The Student News Site of Cape Coral High School

The Seahawk's Eye

The Student News Site of Cape Coral High School

The Seahawk's Eye

The Student News Site of Cape Coral High School

The Seahawk's Eye

Melissa Blaine has D1 energy in and out of the water


One thing that senior Melissa Blaine finds exciting in her life is swimming. Whether it be for a club or a high school team, Blaine has always found herself in a pool swimming competitively.

Blaine has been on the Swim Florida swimming club for the past 13 years and has been a four-year member of the Cape Coral High School swim team. In her time as a student athlete, she has earned recognition as one of the best student swimmers in not only the county, but in the state of Florida as well.

In her time as a Seahawk, Blaine has been awarded four state medals, with one recently coming from her all-star performance at the FHSAA State Swim Tournament this school year, where she placed second. She also placed fifth in the 500 free and contributed two medals for her relay team.

All this began, however, when she first entered Cape High as a freshman. Even though it was her first time ever stepping inside the nest, she found it easy to adapt, especially on the swim team.

“I had an older brother on the team to be there for me, my coaches were also very supportive in the transition into high school swimming,” said Blaine. “I’ve known Coach T since I was six, so it was nice to see a familiar face.”

Dianne Kimble, who goes by the name of Coach T by her players, explained that Blaine is very devoted to her sport. “She doesn’t let anything stand in her way of getting in the water every day,” said Kimble.

“If there’s bad weather, she goes to a pool indoors. When we have to cancel practice, she tries to go to the gym. She’s always focused on what she needs to do to get to the level she wants to be at.”

According to Kimble, ever since Blaine joined the team, the leadership grew dramatically in the locker room. “She sets an example of working hard and being in the pool everyday, getting there on time, not letting anything stand in her way,” Kimble explained.

“When you have somebody that everybody can look up to and sets the standard for what we expect in terms of attendance and determination and work ethic and so on.”

Agreeing with Kimble is Blaine’s mother, Maria Blaine, stating, “She has always been self motivated. I just support her and her goals and dreams. She knows we [her family] are always there for her to support her.”

Blaine noted that her parents were one of her main motivators throughout her swimming journey. “They’ve supported me through the countless 5am morning practices and long swim meets throughout my years of swimming,” said Blaine.

Other than her parents, Blaine finds her inspiration from seven-time olympic winning swimmer Katie Ledecky. “I admire her work ethic and determination in her swim.”

Every athlete has challenges they come across in their lives; the same can be said for Blaine. During her junior year of high school, Blaine’s swimming career was put on pause by something she could not control: a category five hurricane.

“I was in a high storm surge area so I had to evacuate for two weeks,” Blaine explained. “I was able to overcome the struggle of training being disrupted a month before states, by swimming by myself in a pool in Boca Raton.”

This, however, didn’t stop her from training for her upcoming states competition. This obstacle was overcome with the help of her coaches.

“She reached out to coaches, we helped a little bit but you know, she was very determined to do what she needed to do and she took care of most of that of her own choosing,” Kimble said.

“We helped make sure that we kept in contact with her; made sure she was safe and that if they needed anything that we would handle it for her while she was gone.”

With the practices she was given by her coaches, Blaine pushed to her limits with what she was provided in her displacement.

“Melissa was able to swim by herself at a public pool and she pushed herself to just keep positive and do the best she could under the circumstances,” said Maria. 

“She fought so hard to race during the state series meets and I was so proud. She did not let the damage to our house or community keep her from trying her best. It is her drive and perseverance. She doesn’t give up and just keeps working and working, even when faced with poor circumstances.”

While Blaine may have a large drive for her athletics, she is also highly driven by the help she gives to her community outside of school. According to Maria, Blaine spends a lot of her time motivating the little kids at her local pool.

“She is such a good role model; constantly reminding them [the children] to have fun and not get so caught up in the stress of the sport,” Maria explained. 

“She is the most empathetic person I know and that makes me confident she will continue to be the kind and helpful person she has always been. She supports them and always reminds them that having fun is key to long term success in swimming. It is such a grueling sport and making it fun really helps long term.”

As a result of her willingness to do the best for herself, her team, and her community, the city of Cape Coral awarded Blaine with the Community Recognition Award during her senior year. She was presented the award in the city council chambers back in February.

“I felt honored and thankful to be recognized by the city,” Blaine stated.

Blaine has her future set straight, as she has fully committed to Ohio University in which she will join their swim and dive team. “I’m honored to be a student athlete at Ohio University,” said Blaine. “I am looking forward to both the academic and athletic challenges over the next four years.”

According to Maria, being the mother of Melissa is one of her favorite things in the entire world. “It is wonderful having such a sweet soul as a daughter,” Maria explained. 

“She always wants to help others. When my mom fell ill with dementia and watching her visit with not just her grandmother, but all the others stricken with that horrible disease made me so proud of the young woman she was growing into. Instead of shying away, she went from person to person trying to get them to talk and smile.”

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Jordan Manning
Jordan Manning, Sports Editor
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