ORLANDO — From the 1-meter springboard, Kyle Dent twisted his body into extravagant knots before landing with barely a ripple in the pool.
The Berkeley Prep senior had a superb, steady performance, missing just one of his dives at Friday's Class A state meet. But he did not think it was spectacular enough.
"I thought I could have performed better," Dent said. "I was just hoping to be in the top five."
So it came as a surprise when Dent was announced as the champion. He scored 508.75 points to win, beating out Pompano Beach's Noah Garcia by 2.95 points.
"My mouth just dropped after that," Dent said. "It was something I didn't expect."
Dent took the lead early and never relinquished it, said his personal coach, Jay Goldstein.
"There were about three guys who were in the mix for the title," Goldstein said. "Kyle just had an all-around good performance. He's been training with me for six years and has worked hard to get to this point."
Dent was not the only area swimmer to win. Clearwater Central Catholic's Cam Martin took first in his signature races, the 100 fly (49.38 seconds) and 100 back (49.76).
Jesuit's Vinny Donnelly was third in the 500 free (4:27.70) and teamed with John Simon, Dylan Attal and Chris Swanson to take sixth in the 400 free relay (3:17.37). The Tigers scored 75 points to finish 10th overall, the highest placement among county teams.
In the girls field, Tampa Prep's Grace Fredlake was fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:04.94) and third in the 500 free (4:53.83).
"I'm happy with what I did considering it was two tough races with fast swimmers," Fredlake said. "I was able to set personal records in both."
Jacksonville Bolles boys and girls dominated the meet with record-setting performances. Bolles' girls set the national record in the 200 medley relay (1:42.35) and state records in the 100 back (Ashley Peacock, 53.84) and 400 free relay (3:23.97). And Bolles' boys set the state record in the 200 free relay (1:23.33).
Plantation American Heritage's Caroline Kuczynski also set the state record in the 100 fly in 54.38.