TAMPA — Soaked from head to toe on a chilly night after being shoved into the water during a post-event celebration at Thursday's Class A, District 7 meet, Bill Shaffer wasn't about to complain.
"I love it," Shaffer said.
Both teams he coaches, the Academy of the Holy Names and Jesuit, won titles. With 461 points, AHN claimed the girls championship for the first time since 2002 by 95.5 points over second-place Tampa Prep. And thanks to a late surge, Jesuit squeaked by the Berkeley Prep boys 451-437 to earn its 10th straight district crown.
For AHN, it was all about depth.
Armed with solid swimmers in nearly every event, the Jaguars accumulated point after point throughout the meet.
"It's awesome," AHN junior Molly Sheridan said. "We did this as a team. We all pulled together."
Sheridan was one of several Jaguars who came up big. Besides taking first in the 100-yard freestyle (55.53 seconds), she was part of two first-place relay squads: the 200 free relay (with Paige Russell, Ava Batansky and Mary Green) and 400 free relay (with Russell, Green and Taylor DeMesa).
Jesuit's win didn't come as easily, but it was every bit as impressive — and a lot more dramatic.
The Tigers rallied in the meet's later stages, particularly in the 100 backstroke and 100 breast (won by Chris Swanson).
Then they sealed it when the team of Vinny Donnelly, John Simon, Swanson and Dylan Attal won the 400 free relay.
"We were really pumped up," Swanson said. "All the people were cheering for us. When we knew we had it, it felt good."