ORLANDO — Mitchell’s Devin McCaffrey and Osceola’s Matt Tomlin were side by side in the Central Florida YMCA pool, their heads bobbing in near unison during the Class 2A state final of the boys 100-yard breaststroke.
By the final turn, their synchronized swimming had stopped. McCaffrey made the right move at the right moment, touching the wall first to win in 58.70 seconds, beating Tomlin by 0.35 seconds.
“I just had go in and give that race everything I had,” McCaffrey said. No matter how sore or tired I was I just had to suck it up and go.”
The win more than made up for what had been a disappointing state meet for McCaffrey before that event.
The 200-yard medley relay team he swam on was disqualified in the finals because of an early takeoff, nullifying what would have been a second-place finish. In the 200 free relay he helped the team finish sixth in 1:30.64.
And in his first individual event, the 100 fly, McCaffrey took third in 50.29 seconds, a disappointment considering he came into the finals as the second seed.
“I wasn’t loose enough,” McCaffrey said. “I was too tense.”
McCaffrey’s final event, the 100 breast, became his singular pursuit. In the preliminaries, he lost his closest rival when Lecanto’s Jake Tamposi, who beat McCaffrey at regionals, was disqualified because his shoulders were not in proper position coming off the wall. Tamposi also was disqualified from the region meet but the ruling was overturned.
Still, that did not mean McCaffrey had a clear path toward the title. Tomlin beat him in the preliminaries by more than a second.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race,” McCaffrey said. “Matt is a tough swimmer. But I knew I could do it. For a split second, I wasn’t sure about the final result. But once I found out, it was such a big relief.”
Wesley Chapel’s Alex Hill, a senior who took up diving for the first time in September, finished second in the event with 405.15 points, 1.45 behind Cole Maffeo of Merritt Island.
Ridgewood’s Joe Geschke was seventh in the 100 back (54.27) and Mitchell’s Gavin Hunt was seventh in the 50 free (21.86).
On the girls side, Wiregrass Ranch’s Rebecca Pindral was the county’s lone place winner, finishing sixth in the 100 breast in 1:07.90.