The P.K. Yonge girls and boys swimming and diving teams are poised to make another run at district titles this month.
Both teams, along with coach Kara Dawson, will be guests on “The Prep Zone” sports show at Sonic Drive-In. The show will air from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday on 106.9 FM “I am Country.”
The girls are led by senior Laci Herron, junior Gwen Shahboz, sophomores Lillie Nesty and Tara Mcgovern, freshman Talia Herron and 8th-grader Abbie Mcgovern.
Shahboz set school records last year in the 200 individual medley (1 minute, 6.62 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:05.69).
The boys team is led by seniors Lex Fetko and Brandon Jeong and juniors Joseph Pyon and Benjamin Wolking.
Pyon set the school record last year in the 100 butterfly (52.40).
Last year, despite a COVID-challenged season that included limited practice time, fewer meets, little time for warm up or cool down during meets due to capacity limits in the pool and no spectators, the P.K. Yonge swimming and diving teams put together a season to remember.
The girls finished the season as the fourth best team in the state in Class 1A.
The boys team finished 11th at state and fifth at regionals. In addition, they were city champions for the second year in a row and district champions for the eighth year in a row.
“Both teams have lost tremendous depth over the last two seasons but also have new swimmers working hard to replace the depth lost,” Dawson said. “While the teams are expected to place top three in many events, the contributions of newer swimmers will likely determine whether the teams can defend their district titles since the top 16 places score points in championship meets like districts.”
Dawson said other experienced district swimmers who are expected to score big points for the girls this month include Carolyn Wolking, Eliana Ungaro, Isabel Greer and Shelbie Cooper.
In addition, PKY has a talented group of swimmers who will be competing at districts for the first time—Alessandra Quintana, Rahel Berelsman, Anne Kovach, Valentina Galvin, Andrea Ortiz, Marin Best, Magnolia Demers and 6th-grader Emma Mcgovern.
“How well these ladies handle the pressure of their first big high school meet will help determine whether PKY can continue to defend the district title,” Dawson said.
On the boys side, experienced district swimmers like Ryan Barrera, Mateo Aguirre, Caleb Ungaro, Drew Dawson, Sebastian Massengale, Eric Vogel and Tyler Holt should score important points while new district swimmers Peter Weinstein, Lane Delaino-Burke, Tucker Fetko, Leif Lewis, Preston Haller and 6th-graders Owen Best and Baliji Dove have a chance to score valuable points in their first major high school meet.
Dawson noted that the Blue Wave lost over one third of their points from last year due to graduation.
“These were fast depth guys who really racked up points for us and contributed a lot on the leadership side of things,” Dawson said.
The boys team will face stiff competition at districts this year from Maclay (Tallahassee) and Florida High (Tallahassee).
The Class 1A-District 1 meet begins in less than two weeks (Oct. 19) at the Northeast Pool in Gainesville.
The Class 1A state championships are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6, at Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center in Stuart.