TKA Swimmer Bozzuto Claims State Titles At Championships

Aly Bozzuto receives the 50-yard freestyle first-place medal from coach Gina Proscia at 2022 state finals.

For Aly Bozzuto, a junior swimmer at the King’s Academy, the third time’s the charm. Her trip to the Florida High School Athletic Association’s (FHSAA) Class 1A Swimming & Diving Championships at the Sailfish Splash Waterpark Aquatic Center in Stuart on Friday, Nov. 18 was her third trip to states in as many years. And it was her most productive trip of them all.

In 2020, Bozzuto qualified for the FHSAA’s Class 1A swim finals as a freshman at Jupiter Christian School. Last year, as a sophomore at TKA, she qualified for states. And, this year, as a junior, her high school swimming season ended, again, in Stuart.

Each year, she swam the same two individual events — the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke. She also swam on two relay teams.

Each year, Bozzuto has improved on her performances from the previous year in the individual events.

This year, Bozzuto had two standout individual performances during the morning preliminaries of the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke. She had the fastest times in both events and was placed in the middle lane — lane four — in the championship A finals.

In addition to having the middle lane, she also got to pick the song that was played during pre-race introductions. She selected “Lose Yourself” by Eminem in the freestyle and “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for the breaststroke.

After producing the fastest time in the 50-yard freestyle (22.97 seconds) in the morning preliminaries, she went even faster that night in the championship. While swimming in the middle lane, she was clocked at 22.69 seconds, which won the race and was a new record for girls swimming at TKA.

According to Bozzuto, her initial goal in the freestyle was to execute a strong start off the blocks.

“While standing behind the blocks prior to the final of the 50 free, my biggest goal was to get off the blocks quickly,” Bozzuto recalled. “I had a great start off the blocks, and I didn’t take my first breath until near the end of the first 25.”

Her next goal was to execute a strong flip turn at the halfway point of the race and to finish strong.

“I had a strong turn,” Bozzuto said. “I don’t recall if I took at breath or not on the last 25. In the 50 free, you don’t look at other swimmers. You just go ahead and swim your best.”

And her best was better than the competition.

As the favorite to win the race, Bozzuto’s goal was to focus on finishing the race as strongly as she started. She succeeded and emerged from the pool as the Class 1A state champion in the 50-yard freestyle, which is considered the fastest of the four classifications — 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A — in Florida high school swimming.

TKA girls swim coach Gina Proscia was very proud of Bozzuto’s performance in the 50-yard freestyle.

“Aly is a fierce competitor who trains and pushes herself daily,” Proscia said. “She set a goal at the end of last season and, unapologetically, worked for it every day until states. I am overjoyed by her results.”

Bozzuto is an athlete who practices what she preaches. “I am proud of the leader she has grown into on our team, and I’m so excited to see her grow in her faith and as an athlete year after year,” Proscia added. “She is a remarkable young lady.”

In the 200-yard medley relay, Bozzuto (breaststroke), joined TKA’s Ava Fasano (backstroke), Emma Herrera (butterfly) and Julianna Bell (freestyle) to win the Class 1A championship in 1:42.41.

Bozzuto then swam in the 200-yard freestyle relay, where she and her three teammates were the top seed after the morning preliminaries. The foursome of Bozzuto, Fasano, Bell and Kiersten Munna had a great effort in the morning, posting the fastest time (1:35.68). During the evening finals, they improved their time to 1:33.64, but it was not fast enough to defeat the relay team from the Bolles School in Jacksonville, which won with a time of 1:32.82.

Bolles took advantage of the FHSAA’s rules in relays, which allow teams to insert a fresh group of rested swimmers for the evening relay finals. The winning time of 1:32.82 by the new quartet from Bolles was nearly six seconds faster than the time (1:38.20) that four of their teammates posted during the preliminaries.

In the last individual event of the evening finals, Bozzuto swam in the championship of the 100-yard breaststroke. For the fourth consecutive event, she swam in the middle lane after being the fastest swimmer in the morning preliminaries. Her qualifying time was 1:02.08, which was an Automatic All-American time.

Swimming next to her was Olivia Dinehart, a senior from Cutler Bay High School and an Auburn University commit, who was the defending Class 1A state champion in the girls 100-yard breaststroke. Dinehart was the event’s third-fastest qualifier. For Bozzuto, she swam faster in the evening (1:01.72) than in the morning, but Dinehart successfully defended her title by swimming the four-lap race in 1:01.60.

“I felt I had the lead after 75 yards, but Olivia had a stronger final turn than me,” Bozzuto said. “She just out-touched me at the wall.”

For Bozzuto, while she had an outstanding performance at the Class 1A state finals with two first-place and two second-place finishes, there was very little time to celebrate her success.

The very next morning, Bozzuto was at a pool in North Palm Beach for a swim meet with her club team, the Flood Aquatic Swim Team (FAST), where she swam the 200-yard and 50-yard freestyle.

These days, Bozzuto swims year-round and just takes a day off from time to time. Not surprisingly, she is planning to swim competitively in college.

“I hope to commit to a college before the start of my senior year,” Bozzuto said. “Right now, I’m looking at multiple schools.”

While Bozzuto loves the thrill of winning races in the pool, she prefers relays over individual events.

“While I loved winning the 50 free, I enjoyed more being a part of the 200 medley relay team,” Bozzuto said.