ST. PETERSBURG — As the Palm Harbor University boys swim team was officially being crowned the Class 3A-2 region champions, Hurricanes coach Lisa Bitting was overwhelmed with frustration after the title night ended with controversy.
The Hurricanes won Saturday's meet — by 30 points over Punta Gorda Charlotte and Countryside — at North Shore Pool, but sophomore David Morgan's 100-yard breaststroke win was disqualified.
It was a stinging shot to the Hurricanes, who know how important every point will be at the state meet Friday in Orlando. PHU won last year's 3A state title — by one point.
Bitting said she has never seen a DQ in high school competition for the reason stated by the official — Morgan wasn't turning his feet out on the turn. The ruling couldn't be appealed.
"It hurts our shot at a state championship next week, as well as the fact that it was a subjective call," Bitting said. "We have to go with what they said."
PHU's Zachary Perrotti won the 100 butterfly (52.51 seconds), and teammate Weston Stearns was second in the 200 free and 500 free.
Seminole's Zachary Metka (200 free) and Countryside's Mate Fabian (100 backstroke) also posted victories.
In the girls meet, Plant (251.50) edged Countryside (237.50) and Sarasota Riverview (230.50) late after the teams swapped first place throughout. Countryside's Melanie Margalis, a University of Georgia recruit, took her next step toward defending her state title in the 200 individual medley by winning in 1 minute, 59.62 seconds — she was the only competitor to break the two-minute mark —- then taking the 500 free (4:50.69). Margalis also swam the second leg for the first-place 200 medley relay.
Seminole's Kaitlin Frehling was the only other individual to win multiple events (100 fly, 57.16; 50 free, 24.11).
East Lake freshman Taylor Katz won the 200 free (1:50.01) and senior teammate Katie Torres took the 100 breaststroke (1:06.64).