Just Keep Swimming

Due to the fact that Apopka High School does not have its own pool, many people don’t even know we have a swim team. You can catch them at the Lake Brantley Aquatic Center where they have most of their practices and some meets. The team currently holds a 2-2 record, just getting their second win on Tuesday October 5th against Eustis. They will continue to push hard for the rest of the season and hope to finish the season on a positive note. 

We spoke with head coach Jerry Russell who has been the head coach since 1998. When asked what made him decide to coach swim he said, “A friend of mine was the head coach and asked me to help out. I quickly learned to like the kids and swimming has always been a hobby and when she quit, I’ve been doing it ever since!” Mr. Russell is very passionate about the swim team and his players. He told us the part he enjoys the most about coaching swim is the kids. Many of the kids he coaches are also students in his AP class, so he gets to spend a little extra time with them outside of the classroom to build those relationships. Mr. Russell also told us that his best memory as the swim coach is, “One meet we had senior night and we had 16 seniors graduating and 15 of them were my students. That was a great night.” You can tell Mr. Russell does some recruiting during his teaching hours.

The Blue and White was able to get in touch with a couple of the players to get their thoughts on the season. When asked about his improvement over the course of the year, Senior Zachary Hoyt told us, “I am improving like crazy and I am learning and bonding with my new friends I met this year.” Even though this is his first year swimming at Apopka, Hoyt has had experience in other water sports which have helped him progress. He told us his best event was freestyle swimming, which he came first in two 100m races in their meet against Eustis. Junior Dylan Zeledon told us when asked about his thoughts on the season, “I think I’m doing pretty good and I win a lot of my events.” As opposed to Hoyt, Zeledon has been swimming at Apopka for 3 years now starting in his freshman year. “My best events and times are a 1:14 for breast stroke, :28 in the 50m freestyle, and a 1:04 in the 100m.” Times like these are what have made Zeledon one of the most competitive swimmers on the team. When asked, neither Hoyt or Zeledon said they plan on swimming competitively after high school, but enjoy the memories and fun times it has brought. Both of them told The Blue and White that their favorite memories in swim are the bus rides home with the boys. Building this team chemistry is what has led this team to their impressive season so far. 

Now that you know a little more about Apopka’s swim team, maybe you’ll decide to go check them out. They will have plenty more meets and will definitely make it worthwhile. This group of kids and the chemistry they have built together is something you look for in any sports team and is something seen across all of Apopka High School athletics. So if you have time to spare, come see what the Blue Darter Swim Team has to offer and support them as they push forward in the rest of the season. 

At the time of this publication, the Apopka swim team has started practicing at Camp Wewa.