Twin championships the goal Oviedo’s chasing
The way Oviedo swim coach Charlie Rose sees it, there’s no reason to talk about winning championships in Friday’s FHSAA Class 4A state meet in Stuart.
Talking softly while training hard sounds more like a winning formula to the 26-year Lions coach.
“We really don’t talk about winning the state championship. We really don’t,” Rose said before Wednesday’s practice at the Oviedo Aquatic Center. “We know it’s there. What we have to do, hopefully, individually, everybody goes in and do the best they can do, do their part. If that happens, then the potential is there for us to win it. We know that.”
There wasn’t a whole lot said about the Oviedo boys team last year until the Lions emerged as the surprise 4A champions at the Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center. That was the first swimming and diving state championship in program history and has fueled the hunger for more success.
The Oviedo boys hope to repeat. And the school’s girls aim to make their own history by winning their first state title after finishing runner-up by a slim margin to Gainesville Buchholz last season.
The last time an Orlando-area school won boys and girls swim championships in the same year was Dr. Phillips in 1995.
Rose expects stiff competition from a handful of teams, including Seminole County rivals Lake
Brantley and Seminole.
In 2018, Oviedo, Seminole and Lake Brantley finished 1-2-3 in that order in the boys standings. That marked the first time a state championship was won by an area boys team since 1998 (Winter Park), and the first 1-2-3 swim sweep for Central Florida since 1998, when Winter Park, Lake Brantley and Dr. Phillips claimed the top three places in the boys standings.
Staying together through the ups and downs of a long day of competition that includes prelim races and finals is crucial, Rose said.
“If they support each other and come together, that’s the most that I can ask for,” said Rose. “We’ve done everything we can to get to this point. The key is support. We’re going to face adversity, but so are the other swimmers. It might be raining. It might be cold. But if we use that team excitement to feed individual good swims, that’s the key.”
Lions senior Mason Herbet said his squad needs to focus on each race, not on the team standings, just as it did a year ago.
“We set the bar last year with winning states,” said Herbet, an FSU commit. “We don’t always want to think about that. We want to make sure we’re going fast and not get lost in the points, because it could take us away from the states.”
Senior Abigail Gibbons, who recently committed to Auburn, said her girls swim and dive team is poised to come out on top.
“This year, we all have worked a lot harder to become close as a team,” she said. “We’re all fast kids, we’ve all been good at something, but you can’t do anything if you don’t believe in the team.”
“So it’s something we worked for. We want it more than ever now, especially that we watched the boys get first place last year and girls got runner-up.”
An Oviedo girls victory would mark the first FHSAA female swim team title for a Sentinel coverage area school in 16 years.
Lake Brantley came out on top in 2003.
Gibbons’ twin brother, Ryan, also will compete Friday as a member of the boys team.
“I think from our success at districts and regions and the state series going on, it’s really improved our confidence going into states,” Herbet said. “We definitely feel good going in there. What’s more important is that we carry that confidence and momentum into states and do as well as we can.”
Oviedo’s Tyler Hanley swims during a swim meet at Lake Brantley in Altamonte Springs in October.