Sharks' swim teams advance to regionals

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Students on Ponte Vedra High School’s swim team made waves last week as they competed at the yearly regionals-level competition.

Of the two teams, 17 girls and 16 boys competed the previous week at districts; one of whom was Lauren Speace, a freshman and first-time competitor at PVHS.

“So far they have all done really well,” said Speace’s mother, Eileen, “both at districts and into regionals.”

While at districts, swimmers Holly Cox (junior) and Caitlin Gregory (junior) placed high scores for the girls team, whereas Ben Brodeur (senior) had the highest score for boys. At last year’s competition, the girls’ team came in first place and the boys’ second. Students were happy to discover this year that the roles were reversed, with the boys’ team coming in first and the girls’ second.

“It has been a very different season because of the COVID-19 virus,” Eileen Speace said, mentioning that practice times were divided/alternated between teams.

To comply with new rules set in place by the St. John’s County School District, PVHS’ swim team was required to limit the number of students in the pool at a single time. Despite this restriction, the teams continuously yielded successful practices.

Holly Cox (junior), who placed 4th at regionals, recently broke a PVHS student record in the 100-yard freestyle with an impressive time of 54.55.

As a product of their hard work and quick adaptation, the two swim teams produced some of their highest scores to date. Twenty-one out of the 24 swimmers at regionals beat their personal best times.

The competition, which took place in Panama City on Oct. 28, was the second to last event of the swim season.

Olivia Copland (sophomore), Holly Cox (junior) and Michael Russell (senior) made winning times high enough to put them into the final round of competition.

The states event, which takes the three swimmers from PVHS and pits them against more of the best swimmers from around the state, will happen on Nov. 6 in Stuart.

Meanwhile, the remaining students on the PVHS swim team will be cheering on their fellow teammates from home and congratulating themselves on another outstanding season.

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