Freedom Swim ends season on a high note


Michelle Morgan, Staff Writer

Bound for a destination about two and a half hours southeast of Tampa, five Freedom High School swimmers drove down to Stuart, Florida for the FHSAA (Florida High School Athletic Association) State Championships. Being a prelims and finals meet- meaning that athletes must qualify in the morning session to swim at night for a chance at a medal- they headed down on Friday night to get bright and early the next morning.

In the morning, warmups started at 7:00 am, and the meet began at 9:00 am. There are “A” finals and consolation finals. “A” finals has places 1st – 8th and consolation finals has places 9th – 16th. There are also two alternates for each event, in the case that a swimmer doesn’t show up. These spots are for 17th and 18th place. Up first was the 200 freestyle, eight laps, and Zachary Kopel, 11, homeschooled, swam a 1:46.63, and placed 20th. In the 200 Individual Medley, which is two laps of each stroke, Carly Joerin, 10, swam a 2:11.74, cutting a little bit of time off of her Regionals performance, and placing 18th as the second alternate in finals. Michelle Morgan, 10, also swam the 200 I.M. and she went a 2:03.87, taking a little over three seconds off of her Regionals time and went into finals seeded 2nd. Hannah LaBohn, 11, who attends Brooks DeBartolo High School, swam in the 50 and 100 freestyle, which is two and four laps, respectively. In her 50 freestyle, she went a personal best time at 24.86 and placed 14th. In her 100 free, she swam just above her best in 54.25 and placed 13th. Joerin and Morgan both swam in the 500 as well, which is 20 laps of freestyle. Joerin swam a 5:06.27, just over her Regionals time, and made consolation finals in 15th place. Morgan swam a 4:51.21 and placed 2nd going into finals. Kopel also raced in the 500 freestyle, swimming a time of 4:37.66, securing his spot in the A finals at 8th place. To end off the morning session, the girl’s 400 freestyle relay started, with Joerin, LaBohn, Morgan, and Alexa Valdez-Valez, 10, each doing a 100 freestyle- four laps. Starting off was LaBohn with a time of :54.46, and second was Valdez-Valez, with a :55.51 for the 100. Going third was Joerin, at a :54.55, and Morgan finishing off at :50.65 for her leg of the relay, with the final time at a 3:35.17.

Warmups for finals began at 4:15 pm, and the racing started at 5:30 pm.  First up was Morgan in the 200 I.M. seeded 2nd going into the race. She finished in 2nd again, going a personal best by just over half a second, hitting the wall at 2:02.17. LaBohn was up next for both the 50 and 100 freestyles. In her 50, she swam in consolation finals, and finished just over her best, going a :25.09. In her 100 freestyle, she placed 13th overall, hitting the touch pad at :54.72. Next was Joerin, swimming the 500 freetyle, just barely missing her prelims time, finishing in 15th place with a 5:06.67. Morgan swam next in the 500, finishing just over a second from her best time, going a 4:47.38, and placing 2nd overall. Kopel was up soon thereafter, also for the 500 freestyle, placing 6th with a 4:38.74. Finishing off the night was the 400 freestyle relay, always the most fun event, that the ladies qualified for in prelims at 4th place. They placed in 4th again, with similar times to the morning, rounding off the relay with a 3:35.28. Freedom ended up coming home with a total of 7 medals: four 4th places, two 2nd places, and a 6th place. The girls ended up in 19th place overall out of 45 teams, with only four girls- a great way to end the season.