By Sharon Robb
May 12, 2017—Two years ago Ricardo Roche got serious about his swimming and it’s made a world of difference.
“I was always competitive and I always wanted to be my best, but two years ago I started looking at cuts and wanting to go out of town to meets,” the South Florida Aquatic Club swimmer said.
“I started to mature and got a little more dedicated. Coach beat me up more in workouts and I started going to the gym.”
The dedication has paid off for the Pembroke Pines Charter junior and SOFLO national team member.
Roche, 17, turned in his finest performance at the Florida Gold Coast Senior Championships in his home pool at Academic Village. He swam six best times in individual events, was a member of three relays and now has three Junior National cut times.
Roche dropped 30.29 seconds off his previous best time winning the 1,650-yard freestyle. He finished in 15:44.80 and played a key role in SOFLO winning the combined team and men’s team titles.
In his other five events, he was:
Second in the 400-yard individual medley in 4:00.36, 8.73 time drop.
Third in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:34.48, 8.28 time drop from 4:42.76.
Third in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:50.69, 3.59 time drop from 1:54.28.
Eighth in the 200-yard freestyle, 1:42.99, 3.92 time drop.
Eighth in the 100-yard backstroke in 52.71, 1.64 time drop.
“I wanted to drop all of my times and I got the times I wanted to get,” Roche said. “This was really big, it was my best meet. I got my Junior National cuts and I am moving up.”
Roche finished fifth in high point in the open division with 115 points.
Roche has been swimming for 13 years. He learned the basics in Mexico, where he was born, and continued in South Florida when his family moved. Roche has dual citizenship and can compete for both Mexico and U.S. He has been on the national team since his freshman year of high school.
“I am happy about how I am doing,” Roche said. “I don’t think I am super surprised. I do work hard even though sometimes I slack and tend to miss a practice. But I give it my best.”
Roche played soccer in Mexico but gave it up for swimming.
“I just like the sport, I love the water,” Roche said. “I have a passion for it. I’m not sure why, I just do.”
Roche trains six days a week with his SOFLO teammates. He has three junior national cuts in the mile, 800 freestyle and 200 backstroke.
“I think I am bigger, stronger and faster and that’s helped me improve,” said Roche, now motivated by the prospect of earning a college scholarship and competing internationally.
“College is the goal for sure,” Roche said. “A few years ago I didn’t really focus on it. I didn’t think about it back then. But now I started to focus on it a lot. I am narrowing my goals for the future.”
Roche is the only swimmer in his family. Younger brother Carlo, 15, is a talented cyclist who competes at the Brian Piccolo Park Velodrome.
“He is really good, but I am glad I chose swimming,” Roche said. “I was super excited after seniors. I got best times and the team won which was best of all.”
Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.
SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org