SOFLO Heads Gulliver Long Course Summer Invitational


By Sharon Robb

May 21, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club will be getting in some long course racing over the holiday weekend.

SOFLO is among one of the largest teams in the Gulliver Long Course Summer Invitational.

The three-day meet begins on Friday with timed finals in the girls 800-meter freestyle with 47 swimmers and boys 1500-meter freestyle with 35 swimmers.

Gulliver has the largest team with 129 swimmers. SOFLO has 103 swimmers entered.

SOFLO’s contingent is led by Erika Pelaez, 8, Michael Arias, 12, Kyana Castro, 12, Jonathan Farah, 17, Kathleen Golding, 14, Julien Pinon, 16, and Rafael Rodriguez, 13.

IF YOU GO

What: Gulliver Long Course Summer Invitational

When: Friday-Sunday

Schedule: Friday, Timed finals, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, Session 1, 9 a.m., Session 2, 2 p.m.; Sunday, Session 3, 10 a.m., Session 4, 3 p.m.

Where: Gulliver Prep School, 6575 SW 88th Street, Miami

Admission: $3 per session, heat sheets $3. For information call 305-666-7937, ext. 1552.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO’s Valentina Artemeva Takes Bronze, Qualifies For World Championships At Russian Nationals


By Sharon Robb

April 20, 2015—After a few encouraging words from her coach Chris Anderson, South Florida Aquatic Club’s Valentina Artemeva qualified for the July 24-Aug. 9 World Aquatic Championships in Kazan, Russia on the opening day of the Russian National Swimming Championships in Moscow.

Artemeva, 28, of Novosibirsk Region, took the bronze medal in the 50-meter breaststroke, the first of her three events, after finishing third in 31.31.

The sprint race was a tune-up for her remaining two events, the 200-meter breaststroke and 100-meter breaststroke, her signature event.

Yuliya Efimova of the Tyimen Region, coming off her drug doping suspension, won the gold in 30.39. Efimova started the meet with the world best in 30.70 in prelims. She bettered her time in semifinals in 30.41 and finished with her third world best of the day in 30.39. It was her first national title since the suspension.

Victoria Zeinel Gunes of Turkey took the silver in 31.24. With that time, Efimova is now ranked No. 1 in the world in both the 50 and 100-meter breaststroke.

Artemeva, who has been training with SOFLO’s pro team including three-time Jamaican Olympian and breaststroke world record holder Alia Atkinson and Bermuda national champion Lisa Blackburn, is the current European champion in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke (short course).

She is also world record holder in fin swimming and former world champion in the 200-meter surface finswimming and bronze medalist in the 100-meter surface finswimming.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

NIKE MARCH SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: CJ Kopecki


By Sharon Robb

April 12, 2015—CJ Kopecki is the perfect example what hard work and sheer determination can do for a swimmer.

The South Florida Aquatic Club age group swimmer has risen through the ranks since he started swimming competitively at age 10.

“When I first started, I was a slower kind of swimmer, I wasn’t fast at all,” Kopecki said. “I would see the older groups swim at meets and everyone would congratulate them after they would win. I started working towards that.”

Kopecki, now 15, didn’t do it alone.

First there was SOFLO veteran age group coach Coach Rose Lockie encouraging him.

“She was one of the big coaches who helped me the first year,” Kopecki said. “She put me in butterfly which is my best stroke.”

And there was former SOFLO coach Megan Garland the past three years.

“After Coach Rose helped me I started progressing a lot and doing really good after I turned 13,” Kopecki said. “I didn’t think I could get fast enough to move up to Silver and went into Senior Developmental. After one practice Coach Rose came to me and talked about it. She believed I could get there if I worked my butt off in swim practice. Eventually, after JOs, I moved up. Coach Megan helped me tremendously, too. I wouldn’t be where I am without her.”

And, of course, there are his teammates he trains with day in and day out.

Kopecki was 3 when his grandmother taught him how to swim. He played soccer, but soon realized he was more suited to swimming.

“I have flat feet and can’t run fast without hurting my knees and shins,” he explained. “I decided to do a sport I didn’t have to run in and started swimming. I wasn’t athletic or fit at all when I started.”

Between pool and dryland work, Kopecki ended up dropping 15 pounds and getting fitter.

“I always liked being in the water,” Kopecki said. “I liked going out in the ocean with my grandma.”

Kopecki, a freshman at American Heritage School, competed in his first state high school meet this past fall and is a member of the Patriots’ boys state champion team. His club highlight swims were at sectionals and senior championships.

“I was happiest with my 200 fly at sectionals,” Kopecki said. “It was the first time I made “A” finals at sectionals. I was happy with my mile at senior championships. My time drops were pretty good after I was injured (back). I didn’t have the endurance before and that mile showed me I was back and could do it.”

Kopecki hopes to get even stronger and faster over the next three years and earn a college scholarship.

“Coach Chris has been telling me if I keep working and progressing I can get there,” Kopecki said. “That’s a big goal of mine.”

Kopecki, coming off a bout of the flu, is working his way back into shape.

“I am just going to eat, sleep and swim and try to get my junior national cut,” Kopecki said.

He even plans on training while he is in Raleigh, N.C., site of the weeklong national competition where he will compete on a nine-member mock trial team for American Heritage Plantation. Kopecki is in his first year of the school’s law program. “It’s interesting and fun,” he said.

Kopecki joins February Swimmer of the Month Zackary Harris and January Swimmer of the Month Madison Johnson.

The Nike Swimmer of the Month award, chosen by the SOFLO coaching staff, is awarded each month to the swimmer who excels at both swim meets and practice sessions.—Sharon Robb

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO Will Make History At Speedo Champions Series That Begin Thursday At Plantation Aquatic Complex


By Sharon Robb

March 11, 2015—South Florida Aquatic Club, still cloud-walking after its record five-peat at last week’s Junior Olympics, will make more swimming history at this week’s Speedo Sectional Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex.

With 41 swimmers entered in the four-day meet, SOFLO will have its largest contingent ever in meet history with an opportunity to post its best finish as a team.

SOFLO’s world record holder and three-time Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson heads a world-class field for the Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships that get under way Thursday.

A capacity field of 650 swimmers from 60 teams will compete over four days in one of four designated zones. The others are Eastern, Central and Western Zone Sectionals.

The meet attracts some of the top swimming talent from across the United States and internationally.

Several notable swimmers, including Olympians, national champions and record holders will compete alongside age group swimmers.

U.S. Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue, 26, currently training at South Florida Aquatic Club’s Academic Village Pool, is top seed in the 100 butterfly. The top three seeds in the race are Donahue and her SOFLO training partners, Carolina Colorado, 27, and Atkinson, 26.

Colorado is seeded first in the 100-meter backstroke. Teammate Valentina Artemeva, 28, is seeded first in the 50-meter breaststroke.

South Florida Aquatic Club’s women’s 200-meter medley and 200-meter freestyle relays are seeded first. SOFLO is seeded second in the 800-meter freestyle relay and 400-meter medley relay.

Jamaican Timothy Wynter, 19, of SOFLO is top seed in the 50-meter backstroke.

SOFLO’s Kathleen Golding, 14, one of the youngest SOFLO swimmers, is seeded third in the 400-meter individual medley.

At 43, SOFLO’s Lisa Blackburn is the oldest swimmer in the field. Blackburn, a Bermuda national record holder, is training to make the time standards for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

SOFLO teammates Marc Rojas, 21, a Florida State swimmer, and Julien Pinon, a member of the French national junior team, will compete unattached.

Florida Gold Coast teams dominate the field including Azura Florida Aquatics, Pine Crest Swimming, Wahoos of Wellington, North Palm Beach, St. Andrew’s Swimming, Swim Fort Lauderdale, YMCA of Broward County, Performance Aquatics, Coral Springs Swim Club, SwimFast, Aqua Kids Sharks, Pompano Beach Piranhas, Gulliver, Boca Raton and host Plantation Swim Team.

IF YOU GO

What: Speedo Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championships

When: Thursday-Sunday

Schedule: Thursday, timed finals, 5 p.m.; Friday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. prelims, finals 5 p.m.; Sunday, prelims 9 a.m., finals 5 p.m.

Where: Plantation Aquatic Complex, 9151 NW Second St., Plantation.

Admission: $3 per person, heat sheets $3 per session. For information call 954-452-2526.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

South Florida Aquatic Club Heads To Two Weekend Meets


By Sharon Robb

October 31, 2014—South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will compete in two meets this weekend in Pompano Beach and Miami.

On Saturday, SOFLO swimmers will compete in the annual Pompano Beach Piranhas Turkey Classic. The meet begins 9 a.m.

SOFLO is sending 26 up-and-coming athletes to the Pompano meet.

They are Kaitlyn Barrios, 8; Mariann Operana Catalasan, 8; Miguel Crespo, 10; Mia Francesca Escudero, 10; Odin Farkas, 11; Gabriel Ferdinand, 12; Lucas Javier Gandarillas, 12; Nathaniel Andrew Garrick, 9; Logan Gonzalez, 9; Daniell Vasiliya Hughes, 10; Benjamin Kim, 7; Matthew Kim, 9; Carol Danielle Lambert, 10; Molly Lynn Masson, 10; Jacob Christopher Oram, 9; Sabrina Osorio, 9; Sofia Osorio, 9; Jadyn Parks, 10; Giada Isabella Porven, 6; Lucas Angel Porven, 9; Adrianna Rigau, 12; Randy Smith, 9; Christian Daniel Tijero, 9; Valerie Vank, 9; Christian Vasquez, 11; and Aldo Zepeda, 9.

While there will be no admission at the door, the event is a food drive to feed the hungary and homeless in Broward County. All visitors are asked to bring a gift of non-perishable goods.

Several swimmers will compete in both meets.

With 73 swimmers, SOFLO will have the largest contingent at the Gulliver Fall Invitational at the Marian Krutulis Aquatics Center.

Those entered are Alana Acevedo, 13; Sarah Acevedo, 10; Jasmine Ahmet, 11; Michael Arias, 11; Sophia Bedoya, 12; Valentina Carrion, 12; Miguel Crespo, 10; Kayla Cunningham, 11; Kerry Ann Cunningham, 8; Katrina Del Vecchio, 11; Isabella Di Salvo, 12; Mia Francesca Escudero, 10; Odin Farkas, 11; Gabriel Ferdinand, 12; Lucas Javier Gandarillas, 12; Hailey Garbez, 11; Nathaniel Andrew Garrick, 9; Roberto Garrido, 12; Tanner Gibson, 11; Tyler Gibson, 15; Alex Golding, 10; Kathleen Golding, 14; Molly Golding, 11; Sally Golding, 10; Logan Gonzalez, 9; John Paul Handal, 11; Zackary Harris, 10; Zariya Harris, 14; Salma Hegazy, 12; Ethan Hew, 14; Noah Hew, 10; Annita Huang, 13; Paola Huerta, 13; Daniell Vasiliya Hughes, 10; Madison Hope Johnson, 13; Elise Larin, 13; Jie Hoon Lee, 11; Jena Legaspi, 10; Rebekah Ling, 12; Jacqueline Lugo, 12; Raquel Victoria Lugo, 15; Celenia Lumelski, 12; Michelle Marinheiro, 11; Molly Lynn Masson, 10; Alejandro Mateus, 9; Leonardo Mateus, 12; Brandon Moran, 13; Farouk Musa, 6; Michelle Ordonez, 11; Sabrina Osorio, 9; Sofia Osorio, 9; Lucas Angel Porven, 9; Samuel Quintero, 14; Sara Quintero, 10; Jennifer Rodriguez, 14; Rafael Rodriguez, 12; Christopher Miguel Sanchez, 15; Gabriel Segui, 13; Marianna Serrao, 13; Sebastian Elias Sevilla, 13; Lauren Siegman, 12; Sebastian Sierra, 13; Lily Katherine Sines, 11; Randy Smith, 9; Christian Daniel Tijero, 9; Derek Tom, 12; Amy-Nicole Toro, 12; Michael Allen Toro, 12; Christian Vasquez, 11; Anabel Vazquez, 13; Marcos Vazquez, 11; and Kellie Wilcox, 14.

IF YOU GO

What: Pompano Beach Piranhas Turkey Classic

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: Pompano Beach Aquatic Center, 820 NE 18th Avenue

Admission: Heat sheets are $3. There will be no admission at the door, however the event is a food drive to feed the hungary and homeless in Broward County. All visitors are asked to bring a gift of non-perishable goods. For more information call 787-315-1529.

IF YOU GO

What: Gulliver Fall Open

When: Saturday-Sunday.

Schedule: Saturday, Session One, 9 a.m.; Session Two, 1 p.m.; Sunday, Session Three 10 a.m.; Session Four, 2 p.m.

Where: Marian Krutulis Aquatics Center, Gulliver Preparatory School, 6775 SW 88th Street, Miami

Admission: $3 per session, $3 heat sheets. For more information call 305-666-7937, ext. 1552.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

St. Thomas Aquinas Sweeps District 9-4A Team Titles


By Sharon Robb

October 23, 2014—St. Thomas Aquinas dominated the District 9-4A Swimming and Diving Championships to sweep the boys and girls team titles Thursday at Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.

St. Thomas girls swept all three relays and won four individual titles to win with 553 points, nearly 300 points ahead of host Douglas.

Sarah Asseraf won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:13.99 and was a member of the winning 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

Vanessa Comunale won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:33.32 followed by her sister Isabella Comunale in 5:37.92.

Caitlin Ahern won the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:07.73 and was a member of all three winning relays.

Karlee Price won the girls 1-meter springboard title with 510.30 points.

Lydia Musleh of Coral Gables was the only girls double winner, capturing the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.84 and 100-yard freestyle in 52.35.

The most exciting girls race was the 100-yard butterfly where 69/100ths of a second separated the top three places. Meagan Abad of South Plantation won in 1:00.12 followed by St. Thomas swimmers Quinn Connor in 1:00.51 and Asseraf in 1:00.81.

The St. Thomas boys team was just as dominant. The Raiders, led by double winners Padraic Cassidy and Gabriel Perez Silva and two relay victories, won with 552 points. Douglas was runner-up with 396 points.

Cassidy won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:47.81 and 500-yard freestyle in 4:46.55 and was a member of the winning 400-yard freestyle relay.

Perez Silva won the 50-yard freestyle in 21.51 and 100-yard freestyle in 47.19.

St. Thomas only other individual champion was Esteban Velasquez in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:02.75. He also led off the winning 400-yard freestyle relay.

Logan Downey of South Plantation won the boys diving title with 581.05 points.

GIRLS TEAM TOTALS

1.St. Thomas Aquinas 553, 2. Douglas 285, 3. South Plantation 277, 4. Coral Glades 270, 5. Taravella 172, 6. Deerfield Beach 168, 7. Monarch 117, 8. Coral Springs 89, 9. Plantation 48, 10. Piper 18.

GIRLS RESULTS

200-yard medley relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:51.21 (Samantha Stinemire, Caitlin Ahern, Quinn Connor, Natalya Wozab), 2. Douglas 1:55.85, 3. Coral Glades 1:58.92.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Lydia Musleh, CG 1:51.84, 2. Samantha Roth, DOUG 1:55.66, 3. Isabella Comunale, STA 2:06.18.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Sarah Asseraf, STA 2:13.99, 2. Megan Schimansky, CG 2:16.97, 3. Abigail Fossas, TAR 2:22.24.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Nicole Gautieri, DOUG 25.08, 2. Natalya Wozab, STA 25.30, 3. Dominique Fajardo, CS 25.43.

1-meter diving: 1. Karlee Price, STA 510.30, 2. Gabriella Comunale, STA 465.60, 3. Leanne Sheffer, SP 400.45.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Meagan Abad, SP 1:00.12, 2. Quinn Connor, STA 1:00.51, 3. Sarah Asseraf, STA 1:00.81.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Lydia Musleh, CG 52.35, 2. Samantha Roth, DOUG 52.70, 3. Nicole Gautieri, DOUG 56.27.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Vanessa Comunale, STA 5:33.32, 2. Isabella Comunale, STA 5:37.92, 3. Samantha Knight, STA 5:46.91.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas 1:42.31 (Samantha Stinemire, Natalya Wozab, Caitlin Ahern, Sarah Asseraf), 2. Douglas 1:42.51, 3. South Plantation 1:53.13.

100-yard backstroke: 1. Megan Schimansky, CG 58.76, 2. Meagan Abad, SP 58.94, 3. Samantha Stinemore, STA 1:00.27.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Caitlin Ahern, STA 1:07.73, 2. Emily Jurich, DOUG 1:07.82, 3. Kelly Kealty, TAR 1:09.42.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas 3:50.20 (Natalya Wozab, Samantha Stinemire, Sarah Asseraf, Caitlin Ahern), 2. Coral Glades 3:56.10, 3. South Plantation 3:58.53.

BOYS TEAM TOTALS

1.St. Thomas Aquinas 552, 2. Douglas 396, 3. Monarch 238, 4. South Plantation 214, 5. Deerfield Beach 194, 6. Taravella 146, 7. Coral Glades 134, 8. Coral Springs 87, 9. Plantation 71, 10. Piper 21.

BOYS RESULTS

200-yard medley relay: 1. Douglas 1:44.10 (Dylan Allen, Tristan Celestin, Henrique Yamamoto, Gregory Roseman) 2. St. Thomas 1:44.94, 3. Monarch 1:48.27.

200-yard freestyle: 1. Padraic Cassidy, STA 1:47.81, 2. Dylan Allen, DOUG 1:53.67, 3. Felipe Farias, TAR 1:57.07.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Esteban Velasquez, STA 2:02.75, 2. Henrique Yamamoto, DOUG 2:04.53, 3. Santiago Ospina, MON 2:11.32.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Gabriel Perez Silva, STA 21.51, 2. August Charni, CG 21.78, 3. Sean Chen, SP 22.05.

1-meter diving: 1. Logan Downey, SP 581.05, 2. Devin Nugent, STA 458.85, 3. Johnny Kovalcik, DOUG 331.00.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Henrique Yamamoto, DOUG 55.26, 2. Felipe Farias, TAR 57.90, 3. Clement Bowe, STA 59.85.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Gabriel Perez Silva, STA 47.19, 2. Sean Chen, SP 49.92, 3. Santiago Ospina, MON 50.29.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Padraic Cassidy, STA 4:46.55, 2. Esteban Velasquez, STA 4:47.98, 3. Dylan Allen, DOUG 5:00.56.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas 1:31.18 (Gabriel Perez Silva, Andrew Szatkowski, Clement Bowe, Kearn Kurbanali), 2. Douglas 1:31.89, 3. Monarch 1:32.72.

100-yard backstroke: 1. August Charni, CG 56.16, 2. Quinn Roth, MON 1:00.45, 3. Clement Bowe, STA 1:00.75.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Tristan Celestin, DOUG 1:02.54, 2. Alfred Maria, STA 1:05.88, 3. Andre Bacic, DB 1:06.56.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas 3:25.72 (Esteban Velasquez, Padraic Cassidy, Kearn Kurbanali, Clement Bowe), 2. Douglas 3:41.02, 3. Coral Glades 3;44.97.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com