South Dade Swim Team Takes on Key West High School and Wellington High School at Annual Key West Meet


Jennifer Garcia

Junior Apollo Stamatyades waits to dive into the water at the annual Key West Swim Meet.

Through the grey skies, light drizzles of rain and occasional thunder and lightning, nothing could stop the swim team and their dedicated parents from traveling to compete against the Key West High School Conches and the Wellington High School Wolverines at the annual Key West meet. Meeting at South Dade at 5:00 AM on Saturday, September 17, the three-hour journey saw a few Key deer and rainbows piercing the dreary skies providing the team with a sense of optimism during the long drive.
After making it to The College of the Florida Keys in Key West, the team met at the pool and jumped in to begin warming up. By 9:00, they began stretching on the pool deck, led by senior captain Yoseline Perez. “Being a captain is nerve wracking at times, but knowing that the others look up to me as a role model motivates me a lot,” said Yoseline. Even though this is not her first year on the team, it is her first year in Key West for the meet.
The team dove in, and as they warmed up, the official race schedules were printed. Team members eagerly lined up in front of coaches to get their races written on their arms. For Emma Caswell, a recent graduate of the Class of 2022 who was welcomed back as a coach, the moment served as a reminder of why she came back. “It was almost like déjà vu, but now I get to see things from a whole different perspective, which is crazy,” said Caswell. For the next three hours, swimmers swam in a total of 22 events, with several members of the young and relatively inexperienced team winning individual heats and placing near the top in the finals of their events.

After the last race, competitors and coaches enjoyed snacks, including Chinese food and sweet treats served on the pool deck before getting changed to get ready for some team bonding . Even though they were exhausted from the day’s events, the team drove 15 minutes to the Edward B. Knight Pier for a team picnic. Senior swimmer Joelle Worcester’s dad, Gregory Worcester, fired up the grill for the perfect post-meet meal—burgers and hot dogs. “My dad is trying to be super supportive, he joined the booster club and everything. He was really happy to help with anything,” said Joelle. Before heading home, some walked the pier, while others decided to jump in the water. Team manager Jennifer Garcia was appreciative of the experience, “It was nice to see everyone getting along and having fun. Competitions can be straining on the personal relationships, but things like this help bring everyone together,” said Jennifer.