Pine Crest Uses Impressive Depth to Sweep Florida 2A State Championships

Florida High School Athletic Association
Photo Courtesy: FHSAA Twitter (@fhsaa)

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The Florida 2A Swimming and Diving State Championships took place on Nov. 8 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart, Fla.

For the first time in 29 years, Pine Crest earned their 28th Girls 2A title in program history. Pine Crest also claimed the 2A crown on the boys’ side, winning their 17th title for the first time in in 32 seasons.

Click HERE for full meet results and team scores.

Girls Meet

Top 5 Team Scores:

1. Pine Crest – 448
2. Estero – 200
3. Gulliver Prep – 182.5
4. Holy Names – 170
5. Jensen Beach – 137

Pine Crest began their winning ways as Julia Podkoscielny (25.91), Sara Lin (29.54), Esther Lin (25.82), and R. Botting (23.10) opened the meet as 4×50 medley relay champions with a time of 1:44.37. Andrea Santander (23.52), R. Botting (23.33), Hanna Smith (24.23), and Isabella Chambers (23.58) also won the 4×50 free relay in 1:34.66

Soon after helping her team win medley relay gold, Podkoscielny was back in the water to win the 200 IM in a fast 2:00.46. The freshman capped off her standout rookie campaign by adding the state title in the 100 back as well, cruising to the wall in 54.76 for the victory. It was a 1-2 punch for Pine Crest in the 100 free as senior Santander posted the quickest time of the day in 50.46 to win ahead of teammate R. Botting (51.02). Botting also took gold in the 50 free in a swift 23.48.

Jensen Beach’s Blair Stoneburg dominated the 200 free, winning by three seconds in 1:47.38 as the only swimmer in the field to crack the 1:50-barrier. Not too long after that, she found herself on top of the podium for the second time of the day after getting her hands to the wall first in the 100 fly with a time of 54.34 to edge out Clay’s Sara Stotler (54.35).

Estero’s Cadence Fort was the first of only two swimmers in the race to break five minutes in the 500 free, doing so in 4:56.32 for the win. Pine Crest’s Riley Botting also snuck under the barrier to claim second in 4:57.83. Mater Lakes’ Michelle Fernandez got her hands to the wall in 1:04.26 to win the 100 breast, just ahead of second-place finisher Lin (1:04.36).

On the 1-meter board, Dunedin’s Alexa Atherholt won after posting a final score of 405.80. Pine Crest made it a relay sweep as Podkoscielny (50.90), Santander (51.59), R. Botting (52.91), and Chambers (52.03) sealed the victory by winning the 4×100 free relay in 3:27.43.

Boys Meet

Top 5 Team Scores:

1. Pine Crest – 296
2. Montverde – 187.5
3. Jesuit – 174
4. Gulliver Prep – 152
4. Stanton College Prep – 109

Like the girls, Pine Crest started the meet with a win in the 4×50 medley relay as Elvis Kotikovski (23.89), Joshua Hanks (25.23), Will Taner (22.50), and Luc Ferrara (22.45) combined in 1:34.07. Taner then went on to win the 100 back in 49.76 as the only swimmer in the race to crack the 50-second mark.

It was a tight race in the 200 free as Alexander W. Dreyfoos’ Reese Branzell won the 200 free in 1:39.45, just ahead of runner-up Victor Rosado (1:39.75) of Northeast. Branzell’s second gold medal of the day came in the 100 free, where he posted the winning time of 44.89.

Pine Crest’s Joshua Hanks posted a three-second victory in the 200 IM, winning in 1:49.86 as the only swimmer to crack the 1:50 mark. He then found himself on top of the podium yet again after touching the wall in 56.22 for the win in the 100 breast. The 500 free also proved to be a tight race: Bishop Moore Catholic’s Zachary Brewer got his hand to the wall first in 4:34.41, just slightly ahead of runner-up Clyde Crouse (4:34.48) of Cypress Creek.

Pompano Beach’s Raphael Santos splashed-and-dashed his way to a win in the 50 free, stopping the clock in a swift 20.96. Pine Crest’s Kevin Mendez dove to first place after posting a total score of 508.55 on the 1-meter board. Stanton College Prep’s William Jones flew to the top of the podium in the 100 fly, claiming the state title with a time of 48.49.

Montverde’s Pedro Helou (21.35), Joao Correia (22.16), Caio Cavarsan (21.92), and Arthur Horr (21.79) teamed up to win the 4×50 free relay in 1:27.22. Pine Crest’s Taner (45.42), Jimmy Hart (46.71), Kotikovski (47.37), and Ferrara (49.92) secured their overall team title by concluding the meet as champions in the 4×100 free relay in a final time of 3:09.42.