For the second consecutive year, a DeLand High Swimmer, has been named Daytona Beach News-Journal’s Swimmer of the Year. This year that honor goes the Senior Elijah Wheeler.
It was a close race this year for the decision by the News-Journal between Elijah and Spruce Creek’s Shea Outlaw. Part of the decision was made when Wheeler bested Outlaw by 0.12 second in the Class 4A championships last month at Sailfish Splash Aquatic Center in Stuart, Florida. Elijah was also one of only three local swimmers to qualify for multiple individual events. Wheeler placed 12th in the 50 free (21.85) and 22nd in the 100 free (48.33).
Entering his senior year, Wheeler wanted to push himself to the maximum to have enough left in the tank for big races. To gain an edge in those final ten yards, Wheeler went to extreme lengths. Three days a week, he performed power swimming drills with his club team, Seminole Aquatics based in Sanford, during 5 a.m. practices. During these drills, Elijah would tie bungee cords around his waist to provide resistance on the way down and on the back, helping him to gain valuable speed for competition.
Bulldog Swim coach Katie Kaye has said: “He never diverted. He knew what he wanted and was going to do what was needed to make it happen. Is goal was on the whole team, but this was something he really wanted for a long time.”
Through his swimming career, Elijah has improved is cardio vascular strength, and this has helped him to overcome asthma. He says through swim has helped him overcome his condition, and that he rarely feels the effects anymore.
Parts of this article was taken from the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s article naming Elijah as this year’s Male Swimmer of the Year. You can read the full article here.