CLEARWATER — Land O'Lakes won only four individual or relay titles during Saturday's Class 2A, District 5 swim meet at the Long Center. But the Gators' depth on both the boys and girls sides was enough to sweep the team championships.
"We're okay with that," Gators girls coach Robin Hilgenberg said after a celebratory dip in the pool. "That's what we preach."
The Gators' girls used 12 top-three finishes to earn 459.5 points and ease past runnerup Mitchell (361) and third-place Sunlake. The boys placed in the top-three eight times to secure 374 points and edge Sunlake (341.5) and Lecanto (260), which beat Land O'Lakes for the district crown last year.
Cameron Hilgenberg was Land O'Lakes' boys star after breaking his own school record in the 50 freestyle (22.57 seconds). Jordan Wheeler added a title in the 500 freestyle (4 minutes, 59.58 seconds), beating runnerup Jordan Dailey of Gulf by 13 seconds and lapping every other swimmer in the field.
"We're able to rebuild every year," boys coach Barb Hayes said.
Land O'Lakes' only other event championships came in the girls 400 freestyle relay and Krystin Demsher's victory in the 500 freestyle.
Sunlake provided the meet's most exciting moment. The Seahawks trailed Pasco by 0.72 seconds heading into the last leg of the boys 200 freestyle relay, but senior anchor Austin Van Vliet sped down the pool to give the Seahawks the victory by 0.01 seconds.
Gulf's Hunter Swartsel earned two individual championships: the 100 backstroke (54.07) and 100 freestyle (48.77).
Mitchell had three swimmers with two individual titles: senior Mazie Siddens (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly), freshman Taylor Anderson (50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke) and junior Devin McCaffrey (100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke).