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PHU smashes records on way to PCAC swim titles

CLEARWATER — In Palm Harbor University's 400 free relay, the quartet of boys swimmers were equal partners in a goggled and chlorinated chase to cap off a record-setting Saturday at the Long Center.

Wes Stearns swam the leadoff leg, Justin Chambers the second, Chris Mertens the third, followed by anchor Tyler Reed.

When Reed touched the wall, the Hurricanes won in 3 minutes, 12 seconds, shattering a 17-year-old meet record previously held by Seminole (3:19.16).

It was fitting that Reed finished things off. The Hurricanes senior broke two individual records in the 50 free (21.28 seconds) and 100 free (45.72), both of which were previously set by former Warhawks star and Olympic champion Scott Tucker.

Reed also swam anchor leg on the record-setting 200 free relay (1:28.94).

"I wasn't even thinking about records entering the meet," Reed said. "I was just concentrating on winning. It was amazing to pull that off."

It was more than enough for PHU to win its sixth straight conference title with 503 points, 168 more than Countryside.

"This was more than anyone could have ever expected," Hurricanes coach Lisa Bitting said.

Palm Harbor University's boys almost broke another record in the 500 free. Stearns was on pace but stopped 50 yards short because of a miscalculation in laps. He still managed to win, though, in 4:38.07.

The other boys meet record came in the 200 medley relay, where Countryside's Mate Fabian, Tony Lombardo, Paul Polgar and Jonathan Taddeo won in 1:38.05.

PHU also defended its girls title, outscoring the Cougars 383.5 to 356. The Hurricanes' Katie Coleman set a record in the 200 free (1:52.01) and won the 100 fly (54.87).

"That was more of a surprise to win the girls," Bitting said. "Countryside was seeded first going into the meet. We just had an unbelievable performance."

Countryside's Melanie Margalis also broke records in the 200 individual medley (2:03.72) and 500 free (4:53.75). Northeast's Megan Romano won the 100 free and 100 back.

PHU smashes records on way to PCAC swim titles 09/27/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 29, 2008 3:18pm]

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