Stern swims to success despite ACL injury


Logan Couture

Seniors Victor Liu, Jackson Ehlers and Lance Stern celebrate Senior Night on Sept. 19 at the Fee Avenue pool.

Senior Lance Stern’s inability to swim butterfly while coming back from an ACL injury this season had a minimal impact on his team during States, on Nov. 18.

“My injury only affected my team because I was not able to swim butterfly this year in any dual meets or on relays, as I had done in the past,” Stern said. “I have fully recovered though and was able to swim my sprint freestyle events this past season, allowing the team to accommodate my specialty stroke on the relay. Coach [Rebecca] Matoska used Jackson Ehlers in the butterfly events and it worked out successfully in my absence from the stroke.”

Stern injured his knee while goalkeeping during a soccer match against Merritt Island last season.

“I went to slide for the ball on their turf field at Merritt Island and I got my leg caught under me, which shredded my ACL right away,” he said.

Stern had put in work during his recovery process, which paid off.

“My injury, a full tear of my ACL in my left knee, was completely healed by the start of the swim season, which was relieving news for me after all my hard work during the
recovery process,” he said.

Coming back from his injury, Stern could not swim butterfly, but thrived in other events at Districts on Oct. 27.

“I swim the 50 free and 100 free individually, as well as the 50 free on the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay,” Stern said. “I won three events.”

According to Stern, not being able to swim butterfly actually helped him set personal records at Regionals on Nov. 2.

“I was able to swim the 50 free and 100 free to personal best times, which was not much of a change from past seasons,” Stern said. “The greatest change was not being able to swim butterfly, at practice and in meets. Therefore, in practice, I changed my sets to focus more on my sprint freestyle events, the 50 and 100, than any other stroke.”

By Alexander Velazquez