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Pinellas: St. Petersburg Times' All-county girls swim team

Swimmer of the year

Jessica Piper, Jr., St. Petersburg

Why we picked her: Piper, a transfer from Shorecrest, had the strongest performance of any county girl swimmer at a state meet. She won the 3A title in the 100-yard backstroke in 55.81 seconds and finished second in the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 2.81 seconds. The state title was a first for her in any event. She also was the only county girl swimmer to finish in the top two at state in two individual events.

Fun fact: Jessica's mother, Rene, was a nationally ranked swimmer in the 400 individual medley and came close to making the Olympics.

What's next: Piper is training for longer distances and hopes to lower her times in the 200 back at offseason meets before preparing to defend her state title next season.

First team

50 free: Courtney Grace, Sr., Countryside; eighth at state

100 fly: Kelly Verheyleweghen, So., Tarpon Springs; 13th at state

100 free: Kelsey Buckley, Jr., Tarpon Springs; state runnerup

100 back: Jessica Piper, Jr., St. Petersburg; state champion

100 breast: Hannah Roper, So., Seminole; state champion

200 free: Megan Rossi, Sr., Clearwater; 12th at state

200 individual medley: Kelsey Buckley, Jr., Tarpon Springs; state champion

500 free: Megan Rossi, Sr., Clearwater; eighth at state

200 free relay: Palm Harbor U. (Sarah Freeman, Megan Kovac, Kendall McIntosh, Emily Bloxam); sixth at state

200 medley relay: Shorecrest (Hope Andrews, Paige Tripp, Rachel Thigpen, Meredith Little); county's top time

400 free relay: Palm Harbor U. (Sarah Freeman, Chloe Hubbard, Abbey King, Emily Bloxam); ninth at state

Diving: Hannah Stein, Jr., Shorecrest; fourth at state

Second team

50 free: Sarah Freeman, Fr., Palm Harbor U.; 100 fly: Sarah Gorman, So., Seminole; 100 free: Lauren Hall, So., Countryside; 100 back: Marissa Marckese, So., St. Petersburg; 100 breast: Lauren Hall, So., Countryside; 200 free: Hope Andrews, Jr., Shorecrest; 200 individual medley: Jessica Piper, Jr., St. Petersburg; 500 free: Autumn Finke, So., Countryside; 200 free relay: Tarpon Springs (Kelsey Buckley, Kelly Verheyleweghen, Sara Meador, Melissa Damaske); 200 medley relay: Countryside (Autumn Finke, Lauren Hall, Sarah Hughes, Courtney Grace); 400 free relay: Northeast (Caroline Neely, Hristina Krasetva, Tara Quinn, AJ Jones); Diving: Alexi Gonzalez, So., East Lake

Honorable mention

Clearwater: 400 free relay; Countryside: 200 free relay; Northeast: AJ Jones (200 IM, 100 breast), Caroline Neely (200 free); Osceola: Ashley Wiser (100 fly); Palm Harbor U.: Emily Bloxam (50 free), Abby King (500 free), Kelli Swanson (100 back), Caite Tarr (diving); Seminole: Jennifer Dawson (diving), Hannah Roper (200 IM)

Coach of the year

Lisa Bitting, Palm Harbor University: With a team made up primarily of freshmen, Bitting guided the Hurricanes to conference, district and region titles.

Pinellas: St. Petersburg Times' All-county girls swim team 12/11/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 11, 2010 11:13pm]
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