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Best ever Florida female athlete: It's Haislett Bacher

Best ever update: It's Haislett Bacher

Nicole Haislett Bacher set national records in high school.

As a Florida Gator, she was an NCAA champion.

At the 1992 Summer Olympics, she won three aquatic golds.

Now, she can add another title to her resume.

According to Times readers who voted in an online poll at, Haislett Bacher, a St. Petersburg native who attended Lakewood High, deserves the honor of being called Florida's all-time best female athlete.

Here's how it worked.

With the women's Final Four in town, we decided to celebrate women's sports at the highest level. To do this, we took 16 remarkable female athletes who attended Florida high schools, seeded them in a bracket and conducted online voting over four days.

Haislett Bacher, the No. 8 seed, won the title after beating No. 1 seed Chris Evert, No. 4 Chandra Cheeseborough and No. 2 Nancy Hogshead in succession. In the final, she received 93 percent of the vote to top Hogshead, a Jacksonville native and also a legendary swimmer.

We had a different take.

After crunching the numbers, the choice in the end was as simple as an overhead smash, which is why we selected Evert. Dubbed the "Ice Maiden," the Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas alumna won 18 Grand Slam singles tennis titles, including the U.S. Open six times. While in high school, she was a three-time state singles champion (1970-72).

To readers, Nicole was golden.

But to us, Chris was clutch.

Keith Niebuhr, Times staff writer

Best ever Florida female athlete: It's Haislett Bacher 04/07/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 9:11am]
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