ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Winning championships isn't easy, but the Jesuit High School swim team can make it look that way. On Thursday, the Tigers earned their 13th straight Region championship on the heels of their 25th consecutive District title. Now they have a chance to claim their fourth state crown in five years.
"They’re all brothers. Of course, there are some sibling rivalries, but overall, they always have each other’s back. No matter what," said head coach Bill Shaffer. "Even if you have everything together as a team, it still has to come together. Luckily, we’ve been able to do that."
The team credits their depth with allowing them to be so successful.
"Swimming's definitely not an individual sport," added junior Liam Schindler. "You all have to come together, especially in relays. Not only in the pool but motivating us outside the pool."
Outside the pool, Jesuit's getting motivation through helping others. The team held a head-shaving fundraiser to help the fight against cancer. They raised more than $9,000, and they split it between two different charities.
"The head-shaving for us is a team bonding, to just get the guys ready in that 'state mode,'" said junior Sean Kenny. "And being able to raise some money for a better cause is really great. And that just pushes us to swim for something greater than ourselves."
Now, the Tigers, who moved up from 2A last season to 3A this season, want to finish the job in the pool.
"If we can come in, definitely as the underdogs, especially moving to a different division this time, that’d be really special for us to get the job done," said Kenny.
"We definitely want to show how good we are, our brotherhood," added Schindler. "And if we all come together as a team I think we can get the job done."
The state 3A championships are Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center in Stuart.