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Swimmer of the Year: Devin McCaffrey, Sr., Mitchell
Why we picked him: McCaffrey finished one of the greatest careers in area history with another standout season — and by sweeping all-North Suncoast Swimmer of the Year honors for his high school career. The Sunshine Athletic Conference’s swimmer of the year set records in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke. He won two individual and two relay events at districts and helped his 200 medley relay team finish fourth at state.
Most impressive accomplishments: McCaffrey had to settle for second in the 100 breast (56:08) but still earned All-America honors in the event and shaved almost a second off of his 2011 performance. And he repeated his gold medal performance in the 100 fly, trimming his time down to 48:86. “It’s still exciting, whenever I do it,” McCaffrey said.
Future plans: McCaffrey has signed to swim at LSU, choosing the Tigers over Ohio State, Missouri, West Virginia and others. “Everything just kinda clicked,” McCaffrey said. “It’s just an exciting place to be. I’m looking forward to it now.” He plans to study engineering.
Did you know? If McCaffrey’s performance at state wasn’t impressive enough, consider this: He did it while swimming with a separated shoulder. McCaffrey said his shoulder had been bothering him during training, but he persevered. He didn’t learn the severity of the injury until after the state meet. “I just kinda swam through it just to get through it,” McCaffrey said. He is not expected to require surgery and has been resting the injury to give it time to heal.
Coach of the year
Barbara Hayes, Land O’Lakes: Her Gators took her out on top, with a 10th consecutive conference title, another district championship and a fourth place finish at the Class 2A, Region 2 meet.
50 free: Cameron Hilgenberg, Jr., Land O’Lakes: Region runnerup led the Gators by finishing fifth at state (21:42)
100 fly: Devin McCaffrey, Sr., Mitchell: Earned a second straight state title in the event (48:86) with All-America honors
100 free: Emir Muratovic, Jr., Ridgewood: All-SAC swimmer finished in 48:61 at Class A state meet to place 15th
100 back: Kevin Smith, Fr., Mitchell: Mustangs newcomer was the region runnerup at 53:45 and took 15th place at state
100 breast: Devin McCaffrey, Sr., Mitchell: Finished second at 2A state meet with a faster time than last fall (56:08)
200 free: Caleb Zeleznock, Jr., Wesley Chapel: Qualified for 2A state meet with a second-place showing at regionals (1:48.11)
200 individual medley: Jordan Wheeler, So., Land O’Lakes: Had one of the Gators’ top performances, taking seventh (1:58.26) at state
500 free: Jordon Dailey, Jr., Gulf: Earned all-SAC honors and finished in 5:14.02 to place eighth at regionals
200 free relay: Mitchell (Jacob Williams, David Smith, Kevin Smith, Devin McCaffrey): Took third at regionals (1:31.63) and won the SAC meet
200 medley relay: Mitchell (Kevin Smith, Devin McCaffrey, Jacob Williams, David Smith): Region runnerup that took fourth at state in 1:39.46
400 free relay: Springstead (Charlie Watson, Hunter Geisen, Jake Gregory, Morgan Kiloh): One of Hernando County’s highlights took sixth at regionals (3:36.01)
Diving: Eddie Straughn, Fr., Sunlake: Took third at districts and seventh at regionals
50 free: Emir Muratovic, Jr., Ridgewood; 100 fly: Jordan Wheeler, So., Land O’Lakes; 100 free: John Thompson, Sr., Wesley Chapel; 100 back: Juan Lopez, So., Sunlake; 100 breast: Cameron Hilgenberg, Jr., Land O’Lakes; 200 free: Matt Menendez, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch; 200 IM: Alex Long, Jr., Land O’Lakes; 500 free: Dan McAuliffe, Jr., River Ridge; 200 free relay: Land O’Lakes (Cameron Hilgenberg, Patrick Lawson, Grant Pawlak, Jordan Wheeler); 200 medley relay: Land O’Lakes (Jordan Wheeler, Cameron Hilgenberg, James Adams, Grant Pawlak); 400 free relay: River Ridge (Austin Lindhorst, Alex Marzicola, Dan McAuliffe, Austin Wojkiewicz); Diving: Tate Ellis, So., Sunlake
Academy at the Lakes: Dillan Villavisanis (100 breast, 200 IM); Central: Joseph Brennan (100 back, 50 free); Fivay: Will Haas (100 back), 200 medley relay (Patrick Douglas, Zach Daniels, Will Haas, Nick McGettrick); Gulf: Jordon Dailey (200 free); Hudson: Dalton Hale (100 fly); Land O’Lakes: Parker Phillips (500 free); Luke Steinhoff (diving), James Adams (100 back); Mitchell: Kevin Smith (100 fly), Jacob Williams (100 fly); Pasco: Kenneth Graham (50 free, 100 free); Ridgewood: 200 free relay (Timothy Bennett, Dylan Disbro, Brian Swanson, Emir Muratovic); River Ridge: Austin Wojkiewicz (200 free, 100 fly); Springstead: Morgan Kiloh (100 free), 200 medley relay (Matthew Sundell, Hunter Geisen, Jake Gregory, Trey Patterson); Sunlake: Tyler St. Onge (50 free, 100 free), Eli Walker (200 IM, 100 breast), 400 free relay (Matt Perez, Juan Lopez, Eli Walker, Tyler St. Onge); Weeki Wachee: Steven James (100 back); Wesley Chapel: Caleb Zeleznock (100 breast), John Thompson (100 back), 400 free relay (Shawn Devisfruto, Logan McMahan, John Thompson, Caleb Zeleznock); Wiregrass Ranch: Matt Menendez (100 fly), 200 medley relay (Nick Kovalenko, Alex Kovalenko, Matt Menendez, Jacob Strickland)
Swimmer of the Year: Taylor Anderson, So., Mitchell
Why we picked her: Anderson grew from a strong freshman season and showed sky-high potential this fall. She earned all-conference honors in the 100 breast, 50 free and 200 medley relay, and continued rewriting school records as early as September. Anderson qualified for the Class 2A state meet after winning the 50 free (23:98) and 100 free (53:97) at regionals and helping the Mustangs earn top-eight finishes in the 200 and 400 free relays. “I had high expectations,” Anderson said. “Knowing I improved by a lot really made me happy.”
Most impressive accomplishments: Anderson starred at her trip to the state meet, delivering one of the North Suncoast’s top performances. She placed third in the 50 free and added a 13th-place showing in the 100 free. “Getting third at states was pretty fun,” Anderson said.
Future plans: Anderson hasn’t decided college or career plans yet. Between now and the summer, she said she plans to sit down and set new goals in her individual events for her junior season.
Did you know? While Anderson’s primary sport is swimming, she’s added another to her repertoire — pole vaulting. Anderson decided to try out for track last year and fell in love with one of the sport’s most dangerous, but exciting, events. “You feel like you’re flying in the air,” Anderson said. Her personal record is 9 feet, and she earned third-team all-conference honors in the event last spring.
Coach of the year
Robin Hilgenberg, Land O’Lakes: The Gators had one of their best seasons in program history under Hilgenberg. They won a fourth consecutive SAC title, dominated the district meet and placed third at region.
50 free: Taylor Anderson, So., Mitchell: Set school records and finished a county-best third at state (24:01)
100 fly: Krystin Demsher, Jr., Land O’Lakes: State qualifier was third at regionals (59:67) and the district champ
100 free: Taylor Anderson, So., Mitchell: Finished 13th at state (53:95) after winning the region title
100 back: Sarah Kate Massey, Fr., Pasco: All-SAC first-teamer took fifth at regionals (1:03.30) in her first attempt
100 breast: Jocelyn Williams, Jr., Land O’Lakes: District champ also finished third at regionals (1:11.09)
200 free: Krystin Demsher, Jr., Land O’Lakes: Region champ (1:57.03) just missed getting out of the prelims at state
200 individual medley: Jocelyn Williams, Jr., Land O’Lakes: Won regionals at 2:13.19 before claiming 14th at state
500 free: Nicole Harder, Sr., Sunlake: Capped her career with a trip to state and third-place finish at regionals (5:20.58)
200 free relay: Wiregrass Ranch (Chelsea Hernandez, Madison Conway, Mallory Gant, Athena Cimino): Led by SAC swimmer of the year Cimino, took seventh at regionals (1:41.78)
200 medley relay: Land O’Lakes (Tori Hartley, Jocelyn Williams, Andrea Mapugay, Alexandria Haqq): District champs also finished fourth at regionals (2:02.17)
400 free relay: Land O’Lakes (Krystin Demsher, Mackenzie Koth, Connor McKay, Jocelyn Williams): State qualifiers (3:49.84) placed third at regionals
Diving: Amanda Maser, Sr., Mitchell: SAC diver of the year won district and region titles before finishing third at state
50 free: Athena Cimino, So., Wiregrass Ranch; 100 fly: Madison Conway, Fr., Wiregrass Ranch; 100 free: Athena Cimino, So., Wiregrass Ranch; 100 back: Salliemae Blethroad, Fr., Gulf; 100 breast: Elise Herbert, Jr., Land O’Lakes; 200 free: Jordan Thielbar, Fr., Mitchell; 200 IM: Carigan Albert, Jr., Sunlake; 500 free: Monica Surrena, Jr., Springstead; 200 free relay: Land O’Lakes (Connor McKay, Mackenzie Koth, Andrea Mapugay, Krystin Demsher); 200 medley relay: Gulf (Salliemae Blethroad, Alexis Rose, Rachel Bachand, Sarah Bachand); 400 free relay: Mitchell (Jordan Thielbar, Katherine Cancello, Claudia Cancello, Taylor Anderson); Diving: Domineeka Luis, Fr., Hudson
Academy at the Lakes: 200 free relay (Rachel Sledge, Mikayla Owen, Regan McCormick, Tori Emerick); Gulf: Rachel Bachand (100 free, 200 free), 400 free relay (Rachel Bachand, Salliemae Blethroad, Alexis Rose, Sarah Bachand); Hernando: 200 medley relay (Paisley Whitaker, Lida Marie Steinkamp, Autumn Smith, Summer Solovitch); Land O’Lakes: Mackenzie Koth (50 free, 100 free); Andrea Mapugay (50 free, 100 breast); Connor McKay (100 fly), Darienne Ingalls (diving), Alexandria Haqq (50 free), Elise Herbert (100 breast); Mitchell: 200 medley relay (Elaina Cancello, Kimberly Erickson, Katherine Cancello, Amy Murry), Jordan Thielbar (500 free), Katherine Cancello (100 fly, 200 IM), Claudia Cancello (500 free), Kimberly Erickson (100 breast); Springstead: Monica Surrena (200 free), Allyson Fielder (100 free); Sunlake: Carigan Albert (100 fly); Courtney Meyer (100 back); 200 free relay (Courtney Meyer, Amanda Albrecht, Nicole Harder, Carigan Albert), Nicole Harder (200 free), Amanda Albrecht (500 free, 100 back); Wiregrass Ranch: Madison Conway (100 back), Chelsea Hernandez (50 free, 100 free); Zephyrhills: Ashley Morris (diving)