Viera divers have good shot to reach state meet


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Viera swimmers who won or took second place at last month's Cape Coast Conference meet are (front, from left to right) Ophelia Jacobson and Sydney Sanchez and (back from left to right) Connor Jones, Blake Wagner, Bryce Hattrup and Ethan Greek. Ryan Just, Dylan Parris and Sarah Rousseau are not pictured.

Viera Voice Carl Kotala

There might be a lot of new faces on this year’s Viera High swimming team, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“It forces the older kids to be more of a mentor and the younger kids have a lot to look up to,” said Viera’s Morgan Woodard, who coaches the Hawks along with her mother, Debbie Tweedie.

And once again, the Hawks are having a good season.

After the boys took second and the girls third at last month’s Cape Coast Conference meet, the Hawks were set to move onto the district meet, which took place Oct. 25 in Sebastian River.

The Viera girls were the favorites to win their fifth consecutive district title while the boys also were considered strong championship contenders.

Divers Sarah Rousseau and Ryan Just are considered the best bets to get out of this month’s regionals and advance to the Class 3A state meet, which is set for Nov. 11 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart.

Rousseau will be going for her third consecutive state championship, which would be unprecedented in Viera’s athletic history, while Just will look to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish.

The two seniors already have accomplished a rare feat, with each winning the CCC championship for the fourth consecutive year.

“Ryan and Sarah are dedicated and work very hard at their sport,” Viera diving coach Randy Just wrote in an email. “Best of all they are outstanding teammates and great to be around and coach.”

Ryan Just has also proven to be quite a swimmer, too, teaming with Ethan Greek, Bryce Hattrup and Blake Wagner to win the 200 freestyle relay at the CCC meet.

“It was really good,” Hattrup said of the CCC race. “We all had pretty good times. It was a close race.”

Connor Jones also had a big CCC meet, winning the 500 free and finishing second in the 200 free.

Dylan Parris was second in boys diving and teammate Tommy Vassallo was seventh, which is notable in that not only is it his first year diving, but he was learning new dives right up until the meet.

On the girls side, Sydney Sanchez was second in the 100 breaststroke while Ophelia Jacobson was second in the 200 and 500 free. Jacobson, who moved here from San Diego, said she has been impressed with not only the closeness of the Viera team, but also the way technique is stressed.

“We’re all putting in our best effort and I think a lot of us are dropping times,” Jacobson said. “I’m really excited for districts and regionals for us to drop even more and be district champs again, and hopefully regional champs this year.”.