By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, December 17, 2019—South Florida Aquatic Club, the largest and one of the most diverse clubs in the Florida Gold Coast, was awarded USA Swimming’s National Club Excellence Silver Medal Award for 2020 for the first time in club history.
SOFLO has been a Bronze Medal club eight of the last nine years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), but has never earned silver.
SOFLO’s first year of existence was 2011 after starting out as the Comets. The club will celebrate its 20th year of existence in 2020.
The excellence award program is divided into gold, silver and bronze divisions. The rankings only include 18-and-under swimmers eliminating most pro and college swimmers.
The Top-20 clubs earn Gold level ranking and those rated 21-100 are designated as Silver honorees. The next 100 clubs are recognized at the Bronze level.
The rankings give points scores based on a power point rating system that gives swim points based on how fast it is relative to a swimmer’s age.
The focus of the USA Swimming voluntary program is to identify and reward up to 200 USA Swimming-sanctioned clubs that have attained a high level of athlete performance.
The program strives to meet the following initiatives:
Promote the development of strong, well-rounded age group and senior swimming programs that produce elite 18-and-under athletes.
Provide recognition and resources to motivate and assist member clubs to strive for the highest ideals of athlete performances.
SOFLO moved up from 5,362 to 9,324 rating points and is the only Florida Gold Coast club to earn silver medal club honors and one of only eight Florida teams.
SOFLO is in good company around the state with Sarasota Sharks (18,918), Gator Swim Club (16,438), Sarasota Tsunami (16,425), Bolles (9,745), Episcopal Amberjax (9,354), Swim Florida (8,369) and Greater Tampa Swimming Association (6,962).
Last year’s silver medal winners, Pine Crest Swimming (5,521) dropped to bronze medal and Gulliver Prep dropped out. Flood Aquatics (4,689) was the only other Florida Gold Coast awarded bronze medal status.
Only gold and silver level clubs are provided grant funding (a total of $400,000 in grants will be awarded).
“USA Swimming is fortunate to have dedicated athletes and coaches doing incredible work in pools across the country. The clubs who have earned Gold, Silver or Bronze honors are building future champions who will continue our success at the international level,” said USA Swimming Managing Director of Sport Development Joel Shinofield. “We are excited and honored to again distribute $400,000 in grants to the top 100-ranked clubs in 2020.”
Nation’s Capital Swim Club of the Washington, D.C. area won its sixth consecutive Club Excellence title. Nation’s Capital totaled 81,529 points, finishing more than 18,000 points ahead of Gold level club SwimMAC Carolina (63,258) and Sandpipers of Nevada (53,427). No Florida team made the Top 20.
Out of the 200 clubs recognized as Gold, Silver and Bronze programs, Illinois Swimming led all LSCs with 13 clubs recognized, followed by Southern California Swimming with nine clubs.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com