Viera swimmers invite stronger competition

After losing 30 seniors the past two years, the Viera swimming team is developing experience as the season progresses.

The Viera High swimming and diving team might be in a tougher district and region this season, but that doesn’t mean the Hawks are shying away from the competition.

“It will definitely make me stronger, and my mindset will be a lot better knowing this is the competition I’ll be going against,” senior co-captain Wyatt Chou said. “I need to get to where they’re at and be better than them.”

The Hawks, along with Melbourne and Heritage, were moved into Class 3A, District 10 and Region 4 for this season, which means they’ll be competing against tough teams from farther south.

“We’ve got a great group of kids,” Viera coach Chris Beadle said. “They’ve really bonded over the last few weeks, so that’s nice to see. We’ve got kind of that family vibe. It’s a younger team. Two years ago, we lost 17 seniors. Last year, we lost 13.”

“We’re kind of regrouping as the year goes on, but they’re getting better and better. They’re learning as we go along, so I can’t ask for more than that. Our times have been getting better every meet. They have the biggest hearts ever.”

Senior co-captain Elena Limonta, who swims the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke has seen her time in the latter event go down to 1:34 this year and is trying to lower her time in the former to under 7 minutes.

“I’m still working on it,” she said. “I’ve definitely made some improvement since last year, but I’m always aiming to make my times faster.”

Facing tougher competition in the district meet, scheduled for Oct. 27, could bring that out of her.

“I think it’s good motivation to be against stronger competitors,” Limonta said. “It definitely makes you push harder.”

Other swimmers to watch for the Viera girls will be junior Marin Chapon (200 IM, 100 fly); sophomore Neta Elran (100 back); senior Brooklyn Ernst (200 IM); senior Lauren Ernst (freestyle events) and freshman Janey Vargas (100 free, 100 fly).

The top boys include senior Justin Lee (sprints, 100 back); Chou (freestyle events, 100 breast); sophomore Andrew Donaldson (100 fly, 100 free); sophomore Ethan Wotton (500 free); sophomore John Bobelak (200 IM) and junior Karl Cruz (500 free, 100 fly).

Another key senior is special needs swimmer Luke Owens, who swam his best times in the 100 back and 50 free this season.

Chou is hoping to improve on his best times of 1:13 in the 100 breaststroke and 1:01 in the 100 free.

“I want to go under a minute in my 100 free for sure, and then try and go under 1:10 for the breaststroke,” he said. “I definitely feel a lot stronger than last year.”