Another Florida private school has thrown its hat into the swimming ring, as the century-old Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida has hired their first ever swim coach: Brazilian Arilson Champam de Almeida. The school founded its team in 2011, but until now has not had a coach of its own. Even without a coach, the girls’ team finished 9th at last year’s Florida High School Division I (smallest schools) state championships meet, and the boys finished in a tie for 27th.
Montverde is a northwest suburb of Orlando and sits right on the massive Lake Apopka: the state’s third-largest lake.
The boarding school opened in 1912, but has never had a swim program until hiring de Almeida, and with quite a resume might become a power in a hurry. He has coached at both the FINA World Cup and the Pan Am Games for his native Brazil, and was the head coach of the Princeton University Tigers Aquatics Club.
Montverde Academy is a sporting powerhouse in central Florida, with a new $6.5 million athletics center and the two-time defending “National Champions” in boys’ basketball. The academy offers elite training institutes in both men’s basketball and men’s soccer.
They’ve got an athlete on the USA Basketball U18 training camp squad, and next fall will send 38 athletes (out of about 1000 students) to play sports in college, including 8 basketball players going to Division I universities.
In other words, Montverde has all of the tools in place to become a swimming powerhouse, and now with their own coach, and one with some credentials to put behind it, expect them to start fighting their way toward contention with Division I powerhouses like Bolles, Saint Andrew’s, and Pine Crest.
Among their biggest performers in the pool last season included Grace Redding, who won the B-Final at state in the 100 fly (56.61) and was 7th in the 50 free (23.69), Kendall Dawson who was 3rd in the 500 free (4:53.42), and Alex Condron who was 5th in the boys’ 100 breaststroke (58.35).
The team had been training at the National Training Center Aquatic Center, which has a 25 yard x 70 meter outdoor pool, but on Thursday, May 1, opened their own 25 yard pool on campus.
Yearly tuition at the school runs $42,000/year for boarding students, but only $11,800/year for day students.