1A District 2 Preview
The Semmes Aquatic Center at Episcopal School of Jacksonville plays host Wednesday to a number of local swimmers and divers kicking off their drive to the November 6th Class 1A State Championships.
The 1A District 2 meet includes teams from Baldwin, Bishop Snyder, The Bolles School, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, Providence, St. Johns Country Day, and St. Joseph’s. Eight swimmers from each event will automatically advance to the 1A Region 1 meet at Bolles scheduled for Thursday Oct 29th.
The District meet, long dominated by Bolles on both the boys’ and girls’ sides, kicks off an intense stretch of three major meets in 16 days. “(We) just have to take it one meet at a time and not get ahead of ourselves,” pointed out Martin Zubero, second year Head Coach at Episcopal.
Zubero took over an Episcopal team decimated by the transfers and “early retirements” of many of its top swimmers in the years leading up to his hiring. Now, thanks to the FHSAA rule that allows private schools meeting certain criteria to field participants as young as 6th grade, he leads a team featuring an abundance of youth. “It is an extremely young team,” Zubero acknowledged. “At the state level, my goal is just to qualify more swimmers and score more points than last year. That’s the best gauge to know that we are getting better.”
Zubero, whose first goal envisions leading his team to a second place finish on both the boys’ and girls’ side, also wants his youngsters to avoid miss-steps. “Our second goal is to make sure we don’t make any careless mistakes that would keep us from advancing individuals or relays to the regional round,” he said.
Bolles Coach Jon Sakovich, in his first year as Head Coach of the storied program, echoed Zubero’s sentiments about the role of the District meet. “We approach the District meet with the intent of making it to the State meet. We do have to swim well and do things right in order to get to the next step in the State meet championship series,” Sakovich explained. “The District meet is a stepping stone in our taper and our goal of winning the state title.”
Having lost roughly ¾ of the girls’ team points from last year’s state meet to graduation and relocation, Bolles enters the championship stretch looking for significant production from relative newcomers. “Yes, this year we are a younger, less experienced team on the girls’ side,” acknowledged Sakovich. “Every year we lose kids to college or other areas, so technically we are “rebuilding” each year. I try to look at it as we have what we have and we do the best we can with what we have.”
“The most important thing is to focus on what we have in the water each day and develop them to be the best they can (be),” Sakovich explained. “We are looking to do things right, get better each step of the way, and swim faster at each meet.”
The meet, scheduled for a 1p start on Wednesday, costs $6 for spectators. Results will be available at right here on Florida Swim Network although generally do not go online until all District meets are completed and the Region selection sheets are revealed.
Sara DiPaolo is a former competitive swimmer/water polo player and high school swim coach, a currently broken age-group triathlete, and a parent of one high school swimmer and one she just shoved out of the boat to swim in college. You can reach her at Sara@FloridaSwimNetwork.com
Florida Swim Network