Lions Swim Senior Night Celebration

Family, friends, and team come together to honor fellow senior swimmers

Brianna Jacobs, Writer

Senior Lion swimmers came together for their team huddle and shook from side to side as they lead the roar chant. Then they headed off to their respected events, cheered on by both their biological family and their swim family. After blowing the opposing team out of the water, their team and families gathered in the Lake Nona YMCA gym to honor them, the departing seniors.

This group of seniors is larger than those in the past.
“[Our] first year we only had two [seniors], just two girl swimmers,” said Assistant Coach Dan Ley.
The class of 2019 has 10 swimmer graduates, a huge group in comparison to the upcoming class of 2020, which had only three juniors on the team this year.

Being part of the swim team has left the seniors with fond memories. For Addison “Ajay” Brooks, the only senior boy swimmer who’s been on the team since freshman year, it was when he met his future teammates that first year. For Takanari Murasame, despite having only one year of swimming under his belt, shares this same favorite high school memory of making new friends. For Anthony Battestella, it was when they won Metros his junior year.

Laura Bechtel started her swimming career in middle school, after being urged to join by one of her best friends. That friend sadly, did not end up swimming with her in high school.

“I continued on without her because I heard of how joining a sport in high school will make your high school experience ten times better just because of the people you will meet. I found that to be very true! I met some of my closest friends through swim because we all went on to play water polo together in the spring and became really close to each other:”

Headed off to college soon, some swimmers have plans for what they want to do. Raquel Mason plans on attending the University of Georgia, where she wants to be on the swim and dive team, and Lauryn Deak hopes to attend Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Quynn Gillian wants to obtain her dietetics degree and follow that up by going to dental school. Juan De La Espriella plans on going to either Vanderbilt University or UF, and wants to become a chemical engineer.

Gabriel Luyanda wants to study computer engineering in college as well. He might continue to swim in college.
“I was just trying out a bunch of sports and fell in love with swim,” he said. “[Just] be good to each other and be a team. Don’t be afraid to have fun,” he advises.

Whatever it is these senior Lions decided to study or whichever college they decided to attend, they will always remember the bond forged through their swim team and the encouragement and support they received here at Lake Nona High School.