PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Arnold boys swim team placed first in the Class 2A District 1 competition on Wednesday.
Two athletes who helped take that first-place spot were Hunter Griffin and Eitan Cohen. Both attempted competitive swimming for the first time in their high school career.
“We were the goofballs of the group, but we were mainly there for like kind of cardio to get our lungs ready,” Arnold senior Eitan Cohen said.
Griffin and Cohen decided to join the swim team their senior year with the hopes of conditioning themselves for their primary sport, soccer.
“I thought about how I needed more conditioning to get more fit for soccer,” Arnold senior Hunter Griffin said. “I always looked at the swimmers and thought I got to be the fittest kids I’ve ever seen.”
As the season progressed, their love for the new sport grew into more than just a workout.
“As I went through the season, I learned all the techniques on how to flip turn and breathing techniques, and I got much better at it,” Griffin said. “I started to realize I had a good chance at districts, and here I am.”
While soccer and swimming may not seem to have a lot in common, the multi-sport athletes have found ways to connect the two.
“It’s very similar to soccer,” Cohen said. “It’s like sprints in the water. You take a couple of seconds break and then you got to go again.”
Both Griffin and Cohen swam great races and dropped time in each of their races, increasing their chances of a regional berth.
“They have the chance to make it to regionals,” Arnold swim coach Jen Morgan said. “It’s really cool to be able to have to go to their soccer coach and say I can’t give them back yet, they’re not done.”
When the fall sports season comes to an end, Griffin and Cohen are hopeful the post-season success will translate over to the soccer field.
“We are very motivated, especially after our loss last year, how devastating it was,” Griffin said. “We are very motivated to go out there and show people what it is to be a Marlin soccer player.”
The Arnold girls swim team also had a strong performance placing second in districts.
The athletes who qualify for regionals will compete on Thursday, October 26 for regional competition in Ocala.