Twice-Told Tale

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Twice-Told Tale

Swim and Dive Makes a Splash

Coach Todd Mann
(Above) The many athletes like to take photos after each event for memories and to help calm them down before they know the final results. The swimmers had great scores in States with relay, breaststroke, and freestyle.

Sunshine State aquatic sports always strive to perform at the top level. Lake Highland’s swim and dive team is no exception, performing as one of the best in the state and the country. The team is constantly setting records and winning titles and events. This season, the Highlanders took first place for girls and boys at the District Championships and second place for girls and boys at the Regional Championships. But what makes this team of swimmers and divers so good in a state that is so competitive? What makes Lake Highland one of the best swim and dive teams in the state of Florida? Varsity head coach Mr. Todd Mann, notes that this is one of his strongest teams yet and is a new and improved team of Highlanders. 

Coach Mann trains swimmers both inside and outside of Lake Highland’s program, constantly coaching athletes to the best level. He has high hopes for the upcoming season, but was quick to reflect on earlier meets this season, as he explained “We had a mid-season meet at the Lake Brantley Invite. It showed everyone where we were as individuals and as a team.” The Lake Brantley Invite was important because it not only let Coach Mann evaluate his younger players, but also the returning stars. Although this team has a lot of young talent,  Coach Mann was quick to point out, “We had a lot of the same swimmers and divers returning, but this year they had more experience coming into the season.” The experienced swimmers constantly pushed the younger swimmers to improve their scores all season and helped them mature into a Varsity level. 

With many great teams, there is a shared mindset. This year the team of Highlanders had a more simple mindset this season as Coach Mann explained, “Our kids have the mindset that we just want to get better each meet.” With the season-ending, the preparation for the 2024 season has already begun with early morning practices, swimming, and competing against each other for starting spots. Coach Mann added, “We have a lot of boys and girls competing with each other to be on our relays.  This competition makes us better as a team.” For Lake Highland’s swim and dive team, summer break is no exception. The training never stops.

Although this team took home many trophies and records this season, Coach Mann still holds his team to a high standard, pushing his team to strive for more. However, Coach Mann knows his athletes are working hard in the offseason with their club swim. He stated, “Most of our swimmers swim year-round and compete against elite swimmers all year long. So it makes them better to swim against the best in Class 1A.” Coach Mann still has great expectations for this team this upcoming season, explaining that, “Our team goal has been and always will be to try and win the district and regional championships and get as many athletes as possible to the state championship,” as he has, “High hopes for next season.” 

Leadership is a big part of this team. Coach Mann is proud of his Seniors for their leadership and dedication to helping the team grow and the underclassmen succeed and stated, “Our Seniors have a wide range of experience, but each Senior brought something unique to the team.” With this leadership, Coach Mann is confident in the underclassmen’s progress to the Varsity level this season, stating that, “This swimming and diving team works hard and cares about Lake Highland. They want to compete hard and win every competition.” The swimming and diving team is one of the younger programs at Lake Highland, but is earning experience in and out of the pool. 

Therefore, it is evident that the Highlanders worked hard this season to improve their times and scores, and are working even harder in preparation for next season. This team of swimmers and divers are no strangers to success, or a good work ethic and perseverance. They consistently outscore their opponents and take home trophies from all over the state. Coach Mann and his assistant staff have worked so hard at every practice to get these athletes where they are and guide them towards going even further. Although he has taken in the success of this season, Coach Mann has wasted no time and is already preparing this team of Highlanders for the next season. He knows they will them to come back stronger, faster, and better than the season before. 

(Above) The boys’ swimming and diving team won a District Championship trophy. The Highlanders have always dominated at districts, bringing home the trophy while breaking their own records and setting new ones. (Coach Todd Mann)
(Above) Harris Layson, grade 11, and Jared Semmen, grade 11, worked hard to create the paper plate awards. The paper plate awards are a popular tradition amongst teams, where they will write award categories such as funniest teammate, hardest worker, and more. This is used as a fun way to goof off and get a good laugh with the rest of the team. (Ginger Bryant)
(Above) Kylie Kiefer, grade 11, placed eighth at the state level. Kiefer has worked hard all season to improve her scores and help this young team of Highlanders grow. Kiefer was one of the top scorers on this team all season, constantly improving her scores at each practice and tournament. (Coach Todd Mann)
(Above) The swimming and diving team won district title and individual title in Jacksonville. Lake Highland has brought back a district title every season since 2017, dominating the competition across Florida. (Coach Todd Mann)
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About the Contributors
Hayden Roberts
Hayden Roberts, Co-Editor
Hayden Roberts is a sports writer for Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale. Hayden has been writing for the newspaper since January 2023. Roberts loves to cover and write about all different sports and hopes one day to study sports journalism. When not writing, Roberts enjoys playing volleyball.
Ginger Bryant
Ginger Bryant, Sponsor and Upper School Faculty
Ginger Bryant is the founder and sponsor of Lake Highland Preparatory School's Upper School newspaper Twice-Told Tale. Additionally she sponsors the school's literary magazine By Any Other Name, both award winning publications ranked First Place in the Nation by American Scholastic Press Association with the ranking of Superior from National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE). Bryant has been teaching for 28 years and is the instructor for English 11 and David Copperfield's Project Magic: a performing arts class that uses magic as a form of physical therapy for children in the hospital setting. She is the author of Orlando Firefighting and numerous published articles. When not teaching, Bryant enjoys building miniatures in 1:12 scale, paper crafting, and going to the circus.

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