Both the Bulldogs' boys and girls teams topped Matanzas on Thursday, Oct. 17.
At the midway point of Flagler Palm Coast and Matanzas’ dual swim meet the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Palm Coast Aquatics Center, every Bulldogs and Pirates swimmer hopped into the pool.
Armed with kick boards, the underclassmen lined up, forming a sort of gauntlet for the seniors to walk through.
“It’s a great tradition, but I hate it. Four years goes by really quickly, and this group is kind of special. It’s torn emotions. I feel good about where they’re going and what they’ve done, but it’s sad to see them leave.”
TOM GILLAND, FPC swim coach
Natalia Kurdziel, captain of FPC’s girls team, had witnessed the Senior Day tradition many times before. In her past three seasons with the Bulldogs, she watched as the seniors would hear their names called and walk bravely through the splashing water to the cheer of teammates, coaches, friends and family.
“And this year, I was one of them,” Kurdziel said. “It was surreal.”
Kurdziel was one of four seniors on the Bulldogs’ girls team. FPC’s boys team is graduating 11 seniors.
“A lot of memories came flooding in,” FPC’s Cayo Dias said. “I just had four years flash before my eyes so quickly. It was emotional for all of us.”
Thursday marked the final dual meet of the season for FPC and Matanzas, one the Bulldogs' boys and girls teams each won 126-44.
“I’m really proud of this team,” Kurdziel said. “I think ending the regular season against Matanzas was a great way to do it. We all know each other. I have best friends on both teams. It’s just great to see everyone and to be surrounded by people I know and love for my last regular season meet.”
The Bulldogs’ goal entering the 2019 season was to win the Five Star Conference Championship. The boys team achieved that goal last season, defeating Spruce Creek for the first time in 23 years to earn the title. The boys won again this year. In addition, the girls team knocked off the Hawks for the first time in 25 years for the win.
It was the first time FPC’s boys and girls teams won the conference title in the same season.
“They’re in the clouds right now,” Bulldogs boys coach Tom Gilland said. “We have to bring back down to earth a little bit. Winning the Five Star was their whole focus. We have to remind them of what’s coming up.”
And what’s coming up for the undefeated Bulldogs?
Districts, regionals and hopefully states.
“We just want to have fun this season,” Kurdziel said. “We want to go out with a bang.”