Creekside swim coach Tracy Da Costa led the Knights girls swimming team to a second consecutive FHSAA state championship in November 2018. Da Costa led the Knights girls and boys to Region 1-3A titles.It takes a certain person to have the desire and determination to be on a pool deck a county away at 5:30 in the morning.Tracy Da Costa is that person.
Maybe it’s time for St. Johns County to annex the victory podium at the FHSAA swimming championship.The winners’ list from Friday night: Summer Stanfield. Ian Cooper. Olivia Peoples. Jack VanDeusen. Four relays, too, two from Bartram Trail and one each from Creekside and Nease, to mark the most successful swimming season in county history.That’s not even including the overall girls team championship for Creekside, which edged Bartram Trail in a county 1-2.Those swimmers combined for nine
St. Johns County displayed is dominance in the pool as Creekside edged Bartram Trail for the second straight year and Nease finished fifth. The Bears and Knights finished second and third in the boys competition.
Creekside: They’re deep and they’re fast. Most of last year’s squad, eighth in the state, returns for the Knights. That includes sprinter Ian Cooper, Michael Morton in the freestyle, Nick Spillers in the butterfly and individual medley and Nick Talyanker in the breaststroke. Sophomore Aidan Henry has been coming on strong of late in the distance events, and transfer Dominic Miller strengthens the Knights in the backstroke and IM.
Creekside: How do the Knights follow up their Class 3A state title from 2017? By returning many of the same swimmers and going for another one. Versatility, always a plus, gives Creekside plenty of options for swimmers like Brooke Arnold and Shannon Campbell, while double-event finalist Jennifer Bird returns in the butterfly and backstroke. Young swimmers Madison Koutavas and Taylor Thomson add particular strength in the breaststroke.
It took 75 years for a Northeast Florida public school to get back on top of the state girls swimming podium.So this time, they made it a one-two.
Creekside’s girls team earned the overall team title and Bartram Trail’s girls took second place in Saturday’s Class 4A swimming championships at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Center in Stuart.
Creekside’s girls swimming and diving team won the Region 1-3A title on Wednesday with 593 points, which was more than 140 points better than second-placed Bartram Trail. The Knights won three events: the 200-yard medley relay, the 200 freestyle relay and Aubrey Miller won the 100 butterfly.
Lauren Rachelle Cusick is a senior at Creekside High School who has swam for the Creekside Knights swim team for four years now. Swimming for the last ten years, Lauren has competed for both CKST and Loggerhead Aquatics. This breaststroker has made many memories from the high school swim team, her most memorable being Creekside’s victory at the Florida State Pool Association Invitational meet, in 2016. Winning both first place in swimming and team spirit, the team became very close – another reason Lauren loves swimming for Creekside. Since the team is about to enter it’s postseason, Lauren hopes to drop time and help CKST win back their title from Bartram Trail at the Districts meet this year.
All swimmers know that to get better, they don’t only practice in the water. The high school swim team has dry land once a week, and although some swimmers don’t enjoy being on land, Lauren finds that it definitely helps her performance in the water, “I can feel myself progressively getting stronger each race.” All CKST swimmers look forward to the sunrise each morning, because it means practice is close to being finished! Waking up at 5AM everyday can make staying awake challenging to some, but Lauren says it actually keeps her more alert in the mornings. “[it’s] good because all of my AP classes are in the morning, but I slowly start to feel tired throughout the day, and once I’m finally home, [the tiredness] just hits me.” Between early daily practices, weekly dry land workouts, school, friends, and family, Lauren has learned a lot about responsibility and time management. When she isn’t swimming or at school, Lauren loves to stay involved with her church, spending time with her friends, and going to the beach. Although she isn’t planning on swimming at college next year, Lauren hopes to be attending Louisiana State University.
Now a senior, Lauren wants to try new things. Contrary to the popular belief, some swimmers enjoy, and are good at, running. Lauren is thinking about trying track during her last year, as it’s something she has wanted to do for a while. Speaking of last chances, her favorite thing about being a senior at CHS is “since it’s your last time for everything, each little moment is bittersweet.” We wish all the best to Lauren in her last few weeks of Creekside swim, and throughout her last year at Creekside high school.
Senior Spotlight written by Student Journalist, Veronica Czajkowski
Top Returnees: Of the 10 Knights who qualified for last year’s Class 3A state championships, seven return. On the boys’ side, sophomore Nick Spillers (200 IM), Brenden Potter (100 backstroke) and Nicholas Talyanker (100 breatstroke) will be back in the pool. Seniors Aubrey Miller and Abigail Ellis are both two-time state qualifiers. Senior Megan Arnold (200 IM) and sophomore Taylor Thomson (100 breaststroke) will look to qualify for state for a second straight season.