SEMECO, McKNIGHT FINISH 1-2 IN 50 AT SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES SOUTHERN SECTIONALS

FORT LAUDERDALE—Arlene Semeco is more than ready for this week’s South American Championships.

The Venezuelan national record holder won the 50-meter freestyle Saturday night on Day 3 of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

FORT LAUDERDALE—Arlene Semeco is more than ready for this week’s South American Championships.

The Venezuelan national record holder won the 50-meter freestyle Saturday night on Day 3 of the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships at Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Semeco, 26, of the Coral Springs Swim Club, won in 26.04 seconds. Teammate Lindsey McKnight, 15, was second in 26.53 after finishing second to Olympian Elizabeth Beisel in the 200-meter individual medley.

It was a near carbon copy of last year’s race where Semeco finished first in 25.55 and McKnight finished second in 26.83.

“I am in the middle of my taper right now, so it’s hard to race fast in the middle of a taper,” Semeco said.

“I felt really good,” said Semeco, who took three breaths during the sprint race. “I just need to rest for next week and I will be ready to go. I am very excited to race.

“I was faster the second half of my race, that has always been my problem,” Semeco said. “I should be faster in the first half and then bring it home. It’s something I have been working on. It was a good race for me. I was ahead of everybody at the end.

“I could see Lindsey through the whole race and how fast she was going. She was just coming out of the 200 IM. Lindsey is a little monster. She did a good job.”

Coral Springs Swim Club coach Michael Lohberg was pleased with Semeco’s effort and form in the water.

“She was very solid with a strong second half,” Lohberg said. “She has good technique and is very high in the water. She is still a little bit in the taper so she lost the snappyness she usually has.”

Semeco has showed tremendous improvement since she started training with the six-time Olympic coach in 2007. Lohberg worked with her stroke and technique the first few months.

It also helped having five-time Olympian Dara Torres and Sharntelle McLean of Trinidad and Tobago to train with leading up to the Beijing, where Semeco made it to the semifinals in the 50.

“I feel like I didn’t become a swimmer or know how to race until I got to Coral Springs,” said Semeco, one of the most popular swimmers in Venezuela. “I feel so much better as a swimmer. I love to sprint. I don’t like to do more than 200 meters.”

 “Michael totally changed my stroke, took it apart and rebuilt it,” Semeco said. “I feel so much more efficient in the water.”

Semeco is funded by her swim federation which allows her to train full-time and work on her masters in nutrition at Florida International University.

Semeco will compete in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events in the South American Championships in Colombia. It will be her fourth appearance. She will be joined by clubmate Leo Andara at the prestigious meet.

Semeco, a University of Alabama graduate, represented her native country in two consecutive Summer Olympics in 2004 and 2008. She won two gold medals at the 2007 Pan American Games.

Semeco was a late bloomer in the sport. She started swimming at age 9 and didn’t get good until age 17.

“I started kind of late for a swimmer,” Semeco said. “I loved it and when I started breaking national records I knew I was going to be around for a while.”

After the South American Championships, Semeco will compete in Europe and then follow up with the Central American Games in July and after that start preparing for the World Championships in December.

“Making the Olympics was a dream come true,” Semeco said. “I would like to try and make it again for London. My plan is to stay around and train for the next two years.

“My first Olympics was hard,” Semeco said. “I didn’t qualify until two months before the Games and then I was scared out of my mind when I got there. In 2008, I felt more confident about myself and swimming. I am very excited about the future. I want to make London for sure and then see where life takes me after that.”

McKnight had another good finals night. She was second in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:17.71 after cruising in the prelims (2:23.31). Lohberg has been particularly pleased with her racing strategy.

“She is beginning to understand the difference between qualifying in the morning and racing at night,” Lohberg said. “She is getting cleverer and cleverer, better and better. She is learning all the tricks. She knows what she is suppose to do in the morning and then she comes back at night and races. I am really happy with her progress overall. And, I am a little surprised at what we are doing at this meet. It is a very nice surprise.”

Beisel, 17, of Bluefish Swim Club, won the 200 IM in 2:15.09 after she finished second in the 100 backstroke in 1:02.21.

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, 26, won his third event of the meet, in the 100 backstroke in 55.08, another World Champion Trials cut time. Lochte will sign autographs and pose for pictures on Sunday, the final day of the meet, between 2 and 4 p.m. on the pool deck.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.cvsscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

ATKINSON, MOODIE READY FOR NCAA’s

ATKINSON, MOODIE READY FOR NCAA’s
NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Swimming Championships


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

It will be like old times when Comets teammates Alia Atkinson and Natasha Moodie share a pool deck again.

Atkinson, 21, a senior at Texas A&M and Moodie, 19, a junior at the University of Michigan, will be among the nation’s top swimmers when the NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Swimming Championships.

The three-day meet begins Thursday at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Atkinson, a two-time Olympian for Jamaica, will compete in the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.13), 100- (59.80) and 200- (2:08.07) yard breaststroke events.  She is seeded second in the 200 breaststroke.

Atkinson is one of 16 qualifiers including seven seniors to qualify for the Big 12 champion Aggies.

Last year she scored a team-high 42.5 points at NCAAs to lead the Aggies to eighth. She finished second to Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Rebecca Soni in the 200-yard breaststroke with a school record 2:06.99. Her time made her the third fastest breaststroke in NCAA history behind Soni and Tara Kirk.

The Aggies have finished in the Top 10 at the NCAA meet for three straight years.

“This is definitely a group that has been there before,” said Texas A&M coach Steve Bultman, a former Florida Gold Coast coach at the now-defunct Mission Bay Aquatic Training Center. “They aren’t going to be scared or in awe of the situation when they get there. They have trained well and competed well all season and I think they expect to perform at a high level at the NCAA Championships.”

Moodie,  a member of the 2008 Jamaican Olympic team, is making her NCAA Championship debut.

She will compete in the 50- (22.53) and 100- (49.46) yard freestyle events as well as three relays.

Moodie is one of seven swimmers the Wolverines, third-place finishers at the Big Ten Championships, qualified for NCAAs.

Moodie, an All-Big Ten second team selection, finished the season at the team’s top sprinter, holding the team’s best time in the 50 freestyle and second best in the 100 freestyle.

A total of 322 swimmers and divers will compete for national titles. Student-athletes qualified for the championship by meeting the established standards in their events.

NCAA.com will stream both sessions of competition on Thursday and Friday and the preliminary session on Saturday. ESPN360.com will stream the finals live on Saturday.

Additionally, ESPN2 will air a 90-minute show at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

The complete list of swimmers competing in the championships is available on the NCAA website at www.ncaa.com/swimresults.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

CSSC COMPETES AT SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES

CSSC COMPETES AT SPEEDO CHAMPIONS SERIES


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

FORT LAUDERDALE—A small but talented group of swimmers from the Coral Springs Swim Club will compete in the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championships that begin today.

Olympians Vlad Polyakov, 26, of Kazakhstan, Arlene Semeco, 26, and Leo Andara, 23, both of Venezuela, head the 10-swimmer contingent for the four-day meet at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.

Other Coral Springs swimmers entered are sisters Lindsey, 15, and Taylor McKnight, 17, Zain Qali, 22, Dawud Al-Khalefi, 18, Marco Camargo, 20, Loai Tashkandi, 19, and Luke Torres, 15. Most of them will swim just one event.

Several international teams from Latin and Central America and the Caribbean will compete including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Bahamas. A field of 790 swimmers from 13 countries are entered.

The four-day meet begins Thursday with the women’s 1500-meter freestyle and men’s 800-meter freestyle at 5 p.m. The rest of the week prelims are 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.

Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, 25, of Daytona Beach, who will compete in the meet, will sign autographs and pose for photos on Saturday and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at the aquatic complex.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.csscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

TOP CLUBS CORAL SPRINGS, COMETS SWIM TEAM MERGE, BUILD FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

A new era in swimming begins with the merger of the Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets Swim Team.

Two of the most well-respected USA Swimming clubs in the southeastern United States will officially become the South Florida Aquatic Club on May 1. 

The Florida Gold Coast’s newest club will combine more than 450 swimmers and 20 employees including two world-class coaches, two 50-meter Olympic-size pools, three 25-meter and 25-yard pools, and diving and teaching pools at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, Mullins Park and City of Pembroke Pines Academic Village Pool, currently undergoing a training facility and pool deck expansion. 

Between them, SOFLO co-head coaches Michael Lohberg and Chris Anderson have more than 50 years of coaching experience and share the same vision. 

The clubs’ 8-and-under age group programs will remain under the auspices of the Coral Springs Swim Club and Comets satellite programs.

The Coral Springs Swim Club as well as the Comets Swim Team will continue to exist. All 8-and-under swimmers will still be registered under their original club name.

“Chris and I and all of our coaches wanted to do it that way,” Lohberg said. “You just don’t wipe out over 30 years of tradition.”

About two years ago, Lohberg started noticing a trend across the country.

 “There has been a trend in the United States to combine teams for economical reasons and also to make it more interesting for the kids,” said Lohberg, a six-time Olympic coach. “We are facing a lot of competition from other sports. “We have to make it exciting for kids to want to stay in the sport. I don’t look at this as competing against other swim teams, I look at it as competing against other sports.

“The main reason these kids get in the sport is camaraderie, not because they think they can be an Olympic champion,” Lohberg said. “They want to be with their friends, go to competitions together, go on trips and compete in local, national and international meets. It’s fun to be in large groups.

“And, by sheer numbers, together we will be competitive on a high level. It is very difficult for a relatively small team to go up against teams that consist of four or five clubs or run their program in seven different pools.

“The Comets are very strong in the younger age groups and we are strong in the older age groups. These kids want to be on a successful team and they want to have fun. In the last 10 years, Coral Springs has won more Junior Olympics than any other FGC team. We sent eight swimmers to the 2008 Beijing Olympics with Dara Torres winning three medals. I call that success, but today success is defined differently than it was five years ago.”

Both Florida Gold Coast clubs were recently recognized among the nation’s best with excellence awards from USA Swimming’s Club Recognition Program.

Coral Springs earned the Gold Medal Club achievement award as one of the nation’s Top 27 clubs.

The Comets earned the Silver Medal Club award, ranked between 28 and 100 in the country. The prestigious awards are based on the performance achievements of the athletes.

“We are taking an older age program and younger age program and putting them together to have a complete program,” said Anderson, also an Olympic coach.

“This is going to enable us to do a lot more dynamic things with not only educating our staff because we have a larger staff now but to bring on people like a sports information director to add the extra flair that we need to run a program of this stature,” Anderson said. “We want to make a huge impact nationally.

“It will give us the flexibility between the two pools to better service our athletes in the water,” Anderson said. “We are already getting our kids to be more competitive in practices that we merged together. That level of training has risen already because of that, which I think is wonderful. It’s giving the dynamic skills that these kids really need to be successful in life.

“We are all on board,” Anderson said. “We know this is for a bigger and better cause of developing swimming in South Florida. It’s going to be really cool to watch these 8-year-olds and see where they’re at age 17. We are going to have a wonderful junior national team and senior national team.”

While awaiting the mandatory 120-day waiting period, the merger has been a gradual progression the past few months. Parents, swimmers, coaches and booster club members have met and exchanged ideas. Head age group coaches Luis Soler of the Comets and Bruno Darzi of Coral Springs will also play key roles in the merger.

At this past week’s Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympics, host Coral Springs opened a swimmers’ lounge for SOFLO members to socialize and get to know each other during prelims and finals.

The swimmers will be outfitted in the latest swim fashion. The national team colors will be blue, turquoise and black. The age group team colors are blue, turquoise and white. A new logo is being designed.

SOFLO will cater to all branches of swimming and other aquatic sports from babies to masters. The Tri-Star Triathletes Club has also been formed as well as Coral Springs also has an active triathlon club. More details will be released later on both teams.

All three club websites in addition to basic information, will feature daily meet coverage on the local, national and international levels, swimmer and coach features, general swim stories, photos and blog to fill the void left by lack of coverage in shrinking newspaper sports sections and magazines, both locally and nationally.

“We think we are headed in the right direction,” Lohberg said. “We have a common philosophy of swimming in terms of coaching, administration and how you teach your kids. A lot of times these mergers are teams that are thrown together regardless of chemistry and just come together for the swim meets. We did not want to do that. We are doing things together not because we have to, but because we want to.

“The chemistry between the coaches and swimmers from both teams is wonderful. We are having a lot of fun with this. I can’t wait for the first big meet together as a new team.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

SUCCESS MOTIVATES COMETS SWIMMERS

SUCCESS MOTIVATES COMETS SWIMMERS


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

CORAL SPRINGS—-Maria Lopez was looking to leave the Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympics with a big smile on her face.

She did just that after four days of career-bests and good racing.

Lopez, 14, an eighth grader, wrapped up the four-day meet on Sunday at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex with a third place finish in the 200-yard butterfly in a career-best 2 minutes, 10.88 seconds.

She bettered her seed time of 2:14.67 in morning prelims with a 2:13.92 and dropped her time again in Sunday’s final. Isabella Paez, 14, of Miami Dade County Aquatic Club won the race in 2:09.75.

Lopez swam best times in all three of her butterfly events—50, 100 and 200 races. In the 100 final, she had a big breakthrough breaking 1 minute and dropping to 58 seconds.

“I was in a really good place in all of my three butterfly events,” Lopez said. “My goal was to drop my times and do good in the butterfly and I did. I like the stroke and it’s something I am pretty good at.

“This was the meet I was pointing towards all season. I was training really hard for this meet. I went to all the morning practices.”

Lopez started swimming at age 9 on the suggestion of her doctor. She had bronchitis and he told her swimming would help alleviate her breathing problems.

“It helped my lungs when I started out,” Lopez said. “Three months later after I started they put me in a meet in a 25-yard freestyle and I won. I was hooked then and after I started swimming my bronchitis completely stopped.

“It’s been fun. I have had a lot of good things happen to me in swimming, making All-Star teams since I was 11 and swimming best times. It motivates you when you have success. It makes you want to keep working hard and I do.”

The Cuban-born Lopez, a former ballet dancer, said she knew it was only a matter of time before she got serious about the sport. A year after she started she made her first All-Star team and decided to stay with it. She doesn’t mind the 30-minute drive to practice from her Hialeah Gardens home.

“I heard about how good the Comets were and I wanted to be on the team,” Lopez said. “I wanted to improve in the sport. My goals are to go to states for high school and get a college scholarship.

“I want to keep bettering my times and maybe I can get to the Olympic trials, too.”

Another flyer, St. Thomas Aquinas freshman Javier Menchaca, 14, was happy with his meet after dropping times in his butterfly events. On Sunday, he was eighth in the 200 butterfly in 2:09.84, a career-best.

“I just wanted to get best times this week,” said Menchaca, who qualified in seven events and dropped his times in his specialty butterfly events. In the 100 butterfly, he dropped from 59 to 57 seconds.

The Mexican-born Menchaca, a late bloomer in the sport, started swimming three years ago.

“It was fun and I liked the practice,” said the former tennis player who qualified for his first All-Star team this week. 

Jorge Depassier, 10, was the Comets top boys finisher on Sunday, placing third in the 100-yard freestyle in a career-best 1:02.54. Ricardo Roche, 10, was ninth in the same event in 1:05.28. Roche was also ninth in the 100-yard individual medley in 1:15.53.

Other top Comet finishers were:

Diego Rodriguez, 12, fourth, 50-yard breaststroke, 33.45.

Jessica Rodriguez, 11, sixth, 400-yard individual medley, 5:11.68.

Kelley Heron, 10, sixth, 100-yard freestyle, 1:03.21 and fifth, 100-yard individual medley, 1:12.89.

Kristina Brennan, 14, eighth, 200-yard butterfly, 2:22.29.

Andres Menchaca, 12, eighth, 200-yard butterfly, 2:42.21.

Amber Hunter, 14, ninth, 200-yard butterfly, 2:25.20.

The Comets had two swimmers finish among the Top 10 high point leaders. They were:

10-and-under girls: Kelley Heron, 10, sixth, 48 points.

10-and-under boys: Ricardo Roche, 10, ninth, 27 points.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com

COMETS QUALIFY NINE FOR ALL-STAR MEET IN TWO DAYS

CORAL SPRINGS—Despite a rain-soaked morning, the Pembroke Pines Comets rose to the occasion on Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

CORAL SPRINGS—Despite a rain-soaked morning, the Pembroke Pines Comets rose to the occasion on Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympic Championships at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

The Comets shook off poor weather conditions during morning prelims to bounce back and shine in the finals on Friday night.

In two days, the Comets have qualified nine swimmers for the April 10-11 Florida Gold Coast vs. Florida Swimming All-Star meet at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce.

It is the most the Comets have qualified for the annual All-Star meet in two days.

And, with two days remaining, age group coach Rose Lockie said the Comets could add a few more names to the list of qualifiers.

Lockie and the entire Comets’ coaching staff were impressed at how the young swimmers handled the adversity of rain, wind and cold. 

“The morning was hard for them,” Lockie said. “It was wicked cold and just miserable. A lot of them battled with the conditions in the morning and then came back in the evening and did very, very well.”

Lockie said the difference between prelims and finals was like night and day. A little pep talk from the coaches helped between sessions.

“Their attitudes changed so much,” Lockie said. “They were pumped up and so excited to have the chance to make the All-Star team. It was really nice to see them come back and have such a positive attitude. We definitely could see a change from the morning. They were smiling more. They seemed happier. It showed they were ready to swim in finals.”

Lockie was concerned at early weather reports for even worse conditions Friday night. Despite a temperature drop, the heavy rains and wind held off for finals.

“They realized they couldn’t control the weather and that it was bad for everybody in the morning,” Lockie said. “The kids coming back for finals were talking about the All-Star meet. It was such a great motivator.  They talked amongst each other and knew it was a big thing to place in the Top 6.”

Lockie said the team’s “hard training” for JOs  paid off in the races.

The Comets had 12 swimmers qualify for the finals—seven boys and five girls.

Among the Comets’ top six finishers were:

Boys 1,000-yard freestyle: Raphael Mora, 11, third, career-best 12:04.41; Alejandro Patino, 12, fourth, 12:26.99; Austin Iglesias, 12, fifth, career-best 12:45.19.

Boys 100-yard butterfly: Javier Menchaca, 14, fifth, career-best 57.63.

Boys 200-yard freestyle: Jorge Depassier, 10, third, career-best 2:14.25; Ricardo Roche, 10, fifth, career-best 2:14.65.

Girls 1,000-yard freestyle: Carly Swanson, 12, third, career-best 11:52.06; Leonie Davies, 13, fifth, career-best 10:57.63.

Girls 50-yard backstroke: Kelley Heron, 10, fourth, 34.08; Zoey Chilcote, 10, sixth, career-best 35.60.

Girls 100-yard butterfly: Maria Lopez, 14, fourth, career-best 58.76; Alvena Walpole, 9, fifth, career-best 1:15.02.

Girls 200-yard freestyle: Kelley Heron, 10, fifth, 2:14.93.

Girls 200-yard backstroke: Amber Hunter, 14, sixth, career-best 2:19.09.

“The young swimmers swam incredibly well,” Lockie said. “It took a lot of hard training. I anticipate a few more good swims over the next two days and we could have some more on the All-Star team. We’re not done yet.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

 http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com/

CORAL SPRINGS SWIM CLUB HAS BANNER NIGHT

The Coral Springs Swim Club dominated Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympic Championships Friday night at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

The Coral Springs Swim Club dominated Day Two of the Florida Gold Coast Short Course Junior Olympic Championships Friday night at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

Several of the team’s age group swimmers bounced back from the windy and rain-soaked morning prelims to win individual titles, post career-best times and qualify for the April 10-11 Florida Gold Coast vs. Florida Swimming All-Star meet at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce.

With 34 qualifiers in the four-day meet, Coral Springs made its presence known from the opening 1,000-yard freestyle event.

“I didn’t really expect this good a night,” said Coral Springs age group coach Bruno Darzi. “The first two meets of the season were rough because it was too much fun and games and not so much training. They weren’t mentally prepared but ever since we had a meeting and talked about it, they have improved.

“I am happy with the results so far considering the morning weather,” Darzi said. “It was cold and the kids had a hard time moving but they were still able to swim pretty well and this afternoon was even better.”

Emma Lincoln, 14, competing in only her third 1,000 freestyle race, finished second in a career-best 10 minutes, 26.24 seconds. Her previous best was 10:46.87.

Lincoln came back later in the night to win the 200-yard freestyle, her favorite event, in 1:55.76, another career-best, dropping from 1:57.94.

“I was pretty excited swimming it,” said Lincoln, who has been swimming since age 8. “I was a little nervous before because of the weather but I felt really good in the water. The first 500 I went out a little fast and then I started to feel it but I kept going. I didn’t expect that big a time drop. I see such a big improvement in my swimming. I really love it here.”

Lincoln, a former basketball and soccer player and ballet and tap dancer, qualified for seven JO events.

“I am glad I stayed with swimming, I want to go to the Olympics some day,” she said.

BOISSON-YATES FINE TUNING

Taravella’s Keegan Boisson-Yates, 14, of Trinidad and Tobago is right on schedule in his training for the April 3-6 CARIFTA Aquatics Championships at the National Stadium Pool in Kingston, Jamaica. The Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) event is the annual age group championships for the Caribbean which Boisson-Yates has qualified for the fourth time.

The talented teenager won the 200-yard freestyle Friday night in a career-best 1:48.74, dropping from his previous best of 1:51.29 and was second in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:02.23,  another career-best swim, bettering his previous best of 2:06.98.

Boisson-Yates, who has been swimming for six years, and his family moved to South Florida in January.

“I wasn’t horrible when I started swimming but I wasn’t good, I gradually got better and by the time I was 13, I was one of the best in my age group,” Boisson-Yates said.

“I am training for CARIFTA and not at my peak yet,” Boisson-Yates said.

He hopes one day to compete in the Olympics.

“We don’t have many famous swimmers in Trinidad, we have a couple and only one Olympic medalist. I am very motivated. I would like to be the first gold medalist. It was a sacrifice to move here but I am glad we made the move. I love training here. The atmosphere makes me feel like an elite swimmer.”

Boisson-Yates has four remaining events to swim.

Teammate Marco Hosfeld, 13, was second in the 200-yard freestyle in a career-best 1:48.88. “In the beginning when my mom put me in swimming I didn’t like it so much but then I started to work hard and actually succeed a little bit and I wanted to continue,” Hosfeld said. “I was pretty happy with my swim tonight but there is more to come. Hopefully, I can do better.”

CAMPO GAINING EXPERIENCE

At 12, Stephanie Campo, 12, is picking up valuable experience at a young age.

A high school state meet qualifier as a seventh grader at Coral Springs Charter, Campo won the 200-yard backstroke in a career-best 2:13.70. Her previous best was 2:17.65. She also placed second in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.01, another career-best. Her previous best was 2:02.46.

“I was surprised I went that fast, this is my best JOs,” said Campo, who has been swimming since age 4.

“I felt really smooth in the water,” said Campo, who qualified for seven events. “I wasn’t tired. I just kept going and going. I think this is a big breakthrough meet for me. I was happy and satisfied today but I have two more days.”

MOODIE HAS BREAKTHROUGH

After hitting a plateau, Jenna Moodie, 14, swam a career-best 1:56.85 to finish third among a competitive 200-yard freestyle girls field. Her previous best was 1:58.98 she dropped from her 2:00.51 seed time in morning prelims.

“I haven’t really dropped my times in a few years, I was at this plateau because I was growing and stuff,” said the 5-foot-8 Cypress Bay freshman. “It’s finally nice to drop. I have been working hard.”

Moodie, who grew up in Barbados and learned to swim for water safety on the island, has been swimming since age 5.  She has six events remaining.

Other top Coral Springs finishers were:

Eden Cooke, 10, third in the 50-yard backstroke in a career-best 33.53. She was also third in the 200-yard freestyle in a career-best 2:12.47.

Kelly Kealty, 12, fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke in a career-best 1:15.01.

Philomena Fiorenzi, 14, tied for fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:11.50

Jenna Diaz, 12, sixth in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:26.21. She swam a career-best 2:25.87 in morning prelims. She was also sixth in the 200-yard freestyle in a career-best 2:07.07.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.csscswim.com

http://www.swim4comets.com