Three high schools from the western communities — Wellington, Palm Beach Central and Seminole Ridge — were represented recently at the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Swimming & Diving State Championships at the Sailfish Splash Waterpark in Stuart. The FHSAA’s Class 3A state meet was held Friday, Nov. 4, and the Class 4A state meet was conducted on Saturday, Nov. 5.
There were eight swimmers — four boys and four girls — who swam in the Class 4A state meet from Wellington.
The four boys were freshman Andreas DaSilva, junior Caleb DaSilva, senior Lleyton Jobin and freshman Dillon Metz. The DaSilva boys are brothers. Andreas swam in the 100-yard backstroke, while Caleb competed in the sprint races: the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. As a group, the four boys from WHS also swam in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The four girls from WHS were sophomore Leorah Rotchin, senior Jessica Smith, freshman Natalie Honzik and sophomore Mackenzie Ocasio. Rotchin and Smith competed in individual races, while the four girls competed as a unit in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Rotchin competed in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle, while Smith swam in the 500-yard freestyle.
In the boys 100-yard backstroke, Andreas DaSilva qualified for the consolation B final, where he finished in 16th place with a time of 53.77 seconds. Caleb DaSilva advanced to the championship A finals in both the boys 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. He was one of only three boys who qualified for the championship A finals in both.
In the morning prelims of the 50-yard freestyle, Caleb had the fifth-fastest qualifying time of 21.27 seconds. That propelled him to the championship A final, where he improved his time to 21.01 seconds and finished in fifth place, which was less than four-tenths of a second behind the winning time of 20.65 seconds by Marcoaureelio Lopez-Casula of Miami Beach High School. In the boys 100-yard freestyle, Caleb’s morning preliminary time was 46.11, which was the fourth-fastest time in the event, and the third-fastest 100-yard freestyle time in history of the swimming program at Wellington High School. That evening, Caleb swam the four-lap sprint in 46.40 seconds and finished in seventh place. The winning time was 45.25 by George Gonzalez of G. Holmes Braddock High School.
In the boys 400-yard freestyle relay, the team of DaSilva, DaSilva, Tobin and Metz advanced to the consolation B final with a morning preliminary time of 3:14.44. In the evening consolation B final, Wellington finished second, which earned the Wolverines an overall 10th-place finish in the event, with a time of 3:14.77.
In the girls 200-yard freestyle, Rotchin swam the eight-lap race in 1:55.56. That time earned her a spot in the consolation B final, where she lowered her time to 1:55.30, fast enough for 16th place. In the girls 500-yard freestyle, both Smith and Rotchin qualified for the consolation B final. Smith swam the consolation final in 5:04.72 (14th place), and Rotchin’s time was 5:11.38 (16th place).
In the girls 400-yard freestyle relay, the team of Rotchin, Ocasio, Honzik and Smith earned a spot in the consolation B final. That group swam the 16-lap relay race in 3:44.31, eventually finishing in 15th place.
Wellington High School swimming coach Richard Whalen was delighted with the effort by his swimmers.
“Caleb DaSilva did a great job at the state meet in his two sprint freestyle events,” said Whalen, who has been coaching high school swimming at WHS for the last 17 years. “The boys 400-yard freestyle relay went really well. For the girls, Jessica Smith and Leorah Rotchin swam well, as did freshman Andreas DaSilva in the 100-yard backstroke. The future of Wellington swimming is very bright.”
Palm Beach Central High School was represented by two girls — Ekaterina Malyshev and Madison Tuner — at the Class 4A championships. Malyshev, a freshman, swam in the girls 200-yard individual medley (IM), where she advanced to the consolation B final. In the morning prelims, Malyshev recorded a time of 2:08.82 in the 200-yard IM. That evening, she cut nearly two seconds off her time by swimming the race in 2:06.85, finishing in 10th place. In the girls 100-yard breaststroke, Malyshev had another impressive showing, winning the consolation B final with a time of 1:05.69. The win in that race earned her an overall ninth-place finish in the event.
Tuner, a diver, competed in the girls one-meter diving competition. She advanced to the finals of the competition, eventually finishing in 15th place with 320.90 points.
In the overall team race, the Wellington girls recorded 11 points, good enough for 33rd place, while the boys earned 41 points, which placed them in 18th place. Malyshev and Tuner were responsible for all of Palm Beach Central’s 18 points, which gave the Bronco girls a 23rd-place showing.
Seminole Ridge had three divers who competed in the girls one-meter diving competition at the Class 3A championships. They were sophomore Kailey Bigwood, sophomore Zoey Hayden and junior Sophia Roberts. Bigwood and Hayden were two of the 16 divers that advanced to the finals. Bigwood earned 357.15 points (eighth place) and Hayden had 347.85 points (tenth place). Roberts did not advance past the semifinal round of the diving competition. She finished in 19th place with 198.85 points.