LARGO — As the Palm Harbor University girls changed from swimsuits to dresses for the homecoming dance later Saturday night, it must have seemed like a second homecoming for the Hurricanes.
Mainly because every season since 2001, the Palm Harbor U. girls and boys have returned to the Pinellas County Athletic Conference swim meet and finished either first or second.
And like homecoming, excelling the PCAC meet looks like an annual tradition for the school, as both the Hurricanes boys and girls teams won big at the Southwest Recreation Center.
"For the boys, it's 10 in a row," PHU coach Lisa Bittings said. "The girls have their own little streak going (four in a row), and I'm proud of both sides today. There's a great group of freshmen that have come in here and made a big difference."
The Hurricanes boys scored 425 points, getting victories from Ryan McRae (100-yard freestyle, 100 back), David Morgan (100 breast, 200 individual medley) and two relays (200 free, 200 medley). Countryside was second with 342 points, led by Matt Ellis, who continued his torrid pace toward state by capturing the 100 fly in a meet-record time of 50.02 seconds and the 50 free.
Clearwater's Nick Alexiou set two meet records. He broke Alex Boris' 20-year-old 200 freestyle mark by finishing in 1 minute, 39.31 seconds and won the 500 free in 4:29.34.
"It was a great feeling to get the meet record," Alexiou said.
The Palm Harbor girls outdistanced Countryside 446-242 for their fourth consecutive PCAC title, winning the 200 freestyle relay and 400 free relay.
Individual standouts included Tarpon Springs' Kelsey Buckley, who won the 200 IM (2:06.06) and 100 free (51.96), and Clearwater's Megan Rossi, who won the 200 free (1:54.12) and 500 free (4:58.07). "I had some pretty good times," Rossi said. "I definitely want to get better going forward moving toward states."