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Sun Journal Boys Swimmer of the Year: Chase Leonardo, Leavitt

Mar. 25—Chase Leonardo made records fall during his junior season.

"I feel like I did a good job putting in hard work and the results paid off," Leonardo said. "I swam a lot of good individual races. I broke 50 (seconds) in the 100 free and I broke the team record in the 200 IM this year, which was really cool."

Leonardo also lowered his team record in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.96) at the state championship meet and broke the 200-yard IM record at the KVAC championships with a time of 2:00.70. He also was on the 200-freestyle relay team with Gavin Holbrook, Jack Martel, and Cameron Lemieux that broke the team record (1:33.80).

This stellar season has garnered Leonard the 2023-24 Sun Journal All-Region Boys Swimmer of the Year honor.

Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland coach Scott Morrison said Leonardo had different goals heading into the season.

"Each year, he sets goals — what I would describe (as) certainly doable but also goals that aren't easily achieved," Morrison said. "This season, like his freshman, like his sophomore year, was no different. Chase has some lofty, heavy goals. They were all within reach, but they aren't easy."

Morrison said that Leonardo, who attends Leavitt Area High School, was aided this winter by an increase of strength.

"Chase did a lot of offseason lifting," Morrison said. "He came in stronger this year, and that certainly helped. Also, his stroke technique also improved as well. Between the stroke technique and the lifting program he started definitely made him stronger."

Leonardo also needed to be more of a leader for the Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland team due to the graduation of Andrew Casares, the winner of the previous two Sun Journal All-Region Swimmer of the Year honors.

"It was interesting," Leonardo said. "I do miss Andrew. But I liked having a bigger role on the team than I have before."

The most significant adjustment for Leonardo this season, without Casares, was not having someone to push him in practice and at meets to improve his times.

Leonardo finished second in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly at KVACs, and he swam legs of the first-place 400 freestyle relay and second-place 200 medley relay teams. Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland won its third straight conference title, and Leonardo was named the boys co-swimmer of the meet.

At the Class A state championships, Leonardo placed first in the 200 IM and second in the 100 breaststroke. Both relays he competed in, the 200 medley and 200 freestyle, resulted in second-place finishes.

Edward Little/Leavitt/Poland went neck and neck with Scarborough for the Class A state championship, the Red Storm ultimately prevailing with 275 points while the Edward Little co-op placed second with 257.5 points.

Morrison said Leonardo needed to manage his energy throughout the meet.

"He had a better time in the IM at KVACs, but he had more competition there," Morrison said. "He didn't have as much competition at state, and knowing the other events he had to swim, he backed off a little bit there so he could save some of his energy. He certainly gave it his all in the 200 free relay and followed it up in the breaststroke."

Leonardo said conserving his energy isn't easy because he wants to give it his all in every race.

"Whereas some people have no problem not trying and taking it easy, I have a hard time taking it easy because I want to go 100 percent in all of my races," Leonardo said.

Leonardo said there are still has things for him to accomplish in 2024-25.

"During the high school season, I want to get my 100 fly under 52 (seconds) and I want to get my 100 free under 47 (seconds)," Leonardo said. "I will hopefully be around 21.9 in the 50 freestyle or 22.1."

2023-24 Sun Journal All-Region Boys Swimming Team

2023-24 Sun Journal All-Region Girls Swimming Team