TYR MARCH SWIMMER OF THE MONTH: Nicolas Rossi


By Sharon Robb

April 11, 2016—Nicolas Rossi may soon need more space for his swimming trophies, medals and ribbons.

“I have a ton of medals and ribbons, I just organized them yesterday,” said the South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer, who had the best meet of his young swim career at the recent Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics.

Rossi, 13, a seventh grader at Silver Trail Middle School, has improved every year since joining SOFLO at age 6. Over six years, he worked his way up from Little Dippers to Coach Travis Lockie’s Silver Group where he is flourishing.

Before aging up, Rossi made his final 11-12 appearance at JOs and made a lasting impression. His Herculean efforts included:

50-yard freestyle: fifth in prelims, 25.17, 0.61 drop; fourth in finals, 24.84, 0.94 drop.

500-yard freestyle: won in 5:01.54, dropped 5.22.

Member of winning 400-yard freestyle relay, 3:45.29.

Member of second-place 200-yard medley relay, 1:55.83.

Member of winning 400-yard medley relay, 4:11.30.

Member of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:43.70.

400-yard individual medley: fourth, 4:47.19, 24.43 drop.

200-yard freestyle: first in prelims 1:56.78; second in finals, 1:55.60, 0.39 drop.

200-yard individual medley: first in prelims 2:14.32; placed fourth in finals, 2:14.71, 3.55 drop.

100-yard freestyle: sixth in prelims, 56.28; placed fourth in finals, 55.58, 0.70 drop.

1,650-yard freestyle: won in 17:26.46.

“I was aging up four days after JOs so I wanted to do well but I didn’t expect to do as well as I did,” Rossi said. “I was happiest with my 500. I felt really good in the water. But what helped me the most was having the mindset that I wanted to break five minutes.

“I was happy I dropped time but a little bit mad that I didn’t break five minutes. It was the first day of the meet and I was really prepared for it. I was definitely getting a little tired and sore by the last day. It was worth it. It was the best meet I ever swam. I am happiest with getting second in high point.”

Rossi has been swimming since his father started him with lessons at age 4. His brother, Christian, also swam. He joined SOFLO when he was 6.

“I like to swim because it’s competitive and also a team sport,” said Rossi, who played soccer and flag football before focusing solely on swimming.

Rossi loves his swimming family of teammates and coaches.

“It’s definitely helped me become more social,” he said. “It helps me keep track of my time. With practice, school and homework I definitely manage my time better.

“The people here are social and very fun and the coaches are passionate about what they do,” Rossi said. “The team is competitive and I love the atmosphere, it’s very energetic.”

Rossi is now training for long course JOs and his 13-14 meet debut.

“I love doing distance,” he said. “My favorite is definitely the mile. Most of the time when I am swimming it I am thinking about catching the person in front of me. Like my Coach says there is always someone to catch in the mile, whether you are in the lead or the last person.”

Rossi, who trains six days a week, hopes to swim in high school and college. His heroes in the sport are three-time Olympian Michael Phelps and Chinese distance specialist Sun Yang.

Rossi enjoys watching SOFLO’s ProFlo group of Olympians and national champions train at Academic Village Pool.

“I definitely want to be like them. I look over and I see them and think, ‘wow they’re huge,’” said the 5-foot-2, 100-pounder. “They are definitely people I look up to on my team.”

The TYR 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.

Each TYR Swimmer of the Month will receive a free TYR mini backpack.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

SOFLO’s Jessica Rodriguez Wins Event For Florida Gold Coast All-Star Team

SOFLO’s Jessica Rodriguez Wins Event For Florida Gold Coast All-Star Team


Written by Sharon Robb

April 9, 2013

South Florida Aquatic Club’s Jessica Rodriguez came home an All-Star champion.

Rodriguez was one of the few members of the Florida Gold Coast team that captured an individual event at the All-Star Dual Meet against Florida Swimming this past weekend at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce.

Rodriguez, 14, won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:25.15. Rodriguez was seeded first in her best time of 2:23.44.

Rodriguez was also fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:09.57, seventh in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:14.08 and eighth in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:13.27.

Rodriguez was a member of the fourth place 200-yard medley relay that finished in 1:53.11.

Delanie Perez was third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:12.57, third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:12.57 and fourth in the 50-yard breaststroke in 33.61.

Kyana Castro anchored the FGC All-Stars’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay that finished third in 1:56.17. Castro was a member of the third place 200-yard medley relay that finished in 2:15.35.

Castro was also fifth in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:21.07 and fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:38.84.

DiSalvo was third in the 100-yard individual medley in 1:12.16 and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:12.84. DiSalvo was also a member of the 200 free relay.

In the boys’ races, Michael Arias was third in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:10.07; fourth in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:09.01; fourth in the 100-yard freestyle in 1:02.53; fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:35.84; and sixth in the 50-yard freestyle in 29.10.

Arias was a member of the third place 200-yard freestyle relay that finished in 1:56.10 and anchored the fourth place 200-yard medley relay (2:16.06).

Juan Lucas was both fifth in the 100-yard backstroke in 56.90 and 200-yard backstroke in 2:03.30. Lucas and Sebastian Vargas swam legs of the third place 200-yard freestyle relay (1:34.73).

Jonathan Strod was fifth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.22 and sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:06.15.

Despite Friday night’s practice session being cancelled because of the weather, the FGC All-Stars closed the gap against Florida Swimming which defended its titles in the combined, girls and boys team standings.

Florida Swimming won the combined team title 771-501; girls title, 399-237; and boys title, 372-264.

Rodriguez was among a record twenty two SOFLO swimmers among the best-of-the-best of Florida Gold Coast’s age group swimmers.

Joining Rodriguez, Perez, DiSalvo and Castro at the All-Star meet were Kelley Heron, Samuel Quintero, Brandon Moran, Alex Monti, John Paul Handal, Nicolas Rossi, Rafael Rodriguez, Michelle Marinheiro, Joseph Lee, CJ Kopecki, Gustavo Valery, Alfredo Mesa, Vanessa Mesa, Katherine DeBarros and Bryant Segui.

SOFLO age group coach Travis Lockie made his debut on the FGC All-Star coaching staff.

The meet encouraged camaraderie and sportsmanship and was a good stepping stone to the junior national and national teams for SOFLO swimmers, currently enjoying their best year in the club’s history.

TEAM TOTALS

COMBINED: 1. Florida Swimming 771, 2. Florida Gold Coast 501; GIRLS: 1. Florida Swimming 399, 2. Florida Gold Coast 237; BOYS: 1. Florida Swimming 372, 2. Florida Gold Coast 264.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS

GIRLS

200-yard backstroke:

11-12, 1. Kaitlyn Cronin, FL 1:01.09; 17. Vanessa Mesa 1:13.01; 13-14, 1. Ashley Boddiford, FL 2:07.34, 8. Jessica Rodriguez 2:13.27, 9. Kelley Heron 2:13.92.

100-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Rhiannon Driscoll, FL 1:06.97; 5. Isabella DiSalvo 1:12.84, 19. Michelle Marinheiro 1:21.26.

100-yard freestyle:

13-14, 1. Marta Ciesla, FGC 52.39; 14. Kelley Heron 56.07.

200-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Mikayla Puckett, FL 2:12.96; 5. Kyana Castro 2:21.07, 7. Michelle Marinheiro 2:23.29; 11-12, 1. Jillain Santiago, FL 1:59.88; 8. Hannah Virgin 2:05.52, 13. Delanie Perez 2:08.85, 16. Katherine De Barros 2:11.84, 21. Vanessa Mesa 2:23.19.

500-yard freestyle:

11-12, 1. Stephanie Holmes, FL 5:18.65; 14. Katherine DeBarros 5:46.75; 13-14, 1. Emma Layton, FL 5:01.47; 8. Kelley Heron 5:14.45.

1,650-yard freestyle:

13-14, 1. Emma Layton, FL 17:20.26.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Michaela Avedisian, FGC 35.78; 9. Bella Di Salvo 38.85; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, FGC 32.39; 4. Delanie Perez 33.61.

200-yard breaststroke:

13-14, 1. Jessica Rodriguez, FGC 2:25.15.

50-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Morgan Shinault, FL 30.33; 13. Kyana Castro 32.65, 24. Michelle Marinheiro 37.10; 11-12, 1. Talia Bates, FL 27.16; 28. Vanessa Mesa 32.59; 13-14, 1. Jessica Nava, FGC 58.08; 14. Jessica Rodriguez 1:02.87.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Lain Shahboz, FL 1:08.10; 8. Kyana Castro 1:15.09; 11-12, 1. Alice Gau, FL 1:01.02; 13. Delanie Perez 1:05.47,25. Vanessa Mesa 1:16.41.

200-yard butterfly:

13-14, 1. Alena Kraus, FL 2:10.29.

200-yard freestyle relay:

10-and-under, 1. FL 1:53.71; 3. FGC 1:56.17 (Madeleine Peraza, Ana Kondratovitch, Isabella DiSalvo, Kyana Castro), 8. FGC 2:06.21 (Michaela Avedisian, Sophie Kubida, Michelle Marinheiro, Mattie Barfield); 11-12, 1. FL 1:40.15; 6. FGC 1:49.04 (Andrea Moya, Hannah Virgin, Thea McKenna, Mary Smutney), 7. FGC 1:50.72 (Vanessa Mesa, Hailey Jerew, Valeria Villa, Eriana Temperino), 8. FGC 1:56.01 (Gabriella Beltrano, Acadia Rubin, Stephanie Rodriguez, Mia Marquez); 13-14, 1. FL 1:37.20, 4. FGC 1:42.14 (Cybele Jung, Jessica Nava, Alessandra Baldari, Catharine Cooper), 7. FGC 1:45.62 (Shayne Sipowski, Audrey Mason, Marissa Brannan, Bailey Warren), 8. FGC 1:46.45 (Kelley Heron, Julia Talamo, Jessica Rodriguez, Syndey Groth).

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Rhiannon Driscoll, FL 31.00; 9. Isabella Di Salvo 34.80, 19. Michelle Marinheiro 38.33; 11-12, 1. Kaitlyn Cronin, FL 28.10; 19. Katherine DeBarros 33.15.

100-yard backstroke:

13-14, 1. Ashley Boddiford, FL 1:00.00; 12. Kelley Heron 1:02.74, 13. Jessica Rodriguez 1:02.96.

100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Gwynne English, FL 1:00.68; 9. Kyana Castro 1:03.79, 20. Michelle Marinheiro 1:09.33; 11-12, 1. Elizabeth Richardson, FL 54.77; 33. Vanessa Mesa 1:01.71.

200-yard freestyle:

13-14, 1. Peyton Palsha, FL 1:54.27.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Grace Khunduang, FL 1:17.59; 8. Isabella Di Salvo 1:25.29; 11-12, 1. Caroline Rossi, FL 1:09.94; 3. Delanie Perez 1:12.57, 18. Katherine De Barros 1:19.24; 13-14, 1. Alexandra Smutney, FL 1:08.74; 5. Jessica Rodriguez 1:09.57, 10. Kelley Heron 1:12.31.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Lain Shaboz 2:31.18; 5. Kyana Castro 2:38.84; 11-12, 1. Isabel Traba, FL 2:19.65; 13. Katherine De Barros 2:26.88; 13-14, 1. Rose Smiddy, FGC 2:09.29; 7. Jessica Rodriguez 2:14.08.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Rhiannon Driscoll, FL 1:08.32; 3. Isabella Di Salvo 1:12.16, 21. Michelle Marinheiro 1:20.53; 11-12, 1. Andrea Santander, FGC 1:02.68, 10. Delanie Perez 1:06.29, 21. Katherine De Barros 1:10.06.

400-yard individual medley:

13-14, 1. Alina Faunce, FL 4:37.20.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Claudia Acosta, FGC 27.90; 10. Isabella DiSalvo 29.43, 17. Kyana Castro 30.20; 11-12, 1. Talia Bates, FL 24.83; 29. Vanessa Mesa 27.70; 13-14, 1. Ciesla Marta, FGC 24.05; 21. Kelley Heron 26.32.

200-yard medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. FL 2:05.85, 3. FGC 2:15.35 (Jocelyn Ruiz, Lucia Miller, Kyana Castro, Paige Lane), 6. FGC 2:18.61 (Amanda Kopas, Isabella Taylor, Heidi Smithwick, Isabella DiSalvo); 11-12, 1. FL 1:51.39, 6. FGC 2:00.14 (Halie Murphy, Delanie Perez, Alexandra Meszaros, Crystal Navellier); 13-14, 1. FGC 1:50.89 (Rose Smiddy, Allison Kopas, Jessica Nava, Marta Ciesla), 4. FGC 1:53.11 (Francesca Choy, Jessica Rodriguez, Isabella Pittinger, Catharine Cooper), 6. FGC 1:53.83 (Megan Schimansky, Sarah Auld, Alexa Rivera, Alessandra Baldari), 8. FGC 2:00.41 (Kelley Heron, Victoria Miyamoto, Cloe Bedard-Khalid, Audrey Mason).

BOYS

200-yard backstroke:

11-12, 1. Lucas Kravchenko, FL 57.89; 16. Samuel Quintero 1:08.22, 17. Rafael Rodriguez 1:08.66, 18. Gabriel Segui 1:09.25; 13-14, 1. Joseph Perez, FGC 2:00.03; 5. Juan Lucas 2:03.30, 12. Alfredo Mesa 2:07.95.

100-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Andres Wong, FGC 1:05.37; 10. Michael Arias 1:14.09, 12. Jie Hoon Lee 1:14.75, 13. John Paul Handal 1:15.10.

100-yard freestyle:

13-14, 1. Adrian Moya, FGC 49.65; 10. Sebastian Vargas 51.54, 15. Alfredo Mesa 51.86, 18. Juan Lucas 52.26.

500-yard freestyle:

11-12, 1. Isaac Jacobs, FL 4:58.88; 8. Rafael Rodriguez 5:24.77; 13-14, 1. Eric Gemes, FL 4:42.58; 7. CJ Kopecki 5:00.14, 13. Sebastian Vargas 5:05.07, 14. Jonathan Strod 5:05.08, 16. Alfredo Mesa 5:12.23.

1,650-yard freestyle:

13-14, 1. Rafael Davila, FL 16:10.62.

50-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Jace Crawford, FL 37.56; 11. Nicolas Rossi 41.04; 11-12, 1. Matthew Limbacher, FL 29.08; 10. Brandon Moran 34.69.

200-yard breaststroke:

13-14, 1. Joseph Perez, FGC 2:09.89.

50-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Jace Crawford, FL 29.58; 11. Jie Houn Lee 33.40, 14. John Paul Handal 34.83; 11-12, 1. Patrick Amistoso, FL 26.39; 18. Gabriel Segui 29.81, 27. Brandon Moran 32.42.

100-yard butterfly:

10-and-under, 1. Andres Wong, FGC 1:06.97; 4. Michael Arias 1:09.01, 8. Jie Hoon Lee 1:14.54, 10. John Paul Handal 1:16.24, 11-12, 1. Patrick Amistoso, FL 58.67, 15. Gabriel Segui 1:07.77; 13-14, 1. Nicholas Hackett, FL 54.43; 8. Sebastian Vargas 56.89, 11. Jonathan Strod 57.36.

200-yard butterfly:

13-14, 1. Alejandro Carriazo, FGC 2:00.64; 6. CJ Kopecki 2:06.52, 9. Sebastian Vargas 2:07.85, 11. Jonathan Strod 2:09.74.

200-yard freestyle relay:

10-and-under, 1. FL 1:52.29; 3. FGC 1:56.10 (Reese Branzell, Connor Marks, Alexander Meyer, Michael Arias), 5. FGC 2:01.94 (Ethan Roach, Nicolas Rossi, Gianna Betancor, Michael Fernandez), 6. FGC 2:03.89 (John Paul Handal, Luis Cortez, Henry Faria, Jie Hoon Lee); 11-12, 1. FL 1:38.49; 2. FGC 1:39.25 (Fernando Rodriguez, Adrian Auilar, Drake Gil, Alexio Musleh), 7. FGC 1:48.63 (Gabriel Segui, Aaron Rodriguez, Rafael Rodriguez, Shane Schulte), 8. FGC 1:54.52 (David Montana, Luis Bucaro, Samuel Quintero, Joshua Babi); 13-14, 1. FGC 1:31.19 (Adriano Martinez, Adrian Moya, Maximilia Garcia-Del Pozo, Alejandro Carriazo), 3. FGC 1:34.73 (Sebastian Vargas, Juan Lucas, Francisco Real, Ervin Marin), 7. FGC 1:36.58 (Alfredo Mesa, Jonathan Strod, Raphael Mora, Noah Zylberberg).

50-yard backstroke:

10-and-under, 1. Andres Wong, FGC 31.27; 10. Jie Hoon Lee 35.20; 11-12, 1. Lucas Kravchenko, FL 26.08; 18. Samuel Quintero 32.61.

100-yard backstroke:

13-14, 1. Joseph Perez, FGC 55.67; 5. Juan Lucas 56.90, 16. Alfredo Mesa 1:00.71.

100-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Andres Wong, FGC 58.54; 4. Michael Arias 1:02.53, 8. Nicolas Rossi 1:03.61, 14. John Paul Handal 1:06.38; 11-12, 1. Lucas Kravchenko, FL 51.56; 12. Rafael Rodriguez 56.99, 27. Gabriel Segui 1:02.82.

200-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Andres Wong, FGC 2:06.93; 3. Michael Arias 2:10.07, 9. Nicolas Rossi 2:21.25; 11-12, 1. Lucas Kravchenko, FL 1:52.41; 7. Rafael Rodriguez 2:00.32; 13-14, 1. Eric Gemes, FL 1:48.89; 5. Jonathan Strod 1:51.22, 14. Juan Lucas 1:53.55, 20. CJ Kopecki 1:55.24, 25. Alfredo Mesa 1:56.81, 29. Sebastian Vargas 2:00.63.

100-yard breaststroke:

10-and-under, 1. Wesley Hyde, FL 1:21.37; 8. Jie Hoon Lee 1:29.97, 13. John Paul Handal 1:31.23; 11-12, 1. Matthew Limbacher, FL 1:05.48; 11. Brandon Moran 1:15.57, 15. Samuel Quintero 1:18.21, 18. Gabriel Segui 1:19.74; 13-14, 1. Joseph Perez, FGC 1:01.58; 6. Jonathan Strod 1:06.15.

100-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Jace Crawford, FL 1:10.48; 8. Jie Hoon Lee 1:15.31, 9. Nicolas Rossi 1:15.47; 11-12, 1. Lucas Kravchenko, FL 58.96; 11. Rafael Rodriguez 1:05.99, 28. Samuel Quintero 1:10.11, 28. Brandon Moran 1:10.11.

200-yard individual medley:

10-and-under, 1. Andres Wong, FGC 2:25.63; 5. Michael Arias 2:35.84, 7. John Paul Handal 2:41.24, 10. Nicolas Rossi 2:45.08; 11-12, 1. Isaac Jacobs, FL 2:08.38; 14. Brandon Moran 2:28.81, 19. Gabriel Segui 2:30.34; 13-14, 1. Joseph Perez, FGC 1:57.74; 9. Juan Lucas 2:07.75, 15. CJ Kopecki 2:09.43.

400-yard individual medley:

13-14, 1. Eric Geunes, FL 4:21.33; 7. CJ Kopecki 4:33.92.

50-yard freestyle:

10-and-under, 1. Reese Branzell, FGC 28.03; 6. Michael Arias 29.10, 17. Nicolas Rossi 30.61; 11-12, 1. Lucas Kravchenko, FL 23.61; 13-14, 1. Michael Kennedy, FL 22.50; 8. Sebastian Vargas 23.76, 13. Juan Lucas 24.02, 18. Alfredo Mesa 24.56.

200-yard medley relay:

10-and-under, 1. FL 2:09.20; 4. FGC 2:16.06 (Connor Marks, Matthew Posso, Henry Faria, Michael Arias), 5. FGC 2:16.67 (Jie Hoon Lee, Tesla Radulovic, Joshua Zuchowski, Alexander Meyer), 6. FGC 2:21.29 (Michael Fernandez, Luis Cortex, Gianni Betancur, Nicolas Rossi); 11-12, 1. FL 1:46.90; 3. FGC 1:56.75 (Adrian Aguilar, Juan Arvelo, Alexio Musleh, Keegan Rose); 6. FGC 2:02.01 (John Torres, Brandon Moran, Carlos Vasquez, Eric Matheus), 8. FGC 2:05.13 (Samuel Quintero, Eli Horgan, Tuan Ho, Nicholas Vale); 13-14, 1. FGC 1:41.63, 5. FGC 1:47.39 (Anton Gueneralov, Roberto Martorell, Sebastian Vargas, Maximum Garcia Del Pozo), 7. FGC 1:50.18 (Joao Vitos Pereira, Brandon Vives, Francisco real, CJ Kopecki).

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

SOFLO Has Big Weekend At All-Stars Dual Meet, Swim Miami

SOFLO Has Big Weekend At All-Stars Dual Meet, Swim Miami


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

April 4, 2013

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers are in store for a busy weekend.

A record twenty two swimmers will be among the best-of-the-best of Florida Gold Coast’s age group swimmers when they compete in this weekend’s All-Star dual meet at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce.

The Florida Gold Coast All-Stars team will compete against defending champion Florida Swimming on Saturday and Sunday in three timed final sessions.

SOFLO All-Star age group coach Travis Lockie will be joined by swimmers Kelley Heron, Juan Lucas, Michael Arias, Delanie Perez, Samuel Quintero, Brandon Moran, Jessica Rodriguez, Alex Monti, Kyana Castro, John Paul Handal, Jonathan Strod, Nicolas Rossi, Rafael Rodriguez, Michelle Marinheiro, Isabella DiSalvo, Joseph Lee, CJ Kopecki, Gustavo Valery, Alfredo Mesa, Vanessa Mesa, Katherine DeBarros and Bryant Segui.

The meet, which encourages camaraderie and sportsmanship, is a good stepping stone to the junior national and national teams.

The events are timed finals with sessions at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday.

Florida Gold Coast All-Stars are the underdogs. Florida Swimming dominates the meet annually.

The age group divisions featured in the 25-yard short course meet are 10-and-under, 11-12 and 13-14. The FGC team qualified off the Junior Olympics Championships.

FGC All-Star swimmers will get their uniforms and meet teammates and coaches during a meeting and warm-up session on Friday night. FGC is expected to dominate the relays, always a strongpoint.

Several FGC awards will be presented after the meet including the Carol Englehart Spirit Award for overall leadership and sportsmanship. Each age group assistant will also give a plaque to the swimmers who make the greatest impact on their age group team.

Florida Swim Network will live stream the All-Stars meet on both days beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

SWIM MIAMI

South Florida Aquatic Club is sending seventeen swimmers to the annual Swim Miami, presented by Nike, on Saturday at the Miami Yacht Club on Watson Island.

The open water event features 800 meters, Miami Mile, 5K and 10K races.

Roger Capote will compete in the 10K.

Swimming the 5K are Lilli Calero, Megan Garland, Miles Malmborg, Michael McFerron, Stephanie Mlujeak, Michael Piazza, Kevin Porto, Ricardo Roche and Teddy Sandoval.

The Miami Mile swimmers are Ryan Capote, Alexandra Crespo, Esteban Diaz-Velasco, Elise Larin, Leonardo Mateus, Juan Osorio and Sebastian Sevilla.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4soflo.com

COMETS CELEBRATE 11TH SEASON AT BANQUET; SWIMMERS, VOLUNTEERS, COACHES HONORED

COMETS CELEBRATE 11TH SEASON AT BANQUET; SWIMMERS, VOLUNTEERS, COACHES HONORED


WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB

DAVIE—On an emotionally-charged night in the grand ballroom of the Signature Grand, the Comets swim team celebrated the 2009-2010 season and a future full of promise.

In a festive atmosphere, more than 400 swimmers, parents, coaches and volunteers shared laughs and tears while reliving some of the highlights of the Comets 11th season.

It was a historical night for the Comets celebrating their final banquet before beginning a new chapter as the South Florida Aquatic Club.

CEO Chris Anderson announced that the merger between the Comets and Coral Springs Swim Club is now official and that SOFLO signed Nike as its first major sponsor.

The Comets coaching staff of Chris Anderson, Chris Grace, George Mersinger, Alex Wlosek, Rosemarie Lockie and Luis Soler took turns handing out awards for most improved, most dedicated and most valuable swimmers in six different age groups, from 8-and-unders to seniors.

The Comets also honored 12 high school seniors all about to embark on their next journey to college, but hopefully, Anderson said will be back for summers and holidays.

“It was such a pleasure to watch a fine group of seniors,” Anderson said. “I can’t wait for the future years when they come back.”

The seniors honored were Andy Alvarez (University of Miami), Melissa Fernandez (George Washington University), Stephanie Freiria (Florida Atlantic), Kevin Ganaim (Embry-Riddle), Ashley Hicks (Florida State), Travis Lockie (New Mexico Military Institute), Courtney Marx (Western Kentucky), Bianca Muniz (St. Leo College), Tiffany Oliver (Florida State), Tyler Sell (Florida State), Jake Shultz (Trinity) and Julio Simon (University of Miami).

Some of the most poignant moments came when the seniors took the stage and talked about their team and coaches.

From the eloquent words of Tyler Sell; touching, tearful moments between Travis Lockie and his mother Rosemarie, one of the Comets popular coaches who Travis called “a true inspiration;” to Andy Alvarez’s David Letterman-like highlights list including “watching Chris cry at every banquet,” and Tiffany Oliver’s “fake” book-sized speech, it was obvious the Comets common bond was their love for the team, their coaches and what the sport has done to help them develop through the years in and out of the pool.

“This has been the best experience of my life,” said a teary-eyed Julio Simon. “I learned what family is and what it’s like to be close to everyone. This team is just great. It helped me get to where I am now. I love you all.”

Simon told Anderson, “you made me go beyond my limits.”

“The memories will last a lifetime,” said Ashley Hicks.

“I found a place, a home away from home with the Comets,” said Courtney Marx.

“I don’t want this to end,” said Tiffany Oliver. “It wasn’t exactly a cakewalk for me to get here. Now I understand why I did everything I had to do when I was younger. You get out of life what you put into it. Never lose focus of your dreams.”

Anderson also took time to give a heartfelt thanks to booster club members Paula Berti, president; Tracee Gibson, treasurer; Christina Perera, secretary; and Jamie Mlujeak, parliamentarian; office staff, coaches, city officials, webmaster Nestor Mateus and “all the special people” that have helped the Comets “become one of the most competitive swim programs.”

Banquet organizers, headed by Berti and Kristy Monti, in charge of logistics, along with office manager Diana Oliver, staged a memorable night. There was a DJ and music; and entertaining, well-choreographed slide presentation of season highlights put together by Karina and Alfredo Raimont that garnered screams from the young crowd sitting around the projection screen. In addition to candid snap shots there were inspiring messages including “through it all, we believe” and “we believe in the future.”

Among the 2010 Special Awards were:

Most Improved Swimmer: 8-and-under, Kelly CiFuentes and Leonardo Mateus; 9-10, Jenna Shultz and Kevin Porto; 11-12, Emily Neville and Gustavo Valery; 13-14, Maria Lopez and Teddy Sandoval; 15-and-over, Xavier Brown; Senior, Stephanie Freiria and Travis Lockie.

Most Dedicated Swimmer: 8-and-under, Sarah Walpole and Rafael Rodriguez; 9-10, Kelley Heron and Jorge Depassier; 11-12, Monica Rodriguez and Austin Iglesias; 13-14, Kristina Brennan and Edward Kon; 15-and-over, Katie Brennan.

Most Valuable Swimmer: 8-and-under, Jennifer Rodriguez and Jonathan Skarie; 9-10, Jessica Rodriguez and Ricardo Roche; 11-12, Andrea Melendez and Diego Rodriguez; 13-14, Leonie Davies and Blake Kelley; 15-and-over, Courtney Marx and Marc Rojas; Seniors, Tiffany Oliver and Tyler Sell.

For those interested in purchasing banquet photographs contact photographer Kathleen Armstrong at kaitshel@aol.com.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com

http://www.swim4comets.com

http://www.csscswim.com