Pompano takes 11th in swim championships

Posted on 27 November 2013 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Pompano Beach Swim Team coach Jesse Vassallo hoped for a Top 10 finish in the 23rd annual Speedo Winter Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex this past weekend.

His team had an outstanding meet and came up just a little short of its goal, and it finished 11th overall with 484 combined points. Pompano Beach took seventh in the boys’ division with 321 points, while the Piranhas placed 17th in the girls’ rankings with 163 points.

My goal was to be Top 10 this year,” said Vassallo, who took over the program 2-1/2 years ago with 44 beginner swimmers. They brought 41 competitive swimmers to the four-day meet, which ran from Thursday to Sunday. “We came in the first time with nine swimmers and we didn’t even score. The second time, we came in 19th and then 13th last year. From there, we will go down until we win.”

Vassallo, who was also a swim coach at Ft. Lauderdale Aquatics and the former president of the Puerto Rican Swimming Association, has 178 swimmers in the program.

That is extremely cool,” said Vassallo, who is the lone full-time coach and has a total of six coaches in the program. “I am really, really excited every time I step on deck because I see the growth. I have the coaches in place. I have a great coach dealing with the little ones. I have a great coach dealing with the developmental kids, and great coaches with the age group coaches. It is really coming along. To see them succeed, it fills my heart.”

Vassallo said when he first began in Pompano they were still transitioning from a recreational swim program to U.S. Swimming.

I believe the mentality is still recreational,” Vassallo said. “It is a process. It doesn’t change overnight. The motivation is there. The recreational swimmer trains maybe for an hour three times a week. The 12-unders train two hours a day every day. The rec kids do it for a couple of months, and we do it all year round.”

Vassallo was also pleased with the performance of the high school athletes in the program as nine made it the state finals for their respective high schools.

I would like to see the program grow to 250 swimmers,” Vassallo said. “I think that is the limit because it is a public pool.”

Pompano’s Victoria Miyamoto, 13, turned in the strongest performance for the Piranhas as she took third in the high point for her age division. She won the 100-breaststroke, the 100-IM event; second in the 50 and 200-breaststroke events, and was third in the 400-IM.

Other Top 3 performers for the program included Mattheus Santos, Fatimah Westbrook, Jake Schulte and Austin Saunders. The boys 11-12 age group 200-Free relay (Santos, Shane Schulte, Raphael Santos and Christian Henderson) also took home top honors.

Bucks, Tigers fall in football

Deerfield Beach’s quest for a perfect season came to a crashing halt as it lost its Class 8A regional semifinal football game to host Miramar, 43-6.

The much-anticipated matchup between nationally-ranked and undefeated 11-0 teams — Miramar (16th) and Deerfield (19th in this week’s USA Today poll) — was well over by halftime.

Miramar’s Nick Jeanty threw two touchdowns and ran for another to put the Patriots in the driver’s seat as Miramar scored on four of its first five possessions and ran away with the win. The Bucks’ lone score of the game came on Aeron McNeal’s two-yard touchdown run 11 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Blanche Ely also suffered the same fate, as it was also blown out with a 49-7 defeat at the hands of Dwyer in the Class 7A regional semifinals on Friday night.

Blanche Ely, which finished the season on a fivegame win streak, was unable to contain the Panthers’ Alonzo Smith, who carried 25 times for 245 yards and two TDs. The Tigers’ lone score of the game came on a 41-yard scoring toss from Nelson Ervin to Edward Walker in the third quarter, which cut the lead at the time to 28-7.

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