By: Jen Russon
They’ve done it before, and over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, they did it again. Members of the Coral Springs Swim Club captured impressive division titles, placing an overall 10th in a three-day junior Olympics championship that takes place in the short pool every spring – with the 11-12 Girls Team winning first place in their division.
Coral Springs Swim Club or CSSC holds the The Florida Cold Coast Olympics event each March, and another junior Olympic event in Julyat the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. In order to qualify, swimmers age 14 and under have to meet rigorous standards set by Florida Gold Coast across the tri-county area. This year, a total of 34 teams participated.
The 11-12 Girls Team of Nicole Creed, Samantha Schoenborn, Carolyn Powell, Selah Rogers, Brittany Bean, and Mariana Montes dominated their competitors, scoring an individual title win of first place in their age group against 23 other teams scoring a collective 153 points to take first place.
“All my swimmers stepped up and swam their hearts out. I couldn’t be prouder,” said Coach Caroline Kuczynski, who heads the Girls 11-12 team.
Her high praise was echoed by Bruno Arzi who has coached Coral Springs Swim Club teams since 2003. Arzi, like many Olympic divers and swimmers from all over the world, joined the CS Aquatic Center when he moved here from Brazil in 1999.
Arzi, who worked with Olympic medalist Dara Torres, said he sees a familiar spark in Kuczynski’s group.
“I don’t coach them directly, but I always know what they’re doing, and help them get the right divisions experience, work on stroke correction and keep them motivated,” said Arzi, who added that he really hopes the girls on Kuczynski’s team swim at college.
Arzi said when he asked the girls if they were surprised to pick up this win, he was met with “no’s” all around.
“I wasn’t surprised we placed. We are fast and we work so hard,” said Carolyn Powell, who helped the team place first in their 200 free relay.
Samantha Schoenborn, along with Powell and three others, qualified for the Florida Gold Coast All-Stars competition, and had the opportunity to compete at the Indian River State College in Fort Pierce at the end of March.
For CCSC members, every month involves a rigorous training and competition schedule.
“We have been training hard, and we have done good practices all season, and we have been pushed to go fast during practice and all of their swimmers tried their best,” said Samantha Schoenborn.
Coach Kuczynski said the girls were not only about doing their best, but exceeding it. Brittany Bean shaved 23 seconds off her 500 freestyle, and first time junior Olympic qualifiers, Payton Lander, Emma Lin, and Rhiana Suarez clocked in at cheer-inducing speeds.
Sports fans can look forward to cheering on the swim club again on April 27 and 28 at their next home meet. Known as the 2019 Coral Springs Open Invitational, all are invited to volunteer and show support for the swimmers.
Community service hours are available to middle and high school students. For more information, check the CSSC website.
Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.