Coming into the 2021 Eastside swimming and diving season, Rams coach Jonathan Allen thought this was going to be a rebuilding year after one of their all-time best senior classes graduated.
But at last week’s district swim meet, the Rams continued their dominance. The girls and boys won the Class 2A-District 3 title last Thursday.
“We had 24 new kids join the team this season and they all really stepped up,” Allen said. “Several freshmen and sophomores picked up where the seniors left off. We also had a much tougher draw in our district assignment this year.”
The Lady Rams finished with 446 points, while Tocoi Creek High School (St. Augustine) finished a distant second with 322 points.
Meanwhile, the Eastside boys scored 385 points, ahead of Palatka’s 278 points.
It was the eighth district title in a row for the Eastside girls and the seventh consecutive title for the boys. The Rams now have a combined 20 district swim titles in school history.
“Everyone had a role to play and both teams pulled it off,” Allen said.
Junior Hannah Ahn was a part of the district champion 200 Yard Medley Relay team which included freshman Victoria Davenport, freshman Raegan Conklin, and sophomore Madeline Gruenwald.
Ahn won the 50 Free with a time of 24.57 seconds and the 100 Fly in 55.04. She was also a part of the 400 Free Relay team which finished first.
“We had six state qualifiers graduate last year, so there were a lot of points to make up for,” Allen said. “I’m so proud of how these kids responded to the challenge and I can’t wait to see what else they can do.”
On the boys side, senior Jun (Hyungjun) Choi was a part of the 200 Medley Relay district championship, along with junior Joseph Songayab, sophomore Cheongmin Lee, and freshman Abraham Burangulov.
Choi won the 200 IM with a time of 2 minutes, 3.73 seconds and the 100 Backstroke with a time of 54.17. He was also a part of the 400-yard free relay championship.
Songayab, who finished second in the 50 Free (22.62), won a district title in the 100 Fly (52.98)
“We had the perfect combination of veterans holding their own and new kids stepping up,” Allen said. “Everyone had to contribute in some way and they really rose to the challenge.”
Now the Rams turn their attention to the Class 2A-Region 1 Tournament.
The diving competition will be held this afternoon at 2 p.m. at The Bolles School (Jacksonville), while the swimming competition will be held at the Cecil Aquatic Center in Jacksonville on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
The FHSAA Class 2A State Championships will be held on Friday, Nov. 5, at Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center in Stuart.