Florida High School 4A Roundup: Regional Meet Highlights & State Preview

The Florida High School Athletic Association’s 2017 state meet series is in full swing, with the Class 4A regional meets now complete. The top 24 swimmers from the combined regions will move on to the Class 4A State Swimming and Diving Championships.

Below are the links you need to view regional meet results and state qualifiers, as well as a list of regional champions and a few highlights from the meets.

NOTE: This article covers class 4A only. Class 3A will be given its own recap. You can find the class 1A regional wrap up here and the 2A wrap up here.

FHSAA CLASS 4A REGIONAL CHAMPIONS

  • Region 1: Oviedo boys, Buchholz girls
  • Region 2: Riverview boys, Plant girls
  • Region 3: Boca Raton boys, Jupiter girls
  • Region 4: Cypress Bay boys, Cypress Bay girls

CLASS 4A REGIONAL MEET HIGHLIGHTS

Region 1 Meet:

Competing in her first season in class 4A, Buchholz’s Isabel Ivey took the region by a storm. Ivey swam to an Automatic All-American qualifying standard in the 200 free, turning in a 1:46.50 to dominate the race by 6 seconds. She blew the field away in the 100 breast as well, topping the field by 5 seconds in 1:03.61.

Teammate Kaitlyn Cronin also put up an AA-A time, winning the 50 free in 23.19 ahead of defending state champ Talia Bates, another Buchholz swimmer, who put up an AA-C time of 23.56. Bates then took 2nd in the 100 fly, touching in 55.66 behind Oviedo’s Abigail Gibbons (54.92). The top 3 in that event all went AA-C times as well, as Winter Park’s Caroline Cooper (55.75) finished 3rd. Cronin, the defending state champ, returned to win the 100 free in 50.58, followed by a tie between Flagler Palm Coast freshman Micayla Cronk (50.90) and Buchholz’s Kirschtine Balbuena (50.90) as all 3 swimmers hit the AA-C mark. Balbuena won the 200 IM early in the session in 2:04.37.

The Buchholz girls had a dominant showing. In addition to those wins, defending state champ Caitlin Brooks swam to an AA-A time of 53.86 to win the 100 back. Picking up an AA-C time on the girls’ side was Mandarin’s Kensey McMahon with a 4:56.26 victory in the 500 free.

On the boys’ side, a pair of Buchholz swimmers picked up a winning double. Mason Wilby was the only swimmer to break 50 in the 100 fly, turning in an AA-C time of 48.73 to outswim defending state champ Nick Hackett (50.45) of Fleming Island. That was a new best time for Wilby, clipping the 48.80 he swam at 2016 Winter Juniors. He then won the 100 back, an event in which he’s the defending state champion, in 51.46. Teammate Julian Hill swept the middle distance races, posting a 1:40.63 to top Hackett (1:42.22) in the 200 free. He completed the sweep with a 4:39.10 in the 500 free.

A new State Record was set in the girls’ 200 free relay, as Buchholz took down the mark. Bates (23.41 leadoff), Cronin (23.16), Georgia Bates (23.43), and Ivey (23.21) combined for a 1:33.21, taking over half a second off the former mark of 1:33.90 set by Bolles back in 2009.

Region 2 Meet:

Defending state champion Morgan Tankersley of Plant, who set State Records in both the 200 free and 500 free last season, won the 200 free handily in 1:50.78. In the 500 free, however, she fell to Riverview’s Emma Weyant, who turned in an AA-C time of 4:53.00. Tankersley touched in 4:58.12 for 2nd place, finishing a couple of second shy of her 4:56.18 from districts. Weyant also won the 200 IM, using a 35.68 breaststroke split to come from 3 seconds behind and win it in 2:05.57.

Countryside’s Robert Finke won both of his races. Finke, the defending state champion in both, swam to victory in the 200 IM and 500 free. In the 200 IM, he pulled away from teammate Joey Licht (1:53.93) on the back half, winning in 1:52.79 while Licht held on for bronze behind Riverview’s Brett Riley (1:53.82). Finke returned to set the pace in the 500 free early on, leading from start to finish in 4:33.89. Licht came back to win a gold of his own in the 100 back, touching in 51.00 ahead of Riley (51.54).

George Steinbrenner’s Lexie Mulvilhill picked up an AA-C time in the 50 free. She was the only swimmer to break 24 seconds with a quick 23.30. Strawberry Crest’s Celi Guzman also accomplished the AA-C standard with her 56.20 to win the 100 back,

Region 3 Meet:

Park Vista’s Kyle DiMatteo swept the boys’ sprints with a pair of AA-C times. DiMatteo, the 2016 runner-up in the 100 free, first won the 50 free in a quick 20.89. He returned for the 100 free, blasting a personal best 45.21 to take the win in a time that was 4 tenths faster than his swim from 2016 states.

St Thomas’ Carlos Vasquez-Moreno picked up a pair of wins. In the 200 free, he ran down Boca Bobcats’ Cameron Taddonio in the final 50 yards to win it 1:41.29 to 1:41.79. That was a big best time for both swimmers, as they had never broken 1:45 before. Vasquez-Moreno later won the 100 fly in 50.32, knocking over a second and a half off his best time. Taddonio went on the win the 500 free with an AA-C time of 4:31.70. That slashed over 11  seconds off his former best time.

On the girls’ side Forest Hill’s Anna Auld swept the middle distance races. She used her back half speed to pull ahead of Verot Beach’s Elizabeth Richardson (1:54.05) in the 200 free, winning in 1:53.02. Auld then dominated the 500 free, turning in an AA-C time of 4:55.10 for the win. Teammate Megan Murphy joined her in taking 2 individual golds, winning the 50 free (24.14) and 100 back (56.48). Her time in the 100 back shaved just over a tenth off her best time.

Region 4 Meet:

Defending state champion Kathleen Golding of Cooper City blew away the field in the 200 IM, building up to a near 8-second lead as she dominated in an AA-C time of 2:02.51. Golding returned with another AA-C time in the 100 free, winning by body lengths in 50.90. With that time in the 100 free, Golding is now in a 3-way tie for the 2nd seed at the state meet.

Teammate Heath Brames was the only other swimmer to win both of his individual races in region 4. He had a thrilling battle in the 200 free with Cypress Bay’s Diego Machado in the 200 free, as they were separated by just 3 hundredths, 50.60 to 50.63 at the halfway point. Brames pulled ahead on the 3rd 50, taking a lead of about half a second, but Machado hammered home to try and chase him down. At the finish, Machado came up just short, as Brames won it 1:43.09 to 1:43.10. That was a new best time for Brames by nearly 3 seconds.

Brames went on to win the 100 free, once again winning a tight battle by a hundredth. He flipped almost exactly even with West Broward’s Juan Serna at the 50-yard mark, but clipped Sera on the back half to win it 47.48 to 47.49. Both swimmers who came up just short to Brames picked up an individual win of their own. Machado won the 100 fly in 52.19, while Serna won the 50 free in 21.77.

2017 FHSAA 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW:

The state meet for class 4A is set to take place on Friday, November 10th. Swimmers will compete in both prelims and finals, with the top 8 swimmers out of prelims advancing to the ‘A’/championship final to compete for medals and points, and the 9th through 16th place swimmers out of prelims competing for points in the ‘B’/consolation final.

Below are a few of the big races and swimmers to watch. Stay tuned for these swims and more at the big showdown on Friday.

Stanford commit Morgan Tankersley of Plant looks to lead her team to a state title, but they’ll have a tough battle with 2016 champion Buchholz competing against them. Tankersley is the defending state champion in the 200 free and 500 free after setting the State Record in both events last season, as well as breaking the 100 free State Record on the 400 free relay leadoff.

One of the biggest threats to Tankersley is Buchholz’s Isabel Ivey in the 200 free. Ivey, a 2016 champion in the 200 IM and 50 free, transferred to Buchholz after winning 2 individual class 1A titles for Oak Hall last season. Ivey leads the way heading into the meet with a 1:46.50, and her personal best 1:43.64 makes her a threat to Tankersley’s State Record. Tankersley’s record, which is also her best time, stands at a 1:44.31 form last season. Whoever wins this race will likely sweep their individual titles. Ivey is the favorite in the 100 breast, and Tankersley, despite coming in 2nd at regionals, is the favorite in the 500 free with a best time of 4:37.60.

U.S. World Championships team member and Florida commit Robert Finke, a Countryside senior, is set up to defend his titles in the 200 IM and 500 free. Finke, who hold a best time of 4:20.86, will look to break the 4:20 barrier for the first time. He’s the only returner to have broken 1:50 in the state final last season with his personal best 1:49.34.

Cooper City’s Kathleen Golding Looks to threepeat in the 200 IM. Golding has closed in on the 2:00 barrier multiple times, including posting a 2:00-low at each of the last 2 state championship meets. Golding is also in the running for a 100 free state title, as she’s tied for 2nd seed with Flagler Palm Coast freshman Micayla Cronk and Buchholz’s Kirschtine Balbuena. However, she’ll be up against Buchholz’s Kaitlyn Cronin, the favorite to win and defending champion.

Buchholz has several girls in contention to defend state titles. In addition to Ivey and Cronin, Talia Bates has a shot at defending her titles in both the 50 free and 100 fly. In the 50 free, Cronin will challenge her, as Cronin is the top seed. Bates will rematch 2016 runner-up Abigail Gibbons of Oviedo, the top seed, in the 100 fly. In the 100 back, Buchholz’s defending champ Caitlin Brooks is the heavy favorite to win.

Fleming Island’s Nick Hackett, the 2016 champ in the 200 free and 100 fly, will battle for both titles again this season. He and Riverview’s Brendan Firlie will rematch in the 200 free after Hackett touched out Firlie by less than 3 tenths for the title last season. Hackett’s biggest threat in the 100 fly is Buchholz’s  Mason Wilby, who put up a lifetime best 48.73 to top Hackett at regionals. Wilby is the favorite to to win the 100 back, which he won at last season’s states.

In the boys’ sprints, Park Vista’s Kyle DiMatteo looks like the man to beat. DiMatteo, the 2016 runner-up in the 100 free, is the top seed for both sprints at states. He’s the only swimmer to have broken 21 seconds and 46 seconds respectively in the 50 and 100 freestyles this season, leading the way after closing in on his personal best with  20.89 in the 50 and putting up a lifetime best 45.21 in the 100 at regionals.

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Bucholz girls also set a 200 Free Relay State record at regionals

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently working on her M.A. in …

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