East Lake Swim and Dive

A deep dive into the 2019 season.

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The ELHS swim team gets ready for their season opening meet against St. Pete. Photo provided by Deanna Tsetsekas

Bennett Carollo, Sports Editor

Another successful season for the East Lake swim and dive team is in the books. Before the season even started, the team was met with some adversity, as the FHSAA made the decision to move East Lake up from class 3A, where they had been for the last couple years, into the more difficult 4A class. Nonetheless, the swimmers made the most of the situation and showed that East Lake swimming is on the rise.

The boys team, which was aided by the arrival of a plethora of new freshmen and swimmers who moved from other schools, was dominant, compiling a 7-1 record. One of these new East Lake swimmers, junior Arthur Safiulin, said that he thought “we had a successful season” and that he was happy with his breaststroke times. While many of the teams that East Lake faced, such as St. Pete, Seminole, and Countryside, had top tier swimmers that won their events, it was East Lake’s depth that led them to victory. The highlight of the regular season was definitely a close 93-90 upset win over Countryside, an always dangerous team. The varsity girls team was a respectable 3-5, while the JV girls finished at a stellar 7-1.

East Lake also performed well in the championship meets, starting with PCACs. The boys finished third, while the team overall was fifth. Freshman Katie Raleigh and senior Eli Cohen led the team with 30 and 27 points respectively. The annual meet that ELHS hosts, the Eagle Invitational, was another positive point in the season, as the Eagles came out victorious. Despite the aforementioned move to 4A, Districts were also a resounding success, with the boys placing fourth and the girls fifth. 16 swimmers and one diver qualified for the Regionals team and junior Payton Sanders was a District champion in the 200 IM. Diver Taki Tsetsekas placed second in the district. At Regionals, many swimmers had good performances and Payton Sanders qualified for the state championships in the IM.

The 2019 season was undoubtedly a success, with head coach Rob Sajdak commenting that it was a “great season.” However, this is only the beginning for East Lake swimming. With many of the younger swimmers poised to improve, they will be a force to reckoned with in 2020 and beyond.