Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many exciting swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks some as others grabbed the headlines.
High school swimming certainly doesn’t have the fan following that college sports do in the United States, but the high school meet format does have one big thing going for it: it’s great for drama.
Shorter, sprintier events make high school swimming appealing to spectators, and swimming at the high school level also calls for versatility in its athletes – with only one event each in fly, back and breast, high school meet lineups require swimmers to compete in multiple disciplines to have their maximum impact, leading to some interesting doubles.
Nowhere was that fact more on display than in Florida over the weekend, where the road to the state championships marches on. The bigger schools, classes 3A and 4A, have moved past the district rounds into regions, with the next step being the state championship meets.
In class 3A, the boys of Creekside High School pulled off a dramatic win in the Region 1 Championships thanks to a late-meet run from junior Gian Garcia.
8 events into a 12-event meet, things didn’t look great for Creekside. The team had won only a single event, the 100 fly from Garcia. The 500 free wrapped up with zero point-scorers from Creekside, and the 100 free before that had featured only 1 scoring swim.
But then came the explosion. Creekside won 3 of the meet’s final 4 events to rocket to a 72-point win over Chiles, and Garcia had a hand in all three.
First was the 200 free relay which dominated, winning by nearly three seconds. Garcia was the fastest split in the field at 21.35. The junior, who swims for the Bolles School Sharks in club swimming, took one event off before returning to win the 100 breast in 59.96, about a second up on the rest of the field.
But Garcia wasn’t done yet. He packed one more swim into the meet’s waning minutes, holding down the second leg of the team’s 400 free relay. Garcia took his squad from 3rd to 1st in short order, staking his teammates to a 1.6-second lead over Fleming Island, a lead they expanded to two-and-a-half seconds by race’s end.
Sometimes swimming becomes too simple, too time-focused, too much about numbers – minutes and seconds – on a flat piece of paper. But swimming is a sport, a competitive one, and that means there’s another set of numbers that mean something: team points.
Just like on the grid-iron or the hardwood court, there’s little in our aquatic sport as dramatic and entertaining as a well-played comeback.
Last weekend’s high school action reminded us exactly how much fun those ferocious finishes can be.
Check out our full coverage of the class 3A region championships here.
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