympics asking myself ‘what is that?’”

Twelve years later, the world-class swimmer will make her fourth Olympic appearance for Jamaica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this weekend.

Atkinson competes Sunday afternoon in the heats of the 100-meter breaststroke, her signature event, at 1 p.m. EST. The semifinals are Sunday night at 10 p.m. and finals Monday night at 10 p.m.

For two weeks at SOFLO’s home base, Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines, Atkinson did her pre-Olympic workouts, 8-10 p.m. instead of the morning to simulate the time change, competition schedule and conditions of Rio de Janeiro.

Atkinson, 27, is among medal favorites and it shows in her attitude and training.

“Now, there is a difference physically and mentally and even bigger difference experience-wise, but I am still going to feel like that little girl in 2004.”

Atkinson is joined by her longtime coach Chris Anderson and SOFLO teammates Timothy Wynter of Jamaica and Jorge Murillo Valdes of Colombia.

Atkinson’s story is the dream of every young swimmer and also prototype for every young swimmer.

Atkinson has been training with SOFLO since she was 13, three years after her family moved to Pembroke Pines. Two years later, she competed at her first Olympics in Athens, Greece for the experience.

After an outstanding high school career at Flanagan she earned a full scholarship to Texas A&M where she won an NCAA title. At 19, she competed at her second Olympics in Beijing, where she finished 25th in the 200-meter breaststroke.

Atkinson became a serious medal contender at the 2012 London Olympics where she won a swim-off to advance into her first Olympic final. She just missed a medal placing fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Now a world short course record holder, World Championship, Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games and World Cup champion, Atkinson could become Jamaica’s first Olympic medalist in swimming.

“I haven’t changed that much since my first Olympics,” Atkinson said. “I definitely look at the Olympics as another meet. I like to keep it simple. I have always been that way.

“Chris is the same way. He never makes it this big, great achievement when I do something in swimming, even with the world record. He will tell me I did a good job or good meet and down plays what I am doing and I appreciate that.”

When the Jamaican swimming federation failed to give her the traditional Olympic ring like every other country does for its athletes, Anderson presented her with one at SOFLO’s banquet.

“I never realized how big a role Chris has played,” Atkinson said. “I have not given him enough credit over the years. I depend on him.”

Atkinson is in the best shape of her life going into the Olympics. She has been working with weight trainer Kenneth Moore “who whipped me into sprinter shape,” she said.

“For the other three Olympics I was still battling physical issues to see where I was strong, whether I was using the correct weights and regimen. My trainer has helped me to fine tune and switched my ideology when it comes to training.”

Atkinson has gained confidence throughout the years. She is mentally tougher than she has been in past Olympics.

“For me I was always battling my own enemies,” she said. “In 2004 and 2008, deep down I didn’t think I was worthy of making the Olympics. I felt like a filler.

“I think I was too hard on myself. I believe in myself now. I made the “A” cut and I am a contender for the podium. This is a big achievement. Now I have the opportunity to be at the top of the top in my country. It is a pretty big deal. There was a time I didn’t feel that way.”

At 27, Atkinson never dreamed she would still be in the sport. She has a handful of sponsors including Speedo, Rainforest Sea Foods and Grace Kennedy Money Services which have helped with the costs of training and travelling to meets.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to still be here, I never thought I would still be swimming,” Atkinson said.

She has become an inspiration in Jamaica and has helped the growth of swimming among youngsters despite the overwhelming popularity of track and field.

“I think the people of Jamaica see what I stand for, they associate with me and feel they have that fighting spirit,” Atkinson said. “I work hard. They see me on the starting block no matter what the obstacles are trying harder.”

With three days to go, Atkinson is eager to race.

“Sometimes my mind runs on the idea that this could be a medal,” Atkinson said. “And then I think, ‘okay, I have gotten medals before.’ But this is Olympic time.

“I don’t want to say I should have done this or should have done that. As an athlete I have to be okay, I have to be content with what I do.

“Months out I was more anxious and then I went through the worried stage and then the confidence stage. Now it’s this meet needs to get over stage. I know I can swim well. It’s that kind of confidence I need to have on race day. I want to touch the wall, think to myself ‘it is done’ and have a sense of relief wash over me.”


Marcelo Acosta, Azura Aquatics, El Salvador

Gianluca Alberani, Azura Aquatics, El Salvador, coach

Chris Anderson, South Florida Aquatic Club, Jamaica coach

Heather Arseth, University of Miami, Mauritius

Alia Atkinson, Flanagan, Jamaica

Dylan Carter, Plantation American Heritage, Trinidad & Tobago

Randy Horner, Florida International, Botswana, coach

Jorge Murillo-Valdes, South Florida Aquatic Club, Colombia

Jhonny Perez, Azura Florida Aquatics, Dominican Republic

Naomi Ruele, Florida International, Botswana

Jay Thomas, Plantation, USA Swimming official

Renzo Tjon-A-Joe, Westlake Prep, Surinam

David Van Der Colff, Nova Southeastern, Botswana

Timothy Wynter, South Florida Aquatic Club, Jamaica



Afternoon Session: noon, Men 400-meter individual medley heats; 12:26 p.m., Women 100-meter butterfly heats; 12:46 p.m., Men 400-meter freestyle heats; 2:02 p.m., 1:30 p.m., Women 400-meter individual medley; 2:02 p.m., Men 100-meter breaststroke heats; 2:22 p.m., Women 4×100 freestyle relay heats.

Evening Session: 9:03 p.m., Men 400-meter individual medley final; 9:11 p.m., Women’s 100-meter butterfly semifinal; 9:30 p.m., Men 400-meter freestyle final; 9:49 p.m., Women 400-meter individual medley final; 10:05 p.m., Women 100-meter breaststroke semifinal; 10:24 p.m., Women 4×100-meter freestyle relay final.


Afternoon Session: Noon, Women’s 100 backstroke heats; 12:17 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle heats; 12:54 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke heats; 1:14 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke heats; 1:31 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle heats; 2:03 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay heats.

Evening Session: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 100-meter butterfly final; 9:08 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:26 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke semifinals; 9:53 p.m., Men’s 100-meter breaststroke final; 10:01 p.m., Women’s 400-meter freestyle final; 10:09 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:33 p.m., Women’s 100-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:54 p.m., 4×100-meter freestyle relay final.


AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 200-meter freestyle heats; 12:32 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly heats; 12:54 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley.

EVENING SESSION: 9:12 p.m., Women’s 200-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:21 p.m., Men’s 200-meter freestyle final; 9:30 p.m., Women’s 100-meter backstroke final; 9:38 p.m., Men’s 100-meter backstroke final; 9:54 p.m., Women’s 100-meter breaststroke final; 10:07 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly semifinals; 10:33 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley.


AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Men’s 100-meter freestyle heats; 12:26 p.m., Women’s 200-meter butterfly heats; 12:48 p.m., Men’s 200-meter breaststroke heats; 1:15 p.m., 4×200-meter freestyle relay heats.

EVENING SESSION: 9 p.m., 100-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:19 p.m., Women’s 200-meter freestyle final; 9:28 p.m., Men’s 200-meter butterfly final; 9:34 p.m., Women’s 200-meter butterfly semifinals; 10 p.m., Men’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinals; 10:29 p.m., Women’s 200-meter individual medley final; 10:38 p.m., Men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay final.


AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 100-meter freestyle heats; 12:23 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke heats; 12:45 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke; 1:07 p.m., Men’s 200-meter individual medley; 1:29 p.m., Women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Men’s 200-meter breaststroke final; 9:09 p.m., Women’s 100-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:25 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals; 954 p.m., Women’s 200-meter butterfly final; 10:03 p.m., Men’s 100-meter freestyle final; 10:08 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinals; 10:55 p.m., Women’s 4×200-eter freestyle relay.


AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 800-meter freestyle heat, Men’s 50-meter freestyle heats; 12:26 p.m., Women’s 800-meter freestyle heats; 1:14 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly heats; 1:34 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke heats.

EVENING SESSION: 9 p.m., Men’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals; 9:17 p.m., Women’s 200-meter breaststroke final; 9:26 p.m., Men’s 200-meter backstroke final; 9:32 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke semifinals; 10:01 p.m., Men’s 200-meter individual medley final; 10:18 p.m., Women’s 100-meter freestyle final; 10:31 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly semifinals.


AFTERNOON SESSION: Noon, Women’s 50-meter freestyle heats; 12:38 p.m., Men’s 1500-meter freestyle heats; 2:28 p.m., Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay heats; 2:46 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter medley relay heats.

EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 200-meter backstroke final; 9:12 p.m., Men’s 100-meter butterfly final; 9:20 p.m., Women’s 800-meter freestyle final; 9:44 p.m., Men’s 50-meter freestyle final; 9:56 p.m., Women’s 50-meter freestyle semifinals.


EVENING SESSION: 9:03 p.m., Women’s 50-meter freestyle final; 9:11 p.m., Men’s 1500-meter freestyle; 9:49 p.m., Women’s 4×100-meter medley relay final; 10:04 p.m., Men’s 4×100-meter medley relay final.

Open water swimming is Aug. 15, Monday, 8 a.m., Women’s 10K; Aug. 16, Tuesday, 8 a.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Alvarez, Rivera, Kopecki, Pelaez Shine On Opening Day Of Senior Circuit Meet

By Sharon Robb

May 13, 2016—Monica Alvarez, Santiago Rivera and C.J. Kopecki were top South Florida Aquatic Club finishers Friday night in the All-Florida Senior Circuit Meet at Florida Gulf Coast University Aquatics Center in Fort Myers.

Alvarez, 27, was third in the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:14.31 followed by SOFLO teammate Ksen Golovkina, 26, fourth in 1:14.71.

Rivera, 19, was fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke in a best time 1:07.94. He swam back-to-back bests, 1:10.57 in prelims. He dropped 4.99 seconds. His previous time was 1:12.93.

C.J. Kopecki, 16, was fourth in the 400-meter individual medley in 5:02.62.

Catalina Mendieta, 26, was seventh in the 100-meter butterfly in 1:03.97, just off her seed time of 1:03.89.

In the 200-meter freestyle, Emiliana Pelaez, 17, swam back-to-back best times. She swam 2:11.28 in finals to finish 13th. She had swum 2:14.73, also a best time in prelims. Her previous best was 2:14.88.

The three-day meet is also serving as an Olympic Trials qualifier. The meet continues Saturday with prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.



200-meter freestyle: 1. Kyla Valls, Miami Swimming 2:02.08, 2. Ryley Ober, SRQ 2:02.64, 3. Mary Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 2:05.65; SOFLO: 13. Emiliana Pelaez 2:11.28, best time finals, 2:14.73, best time, prelims.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Justine Bowker, Unattached 1:11.09, 2. Christina Loh, Unattached 1:11.96, 3. Monica Alvarez, SOFLO 1:14.31; SOFLO: 4. Ksen Golovkina 1:14.71, 11. Emiliana Pelaez 1:20.75.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Isabella Paez, Metro Aquatics 1:00.80, 2. Caroline Cooper, Highlander 1:02.02, 3. Justine Bowker, Unattached 1:02.40; SOFLO: 7. Catalina Mendieta 1:03.97.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Alixandra Roy, Highlanders 5:00.21, 2. Allison Kopas, SFTL 5:02.09, 3. Olivia McMurray, SWIM 5:07.08.


200-meter freestyle: 1.Alexander Arrieta, Metro Aquatics 1:55.38, 2. Theodore Smith, SRQ 1:55.82, 3. Kevin Lindgren, MART 1:56.55; SOFLO: 9. Max Asnis 2:02.33, 11. Sam Asnis 2:03.11, best time, 14. CJ Kopecki 2:04.36, 11. Max Asnis 2:04.23, 12. Sam Asnis 2:04.57, 23. Juan Diaz 2:08.02.

100-meter breaststroke: 1. Campbell Lee, SRQ 1:07.66, 2. Joseph Perez, Metro Aquatics 1:07.85, 3. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 1:07.86; SOFLO: 4. Santiago Rivera 1:07.94.

100-meter butterfly: 1. Luke Smutny, AquaKids Sharks 57.80, 2. Evan Jacob, LA 57.87, 3. Alexander Arrieta, Metro Aquatics 58.06; SOFLO: 16. Max Asnis 1:01.81, 18. Santiago Rivera 1:03.41, 23. Juan Diaz 1:04.00.

400-meter individual medley: 1. Carlos Omana, Metro Aquatics 4:33.58, 2. Theodore Smith, SRQ 4:43.51, 3. Joseph Perez, Metro Aquatics 4:45.07; SOFLO: 4. C.J. Kopecki 5:02.62.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Oliver Sweeps Events, Leads Florida State To Win Over Miami In Last Home Meet

SOFLO’s Oliver Sweeps Events, Leads Florida State To Win Over Miami In Final Home Meet

By Sharon Robb

January 31, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Tiffany Oliver made her last dual meet of her college career a memorable one.

The Florida State senior captain won two individual events and led the Seminoles win their 15th consecutive meet over the University of Miami, 174-113, Friday at the Bobby E. Leach Center in Tallahassee.

“It was a little rough but a win is a win,” said FSU coach Frankie Bradley. “We have some things we need to work on. They have got to hit some gears that they struggled with today but we’ll work on it. We’re ready to shift our focus to the ACC Championships.”

Oliver, preparing for the big post-season meets, won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.49 and 50-yard freestyle in 23.34.

Oliver also anchored the winning 200-yard medley relay (1:43.75).

It was FSU’s last dual meet of the 2013-14 season. FSU’s women’s team improved to 7-2 under first-year coach Bradley and UM dropped to 0-7.

FSU leads UM 26-11 in their all-time series. It was also the Seminoles 16h straight Atlantic Coast Conference dual meet victory.

The Seminoles will now resume training for the Feb. 19-22 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro, N.C. The Women’s NCAA Championships are March 20-22 in Minneapolis.

FSU won 12 out of 16 events. Among other individual winners were:

Madison Jacobi, 1,000-yard freestyle, 9:52.82, 200-yard backstroke, 2:05.02, 500-yard freestyle, 4:53.99.

Chelsea Britt, 200-yard butterfly, 2:03.27.

Sami Pochowski, 200-yard breaststroke, 2:14.23.

Diver Katrina Young won the 3-meter springboard title with a career-high 343.35 points.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Pinon, Marinheiro, Fourteen Others Named To Miami Herald’s All-Broward, All-Dade Swimming Teams

SOFLO’s Marinheiro, Pinon, Fourteen Others Named To Miami Herald’s All-Broward, All-Dade Swimming Teams

By Sharon Robb

January 29, 2014

More than a dozen South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers were honored on the annual All-Broward and All-Dade Swimming and Diving teams selected by the Miami Herald.

Melissa Marinheiro, a junior at West Broward High School, earned first team honors for the 500-yard freestyle (4:51.13) and second team honors in the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.21).

Pinon, a sophomore at Plantation American Heritage, also earned first team honors as a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay that finished second at the state meet.

Pinon played a key role in the boys first state team title for American Heritage.

Pinon also earned second team honors in the 100-yard freestyle (47.33) and 200-yard freestyle (1:40.59).

Marinheiro and Pinon are pictured in the Wednesday, January 29th issue of the Broward edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald.

The teams can also be found on the newspaper’s award-winning website at

Archbishop McCarthy, coached by SOFLO coach Megan Garland, had five swimmers selected for honorable mention. They are Kryan Nichlany, Philippe Coppee, Matthew Mila, JoJo Perez and Jeremy Piacente. Bowie Suen and Rafael Ramirez of Cypress Bay and Juan Lucas of Pembroke Pines Charter were also named on honorable mention.

Kylie Herman and Haley Wright of Cypress Bay, Amber Hunter of West Broward and Lilli Calero of Pembroke Pines Charter were named on the girls honorable mention.

Named to the boys’ first team were: Kent Haeffner, Pine Crest, 200-yard freestyle, 1:40.10 and 500-yard freestyle, 4:25.75; Alex Evdokimov, Taravella, 200-yard individual medley, 1:52.57; Jordy Groters, University School, 50-yard freestyle, 20.69 and 100-yard breaststroke, 54.76; Logan Downey, South Plantation, diving, 517.60 points; Austin Fields, Pine Crest, diving, 446.05 points; Chad Moody, Cardinal Gibbons, 100-yard butterfly, 51.16 and 100-yard backstroke, 52.57; 100-yard freestyle, Anton Voronin, North Broward Prep, 100-yard freestyle, 46.53;

Selected to the girls’ first team were: Emma Lincoln, Cypress Bay, 200-yard freestyle, 1:52.20; Clara Smiddy, South Florida Heat, 200-yard individual medley, 1:58.39 and 100-yard backstroke, 52.46; Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest, 50-yard freestyle, 23.14 and 100-yard freestyle, 50.42; Carolyn Chaney, Pine Crest, diving, 516.50 points; Karlee Price, St. Thomas Aquinas, diving, 443.00; Jessica Nava, Westminster Academy, 100-yard butterfly, 55.45; Melissa Marinheiro, West Broward, 500-yard freestyle, 4:51.13; and Emily Kopas, University School, 100-yard breaststroke, 1:01.92.

Olivia Katcher of Miami Country Day was named to the All-Dade second team for the 500-yard freestyle (4:59.76) and third team for the 200-yard freestyle (1:51.63).

Maria Lopez of Hialeah Gardens was named to the third team in the 100-yard butterfly (56.63). Teammate Jessica Rodriguez joined her on third team in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.56).

On the All-Dade team, Ryan Capote of American High and Alfredo Mesa and Jordon Colon of Mater Academy were named on honorable mention.

Named to the All-Dade boys’ first team were: Bradley Anan, Columbus, 200-yard freestyle, 1:42.21; Wayne Denswil, St. Brendan, 200-yard individual medley, 1:52.47 and 100-yard breaststroke, 56.97; Ryan Guso, Belen, 50-yard freestyle, 21.18; Jeremy Lentin, Palmetto, diving, 293.80 points; Zuhayr Pigot, St. Brendan, 100-yard butterfly, 48.88; Joseph Hunt, Palmetto, 100-yard freestyle, 47.48; Boleck DePawlikowski, Belen, 500-yard freestyle, 4:30.73 and 100-yard backstroke, 50.13; and Alejandro Carriazo, Belen, utility.

Selected for the All-Dade girls’ first team were: Arianna Noya, Reagan, 200-yard freestyle, 1:50.85; Kelly Fertel, Coral Reef, 200-yard individual medley, 2:06.64; Nicole Ochoa, Killian, 50-yard freestyle, 24.26; Demi Jones, Ferguson, diving, 115.75 points; Isabella Paez, Reagan, 100-yard butterfly, 54.70; Laine Morgan, Ransom, 100-yard freestyle, 52.33; Namilla Sanchez, Gulliver, 500-yard freestyle, 4:57.43; Laine Morgan, Ransom, 100-yard backstroke, 57.56; and Annie Valls, Ransom, 100-yard breaststroke, 1:03.00.

After well-organized research, the Herald selects an All-Broward and All-Dade team and is considered the premier all-county team among South Florida coaches and college coaches as a recruiting tool. The Swimmers and Coaches of the Year will be announced at the Herald’s annual awards ceremony.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Hosts FGC Open Invitational This Weekend

SOFLO Hosts FGC Open Invitational This Weekend

By Sharon Robb

January 29, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club will host a large field of swimmers from Broward and Miami-Dade Counties in its first major meet of the season.

SOFLO will host the three-day Florida Gold Coast Open Invitational that begins Friday at its home Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines.

The meet will serve as a gauge for swimmers and coaches training short course.

It will also serve as a dress rehearsal for volunteers, officials and coaches for the March 21-23 FGC Senior Championships that defending champion SOFLO will be hosting for the first time in the club’s fourteen-year history.

Several top FGC clubs will compete this weekend. In addition to SOFLO, other top teams are Titan Aquatics, Hialeah Swim Club, North Miami, Rockway, Miami-Dade, Miami Swimming, Plantation Swim Team and FLA.

SOFLO has several top-seeded swimmers. No. 1 seeds and their events are:

Annita Huang, 12, 200-yard freestyle, 2:05.59; 100-yard freestyle 1:06.89; 200-yard backstroke, 2:22.77; 100-yard individual medley 1:07.71.

Melissa Marinheiro, 16, 1,000-yard freestyle, 10:16.09; 100-yard backstroke, 59.07; 200-yard freestyle, 1:50.71.

Jessica Rodriguez, 15, 200-yard breaststroke, 2:22.74.

Juan Lucas, 14, 100-yard backstroke, 54.86; 200-yard backstroke, 1:56.05.

Amber Hunter, 18, 100-yard butterfly, 57.79.

Julien Pinon, 15, 100-yard butterfly, 52.36; 200-yard individual medley 1:56.98; 200-yard butterfly, 1:59.16; 100-yard freestyle, 46.66.

Maria Lopez, 18, 50-yard freestyle, 24.58; 50-yard butterfly, 26.28.

Kathleen Golding, 13, 200-yard individual medley, 2:07.83; 500-yard freestyle, 5:04.48; 400-yard individual medley, 4:29.69.

Elise Larin, 12, 200-yard breaststroke, 2:41.41; 50-yard breaststroke 33.72; 100-yard breaststroke, 1:14.33.

Rafael Rodriguez, 12, 50-yard breaststroke, 33.60; 100-yard butterfly, 59.98; 500-yard freestyle, 5:07.13; 50-yard butterfly, 27.81; 100-yard freestyle, 54.17; 100-yard individual medley, 1:02.32.

Isabella DiSalvo, 11, 100-yard butterfly, 1:06.50.

Vanessa Mesa, 11, 50-yard freestyle, 26.68; 500-yard freestyle, 5:34.56; 50-yard butterfly, 29.91.

Kelley Heron, 14, 200-yard backstroke, 2:09.79.

Olivia Katcher, 17, 100-yard freestyle, 52.22.

Andrea Pereira, 12, 50-yard backstroke, 30.76; 100-yard freestyle, 57.86.


What: SOFLO Florida Gold Coast Open Invitational

When: Friday-Sunday.

Schedule: Friday, Session 1, 5:30-9:50 p.m.; Saturday, Session 2, 8:30-11:33 a.m., Session 3, 1:30-4:42 p.m.; Session 4, 8:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.; Session 5, 1:30-4:47 p.m.

Where: Academic Village Pool, 17189 Sheridan St., Pembroke Pines

Admission: $3 per session, heat sheet $3 per session. For information call meet director Chris Anderson, 954-538-3721.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

South Florida Aquatic Club Awarded Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

South Florida Aquatic Club Awarded Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships

By Sharon Robb

January 24, 2014

South Florida Aquatic Club will host the March 21-23 Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships at Academic Village Pool in Pembroke Pines.

It will be the biggest meet the 14-year-old club and its Comets Booster Club will host in the club’s history.

SOFLO was awarded the meet earlier this week at the FGC Board of Directors meeting.

Nova Southeastern University originally was scheduled to be the host venue for the meet but withdrew its bid to host the three-day meet along with other FGC meets when the Davie Nadadores disbanded.

Coral Springs Swim Club was the only other club interested in hosting the meet.

SOFLO and its Booster Club has a successful track record for staging several age group meets every year and hosts several college team training sessions. SOFLO is also the home base of three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson of Jamaica.

SOFLO will also get the chance to defend its title in its home pool. SOFLO made history last year by sweeping the FGC Junior Olympic and Senior Championships, both short course and long course, in the same year.

Every Florida Gold Coast team from Key West to Martin County is expected to compete in the major meet. Several swimmers, including a contingent from SOFLO, will be going after national cut times. The field will feature the top senior swimmers.

Florida Swim Network and announcer Joe Auer have been invited to live stream the meet and interview swimmers and coaches.

SOFLO is looking for a title sponsor and other sponsors including local restaurants and businesses to help defray the costs of hosting a major Florida Gold Coast meet. Those interested can contact Anderson at

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO Swimmers Shine At Rough Water Swim

SOFLO Swimmers Shine At Rough Water Swim

By Sharon Robb

January 5, 2014

Vanessa Mesa and CJ Kopecki of South Florida Aquatic Club braved rough conditions to win their age group titles Saturday at the 45th annual Fort Lauderdale Rough Water Swim off Fort Lauderdale beach.

Mesa, 11, won the 11-12 age group and was 30th overall in 28 minutes and 26.1 seconds.

Kopecki, 13, won the 13-14 age group and was third overall in 23:14. In the same age group, teammate Matthew Menocal, 13, was third in his age group and eighth overall in 24:00.

Alfredo Mesa, Jr., 15, was third in the 15-17 age group and 14th overall in 23:21.8.

Joey Pedraza, 26, a member of the U.S. national open water team, won the overall men’s title in 20:31. Former Alabama All-American swimmer Ricardo Valdivia, 49, was second in 22:58.

The field attracted international, national, college and local age group swimmers.

Conditions were challenging with four to six-foot waves, wind and plenty of jellyfish.



10-and-under, 1. Rylie Barnhardt 38:04; 11-12, 1. Vanessa Mesa, SOFLO 28:26; 13-14, 1. Alice Leoni 25:37; 15-17, 1. Megan Moroney 25:12; 18-24, 1. Yuhsyra Dazzia 36:29; 25-29, 1. Mandi Nilsen 40:29; 30-34, 1. Ara Bergillos 31:01; 40-44, 1. Debra Robenhymer 33:12; 45-49, 1. Valerie Yaeger 46:23; 55-59, 1. Kathleen Coolman 59:04; 60-64, 1. Helen Ederen 36:39.


10-and-under, 1. Simone Vale 38:03; 11-12, 1. Nicholas Vale 29:34; 13-14, 1. CJ Kopecki, SOFLO 23:14, 3. Matthew Menocal, SOFLO 24:00; 15-17, 1. Luis Martinez 22:59, 3. Alfredo Mesa, Jr., SOFLO 23:21; 18-24, 1. Anton Kuzjomkin 24:17; 25-29, 1. Joey Pedraza 20:31; 30-34, 1. Tristran Jordan 28:43; 35-39, 1. Jeff Henderson 23:48; 40-44, 1. Kit Koenig 27:45; 45-49, 1. Ricardo Valdivia 22:58; 50-54, 1. Hugo Villa 28:27; 55-59, 1. Carlos Lloreda 28:18; 60-64, 1. George Brenco 35:22; 65-69, 1. Johns Peck 45:22; 75-and-over, 1. David Nicholas 42:35.



Freshmen: 1. Lucy Emerson, UND 26:20; Sophomores: 1. Jackie Crawford, James Madison 25:20; Juniors: 1. Amiee Hooper, James Madison 24:13; Seniors: 1. Morgan Johnson, James Madison 24:28.


Freshmen: 1. Noah Lucas, UND 22:58; Sophomores: 1. Shahar Resman, Keene State 22:04; Juniors: 1. Macian Campbell, UND 23:20; Seniors: 1. Drew Ledwith, Keene State 21:54.


Old Dominion won the men’s team title with 687 points at the Florida International University Invitational Saturday in Miami. Grand Valley State was second with 659 and Eastern Michigan was third with 610. New Mexico won the women’s title with 554 points. Florida International, Florida Atlantic and North Florida also competed in the holiday meet. Host FIU was second with 458.5 points and four individual wins. Diver Sabrina Beaupre swept the 1- and 3-meter events, freshman Jennifer Alfani won the 50-yard butterfly in 26.07 and was also a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay. Next weekend FIU hosts Central Connecticut at noon at the Biscayne Bay Vista campus.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Marinheiro, Pinon Named All-County First Team; Lucas Earns Second Team Honors

SOFLO’s Marinheiro, Pinon Named All-County First Team; Lucas Earns Second Team Honors

By Sharon Robb

December 25, 2013

Melissa Marinheiro of West Broward High School earned first team honors on the Broward County All-County girls’ team scheduled to be released in Friday’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Marinheiro, a junior, earned honors in both the 200-yard freestyle (1:52.21) and 500-yard freestyle (4:51.13).

Archbishop McCarthy’s Kaitlin Armstrong, Kylie Herman and Haley Wright of Cypress Bay, Lilli Calero of Pembroke Pines Charter and Amber Hunter of West Broward earned honorable mention honors.

Debbie Cavanaugh of Fort Lauderdale High School was named Coach of the Year.

Clara Smiddy of South Florida Heat was named Girls Swimmer of the Year.

Other first team selections are:

Carolyn Chaney, Pine Crest, 1-meter diving.

Karlee Price, St. Thomas Aquinas, 1-meter diving.

Marta Ciesla, Pine Crest, 50-, 100-yard freestyles.

Emily Kopas, University School, 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley

Emma Lincoln, Cypress Bay, 100- and 200-yard freestyles.

Tyla Martin, Pine Crest, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard individual medley

Jessica Nava, Westminster Academy, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke

Amanda Tipton, Nova, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke

Pine Crest, 200-yard medley relay (Miriyam Ghali, Lindsey Swartz, Tyla Martin, Marta Ciesla)

Pine Crest, 200-yard freestyle relay (Marta Ciesla, Julia Chui, Brooke Bernstein, Hannah Veale)

Pine Crest, 400-yard freestyle relay (Miriyam Ghali, Julia Chui, Tyla Martin, Hannah Veale).

Julien Pinon of state champion American Heritage earned first team boys honors.

The sophomore was selected in the 100-yard freestyle (46.66) and 200-yard freestyle (1:39.34). He was also the leadoff swimmer on the first team 400-yard freestyle relay for the Patriots.

Juan Lucas, a freshman at Pembroke Pines Charter, was named to the second team in the 100-yard backstroke.

Matthew Mila and Kry Nichlany of Archbishop McCarthy earned honorable mention honors.

Other first team selections are:

Logan Downey, South Plantation, one-meter diving.

Austin Fields, Pine Crest, one-meter diving.

Alex Evdokimov, Taravella, 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes, 200 individual medley

Kent Haeffner, Pine Crest, 200- and 500-yard freestyles.

Raphael Marcoux, Fort Lauderdale, 50- and 100-yard freestyles.

Nico Medina, American Heritage, 100-yard backstroke, 500-yard freestyle.

Chad Moody, Cardinal Gibbons, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke.

Alex Morgan, West Broward, 100-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle.

Anton Voronin of North Broward Prep, 50- and 100-yard freestyles.

American Heritage, 200-yard medley relay (Nico Medina, Digby Nothard, Fernando Bohorquez, Taylor Eaddy).

University School, 200-yard freestyle (Nicolas Oberndorfer, Patrick Groters, Matthew Lyn, Jordy Groters).

American Heritage, 400-yard freestyle relay (Julien Pinon, Nico Medina, Fernando Bohorquez, Chris Garcia).

Karney McNear of Nova High School was selected Boys’ Coach of the Year.

Jordy Groters of University School was named Boys Swimmer of the Year.

The well-respected Miami Herald All-County teams for Broward and Miami-Dade are expected to be released in January.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

Team USA Wins Duel In The Pool In Overtime; NBC Broadcast On Sunday

Team USA Wins Duel In The Pool In Overtime; NBC Broadcast On Sunday

By Sharon Robb

December 21, 2013

In one of the most exciting finishes ever at an international meet, Team USA left no doubt in the final event with a world record at the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool in front of a packed house Saturday at the Tollcross International Swim Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

The foursome of Eugene Godsoe, Kevin Cordes, Claire Donahue and Simone Manuel won the meet’s first-ever mixed medley relay tiebreaker by 2/10ths of a second in a world record time of 1:37.17 ahead of Europe’s relay in 1:37.37 with Chris Walker-Hebborn, Damir Dugonjic, Jeanette Ottesen-Gray and Fran Halsall.

The splits were 22.88 (Godsoe), 25.40 (Cordes), 25.28 (Donahue) and 23.61 (Manuel).

Team USA, down by 23 points coming into the final day, edged the Europe All-Stars, 132-131.

“Not only did USA win the tie-breaking relay but we broke the world record,” said Donahue on Twitter after the meet. “I’m a world record holder. Does it get any better than this?”

Donahue, a frequent visitor to South Florida, will be training with the South Florida Aquatic Club after the holidays along with three-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, Florida State sprinter Tiffany Oliver and Western Kentucky’s Courtney Marx.

It was the sixth consecutive year that Team USA has captured the meet title.

Team USA came back to tie Europe, 131-131 after the 30 scheduled races. The meet was decided by a winner-take-all, one-point tiebreaker in the 200-meter mixed medley relay with two men and two women.

“I knew that with the team behind my back, as excited and as close as we were, the adrenaline could carry me,” said Manuel, who outsprinted Britain’s sprint champion Francesca Halsall on anchor leg.

In individual races:

American Michael McBroom broke the 800-meter freestyle short course American record in 7:33.99. The previous record was 7:39.90 held by Michael Klueh. McBroom now has both the short course and long course meters American records.

Tom Shields broke his own 200-meter butterfly American record in 1:50.61.

Kevin Cordes broke his second American record of the meet in the 100-meter breaststroke in 56.88.

The U.S. men swept the 50-meter freestyle with Jimmy Feigen (best time 21.20) and Anthon Ervin and Cullen Jones tying for second in 21.27.

Godsoe and Shields finished one-two in the 100-meter backstroke and Jessica Hardy and Micah Lawrence finished one-two in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Conor Dwyer was a double winner, capturing the 200-meter freestyle in 1:14.68 and 200-meter individual medley in 1:53.51. He also won the 400-meter individual medley Friday night.

“That was the most exciting meet I have ever been a part of,” Dwyer said. “I think it’s a unique event. It’s unlike anything else we do internationally. We take a lot of pride in it.”

Meet highlights from the The Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool will be aired on NBC-TV on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 4-6 p.m.

Sharon Robb can be reached at