FORT LAUDERDALE, FL., Dec. 15. MEMO to University of Georgia coach Jack Bauerle:
"Yo Jack, baby, check out this kid Stephanie Margalis at Clearwater High in Florida. You just might know about her but if not…she's a senior this and she'd make a great addition to your program for next fall.
"What's that? You already DO know her personally? Well all right, Jackson!"
He'd better. Margalis is the kid sister of current University of Georgia sophomore Robert, who was a member of the United States' World Championship
team last summer at Fukuoka, swimming the 400 IM.
"Little" Stephanie is rapidly coming into her own and had an excellent meet during the Florida 3A state championships at the Hall of Fame Pool here the
Saturday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 17). She won the 200 free (pr 1:49.93) then went 4:52.67 to win the 500 for her alma mater Clearwater High.
Both times are among the national leaders for the 2001-02 season.
However, her fine showing was not enough for a team title as Altamonte Springs'Lake Brantley, fourth last season, moved to the top of the heap this fall to claim the girls' championship. On the boys' side, Sarasota, 13th last season, made a quantum leap to win the crown.
Lake Brantley was led by verseatile junior Kerry McFadden, who won the 200 IM (2:06.34 to Manatee's Nicole Samilo's 2:09.12) and was runner-up to Coral
Springs' Leila Vaziri in the 100 back (56.21-57.47).
She also anchored her school's runner-up 400 free relay and led off the 200 medley relay that also won the silver.
Sarasota junior Annie Babicz, a talented up-and-coming age grouper, splashed to a pair of golds in the 100 fly (55.38) and 100 breast (state-record 1:01.98). The Florida 3A fly record is 55.11 by St. Andrews' Tori DeSilvia from a dozen years ago, and the state standard in the 100 breast was a 1:02.35, also by DeSilvia. Interestingly, she also holds the New York
state public school records in these races too as she attended high school there after starting in Florida.
DeSilvia went on to become an All-America at the University of Tennessee and still holds several Vol records.
Babicz also collect a pair of relay golds in the 200 medley and 400 free, anchoring in a quick 51.25.
The sprints were divided between Boca Raton's Ryan Hackett (50, 23.75) and teammate Natalie Pike (100, 50.67). Hackett won the silver in this latter race with her 51.79 clocking.
One-meter diving honors went to Cooper City froshwoman Kara Salamone (489.65) while her teammate, sophomore Lindsay Lowell (462.46) was runner-up.
Winter Park was quiickest in the 200 free relay (1:40.14) while Seminole (1:40.47) was second and Lake Brantley (1:41.58) third.
* * * * *
On the boys' side, Sarasota parlayed its depth to win the team title, as its sole victory came in the 200 medley relay (1:36.41) with Spruce Creek next (1:38.32). They also finished second in the 200 free relay and third in the 400 free.
Sarasota's highest individual finisher was senior breaststroker Ryan Falk, who went a 59.20 to Spruce Creek's Tom Bradley's 57.94.
Spruce Creek senior Ryan Lochte emulated Margalis' feat by winning the 200 free (1:38.60) and 500 (4:25.54) — the latter, the season's fastest time nationally. In the 500, the second-place finisher was some 13 seconds in arrears too, so had Lochte been pushed he might have had a shot at the 3A record of 4:23.90 by Cardinal Newman's Matt Cetlinski from 1982.
How'd Cetlinski fare after high school?
He became an All-America/NCAA champ at the University of Florida in the mid-'80s and until last year held the American record in the 400 meter free, that he set at the Seoul Olympics 13 years ago. His 500 pr (4:14.85) still ranks him 10th on the all-time performers' list.
Another doubler was Winter Park senior Joel Roycik, who set a state-record in the 50 free (20.41, No. 1 nationally) and 100 fly (pr 49.53) with Martin County senior Chris Fowler (49.98) second.
The Florida 3A record is 47.60 by Bolles' Anthony Nesty from 1986. A Surinam native, Nesty had a stellar career under Coach Randy Reese at the
University of Florida. Two years after going that 47.6, Nesty won the Olympic 100 fly gold at Seoul by .01 over America's Matt Biondi — still his
country's only Olympic medal in any sport.
Nesty won the silver four years later at Barecelona and is now an assistant coach for the Gators.
Winter Park was the home of former Florida (and Fort Lauderdale Swim Team star) Andy Coan, who set a world-record in the 100 meter free while still a prepster in the summer of 1975. Coan then competed for Coach Ray Bussard's University of Tennessee Vols, became an All-America collegian and set American records in the 100-200 frees at the 1979 NCAAs.
Other winners included Wolfson soph Andrew Bergren in the 200 IM (1:53.74); Olympic Heights junior Jevon Tarantino on the 1-meter board (626.05); Plant City senior Tommy Pollack in the 100 free (46.25 with a pr 45.89 in the prelims); Winter Park's 200 free relay (1:26.65); Fowler in the 100 back (50.99); Bradley in the 100 breast and Spruce Creek's 3:09.12 to win the 400 free relay, with Winter Park a close second (3:09.43).
Lochte, 200-500 free champ, anchored in a fast 45.48. Winter Park's Roycik was even quicker on the end, 44.93.
Complete results are available at: www.fhsaa.org.
– Bill Bell