A smile across his face and two medals around his neck, Suncoast senior swimmer David Bucko knew what this moment was about.
It wasn’t about him. It wasn’t about what his team had just accomplished. It was about what it meant for his school.
“Our school is not really known for sports,” Bucko said. “So to come out with second in both relays, it is such an honor and it is so great for our school.”
Bucko’s school pride-first sentiment was echoed by freshman Jena Pisani. That’s what made Saturday special for Suncoast at the Class 2A Swimming and Diving Championships at the Sailfish Aquatics Center in Stuart.
The Suncoast boys team finished third while the girls took fifth.
Suncoast's boys showed early they were serious by fighting it out with American Heritage, the meet winner, in the 200-yard medley relay.
Both schools were in a dead heat for first place until American Heritage managed to pull away for first place.
American Heritage junior Fernando Bohorquez, his team’s third leg, was the one who opened the gap before fellow junior Taylor Eaddy closed it out.
Eaddy powered ahead of Bucko helping American Heritage win nearly half of a second.
Still, an extremely close second-place finish wasn’t too bad.
Pisani’s performances were a large reason why the Suncoast girls had a successful evening.
She finished third in the 500 freestyle finals and helped the 200-yard freestyle relay team take second place. That group included sophomore Fresca Vandersluis, who was a part of the
school’s 200-yard medley relay team that finished fourth.
Pisani and Vandersluis helped Suncoast, comprised of a swimmer from every grade, finish fourth by a second.
Pisani also picked up fourth place in the 200-yard freestyle.
“I was really stoked about how I swam,” she said. “I am really excited about how I did for my first time at state.”
Suncoast coach Valerie Newcomer said prior to the state meet that Pisani possessed talent, a strong work ethic and professionalism.
Pisani said she takes that approach because swimming is really important to her.
That’s why she tries to do the little things like congratulate the swimmer next to her after every race even she never met the person before.
“My brother is a junior and I’ve just tried to take it seriously, but I also try to have a lot of fun,” she said. “I think it means a lot to me. I love seeing people do well even if it is the girl next to me who I have never met. It is really about the sportsmanship. It is about seeing others do well, but I think our team did really well today too.”