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Sarasota High boys swim team captures third-consecutive team title at FHSAA state meet

The Sailors collected three individual gold medals on their way to their third title in a row.

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The Sarasota High boys team was eager to talk about its third-straight title at the Florida High School Athletic Association state meet — but first, there was some business that needed attention. 

A group of Sailors had to finish a special "raid battle" in Pokemon Go, the popular free-to-play smartphone game that encourages collaboration. The boys were trying to collectively take down a special boss Pokemon — a Mega Gyarados, for the curious — but they failed, despite giving it their best shot, sitting on the ground at Arlington Aquatic Complex and tapping their phones with fury. The loss was especially costly for junior Elias Corn. 

"I wasted $10 on the raid pass," Corn said. "They made me buy it."

They, in this case, meant his teammates, who shook off Corn's complaints with laughs. The make-believe loss was the only letdown the personality-filled team has suffered of late, or of the last few years. The Sailors' win at the 2022 state meet was as lopsided as ever, with Sarasota winning by 45 points over second-place G. Holmes Braddock Senior High.  

In the past, the Sailors have relied on depth to win their titles. In 2020 and 2021, Sarasota won no gold medals in individual or relay races. This year, the Sailors had several. Senior Liam Heary won individual titles in the 100 yard butterfly (48.61 seconds) and in the 100 yard breaststroke (55.00 seconds). The Sailors' 200 yard medley relay team of Heary, senior Evan Keogh, junior Ethan Ooi and junior Luca Simon also took gold (1:32.91). 

One event in particular stood out to Heary. 

"I have always wanted to win the 100 breaststroke," Heary said. "Before this one, I had finished second and third and second again. Thinking about that going into it, it was emotional when I finally won. It's a picture-perfect ending to my high school career."

Keogh and Drew Vanden Heuvel, the team's other seniors, agreed with the sentiment: this meet went as well as it could have, and they left their all in the water. They also said they look forward to following the team carries on the now established traditions and expectations in the future. 

Is a four-peat possible in 2023? With only three Sailors graduating, Sarasota thinks it is. 

"We're going to have a lot of younger swimmers," Luca Simon said. "We're going to have to fill in a few relay spots. That will be key. But we are going to have a lot of (state) qualifiers next year, so a fourth is the goal." 



Ryan Kohn

Ryan Kohn is the sports editor for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. He was born and raised in Olney, Maryland. His biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. His strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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