The STARS placed second, overall, for the entire competition as a team. Additionally, the STARS girls swimmers placed first, the STARS won the 2017 Florida Swimming Sportsmanship Award, and the team also had a handful of individual and relay champions.
“Finishing second, overall, is a step up for us as a team,” said Bruce Follensbee, one of the team’s coaches. “It puts us on the map. It puts everybody on notice.”
According to Justin Correia, the head coach for the STARS, the girls team’s championship marks the first time in more than a decade that a program other than the Sarasota YMCA Sharks or the Bolles School Sharks have won that category.
“It puts us on the map. It puts everybody on notice.”
— Bruce Follensbee, coach
The second-place finish, overall, left only the Sarasota YMCA team ahead of the local group from SouthWest Aquatics. Additionally, for the STARS to have placed second, overall, required a complete team effort — including from the program’s boys swimmers.
“Our boys that came stepped up big time and scored a significant amount of points for us. All those things contributed to the success we had as a team,” Follensbee said.
Ella Klyce (girls 10-and-under 200-yard IM), Marcela Scaramuzza (girls 14-and-under 100-yard breaststroke) and Emma Sundermeyer (girls 10-and-under 500-yard freestyle) won individual championships at this year’s FLAGS competition. Additionally, the 10-and-under girls 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay — as well as the 12-and-under girls 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay — all earned wins.
In other team news, 10 more STARS represented the team last weekend at NCSA Junior Nationals meet at the YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando. STARS swimmer Grace Khunduang was selected to attend this summer’s National Diversity Select Camp in Colorado Springs.