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By Emily Messina, Swimming World College Intern
Swimmers in Florida’s Class 4A are preparing for the culmination of their high school season with their State Championship coming up this Saturday, November 5th. The meet will be held at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center.
At the 2015 State Championship, FW Buchholz High School finished first by a large margin in the Women’s Team ranking.
With multiple defending state champions returning, they will look to continue their dominance. They have the one-two punch in the 50 Freestyle with sophomore duo of Talia Bates and Kaitlyn Cronin. Bates is reining state champion in the 50, with Cronin finishing third in 2015. Additionally, Bates is seeded second going into the 100 Butterfly. Buchholz also has both the first and second spots in the 100 Freestyle with Kirschtine Balbuena and Cronin, respectively. They again hold seed number one, Caitlin Brooks, and two, Balbuena, with the 100 Backstroke. Brooks topped the field last year in this event. They will look to score major points with number four seed Maddie Fillmer in diving. Leah Reisker and Julia Rodriguez will also help the team out in the fight to repeat their victory. Additionally, Buchholz holds the top spot in the 200 Medley Relay and 200 Freestyle Relay.
In hopes to chase down FW Buccholz, Riverview (Sarasota) has some tough underclassmen to fight for the top spots.
Sophomore Christina Cianciolo will return in the 200 and 500 Freestyles. Also returning is senior Lara Hernandez–Tome. Additionally, rookies Savannah Barr and Emma Weyan will provide a strong showing for Riverview. Unfortunately, Spence Atkins, 2015 champion in the 500 Freestyle, graduated and so she will not be in the pool this year.
Look for the return of Plant’s Morgan Tankersley. She will be defending her title in the 200 Freestyle where she seeded less than a second away from the state record. She also holds the top spot in the 500 Freestyle.
On the men’s side, Riverview (Sarasota) was extremely dominant in 2015, becoming State Champions by garnering over 180 more points than second place, Countryside (Clearwater).
Juniors Nicholas Hernandez–Tome and Brendan Firlie present a strong showing in the 200 Freestyle. Hernandez-Tome and rookie Arik Katz have the second and third seeds, respectively, in the 500 Freestyle. Firlie is also swimming the 500. Senior Keanan Dols will fight for first in the 200 IM. In addition, Dols has the second seed in the 100 Backstroke, after finishing second in this event last year. He will be accompanied by Brett Riley. Riverview holds the top spot in the 200 Medley Relay. They graduated some key swimmers including Drew Clark, 500 state champion, and Jack Clark, and Campbell Lee. Austin Katz will not be returning to defend his titles in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke.
It was a tight race for second back in 2015 between Countryside (Clearwater) hitting the number two spot followed closely by Fleming Island.
Robert Finke of Countryside has the first seed in the 200 IM and the 500 Freestyle. Other top swimmers include Matt Monaghan in the 50 Freestyle and Joey Licht in the 100 Backstroke. They graduated Noah Lense, 100 Butterfly state champ.
For Fleming Island, Nick Hackett has the first spot in the 200 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly. He finished second in the fly last year. John Hutton is first going into the 100 Breaststroke. He will also be swimming the 200 IM. In addition, look for Jack Neely and Drew Heinton in the 50 Freestyle. Fleming Island is seeded first in the 200 and 400 Freestyle Relays.
The psych sheet is available here.