Lee Swims to Tremendous Success as a Sophomore
When it comes to the cream of the crop of high school swimmers in Connecticut, Elliot Lee is at the very top of that list in his sophomore year at Daniel Hand High School. Elliot went undefeated in his individual events this year and enjoyed a record-breaking campaign that saw him win the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle at both the Class M State Championship and the State Open for the Tigers’ boys’ swimming and diving team.
Elliot swam his way to school records in the 200 IM (1:48.86), the 50 freestyle (20.98), the 100 butterfly (50.00), and the 100 freestyle (45.72) during the recent season. Elliot was also part of Hand’s 200 medley relay (1:38.19) and 400 freestyle relay (3:15.31) that each set a school record, as well.
“I feel that this season was successful. I met my goals and, more importantly, our team was able to perform to the extent that we could with new records and a top finish at states,” says Elliot. “My expectations next year stay the same. Hopefully, we will be able to finish higher at the state level, and we will have more swimmers. I am excited and honored to represent Daniel Hand for the next two years.”
While Elliot saw plenty of success in the regular season, he one-upped himself during Hand’s postseason meets. At the SCC Championship, Elliot took first place in the 50 freestyle (20.98) and the 100 butterfly (50.00) for the Tigers, breaking school records in both events. Elliot was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the SCC meet and was also voted as the SCC Division I Swimmer of the Year by the coaches in the conference.
Head Coach Christina Forristall describes Elliot’s achievements this season as remarkable, but she wasn’t necessarily surprised by what the sophomore was able to accomplish.
“Elliot is a tremendous force in the pool as a competitor and teammate. He is extremely hardworking and dedicated, pushing his teammates to be better, whether he realizes it or not,” Forristall says. “Elliot also has a great sense of humor, finding the fun in even the hardest workouts.”
Following SCCs, Elliot won two individual events and also swam on a victorious relay to help Hand take second place at the Class M State Championship. Elliot finished first in the 200 IM with a school-record time of 1:49.41 and also set a school record of 46.03 with his victory in the 100 freestyle.
On top of that, Elliot teamed up with seniors Ian Looby, Jack Signorello, and JD Starkey to win the 400 freestyle relay with a school-record time of 3:15.31. Elliot earned All-State Recognition for all of his first-place performances and was selected as the Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Class M meet.
“There are so many moments that have been memorable, but the one that sticks out to me the most is right after the 4x100 free relay at Class M State Championships,” says Elliot. “Our relay of Ian Looby, Jack Signorello, JD Starkey, and I were walking back to our seating area, when we were engulfed by the rest of our team with words of congratulations. I remember how we all reacted when Coach Christina told us that our win in the relay had boosted us into a second-place finish. We were all buzzing with excitement and adrenaline that we didn’t realize that our bodies were fatigued and needed to sit down to rest.”
Elliot went on break his school records in both the 200 IM and the 100 freestyle while winning each event with times of 1:48.86 and 45.72, respectively, at the State Open Championship. Elliot earned All-American honors in the 200 IM and is in consideration for All-American status in the 100 freestyle. Elliot will find out in June whether he made All-American in the 100 free.
Elliot has logged many miles on his way to becoming one of Connecticut’s elite swimmers. It means a lot to Elliot that he saw his efforts pay off with a historic sophomore season.
“My favorite aspect of the sport of swimming is how it can be predictable, yet unpredictable at the same time. It takes months of hard work and training to accomplish your goals, but one little mistake can completely ruin someone’s swim despite all of the work put in,” Elliot says. “I’m incredibly proud of all that I accomplished this season.”
As he looks ahead to his junior season, Elliot’s goal is to remain steadfast in his approach. Elliot doesn’t want to take anything for granted and plans to keep practicing relentlessly in preparation for more success in the 2023 campaign.
“To improve my swims, I try to focus on the little things. The little things such as the flip turns and underwaters right after are what my younger self used to struggle with, so practicing those during practice helped in my performance,” says Elliot. “A lot of my competition is taller and stronger than me, so I need to make up some ground on other things. Making sure that every turn matches well with my strokes helps me keep up with the competition.”