The Florida High School Swimming championship season has begun, and with regional and state championships yet to come, the first round of qualifying took place this past weekend in the district meets.
First, we’ll take a look at the highlights from the 1A meets. Remember that most of the top swimmers were probably completely unrested for this meet, with maybe small rests beginning before regionals and the big taper coming for the state championships on November 8th and 9th.
1A comprises the state’s smallest schools, predominantly, and specifically private schools.
Full Class 1A and 2A District results are available here. Class 3A and 4A district meets are next weekend. 1A and 2A Regionals are next weekend, and state the one after.
The Bolles boys and girls ran away with the District 2 titles.
That includes a boys’ 200 medley relay that swam a 1:36.87.These Bolles relays aren’t at the level where they were last year, when Ryan Murphy and Santo Condorelli, but they still have Joseph Schooling on the fly leg (he split 22.78) and Josh Booth leading off (24.04). It also includes a young freshman named James Daugherty, who split 28.27 on the breaststroke leg, who could be a future star for this team.
Schooling swam three relays altogether, which adds to his 100 fly individually that saw a 48.90. That’s actually a hair slower than he was at his district meet last year. Bolles overall took the top four spots in that race – including three guys going 52.6 and 52.7.
Schooling also led off Bolles’ 200 free relay in 21.78, followed by the Auburn-bound Booth in 21.3 as the relay finished in 1:27.34. There’s an error in the results of the 400 free relay, so we’re not sure who Bolles put on their relay, but they swam only a 3:17.26 at this early stage.
Individually, Josh Booth was a 1:44.54 in the 200 free, just ahead of teammate Scott Bole in 1:45.88. Bolles is using a similar strategy to last year, where their top swimmers are only in a single individual event, and then all three relays.
Also, the aforementioned Daugherty won the 100 breast in 1:02.16, and remember that’s as just a freshman.
On the girls’ side of that meet, the Bolles women were left swimming basically alone as realignment left Bishop Kenney out of the district.
Among the stars include Madeline Hoff, who won the 200 IM in 2:10.44, and Olga Lapteva and Hoff went 1-2 in the 100 breast in 1:06.0 and 1:06.6. Hoff also split a 30.2 on the breaststroke leg of the medley relay.
Junior Kasey Schmidt won the 50 free in 24.12, and added three relay swims as well: the best of which was a 23.40 anchor on the 200 medley relay.
District 4 in the Orlando area saw the tightest action of the weekend. Trinity Prep beat Lake Highlands Prep on the women’s side 526-509.4, and on the men’s side, Lake Highland Prep got some revenge with a 4 point win (543.5-539.5) that came down to LHP winning the meet’s final relay.
Among the top swims on the girls’ side was Trinity Prep’s 200 medley relay that swam a 1:48.85. That includes freshman Claire Maiocco splitting 25.90 on the fly leg: faster than most of the freestyle legs in that relay swam.
She was only the runner-up, though, in the 100 fly to Montverde’s Grace Redding 58.17-58.27. Redding also won the 50 free over Maiocco (and Abby Burke – just an 8th grader) with 24.54’s. Burke scored in two distance events as a 7th grader at last year’s state meet, and this year as an 8th grader has been more focused on sprints. She’s hugely talented, though.
The Trinity Prep girls swept the relays, which made the scoring difference after Lake Highland Prep DQ’ed their girls’ 200 free relay. This was a LHP team that returned a ton of points from their 5th-place finish at last year’s 1A state meet, and that DQ could cost them a top 3-4 finish at this year’s meet.
They did have a lot of really good individual swims, though. Junior Katie Duggan won the 200 free in 1:54.07, beating sophomore Kendall Dawson in 1:54.07. That was the same finish order in the 500 free – 4:59.00-5:00.87.
Trinity Prep also won the 100 back (Allie Parent – 57.74) and 100 breast (1:05.70).
On the men’s side, the stars included Duke-bound Lake Highland Prep senior Alex Pena, who won the 200 (1:45.2) and 500 (4:51.4) freestyles. LHP dominated Trinity in those distance events, taking top three spots in each.
Trinity’s program, however, did much better in the sprint events. Jackson Auer won the 50 free in 21.96 and the 100 free in 47.84.
A very good 3:15.1 from LHP on the 400 free relay closed the meet.
In District 12, which are schools in the Miami and Florida Keys area, Ransom Everglades swept the boys’ and girls’ titles in one of the biggest and deepest districts in the state, team-wise, with 11 teams on each side.
Ransom Everglades’ girls 200 medley relay, heavy on experience with three seniors, was a 1:48.19.
This was a meet that, as compared to what we saw around the Class 1A meets, was heavy on senior women. Olivia Katcher of Miami Country Day upped her recruiting value with a 1:51.93. That’s just a few tenths from her lifetime best, and we’re only at the district level. That was only .01 seconds behind the boys’ district champion in the same race. She also won the 500 free in 5:02.31.
If you thought a star 8th grader in District 4 was unusual, Miami Country Day has an even younger star. Andrea Santander won the district in the 50 free with a 24.59, and she’s in only 6th grade.
In the 100 free, Santander was a 52.42, just behind Ransom Everglades’ champion Laine Morgan in 51.72. Morgan also won the 100 back in 58.17.
And finally, Ransom senior Annie Valls was an All-American consideration time with a 1:04.90 to top the 100 breaststroke.
In the men’s meet, Mast High from Key Bisayne won the 200 medley running away in 1:41.62. Mast didn’t have the depth to compete with Everglades, but they do have some stars. That includes Guy Fernandes, a junior who won the 100 fly in 52.39, and the 100 back in 53.74.
But Everglades killed the relays with some very good young swimmers. Their 400 free relay was a 3:28.00 and included two freshman, including a 51.6 split from Mati Junghahn.
In District 11, the defending 1A third-place team Pine Crest won with a score of 527, and University School won the men’s meet with 472.5 points – just 25 ahead of the Pine Crest men.
The Bolles women are the defending state champions in 1A, and it wasn’t even close really. Bolles had 408.5 points, with St. Andrew’s 2nd in 251.5 and Pine Crest 3rd in 245.
After Pine Crest’s district meet, though, the queens could be dethroned in a couple of weeks.
They started with a 1:47.36 in the 200 medley relay – a full second better than Bolles. That included a 23.3 anchor from freshman Marta Ciesla. Ciesla also won the 50 free in 23.81 and the 100 free in 52.1, and led off the girls’ 200 free relay with a 24.1 to post a 1:37.4
There are a few spots, though, where they need to keep improving. In the 200 IM, Michigan commit Clara Smiddy won in 2:04.41 (representing home schooled swimmers), but Pine Crest went 2-3 from Tyla Martin (2:06.0) and Lindsey Swartz (2:07.9). They need at least one of those two to get into the top 6 or so at the state meet, which could require getting down to a 2:04 in finals.
In the 200 free, Sagemont’s Daniella van den Berg won in 1:53.62, and Pine Crest’s Julia Chui was 2nd in 1:54.85 – another spot where they need some drop at state.
Pine Crest sits in really good shape in the sprints as well as in diving, where junior Carolyn Chaney is the defending state champion on the 1-meter and they could have as many as three individual scorers in the 50 free.
Martin, a junior, picked up a district title in the 100 fly with a 56.0, which is faster than she was at the state prelims last year, and is another spot where Pine Crest is very good.
The best swim of the day, perhaps, was the 200 free relay, where Pine Crest was a 1:37.43. They only returned one swimmer from their state-title winning relay last year, but are already within a second of their state-title-winning time from last year – and that’s without using Ciesla, who is the district’s best sprinter.
Westminster Academy was also solid with a 1:39.10.
Smiddy dominated her second individual of the meet, with a 55.47 in the 100 backstroke: her best event. She was the only swimmer under a minute.
Smiddy was followed with a win by her future Wolverine teammate Emily Kopas of the University School, who won the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.17. Lindsey Swartz was 2nd in 1:05.69 for Pine Crest.
The Pine Crest women have a very young team, and if they don’t win the 1A title this year, they could even be the favorites in 2014. Their focus will have to be piling on multiple finalists early in the meet. After the dive break, Pine Crest has several opportunities to place swimmers in the top 1-2, but early in the meet there’s chances to have multiple swimmers in the A-final, which is where they can combat Bolles’ depth.
On the boys’ side, Kent Haeffner from Pine Crest and Marco Hosfeld from the University School had a great battle in the 200 fre. Haeffner won in 1:41.00 to Hosfeld’s 1:41.78.
Pine Crest won the first 3 events of the day. Senior Alex Evenson took the 200 IM in 1:56.47. At last year’s state meet, Evnenson didn’t even qualify for the A-Final, and this time is already a second faster than he was to win the B-Final a year ago.
University School’s Jordy Groters took the 50 free in 21.02; Sagemont’s Matheus Borges won the 100 free in 52.44, and North Broward Prep’s Anton Voronin won the 100 free in 47.84.
The University School took the men’s 200 free relay on the back of the Groters brothers. Jordy Groters, a senior, anchored in the 20.78, and his younger brother Patrick Groters, just an 8th-grader, was the team’s second-best split of 22.21.
Jordy Groters would pick up his second individual win in the 100 breaststroke with a 56.00. That swim was a lifetime best by a full second, and the publicly-uncommitted senior will probably start getting a lot more calls int he next few weeks as college coaches look for second-level guys who are still making big improvements as seniors.
District 10 is home to the Saint Andrew’s School, who took second at last year’s 1A girls’ meet and 3rd at the boys’ meet. They both won District 10 pretty handily.
Junior Megan Moroney won the 200 free in 1:51.64, and her junior partner-in-crime Rachael Bradford-Feldman followed her with a win in the 200 IM in 2:05.38.
Expect St. Andrew’s to be a popular recruiting stop next fall for coaches of women’s NCAA teams. Moroney looked great as she begins defense of her two state titles (the 200 free, and the 100 fly that she won in 55.93)
Bradford-Feldman also is the defending IM champion, but in the 100 breaststroke she was the runner-up last year and faces a ton of competition. So-far, so-good, though as she won the district title in 1:05.56. Pine School’s Emma Madden had a great swim as well in her last district meet with a 1:06.02 for 2nd.
Madden was second in the 100 free as well in 53.59, behind Saint Andrew’s Brenna Ruth in 53.29.
Benjamin High’s Alessandra Baldari, just an 8th grader, won the 500 free at this meet in 5:08.30.
Saint Andrew’s maybe lacks the sprint depth to compete for the 1A state title this year themselves. Ruth didn’t swim the 200 free relay, which left them in 1:41.68. Their 400 free relay, though, was stacked with Moroney, Ruth, Bradford-Feldman, and McKenna Keith who swam a 3:31.97 to win and break the Pool Record at the St. Andrew’s pool. That included a 51.5 leadoff from Moroney.
The St. Andrew’s boys’ team has some work to do still if they want to wind up in the state’s top three again. Their best swims included a 47.9 win in the 100 free from senior Luke Hayhoe (he also won the 100 back in 54.22), but overall this district meet was just solid, but not great, for them.
Junior Nicholas Conrad will have to step up big this year after the graduation of Quinn Cassidy. Conrad won the 50 free in 22.3, but was only 49.2 in the 100 free for 2nd.
And finally, a quick trip out to Tampa for district 7 to check on Arizona commit Rasmus Skjaerpe of Tampa Prep. Skjaerpe’s best events are really the 200 fly and 200 back, which aren’t on the high school schedule, but he did do well in the 200 IM, with a 1:58.19, and a 51.66 in the 100 back.