Swimmer of the year
Matt Ellis, Jr., Countryside
Why we picked him: Ellis, who moved here from Texas to train and swim against fast competition, made quite a splash in his debut season with the Cougars, winning the Class 3A state title in the 50-yard freestyle in 20.58 seconds and the 100 butterfly in 49.26. He added a third gold when he swam the anchor leg of Countryside's 200 free relay win in 1 minute, 25.47 seconds. In his fourth event at state, Ellis just missed a fourth gold as the Cougars' 400 free relay finished second in 3:06.87, just 0.33 seconds behind the winner. It was one of the best performances by a bay area male swimmer in decades.
Fun fact: Ellis played soccer, football, basketball and baseball in elementary school. But he gave up those sports when he was 10 to concentrate on swimming.
What's next: Ellis continues to train with his club coach in order to produce top times for upcoming offseason meets.
50 free: Matt Ellis, Jr., Countryside; state champion
100 fly: Matt Ellis, Jr., Countryside; state champion
100 free: Ryan McRae, So., Palm Harbor U.; state runnerup
100 back: Ryan McRae, So., Palm Harbor U.; sixth at state
100 breast: David Morgan, Jr., Palm Harbor U.; third at state
200 free: Nick Alexiou, Jr., Clearwater; state runnerup
200 individual medley: Matt Thompson, Sr., Seminole; third at state
500 free: Matt Thompson, Sr., Seminole; fourth at state
200 free relay: Countryside (Richard Willsey, John Kelly, Jon Witkowski, Matt Ellis); state champion
200 medley relay: Palm Harbor U. (Ryan McRae, David Morgan, Zach Perrotti, Jason Williams); fourth at state
400 free relay: Countryside (Matt Ellis, Richard Willsey, Gary Lush, John Kelly); state runnerup
Diving: Jack Stein, So., Shorecrest; state runnerup
50 free: Jason Williams, Jr., Palm Harbor U.; 100 fly: Zach Perrotti, Jr., Palm Harbor U.; 100 free: Jason Williams, Jr., Palm Harbor U.; 100 back: Georgi Krastev, Sr., Northeast; 100 breast: Zac Metka, Jr., Seminole; 200 free: Taylor Uselis, Fr., Palm Harbor U.; 200 IM: David Morgan, Jr., Palm Harbor U.; 500 free: Nick Alexiou, Jr., Clearwater; 200 free relay: Palm Harbor U. (Ryan McRae, Zach Perrotti, David Morgan, Jason Williams); 200 medley relay: East Lake (Tristan Sanders, Kevin Smith, Joey Steele, Jack Pickrem); 400 free relay: Seminole (Matt Thompson, Zac Metka, Mason Kerr, Caleb Hudak); Diving: Richard Owens, Sr., St. Petersburg
Clearwater Central Catholic: Jared Brown (50 free); 200 medley relay, 200 free relay; Clearwater: Nicholas Yoder (diving); Countryside: John Kelly (50 free, 100 free), Richard Willsey (50 free, 100 free), Jon Witkowski (50 free), 200 medley relay; East Lake: Jeffrey Burns (diving), Kevin Smith (100 breast); Northeast: Tyler Burrows (diving), Patrick Rinard (50 free), 200 free relay; Osceola: Matt Tomlin (200 IM, 100 breast), 200 medley relay; Palm Harbor U.: David Morgan (200 IM), Zach Perotti (100 back), Taylor Uselis (500 free); 200 free relay; Seminole: Zac Metka (200 IM), 200 medley relay; Shorecrest: John Farese (200 free)
Coach of the year
Lisa Bitting, Palm Harbor University: Though the Hurricanes had a lot of depth, they were still young, with nearly everyone returning. Bitting guided that group to conference, district and region titles then a runnerup finish at the 3A state meet.