With multiple National Records on the blocks, we’re taking a quick roundup through the Florida High School District Championships meets. Yesterday, we looked at the 1A meets, and today we’ll look at the 2A meets.
2A is a mix between private and public schools, those on the smaller side, and is a wide open class after a huge chunk of last year’s 2A class moved up to 3A in the new classification structure. That includes both the men’s and women’s defending state champions Chiles and Belen Jesuit Prep, respectively.
We’ll start our journey in District 3, which comprises schools in southern Jacksonville out west to Gainesville (more-or-less).
The star here is none-other-than National High School Record holder Caeleb Dressel. He swam a 50.77 to win the 100 fly, which was about two seconds slower than his Bolles club teammate Joseph Schooling went at his district meet this weekend, as the two vie to emerge on top with the National High School Record in two weeks.
In his other individual race, the 200 free, he won by a massive 18 seconds, going 1:39.67. That’s about four seconds shy of his lifetime best.
This meet was no challenge for him, though, and it’s likely that he received absolutely no rest. That context helps hold up confidences about some crazy times at the state meet.
He also led Clay High School to a win in the 200 free relay in 1:28.26, with a lead-off of 20.33, and the 400 free relay, with a lead-off leg of 44.46.
The men and women of Ponte Vedra won the overall team titles, though. On the men’s side, that was with the slimmest of half-point margins. They were led by Kadeem LaFargue, who won the men’s 50 free in 22.43.
Also in this district is Stanford commit Wesley Olmsted, who won both the 100 free in 46.20 and the 100 back in 50.94.
But among all of that, maybe the star of the whole thing was Clay High School sophomore Sherridon Dressel, the youngest of three Dressel star sprinting siblings.
Individually, she won the 100 free in 52.06 and the 100 back in 57.75, led off the 200 free relay in 24.11, and anchored the Clay 400 free relay in 51.67. She’s part of a tough Clay women’s sprint duo, along with Kierstyn Harmeling, that give them the foundation for some very good sprint relays.
District 2, which is schools in Jacksonville, featured Bishop Kenny, a former Bolles rival in 1A, running into Stanton Prep, the eventual dual conference champions. The Bishop Kenny women, however, made things relatively close on the women’s side, coming within 30 points of their larger foes.
Bishop Kenny started with a big win in the girls’ 200 medley relay, going a 1:54.11 to win.
The 200 free relay, one of the better races of the day, went the opposite way, however. Junior Gabriella Service anchored in 24.45 for Stanton to pull by Kenny on the last 50 yards for a 1:43.22-1:43.57 win.
Kenny took the relay battle by crushing the 400 on a margin of 4:00.08 – 4:09.28.
Kenny actually won the most individual event titles of the two teams as well, including a 100 yard free win from Auburn commit McKenna Debever in 53.56 ahead of Service, but as so often happens at meets of this level, it’s depth that counts. For example, in the 100 breaststroke, Bishop Kenny’s Lyndsea Lam won, but Stanton had three of the top six finishers, and four of the top eight.
The boys’ side was a little bit of a different story, as Stanton swept all three relays to dominate the meet.
Individually, they picked up three event wins and a runner-up finish from the freshmen Bloom twins: Jackson Bloom and Travis Bloom. Jackson won the 100 free in 51.50 and the 100 back in 57.74, while Travis won the 500 free in 5:00.39. They both train with Bolles for their club swimming.
District 3, which comprises primarily the smaller schools of the Western panhandle, was swept by the public Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola.
Washington’s girls got the meet off to a great start with a 1:49.31 in the 200 medley relay. That included a 26.80 butterfly leg from freshman Sophia Siagna.
In a bit of a twist, over half of the meet’s individual events were won by freshmen and sophomores, including several of the boys’ events, which is highly unusual.
Among the really standout swimmers were Choctawhatchee sophomore Emma Strom, who won the 200 IM in 2:08.68 and also took the 100 back title in 57.28.
The Washington boys got two great performances from junior Steffen Mount. He won the individual 200 free in 1:45.90, and later added a win in the 100 free in 47.35.
Gulf Breeze High School performed exceptionally well in the 50 free events. Sophomore Tori Bindi won the girls’ race in 23.66, with Brianna Mount, older sister to Steffen, taking 2nd in 23.83. In the boys’ version, Gulf Breeze freshman Anthony Davis took the day with a 22.05.
The District 10 meet, which is schools in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, area, featured a slug-fest on the girls’ side between Estero and Cape Coral.
Estero won the first three events of the day, including a 1:53.53 in the 200 free from sophomore Kaitlyn Hauser, before Cape Coral fought back with a win in the 50 free from Kasey Swartley.
Cape Coral really dug back into things with a big diving performance. Sophomore Megan Galbreath won the 1-meter event, and Cape Coral took four of the top 6 spots (all with underclassmen too).
After the dive break, though, Estero came right back with a win in the 100 fly from freshman Bean Faunce.
Cape Coral’s Swartley won another won, taking the 100 free in 54.84 as part of a 1-2 with fellow Cape Coral junior Sarah Dostie.
Cape Coral then rattled off two more victories, before their roll was ended by Estero’s Courtney DeVeny in the 100 back with a 59.51.
By then, even a 1-2-3 finish in the 100 breaststroke and a two-second win in the 400 free relay wasn’t enough to pull CC back into the meet, and Estero ended up winning by just under 30 points.
On the boys’ side, it was Cape Coral that ran away with the title, though runners-up Naples had some good individual performances.
Among the winners for CC included Jason Tillotson with a 2:00.35 in the 200 IM; expect him to be down in the mid 1:50 range by the time state rolls around. They also got a win from junior Cory Klemm in the 100 breaststroke, who was a 59.50 (he beat Tillotson in that race.)
Naples got a win in the 200 freestyler from sophomore Shawn Lemarie. He was a 1:44.98; Lemarie also won the 500 free in 4:44.09. He’s a rising distance swimmer in Central Florida.
The sweep in District 12 went to Gulliver Prep, with Miami’s Doral taking 2nd in both the boys’ and girls’ scoring.
The Gulliver Prep girls are a very young team. That was evidenced in races like the 100 fly, where 9th grader Brooke Ellis won in 59.89, and 8th-grader Alicia Mancilla took 2nd in 1:00.48.
While the Gulliver Prep girls put on nearly a sweep of the meet (they won 8 of 11 races), but the Doral boys started their meet sharp, first with a win in the 200 medley relay, going 1:43.34 to Gulliver Prep’s 1:46.15, and then with a runaway victory from Alex Arrieta in the 200 free with a 1:45.76.
Of the five different swimmers involved in those two wins for Doral, two were sophomores, two were freshmen, and just one was a senior. That’s an unusual combination for a boys meet.
The Gulliver Prep boys, in fact, didn’t win a single race for the entirety of the meet, but still managed to walk away with the team title by nearly 170 points! That’s a scoring anomaly to be sure.
Among those who did win, St. Brendan’s Wayne Denswil won in 58.76, and Doral freshman Adriano Martinez took the 100 back in 56.39.
And finally, perhaps the deepest of the Class 2A districts, Riviera Beach-Suncoast won the girls’ meet, while American Heritage (Plantation) won the boys’ meet.
The boys’ meet really sparkled here. American Heritage won the 200 medley relay 1:39.72-1:40.85.
American Heritage got a win in the 200 free from Julien Pinon, but it was no easy win. The sophomore took the 200 free in 1:45.50, but Suncoast’s William Pisani was just back in 1:45.54, as was his teammate Jacob Pavlock in 1:45.74.
That was one of a number of great races at this meet. Cardinal Gibbons” Chad Moody won the 100 fly in 54.05, just holding off big finishes from Suncoast’s Jacob Pavlock (53.35) and American Heritage’s Fernando Bohorquez (53.68).
When the end of the meet rolled around, though, the final 400 free relay was all American Heritage. They swam a 3:13.80 to win by 12 seconds after going 1-2-3 in the individual 100 freestyle race.
In the women’s meet, Suncoast’s Jena Pisani, the younger sister of boys’ runner-up William, took the victory in 1:56.83 as just a freshman. She also added a 5:08.48 to take the 500 free.