TAMPA — Heading into his team's dual-meet rematch Thursday, Plant swimming coach Gil Gonzalez said he didn't talk to his team much about the city relays and how the Sickles boys and girls teams swept the meet at Bobby Hicks Pool this month.
But subtle messages spoke volumes to the Panthers girls about how big an opportunity Thursday night was — one that could springboard their season.
"Our coach had us really pumped up for this meet," senior Meg Anderson said. "Normally we would run every day and we didn't run (Wednesday). He was really trying to psyche us up. He told us, 'No sodas, just Gatorade. Get plenty of sleep.' "
And the Plant girls team took back bragging rights from Sickles, riding its depth to a commanding 176-133 win over the Gryphons. The Sickles boys beat the Panthers 173-127.
Anderson (50 free, 100 free) and Hillary Hahmann (200 free, 500 free) each won two individual events and combined as part of the winning 200 and 400 free relays. But it was the Panthers' ability to place second, third, fourth and fifth in many events that gave them the win.
"They really came through," Gonzalelz said. "I really didn't split up the relays too much, but I did stack the second relays and encouraged them all week long that it was a big week for us."
While the Panthers girls won seven of their 11 swimming events, Plant placed second, third or fourth 18 times. Plant's B relay teams did especially well.
"We were waiting for the incoming freshman class and it brought us a lot of good swimmers," Anderson said. "It's making a really good effort toward our relays."
Sickles swimmers Gregg Cooke (50 free, 100 free), Conor Swanson (100 breast, 200 free) and Ryan Poteat (100 back, 100 fly) each won two individual events for the Gryphons.
The Sickles girls, who were anchored by individual wins by Katie Cook (200 IM), Cristina DeCisneros (100 fly) and Erin Poteat (100 back), were without 500 free specialist Katie Westbrook.
"Everybody has their studs, everybody has their talent," Sickles boys coach Scott Parlett said. "Everybody's got the meat and potatoes, but it's the gravy that makes it delicious."
Hillsborough def. Lennard
25-16, 25-15, 29-27
The Terriers (4-3) won their second straight match behind the play of junior setter Rachel Klausner and senior libero Liliana Carrillo.
Staff writer Eduardo A. Encina can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3353.