Victoria Miyamoto likes to wear funny hats; but, when it comes to swimming, it is serious business for the Pompano Beach Piranhas swim team member.
Miyamoto, 14, of Boca Raton, competed in seven events for the local swim team in the recent Florida Gold Coast 14-Under Long Course Junior Olympics championship at the Plantation Aquatic Complex and finished in fourth place in the 13-14 girls high point standings. She said she wears the funny hats for good luck.
“My parents swam, so I just got into it when soccer and softball didn’t work out,” said Miyamoto, who started swimming when she was 8. She is a freshman at Boca Raton High School. “I like how you swim for yourself and not for a team. If you mess up,it is on yourself, not other people. It is cool to have teammates cheering for you though.”
Miyamoto swam in seven individual races and one relay for the Piranhas.
“It is pretty tiring, but my parents do a great job in bringing me everything and taking care of me at home,” added Miyamoto, who has Olympic aspirations. “I get a lot of rest. Swimming is pretty important. I don’t know what I would be doing without it.”
The Junior Olympic swim meet featured more than 50 teams and 700 swimmers in Florida Gold Coast Swimming. The South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) totaled 802 combined points to easily out-distance the runner-up North Palm Beach Swim Club (398 points) and Azura Florida Aquatic (349 points) to win its fifth consecutive Junior Olympics title. The South Florida Aquatic Club (SOFLO) also won both the girls (424) and boys (378) team overall titles.
The Pompano Beach Piranhas placed 14th overall with 133 points. Pompano Beach Piranhas placed 12th in the girls’ standings with 59 points, while the boys’ team tied for 10th in the boys with Plantation with 74 points.
Pompano Beach Piranhas head swim coach Jesse Vasallo brought 26 swimmers to the meet. He had hoped for a Top-10 finish, but knew it would be a difficult proposition.
“We have managed to finish 13th, which was our best position,” said Vasallo, who has been with the program for three years. Pompano Beach has been a USA Swim Team program for the past four years. “We knew the Top- 10 was going to be a little hard because we had some kids who couldn’t make the meet due to other commitments with families. We gave it our best shot.”
Pompano Beach has shown steady improvement after going from 33rd place in its first year as a USA Swim team.
“I think we are doing alright,” Vasallo said.
“The commitment from the kids is bigger. You see them starting to get a little bigger and doing bigger things in the water. Victoria won a couple of events and we had a couple of kids who moved up from 11-12 to 13-14 and they are making finals and scoring.”
Other top performances from the local swim club came from Caroline Makara, Jake Schulte, Christian Henderson, Sloan Sizemore, Mia Marquez, Tyler Zuyus and Mattheus Santos.