MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
ORLANDO — The 50-yard girls freestyle is a mad dash from one end of the pool to the other, a race that is over in less than 24 seconds.
The brevity of the event allows for no error; one tiny mistake can mean a fraction of a second, which in this context is an eternity. After all, this is swimming’s version of a drag race, flat-out speed and froth.
From a crouched start Thursday, Tampa Prep’s Rebecca Werdine sliced her arms through the water in a foaming rush to the wall. She was out-touched by Chinyere Pigot of Doral Academy, finishing as runnerup at Class A meet in 23.85 seconds. Werdine missed out on a gold medal by 0.33 of a second.
The mistake came in the first — and only — turn of the race, where Werdine opened up her arms, costing her precious time.
“I messed up at the turn,” Werdine said. “That usually doesn’t happen. I guess it was just bad luck. Maybe if I would have nailed the turn and the finish I could have won, but I don’t know if it would have mattered.”
Werdine came back to finish third in the 100 free in 51.53 seconds. In the 200 medley relay, she swam a leg along with Carylyn Waite, Emma Siewert and Katie Carter to finish seventh in 1:51.36. Werdine finished her night by teaming with Waite, Siewert and Carter to take fourth in the 200 free relay in 1:37.31.
“Overall, I was happy, especially in the 100 free,” Werdine said. “I was really excited because I had never made it to the finals in that event before.”
The Terrapins’ 400 relay team of Siewert, Emily Carideo, Waite and Rosalie Spada took fifth in 3:40.11.
Siewert finished seventh in the 100 fly (57.48). That was enough for Tampa Prep’s girls to place sixth overall with 141 points.
Bishop McLaughlin freshman Maddie Siebold, the only participant from the North Suncoast, finished 23rd in diving.
On the boys side, Steinbrenner’s Georgi Meyer was seventh in diving with 385.25 points and Robinson’s John Nolte was eighth in the 50 free (21.90). Berkeley Prep’s boys team had a rough time in the finals with their 200 medley relay and 200 free relay teams being disqualified for an early takeoff.
Lauren Driscoll of Plantation American Heritage set a state record in the 200 free with a time of 1:45.37, surpassing the mark of 1:45.49 set by Delray Beach Atlantic’s Rhi Jeffrey in 2002.
Orlando Lake Highland Prep’s Chelsea Britt took first in the 100 fly in a state record in 53.83 seconds, eclipsing the time of 54.38 set by Caroline Kuczynski of Plantation American Heritage in 2008.