Gulliver Prep junior Brooke Ellis is a swimmer. She competes in the butterfly and individual medley events – specializing in the 200 butterfly and the 400 IM.
Ellis not only swims for the Gulliver varsity, she also swims for the Gulliver Swim Club. Swimming for the club team means she swims year round.
Ellis says her coach always tells them that to be the best they have to do it all year without stopping. It’s an effective strategy since the Gulliver team won the state championship in 2015.
“I’ve been to states since freshman year,” she says. “We won states this year. And we won as a team last year for the first time.”
Personally, Ellis was third in the 200 IM at states and fifth in the 100 fly.
“We won both the relays,” she says.
Ellis swam in the 200 medley relay at states.
“We were All-Miami-Dade First Team in the relays,” she says.
For the past three years she’s been ranked one of the top ten swimmers in Florida. She’s been ranked 18 in the 100-yard Individual Medley nationally.
She’s hoping she will be able to use that success to secure a college scholarship.
“I’m looking into it,” she says. “I’m hoping I get the opportunity to.”
Top tier athletes are usually burdened with tough practice schedules which leave them little time to do homework, much less volunteer for community service projects. But Ellis has been involved with Smiling Tummies, the South Florida chapter of Feeding America. She works with teammates and the friends who started the club to pack food that is donated to Feeding America.
“They also do a lot of things on the side,” she says. “They get other companies to donate food or supermarket.”
Club members conducted a peanut butter and jelly drive and then used the goods to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
“They do that and we deliver it to them and they decide what they want to do with it,” she says. “I’m a board member of the school chapter of the organizations. We’ve organized food drives and food packing and distribution events.”
The events are not limited to the holidays. Although they do a lot around Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ellis says club founder Namilla Sanchez always says that people need food more than just at the holidays so it’s important that they keep going throughout the year.
Ellis is a member of the Lotus House Club. Club members collect items to give to the shelter that gives young battered women a safe haven.
“They get job training to get themselves back on their feet,” she says.
She’s also participated in the Make-a-Splash Swim-a-thon fundraiser at Gulliver and participated in the community service club Twenty Little Working Girls for a year.
Each summer, she is a swim instructor at the Gulliver swim school, working with children aged two to eight.
Ellis is vice president of the Gulliver junior class and the managing editor of the Raider Voice, the school paper. They are looking into making the transition from a paper to a news magazine with current stories going online.
“Palmetto is doing that,” she says. Coral Gables is doing that, also.
She loves to write and has contributed to the literary magazine as well as the paper. Ellis says she’s considering communications as a major. During spring break she will tour colleges in order to narrow her college list.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld