ST. PETERSBURG — They have competed in different districts, against difficult competition. They have withstood the graduation of strong swimmers. They have persevered through injuries, illness and any other ailment that can knock a team off the top.
Yet for a decade, Shorecrest's boys and girls swim teams have found a way to ratchet up the intensity when the postseason begins.
At Saturday's Class A, District 8 meet, the Chargers swept the boys and girls team titles for the 10th straight season.
"Year after year, the kids continue to swim extremely well and find a way to win," Shorecrest coach Patty Nardozzi said. "This year there was some change. We added a few more teams, which made things tougher, but we still pulled through."
The Chargers boys, led by John Farese and Joshua Chen, outscored Clearwater Central Catholic 466-328 for the title.
Farese won the 100 free (47.56 seconds) and the 100 back (52.81). Chen took first in the 200 individual medley (2:00.20) and 100 breast (59.04).
The two also swam with Alex Grant and Mark Marshburn on the winning 200 free relay (1:39.80) and 400 free relay (3:13.70). The victory in the 400 freestyle was particularly gratifying for Shorecrest, which lost to CCC in the event at the Tampa Bay Classic earlier this month.
"I felt like I did better than I expected," Chen said. "I wasn't planning on going too fast and was going to save my energy for the region meet. But coach (Nardozzi) said to swim as fast as I could.
"It also was important for us to keep the district streak alive, and we had motivation in the 400 free relay because we don't like losing."
The Marauders' Matthew Hirchberger, who had a breakthrough performance at the Tampa Bay Classic, continued to dominate in his signature events, winning the 200 free (1:45.24) and 500 free (4:32.51) with ease. He also teamed with Michael Hedrich, Antonio Pinero and Cameron Newton on the winning 200 free relay (1:31.28).
In the girls meet, the Chargers used their depth to their advantage, picking up points with multiple swimmers placing in each event. That added up as Shorecrest beat CCC 457-247 for the title.
Meredith Little was Shorecrest's only champion in multiple events, winning the 50 free (24.72) and 100 free (53.66). She also was on the winning 200 medley (1:57.36) and 400 free (3:45.33) relays.
Clearwater Central Catholic's Mackenzie Stumpf won the 200 individual medley (2:10.17) and 100 breast (1:07.78).