The Wellington High School boys varsity swimming and diving team produced some great results recently at the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 4A state swimming and diving championship held Friday, Nov. 10 at Florida Aquatics Swimming & Training (FAST) in Ocala.
As a team, the boys from WHS finished in seventh place in the overall standings with 117 points. The boys team from Sarasota High School finished in first place with 289 points.
For Wellington, the highlight of the meet was the performance of its boys 200-yard freestyle relay team, which finished second in the championship final.
“Our boys 200-yard freestyle relay team crushed the decades-old school record,” said Richard Whalen, the head coach of the swimming and diving program at WHS.
The new school record time of 1:23.60 was set by senior Caleb DaSilva, sophomore Dillon Metz, sophomore Andreas DaSilva and freshman Julian Granison.
“They all set personal best times in their respective legs of the 200-yard freestyle relay, to break the former high school record in amazing fashion,” Whalen said. “Their relay races started in the morning prelims, where their efforts netted them the third overall qualifying position for the championship final.”
In the final, Caleb DaSilva went first. He swam the lead-off leg of the relay in 21.02 seconds. He was followed by Dillon Metz, who was clocked at 21.21. Julian Granison swam the third 50-yard segment in 20.52 seconds. Andreas DaSilva swam the fourth and final leg of the relay in 20.85 seconds. At the end of the race, Wellington finished in second place. The winning team was Windemere High School, which had a time of 1:22.47.
Whalen was extremely proud of his four sprint freestyle swimmers.
“Their overall time of a 1:23.60 also places them inside the top five for all high school teams nationally for the 2023-24 season,” he said. “This is particularly amazing because the Wellington High School swim team relay consists of four friends who all started swimming together many years ago, are local to Wellington, and are doing amazing things in the swimming world.”
Those same four WHS swimmers also set a new Wellington High School record in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:06.92, which was good enough for a fifth-place finish in the championship final of that event.
The same swimmers also qualified for the maximum number of individual events for the state meet. Andreas DaSilva placed seventh in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 51.48, which broke a 23-year-old WHS school record. Granison was fourth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.13. Caleb DaSilva placed ninth in both the 50-yard freestyle (21.07) and 100-yard freestyle (46.52).
Granison finished higher than Caleb DaSilva in the 50-yard freestyle because Granison had a faster time (21.18 for fifth overall) than DaSilva (21.84 for 15th overall) in the morning preliminary race. As a top-eight finisher, Granison competed in the evening championship final, while DaSilva swam in that evening’s consolation final, which he won. Had DaSilva been swimming in the championship final, his time of 21.07 would have put him in fourth place.
“The swimmers did an outstanding job,” Whalen said. “With their amazing 200-yard freestyle relay results, Caleb, Dillon, Andreas and Julian also earned an All-American athlete designation, which is an honor bestowed upon amateur high school athletes who are considered to be among the best amateurs in the nation for their respective sports.”
On the WHS girls team, junior Leorah Rotchin also qualified for the FHSAA Class 4A state swimming and diving championship in two individual events, the 200-yard freestyle (1:57.17 for 21st place) and the 500-yard freestyle (5:12.56 for 17th place).
“Leorah had a solid event and landed just shy of her personal best times in both races,” Whalen said.
The WHS diving team had three athletes participating in Ocala in the one-meter diving competition. They were junior Gavin Cowell and freshman Marcel Kurowski in the boys division, and freshman Lucabella Imbimbo in the girls division. Cowell finished in 10th place with 332.45 points, and Kurowski finished in 14th place with 245.30 points. Imbimbo finished in 24th place with 96.15 points.
“All three divers did a great job in representing Wellington with their respective dives,” Whalen said.
Whalen was delighted with the overall performance of his team during their stay in Ocala.
“Overall, the Wellington High School swimming and diving team, which consists of more than 50 athletes, had a great year and is already looking forward to the next season,” he said.
Other standout performances in the FHSAA’s Class 4A meet by swimmers from the western communities included Palm Beach Central High School sophomore Ekaterina Malyshev, who finished in second place in the girls 100-yard butterfly and ninth in the 100-yard breaststroke. Her butterfly time of 54.10 was less than seven-tenths of a second behind the winner, Addison Reese (53.45) from Windemere High School. In the breaststroke, she won the consolation final with a time of 1:05.37.
Palm Beach Central’s girls 200-yard freestyle relay finished in 16th place with a time of 1:41.87. The four girls on the relay were Malyshev, Madison Abinuman, Avery Gammons and Emily Eaton.
Palm Beach Central’s girls swim team earned 28 points to finish in 21st place. Other Palm Beach County high school girls teams that competed in the Class 4A championships included Jupiter High School (ninth place with 72 points), William T. Dwyer High School (tied for 28th place with 17 points) and Boca Raton High School (tied for 34th place with seven points).
Other Palm Beach County high school boys teams that competed in the Class 4A championships included Boca Raton High School (14th place with 57 points), Spanish River High School (31st place with nine points), Park Vista High School (32nd place with seven points) and West Boca Raton High School (35th place with two points).