The story of competitive swimming at Saint Stephen’s is dominated by one name – Ellie Berdusco. The four-time high school All-American (2011-14) holds seven SSES individual records and three as the member of relay teams. Now swimming at Notre Dame, Berdusco also owns the Falcons’ lone state swim/dive championship, winning the 500 freestyle in 2012.
Despite Berdusco’s prominence in the Saint Stephen’s record book, she isn’t the only Falcon who has made a name for herself in the pool. Allison Moon, who has the only school record not credited to Berdusco – the 100 breaststroke – was a standout in the late 1990s and went on to an impressive career at the U.S. Naval Academy. Moon won nine Patriot League Championship relay titles, tying her for the most in Navy history. She was a three-time all-conference selection, and holds Academy relay records in the 200 medley, 400 medley, 200 freestyle, and 400 freestyle.
Hayley Tilton was a four-year letterwinner for the Falcons in the mid/late-2000s, and her name stood atop the record book in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, and 400 free relay. She was a two-time state finalist and went on to swim at Tulane University.
The Falcons found success in and out of the pool in 2016, highlighted when the boys were honored by the FHSAA as state Academic Champions with a team GPA of 3.785. During the season, the Falcons established four new school records and qualified for the state meet in two individual events and one relay. The 4x100 freestyle relay of Marshall Webster, Graham Beckstein, Nicolas Probosz and Nicolas Mattheys established a school best, smashing the old record by six seconds. Probosz also took down the six-year-old 100 breast stroke record. All four of those swimmers are back for the 2017 season and Webster will be aiming for his third straight state appearance. As a freshman in 2015, he established new school bests in the 200 and 500 freestyles, and placed fifth in the 500 and eighth in the 200 at states.
Sheri Hart takes over as head coach and her resume is beyond impressive. Hart was a state champion and set a national record in the 100 backstroke (eventually broken by Olympian Natalie Coughlin) as a high school swimmer in Ohio in 1989, and went on to become an All-American at the University of Southern California. She was an Olympic Trials finalist in 1988 and semi-finalist in 1992, and has set more than 20 world masters swim records.
The Falcons train at the G.T. Bray Aquatic Center, three miles from the Saint Stephen’s campus.
* Directions to G.T. Bray (from Saint Stephen’s) – Take Manatee Ave. west to 51st St. W. Take a left on 51st St. W. and follow through two (2) stop signs. G.T. Bray Park entrance will be 1/2 mile after the second stop sign on the right. Turn into park and follow signs to the pool. (Map)
Swimming/Diving is FHSAA sanctioned and is a fall season sport.