How much of an impact does winning a state team title in swimming have at a high school?
Doral Academy won the boys’ 3A team title for the first time in the swim program’s 14-year history and became the first team in any sport to win a state title at the public school. The swim team had never placed higher than fifth place.
“If I told you we had 120 people try out for the team this season, would that tell you what kind of impact it had? said Doral Academy head coach Cathy Silveira.
“It’s not like football or soccer which are revenue-generating but since it was the first state title any team had ever won at our school there were banners, rings and announcements,” Silveira said. “Our school really promoted it.”
Even more impressive was the team’s seniors had 90 percent of their college tuition at New York University, Penn State, Boston University, Marist Catholic and Eastern Michigan paid for through academics.
“It’s great for our school,” Silveira said. “These kids do it in the classroom first. They were recruited more for their academics than swimming.”
Now everyone is asking the 32-year coaching veteran, who started the program 15 years ago, whether the Firebirds are going to defend their title.
“In swimming it’s never a sure thing especially at a public school where there’s no recruiting,” Silveira said. “A lot of kids just stepped up to the plate. They showed anything can happen.”
Seniors Diego Faucher and Adrian Moya and sophomore Adrian Aguilar return off last year’s team. Moya, Aguilar and Faucher were members of the winning 200-yard freestyle relay and state runner-up 400-yard freestyle relay.
Silveira refused to cut any of the swimmers who came out for the team. The only time she said she would cut a swimmer is if they were not committed to three afternoons and two morning workouts and two weight/dryland days.
“I still have most of them,” Silveira said. “Every kid has leadership talent in them. It doesn’t mean they have to be a state title holder. There’s so many that we don’t have room on the bus when we go to meets.”
The returning and new swimmers have already developed camaraderie. Doral Academy was one of the top finishers in the Gulliver Prep Relay Invitational on Saturday. The regular season meets begin this week.
“We finished the meet at Gulliver and every one of my kids was still there along with their parents,” Silveira said.”They truly enjoy one another. The team is a family and we have fun.
“It will definitely be a rebuilding year. I say this every year and they surprise me every year.”
Belen Jesuit, steeped in winning tradition since 1987, could also challenge for a 3A team title. The Wolverines have won seven state titles since 2006, 10 region titles since 2005 and 20 district crowns since 1987.
The Wolverines return junior diver Javier Samuell and top swimmers Aitor Fungairino, Alejandro Carriazo, Max Garcia del Pozo, Juan Ramirez and Daniel Simpson.
Carriazo, Garcia del Pozo, Ramirez and Simpson, all seniors, won the state 3A title in the 200-yard medley relay.
“Our team ebs and flows,” said veteran coach Kirk Peppas, also head coach at Metro Aquatics, one of Dade’s top Florida Gold Coast club teams. “The competition is getting so fast at the state meet you really need to swim year-round. The level of competition just keeps rising.
“For our kids it’s a matter of getting them to follow through with the program we ask them to do. We ask a lot of our student-athletes. They get up before school for a workout, have a whole school day, come back in the afternoon for dryland, weights and another workout. It’s quite an act to follow. This year we have a pretty good group and huge group of seniors.”
Gulliver Prep junior Miguel Cancel, a state runner-up in the 500-yard freestyle and Mater Academy senior Julio Horrego, a state champion in the 200-yard individual medley and state runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke, also return as two of Dade’s strongest swimmers.
Another boys’ contender is two-time scholastic All-American Ervin Marin of Mater Lakes in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke.
DADE BOYS SWIMMING
ATHLETES TO WATCH
Adrian Aguilar, Doral Academy; Miguel Cancel, Gulliver Prep; Alejandro Carriazo, Belen Jesuit; Diego Faucher, Doral Academy; Aitor Fungairino, Belen Jesuit; Max Garcia Del Pozo, Belen Jesuit; Julio Horrego, Mater Academy; Ervin Marin, Mater Lakes; Nestor Montero, Doral Academy; Brandon Moran, Mater Lakes; Adrian Moya, Doral Academy; Julio Petzold, Miami Beach; Kevin Porto, Mater Lakes; Juan Ramirez, Belen Jesuit; Javier Samuell, Belen Jesuit; Daniel Simpson, Belen Jesuit.
DEFENDING STATE CHAMPIONS
Class 4A: Buchholz (girls), Sarasota Riverview (boys).
Class 3A: Gainesville (girls), Doral Academy Charter (boys).
Class 2A: Gulliver Prep (girls), Plantation American Heritage (boys).
Class 1A: Bolles (girls), Bolles (boys).
Sept. 9, Doral Academy, Riveira at Ransom Everglades
Sept. 10, St. Andrew’s Invitational
Sept. 14, Doral Academy, Ransom Everglades at Gulliver Prep
Sept. 16, Gulliver at Bolles
Sept. 17, Bolles Bulldog Invitational
Sept. 17, Shark Invite at University Schoo
Sept.24, St. Andrew’s, Gulliver Prep at Ransom Everglades
Sept. 24, Woodson Invitational at Pine Crest
Sept. 27, Gulliver Prep Make-A-Splash Swim-A-Mile Event
Sept. 30-Oct. 1, FSPA High School Developmental Invitational, Orlando
Sept. 30, University School at Pine Crest
Oct. 5, Pine Crest at Gulliver Prep
Oct. 7, Ransom Everglades Invitational
Oct. 17-22, District 3A, 4A Meets
Oct. 24-29, District 1A, 2A Meets
Oct. 24-29, Region 3A, 4A Meets
Oct. 31-Nov. 5, Region 1A, 2A Meets
Nov. 4, Class 3A State Meet, Sailfish Splashpark, Stuart
Nov. 5, Class 4A State Meet, Sailfish Splashpark, Stuart
Nov. 11, Class 1A State Meet, Sailfish Splashpark, Stuart
Nov. 12, Class 2A State Meet, Sailfish Splashpark, Stuart