Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School has a new reason to celebrate following the first-ever championship victory of its boys swim team in the MIAA B Conference finals.
At the finals on Feb. 9, the team scored 246 points, beating the second-place finisher, St. Mary’s High School, by a mere five points.
Julianna Randazzo, head coach of the school’s boys and girls swim teams, called the finals “a nailbiter.” She noted that, going into the final event, her team was actually losing.
“It came down to the final relay,” Randazzo said. “My boys’ 400 freestyle relay had to win to win the championship.”
The MIAA B Conference normally includes 10 separate teams, said Randazzo, a resident of Baltimore. With Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School’s victory, the school joins the ranks of five others that have held championship titles. These include the Gilman School in Baltimore, the Severn School in Severn, St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn and the “power house” of St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis, she said.
“It is a very competitive league that is filled with the top swimmers across the state,” Randazzo said.
There is also an A-level conference that includes even faster teams from other schools, Randazzo noted.
Randazzo said that the win belonged to the entire team of 13 swimmers from grades nine to 12. That said, she added that there were five swimmers who deserved special recognition for their contributions.
These included the four swimmers who made up the championship-winning relay: juniors Yonathan Dagan — who “swept the night with four first-place finishes” — and Ilan Shapsay, freshman Sammy Rotman and sophomore Jacob Goldman, the son of the team’s assistant coach, Jeremy Goldman. In addition to the quartet’s first-place win in the final relay, they also secured first place in another relay and, individually, “all made podium in their respective events,” Randazzo said.
The fifth swimmer of note, senior Matan Tusk, secured a third-place finish in the 500 meter freestyle, providing the team with points that Randazzo had not anticipated, she said, and without which the team might have lost to St. Mary’s.
Shapsay and Tusk are both team captains.
Before this season, the team had previously managed to finish as one of the top five schools, but had never “made podium,” Randazzo said.
Randazzo credited the “land component” of the team’s practices, which included activities such as cardio and weightlifting, with playing a crucial role in their victory. She explained that the team had relatively limited pool time this season, due to complications from the pandemic.
Another factor Randazzo pointed to was the lineup that she and Jeremy Goldman had put together.
More than that, though, Randazzo attributed the win to the work ethic of her swimmers.
“The overall consensus is that swimming is easy, and it’s not,” Randazzo said. “My kids worked extremely hard to make it look easy, but they put in time in and outside of the pool.”
In an email, Elan Volinsky, a junior at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School and a member of the team, said that he wants “people to know that we only had three hours of swimming each week and everyone worked very hard for us to win this meet.”
Volinsky, a resident of Pikesville, said the team’s mood after their victory was one of utter jubilance.
“After winning the meet, everyone was so excited and eager to spread the word,” Volinsky said. “I believe that everyone on the team played their part, and we wouldn’t have won without each swimmer.”