Winkler, Pelaez Shine As Bolles Sweeps Team Titles At FHSAA Class 1A State Championships

FHSAA CLASS 1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Nov. 3-4, 2023
  • Florida Aquatics Swimming & Training (FAST)
    • Ocala, Florida
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Full Results (PDF)

Kaii Winkler’s pair of overall national high school records in the 100 free (42.14) and 200 free (1:32.68) stole the headlines this weekend at the FHSAA Class 1A State Championships, as the South Florida HEAT senior successfully defended his titles from last year.

Winkler set the 100 free record leading off the South Florida HEAT 400 free relay, while his 200 free mark came en route to winning the individual event.

He also won the 100 fly in a time of 46.33, going well under his previous PB of 46.94 to move into a tie for 40th all-time in the boys’ 17-18 age group. His freestyle performances rank him 6th in the age group in both.

Winkler also led off the 200 free relay in 19.59, just shy of his lifetime best of 19.44 set in March.

Joining Winkler in setting new records at the meet was his teammate and fellow NC State commit Erika Pelaez, who lowered three of her own individual state records. She won her fourth career state title in the 50 free (21.98) and her third consecutive state title in the 100 back (in a personal best of 51.29) while also blazing a new PB of 47.78 in the 100 free leading off South Florida HEAT’s 400 free relay. The relay leadoff shaved a tenth of a second off Pelaez’s lifetime best from last week and moved her up from 15th to 11th all-time in the girls’ 17-18 age group.

That performance spearheaded the team’s triumph in the 400 free relay, preventing a Bolles relay sweep as the HEAT won in a state title of 3:19.39, with Bolles close behind in 3:20.26.

Pelaez concluded a remarkable high school career that saw her capture two individual 1A state titles each year for the past five seasons. The homeschooled sprint star triumphed in the 50 free (22.86) and 100 free (49.37) as an eighth grader, the 50 free (22.52) and 100 free (49.47) as a freshman, the 50 free (22.29) and 100 back (52.34) as a sophomore, and the 100 back (51.78) and 100 fly (52.12) as a junior.

Also winning two individual events was P.K. Yonge senior Lillie Nesty, who swept the 200 free (1:44.86) and 500 free (4:43.12) in best times, dropping more than five seconds in the latter event. The Texas commit also topped the podium in the 200 free as a junior (1:46.65).

In the team race, Bolles dominated, with the boys winning their 36th title in a row and the girls picking up their 33rd straight.

A trio of Bolles swimmers secured repeat victories on the boys’ side, with senior Carter Lancaster doing so in the 200 IM in a time of 1:45.80, leading a 1-2-3-4 charge for the team with Sascha Macht (1:46.32) taking the runner-up spot.

Junior Andy Kravchenko and senior Landon Kyser also successfully defended their titles, with Kravchenko breaking 20 seconds for the first time in the 50 free in a time of 19.90 and Kyser logging a new PB of 48.21 in the 100 back.

Kravchenko also featured on all three Bolles relays that swept the boys’ events, with things kicking off in the 200 medley relay where Kyser (22.48), Wyatt Porch (25.19), Macht (21.01) and Kravchenko (19.63) clocked 1:28.31 to come within 29 one-hundredths of the 11-year-old state record.

Kravchenko then went sub-20 for the second time leading off the 200 free relay, clocking 19.96 to combine with Seth Tolentino (20.08), Anthony Whittall (19.93) and Lancaster (20.13) for a time of 1:20.10.

Things closed out in the 400 free relay where Kravchenko (44.64), Tolentino (44.24), Xavier Sohovich (44.39) and Lancaster (44.78) finished in 2:58.05 to top Winkler’s runner-up HEAT squad by seven and a half seconds.

Sohovich picked up an individual win of his own in the 100 free (44.53), while other Bolles winners on the boys’ side included sophomore Dillon Brigman in the 500 free (4:30.00), and junior Eldad Zamir in the 100 breast (54.31). Porch was the runner-up in the 100 breast (54.71) as Bolles went 1-2-3.

On the girls’ side, Bolles set a new state record in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:40.93, as Lucero Mejia Arce (25.30), Victoria Edgar (28.75), Julia Murphy (23.93) and Katherine Meyers-Labenz (22.95) smashed the previous mark of 1:42.04 set by Riverview last year.

In the 200 free relay, Meyers-Labenz (23.30), Murphy (22.84), Lila Higgo (22.55) and Simany Lee (22.53) clocked 1:31.22 to break the previous state record of 1:31.66, set by a Buchholz squad in 2017 that included Talia Bates and Isabel Ivey.

Individually, Murphy topped the 100 fly podium in 53.96 this year after placing 2nd last year behind Pelaez, while Higgo took the 200 IM title in 1:59.52 placing 4th last year in her previous-best time of 2:02.14.

OTHER WINNERS

  • St. Andrew’s senior Aspen Gersper won her second straight 100 free title (49.05). The Virginia commit won last year in 49.15 and owns a personal-best 48.94 from March.
  • Montverde Academy senior Emily Santos won the girls’ 100 breast in a time of 1:01.44, dipping under her previous best time by four one-hundredths. She also split a blazing 27.91 on Montverde’s 200 medley relay swimming breaststroke. Santos won the 100 breast in a tight race with Kings Academy’s Aly Bozzuto (1:01.88), who was the runner-up last year over Santos’ 3rd-place showing.
  • Charlotte Norman, a senior out of the Community School of Naples, dominated the girls’ 1-meter diving event by nearly 100 points with a score of 523.60.
  • Pine Crest School’s Allen Levitis moved up one spot from last year to win the boys’ diving event with a score of 529.95, well clear of teammate Max Starkman (491.55).

TEAM SCORES (TOP 5)

Girls

  1. Bolles (Jacksonville), 469.5
  2. South Florida HEAT, 251
  3. King’s Academy, 182.5
  4. Saint Andrew’s School, 178
  5. Montverde Academy, 132

Boys

  1. Bolles (Jacksonville), 628
  2. Saint Andrew’s School, 157
  3. King’s Academy, 146
  4. Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale), 128
  5. South Florida HEAT, 123

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Sally
8 months ago

Why have this meet if Bolles always wins

Last edited 8 months ago by Sally
Admin
Reply to  Sally
8 months ago

Is the only goal of high school sport to win the championship?

If so…let’s shut the whole thing down.

Curious George
Reply to  Sally
8 months ago

Why have this meet if Mission Viejo Nadadores, Sarasota Sharks, TAC Titans, etc. etc. always win? There is always a winner in sports it’s the nature of competition.

Noah
8 months ago

How did she swim as an 8th grader

Admin
Reply to  Noah
8 months ago

Some states allow kids to swim high school meets before starting high school.

swimster
Reply to  Braden Keith
8 months ago

so homeschool students can swim as a “team” and 8th graders can swim for high school state championships.

Admin
Reply to  swimster
8 months ago

That’s correct.

I don’t know of other states that allow homeschooled kids to form a team (though in many, they can swim for the school they’re zoned to). There are other states where you can swim for the local HS as a middle schooler though. Minnesota comes to mind.

Curious George
8 months ago

Reporter Zachariah did a better job informing the top 5 teams at The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) State Championships. We understand that Pelaez and Winkler are stand outs but how about providing more detailed information on the other teams and records.

KPS
8 months ago

Brigman was 4:30.00 in finals

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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