2016 Sunshine State Games Athletes of the Year Swim to Success
The Sunshine State Games Athletes of the Year have enjoyed their success in the water. One dives into the pool to swim short distances quickly and paces himself for long distances. The other makes precise movements above and below the water with teammates utilizing skillful breathing techniques and endurance.
For the third straight year, Trevor McGovern, (pictured at left) of the Gator Swim Club, turned in multiple gold‐medal winning performances. At the 2016 SSG Championships, McGovern earned seven gold medals and a silver medal in 13‐14 year old age group races ranging from sprinting in the 50 meter freestyle to long races in the 400 meter IM. He was also on the 400 meter relay team and tested his stamina in the 1500 meter freestyle where he earned his lone silver medal. At the 2015 Games, McGovern won six gold medals and won the Individual High Point Award for the Boys 11‐12 year old category in 2014, when he won nine gold medals. In the last three years, McGovern has won 22 gold medals.
“Trevor is a very dedicated young man and an excellent swimming with a bright athletic future ahead of him,” said Robert Pinter, head coach of the Gator Swim Club. “He is a freally good all around swimmer and his best events are freestyle and backstroke. He’s still young and we’re experimenting to find out where his strengths are. I tell all of my swimmers their future in the sport depends on themselves and the sport requires a lot of commitment and dedication. If he does that I envision a Division I college scholarship for him.”
Brianna Whitman (middle swimmer in formation) returned to swim in the 2016 Sunshine State Games in the Open Division in Duet and Team Events after taking a few years off to focus on collegiate studies. Whitman competed in the Sunshine State Games between 2003 and 2012 as a member of the Lakeland YMCA Flamingos. After enrolling at Florida State University, she reorganized the dormant Tarpon Synchronized Swim Team, which was one of FSU’s first women’s competitive teams. She competed in 2016 with members of the Tarpon Swim Team. She earned one of seven Robin Nable Wagman Against All Odds Scholarships in 2012 that honor the achievements of Polk County high school senior student-athletes in recognition of their perseverance in the face of adversity.
“Since the age of 8 and continuing into adulthood, Brianna Whitman has displayed a focus and passion for synchronized swimming that shows strength in character,” said Lorraine Bloeth Valerino, Head Coach of the Lakeland YMCA Flamingo Synchronized Swim Team. “Her sheer determination to perform at her personal best over the years while staying true to herself and loyal to her age group team, gracefully leaping over a variety of ‘life’s obstacles,’ draws equal applause. The Lakeland YMCA Flamingo team and coaching staff have always appreciated Brianna’s talent and commitment and are thrilled she is being honored as the 2016 Sunshine State Games Female Athlete of the Year.”
For 38 years, the Sunshine State Games has served as a Florida sports tradition, promoting sportsmanship and excellence through amateur competition. Over 11,000 athletes will compete in over 30 Sunshine State Games sports throughout the year. For more information take a look at the complete 2017 Calendar of Events.