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Pinellas district swimming roundup: Osceola earns timely sweep

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Thu. October 27, 2011 | Bob Putnam | Email

ST. PETERSBURG — Osceola’s boys and girls swim teams have won or been near the top of the standings the past two years at district meets. But the Warriors have never won both team titles in the same year.

That was, until Thursday night.

Osceola swept the titles at the Class 2A, District 9 meet at North Shore Pool. The boys won their third straight title, scoring 462 points to beat Bradenton Lakewood Ranch by six. The girls, who were runnerup in 2009 and tied Lakewood Ranch last year, broke through, beating the Mustangs 518-464.

“I was a little more confident with the girls winning,” Warriors coach Karen Smalley said. “I knew it was going to be a little tougher with the boys. We were about 30 points behind based on the psych sheets going into the meet, but had so many kids swim phenomenal times.”

Osceola’s stranglehold on the title appeared to be in jeopardy based on the swimmers who graduated from last year’s team, particularly Mike Tomlin, who won three events (one individual, two relays) to lead the Warriors a year ago.

Nevertheless, Osceola came through with nearly every swimmer recording a personal best Thursday. Calvin Bryant won the 200 free (1:47.83) and 500 free (4:41.04) and Robert Slockett won the 200 individual medley (2:09.35) for the Warriors. But the difference in points might have come from Clay Howard, who was seeded 16th in the 500 free. He shaved 30 seconds off his personal best in the preliminaries and another 10 seconds in the consolation finals to finish ninth, helping Osceola score seven points.

“It wasn’t just Clay,” Smalley said. “Everyone swam lifetime bests and they just kept feeding off each other.”

The county’s other boys champions were Lakewood’s Cole Hardman in diving (294.55 points) and Dunedin’s Cooper Hoffman in the 100 back (56.73).

The Warriors’ girls won despite not winning an individual or relay event. Alexandria Wittman was second in the 200 free (1:55.36) and 500 free (5:13.04). Teammate Nicole Koda was second in the 100 breast (1:11.76). Wittman and Koda paired with Ashley Wiser and Rose O’Connell on the 200 medley relay (1:57.67) and 400 free relay (3:51.74) that were runnersup. Osceola’s 200 free relay team of Cassidy Slockett, Morgan Reitz, Christina Tournant and Nicole Nesto finished second in 1:49.61.

Tarpon Springs’ Kelsey Buckley won the 100 free (52.98) and 200 IM (2:08.24). Teammate Kelly Veheyheweyhen won the 100 fly (1:01.04). Lakewood had the county’s other girls champions: Rebecca Halfast in the 100 back (1:02.23) and Madalyn Golightly in diving (401.50).

A-7: CCC's Brown earns wins in 50, 100 free

TAMPA — When Clearwater Central Catholic’s Jared Brown hits the water, it all becomes a blur until he stops.

And at the Class A, District 7 district meet, he stopped first in the 50 and 100 free.

“Before you get any time to think about it, you’re already touching the wall,” Brown said. “I just put my head down, try to get it done, and hopefully look up at the scoreboard and see that I came first.”

Tampa Prep sophomore Rasmus Skjaerpe was the only other repeat winner for the boys, and he took the 200 individual medley race by 15 seconds with a time of 1:54:50. He also won the 100 fly, was a part of the winning 400 free relay and teamed with his twin brother, Oscar, on the winning 200 free relay team.

“I want our relays to get top eight at states,” Skjaerpe said. “Individually, I definitely want to make top eight and top three, getting on the podium, would be a goal.”

The Tampa Prep girls achieved near perfection, winning all but one of the night’s 11 events. The Terrapins took the team title 656 points. Emily Carideo won the 200 individual medley and 500 free for Tampa Prep, and teammate Emma Siewert won the 50 free and 100 fly. Host Berkeley Prep (436) finished second.

“We wanted to get four girls into every final,” said coach Jason Bowes. “And we got that.”

The Berkeley Prep boys were able to take advantage of their depth win the team title with 530 points. Skjaerpe and the rest of the Terrapins finished second.

Staff writer Laura Keeley contributed to this report.

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