He will compete in the 100-yard freestyle.
Seabreeze swimming’s Luke Korfant entered the Class 3A Region 2 meet on Saturday, Nov. 3, as the swimmer to beat in the 100-yard freestyle. He occupied the center lane — the lane reserved for the top time among the four districts in the region. He previously dusted the competition with a 48.7 at the district meet in late October.
But when Korfant stepped onto the block at Lakeland’s Gandy Pool, the pressure and nerves that gripped him throughout that entire morning melted away.
It was just him and the calm, cool water in front of him. Nothing else mattered.
He crouched into his stance and sprang into the water at the sharp pop of the pistol.
By his third lap, he could feel that he had a slight lead. But on the fourth 25, the muscles in his legs were burning.
“I was just going as hard as I could the entire time,” Korfant said. “I just kept pushing. I felt like I was going to throw up after I finished.”
“It’s been a blessing coaching him. He’s a good kid. He’s a hard worker. He puts in the time. He puts in the effort. He listens to what I tell him to do. It’s been a blessing getting to coach him.”
Seabreeze coach David Carrig on swimmer Luke Korfant
When he touched the wall, 49.5 seconds had elapsed, and for the first time in his career, he qualified for the state meet. He also became the first Sandcrabs swimmer in three years to advance to states. Victor Toth was the last to do so.
He found out he qualified later that night. At 11 p.m., he received 10 text messages in the span of seconds from a friend saying that Korfant made it to states.
“I was in disbelief at first because I didn’t think I deserved it,” he said. “I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, so I was surprised that I qualified. But I’m proud of myself and happy nonetheless.”
The first and second place finishers from each region automatically qualify for states. Then the top 16 finishers from all four regions receive a bid. When Korfant, who has been a team captain for the Sandcrabs the past two years, dives into the pool at the Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center on Friday, Nov. 9, in Stuart, he will be seeded No. 22 out of 24.
However, Seabreeze’s first-year head coach David Carrig said that could be a blessing in disguise.
“It could be something that motivates him to swim faster in the state meet,” Carrig said. “That’s the big kahuna right there. We want him to swim his best there, and hopefully he swims his fastest time yet.”
In addition, when Carrig met Korfant for the first time before the start of the 2018 season, Korfant had two goals: Two swim sub-49 seconds and to advance to the state meet.
“Now his goal is going to be finishing the best he can at states,” Carrig said.
Korfant has been swimming for Seabreeze High School all four years. He didn’t want to swim his freshman year. His parents made him join the team so he could “exercise and make friends.”
The state meet will be the last time he ever swims for the Sandcrabs.
“I’m going to miss it a lot,” he said.