Palm Harbor University sweeps PCAC swim titles
ST. PETERSBURG — Another Pinellas County Athletic Conference swim meet, another sweep of team titles for Palm Harbor University.
With numbers no other boys or girls team were able to match, the Hurricanes racked up the points to separate themselves from the field.
PHU’s boys team won its 11th title in the past 13 seasons, outscoring Countryside 458-346. The school’s girls team scored 474 points — 172.5 more than runnerup Osceola — to win its eighth straight conference title.
“I knew we had a good chance of winning because we did well in a dual meet against Countryside and our depth would be an even bigger factor in a meet of this size,” Hurricanes coach Lisa Bitting said.
Still, there were some concerns. Bitting uses the meet to gauge where her teams are heading into the stretch run of the regular season. She wondered how much the four-day layoff from Hurricane Irma would factor with the times her swimmers recorded.
“To have any time away from the pool is tough, especially at such a critical point in the season,” Bitting said. “But I was pleased with how fast we were able to swim. It bodes well for the postseason.”
PHU’s Jakob Mowry won the 50 free (22.27) and teamed with Greg Hamble, Matthew Horn and Michael Gottlieb on the winning 200 free relay (1:30.62). Nik Misaderov was the Hurricanes’ other champion, taking first in the 100 fly (53.26).
Countryside’s Robert Finke, the defending state champion in the 200 and 500 free, cruised to victories in both events. The senior won the 200 free in 1:40.52 and the 500 free 4:37.01. Teammate Joey Licht was first in the 200 IM (1:53.85) and 100 back (51.24). They teamed with Ryan Rosal and Joey Burns on the winning 200 medley relay (1:38.00) and with Burns and Peyton Walters on the winning 400 free relay (3:15.06).
Chase Gehab, a senior at East Lake, won the 100 breast in a meet-record 58.24 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 58.46 set by PHU’s David Morgan in 2011.
Seminole’s Jordan Graham won the 200 IM (2:10.67) and Northeast’s Colton Gray took first in the 100 free (46.90).
On the girls side, the Hurricanes’ 200 free relay team of Hannah Hansen, Alexis Hernandez-Flores, Christina Neri and Amber Shirley won in 1:42.40. Neri and Hernandez-Flores also teamed with Ally Swan and Stephanie Hernandez on the winning 400 free relay (3:38.56).
PHU’s lone individual champion was Ana Dunn in the 100 breast (1:07.89).
The Cougars’ Summer Osborne won the 100 free (53.11) and the 100 back (58.62). Teammate Abby Taugner won the 50 free (25.19). They teamed with Mae Johnson and Abby Licht to take first in the 200 medley relay (1:52.35).
Seminole’s Noa Heron won the 200 free (1:52.81) and the 500 free (4:37.01). Clearwater’s Grace Molinaro won the 100 fly (58.26).