CLEARWATER — The Class 3A, District 5 swim meet had a predictable feel, the kind that could unfold only one way.
Palm Harbor University's boys and girls teams were the overwhelming favorites. Everyone knew it, from the swimmers chasing them to the fans watching.
After all, the Hurricanes have more depth than anyone. With every stroke, PHU distanced itself from its competitors to win its sixth straight boys and girls team titles. The boys scored 499 points, beating East Lake by 114. The girls outscored Plant 440.5-386.5.
Ryan McRae and Tristan Sanders were the big point scorers for PHU. McRae won the 100 free (47.28 seconds) and 200 free (1 minute, 45.01 seconds), while Sanders took first in the 50 free (21.99) and 100 back (51.94), beating defending state champion Georgi Krastev of Northeast for the second time this season. Sanders and McRae also teamed with Manuel Barragan and Taylor Uselis to win the 400 free relay. Sanders also was on the 200 medley relay with Garrett Hoce, Barragan and Shaun Van Huyssteen that won in 1:41.62.
On the girls side, the Hurricanes had only one winner, but they gobbled up points with top-eight placers in nearly every event.
The Panthers stayed close, thanks to strong individual performances. Emily Clifford won the 100 fly (1:00.20) and finished second in the 200 IM (2:13.20). Alexandria Donahue won the 100 breast (1:08). And Sydney Power won diving (435.10 points).
Clifford and Donahue teamed with Carter Flynn and Tara McGowan to win the 200 medley relay (1:52.39). Clifford, Donahue and McGowan also were on the 200 free relay, along with Ashlyn Gage, that won in 1:40.66.
"We scored the meet beforehand, and we knew it was going to be close," Plant coach Gil Gonzales said. "Our girls made up a lot of ground in the finals, and that was a moral victory for us."
Class A, District 7: Tampa Prep's girls and host Berkeley Prep's boys prevailed in Friday's meet. Hannah Fredlake (200 free, 500 free) and Rasmus Skjaerpe (200 free, 100 fly) were among the Terrapins who won multiple events.